Sunday, March 8, 2009

Another New Computer

The addition of a new PC (a BenQ Joybook), was in my mind a necessary addition to complement the better quality MacBook that I also recently bought.

Not long ago I posted an article about a new MacBook that I had bought and compared it with the aging computers that I had previously been using. The other day, I bought another new computer, not to replace the MacBook, but to complement it. It is a PC Notebook, with a 13.3" screen (the same size as the MacBook). I had toyed with the idea of getting a "mini Netbook" (with about a 10" screen), but ended up getting this one, a BenQ Joybook S31VW-T27, at a special price (just under US$500 dollars). The reason it was so cheap was that it was a demo model in a large store. So maybe there is a little risk involved there, but the price I paid included a 3-year guarantee. The 10" screen PC is the craze at the moment, and a lot of people "follow the crowd". However, they are also around US$500 and, besides being "ergonomically challenging" (if that is the right expression), they are relatively weak. There is only so much stuff you can squeeze into such a small space.
This tree, which is situated next to the swimming pool I go to each morning, provides great shade from the strong sunshine we have had recently. There are wooden tables and benches next to it where I can work in the mornings.

My reason for buying the PC was that I occasionally have to do work that cannot easily be done on a Mac, and while I did install XP Home on the Mac, it does not work well, and so I just decided to get an extra computer. In addition, I plan to travel on longish trips by bike and I want to take a computer with me, as I need to carry a mobile office with me. Should something happen to this new PC (which runs on Windows Vista) on a trip, at least I will know there is another machine waiting for me when I get back home.
This pond lies next to the entrance into which I turn to ride the last few hundred meters to the swimming pool (along the road shown below). Views like this, seen from a bicycle, certainly help me relax. This pond is 4.4 kms away from our house.

Being slightly more than one-third of the price of the MacBook, the PC has some shortcomings compared to the MacBook, one being that the Mac is a lot better for playing Youtube videos, even though I am using the same ADSL cables at home. The Mac appears to be able to get a lot more power/receptivity out of a weakish Internet signal as it were. The Mac is ideal for blogging and editing photos and movies, for typing Japanese, etc., and so I doubt I will bother to use the PC for this. However, sometimes the Mac will reject a research paper with a lot of mathematical equations, etc., whereas the PC seems to be much better designed for this. A Taiwan PC is also better for handling documents in Chinese since the operating system is in Chinese, whereas Chinese to the Mac is just one of the many foreign languages.
As a friend remarked, the cherry blossoms are really nice. My family and I will go to see more of them soon.

The BenQ brand may not be known much outside Taiwan, but here their computers are well-known for their good looks. After all, the insides of the computer are often much the same whatever brand you get. It has an Intel core duo chipset. Not a high-ranking one, because the machine is about one year old already. This 13.3" model is also no longer made. A pity in my opinion (for other people, that is). A 12.1" notebook has a narrower keyboard (which is a factor I consider) and the now popular 14.1" model is a tighter fit in a pannier bag on the back of a bike. Now at least my MacBook and PC being the same size can share the same carrying cases and sleeves, etc.
The building on the right serves as the entrance to the outdoor 50m swimming pool. Because these private grounds are all part of a "youth activity center", there are a lot of activities like camping and get togethers for school children of all ages. So when the kids come, they really like to live it up. (Click to enlarge photo)

One word of advice when choosing/buying a computer. First, see what is available locally in case there are some good buys. Then go home and do some homework on the Internet, trying to read reviews, and finding out current prices and specifications. Then ask the sales clerk to switch it on and check things like the screen (for unusual lines, etc.) and the keyboard (in case kids have played games on it in the store). If you can make your mind up, then you won't be easily talked into buying a newer model or something you don't really need at a significantly higher price. This computer was the "last one" they had left of that line, and I think most people passed it by. If I get two or three years of good use out of it, I will certainly feel I got my money's worth.
This is a map (by the side of the road opposite the youth activity center) of the "Niaosong Bike Path". The red line refers to a separate path that is only for bikers and pedestrians. The youth activity center and the swimming pool are located about 1/3 of the way down the red path to the right.


ShirleyPerly said...

I was afraid when I saw the title that your Macbook had died so soon. Glad that was not the case.

Thanks for sharing more photos of your area. Very relaxing, indeed, to just look at them.

BreeWee said...

Love your fotos too Bruce, your new life looks peaceful and so adventurous...