I am just serving as a mirror to this article as I believe that the Daily Press (dailypress.com) has taken action to remove it from their system. Luckily I am technically savvy and retrieved a google cache of the article before that index was updated as well. What are your thoughts about newspapers and journalism organizations censoring themselves after publishing an article?
First off, you may be wondering what POP and IMAP are. Simply put, they are two different mail technologies that devices (Smart Phones, iPhones, Blackberries) and desktop applications (Outlook, Mail.app, Thunderbird) use. They connect with a mail server, such as Gmail, AOL, or even your Gator Mail and grab the messages stored on the server. Continue reading
Alright, so I’ve had a few drafts of what I was going to talk about in the future articles, but it began to get a little drawn out. So I am just going to wrap it up into one neat little blog post and hopefully some more questions will be answered.
Mac for You!
Get a MacBook/MacBook Pro if your college life will involve the technological arts…
- Film Editing
- Final Cut Pro
- After Effects
- Animation / Rendering
- Cinema 4D
- Graphical Arts
- Virtualization / Emulation
- Music Recording / Editing
If you would be falling into one of these categories, I would urge you to get an Apple computer. They are much better suited to handle these types of applications and areas. The software available for macs are alot more powerful and scalable and more than likely if your school has a strong department in those fields, they will be using Macs as well. If not, you can just virtualize Windows XP/Vista on your MacBook and fit just right in.
If you don’t even fit into these categories, and you like macs, or you just want a mac, or you just have money to burn and want a mac too, feel free to go ahead! This economy could use some stimulating!
PC for You!
The good things about referring someone to get a mac is that you can’t really get them that customized (since it only comes from one retailer), you can just say, get a MacBook and there are really only three current choices. The white one, the lower spec aluminum body, and the higher spec aluminum body. That’s it, three tiers. The same for a MacBook Pro, three tiers. The two different 15 inches, and the one big 17 inch.
Now for everyone else. The bad side about referring someone to get a PC Laptop, is that there are so many different vendors who supply consumers with laptops. Just to name a few
They come in all different shapes and sizes, colors and they might even be wearing different colored socks as well. You just don’t know. The upper side of this is that you can bargain shop really easily when you are shopping for a PC. With so many competitors, there is always a competition between prices. While shopping for a mac, there is only one price, because there is only one retail vendor.
Now, I am going to give you my minimum specs for any laptop that you are going to buy now. Keep in mind that unless it’s a special type of laptop (tablet, convertible, desktop replacement), they should easily cost under a thousand dollars.
Generic Minimum Specs
- 2GB RAM (Memory)
- 250GB Hard Drive (Space)
- Windows Vista Home Premium (32 bit)
Now, this is very important and it’s something that you should keep in mind. The problem is that this can be a very misleading term. There are two main companies that produce processors for computers. They are Intel and AMD. The problem is that they advertise the speed (GHz), but they are not necessarily on the same scale. While an Intel Processor may say 2GHZ, it may be significantly faster than an AMD processor that says 2GHZ processor. The best thing to do is compare them side by side and I found an excellent resource to do that for you.
This website has logs of a lot of computer benchmarks from millions of users across the world. The idea of the website is that people run benchmark tests on their computers and their computers. The website aggregates the different hardware components of the computer and then they are given a rank according to how well they score. The best thing now to determine which of the processors is the fastest is to compare them on the chart. Simply press CTRL+F /Apple+F and type in the model number of the processor. Then compare it to the model number of the other processor that you have.
These aren’t exactly necessary but they will add a little something to your laptop purchase. If you can get them for a little extra or nothing, it would be great.
- Connect to wireless devices
- Mouse – saves up an extra USB slot
- Connect to wireless devices
- Digital Media Reader
- No need for USB attachment.
- If your laptop comes with a media reader, you can simply plug in your memory card from your camera. I know personally, it’s been a pain sometimes looking for the exact USB cord that came with the camera or finding the USB attachment to plug the memory card into so that your computer can read it. Having one built in your laptop comes in handy, especially when you forget them or you’re just on the go.
- This is an upcoming file transfer port. It has faster file transfer speeds than USB. It’s not really a necessity unless you will be working with larger file sizes and a lot of external drives.
Personal Recommended Specs (minimum)
- Intel Duo Core 2 Processor 2.0GHZ or equivalent for AMD
- 15.4 inch screen
- 4GB RAM
- 500GB Hard Drive
- 512MB Dedicated Graphics Card
- Vista Home Premium (64 bit)
- Media Remote
That’s pretty much it. A laptop running those specs would last you a very long time. Possibly even after college if you take care of it.
Some Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the best brand?
- All the brands are the same really. I personally like HP and Toshiba. I feel they have a really solid feel. Dells, not so much. They feel like plastic sometimes.
- What’s the difference between 32/64 bit?
- 64 bit technology allows your computer to use more resources. For instance, Vista running under 32 bit is only entitled to 3GB of ram. 64bit technology removes this limit. If it is included for free as an upgrade, get it. Otherwise, don’t worry about it.
- What happens after my Office trial expires? (Word, Powerpoint, Excel)
- More than likely, your laptop will come with a lot of bloatware and a 60 day Office trial is one of them. The best altnernative is called OpenOffice. It’s a free software suite that pretty much can do anything that word/powerpoint/excel can do. It is worth a shot if money is tight and will get the job done! I definitely can vouche for this saving my life on a couple of school nights. Check them out at http://www.openoffice.org
- Should I get a warranty?
- It depends. If you are the type of person who has been through a couple of cell phones within the last few months, I would recommend getting a warranty. Usually laptops come with a generic one year warranty from the manufacturer. It will cover basic repairs, but not replacements for stolen, etc. I know that the local stores, like BestBuy, etc have good warranties and they will even replace your laptop if it’s stolen. It depends on how confident you are in taking care of your technology. Personally, I’ve never bought an extended warranty on anything I own. I did however, buy it on a digital picture frame… (it was a gift to a not so tech savy person)
- Jamie, will you marry me?
- Simply put, yes. Just pick a number and wait in line. I’ll be with you shortly. Now calling #4.
- Will you help me with my laptop?
- Simply put, yes again. I love helping people. More than likely if you are reading this, you know how to contact me. Just contact me and I’ll see what I can do to help you out. Just make sure dinner is ready :]
Well, I hope that sheds some more light. I pretty much discussed the main things that I’ve had people ask me about and I put it all in one post. Keep the questions and comments coming as I’ve gotten some great responses from you guys so far!
My mind is starting to get used to the idea about college coming in a few months and the idea is becoming more and more likable. However, like most incoming freshman in college schools and universities, laptop computers are starting to become a prime necessity in order to interact properly in the classroom and on the college campus itself.
Even at Virginia Tech, there is a computer requirement for all incoming Engineering students. I think that’s a pretty neat thing because it sets standards in terms of what they are expecting their students to have. It’s pretty much like school supplies. This allows them to use more modern software and technologies because these newer computers would already exceed the minimal requirement.
This is what people don’t realize is the good side about the launch of Microsoft Windows Vista. By setting the requirements for the operating system so high, it forced the prices of computer parts to go down. This way, even the average Joe could afford the latest streamline computer at a reasonable cost. If Windows Vista didn’t require any more resources than the fewer installments, Windows XP, then hardware and software makers alike would hold their prices firm and locking out the newer technologies to the common man, making them a luxury. Don’t get me wrong, Vista is still a pretty solid operating system right now as it has matured with the many security updates and service packs.
Now, back on topic. I know that a lot of my friends are planning to go computer shopping within the next few months so I wanted to put together a series of articles that will break down the main parts of a laptop that they should be looking for in order to decide on their purchase.
Computer hardware aside, there are three different operating systems in which your laptop can have. The operating system is pretty much the flavor of computer you will have. It hosts the applications that you install on your computer and provides a user interface for to interact with your programs and hardware. On the market, there are two mainstream flavors of this operating system and a little underdog.
As you may have guessed, Vista (Microsoft) and OSX Leopard (Apple) are the two mainstream operating systems. On the smaller scaled style, Linux/Ubuntu is an open source alternative, meaning that it is free. In terms of cost, I am going to break down some of the main differences between all three versions. In my later articles, I am going to discuss the more minute details that separate the men from the boys.
Microsoft Windows Vista
- Less Expensive than Mac
- If you decide to take the Windows route, the costs of your laptops would be significantly less than buying a Mac. You can easily get a pretty solid computer for around $750 including taxes and such, if not even sigificantly less.
- More than likely, most people have used a PC more than a Mac. You can’t really go wrong with something that you are used to and at a smaller price, it is even more enticing.
- There are a lot of rebates that come with laptops. This can significantly lower your expected cost by at least $50 to even a couple hundred of dollars.
- More bang for the buck
- Without a doubt, Windows computers will come with more bang for the buck. In terms of the speed of the computer, memory and hard drive space, you will definitely get more. While the higher end Macs can match up to these laptops, they the will be at least as twice as expensive. Just something to keep in mind as well.
- The downside of getting a Windows computer is that they tend to come packed with a lot of bulky software and things you don’t need. They are removable, but it is a little time consuming and even the uninstallers don’t properly remove all the excess files.
Apple OSX Leopard
- More Expensive
- Apple MacBooks start at pretty hefty $999.
- You can easily knock off a few hundred dollars by buying it refurbished. There is no real difference in buying it new and refurbished and you are still covered by the 1 year standard Apple warranty. (More information: http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/specialdeals/mac)
- Another option is to buy it used from someone else. I got my Black MacBook for $700 used from a guy on Craigslist which is easily $500 lower than the original retail price. In addition to that, the laptop already had a transferable a three year warranty (Expiring this September), the original box, power adapter and the guy was even so nice to through in a 2G Nano. With all those additional attachments, I easily saved a grand just by buying it second hand.
- Everything built in
- One thing that Apple stresses is that everything in built into the operating system. I must admit that this definitely holds true. Every MacBook comes with a webcam built in so it is easy to communicate with your family back home. This is one thing for sure that is becoming more common in Windows laptop, but it still isn’t a staple yet.
- Because of the small market share (a whopping 8%), OSX does not have a lot of security threats. What this means is that hackers don’t really spend that much time focusing on the Mac users, which is, at least for now a good thing in terms of anti virus. Personally, I’ve never had an anti-virus while using a Mac and I don’t intend on getting one any time in the soon.
- Windows on Mac
- Another great thing about having a mac is that you can run Windows on the Mac as well. While this is not necessarily needed for every college user, this is great for me personally as an engineering student. This allows me to access both sides of the spectrum for my classes, where the professor may only use Windows software. It is definitely a great feature but again, it comes at a decent cost.
- Free Software
- The overall price of the computer will significantly be less than either Mac or PC. Using mostly open source software, it will be either come already pre-installed, or free to download online.
- With this in mind, you will not get the most top of the line hardware. Hardware still costs money unfortunately. But it will be more than sufficient to do what you need to do for sure.
- It is the same idea behind Leopard but the market share of all the Linux computers is significantly smaller.
- Office Suite
- Ubuntu is the only real operating system that comes with a powerful office suite pre-installed. Packing a powerful punch with OpenOffice.org, it will provide you with Word, PowerPoint, Excel, the works all for free.
- The downside about Ubuntu is that not a lot of things are specifically made for Linux. Most of the software out on the market is geared toward Leopard and Vista and this will more than likely be the same in college.
- Here are some handy links that you can check out
Well that’s all that is all I have for now. I am hoping to get the next part of the series up within the upcoming days! I hope you liked the read, comment what you would like to know more about please.