Tuesday, May 4, 2010

NDTWL: In Search Of Computer Advice

Gentle geeks,

I mean Gentle readers,

I was wondering if you could help Mama out with a conundrum.

Do you have a minute? You do? Thanks, you're the best.

Here's the skinny: I just realized today that I am not taking advantage of a fairly significant benefit offered by my Meatspace Workplace. Namely, once every three years the Workplace will loan its employees a rather significant sum of money at 0% interest rate for the express purpose of purchasing a new computer.

Don't get me wrong-- I love Clarabelle, my four year old Gateway laptop. But she has seen four years of very heavy use from a user who, let's face it folks, isn't particularly well-versed in computer maintenance and upkeep. She has her issues.

But I'll be honest; I kind of just want a new computer. And knowing that my Workplace will make it easy for me (the loan will be deducted from 24 paychecks), this "want" has become a "desperate yearning."

So help a sister out, geeks. I mean, "readers." I want a shiny new pretty, but I don't really know where to begin.

The ease of this loan program makes me think that I might want to rejoin the Apple cult. My first two computers back in the 90's were Macs, but I've had a fairly large number of PC's (desktop and laptop) since then.

But this begs the question: Do I want to be a Mac owner only because I want to be one of the "cool kids" or is it really the best choice for me?

Here's what you need to know about my computing life: I spend w-a-a-a-y-y-y-y too much time on the internet. But so it goes. I am not a gamer. I do nothing with design or graphic work (though I would like to at some point). I do watch a lot of my tv and movies on the interwebs through Netflix and Hulu and the like. I have a lot of pictures and music stored on my computer, but it doesn't have to be that way-- pure laziness dictates that. As it is my intention to get back to "real writing" sometime in the very near future, the second most important function of my future laptop (next to being an interwebs machine) will be word processing. I am organizationally challenged, so something with an intuitive filing system is super important.

Other things to consider: If it will be a gigantic pain in the tuchas to make the move from PC to Mac-- and I mean shuffling more than fifteen years of writing from one platform to another-- it ain't worth it to me. Also, the #1 benefit I see to getting a new computer (besides: "pretty, pretty, new!!") is finding one that is lighter than Clarabelle. She's kind of a bear.

I'm not saying money is NO object, but the 24 payments taken straight out of my paycheck lighten the burden significantly, so I'm able to shop beyond my usual means. That's why I could afford to make the move to the more expensive Mac-- as opposed to Clarabelle who was cheapo-- at this time.

Your thoughts? Advice? Please? Do I want to make the move to a Mac laptop? Which one? What's the Mac alternative that would best suit my needs?

Duke it out in the comments or email me at lou [at] loueyville.com. I'll be super grateful and may even name my next computer after you...

I thank you for your support. May the Fourth be with you.


J. J. said...

We need more requirements. How heavy is your current beast? Do you prefer a full num pad? Would you like Blu-ray (I'd recommend it if you plan on having this guy for 4 years, as well)? A buddy of mine just bought a Viao E-series and loves it. Starts at $700 but Blu-ray will cost about $900. Make sure you set up a good backup plan, too: http://zepfanman.com/1p

M said...

JJ, I couldn't tell you how heavy Clarabelle is. Gateway doesn't make the likes of her anymore. But too heavy compared to today's computers. I'd venture heavier than your average new computer, no matter how cheap. Why would I want blu-ray? I don't care about a number pad. I'm an English major. :) Um... yeah, back up plan. Even after reading your blog, I'm a little "wha?" As someone who once lost an entire novel (albeit a 250 page crappy one) to a crash, I ought to be better at backing up than I am now.

Michelle said...

We'll talk about it in person when we go to Pirates! I'll help you out.

J. J. said...

DVD : Blu-ray :: VHS : DVD

Dealnews is handy site that aggregates deals. Here's their laptop section: http://bit.ly/deallap

margaret coble, aka mags. said...

as someone who went through 3 PCs in like 4 years, and FINALLY made the switch to mac after katrina when my last PC bit the dust (and, by the way, is STILL using the same mac powerbook G4 and finds it still suits my needs and is super dependable and hasn't had any major problems in all this time).... GET A MAC!!


i've never owned the same computer for 4 going on 5 years. ever. and i was an early adopter, getting my first desktop in the late 80s and first laptop in i think 1991. most have lasted a year, year and a half, two if i was really lucky. the mac has just been amazing. and it was a refurb, so cost a few hundred less than a new one and already had any bugs in it fixed.

i too was really worried about switching to mac from a pc. nowadays, mac makes it really easy, but even back when i first got mine, it wasn't a big deal. i find managing files, pics, music is all much more intuitive and easy-flowing on the mac. i did luck into a free copy of Word for mac when i got it, so that has taken care of my word processing needs. (i used Word on my PCs too.)

i don't really know much about the newer models of mac laptops but my powerbook has been a trusty workhorse. i'd love to get a newer model, but it's nice that i don't HAVE to cuz it's dying or running so slow that it's useless.

just my 2 cents, from one writer and internet geek to another.


paulpellerito said...

Get a Mac. Unless your files are in desperately old format (WordStar? WordPerfect for DOS?) you'll be able to use them in Microsoft Office for Mac.

The included photo and music programs are wonderful (iPhoto is so pretty awesome, and I assume you've already used iTunes) and the migration software does a good job of PC to Mac transferring.

I of course like Mac because of the amazingly little hassle they've put me through in the past 7 years since I converted. I put up with Windows XP on a daily basis and then happily come home to my Mac.

Also, I've had an iBook from 2003 that's still chugging along.

I think it's time you come back to the fold!

M said...

Thanks for all the advice, y'all. I'm thinking at this point someone is going to have to talk me OUT of a Mac, not into one. Macbook Pro? Macbook Air? iWork? MS Office for the Mac? I'm thinking I probably need to take a field trip to the Apple store and talk to a Genius. Again thanks. Keep the advice rolling in. I won't be taking the plunge for a few weeks.