Jwax

Just a minor variation
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Nov 9, 2005
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Hey all.

I will be starting my forensic fellowship in January. My current laptop is about five years old and the left click button doesn't work on the mouse pad. Also very slow. Perfect time for an upgrade!

I would like something lightweight and portable, that I can easily use microsoft word (or Mac equivalent, I've never own a Mac so I don't know what that is). I like the touch screen idea as well, but that is more for fun that necessity. Really just want something that I can review documents, surface the web, and type reports for court on. I also want something that I can hook up one of those small scanners (or wireless? is that a thing?) so I can scan and email documents / releases of information or whatever. Obviously not a huge techie person...

Thoughts?
 

MLT2MT2DO

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Jan 21, 2008
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Google Chromebook
Make sure you don't need windows for your EMR if you decide to go this wat.

If you do I'd recommend a thinkpad, it's basically a hybrid laptop/chrome book.

Grabbed mine for $250 and it's been perfect

Sent from my SM-G900V using SDN mobile
 

keifernny2

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My last 3 laptops have been Lenovo think pads because they have some of the best keyboards for typing and are quite durable (though not like, indestructible). I dropped one 4 feet onto concrete and while it cracked the case, nothing broke, and I kept it for 2 more years.


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splik

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I like my macbook air. you can use microsoft word on it. Doximity has a free HIPAA complaint (not that HIPAA applies to forensic evals) fax service that I use to receive/send records and it's good. I just use my phone and genius scan to scan documents and then you can email them. If you need better quality presumably your office will have a fax machine that can scan and email documents though you are going to be doing more receiving records (a lot of records) than you are scanning things. some places may not let you take your laptop or whatever in or they may require you to use one of theirs (this is what one of the jails I go to does). I would definitely advise you to try and write up as much of your report during the evaluations as you can.

also remember that your laptop can be weaponized, but you may need to use it as a weapon at some point ;)
 

PsyDr

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depending on where you work, I would recommend a travel laptop and a work laptop.

Some things to consider: Ease of removing Wifi card (some facilities require this), battery life (unless you are inclined to provide someone with a makeshift garrote), ease of cloning the hard drive (you'll want to backup at least once a week), durability, expense ( you don't want someone to destroy something you can't afford to quickly replace), and security features.

Fujitsu Snapscans are amazing for high speed scanning. The handheld scanners are all kinda crap.

@Shikima @splik, A friend sells those, and they are not the best. I've also had my laptop used against me. The lack of durabilty (after the first few hits to my skull) was a positive feature for me.
 

Bartelby

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Google chromebook is an attractive option but keep in mind that the default apps are not considered HIPAA compliant unless you enter into a business associates agreement with Google: https://support.google.com/a/answer/3407054?hl=en. I'm not sure how much effort goes into this but probably too much. I would go Mac, you can encrypt the hard drive for free and it should work with any scanning hardware you want. The battery life is good and the hardware is typically pretty durable. Windows could be fine too (like the Lenovo suggested above) but I would encourage a Pro version so that, again, you can easily encrypt. Obviously don't store data on an unencrypted laptop!

Beyond that go to the stores and try a few out. You will likely realize that personal preference about the trackpad, keyboard, hardware styling, and overall feel of the machine matters more than most other factors.
 

splik

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HIPAA is not relevant for forensic evaluations for the most part, though of course one should still try to preserve the confidentiality of sensitive information.
 
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notdeadyet

Still in California
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I converted to a MacBook during my forensic fellowship. I was using a MacBook Pro, but it was a little too big for my taste.

I looked at Chromebooks and the like but didn't like the dependency on connectivity. Too many places you find yourselves in forensics don't have access.

I can toss the MacBook in a go bag with a notebook and I'm fine for doing evaluations in prison settings. It's sufficiently small that I can put it inside a notebook in my bag. This is handy for the places that will ask for folks to lock up their briefcases and laptop bags but you can walk in with a folder without a problem. It's also small enough that you can type easily with it in your lap. If you're doing a lot of forensics (multiple evals in a day), you develop a system in which you type notes as you interview the evaluee (safety permitting). It has great battery life. It's plenty fast for the stuff I use it for. It will never be a gaming laptop, but it makes for a great work one.