April 4, 2009


Had a question in Blame it on Lorraine asking me computer questions.

Not a pro at this stuff, folks. In fact, I rely on others. The question was whether I recommend a Mac or PC. Depends on what you want to use it for, how much you want to pay, and what you're comfortable with. I know people that swear by Macs. I use a PC.

I rely on Computer Corner here in Burlington for my computer shopping. They're awesome, honest and reasonable. They'll help you assemble what you need, you come home and plug it in, and you're off.

I won't buy one from any of the places that paper your mailbox with their ads. You know who the culprits are. The problem is that, if you're like me, you don't know what it is you're buying. They list all this stuff, but that doesn't mean it's what you need. And when you go to ask for help, you know you're getting a line of crap. I know this; my kid worked at one of the big shops, and they made him a 'computer expert' after his second day on the job. Now, he's a smart kid, and quite computer savvy, but come on - no way was he a computer expert.

I hate the pressure to buy the extended protection plans at these places. They're bogus, especially on the Macs. Do your homework. They cost hundreds of dollars. My general rule of thumb? No extended warranties on anything. They're a rip. You want to buy them, go ahead. But dig around, and most respected advice says to save your money.

I won't buy used or reconditioned computers. They aren't worth anything. Period. If you have a bunch of expertise yourself, have at it. But for the average non-computer pro, it's not worth the hassle. Especially the criminal amounts some places charge for reconditioned stuff.

Don't be duped by shops that say they don't work on commission. Future Shop and Best Buy are owned by the same parent company. One works on commission, the other doesn't. But don't be fooled - the kids are pressured to make sales quotas, not technically 'commission', but the pressure is extreme on them to close the sale.

I like small independents (like mine) because you buy what you need. Discuss your needs, and have a machine built based on that. Why pay for a bunch of stuff you'll never use?

Now. A bunch of you will tell me you I don't know what I'm talking about. But that's the whole point. I've bought enough computers that I finally have it down to an art. I can't afford for my computer to be down for even a day - and I can't afford to pay for a bunch of stuff I don't need, or a bunch of someone else's problems.

Ask around to people you know who are careful with their money, and are happy with the machines they have. Flavour of the Month buyers are of no use to you - most of us expect a computer to be capable of lasting more than 6 months, and have no interest in replacing it constantly.

That is my computer message.


Blogger Nursedude said...

I agree with your post. Always buy where you're comfortable. Personally, I tend not to buy from the local "independents' because as someone who has worked for a local ISP I hear all the horror stories about what the little guys do and have seen some scary stuff myself. As someone whose first home pc was a commodore 64 I also know my way around a PC pretty well. My last two desktop PCs have been HP and I haven't had any major problems from them and the prices have been extremely competitive. I tend to avoid Future Shop and Best Buy for computers just because we don't have one in our town and I don't like The local Source because of their horrible customer service. My last two computers have been from Staples. I went there because my generic PC died the day before a major project I was working on went live and the independent store was closed. Bought my first HP. Haven't looked back. Mind you the first thing I do is take off all the unwanted software and THEN back up my system. I also usually buy one from the discontinued rack as it's cheaper and I don't need all the newest bells and whistles. And the extended warranty: forget it.

April 05, 2009 9:06 AM  
Blogger Webgod Jeff said...

You know my status on the Mac / PC debate...don't get me started!!

April 07, 2009 11:22 AM  

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