Saturday, February 24, 2007

New Computer, Two monitors, Windows Vista

Over the years, Jim and I have been involved in the purchase of several hundred personal computers. Some for clients, some for ourselves and lots for our Training Center classrooms. We have a real good feel for when a computer should be replaced. In our experience, after 2 years of use, a computer will be getting sluggish and have developed some problems. At that point, you should clean it off (reformat it) and re-set it up. It will feel like a brand new computer for a while. A 3-year old computer is geting old. If anything goes wrong, it's not worth putting much time or money into that computer. If you're good at maintaining your computer and keep it going to 4 years old - you're doing really good. But, at 4 years you really do need a new one. Technology has changed to the extent that your 4-year old computer is just not the same machine as the new ones. And, besides they cost a lot less now than when you bought yours! We think that every year of a computer's life is akin to 4 years in a car. A 3 year old computer is like a 12 year old car. We've been asked to work on 7 year-old computers and make them work on a Wi-Fi network. Sorry, it's not worth our time. That's like asking a 28 year old car to match the features of today's cars. Not to mention that the computer 'highway' has changed significantly. All this is leading up to justifying the fact that I just bought a new computer to replace my nearly 4yr old one, even though I had to dig deep into savings to do it! :-) I bought a Toshiba Satellite notebook computer, model #A135 S4487 for $1350 at Best Buy. It has 2 gigabytes of RAM, the Intel Core2 Duo processor, 2 hard drives totaling 200 gigabytes, a writeable CD/DVD drive, it weighs 6 pounds and comes with Windows Vista Home Premium. I thought I was going to get a Sony Vaio, since Jim has liked his so much, but both Jim and I really liked the fact that this one had 2 hard drives - and Toshiba has always been a good name in laptops also. It was Jim's computer for the first couple days because I wanted him to do all the upgrades, security, and installing/configuring all my software. It was his idea to keep my old monitor on my desk, set the laptop beside it, and configure the computer to use *both* monitors at the same time! I thought that was a little excessive, but now that I'm getting used to it, I *Love* it! Instead of switching back and forth between 2 windows - you drag one of those windows to the other monitor. When I drag my mouse to the edge of one screen, it continues on the other one! It is so cool. I've seen other people with setups like this, but I never thought I'd have it. And, I'm still using my same wireless keyboard and mouse on the keyboard drawer - so I haven't lost any of the comfort of my workstation due to the laptop. So, what are we doing with my old, desktop, computer? Jim hooked it up to our projector and the big screen! The Geeks just keep getting Geekier!


Diane said...

I know you want to be JUST like me! I've been using two monitors since I've been home. I'm getting so spoiled with the convenience I was beginning to wonder how I would fare when we get back on the road!
Now I'll just need to convince Andy to let me take the second monitor on the road...ha!

Anonymous said...

I started using two monitors at work a couple years ago and loved it so much I added another monitor at home. I normally am using 5-10 different programs during the day and the dual monitors is great!

Anonymous said...

How do you do that? You know the two monitor thing. That sounds interesting to me. has that A135 S4487 on sale right now.

Chris Guld said...

To 'do the two monitor thing' you first plug in an external monitor to the proper port (on the side), then you need to go into control panel and display properties to configure it for 2 monitors. You have choices like 'extended desktop' or 'dual display clone'. We choose 'clone' when we use the laptop for our seminars and want the same screen displayed on the laptop and the projection screen. On my desk, I choose 'extended desktop' so my screen spans both monitors.

Anonymous said...

Thank for the info on the two monitors.
Heck, I've been wanting to replace my desktop PC for some time now. It has 256 ram and that was real big at the time I bought it. I guess that tells you how old it is.
I sure like the idea of two monitors even if all I do is surf the web and answer emails. I do some photos also but that's about it.
Thanks again.
Watch out for Stumpy.