Thursday, March 02, 2006

Rock the vote

Petunia and I need to get a new computer--ours is v. old and has started making ominous noises. The question is, laptop or desktop? Cast your ballot now.

15 Comments:

Anonymous Canada said...

I'm in the same boat, and I would really suggest that you take a look at the one I'm planning to get. I've had 3 people say the same to me, so I've looked, and the Apple Mini is amazing. It's a desktop, but it's got everything in it - ALL software - and it integrates much better with PC stuff than Apple used to. You can use your existing keyboard, monitor and mouse, and according to everyone (including Apple), Apples never crash. check it out on the Apple site (another BIG plus - it's unbelieveably quiet!!)

8:37 AM  
Anonymous Jenny PP said...

Ha! I was going to say the same thing - the Mini is only like $600 and they just came out with a new one - if you got it, get the newest one, with an Intel processor - it's 4X faster than the last version or something like that.

Check it out.

It comes with Quicken and all kinds of cool software for managing your digital photos and stuff. We have one at home too that we use as a server. It's awesome. Check out also on Apple's site the iLife and iWork suites. iLife comes with the computer, iWork you'd have to buy but it's only $79... it has two applications that are basically their take on Word and Powerpoint but they're of course both less annoying in many ways.

That's my vote!

Even if you'd want a laptop I'd still say get a Mac. They hold their value better and you can get a cheaper one with better stuff than a PC. The iBooks are like $999 I think and that's what we have - it's great.

And there's nothing hard about using a Mac - don't think it would be difficult to switch from a PC.

9:35 AM  
Blogger foxhenchman said...

Hmm... depends what you need it for. Most people don't really need laptops, but they buy them for the cool factor. Too bad laptops are much more expensive and can't be upgraded.

As for Mac versus PC... that's up to you. But Jenny is right, Macs hold their value better (even if they are usually a little more expensive). If you go for the iMac mini, I recommend getting the $799 version. The upgrades are well worth the $200.

1:07 PM  
Blogger Clementine said...

Y'all know I'm pretty dumb when it comes to computers, but here are the things our computer must have:

1. Lots of memory to store digital pictures.
2. Microsoft Word, or the ability to translate and save Word documents.
3. Internet access, obviously.

And that's pretty much it! We don't need any bells or whistles since neither of us is a computer expert. I was considering a laptop so we can bring it downstairs once we have Hester Willa, but I guess we don't really need one.

The bottom line for us is price--we don't want to spend more than $600 or so, total. The mini doesn't come with a monitor, does it? It would be so, so nice to have a flat monitor, but aren't they v. expensive?

1:15 PM  
Blogger Hashbrown said...

I need other applications than that.

1:35 PM  
Blogger foxhenchman said...

Flat screens aren't too expensive these days. You can get one for under $200 (15 or 17 inches), but the old fashioned CRT's are still cheaper. Flat screen monitors aren't really better, they just take up less space.

As for memory to store your photos, hard disks are getting cheaper and cheaper. If you run out of space, you can just buy an external hard drive... let's say 80GB for $100. That should last you at least 20,000 pictures, unless you're taking them in super hi resolution.

And no, the mini doesn't have a monitor. Alternative monitor options: 1) Use your old monitor 2) Hook it up to a TV (not so great unless it's a really good TV) 3) Buy a used monitor.

You could also buy a used computer or something refurbished. There are always techies upgrading their systems and selling off old stuff for cheap.

1:52 PM  
Blogger Clementine said...

I know you do, Petunia Hashbrown. I do, too, but the ones I listed are the most basic of our requirements (aren't they? Did I leave out something v. important?). I think we can add programs like PowerPoint, Printshop, etc. to whatever computer we get. Know what I mean, jellybean?

1:52 PM  
Anonymous canada said...

if you use your old monitor with an apple mini, you can keep the price where you need it to be. and then later on, a few months down the road, you can get a flat screen. Have you seen the size of the mini? You can carry it downstairs whenever you want to!!

2:02 PM  
Anonymous Jenny PP said...

More unsolicited advice from Jenny.

Seriously, if money is the biggest factor, I think a Mac might be the best bet. You can spend not much and really get something great. Their iWork software definitely can translate and save documents in Word format. What else do you need Hashbrown? If you have questions I can help.

The mini doesn't come with a monitor but you can use the monitor you have now and you could even get a new CRT for about $100-150 I think. The bigger CRT monitors are actually better quality than the flat-screens, though they take up more room obviously. You would need to buy a mouse and keyboard for the mini, but you don't have to spend a lot on that.

Anyway, let me know if you want help/advice, you know I have this in with an IT guy. ;)

2:39 PM  
Blogger Hashbrown said...

I don't much like macs

2:55 PM  
Anonymous Jenny PP said...

Well if you definitely want a PC we could help you too. But I don't think you can get one for $600. Not new anyway, or not without making some really huge compromises that would mean you'd probably want a new one again a lot sooner than otherwise.

How come you don't like macs, Hashbrown? I don't know what your experience with them is - have you used one lately? They're way different than they were like 5 years ago even (and certainly longer).

4:10 PM  
Blogger Hashbrown said...

At my last job, I used macs and found them very irritating. They would freeze up and were slow.

7:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been using Macs for 20 years and would not trade for the world. My office has Macs ranging from the newest fastest desktop to an old "gumdrop" iMac that is still churning away and reliable as can be. The current system is very stable, easy to use, and certainly does not freeze. It is plug and play with external devices, so if you buy that outside hard drive, no problem.

You can easily run MS word on a Mac, with no problem swapping back and forth with PC users. or if you invest in iWork, Pages will read and save into Word format. I use both but mostly use word. (Macs have always run Word, and docs have always been swappable across platforms. Not clear why people thought you couldn't run Microsloth prodcuts on a Mac.)

As for desktop vs laptop: Ii use a desktop at work, but I prefer a laptop at home. We invested in an Airport router for our cable modem (very easy to set up, very secure) and it's nice to be able to log in and read email while in bed. ;-) A 14" ibook does nicely; you can push in some extra memory to give it more oomph if you want.

Most of us will not need to upgrade the computer, so lack of slots for hardware upgrade is not a problem.

Setting up a new Mac is easy; it walks you through everything to get on line fast. I set up my Dad's new iMac very quickly last weekend and he was online immediately. Likewise, setting up a wireless card or router is also very easy.

Built in Mail and browser (Safari) are integrated with the calendar and address book. The Mail program handles junk mail gracefully.

There are many free programs for Mac out there as well. AND, almost NO viruses or spyware!! One of my employees finally gave up on his PC laptop after his third reinstall of the system after spyware and bought a mac.

They hold their value and keep working for a very long time. Also, maintenance is VERY easy. That plus the security (virus/spyware) makes it worth any extra.

meanwhile I am giving my partner that picture of the cat hat. She has run out of people for whom to give knitted things, so that's great! :-D

10:44 AM  
Anonymous Jenny PP said...

One more thing and I'll leave you alone - as far as freezing up and being slow, I don't know what you were using but in the mid 90's or so, Macs did kind of suck. But they made major changes to both hardware and software in the last 7-10 years and I promise, I always have a PC at work and we always have a Mac at home and I much prefer the Mac. I never have problems with it freezing or crashing. Unlike the computers at work.

I'm obviously a biased opinion but I think it's worth you checking out. If you think you'd consider it, you should check out some in person in an Apple store. They have stores at Burlington, Cambridgeside, Chestnut Hill and the North Shore malls. If you do go, specifically try the mac mini so you'd be trying the same thing you'd probably buy. Don't let the salespeople scare you, sometimes they're a little much. They're typically helpful, though.

One note - if you wanted Microsoft Office it doesn't come for free unlike with most PCs, and it's expensive (like $300 or something) But if you only want Office for Word, then you really can use Pages (for only $79). It definitely lets you take documents from Word files you may have created on another computer and work with them, and lets you save as a Word document so that you can move it to another computer and use it in Word.

I'll shut up now, if you want any help just email me.

1:47 PM  
Blogger Clementine said...

Wowza--you folks love your Macs! I feel like I'm about to be Saved and y'all are the Charismatic Preachers.

I admit I'm curious about the Mini, but I'll have to talk it over with Petunia. Small = v. appealing since our house is knee high to a grasshopper, and that's why we'd like a flat screen monitor, too. I'll let you know what we decide.

2:57 PM  

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