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Old 05-30-2003, 08:30 AM
trainlady's Avatar
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laptop information needed

I would like to eventually buy a laptop so I can take my computer with me to the park, coffeehouse, work, etc...
I am not very computer knowledgable so I would not even know the basic questions to ask in buying one. I am thinking of taking a basic computer class over the summer.

I have heard of laptops you can use without having a dialup (which is what our computer at home has.)
Without a dialup does this mean you cannot access the internet? What about emailing? How long can the laptop be used without a dial up? Do any of you have laptops that you can take with you on trips, etc... Do you have much trouble with them or do they work pretty well ?
Any feedback, suggestions or advice would be appreciated. Thanks, train

peace,train
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Old 05-31-2003, 06:55 AM
Caronamy's Avatar
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I'm not sure how that works - being able to connect to the internet. But very curious I'm in the market too for DH's business.

So anyone who can help -- thanks in advance...
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Old 06-07-2003, 12:21 PM
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My husband and son, who are an engineers, always recommend HP or Dell unless they build their own computers.. they recommend them also for laptops...

Here is a site that will give you info...

http://www.december.com/web/text/inetconn.html

there are other links to assist and explain... *s*
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Old 06-07-2003, 12:37 PM
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First, you need to determine why you want a laptop. What is it you are hoping to do with it. You'll need to consider different options for different purposes.

I'm confused as to why you'd want to take it with you to the park, coffeehouse, etc. Are you planning on surfing the net while out and about? If you need to work, why would you be at the park or coffeehouse? Just to be doin' the trendy thing? Or for business meetings?

As far as getting on the internet with a laptop, most come with built-in modems. You can dial up just like a desktop computer. Just plug a phone line into the jack and into the wall.

To add on to your home network you have a few options. If you are working with two windows machines you can an ethernet card (standard on most, but not all computers) and connect your machines through that and a hub with ethernet cables. You'll need to set up your machines; there is a wizard in Windows 98 that will help you do that. (You'll need the ethernet option if you plan to hook into your network at work.) You can actually piggy-back a Mac onto a windows ISP-link, but its a lot more work without the router, and NOT for beginners.

Your best option for sharing internet access is to use a cable or DSL provider (for speed!), a cable modem and a router. A wireless router and a wireless access card in the laptop make this even sleeker. (I can look up recipes from the kitchen or check my email while I'm outside enjoying the weather.)

Some things I considered before switching to cable access were the cost of a second phone line (including taxes-$31) and the cost of the ISP I was already using ($19). It actually came out cheaper for me. I did purchase a cable modem and router, but I considered them long-term purchases. The price for those items has dropped significantly since then, too. Often you can find the cable modems "free after rebate" when you sign up for cable internet service. Also, try to sign up for the service when they are offering free installation, or ask for it when you call.

Since you're in California, there are probably lots of coffeeshops with internet. You must have a wireless access card installed to use them.

Some other features to consider: screen size, RAM, processor speed, hard disk space, weight, CD/DVD drive, USB ports, firewire ports, and operating system. I went for a model that had the DVD drive, that way the kids can watch movies on long trips. I didn't feel the need to burn CD's on the go, though.

You really need to think about what and where you will use the machine for. For most people, they are really just toys (nice, expensive toys). For others they are a necessary tool for work. How much machine you buy will depend on your uses and your budget.
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Old 06-07-2003, 02:29 PM
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No-dialup *usually* means either a cordless communication with a basestation in the house or a wireless cell-type connection. Either way, there is some kind of connection to the internet.

I have a wonderful Dell Inspiron 8100 laptop, but I seldom take it "on the road" with me. I look at travel as an opportunity to escape my computer! <LOL> ;-)

I use a cable connection. Second, dh has put cable lines in all over the house and created an intranet so that all the computers in the house (8 at last count) are connected to each other. So I can use laptop in bed on really bad days, in my easy chair on bad days or use my desktop on decent days. (I have serious fibromyalgia.)

Frankly, unless I lived in a really rural place, I wouldn't want to take my laptop to places like the park or a cafe - I'd be worried about theft! And I can't do most of my research away from my books, so no work on the laptop away from home!

Maybe I'm still confused about why you would want to take your computer along with you everywhere, although I *thought* I had a clear idea when I read your post...

Cheerio!
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Old 06-07-2003, 03:02 PM
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I don't know if this is what you might want, but I have an AlphaSmart wordprocessor. It is completely portable, weighs 2 lbs, has a full size keyboard, but only shows four lines at one time. You can't get on the Internet with it, but it can hold a total of 100 pages of text in 8 files, has spell check, cut/copy/pastes, and lasts 700 hours on 3 AA batteries. They sell a lot of these to schools for the kids to use for their lessons, but writers use them also. It is very easy to use.

I got mine a few months ago and really like it because I can use it for hours when we camp with no electricity. When I get home I just hook it up to the USB port on my PC and it transfers everything into Word or WordPerfect. I think I even transfered something directly into an e-mail once. With the carrying case it was $225. They also have one called Dana which also has more PalmPilot type stuff, but it costs around $350.

If you are interested you can see it at:
http://www.alphasmart.com/
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Old 06-07-2003, 08:43 PM
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Wow, thank you everyone for the information!!!!

I have a job where I am free to use a computer (if I had one...and on a seperate phone connection then the work phone.....) while I am at work and I spend a lot of my freetime at a coffeehouse downtown where I would love to play on the Family Corner if I had a laptop!
I travel by train once every year or so and thought it would be fun to have a laptop with me then, too, to play on the internet and answer emails!!!

I cannot even begin to afford a laptop but it might be something I would be willing to save money a few years for!
From what you all have written I know, without a doubt, I would need to take a computer class. So much to learn and I know so very little about them!! Thank you so much for the information you have shared. I appreciate it!
peace,train
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Old 06-09-2003, 12:59 PM
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Do NOT BUY a Dell Laptop!!! Something went wrong with our power cord, and after about a day and a half on hold with no help finding a new one, we went to laptops for less online and actually HAD the new cord in another day and a half!! Then Dell sent us a couple of customer service comment forms, which they also never replied to. If you think you will ever need parts, customer service or tech support, go somewhere besides Dell!
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Old 06-09-2003, 03:17 PM
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I'm a "Dell Person." We have 8 Dells in our house all networked together. Have had NO problems with the desktops, and the one problem wiht the laptop was taken care of almost *instantly*. You must have gotten a loser on tech support. When I called about my laptop, they had UPS at my door within 45 minutes (it was 7PM when I called) with a special packing box. They took it away and I had it back 2 days later - all fixed. No charge.

If you let Dell know how bad their service was for you, they'll make it up to you. They want to be known for their good products and their excellent service. It only takes one bad experience - like yours - to mess them up, so do let them know and tell them what you want them to do about it. They'll do it.

Cheerio!
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Old 06-09-2003, 06:58 PM
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As I explained my husband called Dell on the phone (on hold or phone tag for a total of 10 hours). They said they would forward our question to a supervisor and call us back, nothing still, AND we tried to get an answer by e-mail on the web site. We tried e-mailing a complaint, and we responded to the e-mail and snail mail customer service surveys. They never got back to us. THEY DON'T CARE THAT THEY GAVE US REALLY BAD SERVICE. Maybe you were just lucky.

On the upside, we got great service from Laptops for Less!
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