Which Apple Laptop for Freshman College Kid-?? Is Mac the Best forthis Need-?

Discussion in 'Apple' started by BuZzY, Aug 2, 2004.

  1. BuZzY

    BuZzY Guest


    I am turning again for help to the Mac family. My daughter is shopping
    for a [new] laptop for school this fall; I am a desktop guy and not

    Her pals like Apples because they are found nowadays bundled with
    iPods--very savvy marketing-! (Hey...record albums were good enough for
    me, by cracky-!)

    Anyway, as I see it, the advantages of buying a Mac laptop are: relative
    immunity to widespread viruses, iPod linking, the Apple GUI in general;
    drawbacks: the need to invest in Microsuck suite to coexist with the IBM
    world, complexity of making CD copies for friends (the Roxio I have used
    on an HP was unbeatable), overall higher cost initially.

    Her college has a comprehensive server in each dorm and 24 hour tech
    heads to keep the 'puters running smoothly. IBM's outnumber the Apples
    about 7:1.

    While I have stressed to the young lady that the academic aspect of
    owning a computer is of greater importance ("Oh-KAY, Dad...!") it is
    inevitable that the kids will be swapping bytes, playing DVD's, etc.

    Anyone out there been here / done this-?? I wanna send her with the
    optimum machine, but I don't want to go broke doing it.


    BuZzY, Aug 2, 2004
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  2. BuZzY

    Greg Shenaut Guest

    I sent my daughter off last year to UC Irvine with a 12" Powerbook,
    and it has worked pretty well for her. I just got another one for
    my other daughter and she also seems happy with hers.

    The other choice is probably the 12" iBook, but I went for the
    powerbook for two main reasons: if you load up the two machines to
    the same amounts of ram, airport, and so on, the difference in price
    becomes much smaller; and, you can get a superdrive in the powerbook
    which means writing (i.e. backing up) to DVDs.

    It's fun to take advantage of bundled iPods, etc.

    Negatives reported by my daughter: some minor incompatibilities
    (she was taking a programming class that used a PC-only Java editor,
    and she was somewhat annoyed by differences between their lab
    machines and her own machine); she didn't like how warm the case
    got, and they do get fairly warm. Also, she dropped a book on it
    and a key broke off, but they replaced it for free at an apple

    She also thought that at times the system was less responsive than
    her friends' PCs (she reported fairly frequent delays of a second
    or more between typing stuff into, say, MS Word, and seeing the
    characters appear).

    So, based on our experiences, I recommend a fully-loaded 12" powerbook
    (max ram, superdrive, airport extreme) plus MS Word.

    I also recommend installing another browser such as the free
    Mozilla--Safari (the Apple browser) is not too bad but some web
    sites don't seem to work with it. The antique version of IE that
    comes with the system sometimes is helpful, but usually is a

    Greg Shenaut
    Greg Shenaut, Aug 2, 2004
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  3. BuZzY

    stan Guest

    Really? I didn't know Apple offered a bundle that includes an iPod
    with a laptop. Where can I find out about that?
    I would start her out with an 14" iBook. For most students, that's
    more than enough computing power. Since she'll be using it in a dorm,
    get a locking kit for the computer and make sure your insurance
    covers its loss. You might also want to sign up for an AppleCare plan.
    Your daughter's school might have a deal for software so make sure
    she checks with her local campus computer or book store for details.
    stan, Aug 2, 2004
  4. BuZzY

    Thomas Reed Guest

    You are aware this is theft, right? Exactly the sort of thing that
    makes the music industry institute its draconian policies that punish
    the rest of us?

    That said, though, I'm not sure why you would list this as a drawback
    for a Mac. Ripping and burning audio CDs on a modern Mac is trivial.
    That's actually a pretty high ratio of Macs, compared with the
    worldwide ratio. I don't think she'll have any problems.
    As others have said, a 12" or 14" PowerBook would be good. Be sure to
    check into educational discounts!
    Thomas Reed, Aug 3, 2004
  5. BuZzY

    domanova Guest

    Definitely go for the Dell, dude. Keep that tech support guy busy: it's
    good for the economy.
    domanova, Aug 3, 2004
  6. BuZzY

    wheat Guest

    At the University of Texas, different departments and programs actually
    issue Apple laptops. There is a veritable orchard here.
    Before buying any software, I would strongly suggest making enquiries at
    the University Bookstore or HiEd or Creation Engine regarding
    Educational discounts. The dreaded M$ products are essentially sold for
    the price of a (real) pint of Guiness. Adobe/Macromedia and many others
    have similar arrangements. While Word is a nice program, I am surprised
    by how many do very well with alternatives such as Mellel- several
    graduate students in this department are writing their dissertations
    with Mellel or Mariner. The final product ends up in PDF.

    The M$ package at UT includes VPC, which we use regularly for Winderz
    specific software. We also take full advantage of X11/Fink for many
    scienific applications. Liberal Arts also has a need for X11 clients.
    Essentially, with the Macintosh, applications for Windows, Linux, and
    both MacOS 9 and X are available for use. Hard to beat.

    Additionally, the Mac's networking capabilities are phenomenal in this
    very mixed environment of Samba/Frontpage/NFS servers. Those with
    macintoshes typically just 'Connect to server...'

    Nearly the entire campus is wireless- something you might check out at
    her future University in case you want to add an airport card.

    Lastly- for daily work, more screen real estate is nice- but if she is
    going to carry this about, I would recommend the 12". Their packs are
    already heavier than I can lift.

    wheat, Aug 3, 2004
  7. Apple web site, educational section, I believe.

    Victor Eijkhout, Aug 3, 2004
  8. For all you know she is going to make copies of her English Lit notes.

    Cathy Stevenson, Aug 4, 2004
  9. Interesting about the warmth factor. there have been reports of the top
    warping resulting in lost pixels on the LCD, as well as hinge and latch
    problems. It has been suggested that the warping is the reult of the
    heat generated in the 12" as the warping does not occur in the 17"
    which can dissipate heat much more efficiently.

    This has been discussed recently in several macfixit.com articles.

    Cathy Stevenson, Aug 4, 2004
  10. BuZzY

    Thomas Reed Guest

    Uh-huh, yeah. That's what college kids are really talking about when
    they say they're copying CDs for friends. English Lit notes.
    Riiiight. BTW, I've got some property in Manhattan to sell you...
    Thomas Reed, Aug 4, 2004
  11. Yes - in the Ti and Al books. Greg was talking about the 12" Powerbooks
    as well as the iBook. It is not a problem in the iBook.

    The heat explanation was one offered by someone writing to
    macfixit.com. But my 15" TiBook gets quite hot and it should dissipate
    heat better than the 12". I have had no problems with mine, but I also
    don't use it for long periods of time.

    Are you talking about an iBook or a Powerbook? The hinge and latch
    problems, as well as the screen defects, are proposed to be the result
    of the warping of the case.

    Cathy Stevenson, Aug 5, 2004
  12. BuZzY

    Greg Shenaut Guest

    FWIW, we have 3 12" powerboooks in our family, and haven't seen
    hinge/latch issues or screen problems (over a year for two of them,
    the 3rd one is fairly new).

    I have a minor latch problem with my 17" powerbook, where it is
    slightly misaligned and sometimes pops open when being carried,
    but we haven't seen any problems like that with the 12"-ers.

    Greg Shenaut
    Greg Shenaut, Aug 5, 2004
  13. BuZzY

    Acid Pooh Guest

    Uh, point is, you don't know what she would be copying. Even if
    you're suspicious. Innocent until proven guilty, remember?

    'cid 'ooh
    Acid Pooh, Aug 6, 2004
  14. BuZzY

    Acid Pooh Guest

    Uh, point is, you don't know what she would be copying. Even if
    you're suspicious. Innocent until proven guilty, remember?

    'cid 'ooh
    Acid Pooh, Aug 6, 2004
  15. BuZzY

    wheat Guest

    Where in Manhattan?

    We burn CDs several times a week. Our data files can be huge, and far
    too valuable to leave in one place. A CD burner has proven to be a
    wonderful way to move/distribute 600MB files around.
    wheat, Aug 12, 2004
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