Eve Upgrades Her Edison Wind-Up Computer and Needs Advice

Well that is true Eve. I have no pets, so I can have all of the rams that I want. Maybe you need to rent a garage…

I see you’re skipping the whole gas-powered generation and going straight to an electric? Probably for the best; even the milder New York winters are probably too cold to keep a window open all the time.

But Eve, if you get an iBook, won’t the copy editor in you be irked every time you see the small ‘i’ followed by the capitalized ‘B’ in the name.

That’s because computer manufacturers know that authors really spend all their time woolgathering.

How do I keep the rams from eating my BVDs?

I think you need to call the support center for that one. I think they are still working on it. :stuck_out_tongue:

These are convenient, but given how tenuous is the grasp many e-companies have on solvency these days, I wouldn’t count on these being effective back-ups.

–Cliffy

Ethilrist brought up a good point - the iBook will keep your lap nice and warm in the winter. (Amazingly, it also cools in the summer. Don’t know how they did that one.)

If for some reason you can’t bear to give up on Earthlink, but still don’t want dial-up, they do offer DSL (to some people, at least. )

Hopefully you don’t have dogs, too – the iBook will running Jaguar. Just make sure they don’t try to sell you AirPort.

If you dislike the Jaguar, you can go to http://www.mammals.org to get a beta version of a different operating system (link).

It is standard computer lingo to say ‘will running’ instead of ‘will be running’. Okay, I just screwed that up is all.

Because I am a graphic designer I have rams galore, and I assure you my cat gets along with them just fine. In fact, she enjoys going into the little dark cave behind the keyboard in my computer desk where she can cuddle as closely as possible with them.

Didn’t we already go over this…or am I missing something in my “baby crying all night, so lack of sleep” fog.

Eve, dear, I’m not trying to confuse you. There appears to be one big decision to make here. You’re getting an iBook brand laptop. This is good.

There is one big option on the laptop. A CD drive or a DVD drive. As I’m sure you know, DVDs are movies. They have been reissuing more and more of your favorite movies on DVD for really quite low prices… I picked up a copy of The Shape Of Things To Come on the same disc as Destination Moon, which also had a Buster Crabbe Flash Gordon flick, all three movies, for six dollars.

I’ve seen silents and 30s movies for the same price, as well as some wonderful cowboy and WWII features.

If you do not currently have a DVD player, and are still using only a VCR, the DVD drive is worth purchasing. Because it will let you watch movies that are literally unfindable on VHS, but have been released on DVD because DVDs are very cheap to make.

I am trying to help you, Eve. Seriously, if any of this needs further explanation, point it out, and I’ll go through it in a clearer, and expanded fashion.

A second, minor note is how much RAM to put in the laptop. Now, I know you’re jesting with us, but I want to make things as useful to you as possible.
Anatomy of a computer:

CPU. The CPU speed is equivalent to how fast the computer thinks. Some CPUs are very snappy thinkers, some are a bit dull and take a while to ponder before spitting the answer out.

Ram. Memory. This is what the computer can think about right now. How many ideas it can juggle at once. A very smart CPU can think very quickly, but if it is starved of RAM, it will be slower than a stupid CPU that can work on more than one thing at once. 128 megabytes is good, 256 is better.

Hard Drive. Also called memory or disk space. What the computer knows. This is the part that doesn’t go away when you turn it off. It measures the entire contents of what the computer knows, and how it works. It is also the slowest part of the computer.

So. When you tell the computer to open a program, there are usually several parts of the program that get opened at once. The computer has to load them all from the hard drive. This takes time. The faster the CPU, the snappier each part will be loaded. However, if you do not have enough RAM, you will have to load each part in sequence, and not all at once, which will be much slower.

So, how can we help you decide what to purchase, Eve? We all want you to be happy with what you get.

In answer to some of your other questions:

Your cable-internet account will come with its own e-mail address. But if you want to keep your Earthlink account open, and continue to use that address, you can do that. Just keep paying the Earthlink bill.

Opening your word-processing program, and saving documents you have created in it, is easy, and best demonstrated with an actual computer in front of you. The person who sells you the computer should be able to show you how all that works in a couple of minutes, particularly if you’re going to be shopping at the Apple store in SoHo. I’ve found the staff there to be quite good with new users.

Apple makes a word-processor called Apple Works which will be pre-installed on your computer when you buy it. It probably has all the whistles and bells you would want for manuscript preparation. If you’re more familiar with Microsoft Word and want to stick to that, there’s a special running at the moment that offers cheap copies to buyers of new iBooks.

You’ll find that saving your work to your computer’s internal drive is much less fraught with peril than trusting floppy disks used to be. But making periodic backups is always a good idea.

And if you find that it would help to have somebody come to you and show you around the new computer once it’s in your hands (or if you just have a bunch of questions and don’t want to post them all on the Boards), my e-mail address is in my profile. I am a former full-time Mac consultant who still makes housecalls for a select few.

Thanks—especially Grandfather Trout and E-Sabbath—that really did make sense and calm my frazzled nerves a bit. I will ask how much $$$ a DVD thingie is and decide how much I want one. And how much extra rams will be. I’ll learn to use whatever document system it has on it—as long as I can save it onto a CD and send it to my publisher.

Beagledave, now I am actually buying the computer, so am having an extra panic attack!

Eve, before you decide, swing by the Suncoast in the Manhattan Mall, and check out the bargain bin for a lot of old film friends. That may make the difference. For you, specifically, if you do not have a DVD player, it will be worth it, in my reasonably expert opinion.

Furthermore, if you really do need it, I’m sure there’s a NYdoper who could give up a saturday to give you a few quick lessons in person. Just be calm, don’t worry too much, and most importantly, think of one thing after another. Don’t deal with everything at once, keep focused, because there’s a lot to deal with.

Oh. And get the extended warranty. Laptops, no matter how well made, really benefit from the extra security.

I can second most of Grandfather Trout’s words, though there may be even better and cheaper word processers out there. I like StarOffice, it’s only $75, and should work on a recent Mac. Though I would have to investigate.

The thing is, you should pay more… for ease of use. You don’t want beta this, or experimental that. In your position, you should think of the price as sacrificing money for time. Some things will take you longer to learn than you have patience to understand right now, so just don’t deal with them until you need them.

Eve, do you have a printer? Do you need a printer? Do you need to print in color, or just black and white?

Okay. For the rest of you folks. Let’s get Eve set up. Who knows city ISPs? I like Megapath DSL, anyone know cable?

What word processor should she use for her Mac? Any other programs she’ll need/want? I’m thinking, go with Word. And maybe Publisher, too. I think Eve would like Publisher.

Anyone willing to give a bit of hands on training?

We want to keep thinking, “We’re giving this computer to Grandma for christmas. We will never see her again. What do we give her?”
(iMac running AOL, in my case. She’s 87, grandpa’s 95. They use it. Which blows my mind. The learning curve was astronomical, but worth it every time I swing by and see them IM-chatting with their great-grandkid.)

So you’ve got a iBook and will use it to write and you live in NY. You’re not going to be appearing on a advertisement on the side of a bus anytime soon are ya?
Best of luck with your new comp. and your new book.

. . . You’ve found me out. I actually am Carrie Bradshaw!

I will be going computer-shopping with a techie friend in NJ (she has a car, so we can transport all this back to my place and she’ll help me set it up). She will also advise me on printers: “They’re all crap, but I’ll find the best crap for the least money,” she says.

—Grandma

I knew it. I bet you can’t move for Jimmy Choo shoes in your apartment .

Definately NOT Publisher. Publisher is garbage and just serves to make me hate Microsoft even more. For writing, as Eve will be doing, Word is sufficient for her needs. I doubt she’ll have need to do the page layout stuff Publisher is, allegedly*, for. She has editors and assistants who will do any indexing her new book will need.

Keep It Simple is paramount here.
*Although it more effectively drives Pre-Press Managers crazy.

BTW, Eve, I suggest getting a laser printer if you don’t need color printing. Decent home models are under $300 and you won’t have to worry about water ruining pages. Plus, they usually print faster at a better quality. Toner cartridges are more expensive than ink jet cartridges, though.

And welcome back.