Tag Archives: pc

How to Buy a Computer for Christmas

Geek!This is JB’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

As the tech guy of my family, family business, and my friends, I had the opportunity to put together and maintain several computers, some of which have been bought as presents. The difficulty is in creating a PC (or Mac) that is fit for the purpose it will be used for – all the while, sticking to a budget.

First of all, you need to know what the machine will be used for. The two typical cases are office and gaming, but it might be graphics work, on-demand television, or whatever. Let’s make some generalizations:

  • If the computer will only be used to run Word, it is safe to say that the cheapest option is the best option. Performance doesn’t really matter.
  • For everything else, there is MasterCard! Buying a top quality gaming rig is going to cost you… a lot. But some of us are on a tighter budget, and so your motto should be: spend as much as you can afford. But I have to warn you: computers are the WORST INVESTMENT EVER. Yes, even worse than Nigerian Treasury Bonds. Try not to overspend yourself.
  • If the present is for a child (by child, I mean under the age of 11), do not spend a fortune buying him/her a supercomputer that will never be used to its full potential. By the way, that will also help you keep your 8 year-old from playing violent games, as they tend to require better hardware.
  • If it will ONLY be used for gaming, consider a gaming console. Popular ones are: Microsoft Xbox, Sony PlayStation 3, and Nintendo Wii.
  • If you are giving it to someone who already owns a computer, try to check what kind of computer he/she has. This also avoids the blunder of buying a brand new computer that actually underperforms the previous one. Never buy a Mac user a PC and vice versa – unless you know he/she has been thinking about switching. Always check if he/she already has a monitor, a printer, etc. so you can avoid buying those devices and/or accessories.
  • Laptop or Desktop? Desktops are ideal for people who work at home, for children, for the elderly, and when high performance is needed. Laptops are better if he/she travels a lot or needs to work at more than one place. Laptops are also great gifts for students.

If you have done your research, you will face 3 options:

  • Build a PC yourself / Have it custom made by a professional. This is something I wouldn’t recommend – unless you count yourself among at least those so called “Power Users”. If you decide to pick the parts yourself, there are some tips below.
  • Buy a PC in your local store / on the Internet. Most people don’t bother, and buy a computer the same way they buy… toilet paper, for example. By looking at it. “This one looks good, it’s shiny, I will buy it”. And here comes the No. 1. Rule of buying computers: DO NOT PICK ONE ONLY BY ITS APPEARANCE. Yes, looks are important, but there are literally thousands of more important things in case of computers. Some tips when buying in a local store:
    • Ask a salesman. Don’t just tell him: “I am looking for a computer”. Tell him: “I am looking for a computer for my 98 year-old grandma, with…”
    • Don’t let them blackmail you. If they say it is the last one they have, tell them you can always buy one in another store. They will tell you: “No sir, not this one.” Trust me, the shop next door will be more than happy to find you a computer just like that. Set a budget, and don’t let them exceed it. If they insist on spending just $50 more, you will end up spending $500 more if you accept. Don’t buy it at first sight. Go to other stores, you may even find it helpful to ask: “What do you think about that computer they recommended me at the other store?” But don’t believe everything they say. Ask if they have a better deal.
    • Don’t let them persuade you to buy tons of accessories that no one really needs. If you don’t want another monitor, don’t buy one. Avoid expensive cables. No cable costs more than a couple of dollars to make, so if they say it’s a hundred, tell them to find you one for $3.
    • If you must take a loan, be informed. They might have a better deal than your credit card company.
  • Buying the computer online is also an option. Deals might be better, but you will need more confidence in the vendor as you only have raw specs to rely on.

Now, the debate of Mac vs. PC has been going on for years, but people fail to realize, Macs are (in fact) PCs. There is nothing you can’t do with a Mac that you can do with a PC. There is a joke hanging around the Internet about this: “Name one thing you can do with your PC that I can’t do with my Mac!” And the answer is: “Right-click” That’s not true (yes, Virginia, you really can right-click in OS X, the Mac’s operating system). Macs are compatible with almost all PC accessories, including mice. Actually, several Mac applications need the second mouse button to function better. So, when is it time to go Mac?

  • It is a first computer. Easier to learn and maintain, Macs are ideal first computers. Most first time users fall in love with that, not the user interface.
  • He/she already has a Mac.
  • You want something… aesthetically pleasing. Like something for a living room. Or for a storefront. iMacs are elegant all-in-one computing solutions, and you can’t beat the look.
  • You are buying a laptop / notebook computetr. This might start a civil war, but Macbooks are probably the best laptops on the market today. They are not cheap, maybe they don’t have the best performance, but they have great battery life, size, and weight. They are also sturdy.

Yes, yes – but how do you actually CHOOSE what to buy? Here are some tips regarding the choice of hardware:

  • Trust bigger brands, but not blindly. There are some companies whose names became synonymous with quality. They deliver excellent products, albeit sometimes not cheaply.
  • Graphics. If it’s office-type work, it’s fine to go with integrated an graphics card. It’s cheaper that way. For games, you’d want a dedicated video card. There are two brands worth mentioning on the market: nVidia and AMD/ATI. They only produce the chips however, and if you custom-build your PC, you will need to choose the card’s manufacturer as well. Bigger brands tend to work better here, too. Price and performance are in close relation. You can also buy more than one card into one PC (called CrossFire and SLI by ATI and nVidia, respectively). The prime factor to take into consideration is the size of the screen (to be specific, its resolution). The bigger the screen, the more power you will need to achieve the same speed and quality in games. Also consider the games that will be played on the computer. Action and RPG games tend to require more from the graphics card. Also, the bigger the screen, the more video memory you will need. 256 megabytes is fine for 17 inch displays and smaller, but you will need more for a 19, 20, 24 inch screen. You will likely need more than one card to card a 30 inch screen.
  • CPU. As much as Intel hates it, CPUs have reached a level of performance where more speed doesn’t really have any effect for everyday use. However, if the computer will be used for video or audio editing, hardcore gaming, 3D modeling, or any other demanding task, you are better off with a faster model. There are two manufacturers: Intel and AMD. AMD has traditionally offered a more affordable solution, while Intel has traditionally offered the fastest processors. To be honest, it doesn’t matter which one you have anymore.
  • Storage. The Bigger, the better. Don’t ever buy a computer with less than 200 gigabytes of storage capacity. Laptops are the exception, especially with SSD (a next-generation solid state storage device – faster, yet significantly more expensive). SSD lacks the volume capacity of its mechanical big brother, the traditional hard drive. SSD is, however, more quiet and energy efficient (no moving parts). SSD options are usually found only for laptop configurations these days.
  • Screen. First of all: go with LCD. If CRT still exists, it is an “ancient” technology that nobody wants today. Also, the bigger the screen, the better (and, the more expensive). Most people do not need to go bigger than 20 inches. Remember, you need a better video card if you have a bigger screen! Keep in mind, text does not appear larger on bigger screens. Don’t just buy a bigger screen to cope with sight problems. Get glasses. πŸ˜‰

Bottom line? For standard office work, you can get a PC without a screen for less than $300. With everything included, it could be as low as $500 – $600. For gaming, a basic rig will cost you around $900 without a screen. But that’s pretty basic, so you might want to spend around $1600 – $2200 (at least) to get a decent system. With a 20 inch screen, that might be $2000 – $2500 total. Decent laptops start relatively low, so you might be able to get one for $500 – but you have to spend at least $1000 – $1200 to get one that is capable of gaming. Netbooks (lightweight laptops) start as low as $300, but their usability is sometimes seriously impaired. Of course, I don’t claim that these prices are 100% accurate, but they might give you a pretty good picture of how much you are likely to spend on a new computer this holiday season.

Internet Karate – Defending Your PC Against Malware

This is Matt Wilkinson’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

Several years ago, I thought it might be a fun project to develop a presentation that could be delivered to non-technical PC users about the basics of PC security. I’m not talking about a simple “Dumbing-Down” of a very complicated topic, but rather an approach that would allow the average PC user to gain a better understanding of the everyday threats their PC faces. In other words, give them a fighting chance at keeping malware at bay.

The catch phrase “Internet Karate” quickly came to mind, combining the famous Martial Art with using the Internet. Karate is a means to defend yourself in the physical world — Internet Karate is a way to defend your PC from the never ending parade of bad guys that would otherwise attack and overwhelm it.

So I set out to develop a presentation that met these criteria:

  • It can be delivered in less than two hours, which leaves plenty of time for Q and A.
  • Keep it as non-technical as possible, while still keeping it as informative and engaging as possible to the target audience.
  • Make it as interactive and fun as possible; get people interested in a topic that would normally bore them to tears.
  • Not to push any specific security products or brands; warn people about the many fake security products out there.

Like most people, speaking in front of an audience is a personal phobia, and I freely admit that I am using this project as a means to overcome that phobia. But more importantly, I am doing this as my little contribution to combating malware. My philosophy is that the more educated people are about PC security, the more likely they are to stay on top of it. I have personally profited from malware — though not in the way that malware developers themselves do — but rather by earning cash from rebuilding PCs that have been gutted by malware. I like to think of it as my own little way of giving back (I don’t charge anything to present the material, but I don’t turn down lunch if offered).

I’ve delivered the Internet Karate Presentation to several groups since I first developed the material, and it’s been very well received. Keep in mind, if you are a registered user on geeks.pirillo.com, the material is anything but earth shattering. Nor is it particularly hard for anybody with web access to find out on their own (remember one of my goals is to get people interested in it) . I am not claiming to present anything revolutionary with Internet Karate, just to package a complex (and dry) topic in a way normal people can understand. If I could, I’d cultivate a small army of like-minded IT professionals that would offer similar presentations to small audiences in their particular neck of the woods (think “Dojo”).

If you’ve been in the IT game anywhere near as long as I have, I’m willing to bet that people often turn to you for advice on all things technology and computer related. This is your audience calling you. As far as groups go, there are PTA’s, professional organizations, church groups, community colleges, public library programs, the possibilities are endless.

Now, without further adieu, I bring you Internet Karate. (Requires Google Account)

Some People Are Happy with Their PCs

This guest blog post comes courtesy of ‘Leo’ – with his punctuation, usage, spelling, and grammar intact…

For the last couple of years I have been observing people over and over again bash Microsoft and its products. While some of these criticisms were valid, most of the negative remarks were grossly exaggerated. I think most of the disapproval came from the problems with vista’s launch and apple’s commercials. While there are apple products I like, I own an ipod touch and would buy an iphone if it were not on at&t’s service, I am more than happy with my pc and don’t really see a compelling reason to switch. Below are the top 5 reasons I will be staying with my pc.

Software – Like it or not there are more software options in the windows ecosystem. Paid or free, software availability is definitely more plentiful on the windows side of the fence. I don’t really believe that a convincing argument can be made about which platform has the better application whether it be linux, mac, or windows. It is a fact however, that Windows has substantially larger library of applications available, it number is far greater than both mac and linux combined. Because of this great variety users have more options.

Live Mesh – Of all the items on this list, this is the one I am least familiar with. I have only recently began using live mesh (3 weeks or so), but I must say I absolutely love it. While it’s still in beta form I honestly believe what Microsoft has done with it will pay off in the long run. Not only are they going to integrate their Windows Live apps with it, but they are also opening mesh up to developers to create their own apps. Live mesh is (for those who don’t know) Microsoft’s syncing platform that allows all other apps that sit on top of it to sync to your account. Much like Google’s apps you will be able to download the app itself to the desktop and use it there. Not only can you download Microsoft’s apps, but you can also download the developer’s app. Mobile me is to apple what live mesh is to Microsoft, the difference is mesh is much bigger in what it will be able to accomplish. Oh by the way live mesh works on the Mac too. It makes paying for a yearly mobile me subscription sound foolish does it not?

Price / Upgradability – I like having a desktop. I like to build my desktop. I like to upgrade my desktop. The things I like are made simple on a pc. The Mac really only has 2 desktop systems. The first is way too expensive for what it offers, and the second is underpowered for my needs and comes inside a monitor. That is a problem for me since I despise the idea of having to buy a completely new computer if something happens to the monitor. Plain and simple PC’s are just more affordable and more configurable. That’s both hardware and software. Yes a new retail copy of windows may cost more than a retail copy of OS X, but I think that the majority of people that upgrade their OS, especially those who do it on a semi-regular bases, knows that you don’t buy a retail you buy OEM. An OEM copy of vista home premium is cheaper than a copy of OS X. And while there is something to be said about the elegance of apple products they are not worth the huge premiums we pay. And by the way there are PC vendors that make excellent / beautiful laptops too (Voodoo PC, Falcon NW, or Hypersonic PC anyone?)

Multimedia – Yes I can imagine the WTF in people’s faces but before you say anything hear me out. I believe that windows is a solid multimedia platform out of the box (remember I use vista home premium). I really like Windows Media Center and I think it’s far better than any other media viewing software in any platform (at least out of the box). It’s a simple and clean interface that allows you to easily explore your entire digital library. If your pc is not connected to your TV and you just so happen to have a xbox 360 you can stream your media through that. Now I understand people are going to bring up iLife and here are the reasons I am not that impressed. First I hate itunes, especially inside a windows environment. Yes it may work ok on macs, but it’s very slow on windows plus I hate buying anything with DRM (thanks Amazon). I also think Microsoft has comparable products to the rest of the iLife suite for the exception to iDVD and garage band (but who really uses garage band). Plus if u don’t like the products offered by Microsoft there are so many other ones out there available most of which are free.

Windows 7 – I truly believe that Win 7 will be the best windows OS EVER once released. I have been able to obtain a copy of the pre-beta release and must say that I am very impressed with the stability of the OS (even in its pre-beta form). It is very lightweight and has a bunch of improvements. While most improvements are not huge, they are numerous enough that you really do start to notice a difference. They have managed to make the whole OS much simpler, yet allowed it to be highly customizable. They are really taking advantage of all the architecture changes made in vista. In many ways those painful architectural changes were what caused most of the shortcomings in vista in the first place. I remember how harshly Vista was criticized when released and while I never really agreed to the degree of hate it received, I do admit that there were certain things that were wrong with it at launch. Problems such as: old hardware not having proper drivers (which we really can’t blame Microsoft for), UAC, hardware requirements and others really seemed destroy any chance Microsoft had of getting any good press. Regardless of what you thought of vista at launch, the fact is that is a very stable OS today and not only do I use it, I highly recommend it to any new PC buyer. And while I could be wrong about this, it seemed to me like most the criticisms came from Mac users. I find this funny because they seemed to forget all the crap the Mac OS went through during the switch from OS 9 to OS X. But getting back to Win 7, I guess you could say that in many ways it’s the OS vista should have been at launch plus a whole lot more.

What Should You Look for When Buying a New PC?

The other night, I posted a blog post from Dan, with his tips on how to find information. He sent me a second list, and it is definitely something you all should read through. Here are Dan’s tips for how to make sense of Windows computer specs when buying a new computer.

  • SIZE Decide what general dimensions you want and what personal preferences you have. Examples are: laptop or desktop?, screen size?, keyboard size?, physically large or small? It is important to have SOME idea of what you want because a store employee is going to try to sell you the most expensive computer they can.
  • RAM The more stuff your computer does at one time (internet+music+documents+email) the more RAM you’re going to need. Vista (which ships with all Windows PCs now) needs significantly more RAM than XP does, but most of the major manufacturers have added RAM to compensate. If you plan on pushing your multi-tasking ability to the limit (or if you’re going to game) you’re going to need 3 to 4 gigabytes. For a normal user- 2 gigabytes should meet your needs just fine.
  • HARD DRIVE The more pictures, video, and music you want on your computer, the more hard drive space you’ll need. The hard drives are getting really large to compensate for the increase in personal digital media creation. Keep in mind that it’s probably better to keep your valuable data in an external place anyway, so don’t get carried away. (100-200GB is a smaller size, 300-500+ is really large.)
  • PROCESSOR The processor controls almost all operations of your computer, so again, if you’re going to be pushing your computer a lot, get a faster one (2-3GHz). Vista needs 1GHz to run comfortably, but even most laptops have a faster one out of box.
  • Shop Around! There are a lot of brands of computers, at a lot of different prices, found in a bunch of different places. I’d recommend sniffing around a couple of big-box stores, then seeing if there’s anything in online stores that may match you better. A computer is a significant investment that should last you for a long time, so do your homework!
  • Video Cards If you plan of doing any gaming, make SURE you get a dedicated video card (usually ATI or Nvidia). If it doesn’t have a sticker for one of those on the case, then it’s an integrated graphics chipset. In most cases, it’s going to be significantly less powerful.
  • Getting Ripped Off If you go to a large store like Best Buy or Circuit City, be wary of all the ‘But there’s more!’ packages they try to throw at you. Be wary of the protection plans, but get it if you need it. DO NOT buy the security suite they try to shove down your throat, there are much better free alternatives for Windows security out there.

PC or Mac for Education?

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I received an interesting email the other day, from a subscriber who goes to University in Australia. I’m going to copy his email here for you all, and then do my best to answer his very though-provoking questions.

Hi Chris, I am one of your YouTube subscribers (B0BGE0RGE). I’ve been watching your switch from PC to Mac as your main computer. I recently made the switch from PC to Mac myself. But this email is not about individuals switching to Mac. It’s about educational institutions switching to Mac.
Currently, I’m studying IT at Uni in Queensland, Australia. Although when I look around the classroom I see half the students typing up notes on their MacBooks, everything we learn has to do specifically with Windows based machines (aka PCs). It’s been this way for the last 10-15 years at least, as far as I can remember. I learnt the Windows way of doing things all the way through primary school (elementary school in the states) and high school. I had just always accepted that that’s the way it is in schools. They teach Windows because that’s what everyone has in their homes. But nowadays this is not really the case. More people still use Windows machines than Macs. But if I can look around the classroom and see at least a dozen MacBooks, then that tells me it’s probably time to start incorporating Macs into IT education. The students are using them, and the teachers are using them. I found it amusing the other day in class that our teacher hooked his Mac up to the projector screen and used parallels to show us how to do something on Windows XP. More and more people are usingMacs. Isn’t it time for schools to make the switch too?
I’d like to hear your thoughts on this. Should schools start incorporating Macs into IT education? Do you think that with more and more people switching to Mac they are going to have to teach both the Windows way and the Mac way of doing things? Or has Microsoft got such a tight grip on many educational facilities that schools will never anything but Windows at least while Microsoft is still around? Share your thoughts.

To me, it’s not about “Mac vs PC”. It’s about teaching people how to do things a different way. People need to be helped to understand the many different ways things can be done. I would not only teach OS X and WIndows… I would introduce Linux, as well. I know schools cannot afford to update their entire infrastructure. So, why not get students involved in the curriculum, using their Mac. Students teaching and learning from each other actually tends to work better at times, than having an Instructor do it. This is the beauty of the Internet… anyone has the ability to be a teacher.

It’s very important to not be biased one way or another. As Bob mentioned in his email, it’s not just a Microsoft world. Heck, it’s not just a Mac world, either. Things have evolved. We are in the middle of history being made, as far as choices. If you aren’t presented with the opportunity to learn, how then can you be a part of it?

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What PC OEMs Can Do

“Justin” caught our earlier thread on Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows and Apple and PC OEMs (the companies who make PCs for people). I won’t share his specific identity unless permitted, but he has given me pause with this particular message:

I’m watching your recent clip on Mac vs PC, and you state we need to view Apple as a PC OEM, because whatever they are doing right, it can’t just be the operating system. Well, I’ve got to disagree. I’m OEM free, built my machine from the ground up. I have forever been a PC/Windows user until OS X went Intel. If you google my name, you’ll see I’m commonly credited with being the first to get OS X running native on standard PC hardware. At the time it was just a novelty. Fast forward 2.5 years and a lot has changed. OS X is now rock solid on off the shelf PC hardware (given you’ve done the homework on what’s compatible). About a year ago I started toying around with OS X again, dual booting into XP. Now for the last 6 months, OS X is the ONLY operating system on my PC.

Certain OEMs are getting it right in some respects, as evidenced by an open call from last week which will be posted here soon (in which the caller was drooling over an HP Blackbird largely because of the engineering that went on inside the case). That’s great to hear, but every single product that trickles out the door should sport an equally awesome structure – and if it isn’t up to scratch, then the community should say so.

Apple won’t hand OS X over to just any OEM (if it ever does) – but OEMs who care most about their brand and community may stand a better chance for the offer (should it ever happen). Until then, OEMs are sitting underneath Windows – and so are workaday users. There’s so much a PC OEM could do to connect, enthrall, and extend the community beyond computer hobbyists.

The reason I initially started messing around with OS X again was simply for Final Cut Pro. I actually believe Final Cut will play a big role for Apple in the coming years. Mark my words that within 10 years (probably 5), FCP will completely replace Avid in the professional video/film world. Apple has been REALLY on the ball with Final Cut, while Avid has been slipping. But I digress. Final Cut brought me to OS X, and everything else got me to stay. I think it all comes down to the same argument you have for the iPhone vs Windows Mobile — it’s all about implementation. You were playing devils advocate with Kat, pointing out many of the things she liked right off the bat are available in Windows as add-ons or plugins. It’s not about the feature, it’s about the implementation. It’s like comparing Shadow Copy on Vista to Time Machine. Sure, they do the same thing. But my grandmother could use Time Machine. And she can’t even use a word processor.

I play devil’s advocate because I’m right – Windows, at its core, has similar features to OS X. For the most part, average users just need to access email, the Web, and a few multimedia apps. And that’s why Windows works well, and that’s why OEMs have to try even harder to do something with their community in general.

I’d go as far as to say that the first OEM which “insources” a good chunk of their own support and documentation to vetted community members will gain wide support. That’s a PC OEM I could totally back. If Microsoft did more with their community, and gave it products that were truly worth evangelizing, it would naturally happen.

People want to paint me as someone who has completely abandoned all hope for Microsoft, Windows, PC OEMs, etc. – but that’s simply not true (and my continuous advice and support only underscores my as-much-as-possible balanced approach to this industry). I have more advice and help to offer them than I do any other company out there.

Not one OEM has come to me and asked me what they could do better – not one. And if they did, that’s exactly what I’d tell ’em: IT’S NOT THE FEATURE, IT’S THE IMPLEMENTATION.

Don’t get me wrong, Apple is also a great OEM (all though I would argue an over-priced one). I would buy a Mac Pro in a heart beat if I could afford one (although my machine is comparable, and a fraction of the price–pretty much all the parts are from various SlickDeals). But like the Windows Mobile argument, a device can only be as good as it’s operating system. What makes a mac a mac isn’t the Apple logo, it’s the operating system.

The Mac is more than a logo, too – far more. A device is the hardware, the software, and the community. That last part is typically what gets left off – and Apple doesn’t have to foster community because the community follows it. You might state that so does the world of PC, but that’s so incredibly fragmented (and, quite honestly, filled with people who are FEATURE and not IMPLEMENTATION). I got raked across the coals by the very people I was trying to help back when Jim was taking feedback on Vista – some of them ate me alive because I bothered to question Redmond.

Don’t tell me about a product you made – tell me about a product you want to build, and the entire community will tell you what to do and what NOT to do with it. Don’t give us wacky slogans that make absolutely no sense – just give us an experience we’re genuinely excited to share with everybody around us.

Both Microsoft and PC OEMs would be a bit better off if they took the time to listen – truly listen – to their community. We’re out here trying to help. Evangelists aren’t hired, they’re just… there.

The Mac vs PC Challenge

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My assistant Kat is a Windows Expert and Microsoft MVP. She spends countless hours a day volunteering her time to help people fix their Windows machines. Last night… she used her new Mac Mini for the first time. I had to get her on the phone, to get her first impressions… and to find out exactly why she’s using a Mac in the first place.

I won’t go into great details here, as you can watch the video to see it all for yourself. However, Kat and I both agreed that it isn’t really a “Mac vs PC” debate. It’s a simple matter of there being legitimate choices for users now. In the past… we had Microsoft. Cut, print, period! Now, with Apple making such amazing advancements with OS X… consumers can make a choice about which Operating System is right for them.

Working on forums where thousands of people come through looking for help, Kat felt it was just time for her to learn more about a Mac, and how they work. At GeeksToGo, there are thousands of people every day that come through there looking for help. More and more of these people are Mac users. Kat felt it was high time she was able to help those people, as well.

To her… it’s not about whether she should use a Mac or a PC. It’s about expanding her knowledge, growing her potential… and helping as many people as she can. That folks, says it all.

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Which is More Important: Hardware or Software?

Krish just so happened to be watching the live video feed the other night. He felt compelled to email me with suggestions, and I felt compelled to respond.

I have just watched your wife Ponzi unwrap her brand new Macbook Air in which you state that she is looking for portability. I find it hard to believe that your wife has searched everywhere because if she had, she may of come across the Toshiba R500. This laptop is a 12 inch, 2.7lb laptop with very good specs. It also comes with extra security with their brand-new finger scanner. Anyway, I have just written to let you know that if you really were choosing for portability, I think you may of rushed in to things a little bit too quickly.

Yeah, but… it can’t run Mac OS X.

Yea but it is more compact, lighter and is much more secure than the Macbook Air. Plus Windows isn’t that bad. I have run Windows all my life so its only my opinion. Also I have actually used two Toshiba R500 laptops and I think they are very lightweight as well as portable. It also runs fairly well.

Doesn’t matter. Still can’t run Mac OS X.

Yea but as far as I know, Ponzi had put Windows Vista on the Macbook Air. I have never used Vista purely because of the fact that most reports show that it crashes. Anyway, I am sure Apple OS X is good but as far as I know Windows Xp and Vista still have a lot of features. Plus I have seen how the new Macbook Air has a lot of extra things you have to carry. Even without those things the Macbook weighs 3lb. However, the Toshiba, in comparison, only weight 2.7lb. Plus, with the Toshiba, you don’t have to carry all these ‘extras’.

What part of “it doesn’t run Mac OS X” are you not understanding? πŸ™‚ It’s not just about the hardware, but the operating system running on top of it – for me, that’s a very important factor.

Mac Vs PC Again

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foxtrot_MGS wrote to me, and said that after watching all the videos I’ve done about Macs, he’s been considering making the switch. However, he states: “I’ve always used windows, and so I have some feelings about switching to a Mac”. Here are his thoughts. Watch the full video for my answers.

  • Is it really that easy? By that I mean the software. Is Time Machine really that easy? Or for example, is iMovie light years ahead of Windows Movie Maker? Is Garage Band really 10 times easier than Sound Recorder? Are the apps really that easy?
  • It seems a new Mac is released every other day. I don’t want to go get a Mac and have it wind up being inferior in three months. For example, if you had purchased a Mac, lets says, a year and a half ago… would it run most of the soft ware for the Mac available today? This sort of brings me to my next question.
  • Can Macs be upgraded? Slapping a new video card into a PC desktop can be done in minutes, and the drivers are right on the disk… so there’s no real hassle. If I wanted to, could I pop open a Mac and slide in a PCI video card? Would I have to take it to the store for that? Would I have to buy special cards? Is it possible?
  • Games? I don’t care what Steve Jobs says, a PC is where all the games are. My question is: is it possible to run a game in Boot Camp? If I’m correct, Boot Camp runs Windows programs on the Mac. A game is basically a program. Even though I have a PS3, there a games on the computer that consoles can’t really pull off that I’d like to play. When I say games I mean a cutting edge game, made for windows, that I need processing power to run. So, is it possible to take a modern game for Windows and run it on a Mac?
  • Price! Recently at the Apple store (or Mac store, what ever) I saw the price of a basic notebook… I then proceeded to shout profanities and curse Steve Jobs. A basic notebook is something around $1,200. Right now, I’m on a Notebook PC that’s over 2 years old and has the processing power close to that of the basic Mac. This notebook PC was purchased for around $800, 2 years ago. So two years down the road I’m gonna pay $1,200 for a machine that’s just a hair above my old notebook for which was bought at a lot less. I get the feeling that Apple is trying to rip me off. I understand that maybe you’re paying a premium for hardware that can run their OS, but COME ON! In your opinion… would it be worth it to buy one of there basic desktops as I’m looking for a new primary system. Right now my primary desktop running at 2.2 Ghz with a 1 GB of ram just to paint a picture. Would it even be worth it to upgrade to a Mac if I’m not willing to spend $3,000, although I’m not saying I just looking at the basics packages.

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How to Find a Good Computer Repair Person


Chris | Live Tech Support | Video Help | Add to iTunes

http://live.pirillo.com/ – According to research conducted by CBC News, only 3 out of 10 technicians who may come to your home actually know what they are doing. This is not just sad, it’s downright scary.

Four of my friends joined me for this discussion: Kat, SC_Thor, Wirelesspacket, and last but certainly not least… Datalore.

For the research, they modified a computer to simulate a common hardware failure. Then they called in the geeks. The result? Only three of the ten technicians who saw the machine managed to correctly diagnose the problem.

What can you do to keep yourself from being taken? Do your research. Ask for recommendations. Check credentials. Ask questions… and get a second opinion when necessary.

Not all home repair technicians are bad. Some of the smaller operations (or ONE man operations) are the best you’ll find in the business. However, just be careful. Know who you’re talking to and letting into your home… and giving access to your sensitive information on your pc.

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