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Computers for 2018

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Gandalfe, Dec 27, 2017.

  1. Gandalfe

    Gandalfe Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Tablets seem to be taking over the world. My wife and I each have desktops and I have second dedicated to work. But mostly we are on our tablets, Amazon Fire HDs. Our books, magazines, and music is all accessible with this device. And of course our news and Internet, local all the way down to a two-block community, group on FB.

    Note, there have been two breakin attempts and two car prowls that we know of in this small group. We even have pictures of the perps, but the local cops can't figure it out. There is just too much of package theft, car prowls, and mailbox thefts going on to keep up with three cops. Someday I'll outline the security steps we take to never be a target for these thieves.

    There is a *lot* of stuff I can't do on Facebook, G+, MeWe, WordPress, and etc on my phone or tablet though. So I end up running upstairs to the desktop if, for example, I need to correct some spelling on one of my posts. Why the heck can't I do that on my phone?

    Oh, and this year I finally moved off the iPhone to an Android. I just couldn't justify the expense of using an Apple. After three years the power port on my iPhone 6s died. Yeah, I could have fixed it for some cost, but I'd had enough. And I really hate the software package on my desktop, clamoring to be updated every week when I might use it once a year. That will be a big bonus to delete from my computer.

    So what's your electrical support line look like? Just a phone? Can't count how many of my friends do that now-a-daze.
     
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  2. retread

    retread

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    I am a confirmed Luddite. One Mac Mini, a Google tablet used only by visiting grandkids (and lost since Christmas Eve when the 2yo was carrying it around). No cell phone (hate being at other peoples' beck and call). Even my stereo equipment has tubes. I suppose my most advanced tech item is a 2017 Honda CR-V, which as best I can tell is a computer with four wheels, a turb0charger, and a bossy nag that lives inside the dashboard.
     
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  3. saxhound

    saxhound Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

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    I'm still a bit old school. I have a desktop and a laptop, as well as an iPhone 5S. I still prefer the full size keyboard, 22" monitor and large mouse of the desktop for most things. That's also where I do most of my arranging in Sibelius, and audio editing in Audacity. The laptop is for reading the news and blogs in the morning while I have my coffee, or for when I (rarely) travel out of town. The iPhone is for reading my email on the go and the occasional text or phone call. Now that I have a vehicle that links to my phone, I like to get the "obligatory" phone calls out of the way while I'm driving.

    My wife likes her iPad, but I do hear her cursing occasionally as the pop up ads lock things up and won't go away. Safari is really bad about blocking the garbage. I love Opera with Adblock Plus. Almost nothing gets through.
     
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  4. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    43" 4K display. Two 27" displays.

    I have a single program that would justify me buying an old iPad if one of the old iPads I currently have break. I have a work iPhone because it's from work. If they gave me an Android device, I'd be just as happy with it.

    My laptop is currently being used as the machine I check e-mail, the one I listen to music through, and the one I use to browse Reddit. It's got a close-enough-to 4K 13.3" screen and has enough horsepower to run all my office apps I need if I have to travel someplace.

    Oh. I have a Kindle Keyboard from 2010. It's one of the e-ink displays and looks great, but doesn't have a backlight. One of the nurses I recently had the pleasure of meeting, was very interested in it until I mentioned its age and that it's worth $10 (according to Amazon). It does have, though, almost unlimited 3G Internet access. It's not a killer piece of hardware and it doesn't have great graphics, but you can get on Wikipedia without a problem. And if I lose it? Buy another for $10 and don't go out for lunch that day.

    I do have a secret shame: one of the main apps I have to use at work looks best in ... Microsoft Edge.
     
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  5. Chris J

    Chris J

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    I am very Apple heavy. Main computer is a Mac laptop with SSD. It spends most of its days attached to a docking station with a couple of printers, keyboard and mouse and large screen, so both screens on the go. Then there is an iPad pro, A4 sized, which I use for music and work (and reading - leisure and news). Music app is forScore with BT page turner.

    This took over from the iPad air which I still have and use when I need something lighter and smaller to take around. And my iPhone 6 is still going. I thought the power port had died, but closer inspection showed that it had filled with 'pocket fluff' and careful picking with a needle removed it all (an astonishing amount!) and works perfectly now.

    I also still use my old kindle with a keyboard and free worldwide 3G.

    On iPhone and iPads I use sampletank app, and play my WX5 through it when I get to smuggle it into the cases when going on holiday... With the iPad, Sampletank works in the background so can play WX5 while using forScore for the music, and and linked backing track to play along to.

    Chris
     
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  6. Chris J

    Chris J

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    Oh - and I haven't left Windows entirely. I have a virtual machine set up on the Mac to use for Windows, and I have a Windows laptop in my music room.
     
  7. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    I will confirm, but have no evidence for, that virtual machines seem to run faster and smoother under MacOS. I haven't really done any testing under Linux. I just wish that all my apps worked in Linux (the two apps I have that I consider essential are on my iPads will not work with a Linux OS).

    Rumor is that Apple is trying to unite iOS and MacOS, again. Frankly, I never see this happening, but I can say that the higher-end iPads are now creeping close to or beyond some Mac performance specs.

    Oh. The power-port thing you had, Chris, is extremely common.
     
  8. JfW

    JfW

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    Yeah, that explains what's happening to my iPhone 6. the Power Port has been getting squirly this last week. It's 2 years old, so I think I'm eligible for an upgrade, but would prefer not to given it can do everything I want it to do.

    I'm not professing any expertise on the subject of GUIs, but the problem with uniting a Desktop interface and a portable device interface sounds like it could be good at neither. If this is true, Apple probably knows this. You could argue that Apple is better at UI design than most and might come up with an innovative solution, but I would guess that if this rumor is true it means they intend to continue to blur the lines between the desktop/laptop and the tablet.
     
  9. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    For those of us who don't have the newest iPhone or iPad, there's been considerable talk about how Apple has been throttling the speed on these in favor of battery performance. If you have an i-device and it's slow, of course, follow normal troubleshooting -- back up, wipe, install latest iOS. If it's still slow, buy a new battery. Cheapest I've seen is $15.

    ==========

    The Apple approach to GUI design has always been, "If the user can figure it out without reading the manual, it's a good GUI." To underline that point, iPhones and iPads don't come with manuals. Regardless of that, IMO, the reason why you can't currently have a merged iOS/MacOS environment is because the MacOS isn't designed around a touchscreen.

    I've always loved the touchscreen on my Windows laptops. Heck, I even enjoy the multi-touch touchpads. I can't make a compelling argument not to include a touchscreen, especially on a high-end device -- which Apple devices are. They're about the same price and use about the same amount of power as non-touch, so why not? Now, if we were scaling this to a 21"+ iMac, I can understand that the price would skyrocket, but, then again, there are these babies for $5K ...
     
  10. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    Oh. Sorry. I keep forgetting to post this:

    Most users, most of the time, when they complain their computer is slow, it's because their Internet connection is slow. This is generally because ...

    * Their connection from the computer to their wireless router is slow. Solution: buy a new wireless AC adapter ($15), dual-channel wireless AC router ($100), and/or wireless range extender ($40). Note that the router may be part of your modem, so that might be a call to your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
    * You have a slow Internet connection. Call your ISP and make sure you have a decent plan. If you have DSL, switch to a cable provider. In most instances, cable is much, much faster. If you can get "gigabit service," do it, especially if you can get it from Google. Fastest Internet connection you can get in the US without being a business.
    * Your wiring sucks. I have this problem at my house. Someone did an extremely poor job of wiring cable from the junction box on my house to a point in my attic to all the cable ports in my house. Fortunately, I pay about $2 a month to fix this, so if the Internet connection is all the sudden really slow, I just have my ISP come out and re-jigger the cables.
    * If you haven't updated your cable modem in years, buy a new one that supports DOCSIS 3.1 ($160). Some ISPs only support a limited set of modems, so call them first.

    My daughter 2.0 has an "ultrabook" laptop that's about 6 years old. She complained about "slow." I updated the heck out of it. Did some other magic. Bought a new wireless AC adapter. No more complaints.

    Most computers are way overpowered for what to need to do with them. However, if your computer's really old and components are failing, buy a computer that a) has all the specs you want and b) is the best your budget allows above and beyond that. I generally buy a top-of-the-line (parts to build) computer every 5 to 6 years. However, if you want to buy an older machine, most manufacturers have an "outlet" website where you can buy refurbished equipment. Keep in mind that a lot of laptops and some desktops have memory and/or hard drives soldered to the system board, meaning you can't upgrade them. Also, new may be cheaper than used.

    FWIW, you can connect to your desktop through your phone quite easily. Probably the biggest and best cross-platform software to use to do this is TeamViewer, even though they recently had a big-time malware problem. I can tell you, from experience, if I want to grab my tablet and sit in my living room and update files on my PC, it's pretty decent. (Note that some businesses -- like mine -- block TeamViewer because either they hate you or because they have a more secure program they want you to use.)
     
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