It probably seems a bit unbelievable to readers that for someone who runs a few websites and who likes handmade sites as far as poss, that I didn’t even know what a dongle was until some weeks back when I asked a girl on the train.
All of you out there seem to be using all this connectivity, using kindles, blackberries or whatever they’re called, bluetooth and so on – I know nothing of these things or didn’t until recently. Hell I even have trouble topping up my mobile using a voucher [stop sniggering back there]. I simply write and blog, using a graphics programme GIMP and that’s all I need – no gaming, no films required, nothing complex, no more than one or max two apps at a time. Once an hour, a computer lady tells me what time it is.
Technical competence is not linear – a person can have appalling knowledge gaps and still know a few high end things. Thus I’m throwing myself on your mercy, dear readers and asking for advice. Now I’ve just spent hours going into netbooks/laptops/wifi/dongle, I took a test of usage to determine what was needed, read best buys, read best models and so on.
It’s still not clear how this can be done. The issue for me is this:
I could be travelling a fair bit soon, mainly between the UK and France and the trusty Macbook Pro17 would go with me although it’s seen better days, the battery is twisted and hanging out, it needs a keyboard [the Apple keyboard is better anyway] but the system works fine and for my needs which do not include computing on the run or 24/7 access to the net, it will be sufficient.
The immediate downside is an almost non-existent battery life, recharging issues and portability. The test I took said I should have an ASUS eee 1025C or similar, with new graphics resolution. The MBP17, therefore, is really only for info storage and used when settled in one place for over a day and for most of the time swathed in bubblewrap and stored away.
The USB keyboard I presume can be used on anything, hopefully on a netbook too via a port and so, on a tabletop, it becomes easier to type.
# Word processing. That’s the big one, from blogposts to articles to novels. No need for net access during this time.
# Browsing. To write the articles, I’d have some key things to look for that day written down, I’d switch on the connectivity and find the info I needed, go into Google and search images etc. – what is needed for blogging.
# General browsing for solutions to problems, even best buys that day.
# Films, games, anything drawing huge power.
# Large screen.
That’s about it.
Dongles and Wifi
I’ve finally got the hang of the idea that a Wifi card or whatever is inside the computer now. I have a BT line and router, with HomeHub at the end of it which gives out Wifi. That’s fine for here at home and I do understand the principle of internet cafes, pubs etc. and latching onto Wifi there in towns but I’ll not always be in towns for long periods of time.
That’s why I was looking at dongles but it’s a minefield. One article said don’t go for proprietor brands, someone mentioned the problem in France and elsewhere if I have a UK provider etc. Someone said don’t touch Vodaphone.
So this vague idea is forming in the brain of having the MBP17 as my storage and maybe the really big writing [like novels], whilst a supplementary device for on the move browsing is used – you know – dangers ahead, costs, prices, weather, news.
I was talking to the Apple man about MB Air but for what it is, it’s very expensive. Maybe later. So I looked at best netbooks and ASUS came out on top but severe criticism of the keyboard. ACER and HP looked all right on the specs but the ASUS had genuine time on battery of between 8 and 12 hours, depending. That would be fine with me.
The issue then is coming into a town and finding somewhere to recharge. So that’s hours, isn’t it? I’d imagine a cafe or bar is the answer there, paying for their wares.
Anyway, if you’ve any advice you could mete out to me on such things, it would be most appreciated. If you’d prefer not to say here, just email me.