Even though this is our home, it feels more like a small office. Amoungst our family of five, we have nine computers -- 11, when you include computer-like smartphone devices.
To make it easier for me, I standardize on hardware, because I am the IT guy. That way, there are fewer device drivers and user interfaces to work with. For example, all keyboards and mice are from Logitech, all printers and nearly all computers from HP.
But as of last week, HP is off the approved list for household computer acquistions. That's because I've finally clued in that they have approximate lifetimes of 18 months. And then they go boom.
The final two straws were (a) my son's less-than-a-year-old HP notebook computer's LCD screen gone blank; and (b) my daughter-in-Europe's HP notebook's screen flickering. My son now attaches his notebook to his 40" TV ("I use it has a media center," he reports); my daughter reports her's is OK for now.
Last summer, I had already switched to an Acer desktop after my two-year-old HP desktop gave up the ghost. I got the Acer, because it was cheaper, better spec'ed, and better looking than equivalent HPs. My faith in HP's quality first broke with the tx1000-scandal, their line of convertable notebooks whose Nvidia chips overheat the motherboard. After several years of dithering, HP and Nvidia have so far accepted blame only for a small segment of tx1000s; my specific model so far is excluded.
From now on, I think we'll go with Asian brands. My netbook from LG is now two years old, and continues to perform as a dual-boot Linux Mint and Windows XP computer. My primary computer these days is Samsung's Galaxy S Vibrant running Android. One of the local independent computer shops says he only sells mid- to high-end ASUS notebooks, which come with two-year warranties.
I should make clear that it is not just 3 or 4 HP computers that have broken down. Since 2004, when our first child got his own computer (an HP notebook for college), I had to replace six more HPs after they wore out. This is why it's time for a change.