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Need a Nerd

01 Jun 2010

I want to buy a new computer. What should I buy?

First you should set your budget. Generally the more you can afford to spend the better computer you will get, but not all computers are created equal.A laptop computer gives you portability, and so is better for business use. You can take it with you and work on your PC just about anywhere: on holiday, while travelling, on the road or in your living room.

Also you can purchase a mobile broadband device to give you internet access on the go.

When comparing different computer models you will need to look at different specifications, so here is a quick breakdown to help you decide:

•    CPU speed. Measured in GHz (gigahertz). The higher this is, the faster the computer will be. Dual, triple or quad core means faster processing. A dual core is roughly 1½ times faster than a single core and triple core roughly 1½ times faster than dual core.

•    Memory or RAM: Measured in GB (gigabytes). The more of this, the better.

•    Storage or hard disk space: Also measured in GB. The more you have, the better.

•    Graphics: There are many different types of graphics cards. The higher-spec ones will play the latest computer games. If you are intending it just for business use, this won’t be very important.

•    Optical drives or burners: Get a computer with a DVD burner. Some will support Lightscribe (burn labels onto special discs) or Blu-ray (the latest high-definition movie format).

•    Computer accessories: Consider purchasing a web cam to make video calls, or a wireless keyboard or mouse for more computing freedom. Be sure to get a separate storage device, so you can make backup copies of all your important documents. An 8GB USB drive costs around $50 – keep it somewhere safe, and never in your computer bag!

•    Upgrade the warranty: Make sure to ask what warranty coverage the computer comes with. Most new computers come with a one-year, return-to-base warranty, meaning in the event of a failure you will have to send it away for repairs, possibly for several weeks. Consider upgrading to a longer warranty with onsite service, so the PC doesn’t have to leave your home. We recommend three years.

Six tips for writing better emails.   

1. Open with compelling subject line. Your reader likely gets hundreds of emails each day.

Make yours stand out – not with all caps or lots of exclamation points, but by condensing the best points of your offer to create a sense of urgency. WEAK: An invitation for you. STRONG: Paid speaking opportunity, no travel required (deadline approaching).

2.    Introduce yourself in one sentence. Your reader doesn’t care about you (yet). Don’t blather on and on about your accomplishments or your history. Include a link to your site, so if the reader wants to know more, they can investigate.

3.    Do your homework. What sorts of offers has this person accepted in the past? What kinds of propositions are they interested in, and what sorts of incentives do they need to say yes? If you find that your big shot agreed to a $6000 fee for a three-day conference, offering $2000 for 90 minutes of their time on the phone makes for an irresistible offer.

4.    Keep it short. State your offer clearly in one paragraph. Not a long run-on paragraph either. Six sentences, tops.

5.    Be bold, not precise. Your goal for this email is to get this person interested. Too much detail at this point wastes your reader’s time and attention. (But do include the one or two details that will capture that attention.) Example: “You’ll get 51% of the profits from everyone you refer ($212 per sale).” Keep it bold and simple.

6.    Don’t fawn and grovel. Acting like a rabid fan won’t win you any points; it will get your proposal taken a lot less seriously. Act like a peer with a good proposal, and you’ll find you’ll get replied to like one. It’s fine to mention that you like the person’s work, but too much gushing and your email is going to wind up with all the other fan mail – not in the ‘A’ folder of messages that need a quick response.

Tips courtesy of