tooling around: does not compute

Raise your hand if you use a computer.

Now raise your hand if you breathe.

Well, now that we’ve established that, you guys are never going to believe what I am about to tell you. I have been doing all of my business-related computer stuff on a machine that is more than ten years old. Are you just dying?

Oh my gosh, that baby was a behemoth! And she was loud, really hot, and slow. But she worked (and still would if my husband hadn’t already harvested all of her still-usable parts). She just didn’t work really well, so, when the opportunity presented itself, I got a new one.

Now, keep in mind my computer was TEN YEARS OLD, so I would be satisfied with anything that was nine years old or younger. I understand if heavy computer users need to walk away now. I am not particularly tech savvy (obviously), so I really wouldn’t know the latest and greatest from the premium machines of 2006. So I sat down with my tech guy husband and we made a list of what I wanted:

  • small
  • quiet
  • cool (temp-wise.  See above regarding my ability to judge the bad-assitude of technology)
  • graphics good enough to let me edit photos and logos
  • portable
  • not ten years old

We had to throw out portable, so no laptop with docking station this time around, but everything else was pretty straightforward. So we went shopping.

What we did not do:

We did not go to a local retailer of computers and buy a pre-made computer. My husband gets all the credit for that decision because I haven’t got a clue.  If it were up to me I’d have either called the technology office I used to work for or I’d have rolled up to one of those big box computer retailers and announced my total naivety in hopes the employees would take pity on me and sell me what I needed. (I saw you roll your eyes.)

Some of you may be better equipped to get a good machine and good customer service while buying an assembled system and here are the benefits of doing so:

  • you get tech support
  • labor is included so you do not have to know how to build a computer because, duh, pre-made

That’s all I’ve got for you on that front.  One, because I’ve never bought a computer in that way, and two, because that is the only benefit I could think of on my own.

I have a long list of negatives for you though:

  • the price of a pre-fab system typically costs more than the sum of its parts (we call this mark-up)
  • if you have a list of computer wants/needs you can either find a system with some of the “stuff” you want plus a lot of “stuff” you don’t, or a system with most of the “stuff” you want and a lot of “stuff” you don’t
  • software “stuff,” wanted or unwanted, takes up memory
  • hardware “stuff” takes up space and power

What we did:

Let’s get something straight. I supplied a computer system wishlist; my husband did everything else. Because I’m spoiled. (I saw you roll your eyes again.)

  • research on forums, at professional reviewer websites, on purchasing sites, and even on Google
  • purchased each hardware and software component separately

This might be the only type of shopping spree in which the Mr. takes great delight while I have absolutely no interest.

I was rewarded for my disinterest with the following benefits:

  • less expensive overall
  • more options for customization
  • exactly the amount of “stuff” I wanted
  • a computer that was not built in 2001

But, from my ignorant standpoint, there are also some drawbacks to buying a system piece by piece:

  • you have to either know how to put together a computer or know someone who does (and who likes you enough to do it)
  • there is no tech support; you will need to know how to troubleshoot any issues that come up
  • your software, including your operating system, is not pre-loaded

My resident tech “expert” would like me to point out that a minimal amount of poking around the internet will get you the information you need to assemble and troubleshoot your computer. I’d rather browse Pinterest, but whatever. Still, I did learn a few things from this computer adventure. Be sure to check in next time for the rest of the story!

One thought on “tooling around: does not compute

  1. Do sympathise with your predicament. My current machine is definitely elderly, but not ten years old yet. When we got it (I say we), I took my very computer knowledgeable son-in-law with me and we went to a big superstore. He suggested several, but left the choice to me…big mistake. (His for allowing me to choose: me for doing it without going with his suggestions!) It wasn’t powerful enough for what I needed – but, having told the salesman what I needed and received his assurance that I’d made a great choice, when it wasn’t. I contacted the Head office of the superstore and complained about the mis-selling! After a day or two, mistake was admitted, and I was invited to go to another version of said superstore (must not embarass the sales staff, must we?) where a coupon was waiting for me for a computer double the power and price! So far, it’s doing me fine. But the moral of this story? COMPLAIN. The saleman saw me coming (70-ish then, and obviously green about technology) and wanted to go home with a sale, no matter what. Don’t know what happened to him: but the story ended happily for me (and helpful son-in-law!)

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