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Posted by Rhonwyyn (Member # 2854) on June 10, 2013, 01:01:
 
Yeah, it's me again, asking what I do once every few years, it seems. Our MacBook is fading, so it's time to buy a new laptop. There are so many options out there now that I'm not sure where to spend our hard-earned money. I'm hoping that someone(s) here will have some advice/opinions that they could share.

We do the following with our computer:
- access Facebook, Ravelry, YouTube, and various other Internet sites
- create/print Word documents for teaching school
- upload pictures to the Internet
- occasionally listen to music

I was looking at the new Google Chromebooks. Have you any feedback about them? We don't have a huge budget (new MacBook is not a consideration), so the $250 price tag is appealing, but not if we're going to be regretting our purchase.
 
Posted by TheMoMan (Member # 1659) on June 10, 2013, 07:13:
 
My experience is to avoid Walmart. We bought two Name brand Laptops from WM only to find out that they were refurbished, factory returns. Also when one of them needed a new sound card I was informed that I would have to have WM order the replacement part.

Now the MrsMoMan just got a system 7 HP that I have not had to deal with as often as these from WM.
 
Posted by GrumpySteen (Member # 170) on June 10, 2013, 09:22:
 
Most of what you're doing will work fine on a Chromebook. The biggest problem you'll encounter is that Microsoft Office does not exist on the platform. You'll have to use an alternative like Google Docs.

Depending on the complexity of your documents and the features used, exporting from one to the other might not be perfect. If you haven't used Word alternatives before, I would strongly suggest trying them on your current system to see how well they work for you and how well your documents can be transferred back and forth.

A second potential problem is that the ChromeOS is designed to be online. Offline functionality has been added but isn't always feature-complete. The various apps can usually be set to work in offline mode, but there are some that can't. You also usually have to be able to get online in order to switch to offline mode (anything that stores data in the cloud will require this). If you have consistent internet access, none of this should be a significant problem but it is something to be aware of.

Finally, read the reviews for the Chromebook model that you decide to buy (if you decide to buy one). There are several manufacturers (Acer, Samsung, HP) and each has it's own strengths and weeknesses.
 
Posted by Snaggy (Member # 123) on June 10, 2013, 10:42:
 
what's your maximum budget?
 
Posted by TheMoMan (Member # 1659) on June 10, 2013, 10:47:
 
Will open office work with the google OS?
 
Posted by Rhonwyyn (Member # 2854) on June 10, 2013, 12:53:
 
quote:
Originally posted by TheMoMan:
My experience is to avoid Walmart. We bought two Name brand Laptops from WM only to find out that they were refurbished, factory returns. Also when one of them needed a new sound card I was informed that I would have to have WM order the replacement part.

Now the MrsMoMan just got a system 7 HP that I have not had to deal with as often as these from WM.

Yeah, I avoid Walmart - and most big box stores - with a vengeance.
 
Posted by Rhonwyyn (Member # 2854) on June 10, 2013, 12:59:
 
quote:
Originally posted by Snaggy:
what's your maximum budget?

LOL. That would be a good thing to mention.

We're in the process of buying a house right now, so I'm looking to stay under $500. From what I've seen, there doesn't appear to be much difference between a $250 laptop and a $750 laptop, but then, I haven't been following computer specs in the past few years, and those details don't mean as much to me as they probably should.

I've been checking out eBay, and I'm going to see what NewEgg and TigerDirect offer. BestBuy scares me.

Oh, and we want a fairly small laptop, like 13" or 14". I have a 17" or 19" Dell for work; it's ridiculously heavy and designed more for use on desks, rather than on laps.
 
Posted by Rhonwyyn (Member # 2854) on June 10, 2013, 13:03:
 
quote:
Originally posted by TheMoMan:
Will open office work with the google OS?

See, I don't think so. If I'm reading the specs correctly, ChromeOS runs apps, not programs, so you can't download/install OpenOffice. The other thing I should think about is that as my husband is a math teacher, he needs to use Equation Editor (or something like it) to write his lesson plans and make worksheets for the kids. I think ChromeOS has apps to do that, but I don't know how well they play with Word docs.
 
Posted by dragonman97 (Member # 780) on June 10, 2013, 18:46:
 
The difference between a $250 and $750 laptop? It's nonexistent if both run Windows 8. [Wink]

But seriously - the $250 laptop will probably be a piece of garbage that you curse at everyday once a month or so has gone by and the novelty has worn off.

I'm a bit biased, but today's new MacBook Airs are looking /mighty nice/.

IMHO, spending a few extra dollars on something that will last you many years is better than spending fewer dollars on something that will become antiquated in relatively short order.


As to PCs and big box stores - I honestly /would/ buy one there rather than somewhere small. Not Walmart, as I never set foot in such labor unfriendly places, but Staples or something similar. If you have a Costco membership, I've heard *great* things about them w.r.t. problematic devices and an extremely friendly replacement/repair policy. (And they tend to sell pretty affordable computers.)
 
Posted by Snaggy (Member # 123) on June 10, 2013, 20:52:
 
I was going to say MacBook Air too!

We might be selling our original MacBook Air, but I'm not sure what they are worth now. If I have time and it turns out to be in your budget, I'll let you know!
 
Posted by Rhonwyyn (Member # 2854) on June 10, 2013, 21:19:
 
quote:
Originally posted by Snaggy:
I was going to say MacBook Air too!

We might be selling our original MacBook Air, but I'm not sure what they are worth now. If I have time and it turns out to be in your budget, I'll let you know!

I feel like the MacBook Air has too many bells and whistles for what we want. I'm sure you guys are running it to its full potential. That wouldn't be us. I can't even stand iPhoto. I use Preview to download pictures from my camera.
 
Posted by dragonman97 (Member # 780) on June 10, 2013, 22:32:
 
Bells and whistles? It's a laptop, not a Toshiba.

I don't use most of the Apple applications either (save for iTunes & Preview) - I copy my pictures with Finder. Still, it's a system that doesn't crash, burp, or otherwise foul up my day. [Smile]
 
Posted by GrumpySteen (Member # 170) on June 10, 2013, 23:13:
 
TheMoMan wrote:
Will open office work with the google OS?

Not really, but kind of if you're willing to put a lot of work into it. There was a company that offered a cloud-based version, but that closed down. LibreOffice has built-in support for running it in a web browser, but you have to have a Linux server somewhere to run the server portion and you can only use it when you have internet access.

Rhonwyyn wrote:
The other thing I should think about is that as my husband is a math teacher, he needs to use Equation Editor (or something like it) to write his lesson plans and make worksheets for the kids. I think ChromeOS has apps to do that, but I don't know how well they play with Word docs.

The only one I'm aware of is the one in Google Docs and reviews say that it isn't too compatible with MS Office. This might have been improved since those reviews, but you'd want to try it first. Fortunately, Google Docs is free to use and you can try it now rather than waiting until you've bought a computer. If you're doing all the work and printing from the one computer, it won't be a problem. If you have to move your documents to MS Office, it could be an issue.
 
Posted by dragonman97 (Member # 780) on June 11, 2013, 00:31:
 
While I'm not too keen on a ChromeBook*, I will say that I'm pretty impressed by Google Drive (née Docs) lately. I was helping someone with a Nexus 7 who was interested in writing/composing notes/documents on it and on a hunch, I downloaded the Google Drive app. Wow! It's certainly not OpenOffice or MS Office, but it would give TextEdit or iOS Notes a run for the money. The fact that such documents are immediately available on one's desktop or laptop is also quite handy.

*Isn't it basically a NetBook that doesn't suck because it isn't running Windows...but then is a bit lacking because it doesn't do what you expect it to do? (Much in the same way that Windows NetBooks suck because they're way underpowered to do the things you expect them to do.) You might as well get an Android tablet and a keyboard no?
 
Posted by Rhonwyyn (Member # 2854) on June 11, 2013, 17:18:
 
quote:
Originally posted by dragonman97:
Bells and whistles? It's a laptop, not a Toshiba.

I'm sorry, but I don't understand this. I thought Toshiba made PC-compatible laptops that weren't really any different from any other laptop?
 
Posted by dragonman97 (Member # 780) on June 11, 2013, 21:25:
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rhonwyyn:
quote:
Originally posted by dragonman97:
Bells and whistles? It's a laptop, not a Toshiba.

I'm sorry, but I don't understand this. I thought Toshiba made PC-compatible laptops that weren't really any different from any other laptop?
Toshiba sells computers chockful of 'utilities' to 'enhance' your something-or-other. In other words, bells and whistles. The number of running processes starting with 'T' is surely greater than the number of letters in Toshiba. About the only thing worse than Toshiba in this realm (that I've witnessed) is the management suite Landesk.
 
Posted by Rhonwyyn (Member # 2854) on June 11, 2013, 21:44:
 
quote:
Originally posted by dragonman97:
quote:
Originally posted by Rhonwyyn:
quote:
Originally posted by dragonman97:
Bells and whistles? It's a laptop, not a Toshiba.

I'm sorry, but I don't understand this. I thought Toshiba made PC-compatible laptops that weren't really any different from any other laptop?
Toshiba sells computers chockful of 'utilities' to 'enhance' your something-or-other. In other words, bells and whistles. The number of running processes starting with 'T' is surely greater than the number of letters in Toshiba. About the only thing worse than Toshiba in this realm (that I've witnessed) is the management suite Landesk.
So Toshiba's out. [Smile]

How do you feel about Dell?
 
Posted by Snaggy (Member # 123) on June 12, 2013, 10:38:
 
"I feel like the MacBook Air has too many bells and whistles..."

lol, I think you are the first person ever to describe a MacBook Air like that!
(laughing with you, not at you)
[Big Grin]

Here's a few links if you are going Mac...
http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/top-places-buy-refurbished-mac-laptops-mac/

iBooks
http://www.powermax.com/parts/code/PM_CU_IB_14

MacBook Pro:
http://www.powermax.com/parts/code/PM_CU_MB_15
 
Posted by Ugh, MightyClub (Member # 3112) on June 12, 2013, 14:02:
 
I have no real problem with the commercial-grade Dells we use at work. But my limited experience with the consumer line of Dell laptops is that the build quality is fairly awful. And I have no idea how much extra crap Dell loads on these days.

I'm also here to say that even though I am a step or two below Apple Fanboi status I would urge you to not be afraid of Windows 8. I wanted to hate it. I basked in the glow of early negative reviews. I took comfort in the ridicule aimed at the Surface. But then I started playing with it a bit for work and... it's not so terrible. Certain things do take some adjustment. But hate it I do not.
 
Posted by dragonman97 (Member # 780) on June 12, 2013, 20:09:
 
Ditto Ugh about Dell. My experience w/Dell differs somewhat from consumer grade gear. (OTOH, I got an acquaintance to buy a Latitude /many/ years ago instead of an Inspiron and he's using it to this day without issue.)

Basically, to my earlier remarks, you get what you pay for.
 
Posted by TheMoMan (Member # 1659) on June 12, 2013, 20:56:
 
You mean that all of these curbstone Computers I have are just JUNK? Some of them have served me well after I put Ubuntu on the HD.


Truthfully I have an old quadra that I do finances on.

A Compaq with Puppy, Ubuntu, and winblows.

Another Compaq that I use for GPS with the motor home.

The MrsMoMan has a new HP with 7 installed.

From the Quadra on in the list I have bought all of those the real workhorses are freebies.

A high end Dell I use for Sound Card Modes, and a iTi I use for SDR Software Defined Radio
 
Posted by Rhonwyyn (Member # 2854) on June 12, 2013, 22:47:
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ugh, MightyClub:
I would urge you to not be afraid of Windows 8. I wanted to hate it.

My Dell for work has Win7. I hate it. As my coworker put it, the designers took a working system and added two or three extra steps to everything we do.

Based on your comment, I wonder if M$ deliberately made Win7 awful so that everyone would be ready to jump to Win8.
 
Posted by Rhonwyyn (Member # 2854) on June 12, 2013, 22:53:
 
Something I just thought of... should I try taking this computer to the Apple Store to see if they can figure out if something's wrong with it? Do you think they could do something for it, or would they try to sell me a new machine?
 
Posted by dragonman97 (Member # 780) on June 12, 2013, 23:10:
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rhonwyyn:
quote:
Originally posted by Ugh, MightyClub:
I would urge you to not be afraid of Windows 8. I wanted to hate it.

My Dell for work has Win7. I hate it. As my coworker put it, the designers took a working system and added two or three extra steps to everything we do.

Based on your comment, I wonder if M$ deliberately made Win7 awful so that everyone would be ready to jump to Win8.

Umm...I guess you haven't touched Vista. Or Win8.

Most people 'in the industry' loathe Windows Vista and consider 7 to be a breath of fresh air by comparison. OTOH, Windows 8 is like being waterboarded. (OK.../slight/ exaggeration. [Razz] )

I'd be perfectly happy not to have to get rid of XP for the foreseeable future, but if that happens and I still have to use Windows, I'd much rather it be Win7.
 
Posted by CommanderShroom (Member # 2097) on June 13, 2013, 09:53:
 
quote:
Originally posted by dragonman97:
The number of running processes starting with 'T' is surely greater than the number of letters in Toshiba. About the only thing worse than Toshiba in this realm (that I've witnessed) is the management suite Landesk.

This is why the first thing I do with any computer is reload the OS. If it's mine, Debian, otherwise I will figure out how to wipe and rebuild the system without the garbage.

And I know about the difficulties of LanDesk all too well.

My 0.02 here.

Save up for a new Mac. I know that the price is painful, but you are Mac people from the sounds of it. I think that in the long run you will be much happier if you do.
 
Posted by TheMoMan (Member # 1659) on June 13, 2013, 11:02:
 
I have to agree with CommanderShroom The performas iMacs and Quadras I have had just plain work. I did not not like that Apple drew a line in the sand about support for older equipment, but that is why Macs are More elegant than cookie cutter PCs.

I wish more developers did Ham programs for the Apple platform However Puppy on most PCs is a good substitute.
 
Posted by Snaggy (Member # 123) on June 13, 2013, 15:09:
 
what's wrong with your current laptop?

Have you tried a re-install of the OS, etc, etc, Trash old files to make some space, etc, etc?
 
Posted by Rhonwyyn (Member # 2854) on June 14, 2013, 15:01:
 
quote:
Originally posted by CommanderShroom:

My 0.02 here.

Save up for a new Mac. I know that the price is painful, but you are Mac people from the sounds of it. I think that in the long run you will be much happier if you do.

A little tricky when you're in the midst of buying your first house. [Wink]
 
Posted by Rhonwyyn (Member # 2854) on June 14, 2013, 15:18:
 
quote:
Originally posted by Snaggy:
what's wrong with your current laptop?

Have you tried a re-install of the OS, etc, etc, Trash old files to make some space, etc, etc?

I've always been leery of re-installing the OS because I don't want to lose my files. (There's also the joys of using a second-hand computer: I don't have the install CDs.)

I emptied the trash. Also, we have a boatload of space remaining on the harddrive.

Macintosh HD:
Capacity: 119.69 GB (119,690,149,888 bytes)
Available: 88.99 GB (88,987,312,128 bytes)

Here's the information about my computer. Is there anything here that might give you some kind of clue as to why it's running oddly? I mean, we don't stress it out or anything. Is the memory under-supplied?

Hardware Overview:

Model Name: MacBook
Model Identifier: MacBook2,1
Processor Name: Intel Core 2 Duo
Processor Speed: 2 GHz
Number Of Processors: 1
Total Number Of Cores: 2
L2 Cache: 4 MB
Memory: 1 GB
Bus Speed: 667 MHz
Boot ROM Version: MB21.00A5.B07
SMC Version (system): 1.13f3
Serial Number (system): 4H646FUHWGM
Hardware UUID: 00000000-0000-1000-8000-0017F231DB70

Intel ICH7-M AHCI:

Vendor: Intel
Product: ICH7-M AHCI
Link Speed: 1.5 Gigabit
Negotiated Link Speed: 1.5 Gigabit
Description: AHCI Version 1.10 Supported

TOSHIBA MK1234GSX:

Capacity: 120.03 GB (120,034,123,776 bytes)
Model: TOSHIBA MK1234GSX
Revision: AH008B
Serial Number: Y65ET08XT
Native Command Queuing: Yes
Queue Depth: 8
Removable Media: No
Detachable Drive: No
BSD Name: disk0
Medium Type: Rotational
Partition Map Type: GPT (GUID Partition Table)
S.M.A.R.T. status: Verified
Volumes:
Capacity: 209.7 MB (209,715,200 bytes)
Writable: Yes
BSD Name: disk0s1

I'm running OS 10.6.8.
 
Posted by Snaggy (Member # 123) on June 14, 2013, 17:52:
 
What do you mean by running oddly?

also, run disk utility (in your Utilities folder), and repair permissions and the drive if needed.

oh, btw, you DO keep regular backups, yes? [Eek!]
 
Posted by dragonman97 (Member # 780) on June 17, 2013, 14:00:
 
Hehehe...even K-9s know what garbage Toshiba laptops are:
http://tapastic.com/episode/9005

[Big Grin] [Big Grin]
 
Posted by Rhonwyyn (Member # 2854) on June 17, 2013, 17:31:
 
quote:
Originally posted by dragonman97:
Hehehe...even K-9s know what garbage Toshiba laptops are:
http://tapastic.com/episode/9005

[Big Grin] [Big Grin]

LOL - Slight inaccuracy, though. Drug-sniffing dogs - at least on the East Coast - are German shepherds, Belgian Malinoises, or a cross between the two. Labs are cute, but they aren't intimidating like the European K-9s.

Should I be worried that my hard drive is made by Toshiba? [Razz]
 
Posted by Rhonwyyn (Member # 2854) on June 17, 2013, 17:35:
 
quote:
Originally posted by Snaggy:
What do you mean by running oddly?

also, run disk utility (in your Utilities folder), and repair permissions and the drive if needed.

oh, btw, you DO keep regular backups, yes? [Eek!]

Thanks for the reminders! I think running those helped.
 
Posted by CommanderShroom (Member # 2097) on June 18, 2013, 09:32:
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rhonwyyn:
quote:
Originally posted by CommanderShroom:

My 0.02 here.

Save up for a new Mac. I know that the price is painful, but you are Mac people from the sounds of it. I think that in the long run you will be much happier if you do.

A little tricky when you're in the midst of buying your first house. [Wink]
First off good luck on the new home purchase!


But over the years it has been quite apparent that you and your husband are very Mac-centric. And the dislike you have for Windows OSes it is even more obvious that buying a Windows system is only going to frustrate you. And you will most likely try and replace what you have prematurely to get back to a Mac.

Glad that the disk utilities worked out for you, but it does seem that your system has a few years on it, so it may be time to look at things like a preemptive hard disk replacement with the reload of OS X.
 
Posted by Rhonwyyn (Member # 2854) on June 18, 2013, 10:01:
 
quote:
Originally posted by CommanderShroom:
quote:
Originally posted by Rhonwyyn:
quote:
Originally posted by CommanderShroom:

My 0.02 here.

Save up for a new Mac. I know that the price is painful, but you are Mac people from the sounds of it. I think that in the long run you will be much happier if you do.

A little tricky when you're in the midst of buying your first house. [Wink]
First off good luck on the new home purchase!


But over the years it has been quite apparent that you and your husband are very Mac-centric. And the dislike you have for Windows OSes it is even more obvious that buying a Windows system is only going to frustrate you. And you will most likely try and replace what you have prematurely to get back to a Mac.

Glad that the disk utilities worked out for you, but it does seem that your system has a few years on it, so it may be time to look at things like a preemptive hard disk replacement with the reload of OS X.

You make a good case there, Shroom. I'll see what we can do about getting a new Mac. It'll probably wind up being next year, if we're going to buy a brand new machine. And then comes the joy of trying to decide which model we want. Ugh! I hate choices. [ohwell]
 
Posted by TheMoMan (Member # 1659) on June 18, 2013, 11:20:
 
CS put it more elegantly than I would. GET A MAC.

Next best a PC with Ubuntu or Debian. The farther you get from WinBlows the less problems with Virii.

Cellar dwelling script kiddies.
 


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