Aardvark Daily aardvark (ard'-vark) a controversial animal with a long probing nose used for sniffing out the facts and stimulating thought and discussion.

NZ's leading source of Net-Industry news and commentary since 1995
Australasia's "New Economy" News And Commentary Site
Headlines | XML feed | Contact | New Sites | Archives | Job Centre | MARKETPLACE | For Sale
Note: This column represents the opinions of the writer and as such, is not purported as fact
Is $11,000 For A New PC Excessive? 17 April 2002 Edition
Previous Edition | Archives

Million $ Ideas
At last, the contents of Aardvark's "million-dollar ideas" notebook are revealed for all to see!
Click To See
Earlier this week I received an email from a reader who was amazed at the amount being spent by a government department to upgrade its PCs.

According to this story from Stuff, a major hardware and software upgrade is about to be launched so as to bring the Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry's machines into the 21st century.

So far so good. It seems silly to expect workers to provide high levels of productivity when they're using machines that have long since been superceded.

Need Cutting-Edge Copy?
As NZ's longest-running online commentator, I'm looking for extra syndication opportunities for this daily publication -- or I'm happy to write casual or regular material specifically to order for print or Net-based publications. If you're interested, drop me a line

However, just look at the amount being allocated for this upgrade.

Ten million dollars!

Unfortunately, it's not easy to tell from the Stuff story exactly how many machines will be replaced under this upgrade program. There is mention of 400 PCs that would be installed in the department's new Wellington offices but it also says that "the network has about 800 to 900 machines on it in total".

Readers Say
(updated hourly)
  • New computer WITH... - Philip
  • Foreign Affairs to OSS... - Peter
  • Replacement PCs... - Paul
  • Is $11,000 For A New PC... - Oliver
  • $11,000... - Camryn
  • $11k PCs... - Geoff
  • get a mac?... - Andrew
  • Excessive?... - Chris
  • Open Source... - John
  • Have Your Say

    If we assume that all 900 machines on the department's network are going to be replaced then some simple math indicates that the total cost of each PC will be around $11,000.

    It might be tempting to say "What? $11,000 for a PC? That's ridiculous" -- but as someone who's done his fair share of IT management I know that the cost of installing new computing equipment amounts to a lot more than just the price of the shiny new hardware.

    The Stuff story says that these machines will be running Windows 2000 rather than the existing Windows 3.11, and then there's the price of those upgraded Microsoft applications. This means that the upgrade will involve handing over a good fist-full of dollars to Microsoft -- particularly in light of its new licensing and upgrade policies.

    Now tack on the cost of actually installing the boxes -- someone's got to load the department's own software, transfer existing data files, configure the Network settings and choose some really groovy wallpaper for the desktop.

    Finally, all staff using these machines will have to be retrained in the intricacies of using Win2000 rather than the Win3.11 they've been used to.

    All this extra work contributes significantly to the total cost of buying new PCs -- and can easily exceed the price of the hardware itself.

    That might still leave one wondering whether even $5,000 is too much to pay for a PC these days.

    Well, I must admit that this does sound incredibly expensive -- even given that they're buying Compaq boxes where you pay a premium for the "name."

    Let's hope that they're not going from the absurd to the ridiculous by purchasing "top of the line" machines which inevitably represent a very low point on the price/performance curve. One has to wonder also, whether a 2GHZ Pentium 4 with 512MB of RAM is really needed just to open spreadsheet and MS Word attachments received by email.

    But here's the real question that's been nagging away in the back of my mind:

    If they're prepared to throw over $11K per machine at this upgrade, why not make the switch to Linux and Star Office? Clearly there's going to be re-training and a budgeted learning curve involved in the move from Win3.11 to Win2000 so what better time to show Microsoft the door?

    What's more -- it is obvious that security is a major consideration -- with the article stating that "all people on the project are cleared by the SIS as the information carried on the network can be sensitive." Given Microsoft's abysmal track-record in the area of security, what more reason do they need to jump-ship to a cheaper, more robust, more secure environment?

    Have your say.

    Due to other higher-priority calls on my time and resources over the coming days, the publication of this column may be a little erratic.

    Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible however.

    The Jet-Kart is For Sale
    It's time to clear out the closet here at Aardvark's country residence so I'm having a bit of a garage sale. I need to spend a whole lot more time and money on my jet engine R&D activities (now that the defense industry has shown a very real interest) -- so I'm trying to scrape up some more cash.

    The world-famous Jet-powered Gokart is up for sale by way of an informal auction. Send me your bid and I'll post the current highest offer on a webpage that will appear here soon.

    As far as I'm aware, this is the only pulsejet-powered gokart in the Southern Hemisphere -- I wonder why that is?

    It may not be the quietest, smoothest, most comfortable or safest vehicle in the world -- but it's sure different!

    To place a bid, just drop me a line.

    Add Aardvark To Your Own Website!
    Got a moment? Want a little extra fresh content for your own website or page?

    Just add a couple of lines of JavaScript to your pages and you can get a free summary of Aardvark's daily commentary -- automatically updated each and every week-day.

    Aardvark also makes a summary of this daily column available via XML using the RSS format. More details can be found here.

    Contact me if you decide to use either of these feeds and have any problems.

    Linking Policy
    Want to link to this site? Check out Aardvark's Linking Policy.

    Did you tell someone else about Aardvark today? If not then do it now!

    Security Alerts
    A trio of MS-Office security vulns TheReg - 10/04/2002)

    Two new "critical" bugs patched in IE (ZDNet - 01/04/2002)

    Second Java hole poses Windows risk (CNet - 20/03/2002)

    Microsoft offers patch for Java software (CNet - 06/03/2002)

    CERT Warns of Flaws In RADIUS Implementations (InternetNews - 6/03/2002)

    Virus Alerts
    Aphex E-mail Worm Has A Way With IRC, Instant Messenger (NewsBytes - 11/04/2002)

    'Bill Clinton' Worm Gets Around (NewsBytes - 22/03/2002)

    Gibe worm poses as a Microsoft update (ZDNet - 6/03/2002)

    Bookmark This Page Now!


    NZL Sites
    NZ Netguide
    NZ Herald Tech
    PC World NZ
    NZOOM Technology WordWorx

    AUS Sites
    Fairfax IT
    Australian IT
    AUS Netguide
    NineMSN Tech
    APC Magazine

    USA Sites
    CNNfn Tech
    Yahoo Tech
    ZDNet Tech
    USA Today Tech
    7am.com SciTech

    UK Sites
    The Register
    BBC SciTech


    The Day's Top News
    Open in New Window = open in new window
    New Zealand

    Open in New Window IT firms seek capital in tough times
    Several New Zealand IT companies are in capital-raising mode at a time they acknowledge is not the easiest to drum up funds...

    Open in New Window Early days in web harvesting
    Industry reaction to government plans to collect electronic data for the National Library hinges on how detailed its requirements turn out to be...


    Open in New Window Online Sharing, Pirates Fingered For Dip In Music Sales
    Internet file-sharing and commercial CD-pirating operations share the blame for a 5 percent drop in the value of recorded music sales last year, according an international record- company trade group...

    Open in New Window Google protects its search results
    Dimandja Emoungu got a surprise when he tried to search Google this month: Instead of a results list, he says, the company handed him a "rude" note denying service...

    Open in New Window The King of Music Traders
    He's got 54 gigabytes of music on his various drives, and he's the digital equivalent of the people who give out full-sized candy bars on Halloween. Music lovers love him, RIAA members notwithstanding...

    Open in New Window Behind the Security Breach Hype
    Given all the alerts, warnings, advisories, patches, downloads and other alarms over computer and Internet security, it is easy to become overwhelmed and somewhat saturated...

    Open in New Window Burning Desire to Make CDs Pay
    Blank CD-Rs are flying off retailers' shelves, downloading software is available and so is free music. Meanwhile, online subscription services try to catch up with the peer-to-peer networks. Let the burning begin...


    Open in New Window Porn merchants move offshore
    MANY in the 'adult industry' responded to internet censorship laws by moving their content offshore, new research has found...
    Australian IT

    Open in New Window Net banking creates own Australian standard
    Voluntary standards have been created by an Australian banking organisation in a bid to ramp up accessibility for online users...


    Open in New Window Net thieves caught in action
    Just how long does it take for stolen credit cards to find their way around the Internet, and the world? About 15 minutes. Thatís what fraud investigator Dan Clements found this weekend...

    Open in New Window FTC accues 11 online firms of Net frau
    Federal regulators said Monday that they have filed charges against 11 companies that they accused of running--online and off--a variety of scams, from loans that did not come through to work-at-home schemes that promised easy riches...

    Open in New Window PayPal Shares Surge Amid eBay Takeover Rumors
    Shares of online payment company PayPal surged in unusually heavy trading as fresh rumors swirled that auction giant eBay is considering a buyout of the newly public company...
    Ecommerce Times

    Open in New Window The Microsoft Government Portal explained
    It's official - Microsoft owns the UK's Government Gateway. This will not come as a surprise to Register readers, who were tipped off last August that the government was poised to license IP relating to the Gateway to Microsoft "for a song,"...
    The Register

    Open in New Window Supreme Court Overturns Child Pornography Law
    The U.S. Supreme Court today struck down a controversial law that made it illegal to possess or distribute child pornography containing computer-generated images showing children apparently engaged in sex acts...

    Looking For More News or Information?

    Search WWW Search Aardvark

    Privacy Policy | Copyright © 2001, Bruce Simpson, republication rights available on request

    jet engine page