Computers. They’re everywhere. Schools. Banks. Factories. Hospitals. The arts. Government. Space. Everywhere you look, computers have become an integral part of our daily lives.
Dan Gookin, author of ‘Buying a Computer for Dummies’ says, “Computers can help you communicate, they can help you create and they can help you be entertained. There are just a great number of wonderful things that a computer can do.”
Tired of being left out of the loop? Ready to start e-mailing and sharing your photos and videos with your friends and family in Mexico, Chile, El Salvador, Puerto Rico, and the rest of the world? Then it’s time to enter the digital universe and buy your very first computer.
But, riffling through the Sunday newspaper, searching online, or high-stepping it to the mall may overwhelm you with the hundreds of choices out there.
So, how do you make the right computer choice?
Let’s start from the beginning… what do you want your new computer to do?
“Why are you buying a computer? Do you want to go on the Internet? Do you want to play games? Maybe you want to write a book or just use e-mail,” says Gookin.
Once you’ve decided on the reasons you need a computer and what you’re going to use it for, it’s time to find the software that will help you do it. Software is the computer programs that run your computer. The brains behind the entire operation.
“You may be into photography and you may want to do digital photography, then you’re going to want a software program that will help you work with the pictures, edit the pictures, and do all kinds of fun stuff,” says Gookin.
Hardware is the actual physical part of the computer. The monitor. Hard-drive. Keyboard. Mouse. The parts you can touch with your hand. “When you know the software you need, the software will tell you what kind of hardware you need,” explains Gookin.
How to shop for a computer
Now, for the fun part. It’s time to hit the stores and shop for computers. Remember, shopping for a new computer is an important investment, and looking to save money on one may not be the right way to go.
Computer expert, Jose Ulloa says, “Cheaper is not necessarily the best. When you are buying a computer, think of it as a three to five year commitment. You want to be able to have the most advanced processor. You want to be able to have enough capacity and enough speed.”
So, what are your choices in the digital world? The two most popular types are the traditional desktop model and the portable laptop. But, you do have other alternatives.
Sean Flores, who helps customers at Best Buy says, “There’s also touch screen computers, which nowadays is coming up more and more. You’re able to write on the laptop directly with that technology. You also have palm computers; these are very popular because they’re small computers that you can fit in the palm of your hand.”
And, don’t worry if you don’t find the right computer on your first trip out. Finding that perfect fit takes time.
“The question is to shop and ask questions and see which one feels most comfortable to you,” suggests Ulloa. You should ask questions such as; What if my new computer breaks? What do I do if it crashes? What if one of my programs isn’t working properly? Or, what type of technical support comes with my new computer?
“You want someone to help you when something goes wrong. You can go into a big store where they sell refrigerators and TVs and everything but they may not have the help. If you go to another store that just sells computers, they maybe able to help you better or you maybe able to find someone who can help you on the phone,” suggests Gookin.
After you’ve done all the research, shopped every electronic store within a hundred miles of your home, and asked all the right questions over and over again, you’ve finally found the right computer for you. Purchasing it should be the easiest step, right?
“A lot of people, they’re afraid to buy the computer. They think, ‘May be I’ll wait a few weeks and it will go on sale.’ Don’t wait, buy it now, because the technology is constantly changing and it can be counterproductive to wait. While you’re sitting and waiting you are not doing anything,” says Gookin.
Now, buy that computer, plug it in and get ready for a whole new world.