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How to buy a PC is just as key

In response to the July 25 Perspectives column by Patrick Moorhead, "Time for straight talk on technology":

I have been a computer user for years. Since 1994, I have built my own computers. At first, I needed a good business computer that could do spreadsheets, word processing, and so on. Then, as the years went on and the company I work for bought a network with desktop computers, my needs at home changed from business to gaming. So, it was time to upgrade. Now I have an awesome machine that can do both business and gaming.

I think that if someone is trying to sell a computer they should tell the perspective buyer what he or she can do with it, rather than how fast it can go. When I had people come to me and ask me to build a PC for them, my very first question was, "What do you want to do with it?" If they didn't know, I would ask them to think about it for a while.

So in addition to your segment on how to sell a PC, on the other end of the spectrum, people should not be taken in by the hype a typical PC company spins. A PC might have a top-of-the-line processor, but the hard drive, memory and video card may be watered down. This almost seems like a 'bait-and-switch' tactic. I have often wondered why computer companies such as Dell, Compaq and others do this type of selling. They give you a computer that can almost do everything, but then again, not. In addition, some of these computers have very few (or sometimes no) expansion slots or upgrade options.

My mother-in-law says she has no need for a computer, even though she would like to do e-mail, has a picture album hobby (that in some cases requires pictures to be scanned) and loves movies and entertainment. Gee, what could she do with a computer?

Steve Cox
Garden Grove, Calif.