Anne B. Walsh - Do you believe in magic?

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Anne's Randomness

A matter of time (and France)

My apologies, everybody, but I've had to switch to moderated comments after a rash of spam, in French, trying to sell fake Rolexes. Why they're trying to link here I don't know, since I don't speak French, I don't wear a watch, and I didn't think my site got nearly enough traffic to warrant spammers. Nobody ever said life would make sense.
In tangentially related news, my boss's boss asked me today to quantify how much of my eight hours a day is spent with nothing to do. Um... can I plead the Fifth on that? Not that it's illegal to have downtime, exactly, but even with the majority of my floor to support, I do still find myself with several hours a day when nothing's urgent.
What do I do with the time? Well, I won't get too specific, since I know a number of my workmates are aware of my writing identity (or they ought to be, since I have book posters plastered all over my cubicle walls), but what do you think I do with the time? I'm not going to sit here at a perfectly good computer with my hands folded!
This is all the nicer to have since, when I'm home, I prefer to be out in the main room, so as to be with the dogs. They don't get as much human time as we would prefer, since we both have to work, so when we're home it's best if we can give them all the love possible, and there's just too much in the bedrooms that they can destroy.
However, this does bring up a curious conundrum. My home computer runs Windows XP, which is coming to the end of its useful lifespan. I am going to need to upgrade. With the understanding that I am not interested in switching to Apple products and have a limited budget, anybody have a recommendation for a good machine?
To be more specific, is there a budget-friendly laptop that is both fairly easy to type on (I have flirted with carpal tunnel and would prefer to take the relationship no further) and has enough memory that I can play the occasional game without it sounding like a jet is taking off in my lap? Or am I dreaming impossible dreams?
Comments, reviews, hugs, sales, and all other forms of feedback would be very welcome just now, as I am having a case of the late-winter, missing-my-kitties, doggone-it's-cold-outside blues. Now if I just add some reds and whites, I'd be France... hey, wine comes in red and white! Problem solved!
Kidding. Mostly. But the feedback, positive where honestly possible, would be much appreciated. Thanks for reading, as always, and I hope to have good news for you on Thunder Thursday!

12 Comments to A matter of time (and France):

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Sarah on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 12:30 PM
I have had good luck with products from Dell, in terms of useful life. My work laptop, which I inherited from a coworker, is still going strong-- at what I estimate to be nearly 6 years old, as is my personal desktop, which I got in summer 2009. (Laptop runs Vista, desktop runs XP.) Since you want to do word processing and have had ergonomic issues in the past, I'd recommend against a netbook or tablet, since those keyboards are smaller than standard. It doesn't seem like you want the play the latest and greatest graphics-intense games, so it might be helpful to look into used machines-- they're often less expensive, though you do take a risk on them having a shortened life. I'd also advise you to take advantage of sale prices, if you can-- it's surprising how much that can help.
Reply to comment
Anne on Sunday, February 16, 2014 3:36 PM
Yeah, definitely sales or refurb are good ideas. Thanks!

Anna L on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 12:17 AM
I had pretty good luck with some Toshiba laptops, Lenovo also makes some pretty solid machines. How much is weight a factor? I recently bought an wide screen ultrabook from Toshiba for the battery life and portability factor but I would not recommend it for the keyboard. What budget are you looking at, and I can start posting some links?
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Anne on Sunday, February 16, 2014 3:37 PM
Links would be useful, thanks! Budget is... somewhat negotiable.

Dawn on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 1:23 AM
Typing: I bought a wireless keyboard to go with my laptop, one that was being marketed as ergonomic, and it is probably the best $40 I ever spent. this might not work as well if your laptop goes places, my laptop's pretty stationary. Though at least you could have the jet taking off on the coffee table, and the silent keyboard on your lap, I guess.
Reply to comment
Anne on Sunday, February 16, 2014 3:37 PM
Hmm. Keyboard may be a good idea. Thanks.

Mary on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 9:40 AM
I've got an HP laptop. It cost about $600 at Best Buy (but that was about 3 years ago, so the price might be higher now...) but it's got the ability to run The Sims 3 without trouble has Microsoft Office, and runs on either Vista or 7 (I can't remember which ^_^;;;) I've never had anything but an HP and I love it.
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Anne on Sunday, February 16, 2014 3:37 PM
Noted, and thanks!

Mariam on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 3:56 PM
I personally use a Tosheba, and it has been good to me for the last three years. Perhaps you could try one of the newer Microsoft laptops as well.
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Anne on Sunday, February 16, 2014 3:38 PM
I may do that. Thanks!

Geoffrey on Thursday, February 13, 2014 5:08 AM
But Anne, none of your day is spent with nothing to do. Even if you’re not actively working, you’re still on standby should any emergency arise. And it’s important to have such time, otherwise you’d never be able to respond to anything without putting off other important work.

Rather than recommend any computers, let me just say a few words of caution. Most brands offer both good and bad models. I’ve worked with excellent Dell and HP machines, and I’ve worked with terrible machines not worth their parts. Do not buy a cheap computer. They’re nothing but trouble. In this, as in all things, you get what you pay for (though price discrimination certainly kicks in eventually).

If you want both good and affordable, it will mean assembling from parts. You might want to ask for help with that.

And, understanding that you aren’t interested, I really would recommend a Mac. If you hate the OS, load Windows 7. If you hate the price tag you have bigger problems. If you hate the company…
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Anne on Sunday, February 16, 2014 3:39 PM
Try telling the boss that. He's all "Oh, we need to leverage your time, you could be doing so much more!" and what am I supposed to say? I don't want to do more? That's the truth, because this is in NO way my area of expertise, but saying no to the boss is a nice quick way to get a trip out the door. As for an Apple product, just... thanks, but no. Assembling from parts? Isn't that more expensive than getting one pre-made, because of labor costs?

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