Newsgroups and BBS had the broadcast non-realtime but not the "linking" functionality. I was not online pre-Internet. Communications were waaaaay too expensive in Europe for BBS to be practical, especially in a small country.
One of the things I gave up was games, and I never missed them.
I'm not full of crap. The 50% was exceptional, I admit... but then, when was the last time you saw an Apple Computer on sale, like anywhere? On Dells 20% is routine. A few things: you have to actively follow their offers, and be willing to take what you get. You eyed that Latitude, but a Vostro is on sale? Too bad, take what you can get.
Got myself a nice little rackmount for 1000€ (incl VAT, since it's business stuff you never get the prices with VAT). Trick was, again, a coupon, base machine was already reduced, another free shipping code and finally the fact that the 2TB HDDs were at the price of 1TB disks (another "action"). I had trouble making the order, so I contacted them by phone. None of the sales would give me those reductions. Second time online, it worked.
I do not know why they do this. It doesn't make sense, but damn, they do it and if you just happen to need anything, you get your stuff with such reductions. If you fancy new gear, you just wait until reductions come around the corner.
I'm pretty brand-agnostic. Typing this on a an Acer Ultrabook (also on sale, obviously!). I've got a mix of Apple, Dell, Acer, Zotac (barebones), Foxconn (barebones) and diverse self-builds around the house. I've had Toshiba, HP, Fujitsu-Siemens and Asus laptops, as wel as IBM, HP, Fujitsu-Siemense desktops and I'm surely missing some.
A final word on Dell. I've found their XPS line have a very nice build quality. (When I got the 50% sale, I bought three identical machines, for me, my sister and my brother) The other consumer lines are fine, but it's mostly plastic. At work, we use Latitudes, and those really are damn well built machines. They're definitely not sexy like whatever Apple has, but they're well built, reliable and the support is excellent.
I really don't mind Apple. They have nice gear. I even recommend Apple to all my acquaintances that refuse to learn about computers. That way I have them out of the shooting line, and they usually don't ever need me again. The problem are those who would need an Apple, but can't afford it. Take the Acer Aspire S3 I'm typing this on. It is made from metal. The type says it's a MS2346. I got it on sale for 649€ at a local supermarket. You can get it cheaper elsewhere, but due to keyboard layout reasons, I prefer to buy locally unless the sale really is too good to be true. I will not say it is as good as a MacBook Air, it most likely is not. It is however, a fancy little machine, that runs Ubuntu just fine and is 380euro; cheaper than the cheapset MacBook Air I can get. That's the kind of machines, many people need because of the price constraints.
Basically, yes, I'm a computer bargain hunter. Sadly, there never are bargains with Apple. We have a 27" iMac for my wife, and we didn't spare any expenses for that one. No sales, no coupons. Why? Because it's for my wife and now she doesn't need me to hold her hands while she uses her computer. It works, but damn, it better works until until at least 2021.
With Dell, you better not pay full price ever. Keep an eye on discounts, coupons, etc. If you don't get at least a 20% discount, you're getting ripped off. You only pay full price, if you absolutely have to have what you want right now, and let's be honest: most of us can keep running on our older gear for just a bit longer.