Sunday 25 July 2010

The frugal joy of 'lagging edge' computer software and hardware

It's a well known fact that keeping up with the techno-Joneses by buying the latest cool techo-toys can be a wee bit expensive (do you want an iPad with your iPhone?), not to mention the 'joys' of living on the "bleeding edge" of technology and being one of the first to uncover that exciting new 'undocumented feature' (no, no, you're just holding your iPhone 4 the wrong way you klutz - there's nothing wrong with it!).

So it's a lot cheaper to take a few steps back from those money black-holes and cultivating a mind-set of 'discovering' that latest and best games and hardware a few years after everyone else. I do this by a) hanging on to my old games (Kings Quest 4 anyone?) and old hardware as long a possible, and then b) only looking on the discount table of EB Games to find out 'what's the 'latest', cool new game). Provided I don't go near the current gaming mags or try impressing anyone else, I'm perfectly happy with living on the 'lagging edge'. I still get to buy shiny new toys, but don't pay much more than I would for a used copy of the latest releases.

Hence, last week I bought a copy of Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator 3 for $14, and proceeded to replace my old serial port joystick with a brand-new Logitech Attack 3 USB joystick for $25 (on clearance sale, used to be around $35). I'm amazed by how great the graphics look when playing on my Dell Inspiron Laptop, and although the software first came out in 2002 it runs perfectly well under Vista.

Another benefit of buying games well after they were first released is that any bugs have probably been fixed - from what I read on the 'net, when CFS3 first came out you had to manually hack the config file to get the Logitech joystick to work under Vista. I had no problems at all, so it seems that Microsoft eventually got around to fixing that bug.

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