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Friday, September 16, 2011

Thank you and questions

Thanks to everyone who posted birthday greetings to New Guy. As you can see, they motivated him to come out of the woodwork and post a comment! :-) And he let the cat out of the bag... yes, my own birthday is next week. Gawd, am I screwed. This Monday, I'm in for both his birthday spanking and my own!

(OK, so it sounds like I'm complaining. But you know I'm really not.)

Some thoughts for you to ponder. First, since we've been playing for a year now, calling him New Guy is kind of ridiculous. But I can't seem to get past that name. I don't want to use his first-name initial; that's too mundane. Suggestions, anyone? (And don't suggest "Old Guy." I'm older than he is.)

Second, I've had a request for a book signature via snail mail. Should I get a P.O. Box? I've never had one before. Are they good things to have, or not worth the cost in today's electronic world?

Third, John has asked me to research laptop computers. Neither of us has one, and we are thinking about either getting one for him that I can borrow when we go on party trips, or splurging and getting one for each of us.

So I started researching online last week, and my head exploded.

I know nothing about wireless technology -- I still have a desktop with the old-fashioned snarl of wires and cords. I have no idea how wireless computers work and what one needs. There are about six different subgroups in laptops; OK, I know I don't need a fancy gaming one, but I don't want the super cheapo budget ones either. I know you get what you pay for. For John, it should be portable; for me, it would be more of a desktop replacement. The array of features is damn near impossible to navigate. And every time I think I've narrowed down my search to a brand, a model, etc., because I've read good reviews on it, then I find bad ones.

Please, PLEASE do not suggest a Macbook. Yes, I know how Mac users feel about their computers. Yes, I know the Macbook is superior. But it's too expensive and I've never used a Mac before. I am sticking with a PC.

So, with that caveat in place, does anyone have thoughts about what's good, what gives the most bang for the buck, blah blah blah? I'd say the budget is between $500-1000, although John and I disagree on that. He wants to go cheap, I want to go a little higher and get better quality.

Currently, I have a Dell. But I've read that Dell laptops aren't as good as some of the other brands out there. I've seen a lot of good reviews for a brand called Asus, and I've never heard of them.

And how does one become laptop/wireless savvy? Is there a site where one can go with some good, current basics that's understandable to computer dummies like me?

Yup, there's a good representation of me trying to navigate all this techno information. I might as well be trying to learn a new language. Do they have Rosetta Stone software for people who don't speak computer?

That's enough questions for now, I suppose. I'm going to collect the pieces of my brain strewn all over the room and get ready to head for John's.

Have a great weekend, y'all.


  1. I'm sorry I can't help you with any laptop-wise (I have a MAC), but I do have a P.O. box. Depending on your location, it can be about $40-60 per year. I hardly ever use mine but I just need an address for work stuff. I think the USPS also lets you do 6 months at a time ($20-30), so you can always cancel it if you don't need it.

  2. Beth -- good to know. That's really cheap -- I thought it was something like $20 a month. Thanks!

  3. Erica,

    Unless you're doing some super-secret stealth computer stuff, just about any current laptop computer is more than you could ever need - in terms of function and memory. We have a big iMac, a medium-size laptop, and a small netbook, and, barring differences in types of software...they're all great. Spending 300 bucks on a laptop will get you a good machine with only a few bells and whistles, while 500 will get you an equally good machine which does lots more crap.

    (I use the eyes-closed, choosing method.)

    - Dana

  4. Dana -- LOL! I am far too obsessive for that method. I research things to death, resurrect them and then kill them again. However, you make a good point. I'm probably overthinking this. I do that.

  5. I love my laptop, but it is a Toshiba and they can run pretty expensive. I would recommend going into Bestbuy and talking to one of their Geek Squad people. Do not use them to get you set up at your house (ridiculously expensive and you could figure it out) but they are normally pretty good at answering all of your questions and helping you find a notebook that is helpful to you.

    Whatever you end up doing, get the extra insurances/ warranty. Even if nothing goes wrong, it pays for an extra battery. I dumped an entire coffee mug on my college laptop and wished I got! :-P

  6. Erica... GO READ ... THE BEST RATED LAPTOP SITE -- This will help you a lot! Watch the little video in the right hand column.

    P.O. Box is a VERY good idea. $30 a yr for me.

    I say.. call NG ... "ST".. for his fetlife profile "SpankoTango"!

  7. ps... I have an ASUS laptop.. but it's a high end graphics computer (due to all my photo and editing work.. I need a horrendously capable graphics accelerator, etc. etc..)

    BUT ... with HP Laptop Computers you and John can enjoy the luxury of a high quality, top of the line system, at the fraction of the cost in which competitors offer in lower quality products when shopping at HP!

  8. Hi Erica, my laptop is a Gateway and it's AWESOME and the color of it is RED hehehe :-)i bought a RED wireless mouse to go with it, Cause the mouse that's built into the computer TOTALLY ANNOYS ME hehehe LOL. I got my laptop as a xmas gift 2 years ago. HMMMMMMMM a name for New Guy how about Awesome Top or sweltering Top i am trying to come up with a unique name for him but my mind keeps drawing a blank UGH.Love You xoxo

  9. Hi Erica

    I use a site called They ship from Las Vegas and stock 2 of my favorite branded notebooks.


  10. Get a Dell and wifi and you're life will change forever (unless I can talk you into getting that Mac!).

  11. Hey, Erica,
    I have HP compaq and it works great. I wanted Toshiba because I believe they are the best. Asus made the motherboard for my very first desktop computer. They are very good and known company. Any you buy will work.

    What is important is computer hygiene. To prevent overheating you will need to clean it once a year.

    About internet connection, I just payed for it and installed it myself using their instructions, without any problems.

    Be well,
    Aliasshiba because I believe they are the best. Asus made the motherboard for my very first desktop computer. They are very good and known company. Any you buy will work.

    What is important is computer hygiene. To prevent overheating you will need to clean it once a year.

    About internet connection, I just payed for it and installed it myself using their instructions, without any problems.

    Be well,

  12. Blogger hates me! Sorry about confusion.Blogger hates me! Sorry about confusion.

  13. I made a living programming computers, not designing or building them. My first was in 1966. Small room size. In the last twenty of my work life, I used desktops and laptops to access mainframe and mini-computers. So I have a bit of history and opinions on them.

    Computers are commodities. The internals are whatever was available when the model was designed. The differences between brands are slim indeed. Marketing hype is another matter.

    I would spend a little more for a metal case, since you plan to move it around. I would also select a keyboard that feels right for YOU. If you want a big screen, that runs the price up a little.

    Don't worry about "numbers". Anything on the market right now is more than you will need.

    You say you know nothing about wireless. How are you accessing the Internet now? Cable modem? If so, you can continue with a new laptop. If you want wireless, you are going to have to buy a wireless router. Don't panic, you connect cable to it and it broadcasts a signal that is picked up by the laptop. I can help with that off-line if you need it.

    I would buy whatever Costco is selling. They do some pretty good quantity deals with manufacturers, so the retail price is a little lower than what you might find elsewhere. If you are not a member, perhaps someone you know is? Amazon would be my second source. But, I do like to touch before I buy.

    Although HP is getting out of the biz, they make a decent machine. But, they are all decent. Get a good case, a keyboard you like, a screen that is easy on the eyes. Remember, whatever you buy will be obsolute 3 months before you get it home.

  14. I have a Toshiba laptop with Windows Vista and it's okay, but slow. I got a wireless Rocket stick so I could connect to the internet away from home. It plugs in like a memory stick. BUT, for the first 2 months, I could not connect to Blogger or to any Blogger blog that had an adult warning screen. Then I uninstalled Office 2007, installed Office 2003, and suddenly I could get to Blogger. Go figure.

    iPads have terrible keyboards, and are for picture people, not word people.


  15. I've got it! Since you have a top called The Villain, why not call New Guy The Hero?

  16. Wow... thank you, everyone. All valid advice and I need to sift through it. John and I are not in any hurry, fortunately, so we will research further. Everything helps, so I appreciate the feedback.

    LOL -- the Hero! That could work. Or ST. I'll ask him what he thinks on Monday.

  17. I think most laptops these days are OK. I've had my Toshiba for 5 year now and haven't had a single problem with it. P has a Sony but says my Toshiba is much faster than his.


  18. I really don't know a whole lot about computers but have bought a few. I have a HP Notebook I got last year on Black Friday at Best Buys. Talk with the people at Best Buys, maybe a couple different times, you will get different info from each person. Don't roll your eyes at them because they look like they are twelve, they were weaned on this stuff. One thing to make sure of is to back up your system on disks before you play on it because they don't come with backup disks anymore and if it crashes, well, it will be like your butt on a Monday night. :-) Toshiba is pretty good, we have one of their laptops too. Also buy yourself a mouse, you won't like the touchpad.

    PS, Happy belated birthday, I will be joining the 54 club in a few weeks myself.

  19. Kaki -- I have an external backup drive plus I use Carbonite's backup system, so I think I'm covered. And you're right -- I know I prefer a mouse to the touchpad.

    Yup, the young 'uns are clearly my superiors these days, when it comes to technology! :-D