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I'm probably going to regret asking this

Okay, here goes. A tech question. Yes, I know this sort of question never goes well, because people's personal tech preferences seem to usually be as idiosyncratic as the boxers v. briefs question, and some people get positively rabid in advocating their own POV. So, knowing the kind of buzz saw I'm probably walking into, here goes:

Due to issues at work, I really feel I need to get a "computer" for myself. Something I can keep my music on, my personal writing, tax information, SCA and OES things, far away from the increasingly intrusive IT department (they want to sync EVERYTHING on our laptops to the main server to "protect us" and they encourage us to "treat the computer like it is your own. Don't hesitate to use it for everything except porn"). Right.

I also want to get an e-reader, one in color, because one of its primary uses would be to read periodicals (in an effort to declutter physical space and to cut down on the amount of deforestation my addiction to magazines causes).

So, I'm trying to decide between two alternatives, but I'm really not sure if the one will fit my needs or not, and the other requires a bigger outlay of cash.

Option one: Get an iPad. So, here's the question about that. Will the iPad meet the needs of being both my e-reader AND the computer? I'm concerned that it won't have enough memory, nor run the appropriate applications. And if it is only the memory issue, the smallest iBook, with my educators discount, has more memory, and more functionality, for about the same cost as the higher end iPad. If the iPad doesn't have the ability to let me use my applications (Office, Turbotax, etc.) then I just go to option 2.

Option two: Nook Color and small iBook/Powerbook/Air. I hate the way the Kindle looks and feels, and I need color for the magazines (which is why I've regretfully abandoned the Sony I really like). Then it comes down to which flavor of the Mac laptop? I don't like some of the memory concerns with the MacBook Air, but otherwise it is super-sexy (lean, mean, light). iBook (currently called Macbook) is aesthetically pleasing, and functional, but I wonder if it's too fragile. MacBook Pro is probably more machine than I need, and I'm not sure the extra money is worth it.


Your turn. Which should I do, and within the selected option, how should I refine?


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 11th, 2011 03:39 pm (UTC)
It all depends
1 There are programs to read the files for the Nook/Kindle hardware. In color. I use one on my laptop, and Svan has one for her cell phone. It's a file, it's designed to be read. Making it dependent on a specific chunk of hardware/OS is garbage.

2 Macs cost more than PC's, as you raise the specs on a Mac. Two low-end laptops will cost about the same. What you get for your money on a high end Mac is less than what you'd get for a PC.

What I would do would be to purchase a laptop without an OS, and install Ubuntu on it, and then find a reader for the *.epub files. Ubuntu supports more hardware than any other Linux distro, and has the advantage of being free, with other free software. It is also a GUI/Object-oriented OS. Translation: You work with icons on a desktop. There's nothing hidden or special about it.

Mar. 11th, 2011 04:12 pm (UTC)
Re: It all depends
Nope. Not buying an non-OS system.

I'm looking for advice on the two options above. I have Nook and Kindle on my iPhone, but magazines don't render well on such a small screen, and I want a "one page" not laptop for the reading application (I also have multiple readers on my current laptop). So it will be a specific hardware for that application. And a Nook doesn't have the functionality of an iPad, so it isn't an option as a "stand-alone."

The Mac option (if necessary) is not flexible--it is just a question of which.
Mar. 11th, 2011 04:22 pm (UTC)
Re: It all depends
Then I have no opinion, I don't know enough about the hardware to own one.

Talk to Danny.

Mar. 11th, 2011 04:03 pm (UTC)
Nook and the MacBook Pro--unless you can get software to do ereading on the Mac. I had the same issue when I looked at the Air, and got the Pro because its primary function is to travel with me places and wander around the house when I am not at the main machines.

I almost bought a Dell refurb to run Linux, but I am not yet ready to abandon Mac, and I really like being able to sync up stuff between desktop and laptop before I go places.
Mar. 11th, 2011 04:13 pm (UTC)
See note to Hawk above regarding reading on various platforms.
Mar. 11th, 2011 04:34 pm (UTC)
The Intarwebz say that there is a Quicken option for iPad. There may be other essential apps also available.

Mar. 11th, 2011 05:00 pm (UTC)
There is a full microsoft office reader in OpenOffice which is make for the ipad. Also, I believe, that the apple Write program will read and save into office format.

As for pdf files. I have hundreds of them on my ipad. Both books and magazines. My pdf readers allow me to mark them up and save them with annotations.

I recently purchased a bluetooth keyboard for my ipad so I can write on it as with any other machine.

My ipad has 29gigs of space on it broken up into sections my largest chunk is in videos because I like to watch movies on it. BUT if you do not plan to use it as a DvD player sticking to applications and text and image documents I dont see how you would have an issue with space.

I love you dear and I had to sound wishy washy on the topic but it really comes down to what is most comfortable for you. Is the ipod capable of stepping up to the task you are interested in using it for? YES. BUT the ipod is large and heavier than the nook. The nook is for reading, the ipod is for everything.

I still choose my "ereader" to read books on over my ipad because of its convenience in size and weight.

I know nothing about apple mac laptops but have heard wonderful things about them. As much as i know the ipad is COOL and will do what you want I think that reading on an ereader with a laptop for personal computing is still the best way for you to go.

Mar. 11th, 2011 06:30 pm (UTC)
My answer, and possibly another option :-D
Option 1 will likely do you quite well for almost everything you need. Since you have the option of using your work computer for the few things the iPad may not do for you (taxes once a year, etc) it may be a good and inexpensive choice.

Option 2 is pretty good, although you will have to root(jailbreak) the nook to get real good use out of it, and even then, it is fairly underpowered. For reading, I have heard it is excellent but I have used my iPad exclusively for reading for...ummm...well...since the initial release, and I love it. For the Macbook vs Macbook Pro, there is really no reason NOT to go for the $1200 13" MBP, when the MB will cost you $1000 anyway. This combines with a nook, might be a good option.

Option 3 (my personal suggestion) Get the MBP and the iPad :-D You will not regret it ;)
Mar. 11th, 2011 07:14 pm (UTC)
Re: My answer, and possibly another option :-D
Good answers! Part of my concern is the weight (I am small, with back problems, and the 15" screen (oooo eye candy!!)may not be a big enough benefit to counteract the physical mechanics issues) which is why right now the Macbook is slightly ahead in the running.

The Nook is slightly smaller, and lighter than the iPad, so if all I want something to do is ereading, it wins. If I intend to use it for other things, clearly the iPad trumps.

In a perfect universe, as I said to another friend, I'd get a new gen iMac desktop and an iPad for portable function. Unfortunately the filthy lucre won't stretch that far.

But you have given me some bits I didn't have, and now I'm re-evaluating (again, dang it!).


Edited at 2011-03-11 07:14 pm (UTC)
Mar. 11th, 2011 07:21 pm (UTC)
Re: My answer, and possibly another option :-D
Misread, but I was thinking 2" difference so what I said applies to the 13" Pro.
Mar. 14th, 2011 04:21 pm (UTC)
Re: My answer, and possibly another option :-D
ahh, but m'dear, the MacBook is 4.7 pounds, the MacBook Pro 13" is 4.5 pounds!!!
Mar. 11th, 2011 09:35 pm (UTC)
I have a first Generation Macbook it is almost 5 years old and I got it used. It is starting to flicker and as such will probably need replaced. It has held up well for me, I intend to keep it till it dies. I have an ipod touch and a iphone both can be used as readers and they have a tubo tax app. The new iPad looks very promising and it has turbo tax app but not the full program. The Macbook in my opinion will do what you need and you can use your iPhone for most iPad functions. The 13 inch Macbook Pro is a great laptop that will be a bit tougher but with minimal care the Macbook it fairly sturdy, you have to decide what you need and how much you must spend. I am getting close the same crossroads as you and will probably go with a Macbook Pro 13 just because I WANT it! (I am trying to talk myself out of getting the 15" model because I do not NEED it!)
Mar. 11th, 2011 09:48 pm (UTC)
I love, love, LOVE my iPad. However, having used it for months without an actual computer to sync it to, I am now having trouble upgrading the OS (when I try to sync it runs all night and still isn't done with I need to leave the next day. I will probably end up wiping it and restoring the files I want from backup.) All of that is just to say that you should still have some flavor of computer that can run iTunes. I had no luck with the linux types on that score. As far as storage space goes, I got the smallest/cheapest and have never come close to running out of room, nor had to ditch anything for space.

I am SO tempted to go for the iPad 2, once I have any kind of $ again... oh, also- no idea how important it is to you, but the other annoying thing was not being able to use Flash. I wanted to do online homework, watch video clips & D wanted to play online games that were Flash based- no go. Haven't heard if that will be different with the 2.
Mar. 12th, 2011 03:31 am (UTC)
my $0.02
The iPad is nifty, but I haven't actually played with one. Kate's bluetooth keyboard worked nicely when I was watching, and that's not a bad way to go. Small and light.

I really know nothing about eReaders. I use my iPhone, and love it, but I haven't tried magazines on it. I don't really read magazines.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE my Macbook Pro. I went 15" and I'm SOOOO happy. Battery life is amazing, does everything I want. I went big mostly for World of Warcraft, which I'm now unable to play due to elbow injury, and sometimes I wish it was a bit smaller, but I also like the additional port options.

So I solved this same problem with iPhone and Macbook Pro.

Keep in mind that iPad may have a need for a data plan to be a good solution, which is something to factor into cost calculations.

Also check with Danny on rumors about new products - I heard there might be a solid state hard drive Macbook Pro coming soon....
Mar. 12th, 2011 03:48 am (UTC)
Re: my $0.02
I've been reading on the Palm and iPhone platforms for years, but magazines and newspapers don't really work well there. Having "test driven" iPads and Nooks for those applications, they really are superior.

The fans (yourself included) of the Macbook Pro are making me really think I need to go to the Apple store and do some "test driving" to really compare the Macbook v. the Macbook Pro.

Oh, why, oh why, isn't anything ever easy?
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )