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View Full Version : Thinking about a Notebook


Sharp Canadian
2005-09-28, 14:43
Hey, I'm new to these fourms;
Im in grade 11 and have got a spare where I can do all my homework and assignments. I often find myself in need of a notebook/lapytop to go on the internet or type up a project.
Anyways I'm looking for a reason to buy a laptop what are the goods? the bads?the bouns'? I will be going to university after high school as well.
I have been a windows user all my life but I thought about an ibook because, well...I dont know why :\ I have also looked at the dell inspiron 600m/6000.
I have a home computer but it's old and breaks alot its a AMD XP 1800+ 1.53GHz ands 256MB RAM. The 12" ibook is almost better then that except for the CPU.
What are the good things about a mac? what is the internet like? how easy is it to switch? why would i want one over another type of laptop/notebook?
If i type up something on the mac can i print it off with my windows PC printer?What makes them so expensive over other laptops of the same quality?I have a budget of only about $15-$1600 CAD. Another thing what are the games like for macs?

Any Info you can give me will be greatly appreciated

BlueRabbit
2005-09-28, 17:33
I would get a laptop so you you can do the things like I'm doing now. I'm currently sitting in the skybridge of the U. of Washington's Suzallo library, in one of those comfy sofa things, resting my feet on a chair. You can't do that with a desktop.

As for switching to a Mac, it's quite nice. The printer will work out of the box, internet connection is a snap, and it's just all around well-made. You'll say to yourself, "Why can't Windows work like this?"

switchr92
2005-09-28, 21:37
Well, while I agree that Apple stuff is more expensive than any given PC counterpart, I think that it is worth it. It's biggest advantage over windows is the graphics, which makes windows look like it's 20 years old. I think it is easier to use than windows (and this is coming from someone who doesn't mind windows, which can't be said for everyone at applenova), and it's more reliable.
I do think it's worth it. The iBook will get you through half of college if you need it to w/o becoming to outdated, but I think that pushing it til college graduation isn't realistic. No windows laptop you get now will work for you even freshman year is my guess. A push for an average windows laptop is 2 years IMO, after that the OS will slow down no matter the hardware and you are forced to get a new computer. A push for a mac laptop is 5 years in my opinion, at which point the OS won't slow down like windows but the hardware will just be so outdated...you get the idea.
As long as you aren't the kind of person that needs the newest thing in technology, it will be cheaper in the long run. I would go iBook.
Good luck, whatever your purchase.

Sharp Canadian
2005-09-29, 05:45
Thanks for all the information it was very helpful. I don't need the ibook to last through all of college, but at least be useable in the first or second year would be great, by that time I would have more money to buy another one.

I have a question about laptops in general, I have never used laptop internet so im wondering how it works? Do I have to pay a service provider a subscription fee or monthly? With an ibook It has Built-in AirPort Extreme &
Built-in Bluetooth 2.0+EDR what is this? and how does it work can I go to my school libary and get internet or my house? Is there a site that gives alot of information about laptop internet?

Another thing is if I bought the 12" ibook what software/hardware should I get to go with it? Is there anything that an ibook really shouldn't go without?
Is it worth it to upgrade the RAM or HDD?

OnStage
2005-09-29, 06:23
It'll come with everything you might need save MS Office. Beyond that an extra stick of RAM (easy do-it-yourself) is the only thing you might need, but that's not even really neccessary. My ibook is still good and it's 4 years old!
john

Brad
2005-09-29, 06:35
I have a question about laptops in general, I have never used laptop internet so im wondering how it works? Do I have to pay a service provider a subscription fee or monthly?
You have to provide your own internet service, be it through a dial-up connection or broadband (cable, DSL, etc). If you have a broadband service, you can buy a wireless router which will broadcast the Internet connection around your home. Then you can connect to the Internet through that router's connection wirelessly from any compatible device. These routers generally have a range of about 150 feet indoors (up to 300 outdoors); it's not like a cellular phone service that works miles within an antenna.

With an ibook It has Built-in AirPort Extreme & Built-in Bluetooth 2.0+EDR what is this? and how does it work can I go to my school libary and get internet or my house? Is there a site that gives alot of information about laptop internet?
AirPort Extreme is just Apple-branded marketing-speak for IEEE 802.11g. But what's IEEE 802.11g? It's the "standard" specification for wireless networking that operates at 54 Mbps. If you get a router as mentioned above that supports 802.11g (nearly all of them do) and you connect that router to a broadband connection (like a cable or DSL modem), you'll be able to surf wirelessly around your home.

Another way to connect when you're not at home is through wireless "hot spots." A lot of small shops now provide free 802.11 service. Just down the street here we have a Panera Bread and a Bear Rock Cafe that provide free wireless Internet access to customers. Also, many schools are implementing wireless networks too. Most universities have some kind of 802.11 infrastructure set up or are in the process of setting one up.

How do you connect to one of these hot spots? Well, with an iBook it is as simple as opening it (the computer) and you're done! It will automatically check for usable signals and if it finds one, it will ask you if it's okay to connect to it. If the network is password-protected, it'll prompt you for that too.

Bluetooth, however, is something completely different. Bluetooth is a short-range (~30 feet) and slow wireless protocol. It's used in cellular phones, wireless keyboards/mice, digital cameras, and some other devices. Why bother with Bluetooth if 802.11 is faster and has a greater range? Well, 802.11 requires a significantly greater amount of power for transmission. Bluetooth was specifically designed for low-power devices like cell phones.

Franz Josef
2005-09-29, 06:54
I have a question about laptops in general, I have never used laptop internet so im wondering how it works? Do I have to pay a service provider a subscription fee or monthly? With an ibook It has Built-in AirPort Extreme &
Built-in Bluetooth 2.0+EDR what is this? and how does it work can I go to my school libary and get internet or my house? Is there a site that gives alot of information about laptop internet?If you have internet access already, the AirPort Extreme Base Station or AirPort Express will simply connect to your router. Your iBook connects wirelessly to the AirPort terminal so AirPort replaces a cable.

These links will help - (1) http://www.apple.com/airportextreme/ (2) http://www.apple.com/airportexpress/

If you have your AirPort set up (and have an ISP account), you can surf wirelessly anywhere in your house and a bit beyond. Various coffee shops have WiFi hotspots where you can surf wirelesly for a fee - Starbucks uses T-Mobile. If you go into your web browser in Starbucks with AirPort on, the T-Mobile screen will guide you through.

Do a search on 'Nova (top menu bar) for AirPort to get details of how to set up your AirPort connection securely.

Bluetooth is entirely different - short range and usually used for connecting wireless mouse / keyboard / headset to your Mac. BT 2.0 EDR is the latest fast bluetooth.

Another thing is if I bought the 12" ibook what software/hardware should I get to go with it? Is there anything that an ibook really shouldn't go without?
Is it worth it to upgrade the RAM or HDD?Your iBook will come with a full complement of software, unless you need wordprocessing or presentational software etc. which you can buy separately later. See also www.macupdate.com for freeware and shareware.

I would recommend at least a 768 MB or, better, 1GB of RAM - you will notice a speed enhancement with the greater RAM. A 60GB hard-drive is a good idea (because music and video files can be very large) but if your budget is constrained it is better spent on RAM and you can get by with 40GB.

Edit: slower fingers than Brad.

Sharp Canadian
2005-09-29, 15:39
Thanks again for all the help :)
So I need to buy an internet service? what if I have aliant broadband internet connection on my home PC and pay a monthly fee? Do I still need to by service for the laptop? I need a router for my PC so that I can surf wirelessly around my home? And If I want to surf wirelessly away from home I need to find a hot-spot or wi-fi zone? And if im in a zone that charges a fee will I be notified? Will there be any monthly fees like my existing internet on my PC?

faramirtook
2005-09-29, 15:54
Thanks again for all the help :)
So I need to buy an internet service? what if I have aliant broadband internet connection laptop and pay a monthly fee? I need a router for my PC so that I can surf wirelessly around my home? And If I want to surf wirelessly away from home I need to find a hot-spot or wi-fi zone? And if im in a zone that charges a fee will I be notified? Will there be any monthly fees like my existing internet on my PC?


If you have a broadband servie, all you need to get is a router that supports 802.11g. I'd recommend something that has ethernet ports and wifi capabilities so you can still use your old computer with it, if you plan on keeping your old computer. If not, you can get a purely wifi router.

All you have to do is plug the cable that runs from the broadband modem into your computer into your router, and bang bang bang, you've got your own wifi network. You don't have to pay your internet service provider (ISP) anything more than you already pay.

If you want to surf wirelessly outside your home, you need to find a place with wifi (a wifi hotspot). Panera Bread has free wifi, and so do some cafes. There are some services that set up wifi hotspots and then you have to subscribe in order to use the hotspots, but this isn't necessary at all.

Your iBook will last you a good 5 years, so you don't have to buy a new one in 2 years like you do with windows laptops. it may not be cutting-edge, but it'll be as fast as the day you bought it.

Like others have said, many universities have free wifi in libraries and free broadband in dorm rooms. So when you go off to uni, you can just plug your router in in your dorm and have wifi there too.

Sharp Canadian
2005-09-29, 16:32
Ok this is starting to make some sense to me, thanks for putting up with all the questions I know its alot. So I have a ISP that my parents pay for on my home PC I hook up a router and then I can surf wirelessly around my house within range. And as for outside my house I just walk around with my laptop open waiting for it to pick up a hotspot lol :lol:
Does apple sell routers that are compatible with PC's? The only time I have to pay is when I find a hotspot that charges a fee for its use or for the ISP on my Home PC?

Brad
2005-09-29, 16:37
All 802.11g routers are Mac and PC compatible. This is a standard protocol that is supported on both platforms.

Apple's own routers are the AirPort Extreme Base Station linked above. However, if you have any "wired" computers in your household, I'd recommend against getting Apple's router because it only has one LAN port. Other routers, such as the Linksys WRT54G Wireless-G Router, support four or more LAN ports and are cheaper too. The Linksys also has open-sourced firmware that you can upgrade for more advanced features if you're so interested.

Sharp Canadian
2005-09-30, 05:31
Is this a compatible router that you said would be good, It's from my ISP but im not sure if it's one of those 802.11g routers does anyone know?

Linksys Wireless-B Broadband Router (http://productsandservice.aliant.net/PS/ns/english/productsandservices/ps_3.jsp?section=51&bodycont=productsandservices%2f6300%2fproductdetai l.jsp&curbody=51)

mattf
2005-09-30, 05:58
That's an 802.11b router, which does not provide as fast a connection as an 802.11g router. It will work though.

However, I'm not in the US, but that looks bloody expensive. I would have thought that you could pick something up a lot cheaper than that which is 802.11g

EDIT: For instance, newegg have a WRT54G for $59.99 ($49.99 after mail-in rebate; just out of interest, does everything bought online for the US have a mail-in rebate? It's something that doesn't happen much over here). See here http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16833124010

2nd EDIT: Arse! I'm sorry that I didn't read your username. No doubt you can find something similar from a Canadian retailer although www.sealflipperpierouters.ca seems to be down just now!

Electric Monk
2005-10-02, 14:21
Dude just walk into some Futureshop if there's one by you (where exactly on the East Coast are you btw? I'm from Toronto and am currently in Montreal for school but I've been to the Maritimes once or twice) and pick up some linksys wireless G router and bug the sales guy if you have questions. That's the easiest way to do it.

If you have to I suppose Radioshack... I mean The Source by Circuit City (bloody legal boffins) will have one as well. Or your local computer store.

Satchmo
2005-10-02, 15:53
That's an 802.11b router, which does not provide as fast a connection as an 802.11g router. It will work though.



Correct me if I'm wrong, but the difference in speed is only noticable in the transfer of files between say two computers.
If one is simply using it for surfing on the web, a "b" router would suffice. :)

Koodari
2005-10-02, 16:16
No one's mentioning that you can use Bluetooth to connect to Internet through a Bluetooth cellphone. Even old phones like my T68 (I think this was the first affordable phone to have BT and GPRS) are able to do that. Don't know how much your telephone operators charge for this, here it's billed based on data transferred and not expensive at all. The speed is on the slow side, of course, but it works anywhere with decent cell phone coverage, so you don't need to find an open wireless network for it.

mattf
2005-10-03, 14:45
Correct me if I'm wrong, but the difference in speed is only noticable in the transfer of files between say two computers.
If one is simply using it for surfing on the web, a "b" router would suffice. :)
Not neccessarily. Show me somebody who gets maximum theorectical throughput on a wireless connection and I'll show you a very lucky person indeed.

I've often seen the throughput on an 802.11b connection drop to < 1Mbps, which in some cases is slower than a broadband connection.