How to get a free new computer every 2 years

I have been a Windows user every since I tried to get Windows version 2 up and going on my XT many moons ago. My last PC is two years old now and I have had my mother board burn out once, two power supplies burn out and a graphics card with a fan that sounded like a plane landing. On the software side I have had driver and registry hell as one thing after another has gone awry. My PC is a custom built job, with good quality components. It just surprises me how many problems I have had.

I thought that might get your attention. Read on if you want to know more

How to Stop Loosing your Hair over your Computer
I have been a Windows user every since I tried to get Windows version 2 up and going on my XT many moons ago. My last PC is two years old now and I have had my mother board burn out once, two power supplies burn out and a graphics card with a fan that sounded like a plane landing. On the software side I have had driver and registry hell as one thing after another has gone awry. My PC is a custom built job, with good quality components. It just surprises me how many problems I have had.

Meanwhile, my wife has been happily chugging away on her Mac now for 2 years and not one problem. I bought her the Mac two years ago because I got tired of playing support guy for two PCs in the house.

Well now I am officially over playing support guy. Recently, while my computer was in the shop for over month while they tried to find a motherboard to replace my burnt out mother board, I was forced to use my wife’s Mac for trading (thank god my account is with Oanda – I can trade from just about anywhere). To my surprise, everything has been going smooth as.

After that experience, I went down the store yesterday, handed over my credit card and bought one off the shelf.

Hang on, how do you get a free one?
Ahhh grass hopper, you have much to learn … My journey to get myself a mac started with trying to pick a cheap second hand one up on eBay. It just isn’t possible. Every mac on eBay, including ones that are 18 months to 2 years old are still fetching up to 3/4 price of a brand new one (assuming the warranty is still intact and the case isn’t wrecked). Everyone loves Macs. They hold their value extremely well. PCs on the other hand are like Toyotas. You drive them off the show room floor and they loose 3/4 of their value.

Ok, so now here comes the rub. In the Australian Tax system you can salary sacrifice on pretax dollars for items related to your profession for things such as laptops (not desktops – and only one laptop every two years). Salary sacrifice adds up to about a 47% saving off the pre-GST price. Sooooo, if you buy a mac laptop on salary sacrifice every 2 years and flip it on eBay, you should be ahead. If you add the fact that the Tax department also lets you depreciate a portion of the value of your laptop, you could in theory come out ahead (less the cost of software and other gizmos) and have a brand new laptop to boot every two years.

Which one did I buy?
I ended up buying a MacBook. Not the black one, the white one. The black one is $200 – $300 more for black plastic. It is designed to sell to an audience with more money than sense. The white one is designed for women and parents (hence the cheaper price).

Don’t waste your time with a MacBook Pro either. The difference is a $1000+ for a bigger screen and a better graphics card. If you use the existing LCD from your PC, this is a waste.

Don’t buy extra memory from Apple’s online store. Talk to your local apple dealer. He can sell you after market memory at half the price without voiding your warranty (which you need to keep for resale value). Also don’t waste your time ordering a bigger disk. Apple charge a big premium on their disk. For less than $500 now you can pick up a terrabyte of external disk or network attached storage. More than enough storage to suit your needs. Lastly don’t buy applecare extended warranty online. You local apple dealer will be more than happy to get your business and he will sell it to you for a discount.

Trading with a Mac
If you are like me and you need lots of screen space to track all my markets. No problem. Under MacOS X leopard, there is some software called “spaces” that allows you to have 4 screens virtually. I have a single 24″ Dell monitor, with the press of the F8 key I can jump between 4 different 1920 by 1200 screens.

Much of the software you would like for trading sadly is windows only. My solution to that problem has been to get Parallels and run windows XP using virtualization. I choose parallels over fusion because in benchmark testing parallels is 17% faster then fusion. Also, if you are nice to your local apple dealer he will sell you an OEM copy of windows XP for a fraction of the full retail price. In terms of memory, you are going to need 2 – 4 Gb of RAM to some windows apps. I have opted to start with 2Gb and when the price for 2Gb sticks comes down, I will upgrade.

Macrotactics is a blog devoted to recording a part time trader’s journey into the world of trading currencies. In my day job I work as a manager in an Information Technology company. I live in sunny Queensland, Australia with my wife, a cat and a baby on the way. I have been banging my head on this trading thing for at least 3 years now and the deeper I dig into the topic of trading, the more I realise there is to learn. Trading for me has

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