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Old 06-11-2012, 03:17 PM   #31
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And as expected, the Macbook Air and Macbook Pro was updated today. Also, they introduced a new slimmer model with a high resolution screen (15,4" - 2880x1880 pixels! ) if that is your thing..
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Old 06-11-2012, 04:20 PM   #32
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From a quick glance at the new MacBook models at Apple Store US site:

USB2 ports changed to USB3 on all MB models.
Upgraded all models to Intel HD Graphics 4000 chip.
Firewire ports dropped on the MB Pro. Oops.
Retsina Retina (oops) only on 15" MB Pro (as of this morning) as new top of the line.
Dropped the 17" MB Pro model.
Dropped the Superdrive on all MB Pros only on Retina MB Pro.
GHz increased by at least 1GHz on all MB models.
Flash Drive option added to MB Pro.

Looks to me that for a student like my niece, after considering all previous discussion here, the MacBook Air 13 inch model with 1.8Ghz i5 chip, 4GB RAM, and 128GB Flash Drive at $1199 would be good, along with an external USB 500GB drive for backups. I didn't ask details about her budget, but if she could afford it she could get the 256 GB Flash Drive in the MB Air.

For her situation I don't think expensive Retsina Retina (oops) display, faster GHz, or quad core i7 chip are necessary.

Last edited by unboggling; 06-29-2012 at 06:24 AM. Reason: corrections
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Old 06-11-2012, 04:37 PM   #33
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Regarding tablet, I'd say hold off until after Christmas when prices may drop, and in meantime research differences between iPad, Androids, and Kindle Fire capabilities, quirks, and prices. An Android with more open file system might suit needs better and be less frustrating than iPad. I don't know much about Kindle Fire, but the smaller size and low price might suit better too. If required textbook formats are supported by readers available for that tablet. If a tablet is necessary at all. I'd rather study with paper textbooks personally, particularly in the sciences - lots of flipping back and forth.

Last edited by unboggling; 06-11-2012 at 04:42 PM.
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Old 06-11-2012, 05:26 PM   #34
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Regarding tablet, I'd say hold off until after Christmas when prices may drop, and in meantime research differences between iPad, Androids, and Kindle Fire capabilities, quirks, and prices. An Android with more open file system might suit needs better and be less frustrating than iPad. I don't know much about Kindle Fire, but the smaller size and low price might suit better too. If required textbook formats are supported by readers available for that tablet. If a tablet is necessary at all. I'd rather study with paper textbooks personally, particularly in the sciences - lots of flipping back and forth.
What is frustrating about the iPad vs. Android/Kindle? The file system, or lack thereof, is something that, to me, makes it challenging as a computer replacement, but when supplemented with a computer, it ceases to be much of an issue.

Some devices may drop after Christmas, but the iPad probably will not. Traditionally their prices remain firm until a new version is released (so far new iPads have been released in the spring).

It's definitely worth seeing what's available and what devices support the available formats. It seems like Apple is pushing for their own platform-specific solutions. If they are successful, then an Android device might limit available textbook options. At any rate, with Apple currently dominating the tablet market, it seems unlikely that many, if any, textbooks will be released in a format that's incompatible with the iPad.

Many of us are used to paper and are uncomfortable with the transition to digital, but that may not be as true for the younger generation. And page flipping is one area where I love an ebook. Some books with endnotes have not been converted well, but when they have, the ability to flip back and forth is much better in the digital format.

Assuming someone is comfortable with digital over print, then it's worth doing price comparisons of the formats. I believe some digital versions come in considerably cheaper then their print counterparts. Given the high cost of textbooks, this could make the effective price of the tablet less then the actual price once you factor in savings on textbooks. That's something to look into and keep in mind before school starts.
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Old 06-11-2012, 06:04 PM   #35
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What is frustrating about the iPad vs. Android/Kindle? The file system, or lack thereof, is something that, to me, makes it challenging as a computer replacement, but when supplemented with a computer, it ceases to be much of an issue.
I get frustrated with the shannigans shenanigans necessary for side loading an iPad, it's not KISS. I don't like doing everything through iTunes, that doesn't seem KISS to me either. I don't like that I can't see all the files on IOS device all together in file system, rather than only seeing an IOS app's particular files through that particular IOS app. That's what frustrates me with iPad. It's not as frustrating with iPhone, with its small screen and its main purpose as a phone, since I use iPhone primarily as a phone and a music player.

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Some devices may drop after Christmas, but the iPad probably will not. Traditionally their prices remain firm until a new version is released (so far new iPads have been released in the spring).
Good to know.

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It's definitely worth seeing what's available and what devices support the available formats. It seems like Apple is pushing for their own platform-specific solutions. If they are successful, then an Android device might limit available textbook options. At any rate, with Apple currently dominating the tablet market, it seems unlikely that many, if any, textbooks will be released in a format that's incompatible with the iPad.
Maybe. We'll see. I think in the long run Android will do better than IOS because of their different philosophies. But I may be wrong. At least I like the Android approach better myself. The market will decide how discerning the users really are.

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Many of us are used to paper and are uncomfortable with the transition to digital, but that may not be as true for the younger generation. And page flipping is one area where I love an ebook. Some books with endnotes have not been converted well, but when they have, the ability to flip back and forth is much better in the digital format.

Assuming someone is comfortable with digital over print, then it's worth doing price comparisons of the formats. I believe some digital versions come in considerably cheaper then their print counterparts. Given the high cost of textbooks, this could make the effective price of the tablet less then the actual price once you factor in savings on textbooks. That's something to look into and keep in mind before school starts.
Depends on the person, the reader app, the format, the device capability, the search capability, the annotation capability, the bookmark capability. The KISSiest solution to me is to study the physical object itself (e.g., paper book) using general human adaptability in studying, which cancels the need for an electronic format, a reader app, and a device all with outstanding textbook reading features (which AFAIK are not common yet). Yes, paper is heavier and probably more expensive. It's all a trade-off of pros and cons with a lot of variables. EDIT: And yes, I'm biased, an oldtimer used to studying on paper.

Last edited by unboggling; 06-12-2012 at 05:31 AM.
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Old 06-11-2012, 08:01 PM   #36
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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.
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Old 06-12-2012, 03:12 AM   #37
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For her situation I don't think expensive Retsina display, faster GHz, or quad core i7 chip are necessary.
Do you mean "Retina" display? "Retsina" is a type of Greek wine with resin in it (unless Apple has co-opted the word for some purpose that I'm unaware of?)
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Old 06-12-2012, 03:25 AM   #38
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Do you mean "Retina" display? "Retsina" is a type of Greek wine with resin in it (unless Apple has co-opted the word for some purpose that I'm unaware of?)
Yep, thanks. Heh. Oops. Didn't like Retsina much. Newfangled new technology changing every week, using funny words to confuse people, grumble, grumble….

EDIT: Cells in the back of the eye. I am not an eye doctor, grumble….

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Old 06-12-2012, 12:22 PM   #39
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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.
I love iWork, personally. The nice thing about it is that the components can be purchased separately in the app store - if, for example, someone only needs or wants the word processor (Pages) they can purchase only that (and not the spreadsheet and presentation software) for $20 from the app store. There are three applications in iWorks - Pages, Numbers and Keynote, and they each cost only $20 to download. I think that they can be downloaded in a trial version as well. I like that I can easily email myself my Pages files for editing on my iPad when I'm on the go, and I really, really like the iPad version of Pages. It is probably my most used app. Over time I really began to prefer the simplicity of Pages - it looks very bare bones, but I have yet to find something that it isn't able to do. I find it very easy to use. Keynote it fantastic for presentations as well. Pages also has some nice features - for example, you can go back to look at or revert to older versions of documents that you are working on:

http://gigaom.com/apple/how-to-use-o...ns-with-iwork/

which I'm sure can come in very handy if something is ever accidentally erased from a document. I personally think that iWorks is worth the money when you have a bit extra lying around.

OpenOffice is great though. I used OpenOffice exclusively for quite a while, actually, and I still prefer it when working on certain things, and it has some neat add-ons.
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Old 06-12-2012, 03:54 PM   #40
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Looks to me that for a student like my niece, after considering all previous discussion here, the MacBook Air 13 inch model with 1.8Ghz i5 chip, 4GB RAM, and 128GB Flash Drive at $1199 would be good, along with an external USB 500GB drive for backups.
Exactly the setup I would recommend for a student! Or even skip out on the external drive, if she only needs to backup text documents, and get a Dropbox account instead.

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I love iWork, personally.
Same here. Use the package all the time! Keynote and Pages got me through my masters studies, and absolutely love them.

Numbers.. Well.. I find it much better than Excel, since it is so much lighter and MUCH less cluttered.. It has everything I need it for. But two things I don't like about it, is that it is sloooow, and that editing graphs is quite horrible.

Would recommend iWork any day though.
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Old 06-12-2012, 05:36 PM   #41
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Well, you've certainly convinced me to buy Pages, Numbers, and Keynote soon. Nice that they're available separately at Apple App Store instead of having to buy iWork as a whole.

Re Dropbox, again maybe I'm old fashioned, but even with paying extra to Dropbox to sync my personal files to their servers if I had more than 5GB (or whatever their free limit now is), I'd also want my own local backup of entire internal storage including OS, Apps, and personal files on external disk. And I think if I bothered with a backup/sync service I'd use SugarSync to sync with devices, unless Dropbox has improved device syncing lately. Edit: Oops, then there's iCloud too, which might be better for a Mac & iPad & iPhone user.

Last edited by unboggling; 06-14-2012 at 01:21 AM. Reason: Added Keynote.
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Old 06-12-2012, 05:56 PM   #42
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On further thought, I'm not sure 128GB internal storage would be quite sufficient. I don't use OS X Lion yet but I'd guess it uses more storage space than OS X Snow Leopard. And thinking about the Versioning in Lion, that's gotta take up more space.

Edit: Wikipedia explained Flash Drive and Solid State Drive are similar tech but different. I'm still unsure what the difference is, per the way Apple uses the terms.

Edit: In comparison, I've got a total of 62GB used on internal storage device, including 30 years worth of files, plus OS X and a lot of apps.

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Old 06-12-2012, 06:21 PM   #43
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...And I think if I bothered with a backup/sync service I'd use SugarSync to sync with devices, unless Dropbox has improved device syncing lately. Edit: Oops, then there's iCloud too, which might be better for a Mac & iPad & iPhone user.
I like Sugarsync as well as Dropbox. The value in dropbox is that many applications recognise and work with it natively: eg, I use dropbox to store the information in Chronicle which I use to keep track of bills and when they are due. Because I have been working between two computers, this is invaluable, because Chronicle accesses its files direct from the dropbox folder. Likewise I store over 1500 ebooks there, too, and its a no brainer to get them into an ebook reader from dropbox on my ipad or iphone (and I still haven't gone close to filling my free 2G). I can do this with Sugarsync as well, and also Box.net which I was lucky enough to get a free 50G on...

iCloud is very useful if you use Pages or the other iwork files, ditto Notes and Textedit. You can also save your MS Office or Openoffice files to iCloud but its not seamless syncing as it is with the native apple apps.

I think theres room for using a variety of online storage solutions
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Old 06-12-2012, 06:36 PM   #44
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Looks to me that for a student like my niece, after considering all previous discussion here, the MacBook Air 13 inch model with 1.8Ghz i5 chip, 4GB RAM, and 128GB Flash Drive at $1199 would be good, ....
Last year I debated buying a tablet or a laptop for my niece as well. In the end I ended up buying her a laptop with a 2 year full warranty, while I rarely buy warranties for a student it's the smart move. She ended up breaking her screen 8mo later. Laptops are just more versatile and in the end it was the right move.

The only time I would recommend a tablet is with something like an ASUS Transformer which has a keyboard that acts like a docking station so that it also has a USB Host port, HDMI, a SD Card slot and extra battery. The USB/SD slot will give the ability to transfer files via USB/sd card and the extra battery will give her extra usage without worrying about being next to an an outlet. As a plus the ASUS has a 600nits screen so it works in direct sunlight.

However my ultimate recommendation is to find out what major she is getting and find out what platform they have standardized on. My major standardized on UNIX and I found installing LINUX on my PC was the better choice.

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Old 06-12-2012, 06:41 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by kyteflyer View Post
I like Sugarsync as well as Dropbox. The value in dropbox is that many applications recognise and work with it natively: eg, I use dropbox to store the information in Chronicle which I use to keep track of bills and when they are due. Because I have been working between two computers, this is invaluable, because Chronicle accesses its files direct from the dropbox folder. Likewise I store over 1500 ebooks there, too, and its a no brainer to get them into an ebook reader from dropbox on my ipad or iphone (and I still haven't gone close to filling my free 2G). I can do this with Sugarsync as well, and also Box.net which I was lucky enough to get a free 50G on...

iCloud is very useful if you use Pages or the other iwork files, ditto Notes and Textedit. You can also save your MS Office or Openoffice files to iCloud but its not seamless syncing as it is with the native apple apps.

I think theres room for using a variety of online storage solutions
Since I'm retired I don't have to sync between various computers and mobile devices so much anymore. That capability would have been great if it had existed in the 80s and 90s. Sigh. But you're right, using them all could be useful, particularly to students who are cash-limited. And those free storages add up, 5GB here, 5GB there, 3GB over there.
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