I'm totally a newbie regarding laptops. I'm thinking of buying one to take on an extended tour to the Mid East. I'm wavering between buying a new one for maybe $475 or so, and one on Ebay for half that.
My questions involve the huge volume of laptops for sale on Ebay. If it doesn't say its wireless equipped, does that mean it probably isn't?
With wireless equpped laptops, is it as simple as turning the laptop on and then connecting to the internet, if I'm in an area with wireless hot spot coverage?
What about the cards I read about that some seem to require? How do I know what kinds and how many I need?
If it has a built in wireless device, you turn it on, in a hot spot and it finds the signal. In my opinion, if you were experienced with laptops, it may make sense to buy a used one, but in your case, you'd probably wind up with someone else's headache
I haven't participated there in some time, but remember seeing among the top-10 rules someone posted: "Don't buy a laptop on Ebay." Apparently laptops were thought to be a favorite item for scams and frauds. I don't know if that was a valid comment then, or is now. But the guys there may know about the specific seller you're looking at, and have suggestions for protecting yourself.
A new laptop for only $475 will most likely have an outdated slow as molasses Semperon CPU and only 256 Meg of RAM. Internet Exploder will take at least 30 seconds to load. It will be a very frustrating computer to use.
IMHO, you should have at least an Athelon CPU with 512 Meg of RAM to save your sanity.
Another thing to consider is the used battery. You have no idea how many charge and discharge cycles its been through. It may only run for five minutes. A new battery will cost you $100 to $200 (rough estimate off the top of my head).
E-bay considerations - does it work properly - was it stolen - reputation of seller - technological age of unit
Most laptops in the last few years have wireless built in, but it may be the older B or G technology
If here is adequate signal stenegth, and if the network is not secured, yes However, I would be reluctant to allow my laptop to connect to a network that is not secured, unless I had paranoid level security in operation on it
I have a wireless pcmcia network card here, I needed it for my 1999 Compaq To repeat, if the laptop you buy does not have built in woreless, it is probably too old to serve you well.
Make sure it can handle Hebrew or Farsi depending on which side of the wall you plan to visit.
You won't find anything new for $475 that's worth buying. It's difficult to a generalized recommendation, but I don't think you can buy anything new I would consider reasonable for less than about $800 (including wireless).
Wireless can easily be added to any laptop with a USB or PCMCIA wireless card. Some laptops have a MiniPCI slot inside that can handle *EITHER* a modem card, ethernet card, or wireless card. For wireless, make sure the manufacturer offered wireless as an option or it might not work.
I've bought laptops on eBay without difficulties. However, I simply assume that the included battery will be almost dead and need replacement. That's about $150 depending on source and vintage. For hard disks that are over 5 years old, assume that is also dead. In most cases, RAM may also need to be added to run the latest bloatware.
Nothing is that simple. There's a "view available connections" ordeal followed by encryption passwords. Most hot spots have a legal disclaimer that you must approve. Some charge money and want an account name and password. It's difficult to tell what you will run into in the "mid east".
Also, be advised that difference countries have different wireless frequency and power regulations which must be accomidated in your wireless configurations.
Most laptops have universal power supplies that will run on anything from 90-250 VAC at either 50/60Hz. However, you will need a power plug adapter.
Nope, I don't know without first knowing the make and model of laptop. In general, if it doesn't have wireless built in, a PCMCIA wireless card will work on all but the most recent laptops which have a different slot. There are also 16 bit PCMCIA and 32 bit Card Bus slots, which also depend on the laptop.
Incidentally, the various Ubuntu CD's are a combination of both the bootable Live CD and the installation CD. It asks which mode you want it to run on the boot screen. I suspect other distributions are also like this, but Ubuntu is the only one that I'm reasonably familiar with using.
This is curious. What did people know about what they were doing when they first installed MS? Most new distros are as easy or easier than installing the latest version of VirusCentral. I just don't get it.
Quantity is a rather poor replacement for quality. However, that has nothing to do with my comment on your assertion. I've helped a few commerical customers make the transition from Windoze to various Linux mutations (mostly SUSE). The problem is always the learning curve. Most consider their knowledge of Windoze to be an investment of sorts and refuse to start from scratch learning Linux. After giving it a half hearted try, all but a few of my customers have given up on Linux as being too hard to learn. IMHO, Apple OS/X did it right. It insulated the user from any need to ever see the shell prompt or run anything from the command line. Perhaps future Linux mutations will learn this lesson (but probably not).
I have recently bought, from eBay, a 'Grade A' IBM Thinkpad T40 for about $500. Wireless bult in, 512MB RAM, 40GB HDD. Original and legit WINXP Pro. From external apperance machine in as new condition. These machines are most often retired 'business machines' and are 'good buys' in my opinion.