Time to replace that old clunker…

of a computer? Windows XP finally causing more trouble than it is worth? Then you have some decisions to make. Here is some gentle guidance from a decision tree point of view.

Let’s assume that your needs are basic. Email, web surfing, some letters typed, maybe a recipe program or two and of course some music. No wild gamers here. No full time Video Editors either. In other words, most of us.

OK, so your current computer is 5-9 years old. Ouch. That is like 25 years in normal time. The first decision is easy. Have you been coveting your cousin’s Mac computer? Does it seem way more friendly and like your type of computer? Guess what? This is a great time to move over to the Mac. Or, are you a Mac user and have been thinking of giving the other side a try? Also a great time to make the move. It may be a little bit more work to make the change, but getting a new computer can be a bit of work just by itself, so really not much more to switch to the other side, if you desire.

So, first decision is Mac or Windows. Next is… yup, you guessed it… Laptop or desktop? Ah, the plot thickens a bit here. Both have advantages. Hint: If you go laptop, but plan on using it mostly at your desk, make sure you get one with a big enough screen.

And there is a minor branch here becasue if you choose desktop, there is the additional choice of an old fashioned box and monitor (clunky) or the smooth new way of an “all in one” where the computer and the monitor are one. Less cables, less dust being collected by the “box on the floor” and generally a space saver. A third choice is the micro box computer like the Intel NUC where the computer itself still plugs into a monitor but the box is micro sized and sits on your desk as opposed to the floor. Cute, but sort of off putting in its own way. (I like them in theory, but have never actually used one.)

For a business of any type, an “all in one” type can be a huge space saver and make your office look much less messy. Dell and Apple both make a good one of these. Probably HP as well. It is getting quite popular.

I know people whose needs are well met by an iPad device. They surf and email with the best of them, and people find the iPad really friendly to use. So by all means, that could be consideration. I am sure the Amazon Fire and Samsung tablet are fine. I have never used one and therefore refrain from recommending them. The iPad was such a game changer when it first came around and is still the best tablet ever.

Myself, back during my last upgrade, where I intended to say good bye to the big box style PC and go for more of a “sealed unit” small box type that sits on the desk also happened to be an entry level Mac computer. One huge difference about the Mac that many are not aware of is that a Mac computer can easily run Windows. But the reverse is not true. That level of flexibility is necessary for some, so for them, a Mac is their only option.

The other interesting thing about Macs is that say you decided to change your new computer to a Mac. Your ONLY choices for the computer itself would be those offered by Apple.  So, you must pick from their lineup. No need to go looking at ASUS, Dell, HP, Lenovo, ACER, or any other brands at all. This is one reason why you might hear the term “walled garden” applied to Macs. Some despise this and some love this. To each their own. Me, I am fine with it. In a way, it simplifies my life. And THAT I value highly.

The only downside for someone like me would be if Apple would do something that I found unacceptable like all of a sudden making my computer incompatible with my favorite software which is Outlook. Just an example, that exact situation would not happen. I knew what I was getting into and happily signed off on the “walled garden” concept.

So if you want OSX, the Mac Operating System that is the “competition” to the Windows Operating System, then you must buy your computer from Apple.

As an aside to this situation, Windows 10 will be out soon. A few months I am thinking. And it should be just fine. So the refined first branch of the decision tree question really becomes… “Mac OSX or Windows 10? Yes, I could easily talk for hours about this subject. Me, for now, I am sticking with the Mac OSX. I could easily be happy with either. The other part of this, my own update every two years whether I need to or not, is that I am breaking my rule of “never” getting an “all in one” computer. Apple’s latest has tempted me to the dark side of the all in one. Two important points here.

1. I will be getting the Apple Care insurance. Because if it breaks, I cannot fix it. it has to go to the shop.

2. I will be monitoring it VERY closely as I have 14 days to decide whether to keep it. I simply MUST have a silent computer. And there is really no way to know except to try it under the exact conditions at my house.

3. The Mac mini, my current computer, has been like my best friend mainly because it is so quiet. I LOVE this about it. And I will not hesitate to go back to it if necessary.

These ideas should be enough to get you thinking about the path to take for your new computer needs.

It has always been my philosophy that computers should be fun. Sure there will be hills and valleys, but overall, fun!

Enjoy your weekend,
Dave