Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Check your facts please CBC!

CBC ran a story online today concerning students buying laptops and what they should be looking at. It's a decent look into the subject, but there are a couple things that I would have changed and one major fact that they overlooked. First they claim that 256MB is enough for RAM. I don't know what OS they are running, but 512 is the least you should leave the gate with and the 1GB that they claim for "advanced" users, should be for anyone looking to do more than just email and word processing (in case they want to dabble in multimedia). Advanced users, I doubt, are going to be looking to CBC for advice on their laptops (though it may help the parents or significant others who may not be as savy understand). They mention that it's not easy to upgrade to a faster spec as something to consider. I don't know, plugging in a USB dongle is pretty hard... it may require opposable thumbs. But the biggest beef is with this :

Macintosh versus PC Many people fret about the age-old Windows versus Macintosh question, but it matters less today, because Apple Computer Inc.'s Macintoshes can now exchange files with computers running Microsoft Corp.'s Windows and even run Windows themselves. A few compatibility concerns linger, though, and many institutions have standardized on Windows-based software and equipment, so it's worth checking with a school's IT department to make sure a non-Windows machine will handle everything a student will be expected to do. Macs are available through the University of Toronto Faculty of Arts & Science Student Computer Program, for example, but the university suggests installing Windows XP on them because of issues like connecting Macs to built-in projectors in university lecture halls, says Monica Contreras, the faculty's assistant dean and director of planning and information technology.
It's not the OS that determines how it hooks to the projectors! It's the physical configuration of the plug-in point of the cable! The Mac needs a dongle (included MiniVGA to VGA) and the Windows native boxes come with the VGA out connector that matches the cable that connects to the projector without a dongle. Granted there are a few apps that a student might need in a class that is specific to Windows, but I doubt that for that one instance it's something that that a student should consider dropping another $300 for. Likely as not there are labs on campus with that software. Technorati Tags: