Matt Gemmell

My new book CHANGER is out now!

An action-adventure novel — book 1 in the KESTREL series.

★★★★★ — Amazon

PC Wank

Tech 1 min read

My brother Martin and his girlfriend Jilly recently got a flat (apartment) together, which is great. They have broadband via a cable modem, and her iBook is hooked up to it at the moment via ethernet. Mart obviously wants to be able to share the connection with his PC. Little did he know how much it would cost to set that up. First we had the inevitable series of amusing text-messages where he asked various questions about whether it was possible to achieve this at all, how to do it, what was needed, and so on. The best quote was certainly:

Is ethernet the USB port or something else?

But enough tech snobbery for the moment. It transpires that his ancient machine doesn’t actually have built-in ethernet, thus a PCI ethernet card was required (it doesn’t have wifi either, and nor does Jilly’s iBook have an AirPort card anyway). To share the connection, I advised him to also get a cheap ethernet switch and a couple of cat5 cables. Simple enough, and shouldn’t cost more than around £40 for the lot these days, if even that.

Being a man who doesn’t like to be without a net connection for long, he drove to PC World here in Glasgow the same day (his flat is in Edinburgh, by the way), and asked the ‘advice’ of one of the ‘experts’ there. The verdict was that he in fact just needed the ethernet card and a cat5 cable, and that it would cost £90 (that’s $160). I mean, ninety fucking quid.

PC World salespeople: extravagantly unscrupulous or utterly clueless? Pick one.