View Full Version : Mobile Computing Solutions...

Tristan Gray
08-23-2005, 06:49 PM
I am about to begin my third year of university in a field completely unrelated to computer or web development. Well, nothing is completely unrelated to my field but no more of that. I am living with four other of my friends in a nice house in downtown Halifax. Trouble is that I will likely have at least 5000 words to write each week and working on my desktop at home could be difficult throughout the daytime/evening with four other strapping young men about. And so I am thinking of getting in the habit of taking my work to the Library. It seems though that in order to make best use of this library time I should be able to type which would necessitate a notebook computer. I really don't have all that much cash though and so this puts me in a state of indecision.

What do you guys think? Getting a new notebook computer for mostly just word processing on the fly (this is 90+% of what I do during school) or just writing it all out by hand and then typing it up later at home on my computer?

I am talking a budget of somewhere in the $1000 - $1500 CAD range. I would buy an iBook because they are sleek, stylish, cheap, and very good for what I want to do... but then interoperability with my desktop would suffer a lot. Please advise me in this and if you know of a particular notebook model that rocks your socks and seems appropriate tell me!

I have just a few more days til I'm done work here and then I have to move, buy a bed, work out my course schedule etc. This is going to be hectic so if I could harvest the fruits of all your brains' efforts it would be a great help. Thank you.

08-23-2005, 06:59 PM
I am going into my junior year in college over here in WA state, and I have tried to do the "take notes and enter them in later" method, but that eats up way too much time. You quickly find yourself distracted by the better things in life, such as girls, tv, pizza, and alcohol. :D

I was looking at notebook computers last night for a buddy of mine, and I am really impressed with Dells lineup. While they don't always yeild the sleek sexy look like apple does, they work great, last a long time, and offer interoperability with your pc. XP Home is included on most models, and you can customize each laptop style with various upgrades (eg: processor, ram, dvd burner, etc). You may want to check them out...

08-23-2005, 07:45 PM
I find Apple computers pretty usable with windows systems...you can easily share files etc between a mac and a windows pc. I'd get a Sony Vaio IMO, but they are pretty expensive in comparision to a similar spec of another make.

Tristan Gray
08-23-2005, 07:59 PM
Sony VAIO are the best notebook PCs hands down in my opinion but WAY out of my price range. They're like 3000$ Canadian. I am definitely going with a centrino processor system if I go PC by the way. Battery life is a huge factor.

I won't use Windows XP Home period, and I don't want an operating system included most likely. I do not particularly like Dell although would be open to ideas if someone could prove to me their worth. So far as I can tell Dell systems are mass-produced garbage that weigh a lot and cater more towards desktop replacement fools.

I am not unknowledgeable when it comes to notebooks or computing in general I used to work for Hewlett Packard selling the damned things but I'm out of the loop in terms of notebooks these days.

Problem with Apple is that they are switching over to Intel soon are they not? What will that leave me with in terms of support etc? Seems like maybe not the ideal time to by an iBook. Is a warranty worth it on an ibook? Generally I never get warrantys on computers.

08-23-2005, 08:01 PM
Well I used to use a laptop on the move and then when I returned to the desk I used it as the desktop, by just plugging in the monitor, keyboard and mouse.

Dunno if you have tried eb*y but you might find a dell laptop and/or, their docking station which makes plugging it all together simpler. I have no idea of costs so this may be a silly suggestion.:(

arghhh your post wasn't there when I sent this one. I can't vouch for dell personally. My brother uses one for work and seems happy enough though if anything goes wrong he just sends it to the IT dept and gets another one.


08-23-2005, 09:09 PM
Oh yeah, forgot about the Viaos! Those pretty much rock, to say the least. No problems, fairly long battery, slick look, and very lightweight.

Just out of curiousity, what OS are you going to be running? *nix?

Edit: Also, are you going to need alot of power behind the notebook, or are you going to primarily use it for storage/data entry/school work?

Tristan Gray
08-24-2005, 02:48 PM
I pretty much don't require any kind of vid card. I just want a decent processor for word processing/data storage type stuff. I don't need a big screen, I don't need a DVD burner, etc. Problem is that most people who buy laptops are idiots. And so it is hard as hell to find an efficient work system. If you want a decent processor you need to buy a system with a dvd burner and pimped out video card.

I will probably run windows on it just so that I can transfer word documents etc over easily to my laptop from my main computer. Although I will likely eventually go for a nix partition and maybe give open office another try and see whether it'll do the trick. Either way I'd prefer XP Pro and I don't like buying add-on software from venders. heh.

This is pretty close to what I want. (http://www.sonystyle.ca/commerce/servlet/ProductDetailDisplay?storeId=10001&langId=-1&catalogId=10001&productId=1001622&navigationPath=n32009n32160n100079)

Except that it has a DVD burner (-$100-$200 without it), it weights too much, and I could go down a step or two on the processor probably.

Tristan Gray
08-24-2005, 03:17 PM
This (http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=15722&vpn=LX.A7205.015&manufacture=Acer) is my current PC competitor for the iBook. Either an iBook G4 or This Acer Notebook (http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=15722&vpn=LX.A7205.015&manufacture=Acer).

I really like the ibook but it seems like transferring word documents and networking and stuff with other PCs may become an issue. I don't really want to pay an extra $150 to get a student edition of ms office for mac but I need to be able to use word documents on both.

That Acer seems like a damned good price.

08-24-2005, 04:02 PM
I won't use Windows XP Home period

I got XP Pro on mine.....

Tristan Gray
08-24-2005, 04:13 PM
Yeah, see almost all the systems come with Home on it. But I am thinking I may go with the iBook anyway. I'm just concerned about interoperability. The sharing options on macs also suck, share everything or share nothing.

08-24-2005, 09:01 PM
heh, was 'chatting' to the IT boss in my ISP today and he said to think of nothing else but an IBM Thinkpad. Thats all they use both for mobile and desktop use.


Tristan Gray
08-24-2005, 09:24 PM
Interesting, I will look into it.

08-26-2005, 04:10 AM
Acers are normally pretty good value for money , as are BenQ's (my favourite) , I would avoid Dells & HP/Compaq like the plague (all mouth and no trousers at the budget end though the high end stuff is ok (but better off with a Toshiba / decent IBM at that end of the market))

Pentium M yes ... Centrino ? why , you are just paying for the hype ;)

But I posted to ask why you want to spend an extra $100 or so to get XP pro which offers no extra functionality outside of some networking issues and some server related applications (are you really likely to be using active directory ???)

XP home does all that Pro does for 99% of most users outside of an MS network.

Of course if you could get notebooks with no OS included & slap on linux then life would be cheaper.

08-26-2005, 05:07 AM
I almost had an easier time networking my Powerbook and a WinXP pro machine than I did two WinXP Pro machines. Go for an iBook or a Thinkpad, neither will do you wrong.

08-26-2005, 09:26 AM
I won't use Windows XP Home period, and I don't want an operating system included most likely. I do not particularly like Dell although would be open to ideas if someone could prove to me their worth. So far as I can tell Dell systems are mass-produced garbage that weigh a lot and cater more towards desktop replacement fools.

You're right to avoid XP Home like the plague, but Dell are not what they used to be! I work for a corporation that has a at least 2000 Dell machines and as far as I know they have proven themselves to be real workhorses, even under the pressure of being hammered by developers for up to 50 hours/week. I'm not sure about the notebooks, but their LCD monitors are rebranded Sony panels, so you may find that the Dell laptops have the Vaio screen, or one of comparible quality. Whilst I'm strictly a desktop user, I haven't heard any complaints from my Dell notebook toting collegues. :)

[ No, I don't work for Dell. :p ]

08-26-2005, 10:27 AM
my company is also a dell reseller and some of the highend laptops (around 1200+ ) are really excellent machines.
if u go for the inspiron over the latitude u cant go wrong. plus in the uk, inspiron users get to speak with english support staff not get transferred to asia and speak to "bob".

Tristan Gray
08-26-2005, 02:24 PM
Yeah, I used to get a tonne of pissed off customers when I worked in small medium business division at Hewlett Packard. Because people would get so sick of being on hold or dealing with guys in India who always just tell you to format or send it in that they'd just start pressing buttons in the phone directory until they got somewhere.

I remember this one guy, Mr. Tan from Hawaii, he was the most angry/funny customer I ever dealt with.

I think I will probably go with the iBook. I think these are the three competing options right now, iBook, ThinkPad (too much cash), Acer. Dell's high end stuff is decent, same with HP, but only because it's got so much freaking gear in it that how could it suck? And for the price there's no question that there are better choices out there for high-end notebook computers. I don't plan to play any games on it or anything, it is first and foremost a way of bringing my work with me to the library or to Fredericton when I go to visit my girlfriend.

EDIT: And I can get 225$ off an iPod!