Needed: Advice on Reliable Computer Systems : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Needed : Advice on Reliable Computer Systems

As we contemplate the eventual rollover and its consequences, and we discuss the main topic i.e. glitches - those of us here know that staying informed requires access to the Web and that requires a functioning computer. Common sense suggests that one own and use the most useful, reliable, functional computer system one can afford.

Questions for the experts: if you had your druthers, would any of the experts on the forum care to offer suggestions with regard to :

a) is there a "56 Chevy pickup" of computers? if so, describe it

b) when we talk about "reliability" - i.e. least prone to crash, hang ; i.e. to do what it is designed to do when it is needed to do it, etc.; - which "box" (or chipset, or boards, or sets of components) is/are the most reliable?

which OS is the most reliable?

[when I speak of reliability, I've been using the HP 41CX system with all its peripherals since it came out; when I want to solve a triangle equation is just does it; reliably, always, correctly, no hangs, no glitches, just works all the time; if I can keep it in N cell power, it will serve forever...; if an Egyptian engineer in 5 BC had had an HP 41CX he could have ruled the world... - that's what I'm after in computer system reliability - does that exist?]

c) I understand there was a mil-spec standard called 'Tempest' that was supposed to mean that a system was 'hardened for combat'; does that spec still exist? are there any systems commercially available that we can buy that conform to that spec? does that spec address reliability as in "when I want it to work - it will work"...

d) are laptops generally, more or less reliable than desk tops?? if so why? if not why not? which ones? is the IBM 770 series still the best? which is?

e) what about the specialty stuff i.e. the Dolch laptops and lunchboxes? [ for some reason, I want one, but have no contact with anyone who owns/uses one]; the new Magnesium cased Panasonic laptop? ; industrial rack mount washdown grade stuff; etc.?

Point : if I want to splurge and buy or build the most reliable, most easily repairable, most functional, most bullet-proof computer system currently available for a small <5 person business and personal use, what would you recommend.?

f) do most systems crash because they are overloaded with too many apps and I/O and not enough ports, Interrupts and IRQs, and too little processor capability and memory for the tasks required?

and is having multiple systems on the same desk the most viable option? ; i.e. I run two systems on my desk now, strictly for redundancy - when I want to be up I want to be UP!! one for the net and one for everything else, but both systems are capable of doing what the other does - with a real firewall [not virtual] between them; both running virus detection all the time; one is desktop, one laptop., one AC, one DC, one LCD, one CRT, etc... is this the best way to buy reliability - by buying redundancy with multiple operational features...?

[lest someone give the quick one word answer " Mac", I have a friend with a new, bought from the factory, fully loaded, big, hot, G3 that is slower, less reliable, crashes more often and is generally more trouble than either my old P90 desktop or P133 laptop;] g) discusss utilities please:

I run Norton 3.0 for Win 95 to monitor things in real time; describe some others, better, that do other things; I like having lots of 'gages on the dashboard'; what really is essential in utilities, and works...?

Since I think this is important to us all, I offer my thanks in advance for your help.


-- Perry Arnett (, August 22, 1999



I assume that you are not talking mainframe. I have little direct experience in that area [although I use them]. I do use Unix, Mac and Windows. All of them work and none of them are perfect. Unix is just difficult to use for new workers, but it works fine [haven't tried Linux]. We use a lot of Mac's because [in contrast to common conception our graphic's programs aren't available for Windows]. I have found that Windows works well for things one can do there. All of them crash. Given a choice, I do my most important work on a Mac; why, it crashes less and it is easier to fix when it does. Hope this helps; but it really just depends on what you do.

-- Z1X4Y7 (, August 22, 1999.

Perry, your friend with the new Mac just needs to take it in, easy under warranty, and have it fixed.

Macs RULE !!!! Really. Go test drive a new iMac. It's awesome. We're using a loaner now, and the speed is amazing, rocking and cooking, blazing away.

Apple's support is excellent. 1 year warranty, can buy extension for 3 years which includes to-your-door service. There are Forums on the Internet where you receive instant free help and advice. There's an 800 #. There's free eMail support. Etc.

Those who dismiss Macs as "toys" just show their outdated ignorance.
You've got to use one to understand the zippy joys of easy computing.

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (, August 22, 1999.

Some important info -- Apple is continuing to innovate and improve at breakneck speed. Don't buy a new iMac until the middle of November! The new iMacs will be released then, for the current price, and will be even better, faster, etc. etc. Apparently awesome leaps ahead with whole new design. Happy with what we've got, but not immune to new oohs and ahhs :-)

Apple gives Mac lovers great surprises and delights @ every 3 months ...

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (, August 22, 1999.


Because of my work, I spend at least a fourth of my life in your area of the world. What does "outdated ignorance" mean?


-- Z1X4Y7 (, August 22, 1999.

Z1X4Y7, when the Mac first came out, many IBM-swollen egos immediately scoffed at the Mac and proclaimed it a "toy" without ever trying it. To deride the new box was to prove one's macho nerd tech-savvy status. It was a display of ignorance then.

Now, of course, after so many Mac advances and resurrections/revolutions, many belching "toy" snorters still hold onto those old ignorant attitudes, which are clearly proven to be "outdated."

We'd enjoy meeting you when you're in our neck o zee woods. We can't access our eMail until we get our Bondi Blue Rev A iMac back, but do eMail us when you have a few hours free in Cascadia. Our schedule of course is completely dependent upon our pt's condition, but we can usually make some breathing space for a Yourdynamite ;^)

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (, August 22, 1999.

appreciate the comments; I have no preferences - I'll use whatever WORKS!

like the mobility and all-in-one-ness of a laptop; unhook and lock it in a file cabinet, etc; also running off DC 'through' a battery for protection from spikes, etc;

my desktop is caseless: just bare guts sitting there ready to be altered or modified as needed; [yes, it's a PC...]

-- Perry Arnett (, August 22, 1999.

Oh, and Perry, Macs are and always have been Y2K compliant! And with the new G3 you can open the case really easily -- they advertise it open.

There's a new laptop called the iBook out in September. Really neat, can use without a phone cord, moving around your house or workplace. Very convenient. Since it's the first generation, wouldn't buy it yet.

One of the weird things about planning for Y2K is:

Do you buy compliant electronic gizmos now, and risk no electricity and grid down for a long time so bad investment; or
Do you buy compliant electronic gizmos now, and breathe a sigh of relief knowing that for a few years you'll have something that at least works when there's electricity, while others can't get compliant gadgets because the supply lines have dried up.

We weren't going to buy *anything* using chips or needing electricity, but then realized this may be the only chance. So we bought a SuperDisk Drive for storage & back-up (works like a dream), and an Epson 740i color printer, finally, even though we don't print much. We're also going to buy a new Agfa SnapScan Touch Scanner (gotta a little more research to do first) with one-button through-put to the printer, so it acts as both a color scanner and color copier and fax. Just $99!

USB is hot-swappable and fast, don't have to turn off puter to plug in and play with peripherals.

Can't recommend the Mac highly enough.

If we puter newbie dolts can surf the Net first day on the iMac, *anybody* can learn to use it quickly and be very productive. Beware of Mac addiction, though; it's real! ;^)

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (, August 22, 1999.


Have an 740. It works great. Need to choose the paper carefully for the job. My scanner is Hi-tech, but I don't have to pay for it. Man what you can do with 300 MB of RAM and this technology [well, I'm learning].


-- Z1X4Y7 (, August 22, 1999.

Drool! You gotta talk to Michael Taylor :-)

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (, August 22, 1999.


You are really shaming me. I started on an Apple II. My first Mac had about 128K memory. Why do you bring these things up. Please note that I can still read stuff written on Word on my first Mac, but the first stuff in Word on my first PC can only be translated by going to a Mac and then back to a PC. It may be my problem, but it works.


-- Z1X4Y7 (, August 22, 1999.

LOL! We still have our ancient 1990 Mac LC running MS Word 5.1 -- our caregiving business is on there. Works great! Course only a 40 MG HD, 16 (haha!) speed. Not Netting, but Ashton has a whopper of a project going on it continuously. We bought the SuperDisk Drive because it can read and write the old floppies as well as new 120MG diskettes; that's how our two Macs are communicating. There's lots of other way, like AppleTalk or EtherNet, but we chose the least expensive that shot other birds with the same stone ;^)

Gawk, here we are, puter dummies, babbling on a Forum chock-full of programmers and experts! But that's testimony to the Mac; you don't have to know & understand how the innards work to have fun and be very productive. And the Mac is seductively appealing and fascinating to learn on; it inspires one to keep digging a little deeper ever day, expanding knowledge.

Note: Leska worked for IBM first, so had something to compare :-)

There's lotsa folks on this Forum that know wwaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyy more about Mac than we do! They must all be out BBQing.

Mac OS X will be released soon. NeXT merged with Mac. Unix. Supposed to be the coolest fastest most versatile operating system since ???? Wish Y2K would evaporate and just go away.

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (, August 22, 1999.


Please don't tell anyone. but I still secretly use Word 5.1. It is the last one that does what I want to do in a simple fashion. Oh yes, I have the latest versions; I need them to translate the incoming. Do I use them to work; only when required.



-- Z1X4Y7 (, August 22, 1999.

Z, shhh. Bought Office 98 a year ago and it's still shrink-wrapped in the box. Planning to install it when our iMac comes back fixed. (It's had a bizarre problem that we ignored because we couldn't bear to give it up even for a day!). We're planning to do exactly that: translate incoming into Word 5.1, and just learn the latest to "keep up." But not use ;^)
Z, you've helped/taught us a lot with your subtle comments and hints! Did you know there's Apple Discussion Forums that have lotsa die-hard addicts because they're so good?

For iMacs, check out:

iMac Discussion Forum

For all types of of Macintosh support and Discussion Forums, check out this amazing page:

AppleCare Site Index

Apple's user support is incredible! Any question one could ever have is answered here!

There's a report out today on Breaking News that states over 6% of Net users have Net addiction. We think the number is substantially greater!

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (, August 22, 1999.

I've used Macs, I've used PCs. They all crash at one time or another.

I'm sticking to my abacus for now.

-- Y2KGardener (, August 22, 1999.

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