Etiquette Hell

A Civil World. Off-topic discussions on a variety of topics. Guests, register for forum membership to see all the boards. => Time For a Coffee Break! => Topic started by: jpcher on March 15, 2013, 03:25:20 PM

Title: Cheap laptop recommendations, please. (Chromebook?)
Post by: jpcher on March 15, 2013, 03:25:20 PM
DD#1's very old (all of 5 years ::)) MacBook has a problem where she can't "click" on anything. The mouse moves, but the clicker seems to be broken. Since her computer is considered "antiquated" (a term used by the Mac store when we tried to get DD#2's computer fixed) it's highly doubtful that they will fix this problem at a reasonable rate, if at all.

Sadly, I simply cannot afford (nor can she) the luxury of a new MacBook.

So, I'm in the market for a Windows laptop, which I know nothing about.


What about this:

http://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/devices/features.html

The Acer is even cheaper.

A question about the Chromebook: One of the features is "100 GB of Google Drive free for 2 years" Does anybody know what this means?



Any thoughts, advice, suggestions? Anything to completely stay away from?



(DD#1's computer usage is mainly for fun I meant schooling -- taking notes, writing papers, internet research, etc. She doesn't have any high-end programs except for the Word package.)
Title: Re: Cheap laptop recommendations, please. (Chromebook?)
Post by: Slartibartfast on March 15, 2013, 03:33:38 PM
Google Drive is available for free online if you have a Google account (like for gmail) - it's essentially the same components as Microsoft Word, except free and you have to be online to use them :-)  You can also designate documents to be shared with specific people, so for example you could make a spreadsheet that you and a friend could edit but a second friend could access just to look at.  I find it to be perfectly adequate for most uses, although I do keep OpenOffice (also free) available for more complicated stuff.  I do think the "free for 2 years" thing means they intend to offer it for free but won't guarantee that the program will exist 20 years from now  ;)
Title: Re: Cheap laptop recommendations, please. (Chromebook?)
Post by: nrb80 on March 15, 2013, 03:37:43 PM
Honestly I think it's awesome.  It's a larger amount of cloud drive space than you can get free with a free google account.  I think it's a brilliant product.  Not sure if it works for her needs, but it's really cheap and I've heard only good things.
Title: Re: Cheap laptop recommendations, please. (Chromebook?)
Post by: mw8242 on March 15, 2013, 03:41:09 PM
My MacBook Pro died on me back in August and it was a sad sad day  :(

I went to Apple & they said it was going to cost $800, which just losing my job I didn't have. Last week I went to the local computer center and they are able to fix it & the cracked screen(not related to malfunction) for $300. I know the feeling of going from Mac to PC and it's a sad feeling. If your daughter is in school I am sure someone, even the campus computer lab can help her find a local computer shop for a fraction of the cost from the Apple store.

I don't have any advise on a chromebook but I do have a backup HP that I have been using and it's adequate...just not a Mac.

Title: Re: Cheap laptop recommendations, please. (Chromebook?)
Post by: jpcher on March 15, 2013, 03:47:56 PM
What is "cloud drive" space?

(I told you I'm pretty much ignorant, here ::), sorry for the stupid questions.)


Slartibartfast -- can she install Microsoft Office so she can type her paper while, say, riding in a car? (Where there is no internet accessible?)

Maybe I'm misunderstanding -- is the Chromebook a laptop Windows version of the iPad? Where you can't install standard programs?


mw8242 -- Good suggestion! I'll tell her to check the campus computer lab for information. Thanks.

Title: Re: Cheap laptop recommendations, please. (Chromebook?)
Post by: nrb80 on March 15, 2013, 04:06:24 PM
Storage space. 

The google apps have offline modes, so that she can write without a connection.
Title: Re: Cheap laptop recommendations, please. (Chromebook?)
Post by: sparksals on March 15, 2013, 09:16:45 PM
No Microsoft office.  This is not a windows based computer.
Title: Re: Cheap laptop recommendations, please. (Chromebook?)
Post by: mathchick on March 15, 2013, 09:42:34 PM
Is there a student computing center on campus to which she could take it?  Many universities have free or low-cost computer repairs for students.
Title: Re: Cheap laptop recommendations, please. (Chromebook?)
Post by: snappylt on March 15, 2013, 11:18:17 PM
Please forgive me in advance, because I suspect I am about to ask the "stupidest" question of the day, but there's absolutely no doubt that the problem is in the computer itself and not in the mouse itself?  (I'll bet it's not the mouse itself, or you would have just replaced the mouse, but when I read the OP I couldn't help wondering if it was a broken mouse button.)

But then we have PCs, not Macs, so maybe that's why I didn't understand!  (My wife has a six year old Acer laptop and I have a four year old Acer laptop.  They've worked pretty well for us so far.)
Title: Re: Cheap laptop recommendations, please. (Chromebook?)
Post by: kherbert05 on March 16, 2013, 06:47:59 AM
I have a chromebook and love it.


Gdrive - an online back up run by google. You can access it from any online computer. You can get in this case up to 20G free. After that you pay pretty reasonable fees to increase storage.


MS Word, Excel, Powerpoint - no you can not run those programs on a Chromebook. You can access Skydrive an microsoft product that has limited versions of these programs. If your daughter has to turn digital copies of work and they must be in MS products, you need to be cautious about a Chromebook.


A Chromebook
- Does not have an optical drive
- you can not load any programs that are not from google
- Basically just runs the chrome browser you so everything in that browser
- you can look at the Chrome store online to see the types of apps/plug ins available


I love mine and I can do all my personal business on it. I have to use a work windows computer to access some programs I need for work.
Title: Re: Cheap laptop recommendations, please. (Chromebook?)
Post by: nrb80 on March 16, 2013, 07:11:02 AM
I have a chromebook and love it.


Gdrive - an online back up run by google. You can access it from any online computer. You can get in this case up to 20G free. After that you pay pretty reasonable fees to increase storage.


MS Word, Excel, Powerpoint - no you can not run those programs on a Chromebook. You can access Skydrive an microsoft product that has limited versions of these programs. If your daughter has to turn digital copies of work and they must be in MS products, you need to be cautious about a Chromebook.


A Chromebook
- Does not have an optical drive
- you can not load any programs that are not from google
- Basically just runs the chrome browser you so everything in that browser
- you can look at the Chrome store online to see the types of apps/plug ins available


I love mine and I can do all my personal business on it. I have to use a work windows computer to access some programs I need for work.

Not to threadjack, but I will - do you use this at school and do you have any opinions or recommendations?  The PTA at my son's preschool (okay, me, the technology committee of one) wants to set up the school so that every lead teacher has a laptop, and I've been reading about the chromebooks and google's school programs.  It seems perfect for the school, but we have no first hand experience (though I've played with the Chromebook and I believe it will be my next machine).
Title: Re: Cheap laptop recommendations, please. (Chromebook?)
Post by: Zilla on March 16, 2013, 07:46:02 AM
While you can't install MS Office on chromebook, the Google Drive and Office.org allow you to save a file as an Office document.
Title: Re: Cheap laptop recommendations, please. (Chromebook?)
Post by: joraemi on March 16, 2013, 08:18:59 AM
My first thought was that this may be a software/driver issue? 

What did the Apple store say the problem was?

How much stuff do you have on the hard drive?  You do need to have a decent amount of your hard drive free for your Mac (or any computer) to "think".  I know when my husband's Macbook gets too full he can just kiss it off.  It looks like it's going to do something, but never does! Then he frees up space on the harddrive and he's good to go. 

I would definitely explore other options for getting the Macbook fixed before going to a PC laptop. (We do Mac and PC in our house, but are slowly transitioning over to all Mac)

That said, I needed a PC laptop for work and bought the Sony Vaio a couple of years ago and have been happy with it.
Title: Re: Cheap laptop recommendations, please. (Chromebook?)
Post by: Redsoil on March 16, 2013, 08:27:52 AM
First up, I'd try a new mouse.  If still no go, then my personal rec. is Toshiba Satellite.  They have various levels, and are relatively cheap.  I've had mine for about 4 years, and love it.
Title: Re: Cheap laptop recommendations, please. (Chromebook?)
Post by: kherbert05 on March 16, 2013, 08:34:48 AM


Not to threadjack, but I will - do you use this at school and do you have any opinions or recommendations?  The PTA at my son's preschool (okay, me, the technology committee of one) wants to set up the school so that every lead teacher has a laptop, and I've been reading about the chromebooks and google's school programs.  It seems perfect for the school, but we have no first hand experience (though I've played with the Chromebook and I believe it will be my next machine).
It depends. If you are starting from scratch you will be fine. If you are alreading using other programs/on line services you will need to see if they are compatible.

I can't use the Chromebook to make things for my promethean board (special software) or to enter grades in my grade book (only works with IE - believe me Tech has heard massive complaints).
Title: Re: Cheap laptop recommendations, please. (Chromebook?)
Post by: SamiHami on March 16, 2013, 08:42:43 AM
FWIW I have an inexpensive Acer netbook that I absolutely love. I've had it for more than 2 years now and it's great. I would definitely buy Acer products again in the future.
Title: Re: Cheap laptop recommendations, please. (Chromebook?)
Post by: Bright on March 16, 2013, 12:56:06 PM
If the lack of clicking is the only problem I was also going to also suggest trying a new mouse or a trackball. It would be a lot cheaper than buying a new computer. Or try assigning one of the keyboard keys to act as a mouseclick. I'm not sure how you'd do that on a Mac, on a PC it's pretty easy though.
Title: Re: Cheap laptop recommendations, please. (Chromebook?)
Post by: jpcher on March 16, 2013, 01:05:12 PM
Please forgive me in advance, because I suspect I am about to ask the "stupidest" question of the day, but there's absolutely no doubt that the problem is in the computer itself and not in the mouse itself?  (I'll bet it's not the mouse itself, or you would have just replaced the mouse, but when I read the OP I couldn't help wondering if it was a broken mouse button.)

But then we have PCs, not Macs, so maybe that's why I didn't understand!  (My wife has a six year old Acer laptop and I have a four year old Acer laptop.  They've worked pretty well for us so far.)

Absolutely not the stupidest question of the day! ;D

It's probably the easiest solution. She doesn't have an external mouse. It's the click-button on her keypad.

In fact, that epiphany came to me after I posted. I called her and suggested that she find someone (maybe the computer lab) who has a USB mouse that she could plug in just to see if that "fixes" the problem. I'm betting it will. A $5.00 mouse is a whole lot cheaper than a new computer.

She called the Apple store and they told her that she could set up an appointment and bring it in, but they don't do repairs on that model any more. They won't even open it up. So what's the point of bringing it in? ::)


Of course, this being St. Patrick's Day weekend, pretending to be Irish for the day is more important than silly computer problems ::) She probably won't worry about it until she has class Monday morning. I'll let you know what she finds out.


In the meantime -- nrb80, and anybody else, feel free to threadjack. I'm still learning and anybody's input is greatly appreciated because sooner or later I will have to get her a new computer.



Oh, and yes. In the beginning of her college career MS Word was a requirement for e-mailing her papers. I don't know if this has changed.



Thanks, all!


Thanks, Bright. You posted while I was typing. It's possible to reassign the click button? That's a great thought. I'll do some research.
Title: Re: Cheap laptop recommendations, please. (Chromebook?)
Post by: Bright on March 16, 2013, 01:22:54 PM
It is with the PC. I have my number pad set so when numlock is off it acts like a mouse.

I'm not sure how it would work with a Mac although a quick yahoo search suggests you might need to download a small programme to do it it is possible to assign a hotkey to act as a mouseclick.
Title: Re: Cheap laptop recommendations, please. (Chromebook?)
Post by: Bijou on March 16, 2013, 01:59:07 PM
DD#1's very old (all of 5 years ::)) MacBook has a problem where she can't "click" on anything. The mouse moves, but the clicker seems to be broken. Since her computer is considered "antiquated" (a term used by the Mac store when we tried to get DD#2's computer fixed) it's highly doubtful that they will fix this problem at a reasonable rate, if at all.

Sadly, I simply cannot afford (nor can she) the luxury of a new MacBook.

So, I'm in the market for a Windows laptop, which I know nothing about.


What about this:

http://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/devices/features.html

The Acer is even cheaper.

A question about the Chromebook: One of the features is "100 GB of Google Drive free for 2 years" Does anybody know what this means?



Any thoughts, advice, suggestions? Anything to completely stay away from?



(DD#1's computer usage is mainly for fun I meant schooling -- taking notes, writing papers, internet research, etc. She doesn't have any high-end programs except for the Word package.)
I don't know what you consider cheaper but my Acer was not at all in that category, and it's just a plain old computer with Windows 7.