My friends are mostly IT types. They understand computers and know how to diagnose and fix 'em.
Not me. I can follow instructions in help files (sometimes) but that's about it. Nevertheless, I am deeply in love with the personal computer as a tool - I don't remember how I ever got by without one.
That being said, my desktop machines have always been Frankenstein-like affairs, patched together by friends who did not want their Game Master to be without a computer. After the close of the last place I worked, I ended up with about three laptops over the years. Two "don't work," as far as I know, but they could be salvaged. The other is decent enough but simply doesn't have the power for what I need - and that's music recording and LAN gaming.
After I was hit by a car a few years ago and got some insurance money, I got my son a pretty badass machine. My friend Ryan ordered all the parts and set it up for me. It was about $1200 in the end, but it was worth it. Ultimately, it turned my son into a criminal, as he's figured out the shady world of torrent downloads.
But now Dad needs a machine.
I'm not much into gaming of the computer sort (although I'm a fiend for tabletop RPGs) but I have been messing around with Sonar, recording some demos and whatnot. The sound card on my laptop won't handle it, so I tried to install all that stuff on my son's machine. Apparently Vista doesn't like my software very much - especially GearBox software for the Line 6 TonePort. But I'm managing by recording on one machine, e-mailing files to myself and mixing on another.
It's kind of a pain in the ass.
So as soon as my tax refund comes, I'm going to build another beast. I'm going to network it to my son's machine and (finally) play some multi-player games. I'm a little far behind - I'm still excited about the FIRST Dungeon Seige and I've never quite gotten around to Freelancer. And, of course, I will finally have the tools I need to record music without impediment, and that should make the cost worthwhile.
Now, aren't you glad you know all this?
I will, of course, keep you updated and post some pics of the new bad boy when it comes alive.
Until then, I should probably get back to work, seeing as they're going to all the trouble to pay me and everything.