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New computer in your future?

Posted Monday, November 28, 2011, at 12:53 PM

It's that time again. The time of year when we justify to ourselves some "worthwhile" purchase for some special person (often ourselves) solely because it's Christmas!

Maybe it is because I spend too much time at our son Nathan's business, Computer Central in Brazil, but as the Christmas shopping season gets going I am very aware of the current promotions for new cut-rate computers. So, giving or receiving, is a new 'puter in your future?

Other than the time of year, there are a lot of excuses (sorry, reasons) for considering such a purchase:

Reason 1 -- If you bought yours more than seven years ago, it's out of date. Sorry about that. The unfathomable software gods decided about that time all hardware would have to keep up with the ever-evolving and never-ending things for which computers could be put to use.

Reason 2 -- It ain't what it used to be (what is)? Maybe it can be fixed, or maybe it's really not worth putting any more money into. Know the difference. A thought-through choice (and not Christmas wish) is called for here.

Reason 3 -- The kids or grandkids monopolize the available computer so much that the only way to keep them from "improving" yours is to get them theirs.

Reason 4 -- you're ready to go high-tech and use your PC for all those TV, movie, and on-line games easily available; but don't have what you need. (Before you put out any real cash-money on this sort of thing come to Computer Central and see a free demo of this kind of usage.)

Whatever your excuse (sorry, reason) for considering a new PC, let me give you the advice this non-geek gives to any co-computer-ignorant folks wandering into Computer Central.

Don't buy price. As 19th century merchant John Ruskin famously said, "There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price alone are this man's lawful prey." Nathan can tell when last year's lowest-bidder on a chain store special is about out of warranty, they start showing up for expensive repairs.

If it's a gift for a student, pick the price you'll pay and let them pick the product you purchase. More than once have I seen gifted computers returned because they didn't fit the need of the receiver. Not only do these kids know more about the darn things than we old folk, they do know what they need. Keep in mind, though, that they may not understand that limited money thing unless you explain it.

Before you shop, or even pick up a flyer, know the answer to three questions:

What are you going to do -- Solitaire or Solar Research?

How fast do you have to do it -- e-mail or play Mad Warrior against an opponent in China?

How much money you got -- would after-Christmas sales justify your "reasons"?

New 'puter in your future? Stop by Computer Central for a free PC Buyers Guide and some non-geek talk with this co-computer-ignorant blogger.

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My view from the back pew
David L. Lewis
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