need PC (gak, puke, choke) advice

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by judypilot, Apr 12, 2006.

  1. judypilot

    judypilot Line Up and Wait

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    Well, because the world has not yet firgured out that Macs are superior, I have finally, after nearly 20 years of owning Macs, run up against a situation where I MUST have a machine that can run Windows. Just got a GNS 430, and for a variety of reasons, want to be able to download the data updates myself rather than having to do it through my FBO. The software provided by Jepp only runs on Windows.

    I am sorely tempted to get one of the new Windows-running Macs, but am reluctant to pursue that option for a variety of reasons too long to describe. So what I want to know is, what is the cheapest Windows-compatible computer I can buy that has a CD-ROM drive and can be hooked up to the internet--and that actually works. How little memory can I get away with (although nowadays, memory's so cheap, I can't imagine it would be limiting).

    Another question: If I JUST hook up to the Jepp site and that's ALL I do with it online, will I be able to avoid viruses? The only CDs I would put into it would be ones that are presumably virus-free, like the GNS 430 simulation software.

    Final note: There's a store in town that sells used computers, so I may have that option to lower the price even further.

    Judy
     
  2. poadeleted3

    poadeleted3 Pattern Altitude

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    Hit Walmart and pick up one of their package deals. I've seen them as cheap as $400 or $500, which included computer, monitor, and printer. That's how we bought the HP we've been using for the last couple years. You want a bare minimum of 512 meg memory, and as big a hard drive as you can find. I don't think you can buy a computer nowadays that won't connect to the internet.

    Congratulations on moving up to a computer instead of a Mac!!
     
  3. tonycondon

    tonycondon Gastons CRO (Chief Dinner Reservation Officer)

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    even if you get a "cheap" computer its still a pretty expensive data port for once a month use.
     
  4. Ken Ibold

    Ken Ibold Final Approach

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    Do NOT shop at WalMart. It is an evil empire.

    The Dell Dimension B110 can be had for $299.
     
  5. gismo

    gismo Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Judy, around Mpls you there are companies that practically give away old computers that would work. The big question is whether you are willing to put up with an older (obsolete) OS like Win98 or want to start with something current (WinXP). W98 will run on a PII or PIII (120-300 MHz) with as little as 64 MB of RAM but IIRC XP isn't happy with less than 256 MB and at least a 1Ghz CPU. My company recently sold off a bunch that would run W98 for $10 each to employees and then paid someone to haul away the ones that didn't sell. Heck I've probably got a couple in my basement that would work and you could have one for the cost of shipping (might be cheaper to buy one locallly though).
     
  6. JRitt

    JRitt Line Up and Wait

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  7. RotaryWingBob

    RotaryWingBob En-Route Gone West

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    Most old computers won't work, Lance. Jepp Skybound service requires a USB port.
     
  8. Frank Browne

    Frank Browne Final Approach

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    Keep making statements like that Joe, and the admins will have to move this thread into the spin zone, 'cuz them's fightin werds. :D:D
     
  9. JRitt

    JRitt Line Up and Wait

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    Mac, PC, Amiga 500, use whatever you like and gets the job done
     
  10. Len Lanetti

    Len Lanetti Cleared for Takeoff

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    Judy,

    Does it need to be a laptop so you can take it to the plane?

    If so, the cheapest I've seen are about $800 give or take.

    If you don't take the computer to the plane how do you transfer the data? Does Jepp provide you with some type of media burner to create a data card that goes into the Garmin 430? If so, you want to make sure you have the right PC specifications (hardware and windows version) to support the media burner. Don't go with the minimum specs on the PC if you can help it.

    Len
     
  11. Greebo

    Greebo N9017H - C172M (1976)

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  12. gkainz

    gkainz Final Approach

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    $200-$300 on ebay will get you a notebook that should work just fine for what you want to do. Altho, like asked above, do you need a notebook to take to the plane?
     
  13. Keith Lane

    Keith Lane Pattern Altitude

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    I've bought a number (10 or so) of laptops for field use from these guys with good results. Be forewarned, check with the rep on the phone about battery warranty or look online for the price of a new battery. I had one laptop come in with a defective display once, but they exchanged it in two days with no questions.

    http://www.erpcsales.com/products/featured/featured.cfm?CategoryID=1
     
  14. gismo

    gismo Touchdown! Greaser!

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    OK double the $10 price and add a USB card.

    http://www.buyextras.com/bus5porusb20.html
     
  15. gismo

    gismo Touchdown! Greaser!

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    There are some perfectly acceptable laptops out there for around $500 including OS, but it sounds like Judy only needs a desktop with USB and ethernet ports.
     
  16. judypilot

    judypilot Line Up and Wait

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    No, Lenny and Greg were perceptive. I do need a laptop--I should have mentioned that. The only reason I wouldn't be able to use my FBO's hookup is that I travel a lot. I forgot to mention the USB port, too.

    So, now, what good is a computer w/o the OS? Someone mentioned that. Yeah, you can get anything cheap, so long as it doesn't actually do anything.

    Tony's right--it is an expensive data port, but what choice do I have? If Jepp would allow downloads through a browser, all I would need to do is buy their card thingy. But no, they require that their software be loaded on the computer in question in order to download the updates. So that makes doing it on the road quite difficult, even if you are surrounded by computers. Stupid, IMHO.

    Of course, most avionics shops will have the ability to upgrade, but whether they would allow me to log on with my own account is another question. Also, avionics shops aren't exactly everywhere, and I fly everywhere.

    Maybe I'll call Jepp and complain.

    Thanks for the advice. Sounds like I could probably manage it for about $800. Expensive data port, but cheaper than a new Mac, even with the educational discount.

    Judy
     
  17. Ken Ibold

    Ken Ibold Final Approach

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  18. jesse

    jesse Administrator Management Council Member

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    Buy VirtualPC for your Mac. Run Windows in it. Done deal.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16832102264

    You'll need a copy of Windows XP:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16837102059

    If you look around. There are people that have both of those at no cost, illegally, I wouldn't ever do something like that. :D I'm sure you wouldn't either. But it's out there.

    Otherwise. The way of the future is the Intel based Macs.

    Apple's new Boot Camp (lets you dual boot between OS X and Windows XP on an Intel based mac) is available for free. (You need an Intel based Mac and a Windows XP install cd)
    http://www.apple.com/macosx/bootcamp/
     
  19. ggroves

    ggroves Pattern Altitude

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    Mac? They still make those...?

    Welcome to the dark side.

    Ken has it right. Unless you are technically Windows/PC savy, avoid used and/or eBay. You may inherit someone elses mess.

    Get a new Dell ($500), turn on Windows Update, the Firewall, and have Dell install McAfee.

    A desktop would also suffice. You don't need a laptop to update a 430 database. Buy an extra chip from Jeppesen, and simply swap. Do your updates at home. You will need to be connected to the Internet 'live' when you update from Jepp.

    Greg
    182RG
     
  20. ggroves

    ggroves Pattern Altitude

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    Until you need to call Jeppesen for tech support.....

    Greg
    182RG
     
  21. SJP

    SJP Guest

    USB port, connect and download their data. If all you need is that, why buy anything more than a Win98 based box - if it takes 20 minutes instead of 10 to run the update once a month, who cares.

    jepp's requirements are :
    PC running Windows 2000, XP, ME, 98 or 95b, 10mb of available hard drive space, CD-ROM drive, internally mounted PCMCIA or card bus drive and ability to connect concurrently to the Internet.

    So, you need 95/98, 10mb, a CDrom and a PCMCIA slot (or USB )

    Windows 98 requirements :
    486DX66, 16Mb Memory (24 recommended!), 200Mb hard drive.

    So, how about :

    http://www.laptopoutlet.com/tosa48lap2mh.html

    Not suitable to run anything much more than '98 and a Webbrowser, but thats pretty much all you need. Built in modem, PCMCIA slot and USB, and complete with free shipping.

    Free Anti-Virus - http://free.grisoft.com/doc/2/lng/us/tpl/v5
    Free Firewall - http://www.zonelabs.com/store/content/company/products/znalm/freeDownload.jsp?dc=12bms&ctry=US&lang=en&lid=staticcomp_za


    No need for XP, or Gigabytes of ram...
     
  22. jesse

    jesse Administrator Management Council Member

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    Just don't tell them.

    Either way. Good luck with their level one support. Find someone computer saavy in your area and you'll be a lot better off.
     
  23. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Judy,

    A couple of hundred bucks at a used computer store or online will be all you need. Skybound requires a USB port, and it may require Win 2000 or WinXP (not sure if 98 will work). One used computer store near me had Dell laptops for $250, operating system included.

    There are 3 or 4 free virus scanners out there, as well as firewalls. That will be all you need to connect to the Jepp site.

    I have the older Skybound II (the PC slot version)... it works quite well.
     
  24. Len Lanetti

    Len Lanetti Cleared for Takeoff

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    The reason I would not go with older equipment running an older version of Windows is that based on historical observation of software vendors. Where, in this example, after X period of time Jepp will issue a new version of the application and it will drop support for the older versions of Windows. This is especially true of software applications that coexist with unique hardware devices. So at that point you have to upgrade your operating system and you find out that the older hardware is not really up to running the latest and greatest from Redmond.

    With regards to running Windows on a MAC and making it work...I might be tempted to try it if I had already gone through the trouble and expense of making Windows run on a MAC but my gut tells me that there is just enough glitches in that kind of Rube Goldberg contraption where it is going to be trouble getting to work the first time and with iffy dependability.

    Just my $0.02.

    Len
     
  25. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Jesse, I have a Power Mac Dual G5 with 2 gig. I found VirtualPC to be sufficiently unstable that I won't trust my business' software on it, even though I assigned 1 gig of memory to the copy of Virtual PC. Sigh.
     
  26. gprellwitz

    gprellwitz Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Len just made the point I was going to make. If you get the bottom of the supported hardware now, you can bet that next month Jepp will drop support for it. You can get a refurbished Gateway from Tiger Direct for about $450 after $100 rebate: Gateway MX6025 Intel Celeron M 1.4GHz/ 802.11g Wireless / 15.4-Inch WXGA / 256MB DDR / 40GB HDD / CDRW / DVD-ROM / Windows XP Home / Refurbished Notebook PC http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=1741021&Tab=0&NoMapp=0

    OTOH, if you have the $$$ and it weren't for your long list of reasons, the Mac Powerbook Pro looks SWEET! I was very tempted to go that route a couple of months ago.

    Note that the Dell B210 someone mentioned earlier does not have wireless, which is something you probably do want. A number of FBOs now have free wireless Internet access, so you can just download the update from Jepp while hanger flying!
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2006
  27. jesse

    jesse Administrator Management Council Member

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    I never said it was perfect. It's emulating x86 architecture on a powerpc processor.

    I wouldn't try to run a business in it either, But I wouldn't hesitate to update my GPS in it.

    (I run Linux as my main desktop os. I have a x86 emulator called Vmware that I have windows installed in. I update my Airmap GPS through it)


    That is why the new Mac Intel with Bootcamp is so cool. It's the same architecture. It would work pretty smooth.

    All I'm saying is there is no reason to run out and buy a PC, learn how to use it, and find a place to put it...when all you want to do is update your GPS.
     
  28. mgkdrgn

    mgkdrgn Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I've had good luck with everything I've gotten from these guys ...

    http://www.surpluscomputers.com/store/main.aspx?p=ItemDetail&item=COM10704


     
  29. Ghery

    Ghery Final Approach

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    Last weekend, just before heading for Cabo (where I am typing this) I bought a Gateway laptop from Best Buy for $529 after instant rebate. Offer only ran through the 8th, but I'd bet they have something similar running now. Came preloaded with Windows XP. I did have the memory upgraded, however. 256 MByte just isn't going to hack it with XP. The 512 MBytes I have not is just adequate. Celeron M processor that outruns my older Pentium III desktop machines by a wide margin. DVD player / CD-ROM player/burner plus 802.11g wireless. Two USB ports and Ethernet. 3 month demo version of Office 2003 pre-installed. Now, I did delete the AOL software as quickly as I could. That is one virus I will not allow on my machines (maybe 9.0 is OK, but I had serious problems with an earlier version, hence no longer allowed on any machine I care about).

    Oh, and if you buy a laptop, get the service contract. Not cheap, but everyone I know has had it pay off.
     
  30. Ghery

    Ghery Final Approach

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    Last weekend, just before heading for Cabo (where I am typing this) I bought a Gateway laptop from Best Buy for $529 after instant rebate. Offer only ran through the 8th, but I'd bet they have something similar running now. Came preloaded with Windows XP. I did have the memory upgraded, however. 256 MByte just isn't going to hack it with XP. The 512 MBytes I have not is just adequate. Celeron M processor that outruns my older Pentium III desktop machines by a wide margin. DVD player / CD-ROM player/burner plus 802.11g wireless. Two USB ports and Ethernet. 3 month demo version of Office 2003 pre-installed. Now, I did delete the AOL software as quickly as I could. That is one virus I will not allow on my machines (maybe 9.0 is OK, but I had serious problems with an earlier version, hence no longer allowed on any machine I care about).

    Oh, and if you buy a laptop, get the service contract. Not cheap, but everyone I know has had it pay off.
     
  31. jesse

    jesse Administrator Management Council Member

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    After two years of being the person that not only supported the service contract, but sold it...At Best Buy for that matter. I wouldn't.

    A 2 year service plan on a laptop of that price range is $129.

    First off. The laptop comes with a one year warranty from Gateway. Guess what, You can take that laptop into any Best Buy and they will honor that Gateway warranty. Infact, If you bring that laptop in for repair in that first year we are going to claim everything agaisnt Gateway with or without the service plan.

    So what does the service plan give you that the manufactures warranty does not? Well. Nothing really. It'll cover power surges...But chances are that won't happen on a laptop. It'll probably just take out teh power adapter.

    What is *most* likely to happen to a laptop to cause it to fail? You are going to drop it.. you are going to spill something on it..or you are going to break something off. The Performance Service Plan will not cover any of that, either will the manufacturer. Infact if you bring your laptop into Best Buy and they send it in for service, and they find that any one of those happened. They will call you back with a quote of about $1,000. If you don't accept that quote you owe Best Buy $159 JUST for looking at it and discovering your abuse.. They won't give your laptop back unless you pay that.

    One bonus is.. You can get a free battery out of the service plan if you bring it in and say your battery is bad. (If you remember) But they are going to mail you the cheapest, piece of crap battery Best Buy could possibly find. Chances are it will work worse then your orginal one did. You could probably buy the same battery for little to nothing off the internet.
     
  32. ScottM

    ScottM Taxi to Parking

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    iBazinga!
    Go to eBay and look for an old PCs. Basic old PC laptops can be found for a couple of hundred dollars. Or if you feel adventure look at http://www.arrl.org and find a hamfest in your area. They will be losts of people selling good older laptops sometimes as low as $50.
     
  33. judypilot

    judypilot Line Up and Wait

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    Thanks for all the advice. You can stop now. I've decided to see how much of a problem it really is to get updates when I need them before I do anything rash like buy a PC.

    Best,
    Judy
     
  34. mikea

    mikea Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I'll be retiring my Windows laptop and getting an Intel Mac. My home Windows XP screamer tower will have a limited life, too. I don't what your variety of reasons for not switching to Windows on Mac are, but I think if you stay tuned those reasons will go away, unless it's just politics. So far, I think I can make the switch and still get in to work, but I wouldn't put it beyond the standards nannies to work for months make it not work for no reason. It will be expensive, considering you still have to lay out $120 or so for a copy of Windows over the cost of the Mac...more if you decide you want a commercial anti-virus, etc.

    Microsoft WILL have Virtual PC for Intel. VMWare will have an Intel Mac version, too. If you get a dual Core Mac, which will support virtualization on the chip, you will be running both OS at the same time each on a separate CPU.

    I'll be getting a loaded new 13" dual core Intel Macbook as soon as I can (which isn't announced yet.) It's been painful not having it NOW.

    The new dual-core Mac Mini is $799! Just get 1GB of RAM for $100 more.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2006
  35. mikea

    mikea Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That's what you were worried about? You do know that Windows on a Mac will be Windows and Microsoft will be as happy with you as with anybody else, provide your license is legit. You can get a legit OEM copy of Windows for a little over $120 as long as you buy hardware with it. NewEgg has it and and is reputable.

    I was thinking it would be funny if Apple offers Windows as a build to order option on new Intel Macs. They might. They can get an OEM copy for $50 wholesale.
     
  36. ScottM

    ScottM Taxi to Parking

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    iBazinga!
    I am hoping they will do that and be able to partion the disc so I can decide which system I want to run. Taht way for the one or two things I needs WinDoze for I boot in that mode and for everything I use the much superior MAC OS :cheerswine:
     
  37. DeeG

    DeeG Cleared for Takeoff

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    What Mr Ibold said. Walmart = evil empire. Haven't set foot in one in over five years.

    We picked up an Avertec laptop for trips. About 700-800 bucks, and has all the goodies you'll need. Plus it only weighs about 3 1/2 pounds. Saw the lastest version of it at Costco. Its white. We liked it because of the small size. I hated having to lug the 7 lb HP in and out of the plane.

    Dee
     
  38. ScottM

    ScottM Taxi to Parking

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    iBazinga!
    Thread Jack ALERT!!!

    Did anyone see the article about the evil sushi business? Seriously, the newspapers around here are running an article about how eating sushi helps the Rev. Moon and his church with their plans for world domination and why that is bad. It seems that the Unification Church is a huge sushi wholesaler in the US. It is a wild article and the writers are very anti-moonie for sure. Personally I never paid much attention to him and his exploits.
     
  39. mikea

    mikea Touchdown! Greaser!

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    iWin
    Boot Camp (BETA!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WARNING!!!! DANGER!!!!) does the partitioning for you. I only heard one person say the required firmware update failed, but you wont' need a firmware update eventually.

    I've been smiling as I listening to Mac podcasts and reading reviews of how scary the re-partitioning is. I've done multi-boot and partitioning for years. I wouldn't be scared.

    Anyway, Boot Camp does a non-destructive repartition automagically. You have to follow the directions carefully, burning 2 CDs as prompted, etc.

    Listen here for one experience (download the .mp3): http://www.macobserver.com/podcast/2006/04/10.1.shtml
     
  40. mikea

    mikea Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That story was broken by the Chicago Tribune. It was on marketplace last night.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/specials/chi-0604sushi-1-story,1,6131847.htmlstory
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-0604120131apr12,1,348314.htmlstory

    Not only huge, effectively the *exclusive* supplier of Sushi to the US.