Question on laptop - page 4

I am a pre-nursing student and I am in the market for a new laptop. What brand would you recommend and why? I have heard Apple is good but I want to know if there is something better and I don't know... Read More

  1. by   aviator411
    I've been switching between Mac and PC daily for many years (home & office) and the Mac is far superior for all the things I find myself wanting to do.

    Anyone who thinks a laptop power cord problem doesn't exist is dreaming. I make my living doing electronics work (not limited to computers) and I have repaired MANY power cord problems. The connectors are so vulnerable on most systems that the best solution is often to install a short "pigtail" cable that dangles from computer with a connector installed on the end which can be connected to the power cord. If a connector which separates easily is used, this will prevent further damage inside the computer. It's an ugly solution but a very permanent one. Apple's solution to this problem is elegant.

    I'm not a computer repair person as such, I've just done these repairs for friends and students at no cost. If you take your laptop to a computer shop with a power cord problem, they're not likely to offer you an inexpensive option, they're usually going to sell you an entire new logic board which is VERY expensive if not covered under warranty.

    It is true that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure but it is disingenuous to argue that "being careful" is the solution to power cord problems. The very nature of the portable computer brings it into environments and situations which are not well-suited to the power connectors most manufacturers use. Other things being equal I would choose the better power connector every time. Who wouldn't?

    I wasn't aware that there were any aftermarket power supplies for the Macbook with a compatible connector. I too would be interested in the source.

    No Apple isn't the only company making good computers, Toshiba and Sony in particular are extremely good but, as FAM points out, Apple's operating system software is what makes the real difference. Those who think that the Mac difference is only of interest to the artist community are overlooking the value of graphics power to every student or researcher. I've written papers for physiology and patho which involved scanning hundreds of medical journals on line and the Mac enabled me to quickly and easily, with 3 keystrokes, capture electron microscope images of fibrin molecules, antibody structures....without knowing much of anything about graphics or computers. I do see many students who seem to strive for mediocrity and appear uninterested in producing outstanding work. For the uninspired, the capabilities of the Mac operating system are perhaps less necessary. That's not to say that you can't produce outstanding work on the PC, only that you'll have to overcome the deterrent of figuring out how to do such things while keeping up with all your other classes.

    CurleySue asked about blackboard compatibility. Either the Mac or the PC will do blackboard just fine but there is one situation you need to be aware of with the Microsoft web browser, Internet Explorer. Microsoft is deceptively tricking many people with pop-up ads or other gimmicks which look legitimate into upgrading from IE 6 to IE 7. When people upgrade to IE 7 thinking they are simply updating IE 6 they discover that IE 7 does not work with lots of data-intensive web sites such as the many travel reservation sites. When the user uninstalls IE 7 which causes the system to revert to IE 6 they find that IE 6 no longer has the ability to access Blackboard as well as a number of other institutional web sites. None of the IT departments at any of the universities I have contacted have a solution for this problem other than switching to firefox or some other non-Microsoft web browser. Apple's OS and web browser do not have this problem.

    One very nice feature which Toshiba offered at one time was the elimination of the external power supply; simply a power cord between the wall outlet and the computer. I don't know if Toshiba or others still offer such a feature but it would be VERY NICE if they do. I am critical of the entire laptop industry for not eliminating the need for the external power supply long ago.
    Last edit by aviator411 on Mar 2, '07
  2. by   CuriousMe
    Quote from aviator411
    I've been switching between Mac and PC daily for many years (home & office) and the Mac is far superior for all the things I find myself wanting to do.

    Anyone who thinks a laptop power cord problem doesn't exist is dreaming. I make my living doing electronics work (not limited to computers) and I have repaired MANY power cord problems. The connectors are so vulnerable on most systems that the best solution is often to install a short "pigtail" cable that dangles from computer with a connector installed on the end which can be connected to the power cord. If a connector which separates easily is used, this will prevent further damage inside the computer. It's an ugly solution but a very permanent one. Apple's solution to this problem is elegant.

    I'm not a computer repair person as such, I've just done these repairs for friends and students at no cost. If you take your laptop to a computer shop with a power cord problem, they're not likely to offer you an inexpensive option, they're usually going to sell you an entire new logic board which is VERY expensive if not covered under warranty.

    It is true that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure but it is disingenuous to argue that "being careful" is the solution to power cord problems. The very nature of the portable computer brings it into environments and situations which are not well-suited to the power connectors most manufacturers use. Other things being equal I would choose the better power connector every time. Who wouldn't? ..
    Me I guess. I assure you I'm not dreaming, I'm just big on not fixing things that aren't broken. As I said earlier, after ten + years of supporting laptop users (I was a computer repair professional), as well as using a laptop myself for at least that period of time,I've never seen that problem before.....so either all my users (in three different multinational organizations) have been fortunate, or they're just smarter Really though, I've never seen that problem before.

    <snip>

    Quote from aviator411
    No Apple isn't the only company making good computers, Toshiba and Sony in particular are extremely good but, as FAM points out, Apple's operating system software is what makes the real difference. Those who think that the Mac difference is only of interest to the artist community are overlooking the value of graphics power to every student or researcher. I've written papers for physiology and patho which involved scanning hundreds of medical journals on line and the Mac enabled me to quickly and easily, with 3 keystrokes, capture electron microscope images of fibrin molecules, antibody structures....without knowing much of anything about graphics or computers. I do see many students who seem to strive for mediocrity and appear uninterested in producing outstanding work. For the uninspired, the capabilities of the Mac operating system are perhaps less necessary. That's not to say that you can't produce outstanding work on the PC, only that you'll have to overcome the deterrent of figuring out how to do such things while keeping up with all your other classes...
    OK, so that's a bit insulting....I assure you that I strive for excellence in my work and my GPA of 4.13 can attest to that. I'm not sure that having a computer with an Apple OS is the measure of commitment from a student.

    I don't really understand why you think it's so difficult to import graphics....depending on document you're taking them from and where you're putting them (which would be the same considerations with an Apple), it can be as little as two keyboard strokes to capture graphics (illustrations or images--microscopic or otherwise). I've had no problems with adding graphics to any of my physiology projects, and didn't feel like there were any "technological challenges" to overcome. I didn't use any big "computer geek" information...just basics (I know they're basics, because I've designed and taught basic computer classes....in both Mac and PC). Truthfully, with my current laptop, I don't need any mouse clicks or keystrokes to capture images.....I can just use my pen on my tablet screen and circle what I want....which I do in my physiology notes on a regular basis....oh and there are no Apple tablet convertibles.

    Quote from aviator411
    CurleySue asked about blackboard compatibility. Either the Mac or the PC will do blackboard just fine but there is one situation you need to be aware of with the Microsoft web browser, Internet Explorer. Microsoft is deceptively tricking many people with pop-up ads or other gimmicks which look legitimate into upgrading from IE 6 to IE 7. When people upgrade to IE 7 thinking they are simply updating IE 6 they discover that IE 7 does not work with lots of data-intensive web sites such as the many travel reservation sites. When the user uninstalls IE 7 which causes the system to revert to IE 6 they find that IE 6 no longer has the ability to access Blackboard as well as a number of other institutional web sites. None of the IT departments at any of the universities I have contacted have a solution for this problem other than switching to firefox or some other non-Microsoft web browser. Apple's OS and web browser do not have this problem.
    Again, I've had no pop ups trying to "trick" me. If you've chosen to turn on automatic updates, then there will be a pop up in the bottom of your screen that will tell you when a new update is available, you have the choice to install it or not. I'm happily running on IE 6 right now, I've seen no need to upgrade.

    Quote from aviator411
    One very nice feature which Toshiba offered at one time was the elimination of the external power supply; simply a power cord between the wall outlet and the computer. I don't know if Toshiba or others still offer such a feature but it would be VERY NICE if they do. I am critical of the entire laptop industry for not eliminating the need for the external power supply long ago.
    I really don't have anything against Apple, I happily own an iPod and have already mentioned that I think they're engineering is wonderful. They're just not the "only smart option" as many users have posted. In some cases they're the right solution, absolutely....but in some cases they're the absolute wrong solution and I think to say otherwise is disingenuous. There's to much zealotry involved here.....there are no good guys and bad guys here, there are two companies who are trying to make money. They do this by designing different products that they hope people buy.

    Well, I'm off to school.

    Peace,
    Cathie
  3. by   aviator411
    Curious,

    <"I'm just big on not fixing things that aren't broken. As I said earlier, after ten + years of supporting laptop users (I was a computer repair professional), as well as using a laptop myself for at least that period of time,I've never seen that problem before">

    I guess we must be living in parallel universes. I wouldn't be wasting my time fixing these things if they weren't broken.

    <"I don't really understand why you think it's so difficult to import graphics....">

    The reason I think it's so difficult to capture and import graphics with a PC is because I have had great difficulty doing it with a PC, in fact I have encountered a number of web documents where I couldn't do it at all with a PC. My son makes his living as a graphic artist and uses a Mac for this very reason.

    <"I didn't use any big "computer geek" information...just basics (I know they're basics, because I've designed and taught basic computer classes....in both Mac and PC).">

    So you design and teach basic computer classes. In that case none of my remarks apply to you. I am addressing users who do not teach computer classes and who don't want to have to take them to get their work done. By the way, I have taken quite a number of computer classes over the years and none prepared me for the difficulty I've encountered capturing graphics with a PC.

    <"OK, so that's a bit insulting....I assure you that I strive for excellence in my work and my GPA of 4.13 can attest to that.">

    Congratulations. How does one earn a 4.13? The only school I ever attended where that was possible used a 1 - 9 grading system but they have long since changed to 1 - 4 so you can't do better than 4.0 there.

    Thanks for your remarks. I do appreciate having the opportunity to learn from your experiences. There are certainly more ways than one to get the job done and for some people it will make no difference. For me the difference enormous.
  4. by   CuriousMe
    Quote from aviator411
    Curious,

    <"I'm just big on not fixing things that aren't broken. As I said earlier, after ten + years of supporting laptop users (I was a computer repair professional), as well as using a laptop myself for at least that period of time,I've never seen that problem before">

    I guess we must be living in parallel universes. I wouldn't be wasting my time fixing these things if they weren't broken.
    I meant Apple...in my opinion, they fixed something that wasn't broken.

    Quote from aviator411
    The reason I think it's so difficult to capture and import graphics with a PC is because I have had great difficulty doing it with a PC, in fact I have encountered a number of web documents where I couldn't do it at all with a PC. My son makes his living as a graphic artist and uses a Mac for this very reason.
    We must be in a parallel universe, because I haven't experienced this at all. The only time I've had any difficulty is when a document is protected (usually a PDF)....in which case you should contact the author before using the image.



    Quote from aviator411
    So you design and teach basic computer classes. In that case none of my remarks apply to you. I am addressing users who do not teach computer classes and who don't want to have to take them to get their work done. By the way, I have taken quite a number of computer classes over the years and none prepared me for the difficulty I've encountered capturing graphics with a PC.
    I understood that you were referencing basic skills, my point was that I understand the scope of basic skills (most of my students started at the level of "when you move this thing, the arrow on the screen moves")


    Quote from aviator411
    Congratulations. How does one earn a 4.13? The only school I ever attended where that was possible used a 1 - 9 grading system but they have long since changed to 1 - 4 so you can't do better than 4.0 there.
    In my school A+'s are scored as a 4.1.

    Quote from aviator411
    Thanks for your remarks. I do appreciate having the opportunity to learn from your experiences. There are certainly more ways than one to get the job done and for some people it will make no difference. For me the difference enormous.
    Same here, and as I said, I'm really not opposed to Apple at all, I just get concerned when the conversation becomes almost religious in tone. Right now a Mac wouldn't work for me at all, as I said I have a tablet convertible, which really assists me with school. Apple doesn't make one of these yet.

    Peace,
    Cathie
  5. by   curlysue82
    Okay, I have been looking at some Toshiba notebooks and have found that most come preinstalled with "Vista". I have heard that it not to good; what do you all think about it?
  6. by   live4rachael
    Just a shout out for HP... Had mine for 4 years now and still working great. Had a battery issue about 6 months ago and worked with their chat support folks - incredible customer support. I waited less than 5 minutes for someone to chat and we had it resolved in 15 minutes. That was my first (and only) issue I've had since I got the HP.

    Funny about the PC vs Mac thing... People really do get religious about this stuff.
  7. by   CuriousMe
    Quote from curlysue82
    Okay, I have been looking at some Toshiba notebooks and have found that most come preinstalled with "Vista". I have heard that it not to good; what do you all think about it?
    "Not Good" might be a strong statement. It's just new. I try not to move to a new OS for a year or so. But with the hardware requirement differences between the two OS's, it might be worth it to at least get a dual core laptop so that even if it doesn't have Vista now, you can upgrade later. So....in my opinion, the best solution would be a dual core machine that still has XP on it.....but I don't know if you'll find that or not.

    Did that make sense?

    Peace,
    Cathie
  8. by   carolinapooh
    Quote from aviator411
    I've been switching between Mac and PC daily for many years (home & office) and the Mac is far superior for all the things I find myself wanting to do.

    Anyone who thinks a laptop power cord problem doesn't exist is dreaming. I make my living doing electronics work (not limited to computers) and I have repaired MANY power cord problems. The connectors are so vulnerable on most systems that the best solution is often to install a short "pigtail" cable that dangles from computer with a connector installed on the end which can be connected to the power cord. If a connector which separates easily is used, this will prevent further damage inside the computer. It's an ugly solution but a very permanent one. Apple's solution to this problem is elegant.

    I'm not a computer repair person as such, I've just done these repairs for friends and students at no cost. If you take your laptop to a computer shop with a power cord problem, they're not likely to offer you an inexpensive option, they're usually going to sell you an entire new logic board which is VERY expensive if not covered under warranty.

    It is true that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure but it is disingenuous to argue that "being careful" is the solution to power cord problems. The very nature of the portable computer brings it into environments and situations which are not well-suited to the power connectors most manufacturers use. Other things being equal I would choose the better power connector every time. Who wouldn't?

    I wasn't aware that there were any aftermarket power supplies for the Macbook with a compatible connector. I too would be interested in the source.

    No Apple isn't the only company making good computers, Toshiba and Sony in particular are extremely good but, as FAM points out, Apple's operating system software is what makes the real difference. Those who think that the Mac difference is only of interest to the artist community are overlooking the value of graphics power to every student or researcher. I've written papers for physiology and patho which involved scanning hundreds of medical journals on line and the Mac enabled me to quickly and easily, with 3 keystrokes, capture electron microscope images of fibrin molecules, antibody structures....without knowing much of anything about graphics or computers. I do see many students who seem to strive for mediocrity and appear uninterested in producing outstanding work. For the uninspired, the capabilities of the Mac operating system are perhaps less necessary. That's not to say that you can't produce outstanding work on the PC, only that you'll have to overcome the deterrent of figuring out how to do such things while keeping up with all your other classes.

    CurleySue asked about blackboard compatibility. Either the Mac or the PC will do blackboard just fine but there is one situation you need to be aware of with the Microsoft web browser, Internet Explorer. Microsoft is deceptively tricking many people with pop-up ads or other gimmicks which look legitimate into upgrading from IE 6 to IE 7. When people upgrade to IE 7 thinking they are simply updating IE 6 they discover that IE 7 does not work with lots of data-intensive web sites such as the many travel reservation sites. When the user uninstalls IE 7 which causes the system to revert to IE 6 they find that IE 6 no longer has the ability to access Blackboard as well as a number of other institutional web sites. None of the IT departments at any of the universities I have contacted have a solution for this problem other than switching to firefox or some other non-Microsoft web browser. Apple's OS and web browser do not have this problem.

    One very nice feature which Toshiba offered at one time was the elimination of the external power supply; simply a power cord between the wall outlet and the computer. I don't know if Toshiba or others still offer such a feature but it would be VERY NICE if they do. I am critical of the entire laptop industry for not eliminating the need for the external power supply long ago.

    God help me for jumping in here, but there's some stuff here I don't get. What power cord problem? My laptop borders on 2 1/2 years old and I've got no power problems. My husband has had three laptops; the most recent one is three years old and it has no power cord problems. No one I know has ever said anything about their power cord being a problem. I doubt all of us are living in a dream world. Also - I use Mozilla, not IE (which I agree sucks) and I have no problems running any web pages for anything - including Blackboard. Duke University DID find a fix to the Blackboard/IE issue, since our IE 7 machines in our computer lab run Blackboard with no difficulties whatsoever; I just don't use IE anymore since discovering Firefox.

    I booked my plane ticket for my upcoming transcontinental flight with IE7 online, and I didn't have a problem doing it. That was several weeks before a classmate converted me to Mozilla Firefox.

    I don't understand the "external power supply" thing, either - all I have is either a battery, or a cord going from the computer to the wall. I have a Sony. It works great. In fact, it's plugged in right now, and I'm using it with no problems.

    I too have written many many papers and have done countless PowerPoint presentations, and I've inserted multiple photos and journals and other docs. I haven't had to "overcome the deterrent of figuring out how to do such things while keeping up with all your other classes" while doing it, and I take umbrage at your suggesting that just because I don't own a Mac, I believe in substandard work. I consistently get the highest grades for presentations and papers out of the class, and I can assure you - I don't tolerate laziness, sloppiness, or poor quality in anything I hand in to anyone. My summa cum laude standing from my first BS and my current 3.5 GPA at Duke would seem to disprove the statement that I "strive for mediocrity", wouldn't you say?

    I'm just confused. This conversation seems to be getting way out of hand, way too technical, and way too complex. I appreciate your Mac passion, but you're almost insulting PC users, and I don't think that's called for. It's a computer, in the end - it's not a life-altering decision, just a critical purchase. I don't think it's worth working up a sweat over, is it?
    Last edit by carolinapooh on Mar 4, '07
  9. by   CuriousMe
    Quote from carolinapooh
    <snip>

    I don't understand the "external power supply" thing, either - all I have is either a battery, or a cord going from the computer to the wall. I have a Sony. It works great. In fact, it's plugged in right now, and I'm using it with no problems.<snip>

    The "problem" that Mac theoretically solved is that if you're using your laptop with the power cord laying across a walkway and someone trips over it, it could damage the laptop. So, Apple made the connection between the power cord and the laptop to be a magnetic connection that breaks away if someone were to trip on it.

    As I said already, I've never had this be an actual problem. I also don't have my power cord lay across a walkway. Someone mentioned that due to the portable nature of laptops you can't always control where your power cord is....I say, sure you can. Power outlets are along walls, just make sure you're along the wall as well, then there's no problem.

    Peace,
    Cathie
  10. by   peacelovestar
    I got an Apple Macbook ( I think it's 1200$) and I kind of regret it. I grew up on Windows and going to Apple..just, it wasn't a good idea. I'm constantly irritated at little things and I haven't gotten used to it (6 months later). I got the Macbook as an "impulse gift" as in my Aunt was like "Hey let's go buy you a computer!" (i LOVE her..haha) and two hours later I had one. I wish I had put more thought into it though. I liked the creativity of the Apple's but I wish I had stuck with Windows.

    Vaio is EXCELLENT. but kind of pricey if I remember. I've heard great things about Toshiba as well
  11. by   gudiarani
    Ooh, if you've been a PC user, why would you switch to Mac??! I've tried Mac for months and it was just always so frustrating not being able to do something so simple as RIGHT CLICK! That is one thing that really gets me with Macs...small pet peeve, I know.

    Another thing is... I agree with carolinapooh, there's no need to bash PC users, as if you, as a Mac user, are some higher being. If you've used a PC all your life, it's just easier. And, truthfully, I find EVERYTHING easier with a PC. The only time I wished I had a Mac laying around was to use it to reset my Ipod.

    Also, when you have a software problem, no one calls Microsoft, you call the computer manf!! I have NEVER needed to call Microsoft, nor has ANYONE I know. I have talked to Dell many times about issues, but never software manufacturers. And even then, with software, you can be sure that someone else somewhere has had the same exact issue...so do the EASY thing and just search for it in a search engine on the INTERNET, beautiful resource for you if you can't seem to work a PC, with which us "uninspired" folk seem to be able to produce outstanding work.

    If ever you don't know how to do something on a PC, you can easily just search some simple terms in your fave search engine and find out how to do what it is you want to do, forums like techguy.org are great. Really, PC's are not that difficult to have to "overcome the deterrent." One who says things like this and then insults others' academic capability based on being a PC user has obviously not done much work on a PC, nor have they had much outside experience in places such as research labs, many of which rely on Excel and Word so much that running a Mac and trying to use them so often is pointless. People keep separate computers for this reason. The lab I worked in for 2 years had a set of Macs for experimental protocols and a set of PCs for data input and analysis from the experiments.

    You can definitely do equal quality work on a PC as on a Mac, don't insult others based on their Operating Systems!!! Graphics have never been a problem for me, unless, as mentioned by someone else, the item is protected. Sure you have to play with it a little when you get it, but thats the case with almost anything.
    Last edit by gudiarani on Mar 5, '07
  12. by   peacelovestar
    I have no idea why I switched from PC --> MAC. I think I wanted to try something new? Like I said, it was an impuslve purchase. The right click KILLS ME Too though! You know we aren't the only ones! hah.

    I think I'm okay with it because I have a Windows PC desktop that I always use if I want to write up a paper or do something similar. I usually use my laptop at school even though Safari hardly ever works on campus (Pepsi wifi'd our whole campus but apparently it's hard for Apples/Safari to use it?)
    I always use my Windows PC when I have something "important" to do and don't want to get irriated in the process...cause sometimes I really get irritated at this Macbook.
  13. by   P_RN
    Totally swerving for just a moment. Back in the day it was the trend to grade on the curve. I graduated with a 123 out of 100. So I ended with what they called a summa cum laude 4.0. Yeah that and a dollar might get a mountain dew.

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