Computer Advisor from USARING.com
by John Waters

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What should you buy?

Do you build or buy a complete package?
What kind of processor should you use?
What kind of video, CD, hard drive, sound card, USB ?
What works best for business software ?
How do I connect to the Internet?
How do I learn how to work all this stuff!
.... and so on and so on.
 
Unless someone created a shopping list of features to meet a specific need, you will soon find that buying a computer can be quite confusing. More so than several years ago when there were fewer choices.

I remember seeing the same faces in my computer stores day after day, week after week. I'd ask them, "Why haven't you purchased anything yet? We've been showing you machines for months now. What are you waiting for? We'll put a nice system together for you and give you a great price right now!" Suprisingly, the answer was that they were afraid to make the decision because things changed so quickly. There was a fear that the equipment they would bring home would be old too soon, or that they were not informed enough to get the right thing and it wouldn't do what they wanted.

As far as I know, some of those folks are still looking!

A computer can be used for a multitude of tasks. So can a car or an airplane or a power tool. You need to know what TASK you want to accomplish to get the right tools, the right type of car, etc. You are not making a good buying decision if you purchase a souped up video gaming machine to do bookeeping.

"BUT!!!, " you say, "I don't know what things I can really do with a computer!"

Well, there are going to be those of you with different needs and wants. Covering them all here will be a task of it's own, but something we can try and accomplish.


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First, we shall deal with those of you that KNOW what tasks you want to accomplish, then we'll address those of you that want to "get into computers" but are not sure what to use them for.

If you know why you want one, then you should have an idea about what type of software you want to use. Note that we are talking about software first. Why? Because software is what you actually interface with. Regardless of which computer you buy, it's the software that will be the most important decision. Most people get frustrated not with their hardware, but with the improper mix of application software.

Make a firm list of tasks you want to do first. Then find software to do those tasks. Then find hardware to run the applications on.

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So let's discuss software operating systems and software applications first.

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This article is copyrighted by John Waters.
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