To evaluate software, you should begin by asking yourself a basic question about which side you're on (or intend to join).
One of your authors prefers Macs, the other prefers PCs. At one time this could have turned into a religious war, but these days the differences between these two kinds of computers aren't that significant. But you can't avoid the choice—early on—and it's one that will affect all the others that follow.
You can get excellent results on either platform (the type of computer and operating system). If you already own a recent-model desktop computer, there's a lot to be said for sticking with what you're used to. (See the sidebar, “Upgrade or Buy New?” in this appendix.)
PLATFORM: Type of computer processor ...