Monthly Archives: July 2010

The Savvy Thinker’s Guide to Netbooks, Laptops And Desktops 4

To cap the series, here’s a wrap up of the most salient bits and pieces to The Savvy Thinker’s Guide: Laptops, Netbooks and Desktops.

Everything depends on the user. The computer is just a tool, the user decides what to do with it. Get what makes your life easier, but don’t let the decision-making process take it over. If you can’t narrow your must-have specs, try making a list of nice-to-haves, real-sweet-but-I-can-wait, and could-be betters. Work your way up from there.

Surface thinking about computers is about your fantasies. You fall in lust with the implicit power of the image, you pay a premium for that power, but will you use it to the best of its capacity? To get a computer that will serve you best you need to know what you need, and where you’ll use it, as well as how much you’re prepared to pay for it. (And how long you plan to hang onto it.)

New models and incremental performance improvements come down the manufacturing pipeline at a near predictable rate, if you listen to the manufactures and tech sites. A unit that reliably serves your purposes for the length of its expected lifespan is the key, anything beyond that is a bonus– and good maintenance skills. Continue reading The Savvy Thinker’s Guide to Netbooks, Laptops And Desktops 4

The Savvy Thinker’s Guide to Netbooks, Laptops And Desktops 3

Laptops have come a long way from those boxy, briefcase-sized prototypes you may have grown up with. And while there are still some work-horse models out there built for rugged use and hard-shocks, there are also the sleek, matte –ahem, airy-looking models… airy, geddit?– that are so thin you could slide them into a large manila folder and they could pass for a year-end accounting report.

So why a laptop?

  • You can carry it wherever you need to go. Period.
  • You’re used to a laptop.
  • You’re a mobile worker, and you need to have a computer that can go with you as a partner, not a side-kick.

At this point, laptops are just portable desk-tops with smaller monitors and a comparatively higher price tag. Student, mainstream, business and gaming, there’s a laptop for every need and and every budget ( there are outlets for refurbished ones too, just so you know.)
Continue reading The Savvy Thinker’s Guide to Netbooks, Laptops And Desktops 3

The Savvy Thinker’s Guide to Netbooks, Laptops And Desktops 2

Netbooks are like the tea-cup chihuahuas of the computing world. Mini-laptops, they’re designed to be light-weight (in the most literal sense) tools to help you connect to the Internet and accomplish lightweight (figuratively speaking) tasks like browsing, email, word processing and watching streaming video (Standard netbooks don’t come with optical disc drives for CDs/DVD’s, those things bring the weight up.) That’s it.

To emphasize and summarize: Don’t expect these little darlings to do what they’re not specced for. Netbooks are secondary computers, with limited capabilities that come locked in with the feather-weight status and the extreme portability. That’s why they’re called net-books. You connect to the internet, watch a few vids, and do light-duty computing. Period. They’re aides, not partners. At least for the moment.

Ahem. To continue: On the outside, there appears to be a lot of variation in netbook models: glossy covers vs. matte, sea-shell configuration, chiclet keyboards vs. traditional, etc. As a group, however, because of the common size and weight constraints they come with basic specs and similar hardware. Continue reading The Savvy Thinker’s Guide to Netbooks, Laptops And Desktops 2

The Savvy Thinker’s Guide to Netbooks, Laptops And Desktops

So, it’s time to get another computer, and you asked around for the latest pointers. Your cubicle-neighbor at work touts the coolness of her netbook when she’s working on her novel during lunch breaks — you can type with one hand and hold your sandwich in the other, how neat is that? — while your best friend gleefully rubs your face in the awesome powers of his gaming laptop.

Meanwhile, your uncle clucks irritably at all the shiny toys that manufacturers come up with to boost sales, all the while praising the merits of his reliable desk top, the one he’s had for years. You know, the one so steady he’s only had to upgrade the monitor (and add some RAM, plus fiddle a bit with a more powerful CPU and motherboard, an extra hard disk…) to make watching movies and reading on-line easier. With so many options out there, there’s bound to be one for you.

Now, whether you’re a first time buyer or a seasoned online- electronic bargain hunter, it’s a cinch that you can access all the information you need on-line to make an informed choice about the best computers out there, but this article series isn’t about that access.

Well, not entirely, anyway.

This article is about thinking through the process of picking a computer to fit your needs. This way, you not only get to pick the best computer out there, but also the best computer for you. And if anyone else you know is having problems picking a new computer for themselves, you’re there to give your improved take on the whole thing. Hold up on the impulse buy, hang onto your credit card, and let’s just think things through. Continue reading The Savvy Thinker’s Guide to Netbooks, Laptops And Desktops