UCB Parents Advice about Going Places
Taking a a Laptop to England
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Advice about Going Places
My daughter is going to grad school at Cambridge and at the moment has her heart
set on getting a Macintosh laptop computer for her papers and research. Has anyone
had any recent experience studying and writing in England, Cambridge in particular,
and any thoughts about what might work best?
I have relatively recent experience with this, as a professor I work with
went to Cambridge last fall.The residences, at least, have Windows NT installed.
However, if you got a G4 (not an ibook) you'd probably be fine, since
interoperability is good. The G4's are incredibly good machines and
work nearly flawlessly, so once set up she should have no problems.
The iBooks are less reliable (and a lot cheaper). It's almost always
a bad idea to make a Mac user use a PC since it makes them less productive
for a somewhat unforseen time and makes them cranky in general.
If you decide to get a PC make sure you get a good one (either Dell
or IBM) because any failures will be annoying to deal with in a
foreign country, not because they don't have a place to fix them, but
because you don't know the place and have an added level of complexity. .
I advise graduate students on this sort of thing all the time.. They always
regret not spending the extra money and getting the reliable machine. And,
if she's done well enough to be doing graduate work at Cambridge, her
work will mean a lot to her and she deserves it.
I worked in a university setting in London, and everyone used Macs (science
setting). American Macs are compatible with everything regarding network
and modems. What isn't compatible is the voltage (you need a transformer,
DO NOT use a high wattage transformer that they sell for hairdryers, get a
low wattage transformer for electronics, it is perfectly safe) and the phone
plug for the modem (a simple adaptor is necessary, otherwise a modem here
works the same over there even though the ring is different). A good place
to buy this stuff is a shop on the right hand side of University Avenue when
you are driving to the freeway, around 6th street, it has a bunch of signs
in front. The shop owner has lots of good advice. Computers, like
everything else in England, are overpriced. THen again, the transformer
necessary to bring 220 volts to 110 is a heavy little brick (not much larger
than a notebook power supply, but heavier) and makes portability an issue.
i guess you could have two, one at home and one at your work desk so you
wouldn't have to lug it around. I can't speak specifically about Cambridge.
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