Laptop recommendations?

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Laptop recommendations?

Michael Peel-4
Hi all,

I'm currently putting together a proposal for purchasing tech equipment to support future events/activities at:
http://uk.wikimedia.org/wiki/2012_Event_Tech
Input on this would be very welcome - please edit the page directly, or leave comments on the talk page.

In particular, I'm going to recommend that we purchase a couple of laptops this month, for volunteers to use at events/activities/when visiting the office (the OTRS workshop last weekend highlighted the need for getting these asap). Laptop recommendations would be much appreciated. The default option at the moment is a standard cheap Asus 15"/1.5GHz/4GB/500GB machine, with the pre-installed Windows wiped and Linux installed - but there must be better low-cost laptop options out there than that...

Thanks,
Mike
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Re: Laptop recommendations?

Thomas Dalton
On 14 January 2012 22:39, Michael Peel <[hidden email]> wrote:
> In particular, I'm going to recommend that we purchase a couple of laptops this month, for volunteers to use at events/activities/when visiting the office (the OTRS workshop last weekend highlighted the need for getting these asap). Laptop recommendations would be much appreciated. The default option at the moment is a standard cheap Asus 15"/1.5GHz/4GB/500GB machine, with the pre-installed Windows wiped and Linux installed - but there must be better low-cost laptop options out there than that...

I don't see the point of buying Windows and then deleting it,
especially on a machine that is going to be used by lots of different
people. Pretty much everyone is comfortable using Windows, but a lot
of people aren't familiar with Linux. If you can save money by getting
a machine that doesn't come with a copy of Windows, then fine, but if
you've spent the money you might as well get the benefit. You can
dual-boot them if people really want Linux.

Using open source options where possible is a good policy, but it
shouldn't extend to throwing away software we already own.

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Re: Laptop recommendations?

James Forrester-5
In reply to this post by Michael Peel-4
On 14 January 2012 22:39, Michael Peel <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Hi all,
>
> I'm currently putting together a proposal for purchasing tech equipment to support future events/activities at:
> http://uk.wikimedia.org/wiki/2012_Event_Tech
> Input on this would be very welcome - please edit the page directly, or leave comments on the talk page.
>
> In particular, I'm going to recommend that we purchase a couple of laptops this month, for volunteers to use at events/activities/when visiting the office (the OTRS workshop last weekend highlighted the need for getting these asap). Laptop recommendations would be much appreciated. The default option at the moment is a standard cheap Asus 15"/1.5GHz/4GB/500GB machine, with the pre-installed Windows wiped and Linux installed - but there must be better low-cost laptop options out there than that...

What about Google Chromebooks? They're a little cheaper, but more
importantly they're near-impossible to damage the OS (so you can hand
them out at an event, get them back then "wipe" them). Also, no
Windows tax. :-)

J.
--
James D. Forrester
[hidden email] | [hidden email]
[[Wikipedia:User:Jdforrester|James F.]]

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Re: Laptop recommendations?

Michael Peel-4
In reply to this post by Thomas Dalton

On 14 Jan 2012, at 22:58, Thomas Dalton wrote:

> I don't see the point of buying Windows and then deleting it,
> especially on a machine that is going to be used by lots of different
> people. Pretty much everyone is comfortable using Windows, but a lot
> of people aren't familiar with Linux. If you can save money by getting
> a machine that doesn't come with a copy of Windows, then fine, but if
> you've spent the money you might as well get the benefit. You can
> dual-boot them if people really want Linux.
>
> Using open source options where possible is a good policy, but it
> shouldn't extend to throwing away software we already own.

I somewhat agree. In particular, I'd rather us buy a laptop that doesn't come with Windows. However, I view installing Linux on a Windows laptops as an upgrade - yes, it's throwing away purchased software, but that software should be thrown away in favour of something better.

For context for my position here: I use Mac OS for my laptop, since that has all of the benefits of Linux combined with a somewhat nicer user interface. Linux is the next best thing, and I use that for my (dell) desktop. I've used Windows for many years in the past, and generally view it as being rubbish software that's not reliable in the long run (I used to have to reinstall my computer every 6 months when I was using Windows; nowadays I reboot my Mac laptop and Linux desktop with that same frequency.)

Dual-boot's probably the best (compromise) approach to take here, in case Windows is needed for some reason.

... but this is somewhat secondary to the main issue here, which is which hardware we should purchase rather than what software should be utilized on it. That's particularly the case since I would expect the user to be mostly using a cross-platform internet browser rather than platform-specific software.

Thanks,
Mike


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Re: Laptop recommendations?

Michael Peel-4
In reply to this post by James Forrester-5

On 14 Jan 2012, at 23:13, James Forrester wrote:

> On 14 January 2012 22:39, Michael Peel <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> Hi all,
>>
>> I'm currently putting together a proposal for purchasing tech equipment to support future events/activities at:
>> http://uk.wikimedia.org/wiki/2012_Event_Tech
>> Input on this would be very welcome - please edit the page directly, or leave comments on the talk page.
>>
>> In particular, I'm going to recommend that we purchase a couple of laptops this month, for volunteers to use at events/activities/when visiting the office (the OTRS workshop last weekend highlighted the need for getting these asap). Laptop recommendations would be much appreciated. The default option at the moment is a standard cheap Asus 15"/1.5GHz/4GB/500GB machine, with the pre-installed Windows wiped and Linux installed - but there must be better low-cost laptop options out there than that...
>
> What about Google Chromebooks? They're a little cheaper, but more
> importantly they're near-impossible to damage the OS (so you can hand
> them out at an event, get them back then "wipe" them). Also, no
> Windows tax. :-)

I haven't come across these before; can you send me some links to them please (or post links on-wiki)? They sound promising.

Thanks,
Mike
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Re: Laptop recommendations?

HJ Mitchell
In reply to this post by Thomas Dalton
Very well put, Tom.

Harry


From: Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]>
To: [hidden email]
Sent: Saturday, 14 January 2012, 22:58
Subject: Re: [Wikimediauk-l] Laptop recommendations?

On 14 January 2012 22:39, Michael Peel <[hidden email]> wrote:
> In particular, I'm going to recommend that we purchase a couple of laptops this month, for volunteers to use at events/activities/when visiting the office (the OTRS workshop last weekend highlighted the need for getting these asap). Laptop recommendations would be much appreciated. The default option at the moment is a standard cheap Asus 15"/1.5GHz/4GB/500GB machine, with the pre-installed Windows wiped and Linux installed - but there must be better low-cost laptop options out there than that...

I don't see the point of buying Windows and then deleting it,
especially on a machine that is going to be used by lots of different
people. Pretty much everyone is comfortable using Windows, but a lot
of people aren't familiar with Linux. If you can save money by getting
a machine that doesn't come with a copy of Windows, then fine, but if
you've spent the money you might as well get the benefit. You can
dual-boot them if people really want Linux.

Using open source options where possible is a good policy, but it
shouldn't extend to throwing away software we already own.

_______________________________________________
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http://mail.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimediauk-l
WMUK: http://uk.wikimedia.org



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Re: Laptop recommendations?

Thomas Morton
In reply to this post by Thomas Dalton
Yeh, but, a Linux install is likely to last for longer (i.e, before getting clogged up) if it's being handed around.

+1 for Chrome Book, I think. Seeing as it's just a browser it is braindead simple to get anyone using, and there is no way for anyone to muck around with it (well, unless they know what their doing).


Tom

On 14 January 2012 22:58, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]> wrote:
On 14 January 2012 22:39, Michael Peel <[hidden email]> wrote:
> In particular, I'm going to recommend that we purchase a couple of laptops this month, for volunteers to use at events/activities/when visiting the office (the OTRS workshop last weekend highlighted the need for getting these asap). Laptop recommendations would be much appreciated. The default option at the moment is a standard cheap Asus 15"/1.5GHz/4GB/500GB machine, with the pre-installed Windows wiped and Linux installed - but there must be better low-cost laptop options out there than that...

I don't see the point of buying Windows and then deleting it,
especially on a machine that is going to be used by lots of different
people. Pretty much everyone is comfortable using Windows, but a lot
of people aren't familiar with Linux. If you can save money by getting
a machine that doesn't come with a copy of Windows, then fine, but if
you've spent the money you might as well get the benefit. You can
dual-boot them if people really want Linux.

Using open source options where possible is a good policy, but it
shouldn't extend to throwing away software we already own.

_______________________________________________
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http://mail.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimediauk-l
WMUK: http://uk.wikimedia.org


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Re: Laptop recommendations?

Fae-6
In reply to this post by Michael Peel-4
Windoze 7 is a dog, however it should be possible to setup a neat dual
boot with a linux of choice considering that 500gb hard disk. Ubuntu
pretty much does all the work for you from the install disk and you
can then set the default as linux.

For events I don't think we need Windows, but there may be odd
applications around the office where the dual boot is handy.
Annoyingly there are a number of Wikipedia tools such as AWB which
still need a windoze install to run.

Remember there's always my lovely puppy linux from a CD if we want to
run a pre-configured reusable environment with handy open source tools
that attendees could even take home with them afterwards. ;-)

I'd support buying well known laptops sold in high volume (and thus
very low price for the kit you get), Asus is a good choice but I'd
also look at Acer machines.

I'm surprised nobody gave us some older laptops. A couple of old slow
models with a small linux install would be terribly handy at the
office right now.

PS I love my small Sony screen and 3/4 keyboard, but I know many would
prefer the 15 inch and the Sony's are too pricey. Oh if you are
throwing away Windows 7 licenses, I'll take one thanks.

Fae

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Re: Laptop recommendations?

Thomas Dalton
In reply to this post by Michael Peel-4
On 14 January 2012 23:15, Michael Peel <[hidden email]> wrote:
> For context for my position here: I use Mac OS for my laptop, since that has all of the benefits of Linux combined with a somewhat nicer user interface. Linux is the next best thing, and I use that for my (dell) desktop. I've used Windows for many years in the past, and generally view it as being rubbish software that's not reliable in the long run (I used to have to reinstall my computer every 6 months when I was using Windows; nowadays I reboot my Mac laptop and Linux desktop with that same frequency.)

I've been using Windows almost exclusively for years and the only
times I've ever had to do anything as drastic as reinstalling it have
been times when I was messing around and broke it.

The one time I seriously tried to use Linux, I never got it to work
properly (although that was a few years ago and I understand hardware
drivers for Linux are a lot better now).

The reason Windows is used so extensively is because it's actually
rather good. It works out of the box, it's easy to use and it's
(fairly) reliable. (There are a few monopolistic business practices
going on to prevent people switching, it's true, but it only got
monopoly because it worked.)

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Re: Laptop recommendations?

HJ Mitchell
In reply to this post by James Forrester-5
I gather Chromebooks are basically useless when not connected to t'Internet, but they'd probably be good for our purposes, since we'd mostly be using them to get online. 

Harry


From: James Forrester <[hidden email]>
To: [hidden email]
Sent: Saturday, 14 January 2012, 23:13
Subject: Re: [Wikimediauk-l] Laptop recommendations?

On 14 January 2012 22:39, Michael Peel <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Hi all,
>
> I'm currently putting together a proposal for purchasing tech equipment to support future events/activities at:
> http://uk.wikimedia.org/wiki/2012_Event_Tech
> Input on this would be very welcome - please edit the page directly, or leave comments on the talk page.
>
> In particular, I'm going to recommend that we purchase a couple of laptops this month, for volunteers to use at events/activities/when visiting the office (the OTRS workshop last weekend highlighted the need for getting these asap). Laptop recommendations would be much appreciated. The default option at the moment is a standard cheap Asus 15"/1.5GHz/4GB/500GB machine, with the pre-installed Windows wiped and Linux installed - but there must be better low-cost laptop options out there than that...

What about Google Chromebooks? They're a little cheaper, but more
importantly they're near-impossible to damage the OS (so you can hand
them out at an event, get them back then "wipe" them). Also, no
Windows tax. :-)

J.
--
James D. Forrester
[hidden email] | [hidden email]
[[Wikipedia:User:Jdforrester|James F.]]

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Re: Laptop recommendations?

Thomas Morton
You can run them off-line mode but they (obviously) don't necessairily do a lot (any website that uses offline storage works - like Gmail etc.). 

Pretty much all my day-today surfing/computing is done either on one of those Chromebooks, or an old laptop with Chromium OS (the unbranded version of the OS).

If all that is needed is a web browser that's the thing to get.

Tom

On 14 January 2012 23:28, HJ Mitchell <[hidden email]> wrote:
I gather Chromebooks are basically useless when not connected to t'Internet, but they'd probably be good for our purposes, since we'd mostly be using them to get online. 

Harry


From: James Forrester <[hidden email]>
To: [hidden email]
Sent: Saturday, 14 January 2012, 23:13

Subject: Re: [Wikimediauk-l] Laptop recommendations?

On 14 January 2012 22:39, Michael Peel <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Hi all,
>
> I'm currently putting together a proposal for purchasing tech equipment to support future events/activities at:
> http://uk.wikimedia.org/wiki/2012_Event_Tech
> Input on this would be very welcome - please edit the page directly, or leave comments on the talk page.
>
> In particular, I'm going to recommend that we purchase a couple of laptops this month, for volunteers to use at events/activities/when visiting the office (the OTRS workshop last weekend highlighted the need for getting these asap). Laptop recommendations would be much appreciated. The default option at the moment is a standard cheap Asus 15"/1.5GHz/4GB/500GB machine, with the pre-installed Windows wiped and Linux installed - but there must be better low-cost laptop options out there than that...

What about Google Chromebooks? They're a little cheaper, but more
importantly they're near-impossible to damage the OS (so you can hand
them out at an event, get them back then "wipe" them). Also, no
Windows tax. :-)

J.
--
James D. Forrester
[hidden email] | [hidden email]
[[Wikipedia:User:Jdforrester|James F.]]

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Re: Laptop recommendations?

David Gerard-2
In reply to this post by Fae-6
On 14 January 2012 23:22, Fae <[hidden email]> wrote:

Windows is unreliable rubbish and should not be handed to random
people to use. If it is, it should be wiped and reinstalled each time.
(That means "don't".) It's also a virus magnet in any hands less than
expert.

WMF makes Windows available to staff only on a "strictly as needed"
basis for this reason. This means HR, Accounting or
development/testing, for software reasons. (I asked about it on
internal-l and have asked them to write a public post or page on the
subject.)

Really - Windows requires expert administration not to turn into a
toxic waste dump.


> Annoyingly there are a number of Wikipedia tools such as AWB which
> still need a windoze install to run.


I use it on this here Ubuntu box with Wine. It's not 100% functional,
but I use it quite happily. (More Wine bug reports!)


- d.

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Re: Laptop recommendations?

HJ Mitchell
In reply to this post by Thomas Dalton
Now there I disagree with you. Windows is used so exclusively because it's the default on just about every computer you'll buy off the shelf and most people are either not savvy enough to switch OSs (or even know that they can, never mind how to), or just can't be bothered. Rather like why so many people use Internet Explorer instead of upgrading to a browser that actually works (and doesn't insist on displaying Wikipedia in "compatibility mode" because it's too stupid to display them properly, meaning our editors have to waste time tweaking the Common.css). 

But alas, we're getting slightly off-topic!

Harry


From: Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]>
To: [hidden email]
Sent: Saturday, 14 January 2012, 23:25
Subject: Re: [Wikimediauk-l] Laptop recommendations?

On 14 January 2012 23:15, Michael Peel <[hidden email]> wrote:
> For context for my position here: I use Mac OS for my laptop, since that has all of the benefits of Linux combined with a somewhat nicer user interface. Linux is the next best thing, and I use that for my (dell) desktop. I've used Windows for many years in the past, and generally view it as being rubbish software that's not reliable in the long run (I used to have to reinstall my computer every 6 months when I was using Windows; nowadays I reboot my Mac laptop and Linux desktop with that same frequency.)

I've been using Windows almost exclusively for years and the only
times I've ever had to do anything as drastic as reinstalling it have
been times when I was messing around and broke it.

The one time I seriously tried to use Linux, I never got it to work
properly (although that was a few years ago and I understand hardware
drivers for Linux are a lot better now).

The reason Windows is used so extensively is because it's actually
rather good. It works out of the box, it's easy to use and it's
(fairly) reliable. (There are a few monopolistic business practices
going on to prevent people switching, it's true, but it only got
monopoly because it worked.)

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Re: Laptop recommendations?

Thomas Morton
To be honest; for a newbie Windows is absolutely fine and dandy. I have a W7 install for gaming and other bits that goes just fine :) And Linux is still too much for the vast majority of people.

But from the chapters perspective you have to think about vulnerability; and Windows is quite vulnerable. You don't want to have a laptop with malware hanging around, and Windows attracts it too easily.

If someone uses the laptop, enters their email acc details and subsequently gets infiltrated that's more than embarrassing for us :)

Which is why I recommend something like Chromebook - because it's very hard to make it do anything else except web browsing.

Tom

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Re: Laptop recommendations?

Michael Peel-4
Can we discuss this on-wiki please? and ideally focus on hardware rather than software? ;-)

Thanks,
Mike

On 14 Jan 2012, at 23:44, Thomas Morton wrote:

> To be honest; for a newbie Windows is absolutely fine and dandy. I have a W7 install for gaming and other bits that goes just fine :) And Linux is still too much for the vast majority of people.
>
> But from the chapters perspective you have to think about vulnerability; and Windows is quite vulnerable. You don't want to have a laptop with malware hanging around, and Windows attracts it too easily.
>
> If someone uses the laptop, enters their email acc details and subsequently gets infiltrated that's more than embarrassing for us :)
>
> Which is why I recommend something like Chromebook - because it's very hard to make it do anything else except web browsing.
>
> Tom
> _______________________________________________
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Re: Laptop recommendations?

Thomas Morton
Hardware is "meh" - anything on the market today will do what you need.

Tom

On 14 January 2012 23:47, Michael Peel <[hidden email]> wrote:
Can we discuss this on-wiki please? and ideally focus on hardware rather than software? ;-)

Thanks,
Mike

On 14 Jan 2012, at 23:44, Thomas Morton wrote:

> To be honest; for a newbie Windows is absolutely fine and dandy. I have a W7 install for gaming and other bits that goes just fine :) And Linux is still too much for the vast majority of people.
>
> But from the chapters perspective you have to think about vulnerability; and Windows is quite vulnerable. You don't want to have a laptop with malware hanging around, and Windows attracts it too easily.
>
> If someone uses the laptop, enters their email acc details and subsequently gets infiltrated that's more than embarrassing for us :)
>
> Which is why I recommend something like Chromebook - because it's very hard to make it do anything else except web browsing.
>
> Tom
> _______________________________________________
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> WMUK: http://uk.wikimedia.org


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Re: Laptop recommendations?

David Gerard-2
In reply to this post by Thomas Morton
On 14 January 2012 23:44, Thomas Morton <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Which is why I recommend something like Chromebook - because it's very hard
> to make it do anything else except web browsing.


Do we have anyone with experience of Chromebooks?

We gave the older teen a netbook with Windows. After the second time
it turned into a toxic waste dump - some people just WILL NEVER
understand not to click on anything shiny - we put Ubuntu on it. Web
browser, Skype, turns out it does what she wants and is immune to
viruses.

In 2010 I visited my family in Australia. I saw my sister's PC, with
the rubbish bin unemptied for three years and every bit of crapware
you could imagine installed by my brither-in-law. I suddenly
understood in my heart why 25% of Windows boxes are botnet victims ...

People on average really, really just can't work computers. Many very
smart and productive Wikipedians are in this class. Something that
runs a web browser is all that's needed.

So yeah, Chromebook or Ubuntu. My personal qualm about Chromebook
would be that it's not generic hardware.


- d.

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Re: Laptop recommendations?

David Gerard-2
In reply to this post by Michael Peel-4
On 14 January 2012 23:47, Michael Peel <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Can we discuss this on-wiki please? and ideally focus on hardware rather than software? ;-)


Get a netbook with 3 yr manufacturer's (not shop's) warranty.


- d.

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Re: Laptop recommendations?

WereSpielChequers-2
In reply to this post by HJ Mitchell
So far four operating systems have been mentioned, but only one is open source. I would hope that the trustees would first be looking at Open source solutions. As for the hardware, can I suggest that we  try to be a little user friendly and get some mice, also a card reader would be cool - that way we could take images straight off someone's camera and load them up - great for outreach work.

WSC

On 14 January 2012 23:40, HJ Mitchell <[hidden email]> wrote:
Now there I disagree with you. Windows is used so exclusively because it's the default on just about every computer you'll buy off the shelf and most people are either not savvy enough to switch OSs (or even know that they can, never mind how to), or just can't be bothered. Rather like why so many people use Internet Explorer instead of upgrading to a browser that actually works (and doesn't insist on displaying Wikipedia in "compatibility mode" because it's too stupid to display them properly, meaning our editors have to waste time tweaking the Common.css). 

But alas, we're getting slightly off-topic!

Harry


From: Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]>
To: [hidden email]
Sent: Saturday, 14 January 2012, 23:25

Subject: Re: [Wikimediauk-l] Laptop recommendations?

On 14 January 2012 23:15, Michael Peel <[hidden email]> wrote:
> For context for my position here: I use Mac OS for my laptop, since that has all of the benefits of Linux combined with a somewhat nicer user interface. Linux is the next best thing, and I use that for my (dell) desktop. I've used Windows for many years in the past, and generally view it as being rubbish software that's not reliable in the long run (I used to have to reinstall my computer every 6 months when I was using Windows; nowadays I reboot my Mac laptop and Linux desktop with that same frequency.)

I've been using Windows almost exclusively for years and the only
times I've ever had to do anything as drastic as reinstalling it have
been times when I was messing around and broke it.

The one time I seriously tried to use Linux, I never got it to work
properly (although that was a few years ago and I understand hardware
drivers for Linux are a lot better now).

The reason Windows is used so extensively is because it's actually
rather good. It works out of the box, it's easy to use and it's
(fairly) reliable. (There are a few monopolistic business practices
going on to prevent people switching, it's true, but it only got
monopoly because it worked.)

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Re: Laptop recommendations?

HJ Mitchell
No, no, no, no! We should focus on getting something that WORKS. If it's open source, that's fantastic, but the thing with mass-market closed-source products is that they get the job done, and are stable enough and easy enough to use that you don't have to have serious IT skills to use them.

Very rarely can the same be said of open-source products (though there are notable exceptions). 

Harry


From: WereSpielChequers <[hidden email]>
To: [hidden email]
Sent: Saturday, 14 January 2012, 23:57
Subject: Re: [Wikimediauk-l] Laptop recommendations?

So far four operating systems have been mentioned, but only one is open source. I would hope that the trustees would first be looking at Open source solutions. As for the hardware, can I suggest that we  try to be a little user friendly and get some mice, also a card reader would be cool - that way we could take images straight off someone's camera and load them up - great for outreach work.

WSC

On 14 January 2012 23:40, HJ Mitchell <[hidden email]> wrote:
Now there I disagree with you. Windows is used so exclusively because it's the default on just about every computer you'll buy off the shelf and most people are either not savvy enough to switch OSs (or even know that they can, never mind how to), or just can't be bothered. Rather like why so many people use Internet Explorer instead of upgrading to a browser that actually works (and doesn't insist on displaying Wikipedia in "compatibility mode" because it's too stupid to display them properly, meaning our editors have to waste time tweaking the Common.css). 

But alas, we're getting slightly off-topic!

Harry


From: Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]>
To: [hidden email]
Sent: Saturday, 14 January 2012, 23:25

Subject: Re: [Wikimediauk-l] Laptop recommendations?

On 14 January 2012 23:15, Michael Peel <[hidden email]> wrote:
> For context for my position here: I use Mac OS for my laptop, since that has all of the benefits of Linux combined with a somewhat nicer user interface. Linux is the next best thing, and I use that for my (dell) desktop. I've used Windows for many years in the past, and generally view it as being rubbish software that's not reliable in the long run (I used to have to reinstall my computer every 6 months when I was using Windows; nowadays I reboot my Mac laptop and Linux desktop with that same frequency.)

I've been using Windows almost exclusively for years and the only
times I've ever had to do anything as drastic as reinstalling it have
been times when I was messing around and broke it.

The one time I seriously tried to use Linux, I never got it to work
properly (although that was a few years ago and I understand hardware
drivers for Linux are a lot better now).

The reason Windows is used so extensively is because it's actually
rather good. It works out of the box, it's easy to use and it's
(fairly) reliable. (There are a few monopolistic business practices
going on to prevent people switching, it's true, but it only got
monopoly because it worked.)

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