The Dawn of a New Era, Part 2

Let’s see, where was I? Oh yes, I was about to tell you how I solved the problem of watching all the many videos my wife and I have of our kids when the only computers we have are a couple of chintzy little netbooks. Well, first of all I should probably mention again that I really want an iPad. The thing is that an iPad wouldn’t really solve any of the problems that we have. I could probably watch our home videos on it, but even the most expensive iPad only has 64 GB of storage space, which would only hold a small fraction of our expansive collection of home videos. So as much as I wanted (and still do want) an iPad, it really wouldn’t help out my family any more than buying another netbook would.

So we really needed something a little more robust. Not only that, but I’ve long been paranoid that our house is going to burn down and all of our pictures and videos would be lost. There is a good solution to this problem: online backup. The problem is that the service I want to use, Carbonite, only backs up the stuff on the internal hard drive of one computer. And we have too much stuff for it to fit on either of our netbooks. So we needed to get a computer with a big enough hard drive so that we could have all of our pictures and videos on it, plus it needed to have plenty of room for expansion so we wouldn’t need to get a new computer any time soon.

The problem with computers is that they are expensive. So I needed to do some research, because I wanted to find a computer that would fit all of our needs and continue to do so for years to come, but also it needed to be something that would have a minimal impact on our checking account. I also wanted to make sure that I didn’t just buy any old random computer like I have every other time I’ve bought a computer.

There are probably a great multitude of websites that review PCs, but the only one that I’m really familiar with is CNET. I went through a great deal of CNET’s PC reviews, but it was pretty obvious early on that there really was only one choice: the SX series by Gateway. As far as I can tell, these computers are pretty much the best balance of price and performance that you can currently get. Sure you can get a better computer, but not for this price. And you can certainly spend less than we did. But you have to make some serious compromises in terms of performance.

In case you’re interested in such things, the PC that we bought has a 3.07 Ghz Intel Core i3 processor with 4 GB of RAM and a 1 TB hard drive. It also has integrated Intel HD graphics. And a DVD drive. And with taxes and shipping, it cost us about $600. Not too shabby if I do say so myself. It’s definitely not top-of-the-line, but I think it’s going to last us a good long time. It’s got plenty of room for our current picture and video collection, and plenty of room to add to it. (Our picture and video collection currently takes up about 300 GB.)

So that’s my long-term solution to storing pictures and videos. But being a tech nerd, I have no intention of stopping there. Even with a fancy-shmancy new computer, I still do most of my computing on my iPod Touch. But as wonderful as the iPod Touch is, there are definitely some things that it doesn’t do well. iOS is a fantastic operating system, and as much as I’m enjoying Windows 7 so far, I definitely consider iOS to be superior. Not to mention that it still blows my mind to see how crisp and clear the Retina Display of the fourth generation iPod Touch is. But I definitely find that the 3.5 inch screen of the iPod Touch is just a little bit small for serious web browsing.

Now, this new computer is hooked up to a 26-inch HDTV with a resolution of 1360 x 768, so obviously it works just great for web browsing. But we have this setup in our bedroom (to keep it away from the kids), so it’s not particularly convenient to look up something quickly. Plus I can’t just lounge on the couch and surf the internets on this computer. So I really want something that’s kind of halfway between an iPod Touch and a full computer. And that thing would be, of course, an iPad.

There’s still some questions that I have in regards to an iPad. Mainly, I don’t really know how much I’m going to have to spend yet, because by the time I have enough money to buy one, it’s almost certain that the second generation will be available. I’m assuming that the iPad 2 will be priced comparably to the first. I’m hoping that it will be a little bit cheaper. I’m certain that it will have considerably more impressive features compared to the first version. But I have no idea yet what exactly those features will be (although there are plenty of rumors out there).

But even if I assume that the iPad 2 will be similar to the original in terms of pricing and storage space, I still have a decision to make. I could get the $500 16 GB iPad, or I could get the $600 32 GB iPad. Since the 16 GB version is cheaper, I could get it a little sooner, but I wouldn’t be able to put as much stuff on it. I could put more stuff on a 32 GB iPad, but I might have to wait a little longer to get it, since it’s a little bit more expensive.

And then there’s the question of accessories. But that could probably take up an entire blog post on its own, so I won’t even worry about that right now.

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