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11 July, 2005
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BlueHippo: A No-Credit, No-Problem, Computer System Rip-Off

Blue Hippo Bandito by Aric S. Campling

The five and dime store el-cheapos still are using older style 32-bit CPUs and IDE hard drives. They are selling you the end of the old line of now outdated hardware.

With Pogo, you get the latest, publicly available, yet well-tested, technology . . . and Pogo customer service and technical support are as good as it gets.

Mike Angelo -- 11 July 2005 (C) -- Page 3

Article Index

Note: The actual BlueHippo, $299, and $469 systems might vary some from the specs we have listed here.

One reason is that these are promotional systems and the actual composition of such systems changes frequently. Another reason is the vendors of such systems often have additional promotions they throw into the mix that frequently vary too. We did not include any of these additional promotions that might apply to these three systems.

Additionally and particularly in BlueHippo's case, the vendors do not give the complete specs for their systems. For example, BlueHippo does not list which Intel processor such as Pentium or Celeron comes with its system.

In contrast if you want to see how a computer system and its custom options ought to be spec-ed, check the Pogo links in the Resources section below.

Note: there is a comparable Pogo Linux product to the Altura64. It's the Pogo Linux Altura939 Workstation -- also for a base price of $999 without a monitor. We have not tested the Altura939 Workstation.

Note: During the layout stage of this article one of the people reviewing it noted two things.

First, Gateway lists BlueHippo Funding as a "Gateway authorized reseller partner". We sent two e-mails to the Gateway public relations people during development of this story about this story. They did not reply to either e-mail. Additionally, Gateway was afforded an opportunity to explain its partner relationship with BlueHippo and has refused to do so.

Second, there is an interesting posting on a consumer forum, My3cents.com, about BlueHippo funding. This posting, BlueHippo Funding LLC Informative, labels the BlueHippo Funding computer deal as a scam. Link in the Resources section at the end of this article.

The System We Recommend -- The Pogo Altura64 Workstation

That said, there is a system that we have tested extensively and that we do recommend very highly. It is the Pogo Linux Altura64 Workstation. We like it so much that we named it a MozillaQuest Magazine Editor's Choice in December 2004.

The Pogo Altura64 is an excellent PC. It uses the AMD Athlon64 processor, a 64-bit CPU. Our Altura64 has an AMD Athlon64 3000+ microprocessor, ASUS K8V SE Deluxe motherboard, 512-MB RAM, Nvidia GeForce FX 5200 video adapter, 120-GB Western Digital serial ATA (SATA) hard drive, Teac CD-RW/DVD drive, Intel Pro 10/100/1000 Ethernet Adapter, and more.

It works great and is a real workhorse. The Pogo Altura64 is an excellent machine.

Our Pogo Altura64 Workstation came with 64-bit SUSE Linux Professional 9.0 pre-installed. Since the Pogo Linux Altura64 arrived at our lab, we have added a second hard drive, 64-bit SUSE 9.1, several editions of Mandrake Linux, and 64-bit Fedora Core to what now is a multi-boot, Linux computer.

One thing the Pogo Linux Altura64 Workstation is not is an el-cheapo, five and dime store toy such as the three systems mentioned above. Rather than the typical, mass-merchandiser 32-bit, 2-GHz CPU, the Pogo Linux Altura64 Workstation comes with a high-speed 64-bit processor. And rather than the el-cheapo 20-40 GB old-style IDE hard drive, the Pogo Linux Altura64 Workstation comes with a 120-GB serial ATA hard drive -- serial ATA is the new standard in PC hard drives.

The five and dime store el-cheapos still are using older style 32-bit CPUs and IDE hard drives. They are selling you the end of the old line of now outdated hardware. With Pogo, you get the latest, publicly available, yet well-tested, technology.

Of course you are going to pay more for a quality Pogo Altura64 than for the mass-market el-cheapos. The Pogo Linux Altura64 Workstations start at $999 for the standard configuration without a monitor. But they are well worth the price. The hardware Pogo uses is top quality and Pogo customer service and technical support are as good as it gets.

Although the $999 Pogo Linux Altura64 Workstation price does not include a monitor you can pick up a 17" CRT color monitor almost anywhere these days for $150 to $200 or less -- or a 15" LCD color monitor for the same $150 to $200. Thus a great top quality computer system such as the Pogo Linux Altura64 Workstation at $999 plus $200 for a color monitor comes to about $1200. And that, reader, is still about $700 less than the total, final cost of the nearly $2,000 BlueHippo, el cheapo, ripoff!

For more information about the Pogo Linux Altura64 Workstation please see our articles, Pogo Linux Altura64 Workstation Is a MozillaQuest Magazine Editor's Choice and The Mettle of Pogo Linux: Mike Angelo discusses Pogo Linux Computers with CEO Tim Lee and Pogo Linux Engineer Jesse Keating.

To see more about the power of Linux and also the power of the Pogo Linux Altura64 Workstation in action, please see our two part series, The Linux (Multiple) Virtual Desktops Unleashed -- Part I: Overview and Part 2: Tutorial.

None of the under $500 systems listed above come with Linux. On the other hand Pogo offers both Linux and Windows systems or dual-boot systems with both Linux and Windows pre-installed. We recommend several Linux distributions including Mandrake (now Mandriva) Linux and SUSE Linux. We do not recommend the Microsoft Windows operating system.

Simply put, Linux is less expensive, more stable, and has more and better software included with the OS distribution than does MS Windows. For as little as $39 you can have a complete Linux OS and software package with which you can do just about anything you need to do -- including office productivity tasks. Moreover, Linux generally is more secure and provides better protection against Identity Theft, Credit/Debit Card Theft, and Personal Information Theft than does MS Windows.

Article Index


Here are some books that deal specifically with computer systems and computer hardware buying, fixing, and upgrading issues.

Most of the Linux books listed below these books also have chapters or sections of chapters that deal with computer hardware buying, fixing, and upgrading too. The Linux books also will help to show you why GNU-Linux is a better operating system than M.S. Windows. And they describe and help you to use much of the free software that comes with most Linux distributions.

Most of the book links lead you to Web pages about the books that also there have links to things such as Tables of Contents and sample chapters. The sample chapters are free and well worth reading.

  • The definitive computer hardware book:

Upgrading and Repairing PCs, 16th Edition, Scott Mueller, Que, ISBN: 0789731738. $60

  • Computer systems and computer hardware buying, fixing, and upgrading books:

Absolute Beginner's Guide to Upgrading and Fixing Your PC, By Michael Miller, Que, ISBN: 0789730456. $19.

How Computers Work, 7th Edition, By Ron White, Timothy Downs, Que, ISBN: 0789730332. $30.

Maximum PC Guide to Extreme PC Mods, By Paul Capello, Jon Phillips, Que, ISBN: 0789731924. $30.

Maximum PC Guide to Building a Dream PC, By Will Smith. Que, ISBN: 0789731932. $30.

Maximum PC Ultimate Performance Guide, Maximum PC, Que, ISBN: 078973317X. $30.

  • Some Interesting Linux Books

Acing the LINUX+ Certification Exam, Patrick Regan, Pearson Prentice Hall, ISBN: 0131121553. $88

Beginning Linux Programming, 3rd Edition, Matthew and Stones, (Foreword by Alan Cox), Wiley. ISBN: 0-7645-4497-7. $40

Building Applications with the Linux Standard Base, Linux Standard Base Team, Pearson Prentice Hall, ISBN: 0-13-145695-4

Building Clustered Linux Systems, By Robert Lucke, Pearson Prentice Hall, ISBN: 0-13-144853-6. $50

Novell Certified Linux Engineer (Novell CLE) Study Guide, Robb Tracy, Novell Press, ISBN: 0789732033. $60

Expanding Choice: Moving to Linux and Open Source with Novell Open Enterprise Server, Jason Williams/Peter Clegg/Emmett Dulaney, Novell Press, ISBN: 0-672-32722-8. $30

Fedora 4 Linux All in One, By Aron Hsiao, Sams, ISBN: 0672327074. $40.

Fedora 4 Unleashed, By Paul Hudson, Andrew Hudson, Bill Ball, Hoyt Duff, Sams, ISBN: 0672327929. $50.

Knoppix Hacks - 100 Industrial-Strength Tips & Tools, By Kyle Rankin, O'Reilly, ISBN: 0-596-00787-6. $30

Linux Bible, 2005 Edition, Christopher Negus, Wiley, ISBN: 0-7645-7949-5. $40

Linux Desktop Garage, By Susan Matteson, Pearson Prentice Hall, ISBN: 0-13-149419-8. $30

Linux Desktop Hacks - Tips & Tools for Customizing and Optimizing your OS, By Nicholas Petreley, Jono Bacon, O'Reilly, ISBN: 0-596-00911-9. $50

Linux in a Nuthsell, 4th Ed., Siever, Figgins, and Weber, O'Reilly, ISBN: 0-596-00482-6. $40

Linux Kernel Development, 2nd Ed., Robert Love, Novell Press., ISBN: 0672327201. $45

Linux Network Architecture, By Wehrle, Pahlke, Ritter, Muller, and Bechler, Pearson Prentice Hall, ISBN: 0131777203. $50

Linux Programming by Example: The Fundamentals, Arnold Robbins, , Prentice Hall PTR, ISBN: 0131429647. $40

The Linux Process Manager: The internals of scheduling, interrupts and signals, By John O'Gorman, Wiley, ISBN: 0-470-84771-9. $35

Linux Quick Fix Notebook, By Peter Harrison, Pearson Prentice Hall, ISBN: 0131861506. $40

Linux Troubleshooting Bible, Christopher Negus, Thomas Weeks, Wiley, ISBN: 0-7645-6997-X. $30

Mandrakelinux Discovery 10.1 - Your First Linux Desktop, By Mandrakesoft, Mandrakesoft, ISBN: 2-84798-085-7. $64

Mandrakelinux PowerPack 10.1 - The Full Power of Linux Desktop, By Mandrakesoft, Mandrakesoft, ISBN: 2-84798-086-5. $87

Official Fedora Companion, Nick Petreley, Wiley, ISBN: 0-7645-5836-6. $20

Operating Systems, 3rd Edition, Deitel, Deitel, and David, Pearson Prentice Hall, ISBN: 0131828274. $103

Optimizing Linux Performance: A Hands-on Guide to Linux Performance Tools, By Phillip Ezolt, Pearson Prentice Hall, ISBN: 0131486829. $50

Point & Click Linux!, By Robin Miller, Pearson Prentice Hall, ISBN: 0131488724. $30

Principles of Network and System Administration, 2nd Edition, Mark Burgess, Wiley, ISBN: 0-470-86807-4. $50

Running Linux, 4th Ed., Welsh, Dalheimer, Dawson, and Kaufman, O'Reilly, ISBN, 0-596-00272-6. $45

SUSE Linux 9 Bible, Justin Davies, Roger Whittaker, William von Hagen, Wiley, ISBN: 0-7645-7739-5. $40

Understanding the Linux Kernel, 2nd Edition, Daniel P. Bovet and Marco Cesati, O'Reilly, ISBN: 0-596-00213-0. $50

Understanding the Linux Virtual Memory Manager, Mel Gorman, Prentice Hall PTR, ISBN: 0131453483. $60

UNIX Shells by Example, 4th Edition, By Ellie Quigley, Pearson Prentice Hall, ISBN: 013147572X. $50



BlueHippo Funding LLC Informative

Pogo Linux Altura64 Workstation

Pogo Linux Altura939 Workstation

WordPerfect Office 12 Home Edition

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