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View Full Version : OT - I Think My 'Puter is Dying - Laptop Recommendations? / Linux Questions


auburnchick
06-07-2007, 04:46 PM
Hi y'all! Well, I think my seven-year-old computer is dying a slow death on me. :cry: The last three afternoons have been hairy. It starts up fine in the mornings, but by the time I get home in the early afternoon, it's slowed down a ton, and each time I get it going, it takes two or three tries. One of the fans stopped working about a year ago, and because of its age, replacing the fan would near-about be impossible simply because of the way the computer was put together. I really haven't wanted to put in a lot of extra $$ either.

As a computer tech, I'm trying all of the tricks I can think of. But, I've known that this day was coming...

Anyhow, I'm seriously considering a replacement. I like desktops, but my hectic lifestyle tells me it's time to invest in my own laptop (my children each have their own). Plus, I'll be able to use it next year when I start teaching. I'm thinking of maybe getting something with a docking station so I can use it like a regular desktop at home.

Now, I know I can google the heck out of laptop recommendations, but I wanted to get y'all's opinions too. (And I'm so tired of doing research right now...my senior seminar college class is kicking my hiney in the research dept.)

What kind do you have? What do you like about it?

I'm partial to Dells, but I'm open minded. I know that much depends on RAM, yada, yada.

Anyhow, thanks for your input! :muah:

kristinw
06-07-2007, 04:52 PM
Well I have always been a PC girl, but in March I got a MacBook Pro. I can't even tell you how much I LOVE it!!! I really can't say enough good things about it. I never thought I would get (or like for that matter) a Mac, but I don't regret it at all.

Knitting_Guy
06-07-2007, 04:53 PM
I'm partial to Dells myself. You can go to their website and spec it out just the way you want it. You can even order them pre-loaded with Linux instead of Windows now.

sara_jayne
06-07-2007, 05:01 PM
I have a Dell laptop for work and it is wonderful. We are probably going to get a Dell laptop for house purposes also. We have a Sony Vivo tower that is great and they make some tiny laptops which might come in handy for space & carrying purposes!

I couldn't imagine choosing with everything that is out there :passedout:

Good luck!

auburnchick
06-07-2007, 05:51 PM
Hey Mason, I was thinking about Linux. I know you're a Linux guy. Do you think it's the way to go? I'm wondering about the compatibility with my other programs.

Oh, and I love "building" computers at the Dell site. It's so user friendly. Of course, this is going to cost some $$ as I just :heart: gadgets and new technology.

iza
06-07-2007, 05:51 PM
I like Dells too, but my former supervisor bought a Toshiba for our lab and eventhough I haven't used it much, it seems to be working pretty good.

My boyfriend got a Compaq and he's not very happy with it.

Good luck with the shopping... these things are so difficult to shop for!!! :passedout:

geekgolightly
06-07-2007, 07:34 PM
I'm partial to Dells myself. You can go to their website and spec it out just the way you want it. You can even order them pre-loaded with Linux instead of Windows now.

my husband just ordered that one. he received it yesterday and it had some bugs right out o the box, but they are fixable for any linux geek

he said you have to get into grub and manually edit a config file to get it to reboot

i recently got a macbook bc im not a geek ( not that kind of geek. im a record nerd)and im so in love with mac now. it all works perfectly. i dont have to think and its super fast and lovely. and NOT microsoft

geekgolightly
06-07-2007, 07:38 PM
Hey Mason, I was thinking about Linux. I know you're a Linux guy. Do you think it's the way to go? I'm wondering about the compatibility with my other programs.

Oh, and I love "building" computers at the Dell site. It's so user friendly. Of course, this is going to cost some $$ as I just :heart: gadgets and new technology.

if youre interested in editing and programming a bit, its totally for you. im NOT at all. i just want the thing to work. ive spent five years trapped by linux of various forms (red hat, mandrake, slackware, debian, linux from scratch, and ubuntu) and ive hated every bit of it. they dont work well with video files and sound.. like i couldnt easily surf and listen to music. it was always a PITA for me. but reed loooooves it. which is why i got a fancy macbook and he got his dell laptop

AnreeAce
06-07-2007, 07:39 PM
I'm a Mac girl from way back. If I were in the market for a new laptop I'd go with the MacBook Pro.

Jan in CA
06-07-2007, 07:42 PM
I have a Dell desktop and laptop and both my daughters, my father and two of my brothers have Dell, too. :teehee: I've always found their customer service to be great, but I've heard a few who had problems. That could certainly happen to any computer though.

All that being said... no matter what you get, get the best you can afford. They become obsolete pretty quickly. :teehee:

auburnchick
06-07-2007, 07:43 PM
You know...at this point I just want something reliable. I've read that Linux is more stable than Windows. And, now all of the new machines come with Vista, which is not compatible with many things yet.

On the other hand, I don't have a lot of time to tinker. I don't mind it, but I'm in the middle of college classes, along with working and raising a family. I'm planning on taking four classes next term, and that's when my daughter's soccer schedule gets revved up again (yeah, she's going to start playing soon...after knee surgery in February!).

Hmmm...tough decisions...

If only the computer would last one more year...

auburnchick
06-07-2007, 07:44 PM
Hey Jan, I was just looking at the Dell website. They have some really nice ones for $3,000. Dh is gonna you-know-what when he finds out. :teehee: :teehee:

Doodknitwit
06-07-2007, 07:45 PM
we have a laptop a piece and can dock them. we sit in the same room and send emails to one another jokes etc..:):roflhard::roflhard:
:yay: one Dell and one Toshiba

auburnchick
06-07-2007, 07:50 PM
Home network here too...dd does not find it humorous...teenagers :rollseyes:

Knitting_Guy
06-07-2007, 08:05 PM
While I use Linux for everything and have no problems at all (can listen to music, view videos, watch DVDs, etc.) I really don't recommend it for a casual or technically challenged user.

I personally prefer Linux over any other OS, but then I am something of a computer geek. :rofling:

I have my desktop set up with four desktop screens on a 3D cube that I can rotate from one screen to the next and it has some pretty nice animations and special effects. Here's a link to a picture of it.
http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c50/mason61/screencube.jpg

zkimom
06-07-2007, 08:43 PM
Oooo, MacBook Pro! :inlove:

I :heart: Macs!

I've been using Macs for a very long time and they beat Win - doze:sleepy: hands down.

My dh uses various PCs --his latest is a SONY Vaio and he is ALWAYS having trouble with it. I can't tell you how many times he has had to reformat his drive and start all over again. It's not just him, it's all the guys that work for him. Most of them are fairly serious computer geeks and they are always having computer troubles. And don't get me started on how much fun they are having with Vista.

Not me though.

The only problem I have is that my laptop is getting old. My IMac is smoking though.

Too bad they cost so much. If PCs weren't so cheap compared to Macs I know lots of people who would switch in a heartbeat.

Best,
Susan

auburnchick
06-07-2007, 08:45 PM
Hmmm...okay. Thanks for the honest feedback. I appreciate it!

Knitting_Guy
06-07-2007, 08:51 PM
Hmmm...okay. Thanks for the honest feedback. I appreciate it!


I forgot to mention that you can download and burn a LiveCD version of Linux that will run right from the CD so you can check it out to see if it's something you might be interested in trying.

Ubuntu Linux is a LiveCD that can also be installed. You can just boot the computer with the CD and run a full Linux system without installing anything. It runs kinda slow because a cdrom is slower than a hard drive, but it's still a decent way to check it out.

auburnchick
06-07-2007, 09:23 PM
Oh, that's a GREAT way to test drive it! So I just download it to a CD, boot to the CD, and go from there?

When I shut down, I just remove the CD and boot normally?

Knitting_Guy
06-07-2007, 09:37 PM
Oh, that's a GREAT way to test drive it! So I just download it to a CD, boot to the CD, and go from there?

When I shut down, I just remove the CD and boot normally?


Yes. you download the cd iso image. You'll need to make sure you select "burn image" or whatever the option is for the burning software you are using. The word image is what you would be looking for.

Once you burn it just boot the computer with the CD. When you reboot, remove the CD and boot the system normally.

The most common way most people start out with Linux is to install a dual boot system so that when you boot you are presented with a menu that allows you to choose either your Windows system or Linux system. It's easy to have both operating systems on a single computer.

My laptop has a small Xp partition for some trucking specific software I need for work that doesn't come in a Linux version, and the main Linux partition.

My desktop PC has three different Linux distros on it and I just pick the one I want to boot from a menu.

auburnchick
06-07-2007, 09:42 PM
You know, I had read about the partition thing earlier. I understand it, a little, but the how-to escapes me. However, it would probably be a good option.

How does the system allocate resources? If the majority is dedicated to Linux, does the Windows partition suffer from slower speed?

The other downer is that I like Word much better than Open Office. It's just so watered down. Of course, I probably don't use most of the features. I guess it's just "prettier."

Susan P.
06-07-2007, 09:51 PM
I have gone back and forth between Mac and PC and ultimately have settled on a Mac. I agree with Mason's comment about techno proficiency. My son is in IT and he has no problems and does all the right things in terms of what I would call 'ongoing maintenance' but I want a really user friendly system that does all I want easily and with a nice big monitor. I have an IMac and love it.

I would fiddle with partitions unless you know what you're doing. To me it would be easier to get a separate disk drive or similar. In the US they're not that expensive and you just plug it into a port and enjoy both the portability and the back up.

Susan P.
06-07-2007, 09:53 PM
Doh..just realised it was laptop being asked about specifically..my son has both systems as laptops but has always spoken highly of the Dell. I see Jan is also. Dell does also have a good customer service record also (in the main) :-)

Knitting_Guy
06-07-2007, 09:55 PM
You do have to make sure that you allow enough space for the Windows partition, but as most drives are huge these days that's really not a problem. 10GB is usually more than enough.

The Linux system requires at least 2 partitions. A 1GB swap partition and then a main partition (called the root partition) of 10GB or larger.

If you have for example a 40GB drive, allocate 20GB for your Windows system, 1 GB for swap, and the balance for the Linux root partition.

You would typically clean up your Windows, defrag it, and then use a Windows tool like Partition Magic to resize the Windows partition leaving enough free space for the Linux installer to create the needed Linux partitions.

It's possible to resize the Windows partition with Linux tools but as Windows uses a non-standard file system that's a tad risky. Either way it's a good idea to back up your important data just in case something goes wrong (rare, but it happens). I've never had anything go wrong, but anything is possible.

auburnchick
06-07-2007, 10:06 PM
:passedout:

:teehee:

Thanks for the information! I'm not sure what I'm going to do now...

:passedout:

Knitting_Guy
06-07-2007, 10:09 PM
:passedout:

:teehee:

Thanks for the information! I'm not sure what I'm going to do now...

:passedout:

Sorry about that. I deliberately threw a lot of info at you at once to give you an idea of what you would be getting into. It really isn't as complex as it sounds, but it does require a bit of a learning curve and some basic knowledge of how partitions work.

Try the LiveCD thing and see if you like it. If so, you can work through the partitioning one step at a time. (It really isn't as bad as I made it sound) I repartitioned so many drives over the years that I could do it in my sleep. And I'm just a dumb old truck driver.

sheknits
06-07-2007, 10:21 PM
Hi ...

Can't let this pass by without chiming in. I work on both a PC (a Dell running XP Professional) and a Mac (OS 10.4.x). Hands down, the Mac is the winner!

I run my own business and can't waste time worrying about whether or not my computer will work. It MUST work ... every time. Dell customer support is extremely poor, in my experience, and Windows is such a buggy mess of halfbaked random strangeness that I would just throw the flaming PC out the window if I didn't need it for a client who insists I use it for my jobs with them.

Hope that's helpful. It is cheaper to go with the PC, but worth every extra penny to get the Mac.

auburnchick
06-07-2007, 10:25 PM
No, Mason, I appreciate you going hard core on me. It shows me what I would be facing.

You have to realize that I am in the middle of a really tough class (I'm starting to sound like a broken record). I have a professor who is the only one who teaches the senior seminar class I have to take before I finish. I have about 15 MORE writing assignments to complete by the end of July. And I have another class I'm taking too.

And I just started a new job (30 hrs/wk) where I'm the computer tech. I joke that I really don't know what I'm doing. I can, however, use Google. I fixed a problem today by hunting through endless web forums.

Anyhow, you are right about it becoming easier once I sit down to do it. The only problem is that once I actually have the time, I would really, really love to finish the pair of socks I'm working on.

:::::::::::::::::::sigh::::::::::::::::::::::::

I need to win the lottery so I can have time to do what I want.

::::::::::::::::::::sigh:::::::::::::::::::::::::: :

Thanks a bunch. You're a patient guy. I'm such a computer dweeb.

:hug:

snowbear
06-07-2007, 10:26 PM
I know what I'm going todo when I get enough $ for my new puter..

Call Mason.. tell Him what I want it to do. and let him order it for me.

Then when it does things it isn't supposed to.. He'll know how to fix it.

yep.. & who said men are only good for one thing...


*:lol: just teasing Mason...

auburnchick
06-07-2007, 10:27 PM
You know, I know that Macs are probably more stable than PCs, but after working at a school where both were used, I found myself frustrated. The majority of the working world (at least my world) has PCs. I'm a scatterbrain as it is...trying to switch back and forth would probably drive me even crazier!

I'm thinking that you like the Mac commercials that have been running lately.

auburnchick
06-07-2007, 10:28 PM
I know what I'm going todo when I get enough $ for my new puter..

Call Mason.. tell Him what I want it to do. and let him order it for me.

Then when it does things it isn't supposed to.. He'll know how to fix it.

yep.. & who said men are only good for one thing...


*:lol: just teasing Mason...


:teehee:

So he'll drop off a load, go doctor Snowbear's computer, then head on over to the next place. Sounds like easy $$, Mason!!!

Knitting_Guy
06-07-2007, 10:34 PM
:rofling:

The Mac operating system is more stable than Windows because it's based upon Unix as is Linux. It's basically just a dumbed down Unix (that's not a slight against it).

Frankly, if your time is short just go with a decent Dell laptop that comes with Vista installed. I think Vista is a disaster but I doubt you can even get one with Xp now.

iza
06-07-2007, 10:42 PM
I heard a rumor that Dell was still offering XP on some models because Vista is such a disaster... I wonder if it's true?! :??

Susan P.
06-08-2007, 02:40 AM
Mason..I suspect telling someone to grab a dell but saying at the same time vista is a disaster will simply freak them out :-)
My son has had no problem with dell customer support BUT given he buys hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of computer equipment per year for a corporation perhaps the vendors keep him sweet :-)

I don't see the big deal moving back and forth between PC and Mac myself. What's that different? Email runs the same..a word document is effectively the same..excel is the same.. *shrug*
I think half these issues are a mindset thing although, as said earlier, I'm bad with computer maintenance and so PC's drove me mad. I had two horrendous crashes and at one point had to be rescued via a VERY expensive recovery program service.

But..I find Mac easier to use and as said..I see little difference..it's more like wearing pumps vs loafers..they still cover the feet..they still walk you around..one for me is just more comfortable, reliable and 'easy'.

BUT..for the lady with the auburn hair..I would go Dell if you're intent on PC

Knitting_Guy
06-08-2007, 07:44 AM
Yeah, probably, but that's just my opinion of Vista. Dell is a good company and sells good machines. I really like my Dells and have never had a support issue at all. I'm just not a fan of Vista (or Micro$oft for that matter), but for a casual user it might be ok.

auburnchick
06-08-2007, 08:12 AM
Susan, I guess, having worked on macs in the school system, I'm just not super fond of the way you move around in them. It's just preference. But I am getting tired of constantly having to update drivers, etc...

I went to the Dell site last night and "built" an item for my wish list. Total was $4,900. :passedout:

I will probably get a Dell and then tinker with it when I have time. Maybe, if I get it by Christmas, I'll tinker then. I'll have a whole month off between school terms...lots of time...

Thanks for all of the advice!!!

psammeadred
06-08-2007, 08:58 AM
My sister's Dell laptop went through four (possibly five) motherboards and two hard drives in three years. She spent 5-6 hours per call with customer service personnel, each of which promised her a new computer if X service didn't fix the problem. Finally, she got a new computer after calling the Better Business Bureau.

Knitting_Guy
06-08-2007, 09:27 AM
My sister's Dell laptop went through four (possibly five) motherboards and two hard drives in three years. She spent 5-6 hours per call with customer service personnel, each of which promised her a new computer if X service didn't fix the problem. Finally, she got a new computer after calling the Better Business Bureau.


Wow, that's really rare. I've never had a problem with either their machines or their service. But like everything mass produced you can get a lemon.

AnreeAce
06-08-2007, 11:23 AM
I joke that I really don't know what I'm doing. I can, however, use Google. I fixed a problem today by hunting through endless web forums.

Story of my life!

I'm in charge of the care & feeding of 60 Macs & 2 PC's at work... no way I could do my job without good search engines! I joke that they don't pay me to know everything, they pay me to be able to find out anything! :rofl:

Knitting_Guy
06-08-2007, 11:31 AM
Story of my life!

I'm in charge of the care & feeding of 60 Macs & 2 PC's at work... no way I could do my job without good search engines! I joke that they don't pay me to know everything, they pay me to be able to find out anything! :rofl:


Back when I was an Electronics Instructor that's the one thing I always stressed to my students. It's far more important to know how to find the information you need than it is to try and memorize everything.

Stiney
06-08-2007, 11:47 AM
I didn't read everything, but I was a Mac-Hater. Then I bought my gateway drug, I mean iPod. Then the MacBooks came out. I was seduced. I have a Macbook, wish I'd gotten the Pro. It's fabulous. :heart: Macs tend to last longer than PC's, too.

The problem with Macs (forgive me if I'm being repetitive, I didn't read the whole thread) is that they are pricey, and they are hard to upgrade. PC laptops are harder than desktops to upgrade, too, but you can unscrew and swap out RAM, etc, fairly easily.

On the other hand, I had a Dell laptop (Inspiron 8000) in college. I got it over the summer before I went away. Within the first year of warranty, the LCD had to be replaced. I think the next problem was after the warranty expired, but I'm not sure, because I was living in the same dorm both years, as was the guy who helped me. Anyway. The CD drive, which was built into the side of the computer, crashed and burned. Wouldn't recognize CDs or DVDs or anything. The floppy drive was removable, so my friend with a slightly higher number Inspiron popped out his CD-drive, and voila, it worked where my floppy drive went. I had to get one of those, so I could only use the floppy or the CD drive, not both at once (didn't want an external for either, and yes, floppies were still used when this happened. Just not much.)

So this was annoying but livable.

I graduated in December of 2004, and my last final was on 12/18. On 11/18, the backlight on the laptop went out. Poof. I could sorta see enough by tilting it back and aiming a flashlight at it and so on to hook it up to a monitor, and used it like that for the next month. I was sooo annoyed (really, I only needed it for ONE MORE MONTH), and when I took it in to be fixed, the guy said it would cost $700 for the part and more for labor. So obviously not worth it, for a 3 and a half year old computer with 18 Gigs on the hard-drive.

My desktop from Dell (Dimension 8400, I think) is holding up better, which may be partly because I upgrade the RAM when I started playing World of Warcraft. :teehee:

Once you do narrow your choices down, I'd hit cnet and Amazon and read the reviews people have left.

As far as switching between Windows and Mac OS X, once you get used to how the Mac operates, it's MUCH simpler to navigate. I've been using Windows since 3.x days, so I tend to think Windows is more intuitive--it's not, I just know it better. If you go "Where does it make SENSE for X to be?" it's usually there. :teehee:

I use a Dell desktop at work and at home. I do hit try to hit the Apple key on the PC's occasionally. :rofl: Also, I'm running Open Office on the Mac, on the premise that I already OWN Microsoft Office, and I shouldn't have to pay for it again, but it behaves like a PC program--you actually hit CTRL+C to copy, instead of Apple+C, which makes my brain hurt when I'm copying stuff off the web into Office. It also doesn't always convert 100% perfectly from Word files.

debb
06-08-2007, 02:34 PM
I love my MacBookPro and Apple offers a pretty decent student discount (I think there is also a Nano promo going on now)

itsjustmeghan
06-08-2007, 02:54 PM
i'd get a mac. any day of the week. i was diehard pc for a LONG time, but after switching to mac, i can't imagine going back. they're SO easy to use, if they do get messed up (which they never seem to do) all you do is reset, and voila! fixed! you plug in things (camera, printer, etc) and they know what it is and it works instantly. no new drivers or programs needed.
i actually got a blue screen of death on my computer at work the other day, and i started :roflhard: hysterically at my desk because i forgot what that was like!
i love my macs. love love love them.

auburnchick
06-08-2007, 03:39 PM
I joke that they don't pay me to know everything, they pay me to be able to find out anything! :rofl:

:teehee:

I hear 'ya!

Actually, they pay you to spend the time doing something they don't want to do.

VictoiseC
06-08-2007, 04:33 PM
Hm, nobody mentioned Sony Viao??? I LOVE mine. Had it for um, about as long as you, 7 years. Had one problem so far where it had to be sent back. A 5 year Warranty is important. Good luck!

Dangles
06-08-2007, 05:00 PM
My cousin had a Viao, had nothing but a tonne of problems with it.

I haven't personally owned a Dell but DH's last laptop through work was one and it was ok. Prior to that they used a Toshiba which I fancy and now they have gone back to it.

Have you looked at the LG notebooks, they have a fingerprint reader too.

auburnchick
06-09-2007, 01:56 AM
Hey Mason,

I'm typing this while running the Ubuntu Linux Live CD.

Whew! It was not easy! I had to figure out how to burn the image to the CD correctly. After going through a couple of ISO burning utilities, I finally found one that worked. Maybe the problem was the user. ;)

Anyhow, it's interesting so far. It's got a very smooth look to it.

I'll be playing...

Thanks a bunch for the help!!

ArtLady1981
06-09-2007, 02:27 AM
My sister's Dell laptop went through four (possibly five) motherboards and two hard drives in three years. She spent 5-6 hours per call with customer service personnel, each of which promised her a new computer if X service didn't fix the problem. Finally, she got a new computer after calling the Better Business Bureau.


Just a little tidbit from a baby computer user: A senior tech at DELL told me that your computer (the CPU?) will last longer IF...at least once a day...rather than leaving the computer in "standby", or worse, just walking away and allowing it to run...okay, where was I...or yes! he said the last thing at night when you are sure you are going to bed for the night, put your computer to bed as well. Turn if OFF using the full TURN OFF choice. It allows the CPU to completely cool off and rest. He just said "your computer will last longer that's all".

So, I have been following his advice ever since...and have always treated my new DELL laptop with a daily "rest". I've had this DELL Inspiron for 1.5 years...and other than one virus...haven't had any problems. Had to do a reformat/reinstall...but my daily backups helped that mucho. Actually, I back up most business files everytime a change is made. Just re-send it to a 4G thumb drive.

I don't know the nitty-gritty as to whether or not his advice has true validity...but...I figure...it's just as easy to click TURN OFF as it it STANDBY...right? It can't hurt.

Well, that's my 2 cents. I can't offer advice about computer choices. All I've ever owned is DELL. I have been completely satisfied with tech support...English-as-a-first-language tech support, that is. :eyebrow:

auburnchick
06-09-2007, 02:32 AM
Very good advice! I turn off the computer every night before I hit the sack (which you're up late, eh???). It comes on first thing in the morning and generally gets Sundays off.

Here are a couple of interesting articles I found about Linux:

Why People Don't Switch to Linux (http://www.desktoplinux.com/news/NS3542601509.html)

Dell to Choose Ubuntu (http://www.desktoplinux.com/news/NS8661763902.html) -- Mentions how Dell is going to start offering Linux on select computers

Adopting Ubuntu (http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/tech/linux.html)

I'm totally into this now. Can you tell???? :teehee:

Knitting_Guy
06-09-2007, 02:38 AM
Hey Mason,

I'm typing this while running the Ubuntu Linux Live CD.

Whew! It was not easy! I had to figure out how to burn the image to the CD correctly. After going through a couple of ISO burning utilities, I finally found one that worked. Maybe the problem was the user. ;)

Anyhow, it's interesting so far. It's got a very smooth look to it.

I'll be playing...

Thanks a bunch for the help!!

You're quite welcome. I doubt it was a user problem as a lot of free Windows burning apps don't have an image burning function. Just a hook to make you buy the full version.

I'm glad you got it going and can check it out. Don't judge the speed by the LiveCD. It runs much faster when installed.

Ubuntu is one of the best newbie Linux distros out there. I'm a Slackware user, but Slack is NOT for newbies. Everything is done manually in Slack.

Play around with it a bit. I think you'll grow to like it. If you run into problems or have questions just email me at mason_mullins at hotmail

auburnchick
06-09-2007, 02:42 AM
Thanks Mason!

I'm having a good time, although my classes are suffering at the moment. :teehee:

I am seriously going to do this Linux thing. I just have to figure out a few things first...

Making sure I can hotsynch my iPAQ, setting up my printer, etc...

Do you have to reinstall applications if you choose to switch to Linux? Is it like reformatting your harddrive?

Oh, do you need virus software?? Probably so, but I know Linux is much more secure. Does it come with its own firewall?

Knitting_Guy
06-09-2007, 02:57 AM
Thanks Mason!

I'm having a good time, although my classes are suffering at the moment. :teehee:

I am seriously going to do this Linux thing. I just have to figure out a few things first...

Making sure I can hotsynch my iPAQ, setting up my printer, etc...

Do you have to reinstall applications if you choose to switch to Linux? Is it like reformatting your harddrive?

Oh, do you need virus software?? Probably so, but I know Linux is much more secure. Does it come with its own firewall?

Firstly, as far as your current software goes, you need to figure out what the Linux alternatives are as Windows software will not run in Linux. There are Linux equivalents to most if not all of what you normally use.

The iPAQ : there are Linux apps to sync it.

Printer: That can be problematic in Linux depending on your printer. A lot of printer manufacturers don't support Linux very well. If you have an HP printer you're probably in good shape. If it's one of the cheap department store brands it may not work at all as the makers don't provide any Linux drivers or support at all.

You don't need any anti-virus software when using Linux as there is no virus "in the wild" that will run in Linux.

A firewall is always a good idea. The easiest way to set up your firewall in Ubuntu is to install the application called Firestarter and use it to configure your firewall. Linux firewalls work differently than Windows and a helper app like that makes it much easier.

ArtLady1981
06-09-2007, 03:02 AM
Very good advice! I turn off the computer every night before I hit the sack (which you're up late, eh???). It comes on first thing in the morning and generally gets Sundays off.

Here are a couple of interesting articles I found about Linux:

Why People Don't Switch to Linux (http://www.desktoplinux.com/news/NS3542601509.html)

Dell to Choose Ubuntu (http://www.desktoplinux.com/news/NS8661763902.html) -- Mentions how Dell is going to start offering Linux on select computers

Adopting Ubuntu (http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/tech/linux.html)

I'm totally into this now. Can you tell???? :teehee:

Hey Nathalie! The articles were GREAT! Especially Adopting Ubuntu!
I have a 5-yr old DELL desktop in running order...but, not using it much...it is 60GB, a "256"...not as fast as this new Inspiron I use daily...anyway, after I reformatted the desktop 7 months ago, I didn't re-load a lot of stuff on it. No need. I use it as a backup "in case" this laptop gets a "cold"...

I might try doing the LiveCd Ubuntu trial thing on it when I get back from the wilderness! I read how some folks "resurrect" old beasts...and breathe new life into aging computers by using Linux or Ubuntu! Worth a try on my oldie but goodie. Anyway, I read that the LiveCD trial doesn't insert itself into your existing OS. It is just a house-guest. I like that!

Thanks Mason for your input! Thanks Natalie for your input!

See y'all in a week. :waving:

Knitting_Guy
06-09-2007, 03:13 AM
One small error in the Adopting Ubuntu article. Ubuntu doesn't charge a shipping fee if you order the CD from them. They ship it totally free of charge and usually send you 10 of them so you can share them.

auburnchick
06-09-2007, 12:15 PM
ArtLady, what's nice about the Live CD is that there is an option to install when your computer starts up. It's an icon on the desktop. So, if you decide to go with it, and after you get the computer ready, you can click on it and run.

You know, I've gotta tell you that I am hugely impressed with your technological guts. I mean, I'm already impressed with you for other reasons (your knitting skills and know-how on other stuff you've posted about), but this just takes the cake!! It's AWESOME!!!! :thumbsup:

Mason,

Thanks for answering my questions! Looks like you'll be helping ArtLady and me!!

I do have an HP printer...gotta love the workhorses! That's a relief. Since the iPAQ is an HP, I should be able to find helpful info too...I guess HP is compatible with Linux. I also have an external CD/DVD burner. It's an HP.

And the anti-virus info...WOW! That will help my computer run much faster. Norton is such a memory hog!!!!!

Now to find something like Quicken...a MUST have!!!!

I've gotta say that DH looked at me like :scratchinghead: when I told him that I'm going to switch us to Linux. He said that no one uses it...that it's like Macs...no one uses them...HIS words, not mine. I'm going to chalk his comments up to someone who spouts without reading. :teehee:

So, I'll continue to research!

Knitting_Guy
06-09-2007, 12:24 PM
:rofling: Let your hubby know that literally millions people use Linux every day.

As for Quicken. There isn't a program exactly like it for Linux. There are accounting type programs, the most popular being Gnucash, but it's a lot different than Quicken. I like it and use it myself, but it might not be to your liking.

Remember, you can always choose to install as a dual boot system so you can have both Windows and Linux on the same machine. I highly recommend that at first. It will give you time to learn how to use linux and discover all of the applications you'll need while still having Windows available if you're in a crunch and just have to get something done that you haven't learned yet in Linux.

Knitting_Guy
06-09-2007, 12:27 PM
By the way, what kind of video card does your machine have?

auburnchick
06-09-2007, 01:31 PM
Graphics card: NVIDIA GeForce2 MX

Oh, and a quick search of Gnucash features said that it will allow the import of Quicken files. So, all I would have to do is save my bank stuff as a .qif file.

Here's an article I found about running Windows programs on Linux:

CrossOver Puts Windows Programs on Linux OS (http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,1886920,00.asp)

Here's another type of financial software:

Moneydance (http://moneydance.com/features)

iza
06-09-2007, 03:00 PM
I second the dual boot suggestion. It will allow you to experiment with both and see what's more convenient. I've used both Linux and Windows and I can say that each system have their advantages and problems. Everybody knows the problems with Windows... but on the other hand, it's not hard to find how to fix something, since millions of people probably had the same problem before. With Linux, the research can be more difficult, and installation of hardware can be difficult as well. But, once it works, it's VERY stable.

I think it depends a lot of what you use a computer for. For games, I would think Linux could be difficult to use. If you share a lot of documents with people on Windows, it could be a problem as well. But it's possible to do everything you want with Linux. It might just take you some time to figure out how to do it.

My boyfriend says it's like driving a little lawn tractor that doesn't work very well but everybody knows how to drive it (Windows), vs a bulldozer that is a bit harder to drive but with which you can have a lot of work done (Linux). :teehee:

I would suggest to look at google stuff too (gmail). You can open/edit documents, there's a calendar, etc. They add new features all the time. :thumbsup:

auburnchick
06-09-2007, 05:58 PM
Thanks for the info! I'll be researching my options. As soon as I finish this term's class assignments, I'll be able to dedicate a bit more time to it! Meanwhile I'm going to call Dell and ask about the Linux systems they have available.

Knitting_Guy
06-09-2007, 05:58 PM
I wouldn't count on Crossover too much. It doesn't work for everything. There is also Wine but again it doesn't work for all Windows software.

If you do an install know ahead of time that your nVidia card is going to require a little extra work. nVidia's drivers are proprietary and as such aren't included in the default installation as it would violate the GPL.

I use an nVidia card on my desktop machine and it's not that difficult to install the needed driver. nVidia provides an installer for Linux on their website.

Knitting_Guy
06-09-2007, 05:59 PM
Thanks for the info! I'll be researching my options. As soon as I finish this term's class assignments, I'll be able to dedicate a bit more time to it! Meanwhile I'm going to call Dell and ask about the Linux systems they have available.

Dell is distributing several machines with Ubuntu preinstalled.

Knitting_Guy
06-09-2007, 06:01 PM
I second the dual boot suggestion. It will allow you to experiment with both and see what's more convenient. I've used both Linux and Windows and I can say that each system have their advantages and problems. Everybody knows the problems with Windows... but on the other hand, it's not hard to find how to fix something, since millions of people probably had the same problem before. With Linux, the research can be more difficult, and installation of hardware can be difficult as well. But, once it works, it's VERY stable.

I think it depends a lot of what you use a computer for. For games, I would think Linux could be difficult to use. If you share a lot of documents with people on Windows, it could be a problem as well. But it's possible to do everything you want with Linux. It might just take you some time to figure out how to do it.

My boyfriend says it's like driving a little lawn tractor that doesn't work very well but everybody knows how to drive it (Windows), vs a bulldozer that is a bit harder to drive but with which you can have a lot of work done (Linux). :teehee:

I would suggest to look at google stuff too (gmail). You can open/edit documents, there's a calendar, etc. They add new features all the time. :thumbsup:


As with everything else, it's knowing where to find the information. Linuxquestions.org is the best Linux help site out there. I'm a senior member there.

auburnchick
06-09-2007, 06:01 PM
Yes, I read that in one of the articles I posted last night...errr this morning.

Of course, Dell's site doesn't exactly announce that in bright lights. I'll either have to do a search or call to find out the particulars.

I really want a machine that has at least a couple gig of ram. I've been functioning with too little for soooooo long now! I'm curious about the difference in price w/o MS installed.

auburnchick
06-09-2007, 06:02 PM
As with everything else, it's knowing where to find the information. Linuxquestions.org is the best Linux help site out there. I'm a senior member there.

Bookmarking...

Knitting_Guy
06-09-2007, 06:07 PM
Yes, I read that in one of the articles I posted last night...errr this morning.

Of course, Dell's site doesn't exactly announce that in bright lights. I'll either have to do a search or call to find out the particulars.

I really want a machine that has at least a couple gig of ram. I've been functioning with too little for soooooo long now! I'm curious about the difference in price w/o MS installed.

http://www.dell.com/content/topics/segtopic.aspx/linux_3x?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs

Doublereeder2
06-09-2007, 07:15 PM
Gosh, I just have a little Gateway I bought last summer for about $650 and (jinxing myself):pout: it has been great.

It is nothing fancy, but it has wireless, DVD burner, card reader, 4 USB2 ports, Windows XP, and more. So far it has reliable. I am typing on it right now :lol:

lauraknits
06-09-2007, 07:45 PM
I know nothing about windows vs linux, but I'll tell you something about laptops. I had a Fujitsu for a couple years, bought over the web. It was great, and when I had an issue with the wireless (not a problem with the computer, I was setting up a wireless network with a linsys router which sucked) I called customer service. They were in Texas, not overseas, and they were total techies. I called back a couple times and each time talked to a totally knowledgeable tech person. Once, they told me to hold on while they went and grabbed a laptop just like mine so they could do a dry run along with me on something. They actually enjoyed helping and they got me totally set, even though this router had nothing to do with them. Others I know have had similar positive experiences with their customer service. I eventually got a Sony Vaio because I carry a laptop along with a bunch of other stuff every day and wanted a lighter one. The Vaio is great, a real workhorse, but I have no idea about cust. service as I have had no issues with it - over a year.

Good luck with your choices!

auburnchick
06-09-2007, 10:45 PM
Thanks for the link, Mason!

After "building" the laptop, it came out to about $2,000. Gave it to dh for inspection...errrr approval. ;)

Knitting_Guy
06-09-2007, 10:59 PM
Thanks for the link, Mason!

After "building" the laptop, it came out to about $2,000. Gave it to dh for inspection...errrr approval. ;)

:rofling:

You're welcome. I paid a tad over $2500 for my Dell to my specs and Linux wasn't even an ordering option then (a year ago). I could have saved about $400 if Linux had been an option.

auburnchick
06-10-2007, 01:00 AM
Just found this (http://www.dellcommunity.com/supportforums/board?board.id=sw_linux) site...part of Dell's site...

It's a support forum for Dell Linux users/interested parties.

Rorshach
06-10-2007, 02:23 AM
>< oh my, didn't realize there were so many Dell lovers out there. Where were ya'll when I was working there? hmm never mind, if you didn't call me, probably means that you didn't have a problem.

Boogs
06-10-2007, 04:37 AM
If I were in the market for a new laptop I'd go with the MacBook Pro.

Me too! I have a Powerbook G4 and have to use Windoze at work and it is so nice to get back home to my Mac. :inlove: