Friday, December 21, 2007

Your Personal Computer Shopper


My Sibling and I spent most of Wednesday engrossed in the task of upping the Parental Units' technology. We agreed with blog readers who assured me that it was time to give in and get a new computer.
As my parents have never done anything very complex with their computers, and have given up using the laptop on trips, we decided that a low-end desktop machine would suit their needs. At the same time, we didn't want to make it so low-end that we'd have to replace or upgrade it right away. We have learned that RAM, for example, is not a good place to be modest and thrifty. We did think, however, that as hard drives are not too hard to upgrade, and will always provide more storage for the money the longer we wait, we could start off with a more modest hard drive. I was ready to go for 500 GB but My Sibling, who is less extravagant, persuaded me that 250 GB would do for now, especially given that we plan to get an external hard drive to go with it.
We were determined to have a flat-screen monitor, since the typing table my parents use is rather small. We also didn't want to take up space with a mouse (or have to re-teach its use), so we hunted for a keyboard with a touchpad and found something from Adesso that we thought looked pretty good. (If we like it, I could be tempted to get one for my own desktop! Then again, when my desktop computer is ready for replacement, I may just stick to laptops.)
We didn't bother with speakers, warranties, or other extras (if my father wants to listen to Deutsche Welle or Český Rozhlas, he can use the headset). But, since we didn't think Word 97 would work very well with Vista, we went ahead and got Office 2007.
Dell's website allows the buyer to maneuver very nicely from one of their pre-configured versions through a wealth of customizations, so while this took awhile to do, we were able to discuss each aspect as we went along. Overall, we made very few changes to the basic Dell Inspiron 531s package, but we think we will all be pleased with the result (at least for the next few years).
Once we had gotten that taken care of, we embarked on the task of finding the right slide/film scanner. More on that to come!

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