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Great! You'll love it! Your business will grow by leaps and bounds! However, before you write that check, be sure you know what you are buying.

Many people don't know the first thing about buying their first computer and will buy one "used." This is fine, but many "used" computers are so outdated that it would cost more to buy the necessary parts to run the software that makes them go than it would be to purchase a brand spanking new one.

A friend of mine recently was ripped off just because of this very reason. Someone sold him a "used" system without a hard drive for $400 through an advertisement in the local newspaper. It's a pity he didn't call me first because I could have gotten him the same thing for about $25. Nobody can use a computer these days without a hard drive and it costs anywhere from $250 to $400 just to buy a hard drive and cooling fan to make the thing run. So with $800 invested, my friend could have had a top-of-the-line 386 powerhouse system!

Another dealer called me and said he just purchased his first system for only $300. When I asked him what "type" it was, he replied: "It's big! It has a 8086 processor!"

I could have cried. The 8086 processor will not handle most ALL of the software out on the market today. The most he will be able to do with his new computer is play a few games and maybe operate some of the outdated computer programs that will be extremely difficult to learn and understand. Give the guy 2 months and his computer will be sitting on the shelf collecting dust! The guy will feel that computers are "a lot of bunk" and go back to the dark ages of operating a business.

See - computers have made a dramatic improvement over the early 1980's when I first was introduced to them. Computers were hard to understand because you almost had to be a programmer to even know how to print a piece of paper! However, with the computers of the 1990's you simply point to the word "print" and the computer does everything for you automatically.

This is NOT to say that computers can do everything. You still can't hold a sheet of paper up to a computer screen and expect the words to jump off and create themselves on a sheet of paper all by themselves. A computer still needs human interaction as well as a little bit of help. It's still a dumb piece of machinery!

So what rule of thumb should you use if you don't know anything about a computer and want to save money by purchasing a used one? Here are a few suggestions:

1. Make sure the "used" system has a minimum 386 processor. Although this is outdated, it will still run most of the programs on the market today. The only problem is that they will run much slower.

2. Make sure the "used" system has at least 4 megabytes of RAM. (512K and 640K will not cut it!) Plus, you'll find yourself getting error messages when you try to run most of the software programs unless you have 4 megabytes - especially with Windows software.

3. Never, never, never pay more than $150 for a 286-based computer system unless the seller is willing to throw in a diamond ring and property with the deal. Stick with a 386 or higher.

Now these are just the basics to go on. But "why" do you ask "is it important for me not to buy anything less than these requirements?" Because, dear friend, your computer is only as good as the software you use. You can buy a car, but without a motor you can't do anything but sit in the front seat looking cute!

The software today is much larger and requires more room to operate. Back in 1985, most software programs came on 1 or 2 floppy disks. Today, they come on 5 or 10 floppy disks and the more expensive ones can go up to 20 and 25!

If you are still confused about purchasing a used computer system and don't feel comfortable in making the correct buying decision, contact Dale Rolland, 2045 Deer Trail #205, Floresville, TX 78114. Just tell him you read about him in "Victoria's Reports No. 149" and are interested in purchasing a system. Tell him the type of work you plan to use a computer for and the amount of money you are willing to spend.

And if you enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope as a gesture that you appreciate his valuable time - I'm sure Dale will do his utmost to help you. At least he will save you $1,000's of dollars.

Good luck!

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