Tuesday, 11 March 2008

New Toys [Nuevos Juguetes]

Money was a bit tight after Christmas (after ten years in the biz, I have found this has always been the case) but I had a couple of projects for Dubai-based clients and I finished them a few weeks ago. Since when I have been gently prodding and poking for my payments. One of them came through this morning (huzzah!), and I immediately set about spending it, safe in the knowledge that when the next one comes through it'll keep us comfortable for a couple of months.

First priority: a new laptop for MamaDuck. FNAC have been selling a Packard Bell laptop for under €500 since about Christmas-time. I don't know why it's so cheap - it has a fast-enough processor, 2 gig of RAM and an 80 gig hard drive. And wi-fi that works. It is amply capable of doing the things that MamaDuck needs it for. I went to FNAC this morning - they only had the display model left, and I bought it.

I also bought myself a new memory stick, because the old one is broken. I remember when any kind of solid-state memory cost £30 per megabyte. That was the price for years and years and years, until the only two or three factories in the world that produced this stuff burnt down within a few months of each other (oh yeah?), at which point the price went through the roof. But a dozen companies simultaneously thought 'there's a market opportunity, let's build a factory'; thereafter, the price of memory plummeted, and continues to fall. The stick I just bought is 2 Gb, and it cost €10. At the old price, if anyone was actually making such a thing then, it would have cost £60000!

To round off the day, I've been thinking for a while that I'm sick and tired of the PalmOne Treo 650 'smartphone' that I've been lugging around for a couple of years. And now that I have an NIE I can get a mobile phone contract that should save me a ton of money as compared to constantly recharging a pre-paid chip. Orange have a special offer on this month; upgrade from pre-paid to a contract (if you've had it for more than six months), or defect from another supplier, and you can get the Samsung U700 for free (terms and conditions apply, obviously: an 18-month lock-in to a €25/month contract). It seems ok to me: I've been paying 30 or 40 Euros a month to recharge my card. And this is one sexy-looking phone.

I have to wait till tomorrow to actually get my hands on it. Maybe they're doing a credit check, in which case they won't find anything for or against on account of me not having lived in Europe for thirteen years. Hmmm, might be a problem. But I have to say the staff at the Orange shop down in the Plaza coped extremely well with my feeble Spanish: they used an online translation website where they typed in what they wanted to say, and had me read the response on the screen. Like all these things, the translation was poor, but quite amusing, and I got the gist: you are gonna pay us a ton of money for at least eighteen months, sucker. I don't care, it's a gorgeous phone!


Macthomson said...

Enjoy the new toys. I have a little list, which must also wait until a locally owned Sandland's entity settles an outstanding matter... However in the coming months (I don't expect mere weeks to suffice) I'll be able to resolve my quandry... PC or Mac.

I've been a Mac guy since 1986. Only when I started working for my Abu Dhabi employer was I obliged to switch. Now my fear is that learning to use the latest Mac OS will imply a complete drop in productivity. (I'm as slow as cold molasses when I use my daughter's iBook). To be perfectly honest, I think a power user probably needs both a Mac and a PC as basic kit.

Jayne said...

I've mentioned *coff, hint hint* to Mike that a new laptop would come in handy, as the one I have only works on mains supply & I'd get pregnant before a new battery was ever found in the multiverse. But then I saw a new set of Bassini pipes for my bike.........................
I think the laptop has been put on the back burner for a while!