PCs or Macs
There are really three aspects of acquiring and owning a PC or a Mac:
- Purchasing a new computer system
- Tuning and Fixing an existing computer system
- Connecting a computer system via a local area network to the Internet as well as to other network connected devices.
- And, then there’s just helping you with something on your computer…
PCs or Macs: Buying
Over the past 15 years, I have developed expertise in helping people buy computer systems, then helping them tune their machine so that it does what they want it to do, and inevitably fixing or upgrading their computers when the computer no longer works or is not performing well. I started out with individual friends and family, then branched out to helping small organizations with their computing and networking needs. In this section, when I refer to “PCs” I am also referring to Macs, although my experience with PCs is greater than with Macs. We have both machines in my home and so I do have some experience and can fix most problems, but my intuition is a little slower with Macs.
One of the biggest impediments to getting started, or even going out and getting a replacement computer, is figuring out which computer to get. It is all to easy to get hoodwinked by a fast talking salesman into getting the wrong machine (typically more than you need). I keep up to date with the computer scene, keeping my self knowledgeable about all of the major brands, the Metro Boston retail stores, and the most reliable online stores. I also have had a lot of experience with eBay and know how to determine the current street price of used computers. I have a significant dose of Scottish blood in my veins and have the knowledge to help you get the best value for your money when choosing a computer.
PCs or Macs: Tuning & Fixing
Once you get that bright shining desktop or laptop in your home or office, you need to outfit it with software: either software that you already own from a previous computer, software that you purchase for your new machine, or software that is available for free on the Internet. Having used PCs for 35 years, I have a lot of experience with software packages that make your PC useful. In fact, as a result of my own use of PCs and Macs, I have a recommended set of applications, most of them free, that I can install on your PC to give you a powerful tool for accomplishing your tasks.
Upgrading and Fixing
Eventually, everything deteriorates: what was once fast and sleek evolves through no one’s fault, to something that doesn’t work or doesn’t work as well as it used to work. These days, with viruses, adware, and spyware, it is difficult to keep a machine from becoming bogged down and underperforming: but these maladies are a fact of life and we must deal with them.
As a result of being a PC user myself, I have developed the skills to either resurrect a computer that no longer works — or to be able to say objectively that it is time to get rid of your old machine and buy a new one that will be twice as fast, twice as big and cost half as much as your old computer. Sometimes all that is needed is a memory or disk upgrade which I have performed many times on many different types of machines.
PCs or Macs: Networking
These days, a computer that is not connected to the ouside world of the Internet and the World Wide Web feels like something is missing: connectivity is essential. I can help you in a number of ways and answer a number of questions:
- Internet Service Provider (ISP) Selection: Which of the many alternative ways of connecting to the Internet is best for you? Dialup, DSL, Cable? RCN or Comcast or Verizon? Wired or Wireless?
- Connecting PC to Internet: Now that you have a PC and have signed up for Internet service with an ISP, what else do you need to do to make your computer do all of the tricks in accessing the Internet and the web? Do you have a laptop that you want to be able to use anywhere in your house and so need a wireless connection? What about the security of a wireless connection?
- Sharing one Internet Connection with multiple PCs: If you have multiple computers in your house, you can share the one connection to the Internet provided by your ISP by putting a router between your computers and the Internet connection. Which router should you get? Wired or Wireless?
- Connecting PCs in an Office: What is the best way to connect multiple PCs or Macs in an office setting so that they all have access to the Internet, and also have controlled access to each other? Do you need a separate machine to hold shared resources such as files, databases and programs?
As PCs and Networks increase in capability, the choices you have to make also increase: it is helpful to get the advice of someone who has been around the block on all of these issues. Here, I can help you.
Sometimes, people just need someone who is familiar with computers and software to ask questions of. I don’t pretend to know all of the packages out there, but I am well versed in computers and applications and can usually interprete published explanations that are confusing to you.