- Computers & Software
Back to Basics: Finding Your Perfect Home Office Computer
What Computer Fits Your Lifestyle?
When you've found the perfect desk to fit your home, apartment or college dorm, you'll need to complete it with another home office essential that's a must have for every writer. Your computer! Finding the perfect ideal home computer can be hard to meet all of your writing needs, especially when you're on a budget. Do you prefer a standard PC? Or take it on the go for travel? How about both? There are many kinds of computers. Research before you start comparison shopping and mark down the important pros and cons of each. This could be the perfect gift for you or for someone you love.
Here's a Photo of a Typical Keyboard of a Mac Desktop Computer
Be productive on a desktop computer
A desktop computer would be perfect for you if you have a long or average-sized desk to suit your writing needs. Whether at work or home, there are many ways you can research for the right computer. With Apple, Microsoft, Dell and Hewlett Packard competing for your attention, you probably don't know where or how to start your comparison shopping. Every year, they come up with the newest models with upgraded software programs. Read the online reviews of Consumer Reports and at the company's websites. Check out your local newspaper and magazines and news reports on the news. You can also do it word-of mouth and ask the computer experts questions. Size out the competition the next time you go to Best Buy or another electronics store.
From my personal experience, everyone in my family had used Apple computers, since we didn't worry about computer viruses and other woes from Microsoft. We've watched the news reports on TV, read the online reviews at Apple.com, and checked to compare the prices from Consumer Reports and from other valuable sources. When we arrived at the Apple Store, we've asked questions and gotten answers from the experts and examined both models with their prices. For me, besides the money, it all came down to the memory for saving my files. I've had two desktops that lasted me a long time—my last one lasted seven-and-a-half years, due to monitor wiring and faulty online access. When I've gotten my new laptop, three years ago, my mother used it for playing games and checking email—she also helped me with edits, up until she died last spring last year. Before I moved, I had thrown it in the trash, since I didn't need it anymore.
If you love your computer to stay grounded, a desktop computer would be a perfect keeper for you. You can have one as a spare for computer emergencies or in blackouts. Here's a list of pros and cons to help you figure out if it's a right computer for you.
--It can fit anywhere on your desk, preferably in the middle of the desk.
--There's a CD slot for you to insert CDs on the right side of the monitor and/or via tray on a keyboard.
---Many gadgets and gizmos can be attached to your desktop like a printer or scanner from their wires and cords.
---They're expensive. The best time to get them is when they're on sale at Apple Store or other electronics sales. That's when you get the best deals.
--They're heavy to carry if you need to take them for a tune-up, especially in its box. When I had to take it in for computer repair, we had to load and offload the computer from my mother's Easy Wheels shopping cart, due to its weight.
---The wires and cords could be tangled and a hassle, when you take it into repair.
Get Creative on a Laptop
Let Your Writing Flow on a laptop
Laptop computers are perfect for you when you're on the go. Whether it's for travel for work or vacations, or for the National Novel Writing Month (Nano) write-ins in your area, you can put them on your lap, table or desk. There are many available versions to choose from. For example, Macintosh had the Ibook laptops a decade ago. Now there's MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. Just like for regular desktop computers, I did my research online and my comparison shopping at the stores three years ago.
Though both kinds of MacBooks looked great, when I asked questions at the Apple Store, I've determined that the MacBook Pro was the right choice for me, due to more memory space. The MacBook Air model was lighter and thinner to carry. A couple of people in my local writing had purchased the MacBook Air to our monthly meetings to read their work and take down notes. Though the Pro version was more expensive than the Air version when I bought it at their sale. So don't be afraid to ask questions at any computer or electronics store, or even at the Apple store, before you make your final decision. This summer, I recently bought a MacBook Air, since my former MacBook Pro had various computer issues for the past year, due to a water spill. That's what my brother and I did back then and now.
Pros: Laptops are modestly priced in the thousands. Check for the best deals in your local newspapers every week and watch their TV ads. When it's on sale, that's a real good time to make a move to buy a laptop.
---You can hook up your printer, disk drive, and scanner to your computer. Less hassle with cords and wired being tangled when you're hooking them to a power strip or surge protector.
---Laptop cases are perfect to carry them on the go for easy travel.They come in different styles, shapes, colors, etc., with or without handles.
---Laptop trays are ideal to place them on top, instead of your lap.
Con: No CD-Rom slot at the side of monitor or keyboard.
Write on the go
Ipads, Iphones and Tablets are perfect for traveling writers
If you want something lighter and inexpensive for portable use, consider an Ipad, iPhone or a tablet. It's ideal if you're on the budget. They also go on sale with the great deals and cost around $200. The next tine you see a commercial for a tablet, iPhone or Ipad, you can find the one that fits your needs.
Pros: They can fit into any briefcase, suitcase or pocketbook.
--You can check email, go online to read articles or play games, or surf the web.
Con: You can't print anything or do any writing since there's no keyboard. Due to its small size, you have to save your work and print it from home.
External Keyboards are perfect for computer emergencies
Computer preference poll
Do you have a computer at home or at work?
Turn it up on External Speakers
What kind of computer do you prefer?
External Devices for Computer Emergencies
If you ever run into having a computer emergency by having loose computer keys or irreparable water damage to your keyboard, consider buying external devices. It's less expensive than having it repaired or replaced at a computer store or at Apple. It would save you money and the hassle.
That's what happened to me last spring and fall. First, my "E" button keycap popped out of my laptop's keyboard. I went online to look it up on how to fix it up in a "snap" and even asked my brother out. It won't snap back in. Though I've could've done without it, he gave me a free external keyboard that he had gotten it from work. And it's been working perfectly ever since then when I've hooked it up to my laptop's USB outlet. Also, when I had a little bit of water damage to the keyboard, none of the keys worked, other than the power button and the space bar. My Dell external keyboard saved the day for my then 4-year old MacBook Pro laptop. I have gotten used to it for the past year.
Also due to the water damage, I also lost the speakers from my laptop, a few days after the spill happened. Nothing worked. So I ended up buying Logitech external speakers from Target, when it was on sale, and have been using them since then. Just plug them into your USB outlet and also to your plug outlet to hear the music. Though I don't need to buy earphones and earplugs or earbuds, these speakers worked without them anyway.
Another thing to have in handy is an external mouse for your laptop. Since I might be using it someday soon, since my laptop's mouse sometimes doesn't work when I don't see the cursor on the screen, computer users have preferred the regular mouse than the one on the laptop's keyboard to move around with. My late mother was one of them.
So consider buying an external keyboard, speakers, and/or mouse as an alternative, when you have a computer emergency. They will save you money and a lot of grief from having computer downtime.
There's something for everybody. You can find one for you and for someone else, may it be a friend or family member. Since I've given you the pros and cons of the three different types of computers to fit your writing needs, go out and find what you're looking for. In my next hubs, check out printers and ergonomic chairs. Happy computer hunting!