Page 12 - May 16, 2013
Nome and Paul Van Middlesworth thecomputerfactoryltd.com The Computer Factory
Microsoft Refusal to Fix W8 Creates Notebook Bonanza
When you’re unhappy with a product that you just purchased you take it back or ship it back to where you bought it and demand either a refund or another product, right? Ever wonder what happens to those “new” electronic products like printers, monitors, PCs, tablets, notebooks, smart phones etc after they are returned?
For the most part returned consumer electronics products are sent to a processing center. Since most consumer electronics are manufactured overseas, returned products go to a processing center to be tested somewhere in the USA. Not surprisingly far more than half of returned “new” consumer electronics products are found to have no defects. Defective products are sent to repair centers or back to the factory. Products found to be defect free, by
Supporting Affordable Housing with Practical Tax Policy
Current affordable housing programs, like the non-profit Habitat for Humanity, works to provide home buying options for qualified lowincome families. The nonprofits refurbish or construct new properties, purchasing families contribute mandatory work hours to the construction, and each project is subsidized by additional volunteer work hours and donations. The result is a nice home that can be sold by the non-profit to the low-income family at an affordable cost.
However, these programs, and the homebuyers, sometimes face a significant challenge with property tax assessments. The home is often worth much more than the purchase price. Because property taxes are usually
law, cannot be sold as new, even though they are new. They are repackaged, marked, as “refurbished,” and given reduced warranty (usually 90 days instead of one year). For the most part the big box retailers like Best Buy, Staples and Office Depot aren’t interested in trying to merchandise refurbished products that would compete with their shelf stock of new products. The (new) refurbished products with reduced warranties are sold or auctioned to wholesale distributors who resell them to Internet and small storefront retailers. One of our vendors, Genica Corp in Temecula, specializes in this type of “distressed merchandise.”
The consumer revolt stemming from Microsoft’s attempt to force W8 (Windows 8) onto retail PC buyers has resulted in a dramatic drop in PC sales and massive returns from new PC buyers who found W8 unacceptable. The two largest PC sellers (not makers) HP and Dell have been devastated by the slump in retail PC sales and overwhelmed by the tidal wave of returns. Dell has been particularly hard hit because so many of their PCs are sold to relatively unsophisticated users who buy sight unseen in response to TV and Internet sales pitches. When these folks get a look at the W8 Metro interface they simply cancel the sale and return the PC. I visited Genica Corp in Temecula last week and found their warehouse jammed with thousands of “new” refurbished Dell notebook and desktop PCs. We won’t touch Dell or HP “refurbs” because of their low quality
assessed at the fair market value, the market price determines the property tax that the homeowner must pay. These taxes are often unaffordable for low-income families. To solve this problem, I am authoring Senate Bill 499, which will require local County Assessors to consider the affordable housing contract restrictions and the purchase price when valuing property taxes.
It is important that our state support these non-profit programs with practical policies that help families afford homeownership. Senator Mark Wyland represents the people of the 38th Senate District, which includes Rancho Bernardo, Carlsbad, Oceanside, San Marcos, Escondido, and Vista.
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and service performance but there are a limited number of “refurbs” available from quality notebook manufacturers like ASUS, ACER, Lenovo and Toshiba. We “cherry pick” the best deals and make them available to our customers in both Windows 7 and 8.
Is Windows 8 really that bad? Not at all. After all, W8 is essentially Windows 7 with the Metro interface and Windows 7 is a fine operating system. The major problem with W8 is the Metro interface, an interface designed for touch screen applications. While fine for tablets and smart phones, Metro is clunky and inefficient as a keyboard/mouse interface. Eliminating the Metro interface and replacing it with a standard start button and desktop would be a simple task for Microsoft but to date they have refused to offer this option.
Fortunately there are a couple of third party add-ons for W8 (Star 8 and Classic Shell) that eliminate the Metro interface and bring back the classic Windows desktop. This virtually eliminates user problems with W8.
We put “Classic Shell” on any W8 desktop or notebook we sell and, as a courtesy, offer it on any W8 PC that comes in to our shop for service. The pressure from PC sellers and the indig-
nity of seeing users resort to third party fixes to make W8 acceptable will likely force Microsoft to offer a standard interface alternative to Metro later this year. In the meantime there is a third party alternative for the hated W8 interface and you can get it here at The Computer Factory.
If Only the Bullet Train Could Carry Water
Water issues have long been a matter of intense debate in California. As the nation’s leading agricultural state, as well as its most populous, California’s thirst has become almost unquenchable.
At the same time, the $68 billion high-speed rail project is progressing. Apparently, a train that will initially serve passengers between Madera and Bakersfield takes priority over badly-needed water deliveries to farms and millions of people. Shouldn’t our scarce financial resources be spent on projects that impact everyone and not on a train that will never serve the vast majority of Californians?
Most of California’s water supply originates in the north, while most of the demand occurs in the south. Getting water from where it If and when high-speed rail originates to where it’s needed finally reaches Temecula and has been a challenge for generEscondido along the I-15 corations. ridor, will agriculture still be thriving? Or will the In order to upgrade our water “Avocado Highway” be viewed storage and delivery system, as a nostalgic relic of a squanan $11.1 billion water bond is dered heritage? now scheduled for the November 2014 election, a Note: My staff will hold vote that has been delayed Mobile District Offices at twice. The full cost to Temecula, Valley Center, redesign California’s water Escondido, and other District delivery system may exceed offices. Times to be $35 billion. announced.