Sunday, January 08, 2012

Laptop Limbo : : Anne McAllister

This is the time of year that I should be making resolutions and cleaning my house after holiday celebrations and, according to my editor, finishing my book.

pile of laptopsAnd I will – but first I need to find a laptop.

My laptop, Charley, whom I have loved for the nearly three years I’ve had him because he is light and fast and responsive, seems to have a fatal illness which hours of assiduous customer service and a complete wipe of the hard drive and a return to factory specs do not seem able to put right.

It  could be the fan. The fan makes a terrible grinding whirring gasping noise.  And then it’s silent, and I can’t think that’s a good thing for Charley.  I fear he will over-heat. So I shut him off. Then when he’s cooled down, he comes back on and behaves for a while, and then he begins to groan.  Also not a good thing.

I am not conversant in laptop-speak, but when even though I can personify my laptop to the extent of giving him a name, when he begins to talk to me, I worry.  I fear for either my sanity or his health. My sanity seems pretty good at the moment, so it’s Charley’s health that is definitely in Dell M1330question.

I have a friend who thinks he might have a fan he can put in my laptop.  But in the meantime, because while I love Charley, I realize his life span may be limited, I am looking at laptops. (I don’t say ‘replacement’ in his hearing, but you know what I mean).

So, do you have suggestions?  Recommendations?  Commiserations? 

Any of all of the above?

This is what I’d like: a 13” or 14” laptop with a fast processor (Windows, not Mac because I do stuff that I would have to change everything for if I got a Mac, even though I am sometimes tempted). I’d like it fairly light-weight and I’d like it to survive being dragged to the library and the coffee shop and where I teach my genealogy class when I’m not writing romances.

Another Charley, basically.

netbooksBut unlike Charley, I don’t think I want to take this new one on serious long trips. I used to do that. Then I got a netbook and it was so much less stressful, not to mention ‘heavy,’ that I’m leaning toward that for travel.

I took Charley to New York a few weeks ago and he did fine. But he stayed in the apartment once we got there.   When I took him to Washington DC last summer, he stayed in the hotel room after the first day because he was too heavy to schlep across the mall every morning and back every afternoon. So I’m thinking a new one doesn’t have to stand up to the bangs and bumps of travel the way Charley did.

I want good customer service, which I have had with Dell. So I have no complaints there.  But that Dell XPS 14zisn’t to say someone else doesn’t also have good customer service, though apparently some don’t. 

My daughter, who has a laptop of a different brand that begins with T, is not at all enamored of their customer service. “What service?” she has been known to shriek.

So, I would welcome recommendations and suggestions. Or warnings. 

Either one will help me narrow things down. I am leaning toward the Dell XPS 14z.  Do you have one? Do you know anyone who does? If so, I’d love to hear about your experiences. Forewarned is forearmed and all that.

Besides, if you warn me and I do it anyway, you’re entitled to say, “I told you so!”

thenightthatchangedeverything_us_for_webAnne is working on a Christmas book. She’d better hurry and finish it because, as her editor says, “It is rather tied to a particular time of year, Anne.”  Er, yes.

  Her next title, Savas’s Wildcat, will be an April 2012 Presents Extra.  And her most recent book was The Night That Changed Everything, out last November  from Presents Extra.


Anne said...

It's so annoying when your computer goes bung! My old computer which I keep solely to update my website, is refusing to start. My new computer doesn't like the website software I use, so I'm stuck. So I really sympathize.

I know nothing about Dells, so... sorry.

I'm really looking forward to reading the new book, so please finish it soon.

Debby said...

I have a smaller Dell and I have a desk top Dell and have been happy with them.l I have a little 9 inch Dell and have taken it everywhere.

Anne McAllister said...

Anne, worrisome about your old computer. Maybe it is in cahoots with Charley. I'm working on the book when he will allow it.

Debby, thank you for the Dell recommendation. I have had very good luck with them, too. Right now it's my laptop company of choice. But I'm eager to hear others' opinions, too. Mostly now I need to find a good one.

Annie West said...

Anne, commisserations on Charley. What a loss.

I only use my laptop when I'm travelling or when the house is so full I need to retreat to my bedroom to write. I know you said no Mac but...I bought a Mac Air a little while ago and it's been terrific for travel. I've got software installed that's compatible with my main computer (not a Mac) and it's so light and easy to carry it's fantastic.

ev said...

Going with a Mac is great, IF you have the money to spend on the software you might need. On the other hand they don't change/update it as often and you don't have virus problems.

We use Dell's at work. I have 17 of them. Dell support is ok, I just wish they didn't treat me as stupid when I do have to call them. I have very little patience when they go thru the basic stuff. I know what I'm doing, this is what's wrong, arrange a tech and send him out. I had one that took almost two hours to replace a fan, because he just would not stop talking. I don't have time for that.
My husband is looking at tablets and I think he is going with the Galaxy 10.1. For about $14 he can add the windows suite which gives him everything he needs for work. You can get a keyboard docking station which is nice and it's touch screen. Very light and will be great for travel. I'm thinking of trading my Dell pad I got last year for one myself. He decided the iPad didn't have what he needed and I agree. The only downside to the pads, they don't have USB ports for thumb drives, however you can sync to a computer to move files and/or charge. I am assuming you can also sync it to a portable hard drive to store stuff. You don't need to get one with a contract for wi-fi, I use my phone as my hot spot when traveling because I won't use public ones.

Anne McAllister said...

Annie, You're seriously tempting me with the MacAir. Will give it some thought! Thanks.

Ev, I'm the person that Dell thinks you are. I am not nearly as savvy as you are, so they can hold my hand all they want.

I can sync and I use Dropbox faithfully, so I might be all right with a Mac. But I think I need something where the screen and the keyboard are connected because I write sitting with my feet up on the couch or the bed, and as the computer won't be sitting flat on a desk, but rather on my lap, I need the pieces to stay together. Thanks for your input -- and for the mention of the phone hotspot, which is a great idea. Thanks.

Michele L. said...

Where I used to work at, that's all we had were Dell computers. They were pretty fantastic! At home I have a restored computer that came with all kinds of software on it plus a nice 24 inch flat screen. It has worked great, knock on wood! You can go on the internet and see what consumer reports says about that particular computer. From my personal experience with Dells, they are pretty reliable computers. Good luck!

marybelle said...

My daughter has a laptop. She loves it. I'm happy with my big old clunker.