|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.
* 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.