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How to get a state-of-the-art computer system for free...

by Sigi Rindler

Well, the following trick wouldn't work for me, but for my 15 year old son Yoichi it does.

To begin with, he will be entering high school in April for which he has been studying very hard since autumn in order to pass all these numerous tests. Up to this time he was mostly interested in playing his Nintendo 64 or the Sony Playstation games. I also have a 133MHz notebook computer which he used for playing on-line games on the Internet, but that's about it. He could tell the difference between a desktop and a notebook model... not more.

Suddenly I started missing my English and Japanese computer magazines and found them in odd places like in the toilet, his book case, etc. Then I noticed that the receipts from bookshops increased dramatically, and that he started asking me questions concerning computers which I couldn't answer...

If I couldn't answer, he was ready to explain and lecture me about new chip sets, AGP, MPEG, USB, RIVA videocards, various RAM chips, Pentium MMX, the new 300MHz series and such.

My wife and I were delighted that he had finally gotten the idea that life was more than virtual computer games. When my wife mentioned that I should get him one of my older models, the boy was less enthusiastic about it... He started to explain that 90MHz Pentiums are too slow, that he has already seen 486/66MHz models in the trash, and that the first Pentium models will follow soon. New software requires more powerful hardware, and it's not economical to spend a lot of money on upgrading ancient machines. Soon I found out that he wasn't even interested in using my home-built 200MHz machine (not MMX), so I told him to earn his own money to finally get the most expensive machine. After that he was pissed and resorted to other tactics.

Some weeks later my wife told me that Yoichi really wanted to go to a public high school instead of a private one. That's very fine with me, but when I heard that he wanted to help me save money, suspicions started rising! This fellow was never before concerned about the price of anything. If you gave him the choice, he'd always go for the highest price tag.

When he was 8 and my wife told him that she didn't have the money for something he wanted, he said: "Mamma, go to the bank and buy money!" This attitude about the availability of money is hard to turn around... To be precise, his desire was to "save" me 600,000 yen... That's the amount I would have to pay for one year private high school at the closest location if he failed the entrance test for the public high school.

Everybody else in the family must have heard the click in my head. This was a very clever scam to earn him money or to make me rich! He argues that if he passes the test, "I" would actually earn 600,000 yen, he could have his own 300MHz Pentium system as reward, and I would still have half of the money left...

Man, he should get a job at the finance ministry and convince the losers after every stock market crash that they have not lost anything but gained negative income!

Although this is a kind of "scam", I'd rather comply and get him his computer. Otherwise he might take revenge, fails the test, and provides the Japanese public with a stimulus package of 600,000 yen which comes out of my pocket.

The calculation is very simple and convincing. If he doesn't get the gadget in the first place and fails the test, he won't get it afterward either. He has nothing gained and nothing lost while I lose twice as much of what he is asking for. Mathematics has never been my strength, but when the numbers mean $$$, I improve within seconds!

He really got me at the short hair this time...<g>


I have been defeated for the time being... but I'm already spinning webs on how to utilize the new machine for myself. The fellow won't have that much time every day. I already have some ideas, but additional suggestions are highly welcome. Forget about the remaining 300,000 yen to compensate you for your dear suggestions since my better half will have stashed them into some dubious account before I even see any money.<sigh>

© Algorithmica Japonica Copyright Notice: Copyright of material rests with the individual author. Articles may be reprinted by other user groups if the author and original publication are credited. Any other reproduction or use of material herein is prohibited without prior written permission from TPC. The mention of names of products without indication of Trademark or Registered Trademark status in no way implies that these products are not so protected by law.

Algorithmica Japonica

February, 1998

The Newsletter of the Tokyo PC Users Group

Submissions : Editor

Tokyo PC Users Group, Post Office Box 103, Shibuya-Ku, Tokyo 150-8691, JAPAN