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Tech: Laptops

SINSULL 01 Mar 10 - 08:13 AM
Susan of DT 01 Mar 10 - 08:52 AM
Mr Red 01 Mar 10 - 09:54 AM
katlaughing 01 Mar 10 - 10:09 AM
olddude 01 Mar 10 - 10:10 AM
olddude 01 Mar 10 - 10:12 AM
Vixen 01 Mar 10 - 10:15 AM
Dave the Gnome 01 Mar 10 - 10:23 AM
mattkeen 01 Mar 10 - 10:27 AM
SINSULL 01 Mar 10 - 10:43 AM
SINSULL 01 Mar 10 - 11:16 AM
artbrooks 01 Mar 10 - 11:25 AM
EBarnacle 01 Mar 10 - 12:07 PM
ClaireBear 01 Mar 10 - 12:15 PM
EBarnacle 01 Mar 10 - 12:49 PM
ClaireBear 01 Mar 10 - 01:03 PM
katlaughing 01 Mar 10 - 02:31 PM
JohnInKansas 01 Mar 10 - 05:29 PM
Richard Bridge 01 Mar 10 - 07:06 PM
Bat Goddess 01 Mar 10 - 07:37 PM
Rowan 01 Mar 10 - 08:14 PM
EBarnacle 01 Mar 10 - 11:02 PM
Acme 01 Mar 10 - 11:40 PM
GUEST,Ed 02 Mar 10 - 12:08 AM
JohnInKansas 02 Mar 10 - 02:55 AM
SINSULL 15 Mar 10 - 09:12 AM
Dave the Gnome 15 Mar 10 - 10:55 AM
Mr Red 15 Mar 10 - 11:06 AM
GUEST,PeterC 15 Mar 10 - 12:22 PM
GUEST,bigJ 17 Mar 10 - 08:55 AM
Mr Red 17 Mar 10 - 09:09 AM
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Subject: Tech: Laptops
From: SINSULL
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 08:13 AM

A virus ate my computer and since it is over six years old, I am thinking of replacing it with a laptop. I use my computer for emails, Mudcat, poker, and occasional letters. When I Ebay I use it with a digital camera.
So any suggestions for a laptop?
My plan is to get the computer cleaned up and functioning and connect it upstairs. Set up the wireless router so I can compute anywhere on the laptop.
thanks for your input.
Mary


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Subject: RE: Tech: Laptops
From: Susan of DT
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 08:52 AM

Mary - Remember that on laptops the screen is connected to the keyboard so you cannot adjust the placement of the various components, like you can on a desktop. Think about whether that will be comfortable for you for everyday computing. Also the mouse arrangement may not be comfortable. Of course, you can buy a separate monitor and mouse to attach to a laptop. I use laptops only on the road and do not particularly like using them. And I know you are not 20 years old, either.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Laptops
From: Mr Red
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 09:54 AM

The LCD display can take a bit of getting used to if you had a CRT. Look at the resolution and go for 1280 X 1024 if you can. Sizing of characters (OS settings) for the screen is a bit of an art, usually the factory settings are best. I would advise getting a mouse with extending cable - preferrably inside the mouse. External monitor is not really convenient for portability. Get the best screen you can & try without monitor first.
I would opt for the best features you can. DVD (preferrably a writer). And USB 3.0 is announced - if you can find a laptop with such a drive - go for it, it looks to be the way to go, exceedingly fast (e-SATA & Firewire killer), and being backward compatible it will work on all existing devices (subject to drivers) and future-proofing has been the watchword up to now. We are talking HDD speeds so external drives will be as fast as internal, I saw a figure of 16:1 improvement in speed.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Laptops
From: katlaughing
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 10:09 AM

Rog bought me a Dell mini-laptop (aka notebook). It is no bigger than a sheet of typing paper and more powerful than our older desktop, BUT, like Susan, I do not like using it except with external monitor and track ball/mouse. We both really are amazed at its size and capabilities. If you shop at Dell, they have a refurbished section with good prices. Most of the units are returns, never been used because fo changed minds, etc.

The one thing I don't like is it does not have a CD drive, but, again, its got USB ports, so it would be easy to put on an external. I love the portability and Morgan, of course, is in love with it. I finally let him sit at the table and use it last week. He told me it was just his size. If I remember correctly, the keyboard is 89% sized compared to a regular one..hardly noticeable. Rog is a whiz on it.

Good luck!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Laptops
From: olddude
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 10:10 AM

Send it to me Mary and I will fix it for you, has to be cheaper than having a tech head do it ... just PM me if you wish and I will fix it for you

Dan


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Subject: RE: Tech: Laptops
From: olddude
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 10:12 AM

another alternative to avoiding the dreaded virus stuff is have me put Linux on it for you ... you can then do everything you listed quite safely without all the windows headaches


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Subject: RE: Tech: Laptops
From: Vixen
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 10:15 AM

HI Sinsull--

I just got an HP touchsmart from BestBuy, and I love it. That being said, I do help desk/tech support for my day job, and I'm still learning to use this machine and I've owned it for 6 weeks. It's got all sorts of features I may never use (I've never watched movies on my PC, for example). Windows 7 has been a learning curve too.

Good luck!
V


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Subject: RE: Tech: Laptops
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 10:23 AM

Thought of an iPad yet or are they still too expensive and/or new tech?

Just a thought.

DeG


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Subject: RE: Tech: Laptops
From: mattkeen
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 10:27 AM

MacBook

Would cure the virus problem - but I am a die hard Mac head mind


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Subject: RE: Tech: Laptops
From: SINSULL
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 10:43 AM

Thank you all. A friend is going to clean up the hard drive. Suggestions on a laptop are welcome. My plan is to keep the computer upstairs where there is a faster connection (long story) and use the laptop with a wireless router.
Meantime my email is SINSULL 47 at yahoo.
M


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Subject: RE: Tech: Laptops
From: SINSULL
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 11:16 AM

I can't access my RR address without the password so temporarily Yahoo is it.
M


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Subject: RE: Tech: Laptops
From: artbrooks
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 11:25 AM

I have both a Toshiba Satellite (about 2 years old) and a brand-new Toshiba Netbook NB 350. Both have 2GB RAM and have Windows 7 Home Edition loaded. Jenn doesn't care much for the big laptop because it doesn't fit comfortable on her little lap, but she has fallen in love with the netbook. We got it with a USB plug-in DVD drive, but haven't used it yet. Total just over $500 from Amazon. I'd suggest looking there when you actually buy - the prices are as good as you'll find anywhere, no tax or shipping, and they have a good collection of user reviews. Oh yeah...and use the Mudcat portal to Amazon.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Laptops
From: EBarnacle
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 12:07 PM

As I have mentioned in several other threads, I have been rehabbing laptops over the past year. If your machine is a Dell, I have had very good experiences with their tech people in that they have willingly provided me with software and advice for computers they had no need to back up any more. This included source disks so I could get reinstallations of XP registered after Microsoft sent me back to the drawing board because XP is no longer supported. Would I keep another Dell for my own use? Yup.

Based on my experience, I have done well with Dell, Compaq, IBM/Lenovo and Toshiba. With HP, go to the company website before committing to a specific model. I have been given an HP DV9000 to play with and it has significant issues with the video chip.

If you are going to get an antivirus program, I suggest Avast rather than AVG, as AVG and Dells do not seem compatible. Also AVG seems to slow our computers down when it is doing its stuff. The only quirk I have run into with Avast is that about 5 minutes after we start up, we get a popup and a female voice announcing that the program has been updated.

If your friend runs into problems, I am right near the NYC area and will be happy to help you. Jest put yer lips tagether and blow.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Laptops
From: ClaireBear
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 12:15 PM

I have a a laptop that I use instead of a desktop at work and then take home to do more work in the evening.. Although its screen isn't huge (15 inches diagonal), I find that perfectly easy to live with. The keyboard and the touchpad thingy, though, not so much. I keep a USB mouse and keyboard at work and never work without them. I also keep a set at home, but use these less often because I tend to work huddled up on a corner of the couch rather than at a desk. When I do use the one at home rather than try to get by with the notebook mini-keyboard, those are the days that my posts here are relatively typo-free.

Which reminds me, it's switching back and forth between radically different keyboard sizes and configurations that seriously hampers my typing skills. I now have a personal laptop that's got a bigger screen (18 inches diag) and a "full-size" keyboard, complete with number pad, so it's more like a desktop. On that, I get by just fine without plugging in a keyboard. Still hate the touchpad, though.

C


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Subject: RE: Tech: Laptops
From: EBarnacle
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 12:49 PM

Claire, try hooking in a trackball. You don't need a flat, level surface and you will probably find it very easy to adapt to. You may never go back.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Laptops
From: ClaireBear
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 01:03 PM

That's a seriously good idea, EB -- thanks!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Laptops
From: katlaughing
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 02:31 PM

I agree! I love my trackball and so do my shoulders, arms, and hands.:-)

AVG has worked fine on our Dells, fwiw.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Laptops
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 05:29 PM

If the "integral" screen and keyboard is inconvenient, it is much easier (and cheaper) to use the laptop as the monitor and use a separate keyboard and mouse. Most laptops will open a full 180 degrees, so you could "hang them flat" on a wall if you can prepare a place for normal use - or just push them back out of the way in temporary places - and have keyboard and mouse (or trackball) on a desktop/table working surface.

Shops here have a wireless combo that requires a plug-in "wand" about the size of a thumb drive and both mouse and keyboard that both talk to the wand. A disadvantage in the ones I've seen is that life for the batteries is not exceptionally long, and the mouse uses an AA battery while the keyboard uses AAAs, so you'd likely want to have spares of both sizes handy.

While there no longer is an IBM laptop - that generally got much superior reviews than competitors but was much more expensive - the successor Lenova continues to get somewhat better grades on reliability and durability than near competitors; but I haven't tried one as yet. The "generic" prices, for many brands run close to $500 (US) in my area, with the Lenova well-equipped models about $200 more (in models I'd be interested in) so there's enough difference that you would want to check reviews and specs pretty carefully to be sure the one you like justifies the price diff.

I've recently had a Dell that lasted a bit longer than the couple of previous ones, but my current Toshiba has outlasted any of the other 4 and is still running. We use our laptop primarily in campgrounds and "on the road" with some exposure to unusually rough travel and weather conditions so it's reasonable that ours don't last as long as most people would expect in more "normal" use.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Laptops
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 07:06 PM

You need legs to put the keyboard at the right angle to touch or nearly-touch type. My Compaq has no legs. Bad fault in terms of usability.

I hate scratch pads with a passion.

Other than that, I hate short battery life and will never again buy a laptop or smaller without 9 hours battery life - my Compaq has a useless two hours - that's not even one lecture if I were using it to control something stupid like powerpoint slides. In fact I am almost tempted to go and buy a new laptop just to get the longest possible battery life. A second best would be swappable batteries.

Also never again will I have a less than full-size keyboard, 92% is a pain in the arse.

I'd like an internal dongle - I am always scared of breaking off the USB one.

I'd like a dual-layer DVD writer.

I don't trust the security of WiFi connections. In fact I'd always rather have a hardwired network connection.

I'd prefer solid state "hard drive".

And about 6 USB ports.

I hate the aspect ratio of netbooks. Displays should be the shape of an A4 page, portrait not widescreen but that is baying for the moon.

And I'd quite like to try Linux.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Laptops
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 07:37 PM

Hate touchpads -- I plug in a mouse. Can't do track balls -- my fore arm tendonitis may have been fixed in the mid-'90s, but a track ball never fails to aggravate it.

And for use at home, plug in a keyboard, too. Maybe a monitor for biggr display, too.

Linn


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Subject: RE: Tech: Laptops
From: Rowan
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 08:14 PM

SInce I gather you're not keen on Macs I'll skip that part but I use mine mostly at home and, when I use it at work I mount it (open) at the proper height and then swap the work's keyboard and mouse into its USB port. You could do the same with any brand, I suspect. Various brands of docks are available but I use a stack of A4 paper reams.

The big problem for serious users is the OH&S aspects of continuous use of your laptop in postures that aren't good from an OH&S perspective. Most people's desktop setups are within cooee of being correct, if not perfect, but much less attention id paid to posture when using laptops. No big deal for most of us but for those doing lots of stuff, especially for long batches of time. it's not good practice unless you've got the posture details right.

And, concerning Lenovo mini-laptops, they're the sort that have been issued to all the Year 9 students in State high schools in NSW; Daughter #2 was issued hers last year and it goes like a dream. I'm also reliably informed that one has undergone a typical Year 9 test by being thrown out of a school bus window; both it and the student survived the experience.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Tech: Laptops
From: EBarnacle
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 11:02 PM

As many problems as "real" hard drives have, I do not trust totally solid state devices. They have a tendency to crap out when there are voltage variations. I have had several thumb/flash drives which have reacted negatively to exactly this problem. A solid state hard drive, in my opinion, is just a larger version of the same thing.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Laptops
From: Acme
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 11:40 PM

I'll skip past other answers to the bottom to answer this (it's late and I'd rather answer than read for a while first).

If you can rehab your desktop and use it for the basic heavy-lifting (image editing, Adobe-type software, big storage, copying DVDs or CDs, etc.) then you don't need to get a whole big computer.

They make these "web devices" now (netbooks, primarily) that are small, don't do everything a big computer would do without having a USB plug attachment added, but they're great for email, browsing, and light-weight web stuff. They're portable, and they're wired to look for Internet access. AND--you can hook it to your big desktop monitor, your regular keyboard, and your printer (if it has a USB cable) to the small device.

You can move big files to the larger computer via thumb drive or you can network them.

NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER
consider buying anything larger than a blank CD or a paper clip at Best Buy. Their service sucks and they sell those extended warranties but offer miserable support. I'd sooner buy a device online from Amazon or pick it up at Office Depot. I like Fry's, if I'm walking in, and for online, you can't beat NewEgg.com. Just check with the manufacturer of the device first because they have so many variable options, like OS, number of ports, type of software pre-loaded, etc.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tech: Laptops
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 12:08 AM

You don't like BestBuy. Fair enough.

Needing to make your point 27 times is pathetic.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Laptops
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 02:55 AM

I suspect that one's opinion of Best Buy may vary with where one is. My BHBLTDBP son claims to have gotten excellent service from our local one. I refuse to do enough business with them to know what their service performance is like.

He claims to have received "expert and helpful sales advice," and I have not found any indications that he's been mislead; but the main reason I don't shop there is because I've been nauseated listening to the predatory hard-sell tactics applied to novice buyers while I couldn't find anyone to answer a simple question like "where the $@#!%! did you move the %@$#^ to this week". (They seem to rearrange everything - moving stuff to opposite ends of the store every (rare) time I stop there.)

Not too long ago the IBM Thinkpad was considered "top of the line" in laptops, but of course it was 3x the price of almost anything else you could buy within ranges with similar specs. IBM is now out of the laptop business, and Lenovo "bought the name." Lenovo is making more reasonably priced models than IBM offered, but the reviews frequently still place them among the more desired - at more modest price differentials.

I'll probably look at Lenovo, along with a few others, when I need to replace; but my last laptop was on a purchase deadline and was cheap(?) and available off-the-shelf locally. That one, a Toshiba Satellite, has been by far the best I've had, if only because it's the first one that's made 3 years and still running.

Since the last one was only available off the shelf with Vista Home, I did buy FRP Vista Premium and Office 2007 Pro, and learned to my surprise that the retail "shrink wrap" version of Office allows you legally to install a single package on two machines (theoretically if they're not both used at the same time).

The OEM versions that come with a new computer can't be sharedlegally so far as I've been able to read the EULAS.)

If one wants a "better" version, and has two machines to use it, taking the "freeby" version that comes with the machine and buying one full retail package (FRP) of an upgrade might be a useful option; but checking the EULA before purchase would be a good idea because the terms do change without notice.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Laptops
From: SINSULL
Date: 15 Mar 10 - 09:12 AM

Update:
A co-worker was able to clean the virus out of my computer, add memory and get it up and running. No rush now to get a laptop but it is in the plans especially if I get a tax refund. Thank you all for your input and offers of help.
SINS


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Subject: RE: Tech: Laptops
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 15 Mar 10 - 10:55 AM

I can't believe that you counted the number of 'NEVER's just to make that point, Ed.

I can't believe I counted them as well to see if you were right:-)

Good result, Sinsull. Now, make sure you don't catch another cold!

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: Tech: Laptops
From: Mr Red
Date: 15 Mar 10 - 11:06 AM

Would cure the virus problem - but I am a die hard Mac head mind

Not if you want the kind of thing I heard of a month or so back.

Methinks the move to Intel has made the virus writers job that much easier, or the conversion to Mac that much smoother. The only difference is going to be the API's now.

When will Mac users realize it is a big old dirty world out there and the only thing Macs had (viruswise) was difference, &/or market share. It ain't nearly as true any more.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Laptops
From: GUEST,PeterC
Date: 15 Mar 10 - 12:22 PM

I wouldn't go back to a tower system. My laptop takes up so much less space and can be put away in a drawer when not in use. I prefer a full sized keyboard but I can touch type on this one perfectly well except for the function keys. I do insist on using a proper mouse however.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Laptops
From: GUEST,bigJ
Date: 17 Mar 10 - 08:55 AM

This may be the thread where someone can advise me.
My desktop - with which I'm very happy, come to me about ten years ago with Windows ME as the operating system. Now, of course, that OS is no longer supported by Windows. As a consequence of that, I had difficulty not long ago getting a new printer locally but managed it through Amazon.
Now I find that Youtube and some other sites don't support my Internet Explorer Version 6 browser, and I can't download a later Windows/Firefox update.
It all seems that there is a conspiracy to make me buy a new computer - which I might consider if it were not for the fact that on my ME operating system is a database that runs on MS/DOS. I have been very happy with it and have been inputting data for the past 15 years so I wouldn't want to lose that.
I could buy an update of the database so that it would run on a new system, but I am told that it would cost more than a new computer.
Any suggestions with regard to a new desktop and, specifically, one that I could transfer my MS/DOS database to?
Any help would be appreciated.
bigJ


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Subject: RE: Tech: Laptops
From: Mr Red
Date: 17 Mar 10 - 09:09 AM

AFAIK Laplink still supports old OS's. That is its very market. People who are upgrading. I think it supports serial ports and parallel ports as well as USB which you might not have.

Invest in the Laplink just for the transfer. You might be able to get a USB HDD box that can handle your HDD but it may be the wrong speed and getting the right one is a minefield. The Laplink looks to be the best way. You only need your own data, you should have the disks for the software you are using, and it will most likely work on XP/Vista/Win7. Certainly I can vouch for XP on all apps I have transferred over eg Morph Studio which was free 10 years ago and few products can match it that I have trialed..


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