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One statement I repeatedly am given when asked to suggest a computer purchase is, "All I do is play on the Internet, stream videos or play some online games every now and again.  Not much."

Mundane, every day tasks.

CPU-INTENSIVE.

A purchase of the "cheapest" computer will not grant this user satisfaction.  The "cheapest" is generally pushing its limits to just produce a text-only document.

Facebook and many other social-media, news and just about any "rich-media" site is heavy laden with JavaScript embedded in the web-page.  JavaScript, and others like it, is a programming language that is commonly embedded in a web page.  When you "view" the webpage, the embedded program is running on your computer.  This method of content delivery distributes the workload to personal computers and away from the web sever.  This is as it should be.  If a web server had to do all the work for all the recipients of its content, it would consistently fail. The stress of executing all these tasks on your computer consumes many of your resources.  If you know how, just check Firefox in your Task Manager after you have visited a few pages on Facebook and watched a few videos.  Firefox's footprint and resource consumption is huge.  The same happens with virtually any browser.  There are plugins to kill the scripts, but then you loose access to the rich content. (rich content is anything that is not text; ie, photos, videos, sound, location services, etc).

Let's break it down and look at the subsystems your computer has to employ to play a video in a web browser:
1) Web Browser - yep, it got you there.
2) Anti-Virus - I hope you didn't disable it.
3) Anti-Spyware or Malware - This is different than Anti-Virus protection and you should always have both of them run.  Many will constantly scan the web pages you access and the good ones scan your download stream for malicious code hidden in the video, music or photo you are accessing.  AV and AS/M have huge foot prints and require many resources.
4) Network subsystems - this is the communication method for accessing the content
5) The player for the rich content:  Photo viewer, music or video player, etc. - not really so much storage or RAM requirements that get you down, but very CPU intensive.  The CPU is the brain of you computer.  Good sound or video cards will relieve the CPU of some of the strain, if you have them.  The cheapest computers have neither a good sound or graphics card.

And, there are more.  Look at your Task Manager, you will be shocked.

At this point, people usually walk away from me and go and buy the "cheapest" only to complain about it and wish they would have bought an Apple.  Note:  Apple controls their product from cradle to grave.  You have very little freedom of choice. That is why there is no "cheap" Apple computers.  If you spent an equivalent amount on a Microsoft-based PC as you are willing to spend on an Apple, your performance is likely to be superior to that fancy Apple, last longer and provide a better user-experience.

So, now, we got rid of the "bottom-end" computer purchase.  "How strong a system do I need?"

My answer is always:  "What is your budget?"

See, there are a myriad of configuration options out there when you get off the bottom.  I admit, it is confusing.  There is no right answer, only one that is better than several others.  Budget comes into play here.  You want to get the best system for whatever money you are willing to spend.  Too much money spent, will leave you wishing you hadn't spent that much.  Too little money spent, and you will not be satisfied with what is sitting on your desk.

For my personal purchases, I short-circuit the entire system and by a re-manufactured system.  I'm an engineer.  The warranty is invalidated about 30 minutes after I unbox it and take it apart to improve it.  It drives my wife crazy, but she has learned to accept that this will happen and why it happens.

The problem with re-manufactured systems is that you have a shortened-life warranty and you could end up with a bum system.  So, stick with the off-the-shelf selections, or customize one at a major brand's website.  Stay away from companies that have been sold and re-sold.  There are reasons for that.  They are not selling quality products.

Where does this leave us?

1) Budget - always start with a range you are willing to spend.
2) Most common use - identify what you are going to do on a regular basis.
3) Most resource consuming task that you must do - you will be horrified to find out you can't do it when the deadline is on.
4) Outlets that you can purchase quality products from and be happy with the price.

Don't forget that Office suites are an additional cost!

Good luck with your purchase.

Thanks for reading,
Jay C. "Jazzy_J" Theriot

Jay C. Theriot can usually be found as “Jazzy_J” on the IRC Channel #ExtremeSpasticity on Freenode.net –> see: irc://irc.freenode.net/ExtremeSpasticity. You will need an IRC Client such as HexChat to connect.

On this Veteran's Day, I have a simple request:  Make it Real.

Talk is cheap.  Doing is more complicated.

Instead of just thanking a vet for his/her service, honor them.  It could be as simple as purchasing them a cup of coffee.  Take them to lunch.  Spend 30 minutes listening to them.  Go to a religious service with them. Make your words mean something more than a hollow goodwill gesture.

If you are religious, talk to them about hell.  Many of us have seen it.  Some, still live in it.

If you like weapons, well, I don't know a prior service member that can't talk about that subject.

If you are ticked about the NFL or any of the other million issues affecting vets, there are your talking points.  Sit, talk and spend time. You may be surprised at their opinion.

So, on this Veteran's Day, which falls on a Sunday, make it real.  Follow your words up with action.  Truly honor those that have dedicated their lives and blood to freedom and making this country the great country it is.

It truly was an honor to serve.

Thanks for reading,

Jay C. Theriot
SGT E-5(P)
US Army
1988-1994

As can be seen by the diagram at the right, multiple planets will able to be seen tomorrow night at about 8:15 pm.  I'm including a map of the sky that should help with locating the planets.

Today's topic:  Creating Actionable Incident Response Playbooks + CIPR Review

Lessons learned:
1) Last thing on peoples mind is preserving the evidence of what you did so you can show your clients what you did.
2) You can have a 500 page incident response book, but in a crisis, you can only handle short bursts of instructions. Assessment and Evaluation during the event is critical.
3) Incident response - checklists, and it must be implemented and refined, otherwise it is as bad as not having one. Checklist must be consistent and repeatable.  It should not be specific.

#1stAmendment #SocialMedia

"OK, Jazzy_J", you may ask me, "what does it look like when someone exercises their First Amendment Freedoms on the Internet?"

If you are reading this article, you are seeing it.  You may be reading this article on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or Google+.  However, this material is not theirs. I use social media outlets as a platform, not a media.  I rarely type something on a social media platform.  The text, photos, music and videos, all originate from my servers, on my Internet lines and I share that material to LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

"Great," you say.  "I'll just get a droplet from Amazon Web Services, or any of the other millions of web hosts."  Guess what, you must abide by their standards and you don't have rights there either.

Now, the argument could be made that I have to abide by AT&T's acceptable use standards as they are my provider.  That could be so.  I would offer up that assertion as my reason for supporting EFF.org and Net Neutrality.

Thanks for Reading,

Jay C. "Jazzy_J" Theriot

See you on freenode.net!