Serving Your Computer Needs for Over 15 Years

 

   

 

 

 

Some Tips for Selecting a Computer that meets YOUR Needs...

FIRST Determine Your Budget & What You Want A Computer to Do for You   Computers are like most other technologically advanced products – there’s ALWAYS a bigger-faster-better-usually cheaper whatever on the horizon. Before you get immersed to your eyeballs with hardware specifications, put some thought into what you will be using the computer for… Do you just want something to write letters, play a few games and email your family with? Do you need a computer that will generate graphics such as business cards or pamphlets? Or do you need to perform more complicated CAD (Computer Aided Design) or video editing work? In computers, as all tangible goods, by and large you get what you pay for. So determine what your budget is FIRST, and then buy the most technology you can to that limit.

Learn A Little Computer-ese or Find a Translator!    I know, I know…you don’t want to have to become a computer expert in order to buy one. But computers are like any major financial investment: whatever you can do to inform yourself is to your advantage. Knowing a gigabyte from a megahertz can be of tremendous help in wading through the maze of features different systems offer. There’s a wealth of information out there now for the computer novice. You can look for magazine articles, newspaper features, and don’t overlook the books and videos geared toward computers. In addition, many community colleges, libraries and community education departments will offer beginning computer courses for even the most inexperienced of computer users. If you don’t know that kind of thing and don’t want to learn, consider hauling someone along who DOES to help you wade through the tough stuff.

Ask Around!    Remember as you solicit opinions from others that what they tell you will be based on their particular experiences and biases, and the less you know the more dependent you will be on their take on things. At some level, computer preference can be a lot like whether you’re a ‘Chevy’ or a ‘Ford’ truck person. That being said, it can still be useful to find out what the experiences have been of those you trust, especially if their situation at the time they became computer owners is similar to yours. Although the information you will get may usually be subjective, there is also the possibility that you can gain from their experience and avoid at least some of the pitfalls buying a computer can present.

Check Out the Company Making Your Computer    One of the best ways to select your computer source is to be referred to the company by other satisfied customers. If you are not fortunate enough to have this sort of connection, then a little detective work is to your advantage. Computer companies come and go at a furious pace, so find out how long they have been in business (anything less than 5 years can be risky) and anything else you can about the sales and service they provide. Comparison shop not just by dollars and cents, but in terms of over-all value; i.e., how convenient are they to get to, what does the warranty cover, how long would repairs take, are the staff knowledgeable and courteous, and the like.

Find Out About What Happens AFTER You Buy    In keeping with checking the company out, think about what your needs AFTER the hardware sale are going to be. Most companies offer a standard 1 year for hardware only and will (either directly or indirectly) charge you for on-site or extended warranty work. If you (or someone who you have free access to) are comfortable with the basics of setting up and maintaining computer software and peripherals, you can look for the best deal anywhere you find it: that would include direct mail and the internet as well as local sources. But in deciding whether you are superstore or mom n’ pop material, consider what you don’t know about computers. If you’re fuzzy on exactly what the difference is between hardware and software, you’re probably going to need more training and support than the average 800 number can provide. Think of your computer the way you would your car: driving it off the showroom floor is just the first step in terms of use and maintenance. Computers have the equivalent to oil, brake jobs, roadside emergencies…are you going to feel comfortable handling that yourself or do you feel you would need a more hands-on approach? And remember that software and peripheral management are not included on any computer warranty. You’re either going to have handle that yourself or find someone else to do it, usually to the tune of $50 and up an hour.

Compare Pricing & Features    Remember that just because it’s a computer doesn’t mean it’s a well-made computer. While prices on computers and other technology do certainly continue to drop over time, the old adage of ‘If it seems to good to be true…’ definitely applies. There’s a huge range in price and quality of the hardware used to assemble a computer system, so here’s another area where you need to either acquaint yourself with things like the brand names of good hardware components or consult with someone you trust. If you’re not comfortable and knowledgeable enough to go it alone, make sure to enlist assistance in your comparison shopping.

Don’t Forget About Software & Peripherals    Many people who have never been personally responsible for computer purchases or equipment are shocked to find out the amount of time, effort and money that computer software and peripherals can take. While we are getting closer to the point that an end-user can just plug stuff in and go, by and large the computer learning curve is steepest in this area. Loading and using new software programs can be very time consuming if you’re not familiar with the turf. And while such technologically advanced notions as video conferencing, scanning or printing your own letterhead can be appealing, setting up those peripherals and trouble-shooting once installed is again either going to have to be done by you or someone you pay to do it. Don’t forget to budget for these things as well.

Enjoy and Explore! If you’re willing to bite the technological bullet and educate yourself about your computer investment, you will probably be tremendously pleased at what you can learn to do. Gone are the days when only computer nerds could figure out how to design a web page, create a form or generate a business card. Now you can do it too! With the advent of Windows ’95 and ’98, there has never been a better time for a new-comer to explore the bounds of creativity, efficiency and learning that are at your disposal in the office, the home and the worldwide web through your computer.  Enjoy!          Deb Hunter, World Computer  9/98

Addendum 2006:  It's just amazing that as technology zips forward all around us, the basic advice offered above is the same today as it was in 1998!

With a number of years of Windows XP behind us and new operating systems on the horizon, we now have even more options for connecting to the outside world and each other for education, fun and work efficiency.

World Computer is still busy making sure that our customers have a quality option when considering their computer needs, and have expanded our services to include in-home training to respond to the increasing need of individual end-users.

Addendum 2011:  Wow, Ditto!