Tuesday, January 23, 2007

“I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them.” ~ Isaac Asimov, 1920 - 1992

When I was a teenager, back in the dark ages before computers were common in almost every household, my Dad used to yell at me about spending too much time on the phone. Of course, my Dad's idea of too much time on the phone was defined as anything longer than three minutes. In my Dad's household, that was more than enough time to say what you needed to in between 'hello' and 'good-bye'.

These days, my problem isn't so much getting Amanda off the phone as it is getting Amanda off of the computer so that I can use it for the things that I need to do like pay the bills, read the local paper, and tap out some sort of drivel for your reading enjoyment! Until recently, having only one computer in the house was enough but upon sitting back to reassess the situation I grudgingly came to the conclusion that it's about time we became a two-computer household.

To that end, I have been researching computers for the past several days in anticipation of my tax return hitting the bank this Friday (at least that's what Turbo Tax led me to believe). I've looked at PCs, I've looked at laptops, I've looked at new computers, I've looked at refurbished computers. I've checked out Dell and Gateway, WalMart and Staples, TigerDirect.com and even eBay. All of that looking has brought me to the conclusion that I do not like computer shopping! All of the technological terms make my head spin and I still have no idea what I want to get.

My original thought was that I would see about upgrading my current ancient Compaq (circa 2002) but after talking to one of the more knowledgeable computer geeks at work (sorry Dan!), that doesn't seem like a very good idea. The beast is over five years old, one of the CD drives doesn't work, the sound system is danged near shot, and Compaq doesn't make it easy to upgrade their machines. For what it would cost me to bring it up to where it needs to be, I might as well just spring for a new system and start over with a clean slate.

So - it looks like I'm going to have to buy a whole new PC and along with that I'm leaning towards getting myself a laptop as I'm tired of having to tell Amanda "I need the computer in about an hour" and still can't get her off the thing as suddenly she's got a school project due or she's right in the middle of creating her latest AMV. Having only one computer makes having only one bathroom seem like a real walk in the park around here!

This isn't something that I want to jump into lightly either. Computers are a big purchase as far as I'm concerned. It's kind of like buying a new car because as soon as you get it home it's depreciated tremendously in value due to the fact that someone just came up with six more "new and improved" versions in the time it took you to unpack the new system and set it up at your desk. Before you can say
"Intel Core Duo Processor" someone has invented a faster processor that makes the one you just got look slower than molasses going uphill backwards on a January day in Bismarck, North Dakota!

But I've got to do something soon as the squirrels in my Compaq are starting to wear out and pretty soon it's going to take ten minutes to log on rather than the five it's taking now. Still, I don't want to spend more than I need to as there are other needs that my tax return has to address before it's only a faded memory.

So let me appeal to all you computer savvy types out there ... Advice? ... Suggestions? ... Someone? ... Anyone?

1 comment:

  1. Other than not being particularly computer savvy, I am qualified to respond....

    My first computer was an XT clone, with a 20MB hard drive and a monochrome monitor. A friend who worked with computers told me I was nuts to get such a "huge" hard drive. "It's like buying a warehouse to hang up a suit of clothes," he told me.

    And I recount this story, to his immense discomfort, at every opportunity. Like now, for instance.

    Flash forward nearly 20 years: Get the biggest hard drive, most memory, and best video card you can afford. You may want to wait a little longer until the new Vista system is out and running for awhile -- it's getting good reviews but the article I read just this morning said that upgrading to Vista would be a typically frustrating Microsoft experience. Get it preinstalled on your new laptop... and I'm thinking you don't be the first kid on your block to get Vista.


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