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Accessorizing Computers: What Comes Out of the Box is Just a Starter Kit

Yesterday, we spent about three hours trying to convince a client that new computers do not come equipped with all the things that most PCs need. We explained that a fully functional computer is personalized with specially selected hardware and software accessories, which are not included in the boxed product. Unfortunately, our client remained unconvinced, insisting that he would never need more than what came with his computer and accusing us of trying to bilk him out of more money.

As computer consultants, our job is to ensure our clients are 100% satisfied when they leave our offices. However, our job is made harder when people fail to learn about computer accessories and familiarize themselves with the limitations of store-bought computers. By the end of this article, we hope to convey the lesson we were trying to teach our client: "What comes out of the box is just a starter kit."

The typical computer package comes with a CPU unit, keyboard, mouse, and speaker set. While this may suffice for some users, most require more, especially in today's connected society. Users need full multimedia capabilities, a wide range of graphics tools, and accommodations for the various portables we now enjoy. These extras are not included in the boxed product, and the only way to obtain them is through accessorizing.

To illustrate the importance of accessorizing, we use the "plain dough" analogy. A brand-new computer is like a batch of plain dough, waiting to be flavored and baked into something useful. If we want to make a batch of chocolate chip cookies, we would need to accessorize the dough with chocolate chips and brown sugar. If we want to make a warm loaf of sesame seed bread, we would need to accessorize the dough with yeast and sesame seeds.

Like plain dough, a new computer is not very useful by itself and needs accessorizing. Depending on what is needed, accessorizing does not have to be expensive. In fact, minimal amounts can be spent on extra software and hardware for children. However, when these accessories are required for work or to produce quality work, they can become expensive. This applies to microphones, digital cameras, PDAs, scanners, video cams, and more.

Regardless of cost, it is important to understand that accessories can become necessities, and the best time to obtain them is when buying a new computer. Waiting too long to accessorize can cause more problems than necessary because manufacturers continuously develop new technologies that your computer may not be able to accommodate in the future. Once you are ready to accessorize, the new products on the market may be too advanced for your computer, rendering them incompatible. This is a typical problem experienced by those wanting to use hardware designed for Windows Vista on a Windows XP or Windows 2000 machine.

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