Tech Help - the sequel

Discussion in 'Web site issues' started by stuneville, Oct 26, 2007.

  1. Ulalume

    Ulalume tart of darkness

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    Hey Y'all. I need a new computer. Any of you techy types have a suggestion?
    I'd prefer to keep the price under $400.00 or so, so I can buy it this week. Otherwise I"ll have to save up.

    What's a good bargain desktop of decent quality?

    Thanks in advance. :)
     
  2. Krepostnoi

    Krepostnoi Размышляю над бессмертием краба

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    What do you mainly use it for?
    Is there any specific software you absolutely have to be able to use?
    Do you have a compelling reason to get a desktop over a laptop?

    If the answers are: browsing the web, simple word processing/spreadsheets; no; and no*, then I would urge you to take a look at chromebooks. I'm a huge convert, but of course a lot depends on the quality of your internet connection (you can use them offline, but it's not a very pleasurable experience) and on how happy you are for Google to have access to your every move. They are very competent machines for not very much money at all - I don't know US prices, but it wouldn't surprise me to learn you could get two for your stated budget. Get as much ram as you can, though. I have two: a 2GB machine that was my first, and in a back-handed compliment to that one I got a 4GB model. The older one is still eminently usable - it's the one I take to work - but the newer one is that little bit more capable.

    I'm speaking as a confirmed linux fanboy, who cringes every time I have to use my wife's windows set-up :fckpc: - to be fair, so does she :D. But it's telling that, while I have both my chromebooks set up to use linux apps, I spend the vast majority of my time using chrome OS. Now that I'm no longer translating for a living, I hardly use linux at all.

    * I was forgetting that there are also chromeboxes, that allow you the classic desktop set-up (but they're much, much smaller than your classic tower case PC). This one apparently comes in at US$200, plus shipping.
     
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  3. Mythopoeika

    Mythopoeika I am a meat popsicle

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    $400 is perhaps a limited budget.
    The more memory you can get on the PC, the better.
     
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  4. Ulalume

    Ulalume tart of darkness

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    Thanks for your advice, Krepostnoi. I confess that I'd discounted the idea of a Chromebook because it was unfamiliar, but that's not much of an excuse, is it!

    The reason we were thinking desktop is that we wanted as much memory as possible for the price. Mostly we'd use the machine for word processing and photo editing (and web browsing, of course). Nothing more heavy duty than that, but the word processing capability would have to be good. A keyboard that's comfortable to use is a must, too.

    The Chromebook does look like a bargain. And I tend to trust linux users, as they know their stuff. I'll do some research. Thanks again. :)

    Indeed. When trying to look for the model where familiarity, availability, quality and budget intersect, it's the Dell Inspirion all-in-one, which seems to consistently get lukewarm reviews. I know we're not going to get something fantastic for $400, but I do want something that will be decent and reliable.

    OH says we should be willing to go up another hundred if necessary, but the cheapskate in me protests. :p

    At any rate, I'll be going around to the stores and trying as many different models as I can. We definitely don't want something that's a pain to use.
     
  5. CarlosTheDJ

    CarlosTheDJ Justified and Ancient

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    When you say 'memory', do you mean processing power or storage?

    For word processing and photo work you don't need a huge amount of grunt at all, and unless you've got millions of images you don't really need a massive hard drive. Anyway, storage is cheap and you can always buy an external drive later if you need it (I'd recommend getting one for backups anyway, unless you're planning on using online cloud storage for that.

    As for a comfortable keyboard - you could get a separate wireless (or USB) keyboard that suits you and connect to the laptop if that's what you go for.
     
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  6. Ulalume

    Ulalume tart of darkness

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    Thanks for your suggestions, Carlos. I suppose I'm thinking about storage and processing power both. Our previous computer was always slow even when it was new (12 years ago!) and tended to develop memory holes I'd have to chase down and fix. It would be nice to have something speedy and relatively problem-free in that department.

    There are also a lot of files I want to transfer to a new machine which will take up space. Music, for instance. (How How How did I end up with like 700 songs by Guided By Voices? Is that even possible? :eek:)

    I've been thinking a lot about the Chromebook, but just can't get comfortable with the idea of doing most everything online. Maybe I'm getting too old, but it seems more convenient to have a set up for off-line work. Pity, because the price is great.

    As it is, I'm leaning toward one of these -
    http://www.dell.com/en-us/shop/prod...8:901pdb6671:t&ven2=:&ven3=874103702317996939

    Or more likely one of these -
    http://www.dell.com/en-us/shop/productdetails/inspiron-17-5758-laptop

    Fingers crossed it turns out to be a decent product.
     
  7. Krepostnoi

    Krepostnoi Размышляю над бессмертием краба

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    You've got to go with the set-up you think will work best for you. Also, I have to say that I haven't found a good solution for photo editing under Chrome OS (that is, I have, but it involves installing linux so that you can use GIMP. It's a very good solution, but not, perhaps, entry-level). That said, the chromebox I linked to is easily upgradeable in terms of RAM, and you could always set up an NAS or even just a hyooge external hard drive with it. But I'll go out on the (somewhat tautological, but not entirely) note I came in on: the best set-up for you is the set-up that suits you best. Good luck!
     
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  8. Ulalume

    Ulalume tart of darkness

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    No problem! Just because I'm too much of a fuddy-duddy stick in the mud for a Chrome OS doesn't mean your advice wasn't useful. I think a Chromebook might just be the thing for my middle teen (who happens to already be profcient with Google Docs, GIMP etc.) in fact, he was pretty much salivating at the prospect. Methinks there might be one as a birthday gift this summer. ;)

    Thanks again.
     
  9. graylien

    graylien Justified and Ancient

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    GIMP certainly isn't entry level. When I tried it I always ended up with loads of boxes floating around randomly.

    If you're just cropping and resizing photos with maybe some simple colour correction I find the freeware Irfanview works fine.

    The "memory holes" you speak of were certainly an issue in Windows releases up to and including XP.

    But I've found that Win 7 and 10 run much better on the low powered laptops I use. I honestly don't notice any slowdown at all, whereas previously I'd frequently reboot because Windows got so sluggish.
     
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  10. rynner2

    rynner2 Justified and Ancient

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    I've used it for years. It has other useful features too.
     
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  11. Ulalume

    Ulalume tart of darkness

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    Yep. My brother encouraged me to use GIMP, saying it's "super easy!" as if he forgot that he was a professional 3-D artist and I'm a luddite with a quill pen. :rolleyes: The youngsters seem to have an easier time with it. That thing about being native speakers vs tech as a second language, I suppose.

    My old machine was running XP (hence memory holes) and finally breathed its last. Using an ipad right this second, which is fun for websurfing but writing on it is a pain. Every time I need to write [/QUOTE] on this forum I want to shriek. :p
     
  12. Coal

    Coal Gone full 'folk festival'

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    Try 'PAINT.net' as well. Free and 'for the money' amazing.
     
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  13. Spookdaddy

    Spookdaddy Cuckoo

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    Has anyone ever used Mailtrack?

    I have some business to do with a very slippery individual and need proof that emails have been received and opened. Mailtrack looks like a good, simple option for gmail - but I'm wondering if anyone has had any associated problems or security issues with it. Any input appreciated.
     

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