Computer Advisor from
by John Waters


What to buy



Internet Access


PCMicro Store


If you are a first time buyer looking for information about what to buy, a long time user looking for upgrades, a personal user or a small business user, this site may be a lot of help to you.

I'll try to keep this information updated. I'll also accept questions that will be answered in the Q&A section.

If you do not find the information you need here, then consulting services are availabe for a fee of course.

Why all the banner ads and popups? BECAUSE THIS SITE IS FREE AND WE NEED TO COVER EXPENSES!! There. Now that we cleared that up, I expect no complaints without a check.

Everyone will have their own wants and needs. Computers are time savers when they work, but are horribly frustrating when they don't. Upgrades, failures, problems that defy reason ... the list goes on an on. There are billions and billions of combinations of hardware, software and user keystrokes. Any person or anything can cause a problem. It's impossible to test for each of those billions of potential instances during the design and testing of hardware and software.

So it may appear sometimes that even the vendors and computers experts are dumb. The reality is that many issues really were just not experienced yet. So even the most seasoned experts will find something new every day in this business. When the computer guy says, "Gee, we've never seen that", he's probably telling the truth.

There are hundreds of excellent sites that relate to specific computer hardware and software components. There are reviews and discussion groups and some really good user groups. Vendors have published a lot of details about their products, too. But, the big questions are always the simple ones. The ones that stop you from even getting started unless they are answered correctly.

So, my goal is to get you started by answering the simple questions that I get asked most frequently and then adding to the list with your emailed inquiries.

Why should you listen to me? Well, I've been working with computers for over 30 years. I started with key punch Fortan "load and go" systems and have since worked on and sold over $100 million worth of hardware and software and services. I've seen them all and touched most of them. I was a key player in the world's first 16 bit computer kit, the Heathkit H-11, published and sold software worldwide, owned my own computer stores, and have worked on all sorts of networked and wireless LANs and WANs. Now I do consulting for major corporations.

Computers are a necessary tool today. Whether we like it or not, you are one of the uninformed if you don't have availability to one with Internet access.

The challenge is that they are complex (in spite of what the vendors say) and they are constantly changing.

For example, I wonder how many people see the ads on TV and wonder why the heck anyone would want to burn a perfectly good CD. I think some people must have this image of a paper shredder and think that maybe it's used to destroy those bads things that people don't want others to see. The people in this business are very hung up on jargon and always assume that everyone knows what everything is!

I've searched the Internet for other sites that try and give advice about what to buy and they are terribly general and wishy-washy with no meat. I don't see how anyone can learn how to buy a system or upgrade from anything I've looked at. So, my goal is to help you out. I'll explain things as simply as I can.

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This article is copyrighted by John Waters.
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