Computers: money and speed

before you buy...


money and speed

I know, I left out sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll, not to mention chocolate - I asked you not to mention that - but you can't have everything all at once. Sad, really ;-)


how much and how fast

What sort of computer do I need?

What's all this about megabytes, megahertz, cache size, 24X, bps,
(insert technobabble of your choice)

[see glossary (part 3): technobabble]
and how do I get a good deal?

Well, how do you normally go about deciding what to buy and how much to spend?

Let's say you are going to buy a used car. Your decision is affected by:


I need it now

Don't be rushed into anything.

A computer is very useful, but it's not life support.

You can take time to think, look around, ask friends and experienced computer people.

You can try computers out at other people's places, at libraries, at schools or TAFE.

You can also lease a computer for an agreed period, rent it to try it out.

You could try out different models, and bits and pieces that go with them (peripherals).

Nobody can make you buy anything

(practise this with your kids ;-)

and you can take your own time deciding.


it has to be able to do everything

Computers, and the basic ways they are made, are changing so fast that even if you walk out of the shop with 'the latest and greatest, all the features imaginable' (insert large price tag), your computer was out of date before it left the factory.

There have been 'wearable computers', with a Heads Up Display (HUD) like a fighter jet, electrodes attached to your body, and a tiny keyboard on which you use several fingers at once (chorded keyboard) as you walk down the street, in use for five years.

Let's be realistic.

Unless you live and breathe computers (with the electrodes, quite possible!), have a lot of training and the determination to spend all your time working on them and learning highly complex information, a computer is just another tool in your life.

Let's leave what my husband calls 'the bleeding edge' of computing to the experts.

We want computers to make our lives easier!


so what do I want?

It all depends on you.

Because of the rate of change in computers, they lose their value very quickly.

You get an excellent deal picking up a second-hand computer that mightn't do 'everything', but does what you want.

For example, a friend of mine recently bought an Apple Mac Classic and printer from a school which was upgrading.
Classics are ancient in computer terms.
Produced from 1990 to 1992!
You can pick them up, or an IBM compatible of similar age, for virtually nothing.

The 'old' Classic works fine.
It's small and handy, has a good keyboard and mouse.
It will run educational and simply fun games for kids, word processing programs which will transfer fine between machines, the same for spreadsheet for accounting, and database for keeping records.
My friend and her kids can print out letters, stories and posters.


working out what you really need

If you want a colour monitor, you pay a bit more.

Many IBM-compatible computers came without 'sound cards' and some people are still quite happy to do without the bleeps and boinngs of computer games.

All the developments in personal computers in the last few years have added 'features' (things some people want), and of course complexity and price $$$.


Why so much change in personal computing?

It's all got to do with pictures...


next article: Pictures rule

back to 'Look Here First'

made with a Macintosh