Wanted – Laptop Coach for Women over 50!


Buying a new laptop should be easy, right? After all, I’ve been using computers for thirty years now. But I don’t trust myself to buy a new one. The husband says to buy a MAC, but then, not only do I have to drop $1500, I have to learn a whole new system – Ugh!
So off I went to Best Buy (with the husband) to shop.  My inclination was to buy another Toshiba (I never actually bought one before – it was a hand-me-down) because it served me well for 6 years.  However, once inside the store, surrounded by so many laptops, I almost started hyperventilating from all the different choices and prices.

There they were, all lined up in several rows, tagged by brand: Toshiba; Dell; Gateway, Sony; MAC; ASUS; ACER; and of course each brand had several lines to choose from, depending on price, gigs, operating systems, CPUs, etc.

I stopped a geek to ask for help.  His first question was, “What do you want to do with it?”  I hadn’t pondered that question, although it was completely reasonable.  “I’m writing a novel,” I said.  “I have a blog, I answer e-mails, I have some photos stored, I have i-tunes, I Skype and sometimes I bring work home.”

“That’s it?”  He looked stunned.  “No games, no streaming live videos, no Photoshop, no graphics, no…”

I interrupted:  “Well, I suppose I could do more if I knew all it could do, if I had a laptop coach.   You see, I’m over 50 and…”

The husband walked away.

Andrew, my geek salesman, walked me over to an Asus laptop.  “I like these.  In fact, a lot of us guys here like ‘em.  They’re well-made, and priced to sell.”

“I never heard of Asus.  Why is that?”

“They’ve been around for years.  They make hardware.  In fact, they created the Notebook.  Lots of companies use their hardware; their motherboards are great.  I don’t get any commission, so it doesn’t matter to me which one you buy, but I own one of these, and I’m telling you, it’s a good computer.”

The husband returns.  “Buy it.  If these guys like it, it must be good, and you’re not going to find anything better at that price.”

My head was spinning under the fluorescent lights at Best Buy.  Should I buy an Asus because Andrew likes it, and the husband is fed up and wants to go home?  No.  I decided to go home and Google “laptop” for advice.”

First hit was: http://reviews.cnet.com/laptop-buying-guide/ giving the Asus 4.5 stars out of 5, saying it is a well-built budget laptop with enough power for most mainstream users. It has a decent battery life, a huge hard drive, and roomy 16-inch display. You get a lot for your money, etc. They listed the specs: Intel Pentium T4400 / 2.2 GHz(Dual-Core ), 4 GB / 8 GB (max), 500 GB – Serial ATA-150 – 5400 rpm, Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Edition, Intel GMA 4500M, 16 in TFT active matrix, 5.7 lbs. If only I could re-wire my brain to understand geek speak.

Next, I went to my trusted tech guru from the Wall Street Journal, Walter Mossberg, whose column I read from time to time when I want to pretend I can understand tech talk.

He gave it a good rating.  He also recommended buyers assess their needs before shopping,  For example, are you a student, a business traveler, a videographer, photographer, gamer, home user  etc.  Made sense to me.

Next site: www.electronista.com gadgets for geeks – not a bad site at all.  But I particularly liked  www.rescuecom.com (oh, yes, please rescue me!) –a global computer support company, including: hardware repair, software support, data recovery, virus removal, laptop repair, network service, and business support available wherever and whenever you need them, especially if you need help RIGHT NOW!
1-800-RESCUE-PC  (1-800-737-2837)

(I’m sure I’ll use their number at some point.)

They reported that Apple has lost some status as one of the most reliable major computer builders, based on the number of cases taken at its call centers compared to the number of computers shipped by a given manufacturer. RESCUECOM notes that, while Apple ended 2008 as the most reliable computer builder, the first quarter of 2009 saw it fall to second place behind, much to my surprise, the new leader – ASUS.

Then, I hit www.laptopadvisor.com,  a site that promises to provide you with the best information so you can make an informed, educated decision about buying laptops, whether you’re someone looking for a top-of-the-line laptop or a novice.  They will help you find the “perfect computing companion.”  In the end, they too liked Asus.

And, last but not least, my new best friend is Kim Komando – America’s Digital goddess.

You can listen to her amazing weekly three-hour call-in talk radio show answering questions about computers.  I tuned into her radio show and even called in to ask a question (but didn’t have 2 hours to wait to get it answered).  She is full of good information, and her site is a MUST:  www.Komando.com

On Sunday, I went back to Best Buy, searching for Andrew to tell him I’m looking for the “perfect computing companion”.

“Okay,” he said enthusiastically.  “And which one might that be?”

“I’ll take the Asus.”

Now, how to transfer all my data smoothly from my old laptop to my new Asus without disturbing my Outlook account and other stuff?  Rescue me!

5 thoughts on “Wanted – Laptop Coach for Women over 50!

  1. Love this piece and will save it so I have all this homework and connections you made and gave to us. I’ve always loved your writing, how easy your voice is to read. When it is handling a problem (and hinting about so many other issues that are absolutely relate-worthy) I love it even more.

    Thanks for this one!!!

  2. Highly recommend Charlotte Street Computers – I did my own transfer from one computer to another and wish I had spent the extra few dollars to have someone who really knows what they are doing. Outlook never worked again due to my boneheaded transfer!

  3. Sally, it’s too late now for a MAC – maybe next time. Why don’t they have better prices?

    Va, I hope to get my laptop up and running (with the help of Charlotte Street Computers) in the next few days.

  4. Buy a Mac/Apple – attend a few classes and you will be loving it. I love it because it’s for a dummy like me. When I need help this is the key I hit on my Mac and it walks me right thru the whole process.
    With the Mac you can buy one at the store and they set it all up – but not on your desk – so go home plug it in and have fun.

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