Computer Shopping

Which computer should I buy?

It's a question I've been bombarded with for years.

I used to think carefully about the person asking the question and the choices available to them at the time. It used to matter.

But anymore, with Best Buy the only place in-town that stocks computers, my response matters less than it ever has.

When it comes to computers, I'll admit I'm picky. My qualifications for choosing my current laptop were so narrow, Dell only offered one model with those specs when I placed the order. It seems the only way to get an XP machine at that time with integrated Bluetooth was to get a business-oriented Latitude. Which is fine, because in looking at the contemperary Inspiron models, the Latitudes don't look nearly as disposable.

But disposable is precisely what computers have become. They're priced low, filled with cheap Chinese components and have gigs of useless software pre-loaded on them. And if you're buying it from your local big-box retailer, they're all exactly the same.

My PC has some sort of unrecoverable error. I'm buying a Mac.

Go ahead. I'm tired of cleaning up your virus-trap computer anyway. As an aside, have you ever seen a link you haven't clicked on?

Oh, but don't you hate Macs? I only said that to agitate you.

Let me clarify. Mac computers are not the problem. It's Mac users, and specifically the Mac users who define themselves as Mac users that I disdain. The people who at this very moment are lusting after a shiny new, but wholly unremarkable giant iPhone once it drops in March.

The platform itself, once it switched over to x86 architecture, doesn't give me any trouble. It's Unix underneath, and that's more useful to me than Windows.

Especially after my Mac's hard drive died and I needed to replace it (plus a badly-needed memory upgrade) myself. No Apple Store “Genius” tax? Yes, please.

Seriously, though. Which computer should I buy?

Oh, I get it. You actually want my advice.

Well here it is: You surf the internet, troll craigslist, post inappropriate content to Facebook and check your email, right?

It doesn't matter which computer you buy. They all do that. Every single one of them. If price matters to you, get the cheapest one and be prepared to replace it with another cheapest one in nine months.

If price doesn't matter to you, get the fanciest, shiniest thing on the shelf.

That's it. Very simple.

But you already knew that.

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