Guide To Buying A Computer

September 27, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 


Laptop or desktop? New or used or refurbished? Low or high priced?

Trying to find the perfect computer can be an overwhelming experience.  No worries. Now you have a buying guide to help you choose a computer to meet your needs. Read more

Talk and We Will Listen

September 17, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

 

You’ve definitely told Frankie OnCall that sending this monthly newsletter matters. When I took a hiatus for the regular distribution, many of you requested that I resume regular communication with you. Now, tell me if the services we offer and the topics we write about matter to you.  We want to give you what you want.  So let’s talk through this survey.  We will listen and respond. Read more

Checklist For Buying a Laptop

March 22, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Not all laptops are created equal. Which one is right for you? Before you go to the store to find your new digital companion, first define your needs.  Are you a student or home user? A business professional? Travel frequently? A gamer, multi-media user or creator? A graphic designer? Answers to these questions and considerations based on size, weight, speed and frequency of use frame decisions regarding:

  • Processor. For everyday use such as word processing, spreadsheets and email, you do not need the most expensive processor.  A Core Duo will give you strong performance and long battery life.
  • System Memory. The minimum memory should be 2GB of RAM.  Anything less will slow your work. Choose a 64-bit Operating System if you want to use more than 3GB of RAM. The more installed memory on your laptop, the more applications you can run at once, and the better your machine will perform. If you’re running Windows Vista, consider 3GB – 4GB of RAM (or more if your notebook uses a 64-bit Operating System).
  • Screen. We recommend a 15.4″ screen.  It costs less than a 17″ and is more portable, while the 14″ screen is a bit too small. For the graphic designer, larger screens to produce higher resolution.
  • Battery. Laptop battery life continues to improve. In tests conducted by PCWorld, laptops using a Core Duo or Core 2 Duo processor average roughly 3.5 hours on one battery charge. Lighter laptops tend to have longer battery lives than big desktop-replacement notebooks. Be sure to condition your battery by charging to 100 percent and then discharge it completely. Then charge it to 100 percent again. This is not a pointless exercise – it ‘conditions’ the battery and helps it remember exactly how much electrical charge it can hold. After you do that, you should not need to completely discharge the battery again.
  • Hard drive. The larger the hard drive, the more data you can keep on your laptop. Most inexpensive netbooks offer 80GB drives.  If you plan to work with databases, spreadsheets, or digital photo or video files, opt for a larger hard drive.
  • Weight. Laptops range from 15-pound desktop replacement monsters to ultraportable lightweights that weight less than 3 pounds. For travelers, be sure to keep in mind the weight of the laptop as well as the AC adapter, extra batteries, external modules, and cables.

Once you have made decisions on the specifications that best meet your needs, your last considerations are price and brand.  Frankie OnCall recommends business class models.  They are built with higher quality hardware and tend to be more stable.  We have found that laptops made by ASUS or Dell require less repair and fewer part replacements.

Buyer Beware: New Laptops Need Updates

March 2, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

When you purchase a new computer, the Windows Operating System and installed software are not up-to-date and the hard drive is loaded with unnecessary data. Windows releases critical updates and security patches that are not applied to new computers that sit in warehouses and stocking rooms.  Before computers reach the sales floor, they become outdated and in need of tech support.

Bloatware

In addition to outdated operating systems, new computers are filled with resource-sapping, preinstalled software that most people never use. Generally these large programs and files, called “Bloatware”, are trial software such as security software, URL Assistant by Google, Activation Assistants and Wild Tangent that companies pay PC manufacturers to install.

Purging Unwanted Programs

Eliminating these unwanted and unused programs clears space on your computer and frees up processor cycles. You can download programs such as CCleaner and  Autoruns to remove bloatware. However, the trouble can be tracking down the software and properly removing it.

Many companies, including Frankie OnCall, can help properly remove bloatware, update software and your operating system to ensure that your new computer runs efficiently.