Buying a Computer: New or Used?

For the business my spouse wants to start (I am not ready to give up what type of business it is just yet), she needs a new computer. The 4 year old, first generation Intel Centrino, Dell laptop, with 512 MB RAM is just not going to cut it. We have had a lot of discussion about the brand of computer we are going to buy. We are fairly confident that we are going to settle on an Apple iMac -- while the cost may be a little bit more than a <Dell, HP, Gateway, insert your favorite vendor here> PC, the fact it can run both Windows and OS X just makes it a no brainer. And with the business my spouse wants to start I can see her switching back and forth between operating systems. And, the new and previous generation iMacs are just sweet looking and designed so efficiently!

Now that the "What type of computer are we going to get" question has been answered, we are faced with another dilemma. Should we buy new or used? The fact is, the previous generation iMacs had Intel Core 2 Duo processors in them, etc., and would serve just fine for my spouse's business. And now that the new iMacs were announced back in August, these previous generation iMacs can be found "discounted" on eBay and other sites.

I have always leaned towards never buying a used computer. I like my computers "clean as a whistle", so to speak. So buying from an individual on eBay scares me a bit. There are reputable stores, like even Apple themselves, that sell refurbished computers. And notice above I put the word discounted in quotes -- I am not 100% convinced that the value you might be able to get from a used/refurbished computer will really outweigh having the latest generation and never touched machine. The new iMacs start at only about $1200; add another 1GB of RAM and you are looking at $1300 or so. Not too bad. Amazon has a $50 rebate too.

So what is your opinion? Would you buy a used/refurbished computer? If so, from where would you buy such a computer?

The Mobile Phone Shuffle Sucks

Leaving a company is stressful for many obvious reasons. But one that adds to the stress level quite a bit is around the mobile phone. My company gave me a mobile phone and plan when I joined. And, like most everyone else, the phone became a business/personal phone. Thus, my family, friends, acquaintances call me on this line -- more than any co-workers do, for sure.

When I leave, I have to give the phone, phone number and plan back. Man, I can't even transfer to another plan and keep the phone number!!!

So, now I am put in the position of trying to find a new phone and plan in the most seamless way possible. Seamless, yeah right -- gotta find the right plan, the right phone, tell all of my contacts, update my resume, update my bank information and other on-line sources, etc. :-(

The mobile phone shuffle sucks! If I ever work for a company again, and not for myself, I believe I will have a clear separation of personal and business mobile phones. I don't want to go through this again.

Well, I need to have all this straightened out by next Friday. Wish me luck :-)

 (btw, I know there are worse atrocities in the world -- I am just trying to make a point even on a relatively trivial situation such as this)