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  • Patch Lady – what PC should I get?

    Posted on November 26th, 2018 at 21:43 Susan Bradley Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    So remember those old news shows that would do those Point/Counterpoint discussions?  I’m going to counter Woody’s recommendation to move to a Chromebook.

    I’ve used Ubuntu, Chromebook, Windows and Mac and there are advantages and disadvantages to all.

    The first step you have to ask yourself BEFORE you go shopping is how entrenched you are in the Windows ecosystem.  If you have older Windows software that you love (and probably will still work on Windows 10), older printers, and other Windows devices that you have in a peer to peer network Chromebook may not be for you.

    I have a dear friend who had a child that she gave a Chromebook to.  She struggled to get school files off of the chromebook on to flash drives in order to turn in the project.  She struggled to get it to print on an older printer.  She was comfortable in Word and the Google docs was awkward for her.  For her she struggled with the Chromebook ecosystem.

    Then I want you think about how much you use a browser.  Think about your daily use on your computer.  If you are pretty much in a browser all day long, then a Chromebook would work.  IF however you prefer a certain email client, or a certain desktop app, or a certain file structure, then Windows still may be the best computer for you.

    Here are some definite do and do NOTs for choosing a Windows machine:

    DO not consider ANY computer less than 150 gigs to 200 gigs of hard drive.  Anything less and you will be fighting windows bloat.

    DO not consider ANY laptop or computer without a SSD drive.  Windows 10 is just happier (and you are too) with a SSD drive.

    DO not consider ANY laptop or computer with less than 8 gigs, 16 gigs preferably.

    DO be prepared to buy a computer with Windows 10 pro or upgrade to it to be able to control and push off updates.

    DO be prepared to NOT use registry cleaners, minimize the use of third party antivirus software.

    Now I’m not saying you should get a Surface device, but certainly if you need to have a Windows PC, you need to invest in one.

    (Get the idea I’m not talking budget computer here?)

    I don’t think it’s as mandatory to purchase Word or Outlook unless you are married to those platforms.  Libre Office is honestly so close to Word to be easily moved to.

    I’ve even had good luck over the years in purchasing refurbished computers.  You get a similar warranty and it’s cheaper.

    Bottom line you have to ask yourself how married you are to Windows or if you want to start the divorce proceedings.  It will be messy.  Things will be different.  Prepare yourself for yelling at your computer.  (I do realize you may be doing that to your Windows computer now)

    But don’t just jump into a new relationship without thinking hard about you’ve invested into the current relationship and the impact.  We are moving to a browser based world, but…. but…. I’m still not convinced that we’re all ready for it in the same way and levels yet.

  • Which PC should I get?

    Posted on November 25th, 2018 at 21:58 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I’ve heard this question a whole lot over the past few days:

    My uncle has a year old HP laptop that’s had issues and he’s just out of warranty. So he wants to get a new Windows laptop, general mid-range to “nice” but not absolute top end. He’s not a gamer. Any advice on a manufacturer generally considered reliable not stratospherically pricey?

    My #1 recommendation: DON’T GET WINDOWS. Get a Chromebook. They’re much more stable, easier to use, and basically immune to all of the woes besetting Windows machines right now — infection, blue screens, bad updates, long waits for patches.

    I’ve been writing books about Windows for 26 years now, and Windows is in horrible shape. Frankly, Apple isn’t doing much better.

    If he absolutely has to have a Windows machine, in my experience, all of the major manufacturers have similar track records: Dell, Lenovo, HP, Asus, and now Microsoft all have good and bad points. The problem is that it’s almost impossible to know in advance how well a particular machine will work.

    In general, physically go to someplace with a wide selection. Look at “real” stuff on the screen — things that match what you’ll be doing — and try the keyboard and trackpad. Those are the most important considerations. Brand doesn’t matter much. Speed doesn’t matter much (although a solid state drive definitely speeds things up) unless you’re editing videos. Battery life doesn’t vary much, in spite of what you read. Get 8 GB of memory and at least 256 GB of storage (assuming you use a service like Dropbox to store most of your data).

    Avoid Windows 10 S. Spend extra to get Windows 10 Pro, if only to be able to hold off on updates.

    Right now’s a good time to get a new machine. I’m checking Costco, Amazon, Best Buy and Newegg for a new monitor. Prices vary from site to site, so once you’ve settled on a machine, be sure to check prices.