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    Re: PC recommendations?
    From: Dan Allen
    Date: 2000 Oct 09, 9:08 PM

    The Dell Latitude has won the torture test 5 years running done by one of
    the PC magazines.  It is the best made PC laptop, hands down.  The Apple
    PowerBooks are excellent as well: they were originally designed by the same
    guy (John Medica) that now designs Dell Latitudes!
    Dell has several different Latitudes.  As someone remarked on this mailing
    list, there are some that are very small, but the CPi and CPx family of
    Latitudes have XGA screens (1024x768, with larger ones coming next month),
    fast processors, built-in CD-ROM drives, etc.  I have two Dell Latitudes
    that I have bought with my own money, and I highly recommend them.  I've had
    one drop six feet onto concrete out the back of my minivan.  I thought I
    would see the entire machine shatter into zillions of pieces.  Instead one
    shift key came off.  The display was completely unphased, as was all of the
    internals.  I picked it up and booted it up, all data intact.  Very
    Dell also makes a family of laptops called Inspiron.  They are not made by
    Dell directly, but are made elsewhere for them.  They are much thicker and
    are nowhere near as well made.  To find the Latitudes you have to say that
    you are a small business customer on their web site, which is poor
    salesmanship on their part.  Inspirons usually have faster CPUs and bigger
    displays available than Latitudes.  A friend bought an Inspiron 3800
    recently and reports that their build quality has improved, so perhaps they
    should be considered.
    Until a year ago I worked at Microsoft.  Microsoft bought truckloads of
    Toshibas for many years, but recent Toshiba Tecra laptops had been very
    problematic, so our department switched over to Dell Latitudes, and have had
    no problems.
    IBM Thinkpads are also excellent - I've never met a disappointed ThinkPad
    owner.  They love 'em.
    Compaq laptops until recently have been made quite poorly, but the latest
    generation of business laptops is much improved; one I played on a few
    months ago seemed close to the rigidity of a Latitude.
    To go along with an industrial-strength laptop, do yourself a favor and use
    Windows 2000.  It is far more bulletproof than Windows 95/Windows 98/Windows
    Me.  It has an entirely different OS underneath the same user interface, and
    I've had machines up 24 hours a day for months without ever having to
    reboot.  Windows 2000 is very Dell Latitude friendly: all of the drivers and
    power management are built into Windows 2000, so the install is simple and
    works well.  I've just spent the last several months installing, using, and
    building software using TurboLinux, Mac OS X, Yellow Dog Linux, Mac OS 9,
    Red Hat Linux, FreeBSD, Plan 9, and several other alternative operating
    systems on a variety of machines.  No operating system is as good as Windows
    I've used my Dells in the pilothouse of my Nordhavn 46 a lot, and I have
    never had any problems in that marine environment.  If I was out on a
    sprayed-filled deck, things may be different.  I think the marine laptops
    are a rip-off.  They are always years behind the current crop of machines,
    for more money.
    Dan Allen
    -----Original Message-----
    From  Navigation Mailing List
    Sent: Monday, October 09, 2000 10:45 AM
    Subject: PC recommendations?
    As a delivery Captain, I have used my HAM radio to
    communicate while sailing to/from the islands.
    I recently purchased a tnc to connect to my ICOM radio for
    digital messages (Pactor) and weather info.
    I'm currently using a borrowed Dell Latitude laptop (at home),
    but I plan/need to buy a laptop soon.
    What has been the experience with those on this list, in using
    laptops on a boat? I'm looking at models in the $2K range.
    I see "marine" grade PC's advertised, but wonder how the less expensive
    non-marine grade will hold up?
    I expect to be in transit with this "system" only about 35 days a year.
    Any suggestions regarding brands, such as Sony, HP, Toshiba, Compaq?
    You can answer off list if you like.
    Thanks in advance for your thoughts and advice.
    Capt Joe Kliment   W3HZM    Middltown, DE      kliment@dca.net

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