💻 Choose the right computer

There are a couple different types of computers: MacBooks and Raspberry Pis. But which one is right for you? Hi, I’m Brian, a software developer based in Charlottesville, Virginia. I’ve got a lot of experience using MacBooks and a little experience using Raspberry Pis. So let’s go through the top five questions that will help you decide.


1. Do you need a screen?

The first question you should ask yourself is “Do I need a screen to go with my computer?” Some people like using computer screens because it enables them to use visual software applications like web browsers or Halo. And paired with a keyboard, you can see your keystrokes come to life as characters on the screen. If you’re a screenhead, you’ll probably want to go with a MacBook, since it comes with one by default and Raspberry Pis do not. Although it is possible to purchase a screen for a Raspberry Pi and wire it up yourself, the “plug and play” nature of the MacBooks screen makes it the clear choice.


2. Are you generally considered a “nerd”?

The next data point that can help in your decision is whether or not people in your social circles generally consider you to be a nerd. It’s important to understand that it doesn’t matter if you consider yourself a chic, Tesla-brand, neo-nerd of the 2020s, or a nerd in the traditional sense (meaning you’re socially inept, love technology, and are ashamed of yourself). Either way, you’re going to want to purchase a Raspberry Pi. Neo-nerds probably won’t need a second MacBook and will love being able to say they have a Raspberry Pi. Classic nerds will really get a kick out of the Raspberry Pi’s ports, RAM, and other specs. Otherwise, you will love getting a MacBook. You can quickly gauge if you’re a nerd or not by correctly naming Aragorn’s race in the


3. Are you hungry right now?

This might go without saying, but the hungrier you are, the more likely you are going to want to get a Raspberry Pi. Unless you have a real hankering for apples and you somehow already know that MacBooks are made by the Apple company, then you’re going to be salivating just at the thought of eating a real-life raspberry pie. It’s okay, but just evaluate your hunger level and be sure to subtract that many decision points from the total you’ve accumulated so far in making your computer choice.


4. Do you want to synchronize your Christmas lights to music?

If the entire purpose for your computer is to use it to orchestrate and automate an intricate display of flashing Christmas lights and animatronic decorations, then there isn’t really a clear choice either way. It might seem obvious to buy a MacBook, the ubiquitous Christmas light automation machine. Everyone who grew up in the 2000’s knows Vixen, XLights, and Light-O-Rama (all supported on the Mac) like the back of their hands. But if you’re on a budget, you might want to consider that a MacBook can run you upwards of $2,799, while a Raspberry Pi can be as cheap as $5. It might take a bit more finagling, but setting up your Christmas display on a Raspberry Pi could save you thousands of dollars, so that’s something to think about.


5. Will you ever need to actually eat your computer?

Whether it’s on a dare, or you need to hide your files, or simply as part of some gruesome Saw-like torture-puzzle, you might find one day that you need to ingest the entirety of your computer. This is where a Raspberry Pi really shines; there are no two ways about it. You might be able to swallow a Raspberry Pi whole if you know what you’re doing. A MacBook on the other hand would take some real endurance to consume. The size and rigidity of the MacBook ironically are its Achilles’ heel in this situation. This is kind of a niche requirement, but for those who know they might eat their computer, it can definitely be a deal-breaker.


So that’s the top five questions you need to ask yourself when buying a computer. Anything I missed? Leave your questions in the comments.

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