You've been talking about it for months, and now you've finally taken the plunge and bought yourself a shiny new home computer. Or perhaps you're an IT manager who's just upgraded the systems for an entire department. Well, don't put your wallet away, because you've just started shelling out for all the things you'll need during the life of these computers.
The thrill of getting a new machine, or the relief of outfitting a business with a fleet of computers, can mask an elemental truth about the purchase. "People don't always think about what they're getting into when they buy a new computer," observes Geoff Butterfield, director of information technology projects at the George Lucas Educational Foundation.
Whether at home or in the workplace, computers really are the gift that keeps on giving, and not always in a good way. Applications; supplies such as printer ink and paper; wasted time; and health issues are among the many costs you'll encounter during the life of your computer.
And just wait until you try to get rid of the thing. Michael Corleone's lament in The Godfather: Part III comes to mind: just when you thought you were out (of the business of paying computer-related expenses, that is), they pull you back in.
But you don't have to just sit there and take it. While you can't avoid the costs associated with owning and using computers entirely, you can reduce them. PC Advisor's sister title Computerworld provides tips for minimising the damage.