How to Advise Someone as to What Kind of Computer They Should Buy

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Reader Comments (43)

Please can we now have a PC/MAC flame war? I haven't seen one for ages?!!

This pretty much replicates a recent conversation with my wife about phones

September 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBen

I'm a computer type guy, what with my computer science degree and running my own programming business for 15 years (I only state this to differentiate myself from most computer type guys) and I can concur this conversation is precisely how it actually happens in real life. So here's a Basic Instruction that actually works. I'm scared!

September 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJawfin

Classic instance where I read the title and immediately laughed even before getting a chance to read the first panel.

September 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDeuceB

[Obligatory Linux comment]

September 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterG01denW01f11

[Obligatory comment about how homebrew OSes are better than Linux]

September 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBlackout

When I read this, somehow I came to the conclusion that it would be a good idea to try touching my touchscreen with my mouse. It didn't work very well.

September 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

I feel this way with some end users when we used to just reset passwords to cat123 and they came back with the spelling katonetwothree.

Damn, I love IT work.

September 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJowzer

Also computer type, guy going for a bachelors in comp sci at the moment, also a Linux user (yay Debain), also helped little brother by new laptop last week (boo windowz h8)

so I feel the urge to comment, macs suck

September 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTroller

[Obligatory Chromebook comment]

September 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMikeTeeVee

System.out.println("[obligatory comments about how Windows and OS X are basically the same thing from a usability standpoint, albeit with different 'user experiences']")

System.out.println("[obligatory comment about how Linux has fundamentally zero market share]")

[System.out.println("obligatory comment about how no computer connected to anything can possibly be secure, no matter how strong of encryption you use]")

...I'm taking a Java course. m@j0r h@x0r over here!

September 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

[Obligatory comment about XKCD's butterflies]

September 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrian

My late mother was the sort of person who was in Rick's position, minus the 'being smart enough to ask the family tech geek for advice on what to buy.' She bought a netbook without any sort of CD or DVD drive off of QVC, ordered cable internet from the first provider she could find in the area and expected me to just connect everything for her. Without asking me for advice.
And did I mention this was her first computer?
She managed to screw it up in about a month. The people she took it to took it upon themselves to install a bunch of new software to make things 'easier' for her, not taking into account first that she was completely computer illiterate. She basically couldn't use it because the Firefox browser they installed didn't have the browser toolbar that came with the software included to connect to the router they sent (because she didn't have a CD drive to reinstall it).
See, she 'needed' the toolbar because she didn't know how to use a URL bar. Instead, she typed URLs into the search window on the toolbar (one of four toolbars she had installed at one point) and picked the website she wanted off of the resulting search results. And because this system 'worked' for her, she refused to learn any other way. I am not making this up.

September 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMythicFox

If you're gonna' just web surf and e-mail, and your funds are limited, the answer is Chromebook.

September 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKevin A Kunreuther

I think everyone is missing the real point - Rick is getting shafted and all is right with the world.

September 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFrank M

Which one has the "any" key?

September 30, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermohrorless

Obviously, nobody around here remembers "The Good Old Days". When I was in high school, we took typing classes on manual typewriters. To work with a computer, one had to punch a lot of holes in a stack of cards. We worried about how much hp our cars were putting out.

Computers are the new hotrods. My son has a box with a flame job on the case.

September 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Obvious

Public library FTW!

September 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSolak

If you just want web and email, I suggest buying a used laptop, any brand, from the classified ads or C****slist. Then go read the browsing history. You'll be delighted, amazed, shocked, and probably sickened.

September 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDave H

Ah, the classic incorrectly used "PC", which means personal computer (as opposed to server, workstation, mainframe, etc.) Rick's shiny new Mac would be a personal computer, and therefore a "PC". Heck, my Linux machine is a personal computer too!

September 30, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjd42

Wow, poking fun at computers, yet dancing nicely around the most obvious flame war triggers.

September 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDrowlord

Hey! My grandmother had the tv/pc setup for a while! It was sort of awesome.

September 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEaglesQuestions

Is it too early for Steam OS fanbois to post?

September 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKimo

I'm an English major and people *still* ask me for computer help.

September 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKate


PC is short for "IBM PC-comaptible", which is a particular kind of personal computer. Seeing as I have a personal laptop, a personal desktop, a personal smart-phone, a personal server, and a personal tablet, I don't think "personal computer" as a term that's *not* in reference to the particular architecture makes much sense anymore.

September 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDave

Do people still argue PC v. Mac? Surely. I know guys that still argue the "Atari 800 v. Commodore 64" issue. In fact, I was surprised it wasn't brought up in Scott's book.

September 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike N

@Dave, no. PC is short for personal computer. It only beame what you called it when those ads started airing

September 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMoist Robot

Can we argue about twos-complement vs sign-magnitude architectures? Y'know, just for old-times' sake?

September 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFlewellyn

I sell computers. I have this conversation at least twice a day.

September 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterZach

Given that "I'm a Mac; I'm a PC" was an ad broadcast by Mac... I accept Mac's admission that they're not in the business of selling personal computers. For years we've admitted that Macs were the computer for people who didn't know how to use/ didn't want to own a computer; now we have tablets and phones for people who don't even want to own a Mac. And Android offers the very latest most advanced Android phone with "Easy Mode," so that you can use the most complex smart phone to do the least.
And to someone, somewhere, this actually makes sense.

September 30, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkhereva

Congratulations, Scott. You just penned a classic.

September 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRyan

If all you want to do is surf the web and cruise for ladies, get a Tesla. It's a computer with a huge battery, and you can actually sit inside it. Should you actually meet someone online, you can even use it as a sports car.

September 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGetAChromeBook

Well it wasnt quite a flame war but at least i riled someone by saying pc vs mac instead of windows vs mac, ftw

September 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBen

I think what's being lost here is that Ric only needs a computing device of whatever sort merely to answer e-mail, but never to send apparently.

September 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTimP

There are certain work functions that I could perform at home, but only with a Windows computer, for reasons that I won't get into here. Since my employer doesn't supply me with a computer, and since I'm damned if I'll use my own for work, the choice is obvious, Mac. If my MacBook dies, it will be another Mac, or maybe Linux. My Ubuntu desktop was easy enough to use until the hardware gave out.

Unless the company wants to buy me a Windows laptop that I can use at home, too.

September 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMarco

Ironically, with Windows 8 it may actually be much easier for him to use a Linux system rather than Windows-based pc. Remember Vista, aka the Ubuntu advertisement?

October 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLuke

The correct nomenclature - as used by most consumers - is [when asking a sales clerk at a computer-y store]:


October 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

Needs more Linux. For SAFE browsing of the web and reading emails, a Linux PC is perfect, and yes, you can buy them with Linux pre-installed.

October 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHappyPCuser

I use Lubuntu. That doesn't really have any bearing on the discussion at hand, but figured that I should chime in for some reason.

October 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterIan

Buying a computer (tablets aside) with an OS pre-installed? Ahahaha! You kill me, Scott.

October 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterZee


Maybe it was not common usage everywhere, but I recall using the term PC to refer to IBM Compatible PCs since at least 1997. It was commonplace in my high school to here that distinction in the late 90s/early 2000s.

October 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRJ
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