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For Seniors: How to Get Your Computer Ready for eBay

You don’t have to know a lot of fancy computer tech stuff to do well on eBay, but you must have a computer — either a desktop or laptop variety. Keep the following pointers in mind as you get your computer ready for eBay:

  • Computers come in various shapes, sizes, and configurations (see some examples in the figure). Whatever style you go for, look for a computer with a good memory capacity. A hard drive with at least 60 gigabytes (GB) of storage space should keep your computer happy, but you can get hard drives as big as 400GB and more.

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  • If you’re in the market for a new computer, buy the biggest hard drive you can afford. No matter how large your hard drive is, you’ll find a way to fill it up.

  • Make sure that the computer’s central processing unit (CPU) is fast. A CPU (also known as a chip) is your computer’s brain, and it should have the fastest processing speed you can afford. You can always opt for the top-of-the-line, but even a slower 900MHz (megahertz) processor can suffice. If you want lightning-fast speed, you have to move up to a chip with at least a 3GHz (gigahertz) processing speed.

  • Make sure that you have a top-quality modem if you have a dial-up connection. Your modem connects your computer to the Internet using your telephone line. Even if you have a broadband connection, you should have a modem (usually built in to most computers) that can connect you on the off-chance that your high-speed service is down.

    A modem transfers data over phone lines at a rate called kilobytes per second, or just plain K. A 56K modem is standard equipment and is especially important if you plan on using a lot of digital images (photographs) to help sell your items.

  • Get a big screen. Having an LCD monitor with at least a 17-inch screen can make a huge difference after several hours of bidding or proofreading your auction item descriptions. Get anything smaller, and you’ll have a hard time actually seeing the listings and images.

  • You must have a keyboard. The basic keyboard is fine. Some manufacturers do make funky ergonomic models that are split in the middle. But if the good old standard keyboard feels comfortable to you, stick with it.

  • You need a pointing device, usually a mouse. Some laptops come with touchpads or trackballs designed to do the same thing — give you a quick way to move the pointer around the screen so you can select options by clicking.

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