Spec Gaming

Making Sense of Specs

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LAST-MINUTE holiday shoppers, or those looking toward the after-Christmas sales, may be familiar with the feeling Brian Halabaso acknowledged as he made his way across the sales floor of a Circuit City store here.

“I’m just clueless,” said Mr. Halabaso, a 27-year-old student at City College of San Francisco. “This stuff changes so fast.”

Mr. Halabaso was accompanying a neighbor, Luis Meza, on a scouting expedition for a plasma television (“a Christmas present for myself,” said Mr. Meza, who works at a Fisherman’s Wharf restaurant), but he could have been talking about almost any electronics purchase.

Whether it involves a big-screen TV’s resolution, a digital camera’s megapixels, a computer’s gigahertz or a stereo’s wattage, shoppers face not only the challenge of understanding new technology concepts, but also the task of figuring out which numbers or claims they should heed….