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Computers

chrisdchrisd 474 replies23 threads Member
edited August 2006 in University of Pittsburgh
We're considering purchasing a laptop for our daughter to use at college.

One factor in deciding between a laptop and desktop is theft.

Obviously, leaving a laptop unattended on campus is inviting theft.

But I'm wondering what experience Pitt students have had with theft in their dorms, particularly the Towers?
edited August 2006
26 replies
Post edited by chrisd on
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Replies to: Computers

  • nurse123nurse123 147 replies2 threads Junior Member
    we're also considering a laptop. d is deciding which one to purchase. any ideas???
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  • chrisdchrisd 474 replies23 threads Member
    I think Pitt has some discounts available to students with a few companies. I believe Dell is one. We've had good luck w/ Dells at home, so we'll look at those.
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  • lkf725lkf725 4596 replies184 threads Senior Member
    Son has a Dell and it has been great. His roommate had a Mac and had a little trouble installing the Pitt software upon moving in (but it eventually worked). If you and your roommate agree to keep the doors locked when you leave, you shouldn't have any theft problem. My son never even took his laptop lock out of the packaging!

    Pitt does have system recommendations, though.
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  • chrisdchrisd 474 replies23 threads Member
    I wonder if you buy it through Pitt if it comes w/ the Pitt software installed?

    Has your son had to have any repairs done--is there a place on campus for Dell repair?
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  • nurse123nurse123 147 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Is there anyone at Pitt to contact about the computers(installation, service, etc) before you purchase it? When do you get the Pitt software and do you install it yourself?
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  • lkf725lkf725 4596 replies184 threads Senior Member
    We got a Dell with a good coupon sale, but Pitt does discount Dell, Gateway and Mac. I am pretty sure that Pitt offers some degree of support for those brands above. Still, we bought the service agreement from Dell where they will send some one to your location within 24 hours. Luckily, my son did not need any assistance on his Dell laptop. I called the Help Desk to ask some questions before we purchased a computer and they were very helpful (412-624-HELP). When the students arrive, there is a CD on each desk for them to install and connect to the Pitt Network.
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  • nurse123nurse123 147 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Thanks for the information. What about banking? Is there a particular bank that is convenient? Also, are the dorm beds extra-long or will standard bedding fit? Linen companies keep sending information to purchase. Any other tips for freshmen?? Thanks
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  • lkf725lkf725 4596 replies184 threads Senior Member
    PNC Bank is the most convenient, with a branch and ATM's right in the quad by the dorms. There may be others, but I don't remember.

    The beds are all extra-long. The beds in the Towers have a wooden frame with holes in the legs such that the mattress platform can be moved up and down. Many kids put the mattress up higher to increase storage space underneath. (you don't need those bed lifter things).

    People I know who used those linen companies said the fabric was coarse and not very nice. Lands End, Bed Bath and Beyond, and Macy's carry a good selection of XL sheets. You might want a mattress cushion, too. You can get away with a standard length comforter or blanket, though.

    Tips: You don't need a desk lamp, as the desks have an integrated light. The rooms have a bulletin board and a waste basket, so you don't necessarily need those either.

    Any more questions, just ask!
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  • kinkosmomkinkosmom 134 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Thanks, ilf. Would love it if you could give a list of what you do need. What about fridge, lamp to use in bed?
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  • lkf725lkf725 4596 replies184 threads Senior Member
    A bed lamp is a good idea so that you can read while your roommate sleeps (courtesy first!). My son used one that clamped onto the bed frame, which was good because he positioned it so that his dresser shielded his roommate from the light. You could use one that stands on top of your dresser, though.

    We rented the microfridge from the company suggested by Pitt. It was adequate and the two guys split the cost.

    Bring posters or decorations, a calendar, and maybe a small message board to hang on your door. The towers have a cork strip all along each wall so that you can easily tack up posters, photos, etc.

    Also, consider any "organizer" devices you may want. For example, you may want a large plastic bin or two for under bed storage, some small plastic bins to hold small items so they don't fall through the wire shelves, a couple of crates or plastic bins to hold things on the floor of the closet area, media storage container for CD's, and maybe a compartmentalized drawer organizer for the desk. You need a few hangers and an umbrella. Some kids have desktop speakers for their computers, and you must have at least one alarm clock. A small hamper is helpful, too.

    The list thing drove me crazy last year, but it was unnecessary. Some how, everything works out eventually!
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  • neeleshneelesh 1153 replies132 threads Senior Member
    one thing everyone brings is a small whiteboard to clip onto their door, so people can write them messages....but anyway, pitt sends you a list of things to bring, and it actually is a good list!
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  • kinkosmomkinkosmom 134 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Thanks for the lists. They were helpful. Take care.
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  • chrisdchrisd 474 replies23 threads Member
    When my oldest daughter lived in a dorm, the big thing "all" the kids had were mattress pads--the sort of duvet type that go under the fitted sheet. Their opinion was it made a real improvement on the dorm mattress.
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  • ucsd_ucla_daducsd_ucla_dad 8506 replies67 threads Senior Member
    Regarding laptop security - it's a good idea to by a 'laptop lock' which is a cable that locks the laptop to the desk, bedframe, etc. They're about $30. They're not impossible to cut through but it'll be easier for the thief to just steal some other student's laptop.

    Some of the desktops are also quite easy to steal - it takes less than a minute to disconnect the cables and walk off with it (or the nice flat screen monitor) under one's arm.

    I wouldn't count on roommates locking the doors regardless of what they say up front. College students are notoriously naive and lax when it comes to things like security and theft. They also tend to be very lazy in this area (yes - I'm generalizing).
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  • neeleshneelesh 1153 replies132 threads Senior Member
    i have to disagree with ucsd_ucla_dad. Most of the people in my entire floor and floors below me never locked their doors. They would leave the building with their doors unlocked. In fact, people would leave all their stuff in the lounges as well. At one time, there was a PS2, somebodies tv, a wallet w/ credit cards, 3 computers, all laying around the lounge for 3 days. Nobody took them, and their owners finally took them back later. I think that security isn't as big of an issue in the dorms, but it does depend on where you live also. I would even leave my laptop in the hillman library unattended, and nobody ever touched it!

    If you want the extra security, then yea get the lock, but I don't think you really need it.

    Just my opinion :-)
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  • mercymommercymom 1220 replies29 threads Senior Member
    Wow. This is great about the safety, however, being paranoid by nature, we will probably get the computer lock as we did for older sibling at a different school. Our other child pretty much used her laptop as a desktop and never really carried it out of the dorm room except to come home for holidays. Do Pitt kids (esplly engineering) actually carry laptops around much? Like to class, library, labs, etc?

    Also, do you need a printer in your dorm room? I know they said at Pittstart you get like 900 pages a semeter(?) printed free, but how easy is it to access that? We also got the sibling a cheap printer for her room and she used that a lot, since most of her papers seemed to get done in the middle of the night and were printed right before rushing to the class to meet a deadline. (However, there doesn't seem to be much space in a Towers room to put a printer).
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  • neeleshneelesh 1153 replies132 threads Senior Member
    I would recommend getting a printer. There are labs everywhere, but only one open 24 hours, the rest close at 2AM. It is annoying to have to go to the lab to print one page of something, and is much easier to have a printer. I don't think i knew anyone who didn't have a printer in his/her room. (each roomate had their own too). Usually, what I did was if i needed to print something that was more than about 6 pages, i went to the lab, otherwise i would print in my dorm. Most of my papers were also done right before they were do, so it was very convenient for me to have a printer. There actually is alot of space in the towers, (i lived in tower B in the honors dorms, so this is different than tower C) and you will easily be able to find space for it. (btw, the 900 pages you get is ALOT, they always print double sided, (no color) and even if you have a class which requires alot of printing, you wont use that quota up)

    Most people dont carry laptops to class, but they might carry it to like Hillman Library, or the Cathedral, or the new park, as they offer wireless internet. There are computers everywhere that you can use, so alot of people just get flash drives.
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  • ophioliteophiolite 1020 replies34 threads Member
    I never had a printer when I lived on campus at Pitt, though I bought one when I moved off campus. The printing quota was more than enough for me to print off everything I could possibly need. My final semester, I actually decided to print off lots and lots of journal articles to prepare for graduate school and still landed probably 50 pages shy of my quota.

    Many of the labs are open 24 hours and I only had problems at two labs getting a computer during peak hours (the one in Posvar at the end of the tunnel from the towers and the one in the Cathedral basement). Also, during peak hours, the printing queue was approximately 15-20 minutes. So, if you go to the lab ~1hr before class there was never a problem printing off an assignment.

    Labs that are tend to have shorter lines (that I frequented) is the one on the first floor of Posvar and the one on the 8th(?) floor of Benedum Hall (the engineering building).

    As a side note, I never had a problem with theft nor did any of my friends have problems with theft on campus. The only problem I had with theft in Pittsburgh in general was my car stereo when I moved off campus (I was stupid and left my face-plate on overnight).

    I totally recommend not buying a printer unless you really really need it. Even after I got a printer, I only printed in B&W in draft quality a few pages when I absolutely needed them to conserve money. You do pay for the printing you do on campus in your technology fee, might as well use it! :D
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  • neeleshneelesh 1153 replies132 threads Senior Member
    I think it depends on where you live too. I lived on the 14th floor of tower B, so if i wanted to go to David Lawrence to print something, It would take me probably 15-40 minutes to do so, because the time of waiting for the elevators, going out of the towers, getting to the computer lab, praying that the labs aren't full, sometimes waiting, logging on to your computer, printing, waiting for your thing to print and the people working there to give you your print outs, then walking back and going back up to your room....it can be very exhausting and annoying to do that everytime......

    And if you go to hillman just to print something out, it will take even longer....

    I only printed black and white also, except on few occasions. I used about 750 of my quota, and i used up my black ink cartrige (1) during each semester...
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  • maura423maura423 52 replies3 threads Junior Member
    I live in the area and definitely suggest PNC for your banking. As for campus safety, it's certainly not in the safest area, but just use some basic caution and you should be fine.
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