laptop shopping saturday

autobot chromia
Meet Chromia...

Oh, no, wait... that's the Autobot Chromia from Transformers... she is the namesake of my new computer though.

But I'm getting a little ahead of myself...

It hasn't particularly been an easy day, but that's more been about mental and/or emotional frustration than anything else.

It all started in the usual way... although I broke my streak of heading downstairs just as Ma arrives. But it had to happen sooner or later.

I was ready to go though, so we pretty much turned around and headed out.

The supermarket portion of the morning was fairly standard... it ended up being one of those outings where it's 90% fresh produce and not all that much of anything else.

We also poked around a little at what was left in Easter goodies... in three different stores, and the only thing we found that was really a hardcore bargain was a Lindt basket with a mixture of bunnies and normal chocolates that had been the somewhat overinflated price of $35 and was marked down to $5... I have no idea what the hell I'm going to do with the little basket, which is red "leather"... but it's a cute shape.

Then we headed back here, performed the unpacking ritual, and then we headed out to look at computers.

Just as a minor update to the post last Monday about my old laptop dying, I tried every possible thing I could to get it to work properly, but I got nowhere.

Do you know what I really wish? Well, clearly not, but here it is... I really wish that you could go into anywhere that sold computers and say, yeah this, but add one of those, and take that off and give me more of that. And it was only a matter of plug and play modules... Want to swap the hard drive for a larger one? Done.

Unfortunately that's not how it works (and yes, I know that you can order bespoke computers but that's not what I mean), so it's a balancing act between what the thing costs, how much memory and storage it has, what the brand is, and even though it really shouldn't be a factor, what the thing looks like.

We headed off to Good Guys as our first port of call... which is always our first port of call for anything that comes with a power cord.

Unfortunately the very pleasant lesbian who used to be our go-to sales assistant when it came to things of a computing nature isn't there any more, mostly because she now sells vacuum cleaners somewhere else... so instead I had a brief conversation with the fairly attractive young man who was staffing the computer section before he left us to our own devices to make a decision.

A decision I wouldn't actually make for around another four hours. Okay, maybe not quite that long... but it was quite a while.

I was monumentally undecided... I kind of knew what I wanted, or at least what I wanted a new laptop to do, it just seemed that there wasn't all that much within my budget and with the specs I was looking for.

Ma had noted earlier that Harvey Norman (or Hardly Normal as it should be referred to) was having a sale, and even though I normally wouldn't buy anything from them, we figured that it might be worth a look, even if we ended up back at Good Guys anyway.

And we discovered that there's actually a Hardly Normal factory seconds shop not that far away from Good Guys... so we swung past there... they didn't have any laptops or computers of any kind to be honest, but we had a brief poke around, mostly at giant fridges for no real reason.

Then we headed into the city. Well, started too and then detoured over to Haighs factory outlet to investigate the broken Easter egg situation... because there really isn't anything better than broken Haighs Easter eggs. I can't explain it... they're just better... better even than whole Haighs Easter eggs somehow, even though whole Easter eggs become broken Easter eggs as soon as you, well, break them. But somehow there's something better about the broken ones.

Unfortunately it seems like the post Easter locusts had already been through the factory outlet, and although there were bags and bags of broken dark chocolate Easter eggs there wasn't a single bag of milk chocolate to be had in the whole place. Cue sad face.

So we headed into the city instead, found a car park in a pretty perfect spot for our purposes and headed into Hardly Normal.

And they had some interesting laptops, plus they had a deal where if you spent over $600 you got a free tablet... so it was all looking somewhat promising... but then I spoke to one of the sales staff and remembered exactly why I dislike Hardly Normal so very much. Pushy sales folk who try and convince you that what you want can't possibly be had for the amount of money you want to pay and that you'll need to spend significantly more.

Plus the free tablet was a piece of crap... not really surprising, given that it was only worth $98, but even so it was pretty ugly and not really very inspiring.

By this point in the day I was pretty much ready to go down to the food court in City Cross, find a table and bang my head against it repeatedly. I didn't... but I definitely felt like it was a better option.

We also swung through JB Hifi... who didn't really have all that much different from what I'd already seen, so we decided to head back to Good Guys.

Before we left the Mall we did stop off at the toasted cheese popup van, Combeeze, for the aforementioned toasted cheese. And it's pretty much exactly what it says right there on the box... or van... or combi or whatever. Tasty though, and a steal at $2 ($3 if you want ham and cheese).

Then it was off to Good Guys... again.

And somehow one of the laptops looked a lot better, spec-wise at least when we got back than it had before.

Which is pretty much where we came in... with my new laptop.

chromia aka hp pavilion 15-n212tx
It's a HP Pavilion 15-n212TX (which seems like so much gobbledigook, but that's the model), with 750GB hard drive (which pretty much translates out to about 680GB or so of storage once all the operating system and what not is taken into account) and 8MB of RAM.

I also got a copy of Photoshop Elements... Photoshop was just too damn expensive, and hopefully I should be able to do 95% of what I used to do on my old copy of Photoshop on that... I just have to figure out the differences and how to make Elements do what I need it to do.

And that was pretty much all we did all day... look at laptops, then we came back here.

Setting up the laptop was incredibly easy, although they always ask the "What would you like to name this computer" was too early... fortunately I had a link to a list of Transformer names on my iPhone... and since every other electronic device I've ever owned (after the previous laptop) was named after a Transformer, why break the proverbial habit of a lifetime.

And I had a very pleasant surprise when I unboxed the laptop, because it looked about 100 times better than it did in the store. Granted that was partially because I never got a look at the back of it which was all silver and pretty... but the inside, which kind of looked a little too much like random black plastic looked a lot better. So whether I just wasn't paying enough attention or what I don't know.  But it was a pleasant surprise.

The silver back is pretty much why I went with Chromia for the name... plus it turned out to be one of the very few female Autobots, so that makes an interesting change.

It's going to take me a couple of days to completely get used to the keyboard. I'm already better with it than I was at the beginning of this post, although I apologise in advance for any typos over the next few days.

Now I just need to install all the appropriate software, make sure I've rescued all possible files from the old computer and remember what all my passwords and logins are for every website I've ever visited on the old computer. Plus tidying up the way I store things on this computer since I did end up with more than a few random folders on the old one.

But at least things can get back to normal now.

At least once I pack up the three computers I currently have scattered around the place.

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