Re: 9037 computer anonymity
Rather than installing those software products, which could possibly contain spyware, I would suggest a product like Tails (The Amnesic Incognito Live System). It's a "live CD," which means you download the file and burn it to a CD, which you can then boot your computer from. It has a built-in operating system and doesn't touch any files on your hard drive. Tails uses the Firefox browser and it works by encrypting your web traffic and using a network of proxies. Very safe and very secure (but nothing is 100 percent safe or secure or private). It's open source software, so if there was any malware in there, somebody would have found it long ago. And best of all, it's free, though the developers are happy to accept donations.
If you're really paranoid about Internet security, you should also never use your computer's built-in network adapters (wired or Wi-Fi). The reason is that they all have a unique MAC address, which can be tracked. Instead, buy a USB network adapter and throw it away and replace it every so often, like a burner cellphone.
As for buying a computer, maybe you should stay away from the big-box stores. You did the right thing by paying cash and not giving your name (though I probably would have given a fake name rather than try to argue about it). I suggest buying from a mom and pop (in another town so they don't actually know you). I don't know if any of them sell Macs, so if you want a Macbook Pro you may not have much choice. But I do know they would be more than happy to accept your cash. And they won't hold your bills up to the light until after you drive off!
URL #1: https://tails.boum.org/