Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

Ordering Laptops

The HP dv8000z was made available on HP's website today. I need to talk to them to see what the University staff discount is, but without it, here's the options I would like:

  • No Operating System (will otherwise go with cheapest -- this is destined to be a Linux box. Price is figured as cheapest option -- WinXP Home)
  • Turion64 ML-32 1.8Ghz (cheapest CPU)
  • 2G RAM
  • 100G Hard drive (it supports dual hard drives, but that would probably make battery life suck)
  • DVD burner
  • WSXGA+ (1680x1050)
  • Generic wireless
  • Extra battery
  • 3year warranty w/ accidental damage coverage
Unfortunately, all that is too expensive ($2147), at least pre-discount. I may drop the warranty to two years to save $100. I also need to figure out how I'm going to carry the thing -- even though I'm going to be on a new warranty, I don't want the thing to become beat up like every other laptop I've ever owned has. I'm probably going to ask Dr R to make me one of his carbon fibre cases for the thing, and get a laptop bag big enough to hold the system when it's inside said case. Still, I'm happy that this computer vagrancy won't last forever. Holly, my PPro/200 with 96M RAM (which was my main workstation when I started University some 9 or 10 years ago), has been fairly good to me -- with a (only slightly) stripped down version of my normal desktop interface and tools, and with some extra software configuration I did last night to speed it up, things are fairly civilised and usable. This is the same window manager with the same settings (apart from no desktop background), the same firefox, and everything else pretty much the same (I didn't install my IM client though). Firefox does take longer to start up, obviously, and things are not super snappy, but it's all acceptable. This is why I don't care about CPU speed -- apart from some minor delays being eliminated and some multimedia stuff, my computing interface experience has not changed very much for 7 years, when I first started seriously using Linux as a desktop. By and large, the primary programs I use are:
  • Windowmaker - My windowmanager, has a NeXTStep look/feel
  • Some terminal program (xterm or rxvt) - I do most of my work in these
  • GAIM - GUI IM client, talks AIM, YahooIM, ICQ, Jabber, etc
  • Firefox - Browser
  • vim - Sometimes I run vim in graphics mode
  • tmbm2 - My usenet moderation software, written in Perl/Tk
  • gnumeric - I do some work and occasionally budget stuff with this
  • mplayer in movie mode - Play movies
Those are the only things that talk to my X server with any frequency. Everything else runs in a terminal. I wonder why Windows and OSX are so wasteful of CPU -- I know OSX has to be cute with bouncing icons and similar, but Windows doesn't even provide that, and I believe both of them would be completely unusable on a machine with specs like this. It would be tempting to say that fast computers spoil people by eliminating all the short delays that we dealt with in older times, but OSX/Windows don't gracefully scale down on much older hardware -- they just stop working. It would be very cool if, for example, OSX could still run on a 68k Quadra or Performa, turning most of its frills off to do so. Alas, Apple and Microsoft have a vested interest in old hardware being unusable.

I also will be ordering my new work laptop today -- I wanted to order it yesterday but I lost track of the paper with the grant string written on it (I really need to clean out my computer bag).

Check back sometime around midnight tonight -- there are some additional things relating to recent events in France that I'd like to comment about. It may be that an interesting theme for the 21st century will be kulturkampf against national unity (good or bad).

Tags: tech

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