Comments about the previous posts...
-Dell is fine. They sell and make alot of them so they are alot of complaints/issues/problems. But chances are that your computer from Dell will be fine.
-QVC. Please don't buy a computer there, look online for deals or newspaper flyers. QVC and other online shopping networks are focused around a particular audience, one that doesn't know much about technology per say. Your better off doing your own research and looking around yourself. Basic office, photo, and security software are standard with a computer purchase today.
-As for Toshiba, they don't make as many computers but there are alot of complaints from customers, so there is obviously a problem. You want to try your luck? Buy a toshiba lol.
-Any of the other companies/models suggested; Dell 6000, Compaq R4000, Compaq M2000Z, fujitsu, etc. Those are great computers. Also look at HP. You can buy alot for $1500. Have fun shopping!
In regards to laptop specs, if you want mobility(lighter and longer battery life) go for an Intel Centrino or AMD Turion 64 cpu. If mobility doesn't matter then any regular P4 or AMD Athlon 64 would work. If you are concerned with being with the latest technology go for 64 bit for the future, i.e any AMD 64 cpu. If you wait you maybe could get 64 bit Intels or even dual-cores in a laptop. Theres alot happening in the computer industry these days. I was just watching Bill Gates' Biography on the the Bio channel lol. It was very interesting.
Hope that helps.