Introduction

Computers are getting cheaper and cheaper. It's not uncommon to find new PCs for sale for under $200 these days. We're not quite at the stage where you can go buy a replacement computer in the same way as you purchase a new toaster, but we're close. In fact, one day computers may be given away with the purchase of a new piece of software.

Ah, software—there's the rub. Software has not dropped in price. As a matter of fact, software costs keep going up, and there's no end in sight. It's not uncommon to spend $200 or more for a big-name application to install on your computer. I'm not suggesting that software isn't worth the price. What I'm saying is that it's almost impossible today to spend less on software than you did on the computer ...

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