Sep
09
2010
0

One Bad Mother – shut your mouth!

Youd have to know the theme song to really get it...

You'd have to know the theme song to really get it...

You’ll understand the title in just a moment…

For the last few months my laptop has been in bad shape.  Such bad shape I’ve been using a backup laptop. [1]  Something on my laptop’s motherboard went bad and killed the battery. [2][3]  I could still use it – but I had to keep it plugged in all the time.  If I needed to move it, I had to shut it down all the way, move it, then boot it up – since it had no battery life at all.

Well, Dell’s kick ass incredible customer service took care of me – once again.  I can’t thank these guys enough for going above and beyond.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, my next laptop is going to be a Dell. Thanks to Lionel my laptop is sporting a totally brand-spanking new motherboard and power cord.  I’ve also just slapped in a totally new battery as well.

Anyhow, I’m beyond happy. [4]

  1. Trust me, the back up laptop is nothing to brag about. []
  2. You see, the motherboard – it went bad.  It was one bad mother…  Oh, forget it. []
  3. The photo does not belong to me and is probably the property of MGM. []
  4. Yes, yes, I’m a nerd – whatever. []
Jun
14
2009
0

How to Buy a New Computer: Part III Basic Laptops

New Laptop

New Laptop

I recently posted about how to buy a new computer.  First, you need to think about balancing wants versus needs.  My second post was about the new laptop category of cheap and lightweight netbooks.

Why should you choose a basic laptop?

If you are highly concerned about cost, portability, battery life and not as concerned about optical drives [1] , screen size, or keyboard size you probably want a netbook.  It will probably run you between $300 – $500.[2]

If cost-be-damned you just must have absolutely everything, well, then get yourself a high end laptop.[3]  The sky’s the limit with a computer like this.  You can configure an Alienware laptop that will make Deep Thought hide its processor in shame for $5,000.00 or so.

If you are concerned about cost but just cannot sacrifice optical drives, screen size, or keyboard size, you probably want a basic laptop.  A basic laptop is all about compromises.  You get the hardware you need from a desktop, but without the thin, light, elegant, and portable design.  These laptops typically weigh between 6 and 8 pounds and cost between $600 and $1000 or so.

There are so many nearly indistinguishable computers in this category, there is no real point in suggesting a particular laptop.  Just about every manufacturer has several choices for basic laptops.

  1. DVD/CD drives []
  2. Photo courtesy of Ciccio Pizzettaro []
  3. Scroll to the bottom for my pic k. []
Sep
24
2008
2

When to Repair A Laptop

Okay, your laptop doesn’t work.  What do you do once you’re done grieving?  Your options are to:

  1. Fix it yourself. Slowest and cheapest solution.
  2. Pay someone to fix it. Moderately time consuming and expensive, and potentially fraught with peril (your laptop could get damaged or ruined).
  3. Get a new laptop. Quickest and most expensive solution.
Computer Help

Computer Help

Setting aside the idea of diagnosing and fixing the issue yourself, which is just not an option for most people, the choice is usually between fixing and getting a new laptop.  With computer processing power, RAM/memory, hard drive space, and battery life constantly increasing while prices consistently decrease, the ideal time to repair versus buying a new laptop is always going to be a moving target.  There are three main factors to consider when making this decision.

Cost

Cost is probably the single biggest deciding factor.  The good news is that your laptop can probably be repaired.  Sight unseen, it will probably cost you between $200.00 and $500.00 including parts and labor.  A new laptop will cost you roughly $500.00 for a bare bones machine, $1,250.00 for a nice machine, and $2,500.00 and up for a ridiculously powerful machine.

Lifetime

For most people a computer has a 3 year timeline of usefulness.  After that something about the computer will be too outdated to be of use beyond basic usage.  If your computer is more than 3 years old, you’ve had a good run.  Replace the poor thing.

Time & Need

If you need a computer for your business, every hour without your computer means you’re losing money.  If you don’t need it for your business, you’ve got more time to decide.  Your time is important and your downtime is even more important.

Formula

Here’s my totally unscientific and completely quantifiable formula for determining with nearly totally complete guesstimate-approximation of whether you should repair or replace your laptop.  First, let’s assume a constant – the amount you would spend on a new laptop and set that equal to the original purchase price of your current broken laptop.  The formula is as follows:

  • O = Original cost of broken laptop
  • A = Age of broken laptop in months
  • R = Repair cost
  • L = Lost work hours
  • H = Hourly rate

Repair your laptop if:

  • [(42-A)/42]*O – (L*H) – R > 0

Replace your laptop if

  • [(42-A)/42]*O – (L*H) – R < 0

Verdict:

I need to get my laptop repaired.

How about yours?

Aug
07
2008
0

Mick Jagger on Cell Phones

As the man said, “you can’t always get what you want.” Here’s what I need from a cell phone:

  • Multiple numbers per contact
  • Multiple alarms
  • Scheduling events
  • Text messaging
  • Ability to jot down notes
  • A battery with 4 hours of talk time and a few days of standby time

My current phone can do all that. The battery life is failing, reception is spotty, and its been dropped more times than I was as a baby. Here’s what I want out of a new phone:

  1. Contacts and calendar that can synch with my laptop
  2. Bluetooth support and file access (to transfer files wirelessly)
  3. A web browser that works as well as IE7 or FF2 (Namely: proper HTML rendering, CSS rendering, cookies, and javascript support)

I know the LG Dare can handle #1 and #2, but I’m dubious about its support for #3.

I know the iPhone can handle #3 fairly well, but am dubious about its support for #1 and #2.

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