Cakin' Computer

Business By Annabakescakes Updated 25 Mar 2011 , 1:18am by pmarks0

Annabakescakes Posted 24 Mar 2011 , 6:00am
post #1 of 42

I am starting an at home-commercial custom cake business, and I am getting to the point where I would like to start choosing a laptop for it. I am not very computer literate, but I know I want it to be fast, have good battery life, and a big enough screen that I can turn it around and show brides pictures without them having to squint. And lots of memory. Price is definitly a factor as well. What do you use? Are you happy with it? Am I forgetting something?

Also, I like to do some photo editing, CC surfing, cake tutorial watching, I have cake boss, and I drop things, lol, so it should be durable. (Perhaps a children's computer? icon_redface.gif )

Can you please help? I want to keep it as cheap as I can, since i am running out of money, and still have a bunch of stuff to pay for thumbsdown.gif

41 replies
sugarjones Posted 24 Mar 2011 , 6:38am
post #2 of 42

I just bought the Dell Inspiron with full keyboard (including # pad) and a HUGE screen (17"). Came loaded with Quickbooks for $800ish. I loaded Cakeboss and it works like a dream!! I have LOADS of pictures on here and it still runs lightning quick. I also watch lots of TV on it when I'm working without a skip in the videostream. No, I don't work for Dell. haha. Oh, and it's really light icon_smile.gif

jason_kraft Posted 24 Mar 2011 , 10:19am
post #3 of 42

If you want a laptop with excellent build quality that will last a long time I would go with a Lenovo Thinkpad, it will run you in the $1000 range. (I'd normally also recommend a MacBook, but Cake Boss might be an issue.) If you're on a budget just about any cheap laptop will be more than fast enough to meet your needs, I recommend checking out Costco since they have an excellent return policy if you don't like the laptop, and they include a 2 year extended warranty and free tech support.

Annabakescakes Posted 24 Mar 2011 , 3:35pm
post #4 of 42

Thanks, you guys. I want to make sure the money I spend is worth it, so while budget is importsnt, I don't want to go cheap, then have to replace it. That always costs more, and leaves you wishing you had just bought the deluxe model in the first place, since you just spent as much as you would have had to to get it, but you have two sub-par computers, instead of 1 great one. icon_redface.gif

I wonder if I can get the Dell at Costco? I will be looking into it. We have Sam's around here, I think Costco is about 45 miles away, which is where I go to get my supples.

I don't even know what I am loking for, as far as all the labels that mean things that make price go up! I was looking at techie websites, and none of it really meant anything to me, except price.

mmmmmmmmcake1954 Posted 24 Mar 2011 , 3:41pm
post #5 of 42

If you are wanting to save a lot of photos, etc. it might be a good idea to also buy an external drive to save your stuff to, then you don't clog up the computer and it should keep running effeciently. HTH thumbs_up.gif

Annabakescakes Posted 24 Mar 2011 , 3:58pm
post #6 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by mmmmmmmmcake1954

If you are wanting to save a lot of photos, etc. it might be a good idea to also buy an external drive to save your stuff to, then you don't clog up the computer and it should keep running effeciently. HTH thumbs_up.gif




That makes sense. Certainly something to think about. Could I do that with my husband's music, you think? He has about 2,200 albums on there, last I knew icon_rolleyes.gif , and this computer used to be lightening quick, now it is so slow I want to chuck it across the room! What is the safest way to do something like that so it isn't clogging up my computer? I don't want to replace anything I could have protected!

Thanks.

KathieB Posted 24 Mar 2011 , 4:04pm
post #7 of 42

If I am not mistakes, I think Wal-Mart started carrying Dell.

jason_kraft Posted 24 Mar 2011 , 4:08pm
post #8 of 42

The amount of files (music, video, documents) stored on a computer has no bearing on how fast it runs, performance is mainly affected by the number of applications installed and spyware infections.

You can make a computer run 100% like new by purchasing a new internal hard drive, installing Windows from scratch onto the new drive, and transferring your old drive into an external case (or leaving it in the PC, some desktop computers have room for multiple hard drives). Any reputable PC support technician should be able to do this for you, the drive itself would cost about $100, and the labor shouldn't be more than another $100 or so. That said, if the computer is more than a few years old, you might be better off putting that money toward a new PC.

You could also reinstall Windows and reformat your existing drive for free (there is usually a "restore" CD included with the computer for this purpose), but this will wipe out the contents of your hard drive so you would need to make absolutely sure all your files are backed up.

melon_ball Posted 24 Mar 2011 , 4:19pm
post #9 of 42

One feature you might want to ask about is a duel processor. This would typically make everything run faster. I think this might be standard nowadays but it's still worth asking about it. Make sure you have good spyware and antivirus software on it. That will help a lot as well.
For your internet browsing, consider using something like google chrome vs. internet explorer or firefox.

jason_kraft Posted 24 Mar 2011 , 4:24pm
post #10 of 42

A dual processor would help if you're running CPU-intensive applications like 3D rendering tools or games, but the CPU (processor) is no longer a bottleneck for the vast majority of applications. Even the slowest processor available on a mainstream desktop or laptop today will be more than fast enough.

I definitely agree with getting good spyware and antivirus software, but make sure to stay away from Norton and McAfee (they are basically viruses themselves). Re web browsers, the latest Internet Explorer isn't too bad, but I agree that Google Chrome runs more quickly. I've also found that the new Firefox 4 (released this week) runs as fast as Chrome.

Annabakescakes Posted 24 Mar 2011 , 4:38pm
post #11 of 42

I can't get cake central to run on FireFox! I can look, but when I log-in, I get a 400 Bad Request nginx/0.6.35, and I delete the he!! out of my cookies, and cache, and I can see it again until i click another page. Then BLAMO! Another bad request! Ever since the new version came out. It has done it off and on for 6 months. I use Cakecentral in Explorer, Firefox for everything else. When I contacted them about it a long time ago, Cake central basically told me, "Sucks to be you! Deal!" (Not in those words! lol)

jason_kraft Posted 24 Mar 2011 , 4:59pm
post #12 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Annabakescakes

I can't get cake central to run on FireFox! I can look, but when I log-in, I get a 400 Bad Request nginx/0.6.35, and I delete the he!! out of my cookies, and cache, and I can see it again until i click another page. Then BLAMO! Another bad request! Ever since the new version came out. It has done it off and on for 6 months. I use Cakecentral in Explorer, Firefox for everything else. When I contacted them about it a long time ago, Cake central basically told me, "Sucks to be you! Deal!" (Not in those words! lol)



Does this also happen with Firefox 4? If so, you could refer CC to the following thread which suggests possible solutions CC can implement on their side: http://www.ruby-forum.com/topic/173362

silverdragon997 Posted 24 Mar 2011 , 5:02pm
post #13 of 42

I just bought a Samsung QX410 laptop and love it. I always research online for reviews before making big purchases. I'd check both editor and user reviews at cnet.com for whichever model you like the most. That'll give you a good idea of what others using the computer have thought of it.

Also, Best Buy has started a buy-back program for big ticket electronics like laptops. They give you a percentage of the price back when you go to upgrade. The lowest I believe is 20% back if the computer is more than 3 years old or something like that. It's a free program, but it sounded good to me. I paid about 900.00 for my laptop, so when I go to trade it in in a few years, I should get about 180.00 toward the purchase of a new one.

Annabakescakes Posted 24 Mar 2011 , 5:46pm
post #14 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

Quote:
Originally Posted by Annabakescakes

I can't get cake central to run on FireFox! I can look, but when I log-in, I get a 400 Bad Request nginx/0.6.35, and I delete the he!! out of my cookies, and cache, and I can see it again until i click another page. Then BLAMO! Another bad request! Ever since the new version came out. It has done it off and on for 6 months. I use Cakecentral in Explorer, Firefox for everything else. When I contacted them about it a long time ago, Cake central basically told me, "Sucks to be you! Deal!" (Not in those words! lol)


Does this also happen with Firefox 4? If so, you could refer CC to the following thread which suggests possible solutions CC can implement on their side: http://www.ruby-forum.com/topic/173362




I just did a restart 3 days ago, so whatever version they stuck in there, is what I have! I could try another one...but I use my computer all day long. I really don't like the Explorer, but I am addicted to CC! For several days, I have to take my topic replies, open it, copy the link, and go to the explorer, and paste. And the Explorer doesn't even give it a chance, and tells me the link is broken So I have to do it again, and most of the time it works. But, if I want to see pictures or search, or look at another topic, I have to do it again. Or i go up and cut the "broken link" part out of the address and refresh. Over and over! THAT is dedication! lol!

Annabakescakes Posted 24 Mar 2011 , 5:51pm
post #15 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by silverdragon997

I just bought a Samsung QX410 laptop and love it. I always research online for reviews before making big purchases. I'd check both editor and user reviews at cnet.com for whichever model you like the most. That'll give you a good idea of what others using the computer have thought of it.

Also, Best Buy has started a buy-back program for big ticket electronics like laptops. They give you a percentage of the price back when you go to upgrade. The lowest I believe is 20% back if the computer is more than 3 years old or something like that. It's a free program, but it sounded good to me. I paid about 900.00 for my laptop, so when I go to trade it in in a few years, I should get about 180.00 toward the purchase of a new one.




That could be helpful, but I tend you use something until it is all used up! Do you use yours for business? Do you have Office or cake boss? lots of photos and editing? What about the screen? can you see detail of cakes clearly?

I always search online too. I just don't know what to look for, and I figure cakes wouls know best, rather than some who uses their computer for something else!

silverdragon997 Posted 24 Mar 2011 , 6:02pm
post #16 of 42

That could be helpful, but I tend you use something until it is all used up! Do you use yours for business? Do you have Office or ? lots of photos and editing? What about the screen? can you see detail of cakes clearly?

I always search online too. I just don't know what to look for, and I figure cakes wouls know best, rather than some who uses their computer for something else![/quote]

I tend to use things until they are all used up as well. I only bought the new one because my old one died. I do use mine for business, both cake and otherwise (I use it as a work computer at my "real" job as well). I have Office, Cake Boss, SCAL, Inkscape and Gimp for creating and photo editing. I have a decent amount of cake photos on it, though I keep the majority on a thumb drive. The screen is 14" I think, plenty big enough for most things, though I also have a larger monitor I can attach to it. I might suggest that route for you for consultations. You could set up the monitor so that the bride can see it, and you'd still be able to see the same picture on the computer screen, so you wouldn't all have to be crowded around a laptop looking at pictures.

jason_kraft Posted 24 Mar 2011 , 6:15pm
post #17 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Annabakescakes

I just did a restart 3 days ago, so whatever version they stuck in there, is what I have!



Firefox 4 is not installed automatically, you have to go to www.firefox.com and download it. The new version is significantly faster and looks more similar to Chrome.

jason_kraft Posted 24 Mar 2011 , 6:24pm
post #18 of 42

When looking at a laptop screen you will want to consider both the screen size and the resolution. The resolution of the screen is basically how many pixels the screen can display, so more resolution means you can see more information on your screen at any given time. The screen size is a function of the size of each pixel.

So if you have two laptops that both have WXGA resolution screens (which means the screen can display 1280 pixels across by 800 pixels down), and one laptop has a 13" screen size while the other is 15", both laptops will be able to show the same amount of information, the info will just be slightly bigger on the 15". Personally I prefer getting the highest resolution possible...the pixels will be smaller but you can always zoom in with software if a picture or document appears too small on screen.

For consults we use an Lenovo Thinkpad tablet, which looks like a regular laptop but has a screen that can rotate 180 degrees (more info below). The screen is only 12" but pictures still show up very clearly due to the high resolution.

http://shop.lenovo.com/us/notebooks/thinkpad/x-series-tablet

Annabakescakes Posted 24 Mar 2011 , 6:28pm
post #19 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by silverdragon997

That could be helpful, but I tend you use something until it is all used up! Do you use yours for business? Do you have Office or ? lots of photos and editing? What about the screen? can you see detail of cakes clearly?

I always search online too. I just don't know what to look for, and I figure cakes wouls know best, rather than some who uses their computer for something else!




I tend to use things until they are all used up as well. I only bought the new one because my old one died. I do use mine for business, both cake and otherwise (I use it as a work computer at my "real" job as well). I have Office, , SCAL, Inkscape and Gimp for creating and photo editing. I have a decent amount of cake photos on it, though I keep the majority on a thumb drive. The screen is 14" I think, plenty big enough for most things, though I also have a larger monitor I can attach to it. I might suggest that route for you for consultations. You could set up the monitor so that the bride can see it, and you'd still be able to see the same picture on the computer screen, so you wouldn't all have to be crowded around a laptop looking at pictures.[/quote]

The second screen sounds like a good option, and sounds like it would be nice for bridal conventions, too. How much did that run you? Can you turn it off on so you can show the bride the picture you want her to see and not all the other pictures or folders that got you there? Or just the picture, and not the searching for it!

silverdragon997 Posted 24 Mar 2011 , 6:36pm
post #20 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Annabakescakes

The second screen sounds like a good option, and sounds like it would be nice for bridal conventions, too. How much did that run you? Can you turn it off on so you can show the bride the picture you want her to see and not all the other pictures or folders that got you there? Or just the picture, and not the searching for it!




Yes, you can turn it off and on just using the power button on the monitor. My monitor is a 16" x 9" widescreen, and it cost me around $150.00. That is about as small as they come in widescreen, but they get much, much bigger! It's got a great screen, and there's a monitor jack on laptops, so you just plug it in and it automatically gets the drivers it needs and such and you're good to go. There's also a way of setting it up so that the laptop and the monitor work as one very large screen. When you move the mouse far enough to one side it jumps to the other screen and keeps going. I don't know how to set that up though, I've just seen it done.

Annabakescakes Posted 24 Mar 2011 , 6:42pm
post #21 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

Quote:
Originally Posted by Annabakescakes

I just did a restart 3 days ago, so whatever version they stuck in there, is what I have!


Firefox 4 is not installed automatically, you have to go to www.firefox.com and download it. The new version is significantly faster and looks more similar to Chrome.




I hardly ever turn off my computer, I restart it here and there, and when I do, A new version of FireFox just about always installs. So do you mean just the FireFox 4 doesn't do that? How can I tell which one I have? CC was working just fine until and I reset and a new version came up. I'm thinking the version was 3.something.16. But I am not sure. It does it everytime!
I love this site, I have learned so much! I thought i was ready to start a business 3 years ago, and now I know that I wasn't. I hate that it runs so slowly for me. It gives me spyware too, but only in Explorer, not FireFox. I know CC isn't doing, but I would like to keep it from happening in my new computer. I lose my mind when my computer is slow.

Annabakescakes Posted 24 Mar 2011 , 6:47pm
post #22 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by silverdragon997

Quote:
Originally Posted by Annabakescakes

The second screen sounds like a good option, and sounds like it would be nice for bridal conventions, too. How much did that run you? Can you turn it off on so you can show the bride the picture you want her to see and not all the other pictures or folders that got you there? Or just the picture, and not the searching for it!



Yes, you can turn it off and on just using the power button on the monitor. My monitor is a 16" x 9" widescreen, and it cost me around $150.00. That is about as small as they come in widescreen, but they get much, much bigger! It's got a great screen, and there's a monitor jack on laptops, so you just plug it in and it automatically gets the drivers it needs and such and you're good to go. There's also a way of setting it up so that the laptop and the monitor work as one very large screen. When you move the mouse far enough to one side it jumps to the other screen and keeps going. I don't know how to set that up though, I've just seen it done.




That sounds COOL!! And the price doesn't seem too bad, could be worse!

silverdragon997 Posted 24 Mar 2011 , 6:49pm
post #23 of 42

Yeah, it can be handy. I work in television, and the editors have that set up so that they can have multiple programs open at once to do their thing and make a cohesive tv show. icon_smile.gif

Annabakescakes Posted 24 Mar 2011 , 6:52pm
post #24 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

When looking at a laptop screen you will want to consider both the screen size and the resolution. The resolution of the screen is basically how many pixels the screen can display, so more resolution means you can see more information on your screen at any given time. The screen size is a function of the size of each pixel.

So if you have two laptops that both have WXGA resolution screens (which means the screen can display 1280 pixels across by 800 pixels down), and one laptop has a 13" screen size while the other is 15", both laptops will be able to show the same amount of information, the info will just be slightly bigger on the 15". Personally I prefer getting the highest resolution possible...the pixels will be smaller but you can always zoom in with software if a picture or document appears too small on screen.

For consults we use an Lenovo Thinkpad tablet, which looks like a regular laptop but has a screen that can rotate 180 degrees (more info below). The screen is only 12" but pictures still show up very clearly due to the high resolution.

http://shop.lenovo.com/us/notebooks/thinkpad/x-series-tablet




Looks cool, a bit pricey, though!

jason_kraft Posted 24 Mar 2011 , 7:11pm
post #25 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Annabakescakes

I hardly ever turn off my computer, I restart it here and there, and when I do, A new version of FireFox just about always installs. So do you mean just the FireFox 4 doesn't do that? How can I tell which one I have?



Those new versions are only minor updates, Firefox 4 is a major upgrade and has to be installed manually, the install program is pretty straightforward. You can tell which version you have by going to the Help menu and selecting About Firefox.

jason_kraft Posted 24 Mar 2011 , 7:13pm
post #26 of 42

Just about every laptop with an external monitor jack allows you to switch between showing the desktop on the laptop's screen, the external monitor, or both. I use this feature all the time in my day job to give presentations...the external monitor is usually a projector in that case, but the concept is the same.

VanillaCoke Posted 24 Mar 2011 , 7:14pm
post #27 of 42

I have some sort of a Dell we bought used just for me- it works really well, though the battery isn't great. It was cheap, though, and my husband only rolls his eyes when he sees me globbing sugar and goo on it.

It seems like the operating system can make the computer really user friendly or really slow and annoying. I hate, hate, hate Windows Vista- it's on a computer we have and it just aggravates me. That's just MY opinion, but if you're familiar with one operating system you might want to stick with it. Or maybe it's just me.

Annabakescakes Posted 24 Mar 2011 , 7:15pm
post #28 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by silverdragon997

Yeah, it can be handy. I work in television, and the editors have that set up so that they can have multiple programs open at once to do their thing and make a cohesive tv show. icon_smile.gif





When I saw you work in TV, and looked to see where you are located. My Biological father lives in North Hollywood. He is a hobo with white (WHITE!) hair and startingly blue eyes. Real handsome, crazy as a loon! He stands on corners with signs and "preaches" about out of body experiences, reincarnation, and the end of the world. lol You'l have to tell me if you see him, he is quite popular. He gets free food and toiletries and money from businesses around there. He is taken care of icon_rolleyes.gif I don't have contact with him, and I don't want him to know where I am, but my aunt tells me about him. He is very charming, has 5 kids with 5 women. icon_redface.gif

silverdragon997 Posted 24 Mar 2011 , 7:20pm
post #29 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Annabakescakes

When I saw you work in TV, and looked to see where you are located. My Biological father lives in North Hollywood. He is a hobo with white (WHITE!) hair and startingly blue eyes. Real handsome, crazy as a loon! He stands on corners with signs and "preaches" about out of body experiences, reincarnation, and the end of the world. lol You'l have to tell me if you see him, he is quite popular. He gets free food and toiletries and money from businesses around there. He is taken care of icon_rolleyes.gif I don't have contact with him, and I don't want him to know where I am, but my aunt tells me about him. He is very charming, has 5 kids with 5 women. icon_redface.gif




I don't recall having seen him, but I'll keep my eye out. icon_smile.gif I've seen a guy in regular Hollywood, near the Walk of Fame and all the big tourist attractions preaching about the end of the world, but I don't know if it was your father. He was right near a subway stop, maybe it was him and he took the subway from North Hollywood?

Annabakescakes Posted 24 Mar 2011 , 7:26pm
post #30 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by VanillaCoke

I have some sort of a Dell we bought used just for me- it works really well, though the battery isn't great. It was cheap, though, and my husband only rolls his eyes when he sees me globbing sugar and goo on it.

It seems like the operating system can make the computer really user friendly or really slow and annoying. I hate, hate, hate Windows Vista- it's on a computer we have and it just aggravates me. That's just MY opinion, but if you're familiar with one operating system you might want to stick with it. Or maybe it's just me.




EXACTLY! lol Mine will be filled with powdered sugar! I had the electrician put an extra plug for a laptop charger, so I will only need the battery for going out. When I had this desktop that I am on built, I had the other one put in, not Vista. Can't remember what it's called. I heard Vista was terrible! Do people still have that option? I thought it was too late. I really don't know about stuff like that. What are the options?

Where did you get it? I love used stuff! I have purchased refurbished and craigslist items evry chance I could, where it made sense. I would want a warranty with a computer

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