Help with Your Hardware Questions
This section covers how to get some answers, or where to get those answers, for your your questions concerning hardware.
Hardware is a general term that includes computers, monitors, printers, external hard drives, internal upgrades (e.g. chips, memory, video cards, power supplies, etc), projectors, film and digital image cameras, video cameras, sound equipment, etc.
Software is a general term for all programs such as word processing, database, image and video editing, web composition, ftp client (for uploading web files to server), suites of such, planning and review programs, scheduling and email (e.g.) "Outlook" and "Thunderbird." More on this in the Software section.
This section does not include the process of arriving at a church decision to purchase and use the hardware. Please see the decision process. Specific hardware will be discussed in relationship to specific uses covered in other parts of this section of the site.
When you have identified the specific hardware that you need, find out as much as you can about it.
- Its pros
- Its cons
- Others' feedback of the hardware after they have used it. Was it a mistake to get that specific item by that manufacturer?
- Read and study the "specs" (specifications). Does it have enough of what you want
- Don't be seduced by the "bells and whistles"! Will you really have use for that feature (that has raised the price so much).
- If possible, especially on larger and more expensive items, ask the manufacturer or dealer to allow you a trial of the hardware you have decided to ultimately purchase.
For reviews of good integrity try these sites:
- www.cnet.com - just enter the name, model, or manufacturer of the product in the search window.
- www.pcmag.com - again, use the search window
Use caution when looking at a site of a company that is trying to sell you the product. Employees of these companies have been known to write very positive reviews and post them as if they were users. Also, many of these vendors will post the "great and wonderful" writing of the products' manufacturer's marketing department. These would include:
Other Helps for Research:
- Find churches nearby who may be using at least the type of equipment you have been led to consider.
- Call or e-mail Richard or any of the GRR staff. We can refer you to a person in a church that may be able to help.
Do you purchase from a commercial vendor such as Klausradio? Or, do you purchase from a consumer vendor such as Best Buy, Office Max, Office Depot, Staples, Dell, Gateway, Lenova, etc. ?
- Read the instruction manual, or at lead the quick set-up brochure.
- Learn as a tech team, together.
- Look for classes at a local school, tech company
- Participate in a seminar by experts. Ask your church, denomination, or local ministerial association to sponsor such
- Be familiar with the warranty. Don't try anything yourself, or let another "shade-tree mechanic" do anything until you know for sure that the product is out of warranty.
- Under warranty or not, first contact the vendor from which you purchased the product
- Contact the manufacturer. Sometimes these companies will work with you on helping you with the old and/or giving you a replacement or discount on a replacement.
- Is it operator error? Is it, in regard to computers, spyware, viruses, etc? Software issues account for 80% of all computer hardware problems.
- Dispose of the hardware appropriately. First, you are a steward of our Lord. Take care of what he has given over to your care. Second, there are local, state, and national laws regarding the disposal of computers, monitors, etc. This is because of the toxic metals used in the electronics.
- Look for "Recycling Drives" announced in your newspaper or local news.
- Use an internet search engine for companies and local governments who ask for your recycling donation.