I spend about half my internet time here at Car Talk, so while this isn’t car related, it is Car Talk related, so please bare with me. My old Mac is reaching the end of its useful life. The computer itself would probably go for another 10 to 20 years, the power supplies are no longer available form Apple and the aftermarket power supplies don’t last very long, but they are cheap, usually about $10 ea.
But the big issue is that Apple no longer supports the Power PC Macs. The latest version of Safari that is/was available to them is slowly not being supported by many web sites, including You Tube and my web mail site. I’m afraid that the next revision of this web site may not support it either. Not enough of us around to justify it. Foxfire also no longer supports it either although there is a FoxFire based browser, TenFourFox that does, but it does not work well for me.
I’m looking at getting a PC laptop, like a Lenovo, and run a Linux operating system. I’m looking for recommendations on which build and which browser to use.
Or should I just get a new Mac? I really want to go to a 17" screen and the Mac laptop no longer has that size screen.
I can’t really advise you on what brand of PC to buy, but I am running multi-boot Mint Linux, Windows 7, and some other OSes on a generic home-built PC and running Firefox. And Linux and FF actually work better than Windows does with this site. Mint Linux is basically a customized distro (free Linux distribution) based on Ubuntu, which is itself based on Debian Linux. It is probably the most friendly and closest to “plug n’ play” as you will get in the Linux world. Truly it was an easier install than Windows and I love that Linux never markets to you or nags you with idiotic precious messages such as “Do you trust this printer?” True, there is a learning curve to it, but if you’re used to a MAC, you’re halfway there.
I would wholeheartedly suggest getting a solid-state hard drive–after using one you will never go back to the nearly vacuum tube technology of slow, fragile mechanical drives, and if you decide to go the dual or multi-boot route, put your various OSes on different drives. SSDs are well worth the little extra cost.
If you are not comfortable installing your own OSes, the Lenovo with pre-installed Linux might be a breath of fresh air. While I said I can’t advise on brands, I have found that Lenovo has (mostly) maintained the quality that IBM had before they sold their PC business to Lenovo. If you are not that savvy or don’t like to tinker, I would suggest taking Lenovo up on whatever support plan they have. Linux IMHO is actually less prone to idiotic problems than Windows, and there is a great online user base that has solutions, but some of the fixes if you have issues or can’t get something working are not for the faint of heart. I’d be a little leery though of whatever Lenovo has managed to bundle in with their preinstalled OS as far as marketing. PC manufacturers can’t seem to ignore the possibility of an extra buck, even if it makes buyers seethe with annoyance.
If you choose Linux, you will be truly free from Microsoft’s marketing at every turn and using their paid-up buyers as beta testers, as well as the extremely restrictive (and well overpriced) walled garden that is Apple’s ideology. (one man’s opinion) Good luck and happy computing.
To keep this car-related, most of the better cars’ “infotainment” systems use QNX, a very stable Linux-like OS that originated with BlackBerry devices. Chrysler, Audi, GM, and others have used it for years. Ford recently dumped Microsoft for it after major headaches with their Microsoft-based systems not being the most user friendly.
Oblivion worded it very well.
The majority of my internet usage is on a Linux distribution. I happen to use Fedora and am very happy with it. But other good choices exist as well.
If you have software that you can port to the new Mac, get a 13" MacBook, an aftermarket docking station, the 19" monitor, a keyboard, and a mouse. I had this setup at work for a while and liked it a lot. The Apple keyboard is outstanding, and I’d be willing to pay extra for it.
A decent Windows ultrabook will cost about the same as a MacBook with a hard drive. You might find a good deal on one when the new models come out, or get one without a touch screen. The big sales start in July and run until about Labor Day. I’m thinking about a new computer and it will probably be a touchscreen 13" ultrabook running Windows because I have enough software to justify keeping the platform.
If you really want to treat yourself, get the MacBook with all solid state memory. Boot is almost instant.
I can’t advise you on a computer brand either. I’ve never had a problem with Microsoft but I control what and when they can update. I’ve used this procedure for over 20 years. If they ever take that option away…I might start looking for a new OS.
I never liked Windows 8.1 but I really liked Windows 10 until they started new upgrades which ruined it for me. I’m now back to Windows 7. It’s faster and I’m in control. I favor Firefox on my new ASUS desktop while my wife likes IE on her HP laptop. I’ve never used Linux so I can’t comment on that OS but I’ve heard good and bad things so I’ll stay with Windows 7 for now.
In keeping with the automotive theme…I drove down to the electronics store and bought my ASUS and my wife’s laptop (Christmas present). I took our old computers to a thrift shop and donated them after completely wiping the drives with Darik’s Autonuke. Naturally…I took them in a motor vehicle because the store is 6 miles away.
@missileman, that old tower would have made a great console in a truck or van. Point the front towards the rear seats, and the passengers could use the DVD for movies. You would also have instant USB and you could plug your phone or music player in for unlimited tunes. The kids could play video games! It wouldn’t be too hard to provide power for it. ; )
Thanks jtsanders but we have been using a laptop for all of those things for years. It’s smaller and portable so it’s a win-win.
That’s why we’re looking for a laptop this time. I replaced the motherboard in one of my towers when the processor malfunctioned. That board still functions well, and I’ve sometimes thought about getting Windows 7 for it (it uses XP now). But the processor is getting old. It is a first generation dual core.
I started Linux December 1999. It works great on CarTalk.
Thanks to Linux I can use the cheapest computers available because Linux is more efficient.
Have you tried Opera browser which also works on Mac? I can’t say it will work in your system, but the price is right.
I used laptops for years because I traveled a lot. But laptops don’t last as long as desktops. So I will be changing to desktops in the future whenever possible. I bought an e-machine desktop in 2005 and it ran until around 20 months ago. In that time, I bought maybe 4 or 5 laptops. Always something going wrong with laptops.
Unless you need portability, stay away from laptops. You pay a lot more for a less powerful machine. Even the best laptop maker’s most powerful computer can’t touch what you can build at home for much less money. So unless you have to lug it around, get a good desktop. I tend to not recommend Macs. Why? Because now they’re the same hardware as PC’s, but they cost a lot more. That makes no sense to me.
If you want a computer that will be in one place 99% of the time and you might want mobile computing capability on rare occasions, get a desktop and a tablet. Tablets are throwaway cheap these days, so they’re a lot more economical than laptops. You can even get bluetooth keyboards for them and make them behave like a laptop.
If you do want a laptop, and you want it to last a long time, stay away from HP and Compaq for sure, and you should really shy away from anything that’s sold in the big box stores. I always recommend Sager (google sagernotebook to find their site) because they build world class machines that pack a lot of punch, for a laptop. They’re billed as gaming laptops, but I’ve never used mine for that - games go on the desktop that I built for less than half of what I would pay for a Sager.
You will probably suffer a bit of sticker shock with them, especially when you compare their prices to the cheap junk you can get at Best Buy, but you will also get a laptop that lasts for years (mine is more than 10 years old now and still works perfectly) and is orders of magnitude more capable than the run of the mill ones most people get. You can, btw, still get a 17" screen with them.
Hi - I’m a bit late in seeing this, but I think this isn’t particularly related to the show or cars or car subjects. That said, I hope that this feedback gives Keith some ideas about how to address the presenting problem so you can continue to participate here. If anyone else has any suggestions, I do encourage you to send them privately. Thanks for your consideration.
I have not seen that one type of computer, laptop desktop or tablet have significant differences in reliability. I administer maintain and support 60+ computers at work, have 4 plus a convertable at my work desk alone, as I need to run different versions of programs. Have not jumped on the linux bandwagon, though 99% of the stuff I do at home is on a cdw outlet (ie return resale) samsung chromebook I bought for $189. Sure I have a convertable, and win 7 desktop at home, do not do word processing on google docs as I cannot password protect documents.
Giving out a few Zotak Nano with win 8.1 for $240, for people with basic needs, very functional. Really decide what your needs are, and move accordingly. A lenovo Linux should be fine but like the light weight, battery life and relative security of the Chromebook, I upgraded chromebook from an older version and all my settings were saved in the cloud and automatically applied after logon. The perfect internet safety sandbox. There are some downsides, no cd/dvd player, limited bluetoorh support, pretty much speakers keyboard and mouse, but keeps me working.
Edit sorry cq you and I were typing at the same time, if you wish this deleted let me know.
Thanks for all the information. My current Mac is a PowerBook G4 that I got around 2002, so it has had a long life. Its not the hardware but the fact that there are no more upgrades for it and it is loosing support of many websites. It is becoming obsolete.
Kinda funny that the military is using the Power PC processor for its newest advanced fighter, the F-35. I hope the pilots don’t find themselves constantly waiting on a spinning beachball before they can do anything.
I am having issues seeing small screens so 11 and 13" screens are out of the question. I currently have a 15" screen and I have to magnify the fonts to see it. I also have a 27" iMac with the i7 processor, but because of issues from a broken neck, it is very difficult for me to use a desktop. I have bifocals so I need to look down on a screen, like reading a book or magazine. I have special glasses for the iMac, but I’d rather have a laptop.
My son is using Linux on a Lenovo, but he had a lot of trouble with getting a working Lenovo from internet stores. He went through tree of them before giving up and going to a brick and mortar.
Anyway, thanks for sharing your linux experiences. I’ll let my son do the set up but I wanted to make sure I’d have a useable system when he got through.