Being the office tech wizard I often have fellow employees (along with clients, family members, friends, estranged associates and the occasional internet blow-in) come to talk to me about technology. One of the most frequent things that come up is when people need to update their personal computer (aka laptop, Apple Mac, tablet, phone etc.). Most people come to me and they say "What do you think is a good computer to buy?" or "Do you think I should buy that one there?" and the first thing that I think to myself is – How the heck would I know?
The truth is that technology, like most other things in our lives, is dependent on the individual. There isn't a one size fits all computer – they are made up of a lot of different bits and pieces which we can customize to fit exactly to what we need. So that is where I start – I try to target a few key area's and then make a recommendation based off what I feel is important to a person. I've listed a few below…
· Budget – This is the most important thing – you need to figure out how much you want to spend and more importantly what you can actually afford. There isn't much point in spend over six grand on a computer if its going to take you the next four years to pay it off and you only really use it once a week.
· What do you use it for? – The easiest way to figure this out is by looking at what you currently use the tech for and what you might want to use it for? Is it an office PC? Do you work from home? Maybe a laptop with a couple of docking stations and sets of screens is a better idea rather than buying 2 separate PC's and needing to setup fancy remote connections and all that other stuff. Then again, maybe if all you use it for is surfing the internet and going on Facebook you might be better off with something like a tablet – the portability makes it easier to use at home on the couch or out and about rather then being confined to a desk. Or maybe you are an avid video game fan like myself and you need to go for the works – something at the very top end with a CPU that could beat the world champion in a game of chess, enough RAM to run a small enterprise and a video card that can process graphics that look so real that you can't actually tell. We've only really tipped the top of the iceberg here but the important thing to note is that there is no point in buying something that you might never need.
· Longevity – This is something you should take into account with your technology – how often have you had to replace it and how often will you need to? If you are an innovator on the cutting edge of technology then you might need to look at something that is replaceable in 12 to 24 months so you can keep up – I can say that I am guilty of grabbing a new phone when a new model has released and my old phone's contract has just fallen off (even when the old phone was still working OK). If you aren't going to use something very often, you might be better off spending a little bit more so that it will last the test of time – lets upgrade the RAM in your laptop so that when the next version of the Window Operating System comes out, you still have the capacity to run it with ease.
· Shop around – As is with anything, if you are going to spend a decent wad of cash you should shop around to make sure that you get the best price. I find that going to the larger providers like Dell, HP etc and selecting something with the requirements that you need is a good starting point – from here you can look down the street to the local PC provider or jump onto a computer superstore and get all of your parts sent out and put it together yourself.
· Take care of what you have once you have it – you don't want to have to replace your brand new piece of technology because you haven't been treating it correctly. It might seem like a great idea to watch a movie in bed on the laptop but you should be careful because if it doesn't get enough airflow then it might get to hot and cause damage to the components inside. Try to keep your technology is a dust and static free environment. Water (unless it's waterproof) is almost always a big no-no. My father is a farmer and I can't remember how many phones have been sent to 3G heaven because they slipped out of his breat pocket and into the spray tank.
This is just a quick recap on some of the things that I try to discuss when reviewing new technologies. If you think your business could use a technology retool and are not sure where to start – give us a call at the office.
If you want to find out more you can read my bio here.