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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Buying your first PC? Or are you buying your next PC… but you never became a computer expert, and you still have better things to do with your life? Either way, Dan Gookin will help you get the right computer, the right software, the right support -- and the right deal.
Gookin virtually single-handedly invented the idea of the easy, fun-to-read computer book, as author of DOS for Dummies and fourteen other For Dummies bestsellers. In Buying a Computer for Dummies, 2004 Edition, he’s thoroughly revamped his introductory guide to buying a PC. This edition covers everything you need to know to get the right computer for what you want to do today -- and tomorrow.
Gookin begins with the easiest imaginable high-level primer on buying a PC. Decide what you want it to do. Find software to do the job. Find hardware to make the software go. (Software first: then hardware. People don’t buy TVs to watch their imitation mahogany cabinets!)
Then, shop for service and support (Gookin, who’s probably answered more basic computer questions than anyone on earth, is a fanatic about this and covers it in depth later in the book.) And finally: Buy that computer. Don’t put it off any longer!
When you do buy, Gookin offers a detailed checklist of six ways to avoid trouble (run like the devil if the dealer insists on cash, and consider running if he won’t take credit cards). There’s also a chapter full of “first-time buyer” mistakes you don’t have to make.
Of course, you can’t walk out of the store with “just” the computer: you’ll need some other stuff, which Gookin kindly lists for you.
Gookin offers a complete “basic training” PC primer, followed by more detailed discussions on each of the hardware components you’ll come up against in the ads. Microprocessors (what they do, what all that speed razzmatazz means). Memory. Disks. Monitors. Video and audio. Networking. USB and other connections, keyboards, mice, joysticks, you name it. You’ll learn what you need -- and what you don’t need.
There’s a full chapter on buying a notebook PC -- a very different animal. (What should they weigh? How expandable are they? How do you keep them from getting stolen?)
We all know the paperless office was one of the biggest jokes of the 20th century (and, so far, the early 21st century as well). You need a printer. Gookin helps you make the right choice among today’s latest options. Inkjet or laser? Color or B&W? What do you need to know about ink and toner?
If you’re not on the Internet yet, Gookin helps you pick an Internet service provider. If you are on the Internet, he can help you pick a better one.
Already have a computer? Not sure whether to buy a new one or upgrade the one you have? Gookin helps you make the decision intelligently. (Maybe, just maybe, the computer you have is all you need.)
If you do upgrade, one of your biggest challenges will be moving your applications and data to the new computer you’re buying. Often, folks hold off upgrading because they can’t stand the hassle. Gookin walks you through the process, one step at a time, making it darned near easy. Come to think of it, he makes everything easy. Bill Camarda
Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks for Dummies, Second Edition.