Saturday, October 20, 2001

A NEW COMPUTER is on the way, for the first time since 1997, my first year at The Washington Post. I'm not sure I really need a new one, but my Gateway 233-megahertz Pentium II continues to balk at the network that allows it to access the household DSL line and Dell advertised an offer that was just too good to pass up.

A 1.6-megahertz Pentium 4 (Pentium IV?) with 256 megabytes of RAM, Windows XP and a 20-gigabyte hard drive for $699. Oh, and free shipping. I tweaked the deal a little, upgrading to a 40-gigabyte hard drive and adding a Zip drive, among other things, and the final price including tax was $896.78.

Yesterday I received an e-mail confirming shipping of the computer. I also saw Dell's newest ad, which offered that formerly $699 configuration -- but with half the RAM -- for $899. It isn't often that my timing is this good.

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