Hi Deb, you have certainly asked an interesting, if not highly controversial, question here, [g].
Controversial because views and feelings on the universal PC or Apple? question tend to be very polarised and personal, and can generate extreme stances and arguments.
I believe wars have even been started over the question,
At the end of the day, I don't believe that we can tell you and your husband what to do or what to buy. I'm a PC man myself and have never used an Apple Mac but I hear that they are very good computers indeed. On a par with, and in many circumstances, superior to, PC's. From what you say you like your Apple very much but you would prefer a CRT Monitor and not an LCD one.
I don't know if it would be possible to attach a CRT monitor to an Apple as they are an integrated computer/monitor system I believe, but other people here can perhaps help you with that.
All I can say is that with the PC you can attach any type of monitor and keyboard that you wish, and that LCD's are now becoming much better at picture quality than they were before. Still not CRT standard perhaps, but not that far off, and if you do not intend to play high graphic games such as Doom 398, (or whatever the latest version is), or Fighter Pilot, etc, then you may consider that LCD's are now a good enough option for the tasks you and your husband use the computer for.
With regard to software, many people report problems with Norton products, and yet many more find the software very good for their needs. So it is difficult to be judgemental about Nortons. But there is now plenty of smaller software applications to tackle individual security issues, like viruses, spyware, adware and hackers, and many of these are free to download and free to use indefinately. If you hop along to the Virus and security alert forum in this site, (link on the left), you will find many options for complete security suites that serve very well indeed.
I hesitate to talk about the software your husband is using now, Quickbooks. It may be possible to convert the data files to PC format, but I simply don't know I'm afraid.
It is unfortunate that your town has seen so many computer shops come and go, because in my view that would be your best option, to go and see what is possibly at first hand. I don't know how close you are to a larger town or city, or whether it is possible for you to travel there if there is one close by, but what about your friends and relatives? Do any of those have computers and if so, can you see what they use and what they are like to use and manage?
Not a very useful reply from me I'm afraid. But I wish you good luck in your quest.
We found this forum quite by accident yesterday when looking for help in uninstalling Norton Internet Security 2005. You people were most helpful in dealing with that problem, so I wonder if you might share your wisdom regarding our quandry. We own both a PC (an old Gateway Astro that can not be upgraded) and a six-month old iBook (loaded with all the extras). We can't seem to make the leap to Apple and are wondering -- at this crossroad -- whether to turn back or go ahead.
First, you need to understand that my husband hates computers and only has one because he runs a small (one man) business and uses the machine to run Quickbooks to generate invoices and provide bookkeeping for his tax accountant. I enjoy using a computer to do research on the internet and to play Scrabble with the always-willing Mavin. We use dial-up because we can't justify broadband on our limited seniors' budget, and would be scared to death trying to deal with what that would mean.
We ran into trouble with our PC because of Norton Security. When we joined the world-wide web a few years ago, we did as we were told and bought Norton Internet Security. Between the dial-up and Norton, it would take 3 to 4 minutes to load a webpage. It certainly dampened the internet experience. When we upgraded Norton in 2004, the computer became unusable. We spent months trying to get the software off the machine. Friends told us to get an Apple: it was easy to use (true), the software always worked because it was made for the machine (mostly true), and you didn't need to worry about using Norton (sold!). We, who know nothing about computers, had a wireless home network up and running in two hours.
The downside of the Apple has been: all our files are on the PC so we lose the history in Quickbooks and Microsoft Money, and I can't read the LCD screen. I find I keep using the old Gateway CRT because my arthritic hands like the keyboard and my tired old eyes love the computer screen. We looked at the iMac but even the 20'' screen, though it is easy to see, didn't have the sharpness of our little Astro. But we're told all the new PC computer systems are coming with LCD screens. Sigh.
I figured I should again install an internet security package on the Astro if I were going to insist on using it to go on the internet. I consulted Consumer Reports (Wish I'd consulted this website!) and once again tried Norton for protection. The computer once again became unusable -- couldn't even get on the internet. But the good news is that it has led me to this forum for the computer-challenged. I see that there are some better options for internet security software on the PC so we might live happily with a PC on the internet -- which brings us to our quandry: to Apple or to PC?
We love the Apple because we have their protection plan, which means we have great support with people who speak fluent English (very important), and a system that is pretty easy for neophytes (also very important). But the reality is, we keep using the PC because the software is familiar and provides historical data (We thought we'd be able to convert the data, but haven't found a way.), some websites don't seem to work with the non-PC browsers, and the CRT screen and keyboard are easy on the hands and eyes.
Before we invest any more time and effort and money, we need to fish-or-cut-bait with the Apple. But if we do, can we buy a PC system (our new HP printer says our computer is lacking) with a CRT? and from someplace that can understand us? It was a nightmare trying to talk to the HP person who was trying to help us figure out what had gone wrong with our old printer; it became easier to buy an inexpensive new one. There have been computer businesses in our tiny town but they never last more than a year-and-a-half so we are reluctant to rely on a local shop to build us a computer. And we wouldn't know a competent computer person from a nincompoop.
Your insights would be most welcome. Thanks.