Posts Tagged ‘#laptop’

Windows 8, Part I

Helpful Hints, News, Warnings | Posted by Dennis December 2nd, 2012

I’ve already had a lot of customers asking about the new version of Windows.  This will be a series of posts about the new operating system from Microsoft, and some details you should know both before and after buying.  First of all, this is really just a cosmetic build On TOP of Windows 7.  Unfortunately it is only an advantage FOR TOUCHSCREEN DEVICES.  If it doesn’t have a touchscreen, DON’T BUY IT with Windows 8.  For a normal desktop PC, it’s much more trouble than it’s worth.  Not only does it FORCE the large “Metro” screen on users, but they have disabled some of the handy desktop features that we’ve all grown accustomed to.  I’ll elaborate on that later.  Another thing to beware of before purchasing is that there is a second version for tablets called Windows 8 RT.  For the first time ever, this is based on architecture other than x86 (ARM-based).  The bottom line:  it won’t run any of your old PC apps!  You must get all new apps from the Microsoft store to run on this version.  I started to buy one of the new Surface tablets from Microsoft (see photo), but found out that the x86 version won’t be out until Spring.  Currently they only have the Windows 8 RT version for sale.

Hard Drives

Helpful Hints, News | Posted by Dennis February 23rd, 2012

It makes me giggle when my customers call their computer a “hard drive”.  Your hard drive is a paperback book sized unit INSIDE the PC, and it’s where all the software (and your stuff) is stored.  Laptops have similar, but smaller drives.  One of the most common laptop failures I run across is a failed hard drive, often from vibration.  See, these drives are mechanical and have a tiny little magnetic “head” that moves around constantly across a spinning platter of zeros and ones.  It’s a VERY precise operation, and it doesn’t take much of a bump to damage the head or platters.  Some PC makers have tried to stop this problem by adding accelerometers that can sense when you drop it, and lock the heads in place.  Others make “ruggedized” laptops that have lots of rubber/padding around the drive to dampen vibration.  But the latest, greatest thing out there is called a Solid State Hard Drive.  It’s not mechanical; the storage is all memory chips, with no spinning platters.  They are incredibly fast and NOT sensitive to vibration.  I’ve had a chance to upgrade a few laptops to solid state, and I was VERY impressed.  The only downside is the higher price.  Right now you’ll pay about twice as much for around half the storage if you buy solid state.  This should change over time, and I expect to see a lot more laptops shipping with this feature in the next couple of years.   Next time:  PC prices are going UP…