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Free word,exel programs?

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by Hogwildz, Dec 30, 2012.

  1. StihlHead

    StihlHead Guest

    Uh... I do not quite get your issues here. I was an electronics engineer for 15 years in the Silly Valley.... from when the internet was only used by engineers under a gov't Darpa program.

    Spam is not a device specific issue. Its everywhere and not OS or laptop or tablet or Mac vs PC or Android specific. Its email server specific. Bugs are endemic to any electronic system, in HW and SW. I was a software quality engineer for a year and a customer support engineer for 3 years. Any new system is rife with bugs. There are more upgrades and apps for tablets and phones than there are for laptops. I never paid for any service pac updates on any MS OS that I have ever had. Purchase programs are not an issue with PCs, as much as they are with cell phones and the like. Virus are possible on any SW platform out there, not just PCs. It only takes hacking the OS and/or application SW to find weak points in the system and take advantage of them.

    My last Toshiba laptop lasted 4 years, and it cost me nothing over the original cost and an upgrade for memory, and I bought 1/3 of a student copy/license of MS Office 2007 for about $30. That was it. I pay far more for internet access, with a satellite link through Hughes for $40 a month with zero install cost through some government 'wire America' plan. Separate deal though, not tied to the purchase of a laptop, PC, Mac or otherwise specific device. The $270 Toshibas weigh all of 5.5 lb. I do not see how a laptop weight makes that much difference. Chainsaw weight yes, laptop weight? These things are light. I do not lug mine around that much though. Non issue for me. They have DVD/CD read/write capacity and a larger screen, and I want a larger screen myself. 11 inches is pretty small. 15 inches is smaller than I like.

    I mean, if you want the snazziest internet/phone/tablet device, there are many to choose from out there. We are in the midst of a paradigm shift, and desktop workstations have been replaced with PCs, and desktop PCs have been replaced with a large set of devices, including tablets, smart phones, laptops, etc. The thin client, thick server paradigm. I worked on server designs at Sun for many years. We had the largest server farm in the world at the Sunnyvale facility at one time, when Sun was at the peak during the tech bubble years. Any system will have an OS, just some are less transparent than others, some are more user friendly. Cars these days are jammed with may processors, all running OS of some type. You do not see any of that though. As I said, I do not like the high overhead of Windows 8, but... it allows for touch screen systems and has access for 64 bit memory. These new cheap Toshiba systems can be increased to 16 Gig of RAM, or 4 GB of RAM is only $30. That will decrease the memory thrashing and give you faster throughput. Add a TB external HD for less than $100 and you can have all the storage and backup that you will ever need.

    It all depends on what you need these systems for. I am old school (which was always new school at the time). I had an IBM XT that I built in college. I have progressed through the 386 to 486 to Pentium to dual core to quad core, desktops became laptops about 10 years ago. I also had several Apple MAC systems over the years, but they were always more dedicated and limited compared to PCs. I got into desktop workstations and used Sun systems at work for SW and HW designs from about 1990 on, and my last system at Sun was actually pretty thin; it had a 32 inch high def monitor and a quad core processor with enough memory to make to scream, but everything was run on systems in the server farm through a queue and software jobs were dispatched in parallel. I ran millions of simulations in parallel, usually several thousand at any given time. I did system validation and verification on all the processors that we were developing, and at that time we were designing the largest micro processors in existence. The last processor systems I was working on at Sun had up to 16 cores with 4 threads each. Massive parallel processing, and that led to many design issues that as far as I know, have yet to be solved. Those processors have yet to hit the market anyway.

    Anyway, it all comes down to perspective, and wants. The Chrome system is cheap and thin, and pretty much instant for internet access. Google is doing a fine job to de-thrown MS in the world of computer appliances. That system lacks depth as far as a system goes though. It is great for internet access. But beyond that? PCs can be modified and do a lot more than just access the internet and the Toshiba has more features. They have DVD/CD read/write capacity and a larger screen size. I can do a lot more with the Toshiba for about the same price. Overall cost is about the same, considering that most all of the open system PC applications can be had for free, virus scanning and protection can be had for free (I have been using MS virus scan SW for years, Norton is a memory pig, and IMO has become a virus in itself sucking up system overhead), and they pretty much run for the life of the system which I have found to be about 4 years. By that time the batteries are getting old or something gives out on the mother board, or technology has increased the bandwidth requirements greatly. And compared to what I pay for internet access? The user end device is downright cheap. $250 - $270 vs $40 a month internet access cost... that is $480 a year x 4 years is about $2 grand. Either laptop cost is less than 14% of internet access cost.

    In the end? PC laptops are on the way out and Chromebooks and tablets and other stuff are on the way in, for sure. Workstations are dinosaurs. But all of this new stuff will also be replaced in the future as new paradigms and inventions arrive and displace them. I am going in reverse with some devices. I want a cell phone that is just.... a cell phone. I do not want a large screen Android with an endless appetite for new apps that costs me a fortune for basic service and added costs for data, when in reality I mostly use it as a phone. So I am flipping to a cheap pre-paid Net10 phone, and I will save about $50 a month. These things are highly personalized. In the end we do not really need 90% of this stuff. But as a society we are completely addicted to it all.
    Wooden Head and raybonz like this.

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  2. Wooden Head

    Wooden Head Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2009
    Messages:
    83
    Loc:
    West Michigan
    Amen!

    This is off the subject of Excel programs, but I'll ask anyway. Question? How are you doing with Hughesnet? I live where my only choice is Sat/highspeed. Been looking at WildBlue and Hughes. What are your views on these.

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