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Brilliant Laptops

Brilliant Laptops

Sandra Vogel

May 2010, Paperback, 264 pages
ISBN13: 9780273715757
ISBN10: 0273715755
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  • Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Why buy a laptop?

Aim of chapter: make the case for buying a laptop and differentiate laptops from desktop PCs

- Why buy a computer?

- And why buy a laptop?

- Laptops are increasingly popular - mobility, easy to put away, don't take up much space, increasingly capable, etc

- Things you can expect to do with a notebook PC you can't do with a desktop computer and vice versa

Chapter 2 What kind of user are you?

Aim of chapter: help the reader think about what they will use their laptop for

Before making your purchase consider what kind of user you are. You can't know all the things you'll use your new laptop for - you'll discover a lot as you go along. But you can have an idea of the kinds of uses you might have.

This will be a series of definitions eg - the hobbyist, the home worker, business and leisure, the heavy graphics user eg photos and home movies, the gamer

Chapter 3 Choosing the right laptop

Aim of chapter: to introduce and explain the different kinds of laptop. Readers can use this to find out what best suits their needs as defined in the previous chapter.

- The main types - desktop replacement, small portable, ultraportable, gaming. The trade off between size and portability

- Work or leisure? Or both?

- Widescreen or not?

- How much hard drive space is enough?

- Money matters (ie what can you afford, and how little can you spend and still get a usable machine

- How long will it last? (build around the three years mark but less if you are a gamer

- A bit about brands. Acer is a top band for laptops in Europe, Alienware specialises in gaming machines, Apple has a brand and an operating sytem all of its own. Don’t be guided entirely by style and brand position, but these things may play a part

- Warranties. What are they, are they worth it, on site versus offsite, extended warranties

- Try before you buy - if the keyboard is duff for you then it is a bad purchse. Etc

Chapter 4 Laptop technologies inside and out

Aim of chapter: to explain the technologies in a laptop and how they work. To cover

- hard drives. Solid state is coming, but not soon enough for you to worry about

- how displays work

- ports and connectors. A tour of all the different types you might find

- touchpads and 'sticks'

- integrated WLAN and Bluetooth. Explain that you don’t need to worry about compatibility except for Draft-N

- integrated HSDPA

Chapter 5 Security, sharing, remote working and other laptop specialities

Aim of chapter: to cover the areas that laptop users need to be aware of in order to protect the contacts of their machine, safeguard against viruses etc, and make the most of their computer

- connectivity. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, internal modem, 3G and HSDPA communications, Ethernet. What are these? Why have them in a laptop?

- built in cameras and external ones for video conferencing. Why opt for an internal camera rather than an add on?

- backing up. Must be done. Discuss the options eg on site (eg using an external hard drive), offsite (eg using Internet storage). Pros and cons of each. You can use both.

- Protecting your data. Passwording the computer, fingerprint recognition, USB keydrives (the latter can be encrypted)

Chapter 6 Upgrading a laptop

Aim of chapter: to show the ways in which a laptop can be upgraded after purchase and make it clear that there are fewer possibilities than with desktop computers – so it is more important to make the right purchasing decision

- add more RAM

- get a spare battery

- have a modular bay for a hard drive

- also check the peripherals section as many 'upgrades' are in fact add-ons

Chapter 7 Which operating system?

Aim of chapter: to introduce the variants of Vista, suggest other options such as Apple and linux.

Chapter 8 Software matters

Aim of chapter: most likely your laptop will come with limited software on board. There are some things you'll need to sort out immediately. I want to cover the main types of software you'll need. Ideally I will point to sources of free/low cost stuff on the Web if that is allowed.

- Anti virus anti spyware firewall

- Web browsing rss reading (replace IE with Firefox!!)

- word processing. Open office is the free source here

- Spreadsheeting open office again

- diary and contact management

- others

Avoid the dangers of software bloat. A sleek laptop is not overrun with too much software. Also avoid download software whose provenance you don’t know. Software can sometimes harbour virues and other ‘malware’.

Chapter 9 Peripherals

Aim of chapter: there are lots of types of add ons you may find useful.

- external keyboard / mouse

- external monitor

- printer

- scanner

- flash card reader

- webcam

- laptop stand

- backpack/carrycase

- docking station

- spare battery

Chapter 10 Security

Aim of chapter: how to keep your laptop and its data safe and secure

- fingerprint recognition is increasingly built in

- encryption/password controls

- back up data and store the backup away from your computer - online options and USB hard drives

- networking - use WEP to prevent unauthorised access

- also referp

Aim of chapter: How to get the most out of your laptop

- power management

- shortcut buttons - programme them if you can

- use the desktop for frequently accessed apps and files

- installing programmes and system restore

- automatic updates

- defrag the hard drive

- keep the screen and keyboard clean

Jargon Buster

A round up of technical terms used throughout the rest of the book