January 2015 – Purchasing a computer

Purchasing a Computer

(Originally written in March 2012).  Purchasing a new computer can be frustrating and fearful -it should be fun though and can be.  Deciding whether you’ll purchase another Windows computer or switch to Apple needs some thought unless you’re in a position where you’re just looking for a way to browse the internet and check email on an absolutlely beautiful system  Now you have to decide if you’re going with a tablet computer, an iPad or just using your phone!

Fearful because you think you may be purchasing the wrong thing and at the wrong time.  Frustrating because you spend a great deal of time looking for the best deal and attempting to transport your computer to your home or office.

Our office

We have Windows 7 Pro, Windows 8.1, Mac OS (desktop and laptop), iPads and iPhones represented in our office.  We use laptops and desktops depending on what we are doing.  Web site development or email from a laptop can be very handy.  We use our iPads all over the house and in our kitchen area.  We use for weather, news and as a dictionary when we have disputes over the meaning of a word.

The Basics of your computer purchase

In short, you need to determine what you want, the items that are important (i.e., speed, storage, monitor size, etc), your budget, determine if you want a laptop or desktop.  If you’re going with Windows or Mac, figure out if you are doing the setup yourself, shop to find the best price and service and then make the purchase.

Purchase a Laptop or Desktop?

Choosing a laptop or a Desktop depends on what you want to do.  Are you moving around and need to check email and internet sites?  Then it’s obvious that you need a laptop — or is it?  Smartphones and the iPad are helping people move around now without having to carry their laptop with them.
Do you like having a larger screen when you’re going to be working for an extended period?  You can indeed connect a monitor to most laptops.  Thus, we’re still not clear on whether we need a laptop or desktop.

Windows or Mac?

Really folks, it depends.  We are trained in computer science and just stepped into the Mac arena three years ago.  We must admit that using a Mac is quite pleasant.  There are annoying parts of the software from time-to-time, but overall we are pleased.  A big plus to a Mac is how well it operates with an iPhone, iPod and iPad.  Also worth mentioning is the ease of processing photos and then saving them to process in an email or otherwise.  Very nice.

If you’re considering a Mac and have been a Windows user, it pays to determine the true cost of conversion and the learning curve that you will experience.  Are you tolerant to change and also tolerant to learning new things?

There may be additional software purchases since you can not simply install the Windows version of Microsoft Office onto your Mac (they are different).  You may also find other pieces that you have to purchase and it pays for you to spend the time figuring that out (i.e., Quickbooks for example).

There are nice emulation packages (VMWare — but be wary of any time they offer discounts or rebates as they fight to avoid paying them) which can allow you to have Windows run on your Mac.  It doesn’t take over the Mac but only runs Windows in a program window.  This would allow you to perform activities in a Windows environment like you’ve been doing — thus eliminating the need to purchase other software.  This ’emulation’ assumes that you also have a copy of Windows to install (the CD/DVDs).

What we’ve seen so far

When our clients throw out the psychology of ‘instant gratification’, take the time to think about the purchase and shop with various vendors for pricing, they are happy with their purchase.  Our clients that are open to change do well switching from a Windows system to a Mac.  Those who take the time to examine everything they are doing on the ‘old’ computer (the one they are replacing) and determine how to do that on the new computer do exceptionally well.

To consider as you get ready to purchase

Budget – it’s important to decide how much you want to spend on your computer.  Once you shop, you’ll be able to determine a general budget amount.  You’ll want input from your technical support person to ensure you are not excluding important parts or services (i.e., do not exclude the cost of your technical support person if you use one).  Again, ensure you know every cost so that you are not surprised.

How long you’ll be using the system – if you’re looking for a system that will make it through a year or so, you may have success purchasing a system from a local store or local vendor.  If you’re looking for a longer timeline, ensure you plan for this.

Support of the product you are purchasing – if the system were to having operational issues (aka, quit working), how quickly do you need to have it working again?  The support plan is critical to understand so that you are not surprised.

😉

January 2015 – Purchasing a computer

Purchasing a Computer

(Originally written in March 2012).  Purchasing a new computer can be frustrating and fearful -it should be fun though and can be.  Deciding whether you’ll purchase another Windows computer or switch to Apple needs some thought unless you’re in a position where you’re just looking for a way to browse the internet and check email on an absolutlely beautiful system  Now you have to decide if you’re going with a tablet computer, an iPad or just using your phone!

Fearful because you think you may be purchasing the wrong thing and at the wrong time.  Frustrating because you spend a great deal of time looking for the best deal and attempting to transport your computer to your home or office.

Our office

We have Windows 7 Pro, Windows 8.1, Mac OS (desktop and laptop), iPads and iPhones represented in our office.  We use laptops and desktops depending on what we are doing.  Web site development or email from a laptop can be very handy.  We use our iPads all over the house and in our kitchen area.  We use for weather, news and as a dictionary when we have disputes over the meaning of a word.

The Basics of your computer purchase

In short, you need to determine what you want, the items that are important (i.e., speed, storage, monitor size, etc), your budget, determine if you want a laptop or desktop.  If you’re going with Windows or Mac, figure out if you are doing the setup yourself, shop to find the best price and service and then make the purchase.

Purchase a Laptop or Desktop?

Choosing a laptop or a Desktop depends on what you want to do.  Are you moving around and need to check email and internet sites?  Then it’s obvious that you need a laptop — or is it?  Smartphones and the iPad are helping people move around now without having to carry their laptop with them.
Do you like having a larger screen when you’re going to be working for an extended period?  You can indeed connect a monitor to most laptops.  Thus, we’re still not clear on whether we need a laptop or desktop.

Windows or Mac?

Really folks, it depends.  We are trained in computer science and just stepped into the Mac arena three years ago.  We must admit that using a Mac is quite pleasant.  There are annoying parts of the software from time-to-time, but overall we are pleased.  A big plus to a Mac is how well it operates with an iPhone, iPod and iPad.  Also worth mentioning is the ease of processing photos and then saving them to process in an email or otherwise.  Very nice.

If you’re considering a Mac and have been a Windows user, it pays to determine the true cost of conversion and the learning curve that you will experience.  Are you tolerant to change and also tolerant to learning new things?

There may be additional software purchases since you can not simply install the Windows version of Microsoft Office onto your Mac (they are different).  You may also find other pieces that you have to purchase and it pays for you to spend the time figuring that out (i.e., Quickbooks for example).

There are nice emulation packages (VMWare — but be wary of any time they offer discounts or rebates as they fight to avoid paying them) which can allow you to have Windows run on your Mac.  It doesn’t take over the Mac but only runs Windows in a program window.  This would allow you to perform activities in a Windows environment like you’ve been doing — thus eliminating the need to purchase other software.  This ’emulation’ assumes that you also have a copy of Windows to install (the CD/DVDs).

What we’ve seen so far

When our clients throw out the psychology of ‘instant gratification’, take the time to think about the purchase and shop with various vendors for pricing, they are happy with their purchase.  Our clients that are open to change do well switching from a Windows system to a Mac.  Those who take the time to examine everything they are doing on the ‘old’ computer (the one they are replacing) and determine how to do that on the new computer do exceptionally well.

To consider as you get ready to purchase

Budget – it’s important to decide how much you want to spend on your computer.  Once you shop, you’ll be able to determine a general budget amount.  You’ll want input from your technical support person to ensure you are not excluding important parts or services (i.e., do not exclude the cost of your technical support person if you use one).  Again, ensure you know every cost so that you are not surprised.

How long you’ll be using the system – if you’re looking for a system that will make it through a year or so, you may have success purchasing a system from a local store or local vendor.  If you’re looking for a longer timeline, ensure you plan for this.

Support of the product you are purchasing – if the system were to having operational issues (aka, quit working), how quickly do you need to have it working again?  The support plan is critical to understand so that you are not surprised.

😉

Nov 2011 – Buying a Computer

Purchasing a computer – A road frequently travelled

Sometimes it’s best to take the approach ‘out with the old and in with the new!’.  Not always — especially if it’s less expensive to simply repair your computer.  Surprisingly it can sometimes be less expensive to purchase a new system than to repair and aged one.

There are so many reasons to purchase a new computer.  There are many reasons to repair a computer.  Many times, the situation is forced upon you due to a horrible virus or something less intrusive — like dropping your laptop off the kitchen counter.  The guys authoring viruses these days are tough.  They destroy the system to the point where it costs less to simply purchase a new system.

Whatever the reason, we talk to clients often about how to make the best decision when considering the options for a purchase.

Mac? Thin and lightweight? Dell? HP? Costco? Office Depot?  The local computer shack?

Dell computer - Support and Repair - Vail Colorado

Retiree on the left and replacement on the right

In the end, it seems a matter of finance that helps the client make the decision.  Also, some clients prefer to purchase at one place or another.  Many just hate certain vendors and love others.

Understanding the full breadth of the issue at hand though is where we find people going down the ‘road frequently travelled’.  This may not, however,be the best road mind you.

We happen to operate in a mountain community in Colorado.  In our area there are all manner of options for purchasing a computer.  Wal-Mart, Office Depot, Costco and local computer shacks are present.

The questions and areas of consideration are plentiful.  Consider these (and this list is not inclusive):

  • How much time are you going to spend shopping in a store for your system.
  • How much effort are you going to expend dealing with a local shack that may not last another year — longevity does matter you know.
  • How is the system supported after the purchase?
  • How long does the warranty last?
  • What is the track record of the company where you are purchasing your computer?
  • If you have an issue, how do you obtain repair service?  Mail the system to the vendor?
So far, our best option for purchase, repair, warranty and support has been with Dell.  Yes, many of our pupils dislike the behemoth, for whatever reason, but we must say that the overall system just works.  Why?

What are the reasons Dell is such a compelling argument?

  • Dell has computer systems that work well — as good as any other vendor.  The product lines, generally speaking, work well.
  • Dell has phenomenal warranty support and repair.  We’ve seen all manner of parts replaced without issue.
  • They have field technicians that will come to your house to repair your computer — providing you keep your warranty intact.  Keep in mind though, this is for issues with PARTS, not software.  Virus corruption and otherwise is your issue to deal with.
  • Their support systems — those that help your computer person — are simply incredible.  The online support through chat and otherwise is second to none.  Support for systems that are 10 years old (through driver availability) is simply fantastic.
Have we tried other systems?

Of course!  We actively use an iMac and a Macbook for site development, blogging and other manner of creative endeavors.  We have HP and Nobilis systems in our pile of trash computers too that are almost impossible to support.  Our Dell systems just keep purring providing we have ample ventilation and manage the systems (software updates, backups, etc).

It’s ultimately up to you!

In the end, it’s your decision.  Many computer support businesses love that it is overly difficult to support a system because they make more money in the end.  We are of the opinion that it is simply NO FUN (and fun is part of our business model) to inform a client that we are adding 2 hours of labor to a system recovery simply to locate system software and parts.  They hate that information and so do we.

We are happy to consult with you on any purchase because we simply want your computers to operate as well as ours do.