Buying A Laptop

 

Laptops

Buying a laptop these days is a scary adventure. I think one of the reasons for this is that there are so many on the market. And with each laptop brand, there are so many prices. There are also so many sizes and weights to think about. I wanted to point out a few key points that you need to consider when buying a laptop.

First, let’s talk about pricing. Many times I see a person going out to buy a laptop based only on price. If you do this you will be very disappointed. Did you ever hear you get what you pay for? Well, cheap is cheap. That’s not to say you may not find a deal but make sure it is a deal on the laptop for want for the following reasons.

Second, is that screen. This is what you will be looking at for hours at a time. You need to find a screen that is easy on the eyes and has good depth and colors. You also have to make sure the screen is a comfortable size to view all day. I normally shop for the 13″ size screen. I find the 11″ too small and the 15″ too big and bulky to carry around.

Third, is the keyboard. You are going to be spending a lot of your time typing on the keyboard. You have to make sure keys don’t stick and have the right amount of travel. You will better understand travel when you test out the laptop at the store. Also, make sure the keyboards keys fit your fingers. If you have a larger hand you don’t want a keyboard with cramped keys.

Forth, battery life. We all hate when we are using a laptop and you are in the middle of a great creation or some work project and the battery dies. A good rule of thought for me is that the battery should get me through the normal 8 hour work day.

Fifth is the amount of RAM and hard drive space and today it should be a solid state drive or SSD. These drives are super fast and will make your laptop startup faster and the programs load quicker. Ram should be at least 8 GIG. Windows 10 likes to have room to breath and using only 4 GIG you will find times that the laptop seems to just sit there when you want it to be doing work.

Sixth and final thought. The weight of the laptop. You don’t want to break your shoulder every time you toss your bag over it. I have also seen many people choose not to take their laptop off their desk because it is too heavy to carry to a meeting. I normally work all day and everywhere on my laptops so it has to be light and portable.

At the end of the day buy a laptop that fits the way you work. Don’t buy a laptop to be part of some in a crowd. And don’t be afraid to spend a little more money to get a laptop that will last you for 3-5 years. And never skimp on the warranty you want to protect your investment.

 

Larger Phones Less Tablets?

Large Phones

I have the opportunity to get a shinny new iPhone 6 under the Verizon Edge plan. My first thought is that I know I want to get the 64 Gig. I have a 5C now with 16 Gig and it always seems full. As I have been looking at others who have the new iPhone I have been asking if I should get the Plus 5.5″?

The first person I talked to told me “YES!” She says that she never uses her iPad any longer. She tells me she can watch movies on it and read books. The next person I talked to said, “NO!” He said that he can’t use one hand to text while driving. Okay well not an issue. I don’t text when I drive and if I have to respond I use Siri. My daughter got a larger LG phone and she loves it.

My over all thoughts is that these larger phones and replacing the tablets. Normally if I take a class or sit in a meeting I bring my phone in my pocket and I bring either my iPad or Windows 8 tablet or laptop. It might be nice to just have my phone. I have started looking for some kind of keyboard for the iPhone 6 but then it would be just another item to carry. We will get more into touch typing another time.

So what do you think? Do you have one of these larger phones? If so maybe you can comment and give the readers your thoughts. And I do get one of these little monsters I will do a blog post using it. Then we can maybe find out if it will be my tablet replacement?

Laptop Or Desktop?

I wish I had a nickel for every time I am asked this question. Jack I am buying a new computer, should I buy a laptop or a desktop? Also will I be able to work the laptop is it harder then my old desktop?

First should you buy a laptop or a desktop? My first response to this question is what will you be doing with the computer? If you always find yourself sitting at a desk and working over the keyboard, then the desktop will save you some money. On the other hand if you find yourself sitting on your couch with your desktop in your lap, then it is a laptop you are crying out for.

Just think of how many times you were or wished you could be portable. Laptops often get confused with being only for business. This is not true. I find many people just enjoying not being tied to their desks. In our house you will always find one of our family members with the laptop on their lap looking up things as they are watching TV. I enjoy using the laptop on the deck in the summer, enjoying the warm nights with a cold beer and a little web surfing.

Next is it hard to use a laptop. You might be laughing right now. Really don’t laugh, I have a good friend that has been working with computers for as long as I have. He still does not like the feel of the laptop keyboard. Some people really like the feel of the desktop keyboard, because the keys are spaced a part and have a little more travel room as you hit them. In the end all computers work the same way. And if you don’t like using the track pad, pick up a USB mouse and plug it into your laptop.

At the end of the day I really can’t tell you which computer would be the best for what you do. You have to make that choice. I use both desktop and a laptop and an IPad in my daily computing life. Of course I am in this crazy business so all three just fit. Once you make a choice don’t turn back. If you buy a laptop, allow yourself time to get use to the keyboard; if you buy a desktop then be happy with your choice. In the end as long as you are computing then you will be a happier person.

DekstopLaptop

Married To Microsoft Office

I had a great conversation with a technology director Steve who I met after attending a session about Virtual Desktops. I think we were both attending to try to keep one leg up on what is out there to use in our schools.

Steve introduced himself after the session. I mentioned in the session that we are using Google Chrome Books and Steve has an interest in doing the same thing at his school, they want to be more aggressive then our school and go 1-to-1. This is where every student will receive his or her own new shinny Chrome Book. Great idea!

The concern with his teaching staff as it was with ours in the changing from one office package said “Microsoft”, and moving to Google Docs. Will it be bold enough to write our lesson plans? Will the kids be able to learn how to attach the docs and send them to the teachers? All very common concerns.

The simple truth of the matter is, we should have never been married to any one piece of brand of software! This is the true fact that confused these very teachers now teaching in our classrooms. MS was shoved down their throats since they were little. Let’s STOP THE MADNESS!

Since we moved into the Chrome Book world our teachers and students thank me everyday. Can you laptops do this? Instant on, Battery lasting up to 14 hours on a single charge, Automatic saving of the projects they are working on. And on and on and on. When I have a teacher or student tell me thanks I know we made a positive impact on education. CHROME BOOKS AND GOOGLE DOCS, GO FOR IT!

Chromebooks