Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
This is Leo Notenboom for askleo.net.
A common topic and question for discussion, of course, is how to maximize the life of your computer, and what kinds of upgrades might make the most sense. For example I've long held that the most effective hardware upgrade is, of course, RAM. Windows in particular loves more RAM.
But there's something that could be more important than even that.
This week I was discussing with a friend what computer she should get for her parents with a goal of speeding things up a little for them. They had a couple of computers already, and they connected to the internet via dial-up.
And that's where I took the discussion a slightly different direction.
Getting a high powered or even portable computer can be very nice for many different things, but if your usage is mainly internet-related like email and web surfing, then getting a newer, faster computer but connecting via dial-up - well, that's a little like buying a Ferrarri but limiting it to only going 25 miles per hour. It'll do many things quickly and powerfully, but you're still not going to get anywhere very fast.
My point here, of course, is that upgrading your internet connection is often the most effective way to enhance your overall computing experience. Even the slowest computer these days is still more than fast enough to keep up with most of the fastest available internet speeds. Many people are quite amazed at what their old computer can do once the internet connection has been upgraded.
Now, this presents a problem for the gift givers among us, like my friend. A computer is one thing; you buy it, you give it and you're done. Connectivity is something else. A gift of connectivity is a commitment, either on your part to continue to pay for it, or even worse, it's a gift of a commitment to someone else. You're signing them up to recurring bill once your gift portion has run out.
I get that. And, perhaps, you could work out some creative ways around it, but I do get it.
But if you're about to shell out $500, $1000 or more for a gift computer, you might still consider that connectivity commitment instead. For the cost of a low-end computer you could upgrade someone from dial-up to DSL or cable for a year, two years or even more. And that fancier laptop or more powerful desktop you're considering could be the cost of several years worth of even faster internet speeds.
It's something I encourage you to consider. Perhaps even as a gift to yourself.
Oh, and if your business is on or about the internet, it's almost a no-brainer. I doubled my internet connection speed last year, and haven't regretted one moment of it.
I'd love to hear what you think. Visit askleo.net and enter 12230 in the go to article number box to access the show notes, the transcript and to leave me a comment. While you're there, browse the hundreds of technical questions and answers on the site.
Till next time, I'm Leo Notenboom, for askleo.net.
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