teaching old stones new tricks

Sitting up, taking nourishment, it's gonna be a good day.

Everybody wants a laptop…or did he say ‘lap dance’?

Laptops are by far the most popular computer configuration these days. It combines computer, keyboard and screen into a singleUlaanbaatar laptop portable unit. How do they do it? Well, with such compact drives it is now possible to put the mother board, cpu, drive and power supply under the keyboard. There are ribbon wires connect the computer to the screen which is the top half of the package.

The name is a bit misleading because laptops are not very comfortable on your lap for any length of time. First off there’s that heat thing. The computer part of the laptop is under the keyboard and directly over your lap. The fan blows the heat from the cpu/drive directly downwards and onto your legs.  

There is also a honking great battery on the bottom of the case, with nothing more than a piece of plastic to protect your legs. These batteries heat up quite a bit when computer is pulling power and add to the overall toastiness of the machine.

cat topIf you use your laptop on your lap (oddly enough, not as popular a place to have them as the name might lead you to believe), you have to conform your body to the keyboard and screen. This leads to neck and back problems plus eye strain and, apparently, lower sperm count. Not necessarily a concern for some but certainly something to give you pause before resting all that electrical gadgetry in the neighbourhood of your happy place.

Solid state/flash drive laptops do not have the same heat/ventilation problems but, as we discussed previously, they are more expensive then conventional drive powered computers. 

Which leads to the second major drawback, their cost, i.e. dosh, moolah, loot, gold, gravy, loonies, insert your favourite currency here.

A laptop costs, on average, nearly twice as much as desktop computers (and flash drive like Macbook Air are more expensive again). The only way to bring the price down is by going for smaller screens and smaller keyboards.  If price is the consideration and you’re looking at mostly home use, do you want to be hunched over an itty bitty lap top, squinting at the screen and digging around for higher power reading glasses just to see what your kids are doing on Facebook? 

The real advantage a laptop offers is portability. If you want to wander down to the nearest coffee shop and read your emails or Macintosh_Portable-IMG_7541write reports, well,  a laptop is the only way to go. Laptops have also become standard kit for college and university students. Taking notes and studying are so much easier with a keyboard. And the possibilities for distractions are limitless but that’s not a big worry unless you’re paying the tuition for our future brain surgeon.

The other more common forms of computer you’ll find in the store are notebooks and tablets. Either of these are fine if you already have a computer at home but don’t buy a notebook thinking it will serve just as well as a full sized laptop. If you want something that is a little more functional than an eReader when you’re traveling but not as heavy as a full bore laptop, then a tablet is the way to go. You can load movies, books and magazine subscriptions onto a tablet plus keep in touch with emails and Facebook while you take a break from wandering the streets of Rome.

psst, wanna buy a laptop?

psst, wanna buy a laptop?

At this point you should have enough information to handle the London Drugs salespeople with confidence. Again, take a look at a couple of places to see what’s in stock, what the price range is and get comfortable handling those young kids in the clip-on ties. One thing you will see, regardless of where you go, is a large number of computers from different companies over here and over there it’s all Apple (Mac).  That’s next week…PC vs Mac, also known as the “I don’t do Windows” debate. 

Any questions?

(other than where the heck I’ve been for two weeks…sorry about that. It’s a long story that involves a Kenworth truck, an old Windstar van and a lost wallet.)   

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This entry was posted on August 5, 2015 by in adult education, Computers and tagged , , , .

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