From education to employment

What sort of laptop or PC do you really need?

Michael Bradley, Founder, MEJBConsulting (bulb & 2RecycleIT)

So “school’s out for summer” and whilst beavering away in your holiday job or bronzing away in the sun your thoughts of next Academic Year and term, thankfully seem miles away.

However, perhaps now isn’t a bad time to consider how your computer was performing at the end of last year. With increasing use being made of digital education in the curriculums, every part of life now uses technology in some way, over this summer spell may be a good time to consider the options should you;

  • go cloud or maintain local copies of applications?
  • go cloud or buy loads of local storage?
  • buy new or recycle your old windows laptop?

There are of course many aspects to consider and no perfect answers, but there are some underlying principles that could help.

The fundamental question is; are you trying to use one “machine” for everything you wish to do? Effective and excellent work, play games, watch streamed media etcetera, etcetera. If so, you will either need to invest in a very expensive machine or find a compromise unit which is a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none. Perhaps better to consider what device(s) work best for each application. This probably will not apply to students studying computer intensive subjects, such as real-time, AI or Computer Aided Design courses where significant resource may be required. But for the other 80% of the student population, the above questions may be very relevant, so let’s consider some of the possible answers.

There is the fundamental principle; you can never have too much memory or processing power, the more of this you have the better your machine performance. However, your need for the most or fastest will depend upon your answer to the question; cloud-based “remote” or machine stored “local”?

For decades the client-server topology has existed. If fact originally all computers had power at the centre and “dumb” terminals for the user. The onset of “in-the-cloud” is really a public way of sharing mass resource between many users across many different applications and geographies, meaning that it is now possible, depending upon the application, to use a less beefy “local” user device to perform the same functions. This principle also applies with a thin-client concept. Yes, the technicalities, terminology and taxonomy are different, but the overriding conceptual topology is similar. A vast resource is available remotely, meaning locally applications and storage can be run relatively simply and flexibly.

Therefore in today’s in-the-cloud (remote) environment to answer our original questions;

Q1 Should you go cloud or maintain local copies of applications?

Applications are simpler to use when held and accessed in-the-cloud. They are always up to date, they are available across multiple devices and they require less local resource, processing power.

Q2 Should you go cloud or buy loads of local storage?

Storage is less likely to be lost if stored in-the-cloud, because the service provider has to ensure that central data its core revenue stream is not impacted due to service delivery malfunctions. Your information is not likely to be lost because your device becomes unstable or mislaid for some reason. Your data can also be accessed from multiple devices.

Q3 Should you buy new or recycle your old laptop?

So, it’s not essential to carry a costly and heavy “mainframe” around in order to successfully complete work online. So perhaps all you need is to get your existing machine (or a relative’s) refreshed, rebuild or in effect recycled “go green”. This could save hundreds of pounds and ensure that existing resources are re-utilised, rather than left in the corner to collect dust, when they do have a useful life.

Well of course like buying a car, if you purchase a shiny new laptop it will drop in value faster than a stone falls. In fact it depreciates so rapidly it’s one of the least efficient ways to spend your hard earned cash. So why not move you applications and storage into the cloud and spend the bulk of your hard earned cash on a sunny holiday whilst your old machine is recycled as an intelligent thin-client!

Michael Bradley, Founder, MEJBConsulting (bulb & 2RecycleIT)

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