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Help (please) with some computer questions!

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
We're thinking of replacing our 4 1/2 year old computer and 8+ year old monitor. Right now we access the Web with a 56K modem for free through our employment.
1. If we opt for high-speed access, would you suggest DSL or Cable? We have access to both, though we would be paying for this.
2. If we go the high-speed route, should we get a 56k modem anyway as a backup?

We've also been using Windows 98 all this time, so we'll be moving on to whatever is the most recent operating system (probably XP).

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!!!
Emily

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"If you are not killing plants, you are not really stretching yourself as a gardener." -- J. C. Raulston, American Horticulturist
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Emily

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"If you are not killing plants, you are not really stretching yourself as a gardener." -- J. C. Raulston, American Horticulturist
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post #2 of 13
Hey Em,

My husband and I suggest cable. You shouldn't need a modem back up. We happen to have Direcway because we live out in the stix.

We use XP but be prepared -- its a bit different and has had its quirks, but I really like it.

B
Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death! Auntie Mame
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Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death! Auntie Mame
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post #3 of 13
Definitely go with cable! In our locale we had to deal with both the phone company and the DSL company when we had problems, which was often. I love being able to leave the computer up without interfering with phone lines, etc. The speed is much better than DSL.

We have Time Warner and they've been pretty good with answering questions, etc. We had a problem a year or two ago and eventually they fixed it (although we had to always ask to speak to supervisors). Still, beats DSL. Since we get cable, we get a slightly better price. I was teaching when we signed up so we got a better rate. (I've retired, but apparently they don't know that yet ;))

You don't need a modem backup. The cable company provides one.
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post #4 of 13
Definitely go cable. My cable company supplies the modem for like $10.00 a month. But I opted to buy it at a monthly rate for three months until I had it paid for. You will do better to purchase a modem than rent it. Because in the long run you are going to pay more by renting it. Its not worth it.
post #5 of 13
Am I hearing right Mezz, you might be getting a deal? With that I thought I'd mention that many cable providers that provide cable internet along with cable TV have no system to deviate the two. If you order internet you almost all the time get TV. This is just something I heard;)
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post #6 of 13
I already had cable TV. I just added the internet service to it. Even hooked it up myself no expensive service call to deal with either.
post #7 of 13
My recc's, from a tech support agent view, are:

Please make sure the pc has a floppy drive. Almost all new pc's don't have one, but they're extremely useful if you have an HP, Compaq, eMachine, etc pc that only comes with recovery cd's and not actual installation ones.

56k modems are cheap, cheap, cheap now. If you ever decide to get rid of a high speed connection, it's simple to snag one at the local techshop and stick it in. One screw, fit the card in the slot, put the screw back in, start the pc. If you're worried about losing your connection at times though, go for it.

If you decide to buy an OEM machine, instead of having it custom built, please take in mind what you're going to use it for. A top of the line box is not needed for the typical home user. If you're going to be playing games, or want to have it for a long time, question the company about upgradability.


XP is a bit different from the older OS's like 98, you'll be very hard pressed to find a new pc with anything else, and can take some getting used too, but it's really a lot more user friendly. Help and Support in the start menu is your friend!

edit: There's absolutely no need to have a DVD AND CDROM drive. The dvd drive can read, and if it's a burner, burn cd's too
post #8 of 13
Pan, yes- we get a small discount because I was a teacher (very recently retired). We had cable TV before we got the internet. They package it all up for a lower overall price if you also get VOIP telephone service.
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post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thank you all so much for your advice! I'm guessing we'll go with Cable.

Here's another question: I'm used to backing up my work every day on a zip-disk as well as the C-drive. I started doing this while writing my dissertation JUST before my hard drive crashed and it saved my butt:eek: . But I think I understand that CD's don't replace a prior file with a new one when you save work to it, but just add the new version of the file to the old one. It doesn't re-burn, in other words. That sounds bulky and confusing. Is getting a simple floppy drive the answer?
And, Fuil Moinn, I didn't quite follow your point about the floppy drive. We're probably getting a Dell computer (we currently have a Gateway, but the way they mis-handled our order in the past and their current business problems have put us off them).
Emily

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"If you are not killing plants, you are not really stretching yourself as a gardener." -- J. C. Raulston, American Horticulturist
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Emily

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"If you are not killing plants, you are not really stretching yourself as a gardener." -- J. C. Raulston, American Horticulturist
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post #10 of 13
I'm a DSL fan but it is generally slower for the money. DSL usually guarantees your speed. Cable, your speed is dependent on your neighborhood. If you have lots of neighbors with cable internet and they use it a lot, your speeds may suffer.

The other nice thing about DSL for me is picking my ISP. I get to choose one that supports a Usenet Newsfeed for example and website space for hosting pics and such. Also useful for placing files, music I can access from other locations, but aren't available to the general public.

I don't like cable don't have cable and won't have cable. Nor Dish. These are major spy machines. They can monitor everything you do to sell to the marketers. How long the TV is on, how often and when you change the channel, what channel and so on. Some good shows, but not worth hundreds of dollars a year to watch.

And Cable can do the same thing with the internet. Monitoring and selling of data. If they're going to be making money off my information, they should give me the service for free.

I'm marketed to death as it is.

Don't bother with a modem. You'll be paying more for a service you don't use.

Phil
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #11 of 13
As to your other question, Most CDs don't overwrite files. If your burner supports CD RW (CD Read Write) they have rewritable surface. But be warned, they don't always work in non RW CD players.

For most purposes, the new thumb drives, jump drives, flash drives--Same device either way--are what you want for your simple file backups. They come in sizes up to 4 G, are just a small solid state stick of memory chips. They plug in to a USB port, which most computers now put 2 USB ports up front for easy access. Mine looks like this.



Dell has pretty much abandoned the floppy. I don't think you'll even find it as an option from them. I haven't used my floppy drive in years, or Zip either. My next PC this spring won't have a floppy or a zip. With the proliferation of burnable and bootable CDs, I don't agree with Moinn that a floppy is necessary.

And I've had multiple optical drives and found it very useful, but I'm a power user and agree that most people wouldn't benefit.

Phil
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thank you Phil. I think the flash drive is the way we're going to go. I assume that, like a floppy, you can just carry it with you to plug into another computer?

Now I have another question just out of curiosity. What's a reasonable (or less unreasonable) price for Cable internet service? Not that we have a choice since the Cable providers have a lock on specific areas, but I like to know just how badly I'm being buggered.
The "deal" I was offered by our Cable Co. was $39.95 per month for the first 12 months and then $45.00 (plus $3.00 for modem rental) per month after that. It sure seems like a lot when you're used to paying $0. :p
Emily

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"If you are not killing plants, you are not really stretching yourself as a gardener." -- J. C. Raulston, American Horticulturist
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Emily

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"If you are not killing plants, you are not really stretching yourself as a gardener." -- J. C. Raulston, American Horticulturist
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post #13 of 13
Yes, you can just plug it into another computer that supports the USB interface. The USB interface has been around since Windows 98 Service pack 2.

No idea on Cable costs, my DSL costs me $15 per month (I bought the modem outright) and then another $20.00 at my ISP so that's about the same as you're talking about.

Phil
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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