... but I have hope that someone will answer anyways.
As the name says I'm new to notebooks. I've been very much a desktop person. However, lately my job is requiring me to do a ton of traveling(I'm lucky if I am in the office 1 day/week,) so I'm starting to need the portability of a laptop.
I picked one out that was $1124 and my friend told me that it was overkill. So I wanted to get some others' recommendations.
I mostly use Office(Word, Excel, Access,etc.) Dreamweaver, Microsoft Project, and Microsoft Publisher. I've also submitted a proposal to work on a video project so barring approval I will be doing some video editing as well. Like most people I also want to be able to use the Internet or watch movies while I'm waiting for a plane. It would be awesome if I could play Doom 3 too, but I'm willing to keep my gaming at home. I'd like a machine that is reasonably fast as I get very impatient waiting for anything. Also I am planning to go back to grad school next year, so I'd like something that is still going to be usable in 3 years.
Other questions from the FAQ:
battery life: somewhat important - if it can make it through a 2hr flight that's good.
hard drive: I'd like to have atleast 30-40GB
DVD burning: Don't have that intention now but wouldn't mind that capability
running multiple apps at once: at most 2-3 apps, most often two office programs at once
screen: I'd like it to be atleast 14.1" but don't need any larger than 15.4" I don't have a preference widescreen/regular. I don't need an enhanced screen although it would be nice, but would rather not spend extra money.
Notebook looks don't matter much to me, I'm more concerned with it's functionality and being more portable.
I'm still pretty much an open book as far as brands and models are concerned. I've been looking for a few days now but I'm really just confusing myself at this point.
Price: I can afford up to $1200, or if financing is offered I'll go to $1500. Is this reasonable?
Go shopping at www.newegg.com and look at their IBM thinkpad notebooks. I say IBM because you will need high reliability as your job could be on the line with a notebook failure at the wrong time and IBM's are the most reliable. Toshiba and Fujitsu are pretty good as well. You will probably want one with the Pentium M processor for long battery life. Newegg has several thinkpads for under $1500 and a couple in the 1200 range. Another reason to invest in a thinkpad is that you mentioned having it for 3 or more years and the thinkapds are built to last.
"They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security" (Ben Franklin)
The Acer Aspire 2012WLMi is a very nice notebook. Especially at that price, you get a lot a bang for the buck. Many people have bought this unit and they all seem to be happy with their purchases. You may also be lucky enough to get a DOthan CPU. Some users have indicated that they got Dothan CPU's instead of the Banias, but others didn't. I'm sure you're gonna be happy with it.