Adam Piggott

Gentleman adventurer

Computer shopping in the USA.

I’ve been having computer problems. This is the explanation for my lack of posting the last few days. I have lots to talk about but my equipment is letting me down. This is where you guys chime in with something along the lines of a carpenter is only as good as his tools or some other crap like that. My laptop screen packed it in yesterday after 9 years. I suppose that’s a good run but it could have chosen a better time. On top of that my pale Moon browser is doing crazy things with WordPress. I can hardly use the site it’s so bad. I’d use another browser but I don’t have my account password with me and the darn thing is long and complicated, like most of my relationships.

What I’m trying to say in a long winded way is that the posting has been light for a reason. It’s outta my control, folks. So I’ve decided to pick up a laptop while I’m over here. I know that in the past I’ve received a few comments and suggestions on what to buy from my regular readers. But like I said it’s difficult to even scroll back and find those past comments at the moment.

So any suggestions would be most appreciated. I need to purchase it at a physical store. I’ve seen a Best Buy down here but I don’t know if that’s a good retailer. The laptop has to be able to handle recording podcasts, but I’m not going to use it for gaming or anything like that. Something reliable, comfortable, fairly powerful, and maybe even a bit sexy. I’m assuming a solid state drive is the best idea. This laptop will be my blogging tool of choice for the next few years, so in a way you’re all slightly invested in this.

PS, I’ve finally discovered where the hawt chicks are in this town. And I have to say that I’m impressed. Very impressed.

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19 Comments

  1. TechieDude

    Thinkpad X1 carbon. That’s what I’m using and it’s the nicest one I’ve had. i7 processor, 24G of ram and a 1T ssd.

    So I’m a Lenovo fan. SSD is the way to go, boots up in 2 seconds. Also – windows 10 pro. Go pro. Also, make sure it has a USB 3 port. Lenovo has a usb port expander, you may need that as well, since most laptops will have only two USB ports or so.

    You’re kind of stuck looking for a computer where you are. Best Buy is about as good as anywhere if you have to physically pick one up.

    The amount you want to drop on it determines what you’ll have available. You may find they have a decent manufacturer refurb. You can pick up a decent laptop for under $500.

    And any of them will work with a USB mic.

  2. Al Jahom

    Lenovo.. spend at least $1000 as anything cheaper will be … well… as with clothes… buy the best you can afford and it will serve you well.

    Spend time trying out your intended, for quality and usability of screen and keyboard.. Stick with Intel processors.

    Think very carefully before you go with a convertible (screen folds back to become a tablet) – that’ll be a waste of money as usability is almost entirely absent with Windows 10. The money is better devoted to getting the best quality of ‘classic’ laptop.

    Hawt chicks? Pics or it isn’t happening.

  3. Best Buy is adequate but no bargain. They’re the company to buy from if you’re dependent on having the extended warranty and tech support because being a chain, they’re going to stick around better than a hole-in-the-wall.

    I can’t advise on a good computer system. I’ll be asking questions myself when my laptop dies. It’s still running Windows 8 because Win 10 is an End User License Abomination of mandatory updates and binding arbitration. Was going to go Linux until the Linus Torvalds scandal broke.

    • Al Jahom

      Curious as to why the Linus debacle would put you off…he’ll be there paying lip service for some years to come and the Linux community is – to date – far less converged than the ecosystems of Windows and MacOS.

      Surely more practical concerns should prevail…. e.g. for me it’s ability to use MS Office and games that keeps me away from Linux for home & business computing..

      For technical, hobby and back-office stuff though, Linux all day every day.

      • “Curious as to why the Linus debacle would put you off”

        One, Linux could be crippled if certain top coders end their involvement, from what I’ve heard. Two, I’m less concerned about the SJWs flooding in than their inevitable, imminent failure to do good work. I’m not saying there’s a viable third alternative to Microsoft and Linux, just that Linux may soon not be worth the effort of transitioning to.

        Where does one get a laptop with Linux preinstalled, anyway? I must admit, I’m no longer comfortable with technology.

  4. Walt

    Yes, Lenovo – the world’s the world’s largest personal computer vendor by unit sales, as of March 2019. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lenovo)
    I opted for an Ideapad after my satellite crashed and burned after about 10 years. The SSD makes it vastly superior – it doesn’t get even slightly warm, and it lives in the tropics..

  5. YMMV, but I am looking at:
    Dell Inspiron 13-7000. I personally need the i7 and a tablet style for notes and meetings. It’s not a desktop replacement laptop (that is my ASUS G752VY) but it is full featured. I don’t need a large screen, it needs to be portable, and it needs to have a real OS, especially after my debacle with a recent iPad that I returned.

  6. Post Alley Crackpot

    Nine years on a laptop screen?

    Then you’re like me — two laptops that are eighteen years old are puffing away doing MP3 rips while I bang away on a laptop that’s ten years old.

    I don’t upgrade anything unless I can get a better deal out of it, and for me that always means a better keyboard. Recent production laptops are a disappointment when it comes to keyboards — the last manufacturer who still understood was Dell, and now all of their keyboards are chick chicklet annoyances.

    That said, the best keyboards for touch typers are now the Panasonic Toughbooks, especially the Rear Echelon Motherfucker models that are less thick than a double half-pound cheeseburger with tomatoes on it.

    Your best source in terms of price for used Toughbooks in decent condition will be eBay, of course, but if you want a refurb, there are a few refurbishers for these.

    A quick search for “Panasonic Toughbook CF-53” on Bing produces a reseller advertising 1249 USD Toughbook CF-53s, but right now they’re running a deal on some of their inventory for 500 USD. (Look for the one that includes “tough” and “rugged” in the domain name.) When I kit out the 500 USD ones the way I’d want one, it comes out to 950 USD.

    Occasionally you can find great deals on eBay though — my current replacement Toughbook retailed for almost six grand USD new and I got it for a little over seven hundred USD including delivery. This system only had 8k hours on the clock as well and was very clean.

    These are neither thin nor light, BTW — they’re made for the US military and several other militaries.

    You might also find a used Getac, and those are also US military laptops.

    The Getac X1 sells via vendor channels for something truly obscene, but you can also get it in a portable file server model that is not enjoyable to carry around because of its weight. There are less bulky and less loaded-up models, of course.

  7. Post Alley Crackpot

    Oh, also, try do-it-yourself LCD replacement …

    You’ll need a new LCD and inverter plus the manual for your laptop model.

    The eighteen year old laptops? They’re both on their third screen.

    Bitches throw shit away, men fix their own shit.

    • This is its second screen already which is 17″. But it’s not only the screen, the entire operating system has gone to poo.

  8. Apex Predator

    Microsoft Surface Pro 6. Especially since you said ‘sexy’. It is a tablet when you need a tablet and a laptop when you need a laptop. It is lighter than a MacBook Air and has a long azz battery life. It has many models to choose from and lots of horsepower in the CPU / Memory dept. Also has no mechanical HDD for top speed. They have some cheap models up to ones that cost several thousand US dollars. If you want maximum power in the smallest footprint that is your go to choice.

    • Al Jahom

      I’d like to agree with you as there’s something really special about the Surface Pros. The problem is, they’ve had a woeful record of robustness and longevity…

      I saw a stat on failures/returns within first 18 month for them that was terrifying when you’re dropping north of $2,000..

      There’s also the borked software updates that MS pushed out to them. There’s definitely something fundamentally awry with MS’s QA processes for both software and hardware, and that’s a big red flag for me.

      Also, I hate hate hate the typecover keyboards…

      Let’s face it… they’re not for real men who go out in to the world and do manly things… they’re for mincers and spivs, which is why they’re the must-have item for ‘executives’.

      Other than that, crack on 😉

  9. didact117

    So any suggestions would be most appreciated. I need to purchase it at a physical store. I’ve seen a Best Buy down here but I don’t know if that’s a good retailer. The laptop has to be able to handle recording podcasts, but I’m not going to use it for gaming or anything like that. Something reliable, comfortable, fairly powerful, and maybe even a bit sexy. I’m assuming a solid state drive is the best idea. This laptop will be my blogging tool of choice for the next few years, so in a way you’re all slightly invested in this.

    1. Lenovo ThinkPad T-series if you can get it. I have had three of those and I trust them like I do my own right hand. The problem here is that ThinkPads are NOT cheap – but then, they are designed to last, and that is precisely what they do.

    2. Best Buy is not a bad start, and they do stock Lenovo Yoga and ThinkPad models, but I know that their ThinkPad selection is very poor. You could try Wal-Mart (pause while all of your other comments mock and jeer), but that isn’t the best place to go. (And you’d have to deal with the People of Wal-Mart.)

    3. ThinkPads meet all of your requirements for reliability, comfort, power, and even looks – especially the higher-end models like the X-series.

    4. SSD is a must-have at this point. Your starting point is a 128GB laptop with 4GB of RAM. This will last you at least 3 years, probably more.

    For best results, combine a Lenovo laptop with Linux Mint to keep your computer fast and stable. Hit me up via Skype or email if you decide to go that route, I’ll give you some free tech support.

    (Free as in “beer” – as in, YOU’RE buying me a bunch of them in return if we ever meet.)

    • Al Jahom

      It was going so well until point 4… your starting point really needs to be 256GB and 8GB RAM. It just makes no sense to skimp on this.

      If it’s going to last years, just project forward and think how big Windows is going to be in that time frame. 128 & 4 is good enough today, but it really isn’t going to be any good in a few years time.

      As for Linux, I’ve 20+ years experience of this (I first ran Slackware in 1996)… Linux still fails the ‘it just works’ test for consumer use IMO, and I say that having Mint on one of my laptops and Kali on another.

  10. TechieDude

    I had not thought of WalMart. It’s worth looking, if nothing other than for the experience. They often have identical merchandise far cheaper. Yup. You can’t leave the states until you’ve experienced WalMart.

    All that said, you may just have Windows Bloat. Here’s what I do when the missus’ computer has that;

    1. Get a sixpack of beer.
    2. Download Malware Bytes, Install it, and let it do it’s thing.
    3. Download Piriform CCleaner. Install it, and let it do it’s thing. Do a drive and registry cleanup. Make sure you don’t wipe out your stored data in the browser.

    Since you haven’t used the thing in awhile, it’s misbehavior could be it trying to do OS updates in the background. Usually when my machines are misbehaving, that’s what’s happening. Set windows update to alert you only, no auto install.

    When you get back from work, log in, force updates, then go drink beer.

  11. Al Jahom

    @Gunner Q you make a good point about the single points of failure in the Linux community, in terms of coders working on e.g. the kernel. I have to admit I’d overlooked that consideration, and it is indeed a risk.

    Dell offer Linux laptops, according to this:

    https://www.techradar.com/news/best-linux-laptops

    And Dell would be my second choice after Lenovo when selecting a laptop.

    But honestly, I’d always buy a Windows one and then dual-boot into Linux… there’ll always be something you need that Windows install for at some point, and there’s no cheaper way to licence it than as a pre-installed OEM.

  12. Al Jahom

    Adam, this seems like the sort of thing I’d be looking for…

    https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA7AB7EH3969

    Target don’t seem to stock anything I’d drop into my basket.

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