Computer Woes

09 May
A woman typing on a laptop

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To all of my readers out there, I am putting this question to you guys! You’re my only hope! I’ve had my laptop, an ASUS U81 running Ubuntu OS, for about two and a half years now and it’s having some issues with the graphics card and the hard-drive, I think. The computer freezes up if I’m watching something on YouTube in HD at full screen for a while or it gets really hot. There are points when the hard-drive will, for whatever reason, not start(the little LED doesn’t light and I don’t hear the disks spinning) after coming back from sleep.

These problems are not too frequent, but the graphics thing I notice more often. My point being…I’ve been thinking to the future with med school and how I will handle staying organized and studying. Seeing that I will be going to one of the Caribbean schools, I know that a Best Buy is not just around the corner to drop my laptop off at. I want to make sure it will last. I can handle software issues with few problems, but hardware stuff makes me squeamish. The laptop really only needs to last for the clinical sciences part, since after that I’ll be back in the US.

I can’t type and follow a lecture at the same time. I’ve tried doing that a few times in undergrad and again in grad school, but I go right back to pen and paper. I was thinking that I might like to get a tablet laptop or something that I can write directly on the pdf/powerpoint slides. Seems like it would save a lot of paper, but I’ve read mixed reviews on tablets’ usefulness.Β So far I have looked into Toshiba tablets,Β ThinkPad X201 Tablet, or the ASUS EP121 to name a few. They look pretty neat, but repairing the current laptop is probably a lot cheaper(cheaper is probably the better way to go for now too, being poor and all).

I can send my laptop to get it fixed and take a chance that nothing else goes wrong and the issue was truly fixed or I can get a newer laptop and take a chance that it doesn’t have some problem. πŸ˜› A catch-22. What do you recommend for med student laptops and computers? Did you find a particular laptop, OS, or application useful? How did a computer factor into your medical school studies?


Posted by on May 9, 2011 in Personal


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11 responses to “Computer Woes

  1. Rishi

    May 9, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    This is a really common question brought up by recently accepted applicants. Schools tend to have some sort of “minimal requirement” list for your computer, but in reality, practically any modern computer will meet those criteria.

    Apple MacBooks have become a cornerstone for many students’ day-to-day needs: word processing, Internet, calendar, etc. I myself have had one since 2008 and had no issues whatsoever. The operating system is far less prone to crash (as Windows does periodically), and overall, you get a great build quality and software bundle for the price. The days of the proverbial “Apple tax” are, in my opinion, a thing of the past.

    In my class of ~180 students, I think two people (at most) use a tablet PC. I don’t think the cost justifies the added utility, but if you’re into that kind of stuff, by all means go for it.

    Find out if Ross University has any special kind of software required for histology, watching lectures, etc. Some people go with Windows to avoid the headaches of compatibility down the road (since everything tends to work with Windows), but others still think Macs are worth it.

    Overall, I’d recommend a MacBook Pro. It’ll be a one-time expense which will easily carry you through medical school and one you won’t have to worry about.

    If you have any specific questions about computers, please feel free to ask for clarification. I could go on and on. πŸ˜€

    • Flustered Grad

      May 9, 2011 at 11:52 pm

      Thank you for the response Rishi! I had the first model of the Macbook Pro back when I was entering undergrad. It lasted for two-ish years before falling to a logic board failure and cooked itself to death. I went with Ubuntu on the ASUS, since I liked the stability of Mac OS X, but disliked the price. πŸ˜‰

      While it seems many of the hardware kinks have been worked out in the successive generations of Macbooks, I’m a little wary of plunking down that kinda dough again. However, the stability to compatibility ratio is a nice tune. Linux based OS’s, I’d argue, have better/similar stability but suffer from less compatibility. Windows, as you mentioned, has great compatibility yet terrible stability.

      Ross just sent me a packet of info in the mail today. The computer specs were included, stating basically that a functioning laptop with either windows or mac OS would suffice. How helpful of them. πŸ˜›

      • Flustered Grad

        May 10, 2011 at 3:58 pm

        Rishi, can you comment on the advantages the Macbook Pro model you recommended might have over say a Macbook model? If price is a factor, but not a deal-breaker, would you say a Macbook would be better than a similar/better equipped PC for the same or less $$? Thanks! πŸ™‚

  2. WyldCherry

    May 10, 2011 at 12:19 am

    I own a tabletpc & I adore it (fujitsu t2010). I also prefer writing my notes instead of typing (especially if there are a lot of formulas I need to write down.) It’s one of the reason why I love onenote because while I write my notes, I can record the lecture. If I need to listen to a specific topic, I just click on some text and it goes directly to that part of the lecture.

    You might look into refurbished tabletpcs. I got mine from the fujitsu ebay store for about $670. Just a warning, I had some power issues, but since it was under warranty they fixed it. Now it works like new & haven’t had an problems with it.

    • Flustered Grad

      May 10, 2011 at 3:55 pm

      Hmm…didn’t know Fujitsu made a tablet. I’ll look into it! Thank you! I’m looking to spend under $1000 at the most, so a Macbook Pro is out, but not a Macbook, and if I could find the model you mentioned at the price you mentioned it’d be fair game too.

  3. Axl

    May 10, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    ASUS running Ubuntu? Is that a real thing? You’re pulling my leg flustered πŸ™‚ I have literally never heard either of those words in my life. You might as well have said “I have a hampster-driven crank-shaft 6000 computer running donkey snot 2010” haha. Hope you figure it out.

    • Flustered Grad

      May 10, 2011 at 4:01 pm

      It’s not that bad. πŸ˜› *chuckles* “Donkey Snot 2010” eh? You trademarking that one?

  4. mymedschooladventure

    May 10, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    I had a tablet in undergrad. It’s useful in only a few instances (I used it the most in Gen Chem 1&2), but I didn’t feel like what I got out of it justified the extra money it cost to get it. The tablet screen is also susceptible to breaking since it’s on a relatively fragile hinge.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that schools typically have a method for getting extra money in your fin aid packages to pay for a new computer, so your budget may be a bit higher than you think if you were to choose to buy a new computer.

    • Flustered Grad

      May 11, 2011 at 8:42 am

      This is the flip-side of the coin that an equal number of people have said on forums. It seems either people really like their tablet or they find it less than helpful. I’m steering away from tablets now, mostly due to skewed ratio of cost for the amount of computer power you get. I’d rather get a lighter or more powerful laptop if I’m going to spend that kind of money.

      Ross just sent me a slew of info, and did include the fact that I can tie in my laptop purchase to my cost of attendance. However, I’m going to try and get this with out resorting to loans since every dollar in loans comes to around 3-4 dollars paid back in the end. We’ll see…I’ll probably cave in the end and just buy myself a nice laptop and stop being a penny-pinching scrooge, if just for a little while. πŸ™‚ What’s another $1000 on top of the anticipated ~$200K+ all this will cost in the end. Haha!!

  5. Rishi

    May 11, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    If you’ve experimented with Linux, then that may be the best route for you to go except, again, you want to make sure that Ross doesn’t use any third party software for any of their courses which wouldn’t be compatible with Linux flavors like Ubuntu. Embrace the open source! πŸ™‚


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