Will a MB Air (or iPad) replace a junkie Dell with caveats?

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jest2dogs
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Will a MB Air (or iPad) replace a junkie Dell with caveats?

Post by jest2dogs » Sat Jan 17, 2015 1:45 pm

My employer provides me with a 15" Dell laptop (Windows 8), which is the ?$&!#% computer I have ever had to use.

I work as a route driver and I must scan my deliveries into an Excel program (they also provide the USB wired scanner). The Dell keyboard is not lighted, so overcast days and nighttime require I use a headlamp to see the keyboard. I also use company-wide "Outlook" email and "Brightree.net" (this site may not be completely mobile friendly)

Almost every time I turn it on, it either,
1) needs charging
2) is automatically starting updates and I need to wait!
3) has just been subverted by a scam program, "Must protect your computer now!"
3) just dropped the battery pack off the bottom
4) freezes up
5) decides to "auto save" the program I am working with
6) deletes information or changes pages mysteriously

Yes, I am frustrated, and the company won't replace until next year or so, and I will get, probably, the same thing again. (I love working for this employer but they are so stuck on PC's!)

Here's the caveats...

Company is switching to Office 365 and Outlook email for all employees and using a company called DPE.
The scanner uses a USB connector.

I would be ecstatic if an iPad could be used but I don't think Excel works on mobile devices except as viewing only, and then there's the scanner. (Yes, iPad can scan UPC codes with an app using the built in camera, but "might" not be convenient/easy to get at the barcodes.)

If I "pop" for my own 13" laptop (or?) with a lighted keyboard (two top priorities, size reduction and visibility), what are my options?

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Stephen Hart
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Re: Will a MB Air (or iPad) replace a junkie Dell with cavea

Post by Stephen Hart » Sat Jan 17, 2015 3:45 pm

Here's pretty much all I can contribute:

Excel for iPad iOS app
Create and edit with confidence
• When you edit a spreadsheet, your content and formatting are maintained across all your devices – PC, Mac, tablet and phone.
Excel for iPad Macworld Review

There's a new iPad Air coming out momentarily. Apple has an ad up.

There are USB-to-iPad adapters, but you'd probably need to check to see if they work with the scanner. I believe they're all designed for cameras.

Current 11" MacBook Air includes two USB 3 ports. Rumor has it that a newer Air, a work in progress, will have only a Thunderbolt port.

There's a lot of discussion on Macintouch about Boot Camp, so if you need to run Windows, you might want to check there. Readers of Macintouch are pretty good about answering specific questions.

Of course, if you're using your own money, buying your choice of new Windows PC laptop might be cheaper if that'd solve any enough problems.

Charging in the car might be an option, but it might also be clumsy and noisy. (At least back when we used a car-to-120 v AC converter, it was noisy and hot and requires extra cords.)
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Ray Bentsen
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Re: Will a MB Air (or iPad) replace a junkie Dell with cavea

Post by Ray Bentsen » Sun Jan 18, 2015 12:53 am

I think that either option would work.

However, it would be nice if you could verify the workability without any financial commitment. If it were me, I would try out the process using my desktop Mac first ... assuming that you have Office installed on your Mac. If that works, then consider investing in either a used MacBook Air with a backlit keyboard (like the one I have for sale).

An iPad solution is more questionable, since an iPad does not have its own file structure and Excel on an iPad requires a subscription to Microsoft OneDrive to share a file. I don't know how Office 365 works on an iPad, but would also require a subscription. Is there any way to find out if anyone else at the company has tried an iPad solution?

So, how does your scanned data get back to the company now? Being able to duplicate that process with a Mac may be an issue.

;)

P.S. Avoid a Windows solution, if at all possible.
An old Norse adage: Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

jest2dogs
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Re: Will a MB Air (or iPad) replace a junkie Dell with cavea

Post by jest2dogs » Sun Jan 18, 2015 1:03 am

Thanks Stephen, I will take a look at suggested links, boot camp and PC option (ych!).

Ray, I have "Office for Mac" installed on my 15" MBP and I have tested it with the scanner. But I do not want to commit my home/personal laptop to work tasks. What are you asking for the MB Air?

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Ray Bentsen
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Re: Will a MB Air (or iPad) replace a junkie Dell with cavea

Post by Ray Bentsen » Sun Jan 18, 2015 1:23 am

jest2dogs wrote:What are you asking for the MB Air?
The MacBook Air is described here in the Forum and is listed for $800 ... exactly half of what I paid for it.

But for you ... $750.

;)
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Stephen Hart
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Re: Will a MB Air (or iPad) replace a junkie Dell with cavea

Post by Stephen Hart » Sun Jan 18, 2015 8:06 am

The MacBook Pro I have listed for sale also has a backlit keyboard.
http://www.straitmac.org/phpBB3/viewtop ... =10&t=1730
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Jay Cline
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Re: Will a MB Air (or iPad) replace a junkie Dell with cavea

Post by Jay Cline » Sun Jan 18, 2015 11:17 am

If your company has an IT dept. it would be wise to discuss your options with them. You might save yourself a lot of time testing Mac solutions that they won't support OR already have solutions for.
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Richard Serkes
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Re: Will a MB Air (or iPad) replace a junkie Dell with cavea

Post by Richard Serkes » Sun Jan 18, 2015 11:55 am

Jay Cline wrote:If your company has an IT dept. it would be wise to discuss your options with them. You might save yourself a lot of time testing Mac solutions that they won't support OR already have solutions for.
How about telling your boss that the piece of junk you're using now is having a negative impact on your productivity and costing the company money. Be specific. Talk about the keyboard situation and everything else you've mentioned here. Maybe the company will upgrade your PC right now and you won't be out any of your own $$$.
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jest2dogs
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Re: Will a MB Air (or iPad) replace a junkie Dell with cavea

Post by jest2dogs » Sun Jan 18, 2015 2:17 pm

Ah, bidding wars....and I haven't even gotta to that point yet. Lol :0)

Richard...corporate has deaf ears. They just did a company wide update of those in need of new computers and since they just gave me this one in May...

No drivers warranted any changes in their view. Still a chasm between front lines and back office.

One innovative sales rep utilizes an iPad extensively. But the corporate "mindset" is that Apple does not work for corporate/business needs, it's for personal use by families and retirees. Argh!

Funny, I see plenty of iPads in the hands of sales reps and other route drivers...

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