Opinion

Realizing value of a buck at summer’s end

I know the difference between cheap and inexpensive.

In a nutshell cheap describes something that costs much less than similar products. It usually is poorly constructed and generally-speaking does not last as long (as similar products).

Inexpensive, on the other hand, can describe something that also costs less money than similar products, but if carefully shopped for, bears great value for what you paid for it.

In the case of the weekend that symbolizes the end of summer, I reminded myself of the difference between these two words.

A long time ago, make that 2004, I bought a used Sawtooth G4 Power Mac on eBay. I had always wanted one ever since owning a new PowerPC Performa that caused me no end of issues. On the bright side, it fed my hunger to learn how computers work as its performance always caused me to tinker with and fix it.

The Sawtooth was a Power Mac that also had a PowerPC processor, but it was a G4 Mac and had lots more power than the PowerPC 603 chip inside the un-Performa. It was used and it was soon delivered to my doorstep.

It was my daily driver until Windows 10 came out. Windows 10 loads on inexpensive and older hardware that features Intel Core 2 Duo processors and runs quite well. It was impossible not to make the move to PCs and Windows; My G4 with countless upgrades could not really compete any longer regarding operating with a modern OS; it was frozen in time with Mac OS X Version 10.5.8 — Leopard.

By virtue of the fact there are three modern browsers (no one’s ever heard of) that are regularly updated for the G4–TenFourFox, Roccat and Leopard WebKit, older Mac users can still use their computers on the web. Where Leopard the OS lags is with things like Cloud storage and memory–I’m maxed out with 2GB of Ram on the G4.

Everything still works–including the 5 internal hard drives installed, but I don’t regularly fire it up anymore.

On the 3-day weekend I typically enjoy the most each year, I had occasion to literally dust off the G4.

I removed all of the cables and cords plugged into its various ports located at the rear of the computer. I then took out the monster FrankenMac to the backyard for some belated spring cleaning. Its convenient side door easily pulled down and opened (after pulling out the ring tab at the top of the side panel). There was dust and the half-used can of compressed air quickly solved my dust bunny problem. I moved it back to its faithful location under my desk, restored all of its cable connections and fired it up. The desktop came up as it always does and I was ready to write this blog post on it once again (like I always did back in the good old days of a couple of years ago).

The other thing that some might call cheap, but it really should more appropriately be labeled inexpensive, are the three pairs of Zenni eyeglasses I recently purchased. After paying $450 for transition eyeglasses and needing at least one more alternate pair for traveling and work, I reached out to friends on Facebook for a way to avoid choking while paying for my prescription sunglasses.

Most everyone recommended Zenni.

I wanted to approach the folks at Zenni about a sponsored blog post on hittingthesweetspot by Bob Skelley. But, since I really saved a bunch of money and got three pairs of glasses for less than $450, I thought why not give them some free advertising here.

My first pair resulted in a poor fit. It was probably my fault as I should have checked the frame width a little better (which was the issue with these glasses). The prescription was off, too, but that was mostly attributable to the frame not fitting my face correctly.

I thought, “You get what you pay for, Bob.”

Well, not always as I would soon find out.

After contacting their customer service, Zenni optical let me return the glasses for a store credit.

I used the credit to purchase a completely different pair of glasses, which arrived in about 10 days. I still had some store credit left over, so I was thinking if these replacement glasses were good< I’d order at least 1 more pair.

These glasses turned out to be perfect–fit and lens-wise. They were not transition progressive lenses like my $450 non-Zenni pair. I ordered a pair of black-rimmed glasses and these, too, arrived in about 10 days. They actually fit better than the 1st (replacement) pair and I’ve been using them more often. I wanted a pair with transition capabilities and while I ended up getting a third pair, I opted to take a step down in cost from actual Transitions and order Zenni’s photochromic glasses.

As you probably thought, these too arrived in about 10 days. I was super pleased with how they work and while the frames are not as sturdy as my $450 Transitions, they are a highly recommended, inexpensive pair of progression eyeglasses that I’m wearing (and loving) more each and every sunny day.

The old FrankenMac generates a lot of heat relative to the whisper quiet iMacs and Mac Minis of today, but now that summer is rapidly riding into the sunset, I will welcome the warmth it provides as the temperatures plunge working on it into the fall–dust bunnies safely disposed of for at least another year.

With the changes in seasons I will continue wearing my Zenni eyewear in favor of the pair I bought at the store adjacent to my eye doctor’s office a couple  of years ago.

I have no doubt the less expensive Zenni glasses will fog over just as well as the more expensive ones as fall turns to winter.

Remember, you don’t have to explain to anyone when you get more for less: Inexpensive + quality = great value. And cheap + poor quality = ripped off.

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