Tag Archives: Computer

iPad Vs. Netbook: Does a Physical Keyboard Really Matter?

While his email is original, the question from community member “Tamloo” is an all-too-familiar one for me (unedited):

Hey Chris, I have been a really big fan of yous over the past couple of years. You are one of the main sources I get my technology news from. One thing I really like about you is that yes, you can be an “Apple Fanboy” at sometimes, but for the most part, you do reviews fairly and over a wide range of products and software. Unlike other tech reviews, you don’t just focus on one specific platform or company.

Well, the main reason why I am emailing you is because I recently purchased an Asus Netbook computer last year. It worked great for traveling since I travel very frequently; however I accidentally dropped my computer one week after the warranty expired and the screen completely shattered (huge crack down the middle, and I can’t see a thing on the screen). Sadly, during these rough economic times, I don’t know what kind of small-easy-to-use computer I could invest in at the moment.

Right now, all I have to use when I travel is my new iPhone4 (which I have grew to love over a month). I have not been much of an Apple fan, however I think it is actually coming out of me at the moment just like WilsonTech1 has lately. My main dilemma is what kind of computer should I get? Right now, I am extremely happy with my iPhone, and I am considering getting an iPad. But I don’t know if it is worth getting since I don’t know if the price is really right to me. If I get an iPad, I will most likely be getting the original as seeing the price has been dropped.

Now, the thing I like about a netbook is that it has a physical keyboard, but watching you videos, you state that the virtual keyboard isn’t that bad on the iPad. Is that really true? I like the iPhone’s keyboard and find it easy to use and normally don’t miss a key when typing. But does the iPad’s keyboard have that same easy and fluent functionality and can I type fast enough to have it replace a netbook?

What is your stance on this, should I go the extra $200 and buy an iPad or would a new netbook be worth it? Thanks for your opinion.

I appreciate that you’re asking for my opinion, but I can’t really tell you what to buy. It’s your money, and you need to be the one who makes the decision that works best for you. I’m only here to provide a good amount of perspective; I really have no horse in this race.

What I find most uplifting about the phrasing of your question is how you’re referring to an iPad as a computer — which it absolutely is. Few people have made this distinction, but I can tell you that the iPad can certainly do more than my first “home computer” could. The iPad is a computer.

Now, on to the crux of your quandary.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always found super-compact notebook / netbook computers to have super-scrunched, unusable-for-anything-but-infant-hand keyboards — and this flat fact, to me, defeats the purpose of having a keyboard in the first place. If your WPM on an average netbook is half of what it is on a standard keyboard, I’d be shocked.

So, are you in love with the keyboard, or merely the idea of the keyboard?

If the lack of a physical keyboard is what’s keeping you from buying an iPad, rest assured that there are countless iPad cases that accommodate workable keyboards that couple with the iPad (AND iPhone) via Bluetooth. You could also pick up an Apple Wireless Keyboard and use that in a similar fashion.

Moreover, iOS typo correction kicks the shot out of anything I’ve ever seen as a default in Windows (outright, third-party tools notwithstanding). Doesn’t that count for something in relation to keyboarding?

So, if that doesn’t help you decide, you should also be considering battery life. I’ve yet to find a single netbook computer that came close to 10-hour battery life after any amount of usage. You’d be lucky to find one that lasted 5 hours when doing nothing. If you’re never more than three hours from an electrical outlet, this may be less of an issue for you.

I think you may be better off comparing the iPad against other tablet computers (no, not Tablet PCs). There are quite a few Android devices on the market that weigh in at the same price point as a netbook, although you’re more than likely sacrificing quality if you go that direction – not just in terms of construction, but in absolute hardware features (resistive screen, no multi-touch, et al).

You can always save money — but at what cost?

It’s this phrase alone that continues to poke holes in the “too expensive” theory. Ask any owner of a faulty product how much more they would have paid to have something that just worked.

Either way, if you’re looking to save money on your impending purchase, we have a coupon site for you to use that includes savings on Apple computers.

What Does Your Home Office Look Like?


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You asked for it! And, even if you didn’t ask for it, you’re getting it, anyway. I did the first real home office tour at the beginning of 2009 (and didn’t think much of it at the time). Well, I didn’t do one in 2010 – and some of y’all really got pissy about it. This oughta tide you over until 2012.

What would your office look like if you could do anything you wanted when it comes to decor? Would you go crazy geeking things out, or would you keep things simple?

If you already have the office or space of your dreams, why not show us a photo?

Do You Want an iMac?


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Brandon asked in chat the other night if an iMac is a good investment. I don’t know if I can view any computer as an “investment.” Yes, I think the iMac is a good computer. The issue I see with a lot of desktop computers is that they lose their value the moment you bring them home. The iMac is an excellent machine, to be sure. However, is it really something you need?

I wouldn’t classify any computer as a good “investment,” no. Even an iMac will lose value over time. Get whatever machine it is that will fit your needs, whether it’s an iMac or a Windows machine.

Take care of your machine… baby it. Keep it in good shape and you just may be lucky enough to make a little cash from it when the time comes for you to upgrade to something newer.

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Life Without Computers

I had to chuckle when I read Decimic’s question on Lockergnome earlier. Up for discussion is what our lives would be like if computers had never been invented. A few of the answers are funny, with people gasping over the fact that they would have to go back to reading books or drawing pictures. Heck, they might even have to go outside!

One answer in particular caught my attention, though. EoinMuurphy stated simply that “No one can answer this, because we have become so engulfed into the computer world that it’s almost impossible to think what life would be like without it.” Boy, ain’t that the truth? Can you even begin to imagine what your life would be like right now if there were no computers? Sure, we’d all like to think we’d have more time on our hands if we weren’t attached to our machines. Is that really true, though? Wouldn’t your work take up even more of your time without the aid of your various devices and gadgets?

Personally, I don’t even want to think about what my life would be like without a computer nearby. I’m not quite sure how this whole live-streaming thing would work. What do you think? Do you want to imagine a life without computers long enough to ponder what you might be doing differently in life?

Since we DO happen to have computers and devices in our lives, we gathered together all of the best software and apps you could possibly need to make your life easier.

Where Do You Buy Computer Hardware?


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Adam asked over on Lockergnome which sites I would recommend he order computer parts from. With so many online retailers out there in cyberspace, he’s not sure where to turn for reputable parts. The problem though, is that there is no right answer. Some places will have better prices than others. Some will have better parts at higher cost. It all boils down to choosing what’s best for YOU – and doing some research.

There are “big names” out there, of course. Most people will tell you to run to either TigerDirect or Newegg. There’s also a small site a friend of the community helps run, called Shark Systems. From what I’ve seen, their prices are pretty competitive. They also have excellent customer service. Sometimes, it’s the smaller companies that will have the best relationships with their customers, ya know?

In any case, buying computer parts and pieces online is no different from any other type of Geek purchase. You have to know what you’re looking for, and do your research. Ask around – get opinions. Find out who you feel will serve your needs the best.

If you have suggestions as to which place online you feel is the best to buy from – backed up with reasons WHY you feel they’re the best – please leave us a follow-up comment!

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Getting a New Mac Mini

Faizal from Malaysia writes:

I’m very excited that Apple has introduced a new Mac Mini which I consider very good in terms of specification and price. So, I decided to buy this new Mac Mini as my first Mac PC. The main reason I like Mac Mini because of its form factor. I’m a Windows PC user and with this new Mac Mini, I hope I can experience myself with Mac computers and Mac OS X.

The only problem I have for now is the monitor. I found that Mac LCD monitors are too expensive if compared to other brands. I can’t afford to buy an Apple LCD monitor since it is out of my budget. So, my questions: (1) Can I use an LCD monitor from another brand, and (2) What are the main advantages to using Apple-brand monitors for Mac systems.

I saw today’s Mac Mini update, too!

Indeed, for the quality hardware combined with a tiny physical footprint, the Mac Mini is a great first Mac for anybody. My only wish is that they’d soon migrate to the iX series of Intel processors (dropping the Core 2 Duos altogether).

If you’re a new Mac user (or someone switching from Windows), I have my 100 Mac Tips eBook available to help give you a leg up on what you’ll soon discover in Mac OS X. I’d suggest it not just because I wrote it, but because I’ve been there myself. I live in between Windows and Mac OS X (and definitely a better geek for that).

Apple has done an absolutely wonderful job at causing people to believe that their products are only compatible with their other products. This, my friend, is NOT the case. You can connect any monitor to the Mac Mini that your little Malaysian heart desires (although, you may need to get an adapter – depending on which ports you’re connecting). That’s good news – reuse what you’ve already got!

Moreover, the only reason you’d want to get an Apple LCD monitor at this point is… if you like looking at the Apple logo. That’s about it.

Current Mac Mini Deals:

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My First Hard Drive Was…


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Headwards is a user on our Lockergnome.net site who asked what capacity our first hard drive was. My first computer didn’t even have a hard drive in it! The first one I purchased with my own money cost me around $200.00 and it had a couple of 5 1/4″ floppy drives. When I bought it back in 1993, it seemed relatively outdated even then.

I then worked to save around $2200.00 and bought my first real computer. I got a machine with 8MB of RAM and 4MB of video RAM. I think it had 420MB worth of storage! It even had a CD drive that could read at double-speed. Back in the day, that was a pretty good system. It was the best that was out there.

I still have binaries (executables) and media that I downloaded from the newsgroups back then that I had to decode and ultimately put on my system. I remember when I’d see a 100k file and think how big it was. I’d wonder if it would even work on my system. Yes… 100 K. Anything 1MB or more was considered “killer” back then.

What was your first computer, and how big of a hard drive did it have? Who can beat me?

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An Ode to Computers

This catchy tune by joystyle will have you laughing and tapping your toes. While it may be a comedy to some, it’s sacred to those of us who call ourselves Geeks.

We live and die by the things rapped about in this video. We grew up in the days of DOS. We roll our eyes when someone calls us a nerd (and some of us get angry!). We eat, sleep and breathe all things computer.

This video rocks.

Kissing My Surface Reflection

Kissing My Surface Reflection

Playing with the Surface that Microsoft is bringing to Gnomedex. They’ve even developed an application that will allow attendees to exchange contact information in real-time – not to mention, watch a live Twitter and Flickr stream of the latest content tagged with “gnomedex” online.

A still photo doesn’t do this Surface app justice, however. What you’re seeing is a monochromatic LIVE shot of the other side of my face as it was pressed against the Surface. Don’t worry, though – they’re going to be bringing it to Gnomedex where you can play with it in person.

I’m assuming you’re coming to Gnomedex. Then again, I’m assuming that you’re a geek like me who loves conferences with unlimited food, beverages, power, and wireless Internet access. I could be wrong to assume such things, however.

Would you rather watch a video demonstration of what the Surface will surface at the conference?

What Happens When Your Laptop’s Motherboard Goes Bad?


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There is this thing sitting inside your computer that is the one thing every other thing is connected to! It’s called a motherboard. I have no idea why there’s no fatherboard… but yeah. The motherboard is crucial. If it’s not working – good luck using your computer at all. Ian from the PCPitStop community is sad because his Sony Vaio died. His motherboard is now dead, and wonders where he can find an affordable replacement.

Virut won’t corrupt your motherboard – but it will usually lead to having to reformat your system. With that said, if your motherboard is hosed for any reason, you might want to run a few diagnostics if you can. It’s possible it could be a bad power supply, you know? Check everything you possibly can, to determine for sure that it’s a motherboard.

I feel your pain. I’ve heard some not-so-happy things about Sony support in the past. Unfortunately, if it is a motherboard problem – it’s going to cost you. My recommendation is to find a local Geek. Pay them in pizza and cola. They’ll take a look at the computer to assess the problem. Sometimes it’s something small that trips us up, and I certainly hope that’s what is going on with you!

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