Lap top computer

minigreenhouseAugust 1, 2006

My son needs a lap top computer for his college work (will be a senior this fall).

I was wondering what lap top computer you have that work well for you? Where did you buy it, online vs store?

Any input would be appreciated.

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liddy01

Buy a mac! I used www.apple.com, a few years ago with the college students discount and got a free iPod out of the deal. I think they are offering it again. I got a MacBook Pro when I started at my job earlier this year.

I use MS Office and NeoOffice both of which I can send file to my boss who uses a PC and have never had a problem with compatability. In fact, I got daring and ran windows on my MacBook Pro and freaked my boss out.

Most of my classmates in college used Macs as well, most chose the Mac because of the battery life was much better than a PC.

Hope this helps.

Here is a link that might be useful: Apple Education

    Bookmark   August 1, 2006 at 3:34PM
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steve_o

Buy a Mac. Take it from someone who has used both Mac and Windows for years -- Macs simply are more user-friendly. And they are much more resistant to the viruses and adware and spyware that floats around Windows systems.

As you ask around, you probably will hear people say that Macs are too expensive and can't run enough software. Sure, you can buy a $499 Windows laptop at your favorite big-box electronics store. But the lowest-priced MacBook will be able to do much more than that right out of the box. If you're comparing top-tier laptops like Dells and HP/Compaqs and Toshibas, Macs absolutely are competitively priced. There are Macintosh programs for the tasks most people want a computer to do -- and now, if you must run a Windows program, a new Mac can do it.

When it came time to buy myself a computer, I bought a Mac. You can buy Macs directly from Apple (as I did) or from a number of resellers (as I've done in the past), including CompUSA and several independent retailers.

Good luck and have fun!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2006 at 7:32PM
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mikie_gw

Ask him if he wants a mac before you go buying one.

Personally, I'm more than happy with my cheapo Toshiba I got from Staples ... Tell the manager you're looking for an old dusty box special toshiba for $200. He'll have something for ya.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2006 at 9:48PM
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western_pa_luann

My daughter did not WANT a Mac... her Dell got her through four years of engineering...

    Bookmark   August 2, 2006 at 8:23AM
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quiltglo

Macs are of little use in many business applications. If he wants to be business ready after college, go with a PC. We go with Dell and have a four hour battery, which makes it much more portable than the two hour. Not that much extra to have it changed.

Ask him what he wants the machine to do. I typically surf, do online shopping, email and word processing. It wouldn't matter what type of machine I have. Our's is geared for the DH to use when he is out with clients, so it's very fast and can load a manipulate all of his "stuff." I hate it when he grabs my computer for the day.

Gloria

    Bookmark   August 2, 2006 at 4:44PM
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joyfulguy

Checking local classifieds may help you find one that'll meet all of his needs currently for peanuts.

When he's at school, if he's unhappy with it, if he scouts around, quite likely will be able to buy one that will do the job for not very many bucks ...

... and sell his "old" one for about what he paid.

Just an idea.

Good wishes to your young person as he starts out on his career. I hope that he finds it a wonderful adventure.

And recommend that he always keep eyes and ears open - there's a whole raft of wonderful ideas and experiences out there in which to participate.

Remember - we each got two eyes ...

... two ears ...

... and only one mouth!

Wouldn't do any harm were you to follow the same advice, I reckon!

ole joyful

    Bookmark   August 2, 2006 at 6:09PM
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steve_o

Macs are of little use in many business applications.

Huh? Most of the folks at my day job just use Microsoft Office, Lotus Notes (for email and document storage), and a Web browser. All of them are available for Macintosh, handle exactly the same files, and work pretty much the same. No big differences there.

And if the Macintosh you buy can runs Windows XP more securely than a Dell or HP/Compaq or whatever (which the newest models can), then anything that runs only on Windows can run on the Mac, as well -- at PC speeds.

The idea that Macs cannot be used in business settings is old. And inaccurate.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2006 at 9:20AM
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acdesignsky

Have him check to see if his school offers a discount program with any manufacturers. Ours has a deal with Dell that offers 15-20% off in addition to whatever other special offers and prices are avliable. For me, that meant saving 35% off a really nice Dell notebook.
On a side note, some schools and departments won't allow students to use Macs.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2006 at 10:01AM
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quiltglo

I agree it may be old, but I'm not convinced it's inaccurate. Those of us trained on school macs are not ready for the business community here. Maybe it's better in your parts, but shop owners look to the community college who only has PC stuff for their workforce. Putting mac trained on the resume' will make it more difficult to even get an interview.

Gloria

    Bookmark   August 3, 2006 at 8:47PM
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dryfly

You might also check on getting a refurb computer. I know that apple has a good plan, I have purchased from it before and had good luck. They come with warrenties should anything go wrong.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2006 at 11:46PM
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steve_o

shop owners look to the community college who only has PC stuff for their workforce

That's shortsighted. What happens when "Microsoft's 15 minutes of fame" are up (remember WordPerfect? Lotus 1-2-3? Netscape?) and their employees have to learn something new? Granted, maybe the Macs you had to use were outdated (an occupational hazard since PCs tend to be obsolete way faster than Macs) and that should be fixed. But if you know how to open and save files and mark text for formatting and create formulas in spreadsheets, it really should take very little to find out how it's done in another program. If a trainee can't figure that out, then they really haven't learned usable "computer skills" -- they've merely learned how to press keys by rote. It's kind of like teaching people how to cook by telling them which microwave buttons to press. That's not cooking -- it's just assembly.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2006 at 9:42AM
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clg7067

I got my laptop at buy.com. I got a great computer for $700 about a year ago with DVD player/burner. I've had no problems at all with it. I see they have even better prices this year.

What's up with everybody buying a Dell? I got an Acer, which I've had before. It's not like I'm doing any human genome sequencing. I do music composition and recording, as well as intensive graphics and complex spreadsheets. And, YES, Windows does art. :)

I pretty much check buy.com before I make any electronic purchases.

Here is a link that might be useful: Buy.com

    Bookmark   August 4, 2006 at 10:18AM
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Cynic

"What's up with everybody buying a Dell?"

IMO, it's the ghost of the "Dell Dude" days haunting peoples minds. Classic case of brainwash marketing, not unlike AOL convincing people that garbage is good. People will pay more for less if they've heard the name before.

Dell notebooks are OK, but that's it. There's far better. Any many that will serve just as well for a better price. But just like any other urban legend, old myths die hard. And my favorite is the ones who scream "I LOVE MY ______" (insert any brand name you like) I don't understand some folks physical affection for machinery. Tell them their baby is ugly, their spouse is cheating on them or their mother wears army boots and you won't get a rise. But make a comment about their computer and look out! :)

Many reputable service people feel that the top three notebooks are, in alphabetical order, Apple, IBM and Toshiba. My experience definitely agrees with this. And of those, there's personal preferences but any are generally a good choice. But there's other very serviceable options out there too. And yes, Dell will work for most people too but they're certainly not the God of computers. I bought a Dell and would have been much happier with it had I had not already owned a Toshiba which runs a circle around it.

I deal a lot with different businesses and PC is still the favorite for whatever reason, IMO mostly because Apple shot itself in the foot years ago and it's taken a long time to recover, but today, many a Mac are integrated successfully in businesses and not just the graphic arts industry which used to be Apple's bread & butter. That too changed over the years. From what I see, PCs and Macs play together much better these days than they used to. So again, a lot comes down to preference and another important consideration, budget.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2006 at 9:43PM
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diymostoftime

Go to PCWorld and you can get the 10 rated laptops.

As far as MAC, who cares. A thing of the past. MAC may or may not come back from the 80's (I had one - notice one.) I had it in college while everyone else had PCs and then entered the business world and nobody else has them (with the exception of a couple loners - like Steve O).

    Bookmark   August 4, 2006 at 10:16PM
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steve_o

diymostoftime, you have my sympathy. I can show you large businesses and other organizations which somehow manage to survive on Macs without legions of people applying daily virus and spyware patches and playing Microsoft's games with Windows XP validation and their "Industry standards? We don't need no stinkin' standards!" mentality. Yes, Apple has shot themselves in the feet multiple times. Yes, they definitely are the minority computer platform out there. But as more of the things people do move to the Internet, the computer you have won't matter. And if everyone slavishly climbs on the Microsoft bandwagon, then they'll be stuck wherever Microsoft wants to take them. I think other words for that are "monopoly" and "dictatorship". Leave me out of that, please.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2006 at 11:21PM
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clg7067

I'm with diymostofthetime. I had one Mac once. My boyfriend said I NEEDED a Mac to do computer based composing (music). Lets just say, I'm glad it's gone and will never have another. My PC does the job just as well.

So far I've worked at two large companies who ended up replacing all Macs for Windows based machines. I declined a position that was offered to me while temping at another company because of the Mac I'd be (and was) working on.

Minigreenhouse, only get a Mac if your son says it has to be.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2006 at 11:13AM
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roadtrip

Technology is forever evolving, changing, and reshaping the world around us.

Intel/AMD (Windows) based machines control the market share of computing power in the industry. How many Macs do you think control the master servers that authorize your credit card when you go to the grocery? How many Macs are you going to find on the NYSE? Today it's much easier to get PC's and Macs to talk to one another over a network, but it was once impossiable to tote a file over from a Mac and open it on your PC. Many business are resistant to change and will remain with what is know to work, even in times when it's slowing progress and leaving profits on the table.

Possable Downtime = perceived loss of money/customers.

Macs and Windows share some of the very same security holes and viruses that if infected could cripple your machine. Why are Macs seemingly invunerable to viruses? Not because they're secure and that better made/designed then Windows, but because there are thousands more people out there attempting to hack and cause havoc, for what ever reason.

If your in a room of 100 people and sadly 1% of those invited to the party had a killer pleague. Your likely to only come into contact with one person who might make you sick. Suppose instead of 100 people, your room was packed with about a 100,000 people, so instead of avoiding that one person you now have to avoid 1,000 pleague victims. You'd still want to be in the smaller room, even tho your risk of catching the pleague is no greater.

Good luck with your computer search, no matter what your choose, I hope you find exactly what you want!!!

Shannon

    Bookmark   August 24, 2006 at 12:17PM
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rivkadr

PCs are the standard at most colleges nowadays, excluding certain specific disciplines (and even many that used to be Mac exclusive are now turning to PCs).

And if your son wants to play any games on the computer, he'll probably want a PC -- yes, he should use the computer for schoolwork, but college guys want to have fun, too. :) There are many, many games that are not yet released (and may never be releases) for Mac users.

Anything that a Mac can do, a PC can do just as well, and there's much more choice as far as software if you have a PC. I'm the only PC user at my office (my boss made everyone else get a Mac, but I stood firm), and my machine is the only one that doesn't consistently have problems.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2006 at 5:55PM
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tonbiak

What is all this bickering back and forth about Mac and PC about? The Intel based Mac does Windows XP if you must, and does it faster than the PC's according to independent testing. And you still have the best computer, according to independent studies, that will run the mac operating system if you want. So all of the old reasons for why you should not buy a Mac are no longer valid, Mac's do Windoes, and all of the reasons for why tou should buy a Mac are still valid with some new ones. Dollar for dollar the Mac's are cheaper than similarly equiped PC. No you can not get a Mac laptop for $499 or $999, but you can not get a PC for that price that has the same processors, memory,HD, DVD burner, built in video conferencing camera or software bundle.
You can now take your Mac laptop into the office and start it in Windows, if you must, work just like all of the others and when you leave work you can choose which operating system you want to use.
So what are the valid reasons for not getting a Mac?

    Bookmark   August 25, 2006 at 6:55AM
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steve_o

People should buy whatever is most useful for them. The guy who held out for a PC among a sea of Macs is d**n lucky he could, because most organizations would have forced out the odd duck to make support less expensive. The folks who need to run something that is either Windows-specific or Mac-specific should buy that computer. As probably one of the few posters here who uses both heavily on a daily basis, I prefer the Mac -- it's not a hassle to use, like my Windows PC.

I just don't like seeing people trash anything or anyone based on old anecdotal experience and hearsay. And I don't like it when people play the numbers game. Sure, there are more Windows PCs than Macintoshes. There also are more cockroaches than there are human beings. Doesn't mean cockroaches are a superior life form.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2006 at 9:24AM
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joyfulguy

Steve o,

I think that cockroaches wuz here a long time before we wuz - so they got a pretty big head start!

ole joyful

    Bookmark   August 25, 2006 at 4:38PM
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bry84

Interesting that someone considers Macs better value for money, because here in Europe I find that I can get a lot more of everything for my money with IBM compatible hardware. I can get a faster processor, more ram, bigger hard drive, and I have a much greater choice of manufacturers and suppliers. I like the choices and there is more potential for money savings when there is such a wide market.

Anyway, prices aside, there has always been this debate between Macs and PCs, but the comparison can be very misleading. It's as if you can have a Mac box or a Windows box on your desk. People talk far more about the software than they do the hardware. To the average computer user what happens inside the box under the monitor isn't a big deal, provided it happens fast and reliably. That's why I like IBM compatible hardware. The x86 processor is also the one which has the biggest selection of compatible software. This is why it's so misleading to treat IBM compatibles as windows boxes when compairing them to Macs.

I have an IBM compatible computer and I do not run any MS software on it. I could if I felt the need, but considering the vast selection of good software out there I don't. I mostly use linux, although the number of operating systems for x86 computers is huge. I also, ironically, find that the supplied media programs with linux such as open office are more compatible with windows files than windows ever has been. I can read files from any variant MS office, while windows XP complains the file type from older versions is not supported and simply refuses to open them. And when I save a file I get a vast range of choices, in fact I can save it in any number of native formats as well as other computer formats, including MS formats for sharing with other people - and I can even choose which edition of MS office standard to use so that I can share files with older computers. XP doesn't offer that, and it's an actual MS product.

I like x86 computers best because they can run almost any program you want and access nearly any data you could want to read.

A Mac that can be a Mac or run windows isn't that exiting really, in fact most Mac programs are available for windows anyway and the windows versions tend to be a lot cheaper. I don't like having to re-start in different modes either, I find that with time you get more dependant on one mode than the other. And constantly wish you could instantly access a bit of data from a file in the other OS, or quickly run a specific program which would do exactly what you want if only it didn't mean dropping everything you're doing and re-booting. I would bet anything that within 6 months most Mac users have pretty much ended up exclusively using just one OS.

I like seamless stuff and I find I can run emulators much more seamlessly on my IBM compatible, even to the point where I forget what programs are native to linux and which ones aren't.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2006 at 6:13PM
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ntt_hou

I'm happy with my 17" HP. I have long fingers and the 17" keyboard is full size. Makes it easier for me to type with less stress on my hands & fingers. Although, the notebook is a bit heavier than others, I love the full size keyboard and the large screen.

Hey, this baby doesn't have a Sony battery ;o) HP had tested these batteries and kicked them out because they didn't meet HP's safety standards.

So, yes, ask your son to see which is his preference.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2006 at 3:29AM
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steve_o

I would bet anything that within 6 months most Mac users have pretty much ended up exclusively using just one OS.

That certainly would be true if using Windows on Mac meant rebooting each time. However, there are a couple of solutions available for the new Intel-based Macs which allow you to run Windows just as you would Firefox or Excel, and which will let you copy and paste between applications just as you would with other applications. I've linked one of them.

Here is a link that might be useful: Parallels Desktop for Macintosh

    Bookmark   August 26, 2006 at 9:35AM
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