Okay, just writing about getting a new computer was enough for us. Joy went online and bought a new HP with an Intel i7 processor and 12 gigabytes of RAM. The old all-in-one has been cleared — we mean completely cleared — for drop-off at Goodwill. Perhaps someone will want to try putting in a Linux operating system.

The PC came from Amazon, in an “HP Envy Bundle,” a $650 deal which included a refurbished “HP 750-137cb” computer, a gorgeous 27-inch monitor, two Bang & Olufsen speakers with great sound quality, a wireless keyboard and mouse. The speed is incredible, the monitor is huge and as sharp as an expensive TV. And it has a two-terabyte hard drive. Joy copied more than 12,000 files from the old to the new computer in about ten seconds.

On the downside, this all came with no documentation whatsoever, just a card saying the user manual was probably pre-installed. It wasn’t. But Bob first taught Joy how to put computer components together back in 1993. She’s had a lot of experience since then and it was no problem.

As soon as Joy set it up, Bob wanted one. They don’t call it “Envy” for nothing. Joy went out into the Amazon world to get another one, which this time was listed for just $500, and … it turned out to be a fake listing.

That’s a new twist, something we never encountered before. Amazon did have one more Envy bundle, but for $1300, twice the price we paid. It had fewer features and no monitor. Is there a moral to this story? You bet: sometimes the Internet lies to us. Bob decided to see what kind of deals would be available after Christmas.

How to Transfer Stuff

A reader writes that he has yet to transfer his stuff from an old computer to the new one and did we have any suggestions. There are several ways to go.

You could use a service from Office Depot or Staples, or go online to Or you could use the $15 program, “PC Mover Express.” It transfers your files and favorites from your old computer to your new one, and offers free support over the phone. In the past, we’ve tried the more expensive “PC Professional,” which is supposed to transfer programs too, but that didn’t work well.

Transferring programs is the problem, of course. Transferring files is easy. But if you want your old favorite programs on the new computer, you better hope you still have the original disks or registration codes somewhere. If you don’t, quite a few companies will let you load in a new copy of their product if you registered the old one. Call or go online and ask.

Getting back to your files, it’s best to keep them backed up to a private account, using Google Backup & Sync or some other backup program. Then when the time comes, go to to find them all again. (Last year, Google’s computers used as much energy as the entire city of San Francisco, and it was all renewable.) If you use Office 365, your files are automatically backed up at Microsoft’s

When you’re ready to give away your old computer, there’s Laplink’s “Safe Erase,” for $15. It lets you wipe everything including the Windows operating system, or just your files and personal data. The inheritor of your old computer can put on the free Linux operating system, which many techies like, or turn it into a Chromebook. Learn more with a query to the web. The Web knows all.

So What’s New With You?

Odd stuff comes in for review around this time of year. Things we never asked to see, from companies we never heard of.

— We got an electronic “Blackboard” from The $45 board has its own pen for writing on what they call liquid crystal paper. It’s reminiscent of those wax tablets we used to get as kids. It takes handwriting and holds onto it. It’s now Joy’s magic to-do list.

The board is 8.5 by 11-inches, ultra thin and ultra light. To clear it, push a button to erase everything at once. For erasing just part of what’s there, push another button and the tip of the pen becomes an eraser. She likes it.

— We also got a telescoping rod with a rare earth magnet attached to the end. It came from The purpose is to let you easily pick up anything magnetic you dropped and can’t reach or can’t find, like a ring of keys. The magnet can be removed from the rod and used to hold anything you want on a magnetic surface. It’s about the size of a thick pencil eraser and powerful enough to hold a monkey wrench. It’s only $25.

This captured Bob immediately. He used to make prints of magnetic fields back in junior high school. Rare earth magnets are more powerful than plain iron ones and magnetism itself is a force one trillion, trillion times stronger than gravity. For instance, the next time you are out in space having a good time exploring the galaxy, watch out for Magnetars, which are small dense stars held together by an intense magnetic field. The field is so powerful that it could pull the iron out of you blood cells from twenty thousand miles away. Be careful out there,

A Bit More On Bitcoin

We were in an elevator the other day when a young guy said to his girlfriend, “I wish I could take a time machine, I’m so obsessed with it.” “Are you talking about Bitcoin?” Joy asked. “Yes,” he said. She said she was obsessed with it too, and his girlfriend laughed.

There are now Bitcoin clubs all over the country, probably the world. We looked up one and it had 1200 members. They hold meetings, though we hope not everybody shows up.

According to the website Decentralize.Today, Bitcoin is now the 6th most valuable currency in the world, after the South Korean won, U.S. Dollar, British Pound, Euro, and Japanese Yen.


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