By Harry McCracken
Some PCs are born crummy. Some achieve crumminess. And some have crumminess thrust upon them. Those are my conclusions after judging our Worst PC in America contest, in which we asked you to tell us about really rotten personal computers–with the lure of a snazzy HP Envy 13 laptop to be awarded to the most outstandingly awful entry. Herewith, some highlights lowlights, including both once-decent machines that have fallen upon hard times and some systems that were kind of terrible and/or just plain odd from the get go.
The bigger they are, the harder they fall
Yes, the worst PC in America is a Mac–the one belonging to Reynaldo Rivera, who won our contest and will be receiving the HP Envy 13. In 2006, when it was new, this MacBook Pro was arguably one of the best PCs in America. Now it’s missing its screen (and some keys), its trackpad and Superdrive don’t work, it has a mouse that’s held together with duct tape–and best of all, its video display is a 13-inch standard-definition TV, which it’s connected to using a vintage Curtis Mathes VCR as an intermediary. Oh, and the machine failed altogether while Reynaldo was preparing his entry. Did I mention he’s being using a well-worn copy of Dante’s Inferno as a mousepad?
Another headless wonder
I’d never even seen one laptop sans screen, but two showed up for this competition. Derek Powell’s Asus is in marginally better condition than the prize-winning MacBook Pro; it sort of works, once it gets through running CHKDSK. In this photo, it almost looks like it’s meant to be used this way–like a very, very low-profile desktop computer with a built-in keyboard.
[This post is excerpted with Harry’s permission from his Technologizer blog.]