The high price of big-box

I just got back from a residential call. It was dispatched to me by an online work platform that gets jobs from service buyers and routes them to guys like me. In this case, the buyer was a big-box office supply store. The task was to set up a wireless router and connect two printers and two PCs to said router.

The cost to the end user was $468. That’s one hundred dollars for the router and $368 for installing it and connecting the devices to it. The big box store sold this poor woman a router and the installation thereof for nearly 500 dollars. Do I need to mention that it took me all of a half-hour to do the work?

And it was good-paying work to be sure. But I felt that this poor soul had been taken advantage of. She paid well over triple for the service over what I would have charged. There’s just no reason to over charge people so much for simple service. I think the store took advantage of her lack of technical sophistication. And I think that’s a crap business practice.

Do you have any experiences with the high price of big-box store that just wants to squeeze you?

Whats the word on Windows 10?

Hey – did you update your Win 7 or Win 8 PC to Win 10 yet? I updated one of my laptops to Win 10 – it looks pretty cool.

CNet talks about the new Cortana interface here. I have some reservations with a perpetual, cross-device data assistant. With the occasional compromises in secure data leading the identity and credit accounts, can an app that’s always monitoring us waiting for a command be kept safe from prying?

But it is a cool concept, don’t get me wrong. I want to talk to the PC. I want to say, “Cortana, bring up my QBO and check the email.” I’d like to have Majel Barrett’s voice respond to me, but maybe that’s down the line somewhere. As a former programmer and an honorary Grammar Police member, I know that language is very important, but language is also very, very plastic. Homophones, inflection, regional idioms, and such, all make it difficult enough to understand another human. It will be interesting to see how the automated process evolves.

So, what is the word on Windows 10? CNet has a short review here, so I will not reinvent any wheels. There is a short video; I’ll wait here until you get back. Ok, so first, what is up with that guy’s shirt?

There are many changes, so I will try to explain. No… there is too much, I will sum up.

Good things – first and I think foremost: multiple virtual desktops. A Linux feature, multiple desktops lets you have multiple full screen apps going at once, without them getting in each other’s way. And its more than that if they are working in their own protected space, they aren’t sharing resources either. Very productive feature. Also, Cortana – as noted above, I look forward to seeing how responsive she is, given that she can hear me over Spotify.

They are seeking to bridge the gap from computer to tablet; and why not? Apple has done pretty well with it. A single account will hold settings between devices; and if you use the online Office365 or OneDrive, your productivity and docs will be there also.

Whats bad about Windows 10? We are sure to find the answer to that question writ large over time. As with any new piece of software, the bugs will begin crawling out as the installed base expands. Hopefully, there aren’t real show-stoppers down the line.

There are many more changes and features, but this post is already long enough. Have you explored Win10? What are your impressions and comments?