Thursday, 31 May 2007

YesBut which one?

How do you choose which computer or camera to purchase?
The idea for this blog came to me earlier in the week, when I saw litter bins full of discarded self-destructing folding umbrellas. You know the type, made in China, one gust of wind and they turn inside out with the spokes buckled.

The choice is between buying a cheap umbrella for a £1 or a good quality folding umbrella for £30. Which one would you buy and why?
In the winter a cheap umbrella might last a month. So for a six month winter period you’ll have to buy six umbrellas. That means you could buy 5 years worth of cheap umbrellas for the cost of one good one. However that has to be offset by the annoyance of an umbrella junking itself in the middle of a rain storm. So it’s a question of balance between cost and satisfaction of usage.

The choice of umbrellas is simple and a low cost investment. But how do you choose a computer, or some other piece of technical kit?

I took for ages, (and I really mean ages and ages, measured in years rather than months) to decide which computer to buy. It was like trying to run up a down coming escallator. New computers with improved specifications were being released weekly. My eyes glazed over and my mind went into comatose state on reading:

Intel Celeron-M 370 1.5G Hz chip
1 GB DDR2 RAM, 60 GB hard drive
Multiformat DL DVD +-R/+- RW

What in the name of sanity did it all mean?

Pointless asking the “expert” in the shop or even a friend for advice. There explanations just flew straight over my head.

I finally did take the plunge and bought a computer. Based on that experience I discovered the Golden Rule of Buying:

If you can afford it buy the cheapest.

That’s it - If you can afford it buy the cheapest.

But you might say, the rule should be “buy the best you can afford”. Yes but what is the best?

Let me explain:

If you are buying your first computer or digital camera, friends and acquaintances can recommend the one they use. They can eulogise on speed, compatibility, functionality etc. But these are merely words. You will not know what piece of technical kit suits you until you try it for yourself.

What is the difference between a “Dummy” and an “Expert” - knowledge. The acquisition of knowledge costs time and money.

Hence the golden rule, buy the cheapest, use it become frustrated or satisfied by its functionality. Get to know, through experience what you consider to be essential, optional and unnecessary. Become aggravated or be contented on how long it takes to boot up, or how long it takes to do things. Learn about its limitations and importantly the reasons for those limitations.

For £250 ~ US$500 you can buy a very basic PC, £350 ~ $700 for a laptop. Even if within months you become dissatisfied with it, it will never be wasted money. You can always sell it, or keep it to back up (store) your files.

PC or laptop? If you are only going to use a computer in one location in your home, go for a PC. If you want mobility of use both in your home and at other locations then it has to be a laptop.

What about buying a digital camera? That will be the subject of tomorrows blog.

But in the mean time you can help me. Click here and suggest a caption for YesBut’s Image of the day.


Anonymous said...

Hello. And Bye.

Anonymous said...

Hello. And Bye.