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Buying a Computer For Dummies [Paperback]

Dan Gookin
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 17 2004 0764576534 978-0764576539 2005
CPU, Ghz, Mhz, DIMMS, RAM, ROM, AGP, ISA, PCI, USB, CRT, LCD, NIC, CCD, CIS, DP, Kbps. What do all of these acronyms mean?

Are you baffled by computer technology and technology? Intimidated by computer salespeople who grimace or grin when you say “gizmo?” Buying a Computer For Dummies 2005 Edition gives you the ABCs of buying a computer. You don’t have to be able to talk tech; you just have to know what you want and how to get it. This guide turns evaluating the mind-boggling options into a simple five-step process, complete with software and hardware worksheets to help you pick a computer just for you. You’ll discover how to:

  • Choose the right software for your needs
  • Pick the right peripherals, including monitor, printer, scanner, modem, keyboard, and more
  • Spend “extra” money strategically to get more computer power for your buck
  • Choose disk drives, including info on CD-ROM, DVD, Floppy, Zip, and flash memory cards
  • Be sure you get support

Written by Dan Gookin, the author of DOS for Dummies, the bestseller that spawned the entire line of For Dummies books, plus many other For Dummies big sellers, Buying a Computer For Dummies is updated to incorporate the latest technologies. It covers processor upgrades, flat panel displays, new peripherals, laptops, tablet PCs, wireless systems, and more. You’ll find information on:

  • Choosing a digital camera and getting images from it into your computer
  • Getting a network card (NIC) for a broadband modem if you want the fastest Internet connection
  • Making the right decisions: CRT or LCD monitor? Laser printer or ink jet? Wired network or wireless?
  • Software for word processing, databases, desktop publishing, home budgeting, spreadsheets, graphics. and more
  • Essential utilities, including antivirus, anti-spyware, and firewall software

It also arms you with important questions to ask a dealer and warning signs to look for in ads or sales pitches. Whether you are buying your very first computer, considering upgrading your current system, or replacing a system that’s outdated by today’s standards, this guide gets you past the jargon and into the wise buying mode. ASAP. PDQ.

Oh, and it also tells you what all of the acronyms at the top stand for!


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Product Description

Review

It's in-your-face fun reading, well-organized and wide-ranging. -- Cleveland Plain Dealer, June 19, 2000 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

With the price of starter PCs ranging from "free" to over $1000, buying a computer - especially a first computer - is more confusing than ever.

This is a revision of the best-selling primer to answer every question and lead shoppers, step by step, to the computer that's best for them. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
If you're like me, you hate to wade through page after page of mindless drivel about this or that - you just want to get to the meat of the situation. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent but necessarily incomplete Jan. 30 2004
Format:Paperback
Okay, this is a little tough to explain. This is an EXCELLENT guide for people who need to buy a new home computer or laptop. But it by itself will not be enough to guide those people through the process smoothly.
There are two considerable strengths to this guide. First of all, it demystifies all the jargon and obscure terminology, and does a commendable job doing it. Second, Dan Gookin's advice to think about SOFTWARE primarily and not HARDWARE or PRICE when one is buying is worth its weight in gold. (The fact that brand names are scarcely used in this book is a strength and not a weakness, I believe, and fits in with Mr. Gookin's approach.) And for people who think "For Dummies" guides have too much clowning around, there is very little of it here, and it is not intrusive.
Having said all of these nice things, the book is occasionally minimal on key information. It could be argued that to make this guide complete, the author would have had to have written an 800-page book. In any case, this book alone won't get you through the computer-buying process comfortably. You should supplement the book with a friend who is moderately or heavily tech savvy.
In short, this is a great beginning and I honestly think it would be foolish for a computer beginner to buy a new machine without having read this very price-friendly work. But that reading will have to be supplemented by a friend or work colleague in the know about personal computers.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Demystifying the Sacred Computer April 7 2003
Format:Paperback
Having looked at others, I have to agree that I found Dan Gookin's book to be by far the most helpful in preparing me to buy a computer for the first time. Sure, he didn't mention brand names, but there's plenty of information available from many sources to make that decision after you understand the basics, which he rightly concentrates on. As for Gookin's humor, that is a matter of taste, but I see no contradiction in being humorous, even silly, while at the same time being very serious and knowledgable about this subject. His humor helped put me at ease in a topic that is often scary for the beginner. We need awe and reverence, but they belong to God.
Was this review helpful to you?
Format:Paperback
Buying a Computer for Dummies is a wonderful resource for someone who has never been through the herculean task of buying a computer. Even if you have purchased a computer before, this book may help demystify and improve the process for you. The best thing about the book is that the author deals with the basics of a computer (i.e. Software, Hardware) and does not deal with brand. When you are finished with this book, you will be able to buy the ideal computer for yourself. The only problem I have with the book is the lame humor. This deficit, however, is more than outweighed by the great advice it offers.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars An Asset for the Average Buyer Nov. 10 2000
By Navyvet
Format:Paperback
The book is well written without becoming too overbearing. As with many "For Dummies" books, there is the correct amount of levity and quite a bit of useful information. I found the info to be up to date (at least today!) in what is perhaps the fastest changing environment that ever existed. If you need a quick education ,deciding what to buy, this is your guide.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book helped me more than anything else out there March 10 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I walked into a computer-mega store to buy a computer and left confused and dazed. I then bought Dan Gookin's book and had a completely different approach. Mr. Gookin's book helped me to not get caught up in product name, but more on what I wanted to get done with the computer. What a great approach. Buy this book before you even think about buying a computer. It will honesly help.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Demystifying the Sacred Computer April 7 2003
By Randle Rector - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having looked at others, I have to agree that I found Dan Gookin's book to be by far the most helpful in preparing me to buy a computer for the first time. Sure, he didn't mention brand names, but there's plenty of information available from many sources to make that decision after you understand the basics, which he rightly concentrates on. As for Gookin's humor, that is a matter of taste, but I see no contradiction in being humorous, even silly, while at the same time being very serious and knowledgable about this subject. His humor helped put me at ease in a topic that is often scary for the beginner. We need awe and reverence, but they belong to God.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent but necessarily incomplete Jan. 30 2004
By Judge Knott - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Okay, this is a little tough to explain. This is an EXCELLENT guide for people who need to buy a new home computer or laptop. But it by itself will not be enough to guide those people through the process smoothly.
There are two considerable strengths to this guide. First of all, it demystifies all the jargon and obscure terminology, and does a commendable job doing it. Second, Dan Gookin's advice to think about SOFTWARE primarily and not HARDWARE or PRICE when one is buying is worth its weight in gold. (The fact that brand names are scarcely used in this book is a strength and not a weakness, I believe, and fits in with Mr. Gookin's approach.) And for people who think "For Dummies" guides have too much clowning around, there is very little of it here, and it is not intrusive.
Having said all of these nice things, the book is occasionally minimal on key information. It could be argued that to make this guide complete, the author would have had to have written an 800-page book. In any case, this book alone won't get you through the computer-buying process comfortably. You should supplement the book with a friend who is moderately or heavily tech savvy.
In short, this is a great beginning and I honestly think it would be foolish for a computer beginner to buy a new machine without having read this very price-friendly work. But that reading will have to be supplemented by a friend or work colleague in the know about personal computers.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good solid advice for the first-time computer buyer June 21 2000
By Michael Reilly - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Buying a Computer for Dummies is a wonderful resource for someone who has never been through the herculean task of buying a computer. Even if you have purchased a computer before, this book may help demystify and improve the process for you. The best thing about the book is that the author deals with the basics of a computer (i.e. Software, Hardware) and does not deal with brand. When you are finished with this book, you will be able to buy the ideal computer for yourself. The only problem I have with the book is the lame humor. This deficit, however, is more than outweighed by the great advice it offers.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Asset for the Average Buyer Nov. 10 2000
By Navyvet - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The book is well written without becoming too overbearing. As with many "For Dummies" books, there is the correct amount of levity and quite a bit of useful information. I found the info to be up to date (at least today!) in what is perhaps the fastest changing environment that ever existed. If you need a quick education ,deciding what to buy, this is your guide.
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