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Re:laptops/computer question

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  • Paul Guzowski
    Ahojte / Greetings Everyone! My two hellers on the subject being a laptop owner in this part of Europe for over five years. I apologize for the longish
    Message 1 of 9 , Apr 20, 2007
      Ahojte / Greetings Everyone!
      My two hellers on the subject being a laptop owner in this part of
      Europe for over five years. I apologize for the longish message and
      thought about sending it only to the originator but I decided my
      thoughts might benefit more members so I decided to reply to the entire
      Firstly, web access through internet cafés, etc, is readily available
      both in Bratislava and in all cities and larger towns. My landlord owns
      a pizzeria with free access for his patrons and this is becoming more
      and more prevalent across the country from what I can see. Secondly, all
      hotels I've stayed in lately have access for patrons as well, usually
      with a computer or two in the lobby. Therefore, I do not think it
      would be really necessary to buy a laptop if it were just for this trip.
      Given the above, if a laptop were to be purchased, I would very
      definitely buy it in the US for several reasons. First, if you will be
      using it primarily in the US and only occasionally overseas, you will
      want to have a US-based warranty. Secondly, if you buy one in Slovakia,
      it will have the Slovak keyboard layout and Slovak Windows on it unless
      you buy a MAC and then it will have the Slovak version of the MAC
      operating system. While you can add the US English keyboard layout to
      your Windows or MAC software, it will require learning which keys do
      what because it will be different from what is marked on them. Lastly,
      a machine purchased over here may not even be warranted in the US unless
      you buy one from a big-name manufacturer that also sells in the US (HP,
      IBM/Lenovo, Dell, Sony, etc).
      Given all that, if one finally decides to buy a laptop, I offer the
      following thoughts. Power supplies will not be a problem because all
      laptops these days have 110-240 volt, 50-60 hz power supplies so a
      laptop purchased anywhere can work anywhere else with a simple plug
      adapter which is available in any electronics shop. Secondly, having a
      laptop will give a little more flexibility connecting to wireless
      networks in places that have wireless hot spots or in hotels that have
      broadband internet access but one needs to know how to make the
      connection. Thirdly, if you are not in a hotel or somewhere that has an
      internet connection you will have to have some way to connect to an
      Internet Service Provider. That means if you are staying with your
      relatives and they don't have an account you can piggy-back on, the
      laptop will not do you any good for internet access. I did a search for
      AOL dial-up numbers in Slovakia and found none so even if you had a US
      AOL account, you could not dial into it here unless you were willing to
      pay international phone charges to the nearest AOL connect point
      (probably Austria or Germany).... Lastly, laptops are very vulnerable
      to pilfering everywhere in this part of Europe. I can personally cite
      nine cases of laptop theft just among my colleagues since I have been
      here. If you bring one over here, I'd suggest getting a laptop cable
      lock (mine is made by Kensington) to secure the machine whenever one
      must leave it alone in unsecure/unknown locations. I even lock mine to
      the trunk of the car when I must stop somewhere on the way to/from work.
      Bottom line: In my opinion buying a laptop only for this trip will
      perhaps entail more trouble than it is worth. If one were thinking
      about leaving it here with family/friends when one left, then I'd
      recommend buying one in the US from a major manufacturer that offers an
      international warranty. It will be significantly cheaper than buying
      one here though the keyboard layout issue will still remain.
      I hope this helps and am willing to discuss the subject back-channel
      via email with any group member who may want more information.

      S pozdrávom / Kind Regards,
      Paul in Bratislava
      Homebase in Carlisle, PA
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