For bloggers, it’s the most terrifying feeling in the world. You boot up your trusty computer, only to get an error message. You try all of your quick hacks, but it still won’t load the OS.
Maybe you’re someone like Navin, who has a deeper back of tricks to help diagnose the problem. But even if you are there are certain computer issues from which you cannot recover. It’s time to buy a new computer.
This happened to me a few years ago. Of course, it started when I dropped my laptop. The hard drive physically broke, so I was pretty much out of luck. The computer was three years old, so it was clearly time for a new one.
And so I did what any panicking blogger would do: I bought a cheap replacement. It’s only now that I realize the truth.
That was a dumb move.
Many bloggers need to have computers at all times. We have huge workloads and deadlines. To be without a computer for even one morning can cost us plenty. That might lead us to make hasty decisions.
Yet there are so many choices when buying a new computer. We should examine them all before making a purchase. After all, it’s a long-term decision.
Determining Your Purpose
How, exactly, are you going to use this computer? Are you just a blogger and web browser? Do you watch a lot of online video on your computer? Will it act as a family computer when you’re not working on it? These are all questions that will help you determine your purpose.
With this in mind, you’ll have a better idea of what kind of computer you want to purchase.
For example, someone who needs the computer only to blog and browse the internet might need something small and simple. In fact, a tablet PC might do the trick.
It might take a while to get used to typing on a virtual keyboard and using a mobile OS, but for basic blogging purposes it works just fine. It will also cost you much less than a comparable laptop.
Still others might need even more powerful machines. A year after purchasing a basic laptop, I realized that I need more power. My company uses Skype for communication, and I had advanced tasks like producing podcasts.
A simple laptop simply did not provide enough power for me to complete these tasks. And so I needed something a bit more.Determining your purpose will provide your first indicator of what kind of computer you need.
Picking Your Platform
I’ll admit it: when my MacBook’s hard drive broke I gave no thought to other platform. I was going to buy a new MacBook. And when I realized I needed a desktop to provide me with adequate computing power, I went right to the iMac.
But, as in the past, this was a mistake. It might not have been the wrong decision in the end, but it was wrong to act so hastily. There are many better options.
Today the options are even better than when I needed my new computers. There are plenty of non-Apple options on the market that provide just as much power.
For instance, the Intel powered Ultrabooks from Lenovo provide portability with a powerful platform. Had these been on the market when I needed a laptop, and had I not been so blindly faithful to Apple, I might be typing from one right now.
The overall point is to be flexible when choosing. If your blogging job requires you to work with rich media, perhaps Apple is the best bet. If you want to save some money and need only straight forward functions, PC laptops and desktops can give you just as much usefulness for a much lower price.
The last question should be the final one when picking a new computer. You already know what functions you’ll need, and also what platform works best for you. Now you have the final question: do you need to be portable? There are a couple of ways to approach this issue.
Occasional Portability. While most bloggers need, or at least would like, some level of portability, it’s sometimes not necessary. For instance, I work in a home office and don’t really need to leave for much.
For people like that, a desktop might be the best bet. Desktops provide the highest level of computing power at the lowest cost. Combining that with a tablet is a nice solution for those who need occasional portability, but are mostly within an office.
Movers And Shakers. There are others who need to move from place to place for meetings and other gatherings. It’s pretty clear that a laptop is the only solution for them. Still, there are two options here.
Movers and Shakers can buy a big honking laptop that has plenty of power. That comes with a high cost, and it’s not that portable. Otherwise, they can buy a mid-range desktop along with something more portable — an Ultrabook, perhaps.
That way they can compute on the road with a small, light device and still have a powerful device for the home office.
Works Best In Coffee Shops. Plenty of people I know hate blogging from home. They’ll work there maybe an hour a day, preferring to spend their time in coffee shops and libraries. For them, a powerful laptop is the only option.
It might seem as though buying a new computer is a straightforward task, but it has its complexities. There are so many choices that you run the risk of making the wrong one, even though it seems right at the time.
All bloggers have different needs, and each needs to take different factors into consideration. But once you determine your overall purpose, your platform, and your portability needs, it should form a clear picture. Happy buying.
Joe Pawlikowski has worked from home since 2007, blogging about technology and other topics. He keeps tabs on prepaid wireless services at Prepaid Reviews.