Functionality vs. Design

I currently own an early 2014 MacBook air. Here are the specs:

  • 13.3 inch screen
  • 128 or 256 based flash storage
  • Native resolution of 1440 by 900
  • Battery power of up to 12 hours using wireless interned
  • Intel HD Graphics 5000
  • 4GB of memory
  • Camera
  • Two USB ports
  • 1.4 GHz dual-core Interl Core i5
  • Thunderbolt digital video output
  • Operating Sytem: OS X Mavericks
  • Price: $900

I had a 2011 Macbook Pro, but realized I didn’t need the processing power and it was too slow.

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Top Choice for Computers

In order to find the right computer, I have to think about what kind of situation I will need it for. In my case, I will soon become part of the “real world” and hopefully the working world as well. In the past six years I’ve had my laptop, I have used it mainly for writing papers and watching movies. Since I won’t have to write many papers any time soon, that won’t be a priority.  However, I do  have a lot of pictures and music stored in my current laptop. The amount of storage will be important.

As far as a Mac goes, I have never had one. I’ve only ever had PCs and they have all been great.  For a Mac I have chosen the MacBook Air Early 2014.

It includes:

  • 13 inch screen
  • 128 or 256 based flash storage
  • Native resolution of 1440 by 900
  • Battery power of up to 12 hours using wireless interned
  • Intel HD Graphics 5000
  • 4GB of memory
  • Camera
  • Two USB ports
  • 1.4 GHz dual-core Interl Core i5
  • Thunderbolt digital video output
  • Operating Sytem: OS X Mavericks
  • Price: $900

It is small and light and would be perfect for just watching movies or researching something online.

For a PC I would like a Dell XPS 13. It’s the same size as a MacBook Air, but it has a few more features, which are non-essential but still very cool.

It includes:

  • Processor: 5th Generation Interl Core i5
  • Operating System: Windows 8.1
  • Memory: 8GB
  • Hard Drive: 128GB solid state drive
  • Video card: Intel (R) HD Graphics 5500
  • Resolution: 3200 by 1800
  • Battery life: 52 hrs wireless
  • Touch screen
  • Price: $1299

Even after this assignment, I prefer PCs. In my opinion, you get more for your money. The problem with Mac is the fact that all your devices have to be compatible and this means having to spend even more money than is necessary. Since I don’t need special computers for gaming or video editing,  I’m not sure which brand would be better. For me, PCs work and Macs are more like a fancy toy.

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Shiny New Toys to Replace My Old Mac

Current: Mac Book Pro (mid-2010)

  • Manufacturer: Apple Model No. MC374xx/A
  • Central Processing Unit (CPU): 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P8600
  • Hard Drive: 250 GB Serial ATA (SATA) Disk
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics processor and model no.
  • Max. Display Resolution: 1280 x 800
  • Laptop Display Size: 13.3″
  • Battery Life: Up to 10 hrs. wireless productivity
  • Weight: 4.5 lbs.
  • Data ports: MagSafe power port, Gigabit Ethernet port, One FireWire 800 port, Mini DisplayPort, Two USB 2.0 ports, SD card slot, Audio in/out, and Kensington lock slot
  • Video connections: iSight Camera and Mini DisplayPort with support for DVI output VGA output, Dual-link DVI output, and HDMI output
  • CPU Benchmark Score: 1247

New: Macbook Pro with Retina Display (early-2015) $1399

  • Manufacturer: Apple Model No. A1502
  • Central Processing Unit (CPU): 2.9GHz Dual-core Intel Core i7-3520M
  • Hard Drive: 1TB Serial ATA Drive
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • Video Card: Intel Iris Graphics 6100
  • Max. Display Resolution: 2560 x 1600
  • Laptop Display Size: 13.3″
  • Battery Life: Up to 10 hrs. wireless web
  • Weight: 3.48 lbs.
  • Data ports: MagSafe 2 power port, Two Thunderbolt 2 ports (up to 20 Gbps), Two USB 3 ports (up to 5 Gbps), HDMI port, Headphone port, SDXC card slot
  • Video connections: Thunderbolt digital video output, Native Mini DisplayPort output, DVI, VGA, dual-link DVI, and HDMI output supported using Mini DisplayPort
  • CPU Benchmark Score: 3148

New: Dell XPS 13 $1599

  • Manufacturer: Dell XPS 13 9343-7273SLV
  • Central Processing Unit (CPU): 2.4 GHz Intel Core i7-5500U
  • Hard Drive: 256GB SSD
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • Video Card: Intel HD Graphics 5500 with shared graphics memory
  • Max. Display Resolution: 3200 x 1800
  • Laptop Display Size: 13.3 “
  • Battery Life: 15 hrs.
  • Weight: 2.8 lbs.
  • Data ports: 2 USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort, Headphone output/Microphone input combo
  • Video connections: Mini DisplayPort
  • CPU Benchmark Score: 2867

After this assignment I’m left wondering what is the difference between 32 bit and 64 bit. Also, where can I get $1700 for free? So I can buy a new mac. I definitely think you get more for your money with the mac. True, the resolution of the screen is not as good, but once you get up to a certain point our eyes can’t even distinguish the difference. The mac has all the power and speed I need for not as much money. It’s a bit heavier, but who cares? Oh, and I definitely love al the data ports it offers.

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New Computer: Break with Tradition or Stick to the Status Quo?

For awhile now, I have been wondering what makes one computer better than another. With this assignment, I was able to finally figure that out. I have always had a dell computer, even back when I didn’t have a laptop. My family had a Dell. I got my current laptop in June of 2013, so it’s a little old. Below you can see the specs of my computer compared to those of the Windows and Macs in the COMM Lab.

Current Computer 

MANUFACTURER & MODEL: Dell XPS12 9Q23

CPU NAME & SPEED: Intel Core i5-3337u CPU @ 1.80 GHz

HARD DRIVE TYPE & STORAGE CAPACITY: Hardrive with 128 GB

RAM: 4 GB

VIDEO CARD DETAILS: Intel HD Graphics

MAXIMUM DISPLAY RESOLUTION: 1920 x 1080 px; with touch support

LAPTOP DISPLAY SIZE: 12.5 in

BATTERY LIFE: 5 hours

WEIGHT: 1.5kg (ultrabook)

DATA PORTS: 2 USB ports; power port; audio port; mini-card port

VIDEO CONNECTIONS: mini-display port

CPU BENCHMARK SCORE: 2011

Windows Computers in Lab

MANUFACTURER & MODEL: Dell SX2210

CPU NAME & SPEED: Intel Core i7-3930k @ 3.20 GHz

HARD DRIVE TYPE & STORAGE CAPACITY: SSD & HD (I could not find this information, but I’m assuming this)

RAM: 32.0 GB

VIDEO CARD DETAILS: (couldn’t find this either)

MAXIMUM DISPLAY RESOLUTION: 1920 x 1080px

LAPTOP DISPLAY SIZE: 22in

BATTERY LIFE: n/a

WEIGHT: 9.9 lbs

DATA PORTS: 3 audio; 3 USB; 1 CP/MD; 1 MD; 1 SD; 1 SD Mini and SM

VIDEO CONNECTIONS: CD drive

CPU BENCHMARK SCORE: 3263

Mac Computers in Lab

MANUFACTURER & MODEL: Apple Macbook Pro 15-inch late 2013

CPU NAME & SPEED: Intel Core i7 4850HQ @ CPU 2.3 GHz

HARD DRIVE TYPE & STORAGE CAPACITY: 1 TB of SSD

RAM: 16 GB

VIDEO CARD DETAILS: Nvidia GeForce GT 750M 2048MB

MAXIMUM DISPLAY RESOLUTION: 2880 x 1800px

LAPTOP DISPLAY SIZE: 15in

BATTERY LIFE: 8 hrs.

WEIGHT: 4.46 lbs

DATA PORTS: 1 audio; 2 USB; 2 Thunderbolts; 1 power port

VIDEO CONNECTIONS: 1 HDMI

CPU BENCHMARK SCORE: 3066

After looking at these comparisons, I could physically see how my computer compares to the ones in the COMM lab and I quickly realized that although I have some good things with my computer, I probably need to update it soon. The following two sections –first the Apple option and second the Windows –show the specs for my ideal computers.

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How to Pick Your New Computer

Step one: don’t panic, you can do this. Step two: look at the computer you are at working with now, even though you have been through a lot together (in the past few years or so) there’s always something better out there. If in fact  a computer needs replacing every 24 to 30 months, then many of us may be laggards both in our resistance in buying a new computer when the one we have isn’t broken, and because the computer we cherish is probably outdated in some way that is holding us back.

Step three: admit you have a problem and that problem is your computer. Of course, how can you solve a problem unless you know everything about the problem that you want fixed in the solution. This is where many of us struggle when purchasing a new laptop- we don’t know which salient features to compare and contrast. No worries, here are the most important ones.

I’ve considered these following factors for my own computer first . All of the information below is provided online, simply search for your computer and you will find the manufacturer’s details.

My current computer.

  • Manufacturer and Model: Apple’s Macbook Air Mid 2013 Model
  • CPU Name and Speed: 1.7 GHz Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost at 3.3 GHz
  • Hard Drive Type and Storage Capacity:  Flash Storage Drive, 512 GB of storage
  • RAM Memory (allows you to multitask on the computer): 8 GB
  • Video Card Details (important for gamers especially): Intel HD 5000
  • Maximum Display Resolution (in Pixels): 1440 x 900
  • Laptop Display Size ( in Inches): 13.3
  • Battery Life (subtract a few hours from this number to be realistic): Up to 12 hours
  • Weight: 2.96 pounds
  • Data Ports (check for USB): two USB 3 ports, one Thunderbolt port, Power port, and SDXC card slot
  • Video Connections: Thunderbolt port
  • CPU Benchmark Score (posted by Geekbench, the higher the number the better): 2843

Step four: repeat the process for all computers you are considering purchasing. Now that you’ve collected all this information on your own computer, look for a computer that has comparably better features. Of course, if you have one of the latest models from a year or two back you may only be upgrading on a few features- but keep in mind that it is worth it.

Apple Option: Macbook Pro. Features it performs better on are in bold. The Apple Website features a comparison tool that allows customers to compare Apple computers based on the information below.

  • Manufacturer and Model: Apple’s Macbook Pro Early 2015
  • CPU Name and Speed: 3.1 GHz Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost at 3.4 GHz
  • Hard Drive Type and Storage Capacity:  Up to 1TB Flash Storage
  • RAM Memory (allows you to multitask on the computer): 16GB
  • Video Card Details (important for gamers): Intel Iris Graphics 6100
  • Maximum Display Resolution (in Pixels): 2560 x 1600
  • Laptop Display Size ( in Inches): 13.3
  • Battery Life (subtract a few hours from this number to be realistic): Up to 10 hours
  • Weight: 3.48 pounds
  • Data Ports (check for USB):  Two USB 3 ports,  SDXC card slot
  • Video Connections: HDMI port, Two Thunderbolt 2 ports
  • CPU Benchmark Score (posted by Geekbench, the higher the number the better): 3125
  • Price: from $1,299

Windows Option: Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro. Features it performs better on are in bold.

  • Manufacturer and Model: Windows 8.1, Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro-1370 Signature Edition 2 in 1 PC
  • CPU Name and Speed: Intel Core M-5Y71, Turbo Boost at 2.90 GHz
  • Hard Drive Type and Storage Capacity: 256 GB SSD
  • RAM Memory (allows you to multitask on the computer): 8 GB
  • Video Card Details (important for gamers especially): Intel HD Graphics 5300
  • Maximum Display Resolution (in Pixels): 3200 x 1800
  • Laptop Display Size ( in Inches): 13.3
  • Battery Life (subtract a few hours from this number to be realistic): up to 9 hours
  • Weight: 2.60 pounds
  • Data Ports (check for USB):2 USB 3.0 (1 powered),  1 USB 2.0 w/DC-in function 
  • Video Connections: Micro HDMI
  • CPU Benchmark Score (posted by Geekbench, the higher the number the better): 2627
  • Price: $1379.98

Step 5: upgrade!

Comparing these two computers becomes a much easier task when you are “grading” the computers based on the same list of characteristics. If I was upgrading my computer at the moment, and if I was given the opportunity to choose between the two computers described above, I would choose the Macbook Pro. I currently have the Macbook Air and so I would be compromising by upgrading to a heavier computer. But, and this is important, I would gain a lot of storage capacity as well as double the RAM memory. Furthermore, there is an HDMI port which I have really come to miss since the Macbook Air does not have one. And, of course, upgrading to a computer with a higher resolution and more powerful processing unit makes sense.

I prefer Apple and in this specific comparison, the Mac performed better than its Windows counterpart.

I prefer Apple and in this specific comparison, the Mac performed better than its Windows counterpart.

I don’t think I could switch back to a Windows computer since I have already bought into Apple’s culture. But, the Lenovo Yoga 3 seems like a great option for a computer and tablet combination. Although it doesn’t perform better in every aspect, it still has a higher resolution, weighs a little less than the Macbook Air, and has an HDMI port.

My computer still has a good year to go before it is up for an upgrade, and by then I am sure there will be other, newer, better options and I will have to go through this process again.

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Free money for a new computer? Don’t mind if I do…

When told to imagine I could buy a new laptop, I got excited, though not as excited as I could have been. My current computer is a Lenovo Y50, which was purchased less than six months ago, and is therefore a pretty current computer. The specifications for my current laptop are listed below:

Current Computer

MANUFACTURER AND MODEL: Lenovo Y50 (59425944)

CPU NAME AND SPEED: Intel® Core™ i7-4700HQ @ 2.40GHz

HARD DRIVE TYPE AND STORAGE CAPACITY: SSD – 8 GB, HDD – 1TB

RAM: 8 GB

VIDEO CARD DETAILS: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 860M

MAXIMUM DISPLAY RESOLUTION: 1920 x 1080px

LAPTOP DISPLAY SIZE (inches): 15.6”

BATTERY LIFE: Up to 4 hours

WEIGHT: 5.29 lbs

DATA PORTS: 2 x USB 3.0; 1 x USB 2.0

VIDEO CONNECTIONS: 1 x HDMI

CPU BENCHMARK SCORE:  Rank 121

When asked to look into different computers, I decided on the following two options as the ideal ones for myself. They are as follows, with the Apple option specifications first:

Apple Option – $1,749

MANUFACTURER AND MODEL: Apple A1534 (EMC 2746) MacBook8,1

CPU NAME AND SPEED: Intel Core M (M-5Y71) 1.3GHz

Hard Drive Type and Storage Capacity: SSD – 512GB

RAM: 8GB

VIDEO CARD DETAILS: HD Graphics 5300

MAXIMUM DISPLAY RESOLUTION: 3840 x 2160px

LAPTOP DISPLAY SIZE (inches): 12”

BATTERY LIFE: 9-10 hours

WEIGHT: 2.03 lbs

DATA PORTS: 1 x USB C port (Supports USB 3.1 Gen 1)

VIDEO CONNECTIONS: HDMI if you get a USB-C AV Multiport Adapter (additionally $79)

CPU BENCHMARK SCORE: Not found

Windows Option – $1,299

MANUFACTURER AND MODEL: Digital Storm Eclipse

CPU NAME AND SPEED: Intel Core i5 4690K 3.50GHz

HARD DRIVE TYPE AND STORAGE CAPACITY: SSD – 120GB and HDD – 1TB

RAM: 8GB

VIDEO CARD DETAILS: NVIDIA GTX 970 4GB

MAXIMUM DISPLAY RESOLUTION: 1920 x 1080 px

LAPTOP DISPLAY SIZE (inches): N/A

BATTERY LIFE: N/A

WEIGHT: N/A

DATA PORTS: 2 x USB 3.0, 6 x USB 2.0

VIDEO CONNECTIONS: 1 x DVI, 1 x HDMI, 1 x VDI

CPU BENCHMARK SCORE: Rank 164

Upon finding my computers, I still feel I have more questions. I do not understand what makes one video card better than another, and I would like to know that for future reference. I’ve also discovered that my computer is fairly well up-to-date, with its processor fairing higher than the ones of the other two I looked into and could afford.

As I looked into the computers I wanted for this project, I had no idea where to start for the Apple products. I eventually found a website that could compare various Apple computers, and I ended up with the Apple A1534 (EMC 2746) MacBook from early 2015. It has a large solid-state hard drive, excellent maximum display resolution, and fantastic battery life. The port provided, if one had a converter, allows for use of HDMI, USB 3.0, and other useful items. It also was made by a company that holds sway in the world of USB’s, known as the USB Implementers Forum. Of the Apple computers I found, this one spoke to me the most.

For the Windows, I wanted to look into desktops as that is something I have not looked into since I was younger. I found PC magazine’s list of top 10 desktops, and the Digital Storm Eclipse jumped out at me. The fact it had 120GB of solid-state drive, in addition to 1TB in hard disk drive appealed in the sense of having a lot of storage space. The resolution and amount of data ports and visual connections appealed to my movie watching and video game playing sides. The CPU did not fair poorly either. Additionally, the extra money could be used on video games or upgrades in the future, as this model prides itself on the fact you can upgrade it.

Of the two models, I would likely go with the Windows computer. This is partially due to my dislike on Macs, but also on the specifications of each computer. The Windows has more data ports, so that I can do multiple things at once without needing to pay an extra $79 for the converter, the Windows CPU was ranked, which is better than the Mac, and it has more space in the hard drive. Personally, if someone gave me $1750, I would certainly spend it on the Digital Storm Eclipse, and save the extra money for a rainy day.

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Javascript Kicks My Bob’s Burgers Butt

I created my website based on the design of Netflix but with a Bob’s Burgers theme. The design aspects of the site were easiest parts to create, or so I thought. The designs I created worked well on my personal MAC but were completely messed up on the class’ computer. Next time I really need to check my websites at different screen sizes and on different browsers. I really want to try implementing percentages next time in order to account for screen size.

The javascript aspect of the site was not necessarily difficult but it was tricky. Oddly enough, I probably had the hardest time with the easiest part of the javascript. For the longest time I kept overthinking how to create the counter for the number of searches—although, I’m pretty sure I remember Dr. Delwiche mentioning an actual counter function, which I definitely didn’t use. I ended up declaring a global variable that set the initial number of searches at 0 and I wrote my code so the search number variable would increase by one each time the search button was clicked. It worked out for the most part, except it still refuses to update on the first click. The second search actually shows as the first search.

I struggled a bit with the location and map part of my site, but I’ll discuss that in my badge discussion. Overall, I found this assignment challenging but fun. I think it only worked out as well as it did for my site because of the fact that we had some extra time to work on our sites. Here is my Bob’s Burgers-themed Netflix Search page.

Bob's Burger-themed Netflix Search Page from Minisite 3.

Bob’s Burger-themed Netflix Search Page from Minisite 3.

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