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[aprssig] RE: PC Card, barcodes, etc.

Mark Fellhauer sparkfel at qwest.net
Thu Mar 1 00:45:02 UTC 2007

At 01:10 AM 2/28/2007, Ray McKnight wrote:

>Maybe so.
>But for us, Hams, is this important?
>Do most Hams run out and buy a new $2000 laptop just to play APRS?
>Do most Hams, tens of thousands, have laptops 3-5 yrs old?

There is a thing about keeping up with the times.  And actually knowing 
what things cost.

First off, you can buy a brand new laptop for under $800 these days.  I'm 
typing on an HP Pavilion DV5215 Turion 64 with 1gb of RAM,  price at Fry's 
was $750 with a $50 mail-in rebate (which I got).
Even the Core Duo Fujitsu A6020 laptop with 2GB of RAM  and a 120GB hard 
drive was only $1200.  Both have a PCMCIA slot, because I did my 
research.  That was my point.  Someone going out and buying a new laptop 
may just ASSUME that it will have a PCMCIA slot in it.  One may even look 
and see the 54mm slot that looks like PCMCIA, but instead it may be Express 
Card 54.

Furthermore why would you design a NEW product that was already 
obsolete?  That makes no sense, whatsoever.   How long is a laptop 3 to 5 
years old going to continue to work?  And please, people, let's not start a 
whole discussion about your Zenith 286 laptop that still works.   Every 
year ups the odds that old hardware will fail.   Ham Radio is supposed to 
be about emergency communications.   Do we really want to place trust in 
products that are superannuated?   And if it breaks can you get replacement 
parts easily and locally.

As for older equipment - several years ago (like 2001) I acquired several 
dozen computers from a local TV station and tried to sell them at a 
hamfest.  We couldn't give them away.   Not a single HAM in a tri-state 
area wanted a free working computer with OS (Win98), up to 256MB of RAM and 
PII & some PIII processors with mouse, keyboard, and SVGA Monitors.   We 
had some of them up and running ham radio related  programs (APRS, 
Trunker,  SatTrack) as demo units.  Even the Boy Scouts wouldn't take them 
for their charity auction.



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