Best for law school?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by techne1, Feb 5, 2004.

  1. techne1 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2004
    Location:
    Highland, IN
    #1
    Next fall I'll be starting law school and I'm torn about which Powerbook to buy. I'll be so far in debt anyway that I'm not too worried about cost but I just can't decide between the portability of the 12" PB and the increased speed and screen size of the 15" PB. I use two monitors for my desktop, so going 12" would be painful at first. However, I don't know how feasible it is to use a 15" PB during class and having books open, etc. The school I'm going to has long U-Shaped tables with seats pretty close together. Has anyone used a 15" during lectures? Does it seem way too big, too big but totally worth it, or just right? The widescreen would best mimic my usual 2 monitor computer usage, but... I just don't know, please help! Personal experiences would be much appreciated. Thanks :)
     
  2. virividox macrumors 601

    virividox

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2003
    Location:
    Manila - Nottingham - Philadelphia - Santa Barbar
    #2
    i use a 17 inch in lectures, and i dont have a problem with its size or portability, i dont carry anything but that and a couple hand outs with me.
     
  3. Sabbath macrumors 6502a

    Sabbath

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2003
    Location:
    London
    #3
    Id suggest going for the 12" and buying an external monitor with the money you save for use in your room. I have a 12" that I use with my 20" Apple display and it seems to be a pretty perfect setup. Although obviously the 20" is pretty expensiv, but you can get some nice 17-18" TFTs for not much money nowadays.

    However if you have to use the laptop without a monitor the whole time, Id say go with the 15".
     
  4. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2003
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #4
    I think Sabbath has the right idea. I have a 15 inch which I LOVE, but it's a little awkward in the classroom. If you like working at a desk (I don't really--I carry my laptop all around the house), you can just get an external monitor for working on complicated projects. The 12-incher will be fine for word processing/class notes, Web surfing, etc.
     
  5. Le Big Mac macrumors 68020

    Le Big Mac

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #5
    Makes sense. Those law books are heavy. You don't need any more weight. And you will need more than just handouts. In most classes, you'll have the case book open to the relevant pages under discussion, at least some of the time.
     
  6. idea_hamster macrumors 65816

    idea_hamster

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2003
    Location:
    NYC, or thereabouts
    #6
    When I went, I used a Sony VAIO that was about the size of the 12" PB. (The last PC in my period with the dark side :rolleyes: )

    I would definitely recommend a 12" PB. It's small enough that you'll never think twice about having it with you -- a big plus, I found, since I didn't need to plan out whether I was going to spend lots of time in the library or not.

    I had an external monitor and keyboard and found that I pretty much never used them -- in the end, I wrote all my papers actually in the library. Now, that may be because (1) the law library had ethernet web connections and I had dial-up in my apt., (2) we had specific instructions to "use the books" on certain writing assignments and/or (3) if I was at home, I just wouldn't write the papers. Unless you're really sure you want a monitor and keyboard, I'd wait -- you can always get them later.

    Another reason that I went small was that I didn't take notes on my laptop (although the number of law students doing this clearly rose sharply just during my three years). If you find that you can, in fact, type while actively listening, you should consider taking notes on your Mac -- making your course outlines for exams will be much easier.

    Also, it will keep you in the habit of writing a linear explanation of issues and answers -- while diagrams, arrows and pictures may help you understand the issues, you'll have to write them out on exams, especially if they have you type them. (From my 2nd year on, we used laptops to type exams, turning in a copy on a floppy disc. You may consider getting a USB floppy drive for this, or for sharing information in general.)

    Keep in mind that the 12" PB has a pretty decent keyboard and an effective display as big as any that was called "14 inch" back in the day. I'd go with the 12".
     
  7. question fear macrumors 68020

    question fear

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2003
    Location:
    The "Garden" state
    #7
    One thing to remember, and hopefully you already know this, some law schools give the option of tests on your computer. My roommate goes to Boston University Law, and she has that option, but its pc-only (they use a proprietary word processor program to avoid cheating, etc.)
    So check and make sure that you dotn need vpc or an external floppy (thats what she gets the program/test on for each exam) since profs tend to look better upon readable typed tests.

    -c
     
  8. Foxer macrumors 65816

    Foxer

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #8
    I would be cautious about the 12-inch. You're going to be lugging so much around, I don't think the minimal weight difference would matter that much. I used a IBM thinkpad in law school (the dark days of apple) with a big screen. Everyone else had laptops, too. We all managed to squeeze in with our books and 'puters.

    (Interesting aside: I remember my internation trade class during second year and some kid brought in this freaky laptop that just perplexed us all. First sighting of a clamshell iBook.)

    By my third year, the school had ethernet in most classrooms, so I had to stop bringing my computer because I paid ZERO attention to the lectures. I could hand write notes faster anyway.
     
  9. Teronke macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2003
    #9
    I suggest the 12' and then a 15' size laptop bag.

    Most 12' laptop bags don't give you all that much room to put other things, such as cases, books, papers etc.

    Every kilo counts if you need to lug all this stuff around for extended periods during the day.

    PS Omni Outliner which comes w/ the Powerbook 12' is great for taking notes
     
  10. techne1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2004
    Location:
    Highland, IN
    #10
    Thanks for all the advice! I find myself leaning more towards the 12" now... since i don't have to buy for awhile, I hope they get a bump in some features and speed by the end of summer. Maybe I'll put the money I'll save towards a nice g5 desktop. :D The school I'll be attending (Chicago-Kent) has ethernet at every seat and they're putting wireless everywhere.. maybe having a big screen to multitask on wouldn't be so great if that multitasking invovles messaging, web browsing, etc. during class. As for exams, they have to be done on PCs at Kent too (damn Examsoft).. luckily, you can take them in the computer lab so it makes the school a bit more mac-friendly. I just can't bear XP anymore.. I'm ready to throw my computer out the window. I hope it enjoys its new life as a linux file server.
     
  11. virividox macrumors 601

    virividox

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2003
    Location:
    Manila - Nottingham - Philadelphia - Santa Barbar
    #11
    im in law school now, and most of the cases can be found in pdf format so rarely bring my books around with me. i have a ton of books but i never bring them to lecture it sjust not practical since all the material i need is on my laptop anyway and any aditional material can be found in the books in my room or library.
     
  12. techne1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2004
    Location:
    Highland, IN
    #12
    I was actually considering seeing if I could get my books unbound and scanned into pdf if they weren't already available. That way, I could make any notes I needed right on the case on my computer with Acrobat. Of course, for that... I would probably want a 15". My indecisiveness shall never end... btw, anyone know a place that’ll scan a very large number of papers or a book into pdf?
     
  13. FriarTuck macrumors 6502

    FriarTuck

    Joined:
    May 26, 2003
    Location:
    Chicago area
    #13
    I've been in your classrooms, while taking BarBri in 1992, when the building was brand new.

    And, despite my love of my 12" PB, I vote for the 15".

    IMHO, the difference in desk area taken is not great enough to overcome the great value in having two documents open side-by-side on the 15" in a size big enough to be able to read at a glance. One doc being your class notes, the other being your prep notes, case summary, or whatever you want to call it.

    I wish I'd had that ability umpteen years ago at NU. My handwriting is terrible.

    Good luck to you, though the last thing Chicago needs is another JD. ;)
     
  14. hornandsaxguy macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2004
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #14
    I'd highly recommend that you buy a multiple desktop application. I use VirtualDesktop Pro (codetek.com) and it is a godsend in being able to keep a lot of simultaneously running applications working smoothly together. This is especially true if you have a small screen.

    HSG
     

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