Thursday, December 4, 2014

Loading the New Laptop

Loading the New Laptop - Top Software

In July of 2011 I had to replace a laptop. I previously posted a short article - 9 Top Apps - describing the minimal software that needed to be loaded to make it functional. The new laptop is a Dell Inspiron 11 3000 2-in-1, running Windows 8.1. (Disclaimer, I previously worked for Microsoft, and currently work for Dell).

My wife prefers the web version of Facebook and GMail, so I get to skip most of the social media apps. I copied her bookmarks from the old laptop and emailed them to her account for import to the new.
Inspiron 11 3000 2-in-1

Here is a line by line comparison of the applications loaded in July, 2011 and those loaded this week (Dec, 2014): 
  1. Adobe - Reader, Touch Version installed. Flash, Air and Shockwave did not seem necessary. It could be that IE 11 and Chrome 39.x.x.x can handle this content without add-ins
  2. Office 2010 - not yet, but maybe. Office Live yes. In fact, you pretty much have to have a Microsoft account if you want to avoid dozens of reminders, pop-up messages, etc. Account was created, Win 8.1 updates made, and the email address may never get used again.
  3. Google Chrome - was the first thing she asked for. Google toolbox is probably not needed, and Google Picasa will be loaded later. 
  4. Firefox - not yet, probably not needed. Chrome does 99.9% of what is on the web. The other fraction is deprecated junk.  
  5.  LastPass - Was the first thing I wanted on the PC. Whitson Gordon of LifeHacker explains the security issues in his article "Is LastPass Secure?" I support three laptops, four tablets, two PCs and a Windows phone. With 250 passwords, plenty of secure notes and network configuration notes, it's required.
  6. Amazon Kindle - and Amazon Cloud Player for music. There is not much music on the PC (yet), but the Amazon Music application has replaced Windows Media Player for convenient access to device and cloud based music. 
  7. Cute FTP and PDF - not for this laptop, but my Epson MFC printer was immediately recognized and I didn't have to locate the disks (huge win!). 
  8. Wise FTP - Again, not the role for this laptop. 
  9. Apple iTunes and Quicktime. Funny, never even considered loading these. They were required a couple of years ago, but not today. 
The time from opening the box to "ready to use" was about a hour. The next time I can steal it away for a few minutes I'll add some Chrome applications to round out the experience like: Feedly, Blogger, Pandora, WeatherBug, GasBuddy.