Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Calling All Laptop Users

Hi. My name is BHE, and I have dial-up internet. "Hi, BHE!"

Welcome to the Support Group for the Technologically Challenged. We have come together in search of guidance and direction in our quest to better ourselves as we venture into the blogosphere. It's not a place for the faint of heart. It's a place where we laugh and cry together. A place where we spend countless hours sitting at our computers, and loathe the dreaded Blogger Butt that seems to plague us.

Today, I am not asking for tips on shedding the Blogger Butt - although, that may be one of next week's posts. No, I am begging you to tell me about your laptop. Which brand did you purchase? What do you like or dislike about it? Does it make your eyes cross after looking at the screen for six hours at a time? What is the price range? Does it come in cute colors? Is it easy to transport?

I would also like to know which internet service provider you use. Do you have to plug the computer in, or do you have wireless service? If you have wireless service, have you had any problems connecting? What type of security measures do you have in place?

Any advice you can give would be greatly appreciated! Last night, I sat at my home computer waiting for my DIAL-UP connection to actually CONNECT. EIGHTEEN MINUTES LATER it told me there was a server error. AAAHHHHHGGGGHHHH! I wanted to throw the whole thing out of the window. I believe I said this out loud. About that time, The Surveyor quietly left the living room and went into the bedroom to watch television. I'm certain that he will be pleased that I have started this support group to help with laptop research. It's much more comfortable to watch t.v. in the Lazy-Boy.

Thank you for your participation. This support group may prove to be extremely popular. Please be sure to sign up in advance.


Mental P Mama said...

Blogger Butt...I happen to have a case of it right now. And I need to get up off it and get ready for a meeting, but do I do it? Nooooo just sitting here reading blogs! I just got an Apple MacBook this year and I love it. I still have a PC desktop, too, but I do most everything on the laptop now. I have a real keyboard and a wireless mouse I use with it on my desk, and I love it! Also, we have cable internet, and it is pretty reliable. Good luck!

belladella said...

Blogger butt...haha! That's me. Major work deadline and what I am doing? :) I have absolutely no computer advice. I do feel your pain. We just got high-speed internet in Amelia. Before that we had dial-up that was so slow we canceled it and went computerless for a bit. It was like torture!

And I highly recommend cable internet!

Amy said...

Wow-- of all topics to talk about. This is such a sore spot with me. I still have the hokey pokey dial-up. We live in Mayberry and unfortunately, no one has service out here. IF they do- we need to get a bank loan just to finance it. CRAZINESS!!

Living on the Spit said...

I too, have a case of blogger butt ad I would LOVE to get rid of it as well. I use Cox at work and Verizon Fios at home. I like both equally and have good down load times. At HWM's parent's house, they have Cox and At&T...the Cox is fine but you are right, the dial-up is just awful...I think it has gotten worse over the past two years.

As far as computers...I have a Dell PC at work and I have Sony VAIO laptop at home with both plug ins and wireless connect...it all depends where I am in the house as to whether I go wireless or not.

There is a lot out there and I would suggest going somewhere such as Best Buy where you can try different models out and talk to the people there...almost always people will suggest DSL over dial-up. Hmmm, also on laptops...unless you want to hold a lot of media (i.e. photos, videos, and such or are a closet gamer...you really only need a laptop geared for emails and internet...you can get media sticks to hold excess photos and stuff.)

If you have particular questions...just ask...I will try to help, if I do not know the answer, I will gladly find out for you.


The Incredible Woody said...

Sorry 'bout the dial-up situation!

Being on the road, we have used just about every company out there for internet. Cable companies (charter, comcast, cox, etc). Phone companies (Bell South, At&T, etc). I have even used the cards that go thru your cell provider (ours is Nextel).

In my experience, the cable companies provide the fastest connection. But the DSL thru the phone companies is so close in speed that you really can't tell that much difference.

And with the cable companies now providing phone service - you can get some pretty good package deals. We also use internet phone. We pay about $25 per month for our home phone - but this includes call waiting, caller id, call forwarding, and unlimited long distance. Plus you can take your box with you. I can be in Florida or Virginia or California and hook my box up to the internet and people can call my home telephone number in TN and they can reach me.

The cards from your cell provider are slower (but still faster than dial-up) but it is cool to be able to be driving down the interstate and be connected to the internet.

As far as service and reliability, they are all about the same. It's always a pain to call the cable company or the phone company. If you have Comcast in your area, they have seemed easier to deal with as far as tech support, etc.

Definitely go wireless! It is really great to be able to surf while watching TV from the Lazy-Boy.

The Incredible Woody said...

OK - here's goes the advice on a new computer. I am the IT department for the company, even though I have no training. But I am a nerd.

We have owned Dell, Gateway, Sony, HP, Compaq, and Toshiba. Never, ever purchase any of the last 3!

I have had similar results as far as speed, dependability, longevity, etc from Dell, Gateway, and Sony. I have also had similar results if I had to deal with tech support (all are a big pain in the ass!!)

When computer shopping, there are 3 main things to look for. Always get the biggest that you can afford of these things:
- Hard Drive
- Processor speed
Those 3 things are the guts of your machine. Purchase the most that will fit in your budget. If you do, your computer will be able to handle all that you throw at it for a good long time.

I recently purchased a new computer for one of our project managers - a Gateway from Best Buy. It had 4 gig Ram, 320 gig hard drive, and I can't remember the processor speed. But it was a pretty sweet machine and I spent around $1200 with the extended warranty. It was very lightweight too. No cute colors but most of my guys wouldn't carry a hot pink laptop!!

One thing I like is the wider screens. The measurement is from corner to corner on the diagonal. Mine is 17" which makes all the difference in the world to me since I spend so much time glued to it!!

Be sure to shop around. I have had the best luck with prices at Best Buy. Probably even better as we near Christmas - lots of sales!

But I have purchased a couple of customized machines - a Dell and a Gateway. That is how I purchase the machines for my use. Since I spend so much time on it and the company pays, I usually get a pretty sweet machine!!

The Incredible Woody said...

Of course, there is ALWAYS glitter!!

Suz said...

I think you are going to have to send the Incredible Woody some hard cold cash. ;)
I seriously did not even know people still had dial up. Yes, I do live in my own world. In my world everyone has high speed.
I am no help. But I will give you some sympathy. SOOOOOOO Sorry. I hope you get some good advice and get rid of the frustration.

The Incredible Woody said...

I think I went over my comment word limit. Never, ever ask me about computers. Or genealogy. Or travel. Or.....

themuseasylum said...

Well, I'm afraid I'm not going to be much help with this. I do have a laptop; it is *gasp!* an Acer Aspire. I bought it because it was the right price. If you can afford a better brand, I'd recommend it.

Up in the 'Loops, we have cable internet, which might be DSL, I'm not sure. It's really fast, though.

We also have wireless internet, which I think is a must with a laptop. Then again, my Blogger Butt doesn't often leave the living room couch, so that would be why I say that, lol. My roomie's ex is a techie, so he set it all up for us. Fortunately, they have an amicable relationship, so whenever we have problems, he comes over to help us.

(I would, no doubt, be totally lost on my own!)

Don't think that helped much... :)

HalfAsstic.com said...

I want to be a member! I want to be a member! I meet all the requirements! I have a laptop, (ancient Dell) and I used to have dial up service, (can empathize), plus a killer case of the dreaded blogger butt!
I am rethinking this and have decide that I want to be... at least Vice-president of the association. Will settle for secretary if John can still call me his personal sexcratary.
My one word of advise to offer about, well, it doesn't matter what your problem is, EVERYONE should always remember this very, very important life rule: NEVER EVER, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, USE COMCAST FOR ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING. They will disappoint.
Stick to that and I can almost promise you a longer happier life!

I am Barking Mad said...

Blogger Butt....LMBO! People look at me and by the size of my rear end, they KNOW I'm a blogger! Either that or they guess Political Speech Writer. *lol*

I'm a huge Apple MacBook fan. I'm currently Appleless (well not really, you read my post on my 25lbs of apples) but am going to be getting an Air sometime before Christmas. Nothing compares to a Mac!

Auds at Barking Mad

Travel Girl said...

Wow! You've gotten some great advice here but here's my two cents worth. I'm getting ready to purchase my second laptop. The quiet man is a bit of a computer hog and he doesn't even blog. I want my own laptop. I am very tempted to get a Mac but worry about compatibility with applications I use at work. I'll probably get another Dell because we get a discount and I've had very good luck with my previous Dells. I'm going for lightweight. My current laptop is great for sitting on the sofa but not so great for lugging through airports and balancing on airplane tray tables. It needs to be a workhorse so RAM and processor are important. I am embarrassed to say it, but I often have the desktop and the laptop going at the same time. I get confused about which keyboard to use. That's bad isn't it. I definetly need a support group. Oh, I use Roadrunner internet. I've rarely have a problem with it.

Amy-littletoesandcheerios said...

Yes, my blogger butt is numb as we speak!
I have an acer laptop...and I absolutely LOVE it. Hubby bought it for me so I could take it in each room while watching Madi. We also have wireless HP on our big screen TV and we never use it...always the acer!
Good Luck.

(Sometimes!) Serendipitous Girl said...

Once upon a time, when SSG was about to throw her 3 year old Dell laptop out a window just as the garbage truck was driving by, she walked into a Mac store. The man at the store asked how he could help her. She looked at him and said literally: "I want a computer that works. I don't care how it works. I just want it to work. I want to plug it in, turn it on and have it WORK." He said "right this way." I brought home a little Mac laptop, plugged it in and haven't even looked at the handbook. We've lived happily ever after ever since. (P.S. I use Comcast, I think? It's just plugged into the cable outlet in my office and is fast and hasn't caused me any trouble ... knock on my faux wood Target desk.)

nikkicrumpet said...

I can't help you with the laptop...I'm old school I guess...I like a nice big computer with a bigscreen! And I'd kill myself if I had to go back to dial-up. We use verizon and I've been pretty pleased with the service. I rarely if ever have a problem.

Suz @ Alive in Wonderland said...

I'm a Mac girl. I think everyone one should have a Mac Book. They should give them out at the hospital when you leave as an infant. They are a necessity in life, I think.
I also an Airport Extreme, so I have my own little network going on.
I also have blogger butt...

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Hey - this is a topic near and dear to my heart. I have dial-up too. And really need to get a laptop but have no idea where to turn.

Grandma J. bought one recently and she knows quite a bit about this stuff. You may want to ask her.

I am hoping Santa Claus brings me a new set-up here because this dial-up is the PITS.

asthmagirl said...

I decided never to buy brand name again, and have been happy with the PC desktops I built for myself, hubs and daughters. I manage a network for my employer and we're running almost 30 laptops and 30 desktops. We run two wireless networks at work, and I run a wireless network at home too. All wireless routers are password secured and encrypted and we haven't had any breaches in 4 years.
We run cable internet at home and just installed it at work after 4 years of DSL. Speed-wise, if you're going to run wireless, it doesn't matter whether you choose DSL or cable. Wired connections run at a max of 100 Mbps and wireless runs at only 54Mbps. So DSL is going to do fine. The only reason I can think where you must do Cable is if you were running many laptops off one connection, you would see it get very slow.

For laptops, I had our first 20 built generically. Our last 10, I've been buying ASUS laptops because they don't come with tons of bloatware and proprietary software to conflict with Windows. They run very clean and I've been pleased with their perfomance. My retailer is selling me small fast laptops right now for $400 of retail so we're paying about $975. Typically, I'd pay about $1100 for an upgradable laptop that I'd expect at least 5-8 years out of in a heavy use environment.

Hope that helps! Good Luck.

Holy Crappers said...

I have a Toshiba laptop and I freaking hate it! Well, I dont hate the laptop itself persay....I fucking hate the Windows VISTA!!!!

Crashes day in and day out.....POS I say.

We have AT&T wireless and dont have any problems with it yet.....I just jinxed myself...didnt I?