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New Laptop

I am starting the process of thinking about buying a new laptop.

Traditionally I’ve been a Windows person, but that is up for grabs at this point. If you were getting a computer, what would you get, and why?

The only constraint at this moment is that I want a German keyboard…

7 comments to New Laptop

  • The last generation (white, not aluminium) 13-inch MacBook is on sale for 949 € in the German Apple Store or 999 $ in the American one (where you can choose an English, Spanish or Japanese keyboard. Maybe also a German one?)
    As an iPhone user the step forward to a Mac would be consequent. And sooooooooo hip 😉

    Otherwise I’m also very satisfied with my Dell (granted, also not a very creative suggestion), the keyboard has a great feel and pressure point (correct voc?) which is important for me as heavy user. I was not so pleased with Acer before.

    On the low-budget front I think the 10-inch ultraportable Samsung NC10 is very sweet. Not a full notebook replacement but maybe a nice leightweight secondary device.

  • Very happy with our Sony Vaio laptop and will be definitely getting another one in about a year. Great screen. I’ve yet to see a better one.

  • Recently moved from Vaio TX to Mac.

    Here’s why.

    * TX boot up: 2 minutes. Corporate-issue Dell from work:75 seconds. MacBook: 15 seconds, including wireless log-on.

    *vastly fewer viruses

    *The bloatware is actually useful. You can practically get away without Office.

    *Plug a two-button mouse into your Mac, and you get all the right-click commands of a Windows machine. BOBW.

    *TX Blue Screen of Death: once a month. Dell BSOD: up to once a week, depending on activity. MacBook BSOD: twice in the year I’ve had it.

    *PCs look cheaper per GHz, but Macs go faster with lower GHz chips. So the cost is pretty much equivalent. Cliff will probaly weigh in with an opinion here.

    *Native iPod integration.

    *An Apple Store has just opened in Munich. Free 20 minute appointments with an English-speaking expert at the Genius Bar to solve support problems. Free online support, too. Try getting that from Microsoft.

    *THE CLINCHER. Macs can handle multiple languages no sweat. Windows can’t change the language of operating systems easily…and when it does, the keyboard changes to the new language, which confounds the old array of keys.

    OSX can switch easily. Just get another bluetooth kexboard in your native tongue, choose the Sprache from the menu, and reboot.

    Master Right tells me that you don’r even need to change keyboards, really. The operating system intelligently figures out which keys in one language correspond to which in another. He uses my English keyboard for Hiragana Japanese, and vice-versa.

    If you’re choosing a German keyboard just to get the umlaut and the eszet keys, so you don’t have to go through the tedious “insert symbol” palaver, think again. In the Mac English OSX, an alt-S will give you an eszet, and an alt-U will put an umlaut over the next character. (Is that the same in English Windows?).

    If you really want a German keyboard hard-wired into the laptop, it’s easy for an Apple dealer to snap a new one in for you. (I had this done with a Mac I bought in Japan.) Not so easy, I understand, with Windows.

    There are a couple of disadvantages, though.

    *Throw away Safari. Use Firefox for Mac.

    *Mac OS is not best friends with Windows Media Player, especially where DRM is involved. That may compromise your enjoyment of certain, um, gentlemen’s entertainments.

    *Apple always chooses weird toggles for plugging stuff in and out. Especially for external monitors. You’ll need to invest an array of adapters.

    *Apple makes a big deal over how easy the operating system is to use. But even though I’ve had experience with Macs at work over the years, I still find bits of OSX a little counterintuitive.

    *Don’t believe them when they say you can run PC software on a Mac. Theoretically true, but it’s a slow, clunky process. You’ll need to buy new MS Office software, and since Microsoft uses passive-agressive chimpanzees to re-engineer its software for Mac OS, I’m not sure if it ends up as user-friendly as it might.

    Naturally, I recommend a Mac. I also recommend that you buy one while you’re in the USA–much cheaper.

  • *PCs look cheaper per GHz, but Macs go faster with lower GHz chips. So the cost is pretty much equivalent. Cliff will probaly weigh in with an opinion here.

    I get that all the time. Why does everyone think I’m a hardware geek? I don’t know much about hardware at all.

    HB8’s assertion seems to make sense to me, but only because the Mac mini from which I’m writing this comment was the absolute cheapest Macintosh product I could buy new in December 2007. No upgrades or enhancements since then (except software and OS patches, of course). It’s a 1.83GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 1GB 667 MHz of ram in it. Seems more than fine for surfing the web and using OpenOffice.org for light office work.

    If you’re choosing a German keyboard just to get the umlaut and the eszet keys, so you don’t have to go through the tedious “insert symbol” palaver, think again. In the Mac English OSX, an alt-S will give you an eszet, and an alt-U will put an umlaut over the next character. (Is that the same in English Windows?).

    That Insert Symbol crap gets old really fast. In most (but not all) Windows applications, you can use ASCII codes to insert foreign characters. If you hold down the Alt key on your keyboard and type 0223 on the keypad, you should get an ß character – in Windows. This does not work on the Mac. Other codes from memory (haven’t used them in 5 years, since I last had an American keyboard):

    0241
    0243
    0228
    0252

    Some of those might be for Spanish characters. German (and presumably other European) keyboards make that irrelevant via the dead keys. I’m not sure if there is a way to get Windows to use dead keys with a U.S. (or British, I guess) keyboard. But it works with a German keyboard.

    I run Mac OS X 10.5.6 using a German Logitech wireless keyboard mostly intended for Windows. It works, but there are some things which annoy me. Frinstance, a backslash: I have to press
    shirt+AltGr+7 simultaneously to get a backslash.

    And it < and > worked fine and as expected for about 8 months or so, and suddenly after a n update to the operating system, they traded spots on the keyboard with ^and °. Not sure why. And I can’t figure out why the @-symbol is done with AltGr+L. I’m sure if I had bought a Mac-branded keyboard for this computer none of this would have been a problem.

    Throw away Safari. Use Firefox for Mac.

    Why? What don’t you like about it? My only complaint is that I haven’t figured out how to force it to open links in new tabs by default, not new windows. Therefore, I’ve taken to middle-clicking links to make them open in a new tab. Not sure how you’d do that on a touchpad though. And for the record, I don’t understand anyone who uses a laptop but schleps a mouse around with them. If you’re going to buy a laptop, get one whose mobile pointing device works for you.

    *Apple always chooses weird toggles for plugging stuff in and out. Especially for external monitors. You’ll need to invest an array of adapters.

    This may be true for the laptop varieties — I’ve never owned one…or even used one, come to think of it — but my Mac mini came with a standard digital video out port and the adapter to analog. Of course, the mini is sold without peripherals, so maybe that’s why.

    If you want to be able to sit down at other people’s computers and type something without screaming, buy a keyboard that conforms to theirs so that you will get used to it and preserve your sanity. Otherwise, you’re probably fine going with a Mac in either flavor.

  • If you’re a windows person I suggest you wait a bit until Windows 7 is finally released. I am actually planning to buy a new one and been weighing between getting a Mac or a PC with touchscreen. So now I am just waiting for Windows 7 and see if it is really an improvement from Vista which I loath now.

  • Wow… thanks everybody for all the advice. I need to do a serious amount of thinking–I won’t be making a decision for a few weeks, I just needed someplace to start, which y’all have provided.

    That said I happen to be visiting an Apple store today, I wonder if I will walk out with one 😉

  • J

    I’m now using Linux Ubuntu instead of Windows and quite like it.