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Surely backpack technology has progressed alongside the laptop?

I'm looking for a men's backpack or messenger bag that exists at some magic intersection of lightweight and strong/durable. This is for daily commuting, often by foot, in New York City. My flashy new devices are impossibly light, and I'm looking for a bag that won't add unnecessary bulk when I carry some or all of them with me. [more inside]
posted by scarylarry on Jun 16, 2014 - 12 answers

External DVD drive/player that works with both laptop and TV?

I am looking for an external, portable DVD drive that plugs into a TV (via USB would be most convenient) and functions like a standard DVD player, while also connecting to a laptop to play CDs/install software. I can only envisage using the drive to watch DVDs on my TV, rip CDs and install software, so the ability to write to disk is not important. [more inside]
posted by cincinnatus c on May 13, 2014 - 8 answers

Can laptops run hotter or cooler depending on outlet?

Hi. I notice my laptop runs hotter at home than at another location. Might it be that outlets or electricity cause variation? [more inside]
posted by noelpratt2nd on May 4, 2014 - 12 answers

Recommendations for cheap (__cheap__) notebook/laptop

I'd like to buy a small (10-12 inch screen) very inexpensive (sub-$300) notebook, to use for reading PDFs, taking notes, and very light coding (i.e. emacs and python). Any recommendations would be most welcome. [more inside]
posted by uninformative on Apr 21, 2014 - 16 answers

HDMI Cable Question (Laptop-TV with no sound)

Help me connect a Laptop to TV with an HDMI Cable AND get sound. [more inside]
posted by dbirchum on Apr 21, 2014 - 8 answers

USB stopped working on asus laptop

The usb just stopped working on my Asus zenbook UX32VD laptop, running windows 8.1. Device manager shows no problems with usb (or any devices), and I have tried plugging in several different usb devices (my mouse, flash drives) to check. The built-in touchpad still works. Can anyone suggest how I might fix it, or what has happened? Thanks. [more inside]
posted by theyexpectresults on Mar 28, 2014 - 4 answers

Ex-XP? What should I do with my old XP running laptop?

I have an old laptop running XP. The laptop actually dates from the Vista era, but I chose to have XP installed given the lousy rep that Vista had. I have seen this question. I have a newer laptop that I use for most of my word processing and internetting needs. I can retire the old laptop, but it still works so I'd rather not ditch it. Assuming I am not going to attempt to run XP on anything connected to the outside world, what can I do with this old laptop? [more inside]
posted by pianissimo on Mar 28, 2014 - 9 answers

choosing between 2 laptops - more RAM or better processor?

I'm choosing between 2 laptops, identical except for processor & RAM. I'm unlikely to buy more RAM, and thinking the one with more RAM will be generally better than the one with the better processor, all else being equal. I tend to keep lots of stuff running, and max out RAM on my current boat anchor beat-to-death laptop. [more inside]
posted by theora55 on Mar 26, 2014 - 16 answers

Yet another laptop buying question

Should I get a 13" Macbook Air or a 14" Lenovo X1 Carbon? [more inside]
posted by matildatakesovertheworld on Mar 22, 2014 - 36 answers

Should I buy a non-touch-screen laptop?

I've found a brand-new, well reviewed Dell laptop that I am confident will do the basic family things I need done (email, web browsing, streaming video, photo stuff, tracking finances, etc.). With my credit card points, I can get it for $268. My husband is worried that non-touch-screen laptops will be obsolete really soon, and thinks maybe we should pay more for a touch screen. I am seeing articles saying things like "in 2 years, 1/4 of all laptops will have touch screens," which makes me think mouse/touchpad and keyboard will still be viable even 5 years from now. What do you guys think?
posted by staggering termagant on Mar 12, 2014 - 26 answers

First-time PC laptop... halp!

So: junior has saved up to buy his own computer. Since we're, by habit, a Mac family since forever, but he's opting for a PC, I'm finding the thicket of options a little overwhelming. The main issue is to reconcile requirements for gaming, durability (and potential futureablility) and price. (Also: we're in Europe, so some models/options don't seem as readily available as in the US.) The other main piece of information I'm missing is the reliability - in terms of build quality and service - of PC brands. Is there a good place to find some guidance - or is it really a lot easier than it seems? [more inside]
posted by progosk on Mar 2, 2014 - 19 answers

Where can I buy a Lenovo X220-compatible charger in DC today?

Right now I'm at the airport, waiting to fly into DC, and just realized I forgot my charger. I'll see what I can pick up at my layover, but I would like to a) not fry my laptop and b) continue to use my laptop. I would like to buy the charger after checking into my hotel. I will not have a car. Relevant facts: 1) The X220 is the small Lenovo Thinkpad (not touchscreen.) 2) Staying in Dupont Circle 3) No car
posted by chesty_a_arthur on Feb 19, 2014 - 8 answers

Buying a computer in the U.S.

I live in an EU country and will be visiting the States soon. I also need a new laptop (I'm a Mac user). Given the favorable exchange rate, does it make sense to buy it while I'm there? What kind of hardware or other issues will I face (charger, keyboard, etc.), and is it worth the hassle?
posted by Paris Elk on Feb 5, 2014 - 15 answers

System76 GazellePro laptop experiences?

Can anyone share direct experience using a GazellePro laptop or similar from System76? [more inside]
posted by mcstayinskool on Feb 3, 2014 - 3 answers

Help me find a great COTS graphics/multimedia PC

I'm a graphics and multimedia artist working for the federal government who's always used Macs. It's again time for me to get a new system (laptop, please) and for the first time in my career I feel the need to explore my PC options (Apple has apparently abandoned its professional users). Unfortunately, I have no idea where to start looking. My new system needs to be commercially available from a vendor that can do business with the federal government. Building my own system is not an option. I perform a full range of creative functions including graphic design, video editing, photography and webcast hosting, so I need plenty of graphics power and fast processing. I don't, however, need a huge local storage capacity since I work off of our LAN. Where do I start looking? Any recommendations on models and/or features?
posted by Jamesonian on Jan 28, 2014 - 10 answers

Skipping Bluetooth Audio

I just bought a Lenovo T440s laptop, and the audio is skipping when streaming it to my bluetooth speakers, no matter what distance I sit away. I had previously been using my iPhone 5s for this, and it was wonderful. Is this par for laptops, is it fixable, or am I doing something wrong? [more inside]
posted by tintexas on Jan 18, 2014 - 4 answers

What are these odd kinda-USB ports on my HP laptop?

I have an old HP Pavillion (I think) laptop. It has two standard USB ports, and then two others that are almost the same size as USB ports, but not quite, and any USB items I plug in do not get recognized by the computer. Anyone have any clue what they might be?
posted by canine epigram on Dec 20, 2013 - 8 answers

Laptop? Desktop? Tablet?!!!

Please help me decide what kind of computer, and if possible what brand and model we should get. Special snowflake details inside. [more inside]
posted by Hanuman1960 on Dec 16, 2013 - 20 answers

Developer looking for high-performance portable dev laptop

I'm a software developer who is finding himself more and more in need of a very powerful, very portable machine. Here are my requirements: Now, I've checked out the new MacBook Pro and I can spec it out this way, but it'd cost 3k. I'd insist on 16 GB for the MBP as I would be running parallels and doing windows dev with visual studio, and would dedicate at least 8GB for that environment. What I want to know is, does such a machine exist other than the MBP?
posted by pennstatephil on Nov 19, 2013 - 27 answers

Grounding plug for laptop charger came out, how to charge my laptop?

I was using a replacement adapter with my laptop, but the grounding plug came out of the adapter and was stuck in a wall socket tonight. Is it safe to use this adapter for a few days while I wait for a new replacement adapter, or should wait to charge my laptop util the adapter comes? [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Nov 5, 2013 - 8 answers

Old Dog. New Tricks? New computer for kid...buy something I grok or not?

The 6th grader has to have a new computer. (We homeschool and half of the kiddo's classes are online.) I was very happy with the Dell that had Windows 7 (stolen out of the car this morning.) Problem: I am the IT department. I fear the windows 8 learning curve. Do I get the windows 7 laptop (super-easy for me) or do I get the 8 and the touchscreen because that's the newest tech? [more inside]
posted by gravitypanda on Nov 3, 2013 - 11 answers

How are these tricked out Thinkpads selling so cheaply on Ebay?

I'm thinking of getting a Lenovo Thinkpad x230 to replace my aging laptop and noticed that Ebay had sellers with seemingly good ratings offering machines with higher specs than you can get in the Lenovo store for much cheaper. Is this too good to be true? [more inside]
posted by col_pogo on Oct 18, 2013 - 7 answers

Help me not fry my laptop

I have two laptops, both Dells. I'm going on a trip and would like to take only one power brick. Can I do it? Specs inside. [more inside]
posted by Dilligas on Sep 28, 2013 - 6 answers

What's the best gaming PC in the $1,500 price range?

My Steam-addicted 13 year old son is about to turn 14 and I'd like to surprise him with a new gaming PC. He's currently using a generic Dell from a few years ago that he says works fine but he'll need new hardware to keep up with the technology (and the competition). My goal is to find the best gaming PC as close to $1,500 as possible, preferably a laptop but I'll go with a tower if it makes sense. Any recommendations?
posted by Jamesonian on Sep 22, 2013 - 23 answers

Help me reduce the annoyance of an external USB harddrive.

I would like to somehow attach my external USB harddrive to my laptop in a way that is practical and feasible. Any Ideas? [more inside]
posted by cacofonie on Aug 11, 2013 - 16 answers

Computer-fixer-type-people in Philadelphia? Halp?

PhillyPhilter: I need the services of folks in Philadelphia who might be able to fix or at least diagnose a busted laptop on short notice. Seemingly randomly, my high-end Clevo-style PC laptop started to show random visual artifacts when in Windows... and then even when booting up the BIOS... and then freezing horribly. I have no idea what is going on, and I have two academic manuscripts that are coming up to being due. However onerous, I could go to the university library to work on this, as I have all of my work backed up. Unfortunately, I have the misfortune that I am going to be traveling out of my area starting this weekend, for almost a full week. So I need help fast if at all possible, and I would prefer not to mail this damn thing to Michigan where it came from if I can avoid it. Where can I turn to in Philadelphia for this kind of PC laptop fixing service?
posted by Keter on Aug 7, 2013 - 3 answers

What is causing these horizontal yellow lines on my laptop screen?

When I open my laptop I almost always see these horizontal yellow lines on the screen. What are they? Is this a serious problem? Can I remove them or is the screen reaching its end? [more inside]
posted by crazy with stars on Aug 3, 2013 - 6 answers

Recommend a laptop for a grad student who knows nothing

I finished my first year of grad school, passed my comps (so they're not getting rid of me!), and spent the summer using a computer lab to work on campus. I'm sick of it and want to buy a laptop but haven't bought one in awhile and I'm not sure what to get or the best way to go about it, so I thought I'd beg y'all for advice. Details inside. [more inside]
posted by dismas on Aug 2, 2013 - 14 answers

Laptop touchpad is jumpy

I have a new laptop (Acer with Windows 8) and the touchpad will intermittently go all goofy. It'll make the cursor jump around the screen randomly and open windows as if I'm clicking, even if I hold my finger perfectly still on the pad. My question: Is there any chance that a third-party power cord is causing this? [more inside]
posted by Karlos the Jackal on Jul 29, 2013 - 8 answers

Recovering stolen property without the police?

Looking for advice on how to recover stolen property if I know the thief's identity but the police won't act. [more inside]
posted by aqhong on Jul 19, 2013 - 16 answers

Cheapest Place to buy new MacBooks?

Looking to purchase a new, non-refurbished 13.3" MacBook Air with the following specifications: 128 gb flash storage 1.7 ghz Intel Core i7 processor 8 GB RAM Apple store for education has it for $1279. Any website that would have it any cheaper? I've checked amazon and new egg and neither have the exact model I want. Probably can't get it any cheaper, but just wanted to check. Thanks for your help!
posted by sunshine37 on Jun 29, 2013 - 9 answers

How nice of a laptop do I want?

I'm in the market for a new laptop but I don't know what direction I should be going. I'm hoping to go to grad school in two or three years so should I get a really nice laptop that will last me through school or should I get something cheaper for now and get something shiny and new when I start school? All I need a laptop to do right now is surf the web, Skype, and watch Netflix. I have a tablet that I do most of that on but every once in a while I need a real computer for something specific. [more inside]
posted by missriss89 on Jun 9, 2013 - 22 answers

Help with a borked install?

Attempted to install LIBUSB-win32-filter-bin-0.1.122 without using compatibility mode. Now none of the peripherals are working, except for the trackpad and keyboard. [more inside]
posted by polly_dactyl on Jun 7, 2013 - 5 answers

Macbook with old tv?

I want to be able to watch Netflix from my laptop on my very old tv. Is this possible? What cables would I need? [more inside]
posted by the twistinside on May 17, 2013 - 14 answers

Ship a laptop from US to Poland

I have an old laptop I'd like to send to my relatives in Poland. How would I go about this? Does this even make economic sense? [more inside]
posted by echo target on May 3, 2013 - 8 answers

Why is my laptop now choosy about sockets and what do I do about it?

My Acer 5742 has become choosy about which plug sockets it will charge from. Why? Do I need a new battery? [more inside]
posted by mister_kaupungister on Apr 27, 2013 - 3 answers

Remote Desktop Connection woes

My work computer is a laptop running Windows 7. I am working far from my office this week (as I often do) and I connect to my work server through Remote Desktop Connection. Typically this is pretty much problem-free, but for the last two or three days, when I log in to the server, I am seeing the server's desktop not as a full screen, but in a window about 10" wide on my 17.3" laptop screen. As well, while the laptop's screen has a 16:9 aspect ratio, the window looks to be 4:3. Attempting to resize the window through the Maximize/Restore Down icon avails me naught: I can mouse over the edges of the window and drag it to a new size, but it maxes out at the size that I mention, which covers maybe 60% of the screen's real estate. Numerous reboots and resets have not rectified it and I am at a loss as to how to proceed. [more inside]
posted by ricochet biscuit on Apr 24, 2013 - 6 answers

Laptop / Netbook that runs cool and has long battery life

Interested in a Netbook or lower power laptop that runs cool (doesn't require external cooling like this) and has long (6-8 hour) battery life. Would like to run Windows 7 so Chromebook is not a good candidate for me. And of course want to come in around $200. I know there a lot of candidates here but would really appreciate user's real life experience. Thanks.
posted by gilast on Apr 23, 2013 - 6 answers

How do I sell my Macbook Pro without getting screwed on the price?

I've gone to some of those sell-your-laptop websites and I always get a quote for half the original price of my Macbook Pro. [more inside]
posted by Cybria on Mar 21, 2013 - 10 answers

ThinkPad Edge or faster cheap laptop?

Is the quality of the ThinkPad Edge worth the performance hit? Critique my nearly-made laptop purchasing choice! [more inside]
posted by Busy Old Fool on Mar 13, 2013 - 10 answers

Clicking ASUS laptop. What's the matter?

I have an ASUS UX31 laptop - just under a year old. In the last couple of days it has started making a clicking sound. Specifically what I hear are quiet pairs of clicks. The clicks are separated by about a quarter of a second and the pairs of clicks repeat every 3 seconds - it sounds a little like a relay opening and then closing. Any ideas? [more inside]
posted by rongorongo on Mar 6, 2013 - 11 answers

Buying a new computer before or after moving abroad?

My job is transferring me from Chicago to London in the spring. I've certainly got a lot to figure out between now and then (much of which this forum has already been a big help with), but one specific question I have involves the purchase of a new computer. My current MacBook is definitely due to be replaced -- it's six years old, so move or not, I was planning on getting one sometime this year. Does it make more sense to buy one before the move or after? [more inside]
posted by mattstan on Mar 3, 2013 - 8 answers

Easy to put together but not to take apart: flat panel stand

This could be a Dell tech support question, but I think it may actually be easier to get answered here. I have a Dell E-Flat Panel Stand and I'm trying to disconnect the riser from the base of the stand. The diagram is no help; it only shows how to put them together (see diagram 1). I've had no luck with Google or the Dell support site. I don't see any release button/unlocking switch. Help!
posted by trillian on Mar 1, 2013 - 3 answers

Should I buy a new or refurbed MacBook Air?

Time for a new (to me) laptop! I know this isn't that complicated, but I hate computer shopping. Please give me your wise advice on what to get and where to get it. [more inside]
posted by aka burlap on Feb 11, 2013 - 16 answers

Win7 Devices and Printers hangs up

I have a Dell laptop with Windows 7 32-bit on it and I'm having the weirdest issue with it. The "Devices and Printers" control panel window hangs every time I open it. It gets to about 90% of the way, according to the progress bar, and then stops. I can manage my printers using the Admin tools but everything else is unreachable. Is there any way to fix this short of a Windows re-install? This is a work laptop and I'd rather not have to go through our IT service department since they'll nuke everything on it that wasn't there when I got it.
posted by tommasz on Jan 4, 2013 - 8 answers

Seattle power?

Where can I buy a laptop power adapter in downtown Seattle? [more inside]
posted by dd42 on Jan 2, 2013 - 4 answers

Help my notebook speak to my shiny new TV

What's the best way to connect my Samsung series 5 TV with my Acer Ferrari One notebook so I can use the TV as a monitor? The laptop doesn't have a HDMI port... [more inside]
posted by Helga-woo on Dec 28, 2012 - 3 answers

Need to find a store in the US to buy a netbook.

Where is the best brick and mortar store to buy a Windows netbook in the US? [more inside]
posted by jim.christian on Dec 26, 2012 - 8 answers

Finding the perfect Mac laptop for an indecisive Windows-based web developer

I'm a web developer / eLearning developer on Windows 7 looking to: 1) Get a Mac because I need to be able to test sites quickly and easily on my own; 2) Get a Windows-bootable unit that can act as my backup machine when my Asus throws a tantrum as it did this week; and 3) Get a reasonably portable Windows-bootable laptop that can handle Photoshop and other resource hogs so that I can work on it at client sites without having to barely squish the Asus (aka "The Clydesdale") into my largest backpack. Ideally, I could get all three in one machine that wouldn't cost the earth. Please join me as I anguish over the MacBook Air, the MacBook Pro, the Mac Mini, and other options. [more inside]
posted by maudlin on Dec 15, 2012 - 16 answers

How Can I make this laptop work?

What is the quickest and cheapest way to find out if a laptop works? [more inside]
posted by marienbad on Dec 2, 2012 - 7 answers

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