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Advice about buying a COMPUTER...

* Decide first what you want to DO. Decide then what software is needed. Don't just go for "the default". Having made your own decision about what YOU really want, then decide what machine to get to run the software. (With practice you can write your own software).

* Buy from a place that actually knows about computers, understands the technical things about computers, and is willing to help when things don't quite go right. Be very wary of places that are too tidy, too plush, or look like a 1990s office. They're not necessarily bad, but it important to test the place by asking a lot of technical questions and see if they know what they are talking about, and also to ask for help to see if they are actually willing and helpful rather than just interested in selling. The sort of place that is generally a good place to buy a computer is the sort of place that has loads of junk all over the place and computer boffins poking about inside open cases of computers in bits in full view of the customers. (Continues on the page about Proper computer shops)*

* Do not be fooled into thinking you MUST HAVE the very latest, fastest, snazziest computer. It will be expensive, and will not necessarily be better in ways that really count than something secondhand or a bit slow/old etc.

* Hype on computer products is often false. For example: Fast CD drives are slow! , PC speakers - old is best , and Anomaly in the specification of data storage capacities. Also beware of boastings about "the latest operating system". Some of these are very poor even though they are hyped-up. Newer versions of Microsoft are slow.

* It is the moral responsibility of a place selling a computer to make sure that the buyer gets help on how to sort it out, to a reasonable extent. If the vendor is unhelpful, make sure your friends get to know about it so they don't buy from there!

* The latest, best, and most powerful operating system is currently (2003/07), LINUX, but it is not the best for everyone because not everyone is technically-minded enough.. (see a comparison of operating systems) BUT, any place that sells computers should know that it exists, should have some experience of it, and should give you the option of having it instead of or in addition to various fashionable operating systems which aren't actually very good. To allow for future upgrading and compatibility, computer hardware should be LINUX-FRIENDLY. Avoid win-modems etc.

* Avoid Microsoft Vista and any places that insist you have it. Same with Windows 7 or 8 etc. If somewhere says it's the only option, then first THAT'S NOT TRUE, and secondly DON'T BUY FROM THERE! This "Vista" thing is part of a sinister plot to take over the world and must be confounded. See Palladium. If you're into the clever technical stuff, get Linux, and if not then Windows98 Second Edition is a half-decent solution which is better than some of the later versions. If you want to have it both ways, have a DUAL BOOT system which has both Linux and Windows and usually a large shared bulk-storage partition. Techie people know how to do this.

* For a long time there were no links on this site to mainstream places that sold computers as it was considered that a considerable number of them were not proper computer shops but were box-shifters who assumed you could be forced into having Microsoft Windows crippled edition and if there were any problems they would just leave you to get stuffed. However, there is now some GOOD news on this front, and we have managed to find a few places that support Linux and have a fair and reasonable mode of behaviour with customers. Choose wisely! Places that Sell Computers

* If you want to buy a computer just to go on the Internet, you do not need a fast computer or a fast modem, or anything very expensive. I have seen someone buy an old computer for £150 when the modern default option was £1000 and it was about 90% as fast. The reason is because Internet access speed is limited mainly by the phone line and by what's going on at the Internet Service Provider, rather than how fast the processor speed is. Also, Beware of TV Internet - it might not be the full "PROPER INTERNET". A computer is best.

* Nomatter how much you know about computers, or how little you know, get to know a lot of people who are experts and ask them lots of technical questions. This doesn't make you look a fool, because experts aren't born with the knowledge but actually learn it from other people and by having a go, so they've already done a lot of asking of questions.

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