Thanks to LatinandGreek, David Munch, and Synamon for the info on OSX Lion recovery from recovery partition or thumb drive. It's interesting that the new MacBook Pro models don't even have a superdrive anymore, which tends to support the point that superdrives are becoming as obsolete as dinosaurs.
I was holding off on upgrading my MB Pro to OS X Lion from Snow Leopard. Mountain Lion will be released in July, and I plan to upgrade to it then. I think Apple site said that the Mountain Lion upgrade will be free to people who buy new Macs now.
Regarding MS Office, iWork, and OpenOffice. I never tried iWork. Kind of got stuck in the bad habit of MS Office over decades of home and work use. Since last year when I learned about OpenOffice, I've been weaning myself off of Word, Excel, and Powerpoint and using OpenOffice instead. David Munch and LatinandGreek mentioned iWork. Is it worth the extra $79 to a poor student to use iWork as a supplement to the free OpenOffice suite? Either suite seems to cover the commonly-used MS Office formats and functionality.
As David Munch pointed out, a printer may not be necessary if the school has convenient networked common printers in or near the dorms, or if the school's professors accept all work electronically rather than on paper.
Last edited by unboggling; 06-11-2012 at 08:21 PM.