Re: What notebook did you buy?
My worst experience was a Compaq. That thing spent about 60% of the time in the repair shop.
My Eurocom is now five years old and is running Linux without issue. I have had a very good experience with it and the company, on whole.
Avoiding Compaq (hence HP) is good advice. They integrate the hardware, BIOS, ACPI (power and configuration management) and operating system (always Windows) much too tightly. Troubleshooting nastier problems with them means discovering once again that they do things the 'Compaq' way, not the standard way. Very cloying, and dangerous.
I'd be tempted to classify Dell the same way, but can't quite, and it relates to Carter Campbell's post: a laptop that'll run Linux clearly isn't beholden to it's maker's assumptions about how you'll use it. And Dell sells systems with Linux pre-installed.
Other advice already given is also good.
* Don't scrimp on RAM (aftermarket DIMMs are usually cheaper).
FrameMaker will especially appreciate it. Hog.
* Invest in a screen size you can live with. You'll regret one
that's too small for a long time. Also note the maximum
resolution. A 17" display that's limited to 1024x768 is, well,
* Ports, ports, ports. A desktop replacement should have plenty.
Four USB 2.0 and 1 IEEE 1394 (Firewire) is ideal. Gigabyte
Ethernet onboard. 802.11g wireless onboard.
* Invest in an external harddrive. I have a 200GB Seagate (USB and
Firewire) that cost $200. Wonderful product. Create multiple
partitions or at least reserve some unpartitioned space. It can
be a lifesaver. Automate backups to the external.
* Internal harddisks can't be upgraded easily (if at all), and disk
technology is cheap. Price differences between 40GB, 60GB and
80GB are negligible, all other things equal. Don't economize
Keep your eye on SlickDeals.net. The folks who post there are always flagging gaps in manufacturers' product line pricing, and spotting close-outs.
If there's any way to split your internal harddrive partition into several *before* you're completely dependent on the system, do it.
Get a CoolPad (http://tinyurl.com/5vyqx). Just do it. The full-sized one is better than the travel version, and is very nearly as travel-friendly.
Consider a wireless USB mouse. I love mine (Kensington). One less wire, and travel-friendly. But keep some extra AAA batteries in your backpack (you always have the touchpad, anyhow).
DVD+-RW isn't important. If the need to *write* DVDs arises, an external is more functional and cheaper (you've got plenty of ports, right?). They'll gouge you on an internal. DVDs aren't just for multimedia, BTW. One DVD (4.7GB) can replace nearly seven CDs for data backups.
DVD+-R is valuable. Movies on airplanes (or in bed).
Changing systems is a good time to make some more changes as well. Getting comfortable with Mozilla products (Firefox, Thunderbird, etc.) -- if you haven't already -- would be an example. Switching your email access from POP3 to the superior IMAP, or devising a grand, unifying automated backup scheme are others.
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Re: What notebook did you buy?: From: Carter Campbell
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