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Brad Fitzpatrick

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Beach. Want laptop. [Mar. 20th, 2001|12:28 am]
Brad Fitzpatrick
Arrived in Portland at 6. Ate. Played pool (lost), scrabble (won). Tired. Going to the beach tomorrow for a few days. Feel free to email me, but I won't reply for a few days.

Just realized that Blythe and I are the only ones that process payments for paid accounts, and we're both going to be at the beach (along with Kenji and Amy). Nobody will get their paid accounts activated for a few days. Hrm. That sucks. :/

I need a laptop. I've been thinking about that a lot in the past week.

Anybody have good recommendations on laptops? I like IBM Thinkpads and Sony Vaios (sp?). I really like ones with two bays where you can put in any combination of extra battery, cd-rom, or floppy. That's cool. I really need a DVD drive. Need good Linux support. is that a problem? What wouldn't work with it? Screw winmodems... I'd get a PCMCIA modem that didn't suck. I also need a modem that'll plug into my cellphone. I have a PCMCIA network card already (I'd have to steal it back from Blythe, though) ... I bought it years ago for my Windows CE handheld. I'd want a 100 Mbit one, though.

I don't need speed... P3-500 is fine.. 600-733 Mhz would be better... speed to do software decoding of DVDs, even in Win2k (which imposes some overhead when doing dvd decoding, for some reason....). I would dual-boot, I think. I hate dual-booting, but I'm not going to buy and carry around two laptops. :) I'd primarily use Linux, but keep Windows on there should I ever need it. I should be able to watch DVDs in Linux by now, right? I hear it's possible... kinda.

So, any recommendations? Anybody have a used one for sale? I don't even care if it fits my above ideal description... if I could get one cheap, that'd be better. I realize lately I don't really have any money, having not worked forever.... using it all up. I should get a job and/or start paying myself from LJ work. I think I could make more money doing little contract work for people, and that way I'd diversify myself a little. All LJ all the time, while fun, may not be good for me.

Time for bed. I wanted to sleep at 7 but they said I had to stay awake to get on a normal sleeping schedule. Then I wanted to go to bed earlier but Blythe chose the room I wanted to sleep in, forcing me to sleep in the game room, where everybody was being loud playing video games. I think they're all asleep now, so I'll go back down there and go to bed.

I probably won't post or be available until Thursday afternoon. (what a long vacation... heh)

[User Picture]From: seadawg
2001-03-20 12:53 am (UTC)
A couple of years ago, VA Linux gave all/most of their Linux.com staff Sony laptops with linux preloaded, so I assume the Sonys would be pretty compatible. Try checking out the Linux on Laptops site.
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[User Picture]From: sja
2001-03-20 02:34 am (UTC)
My honest opinion, buy Dell. I've had more laptops than I can count and they have all failed me at some point for various different hardware related problems (anything from going up in flames to just falling apart).

They are more expensive and they don't look quite so cool as some of their counterparts, but they will wear well and are ideal if you need something reliable.

Dell also provide full Linux driver support for all their laptops on their support website (and now also I think on the CD's they put out.)

All the best, enjoy the beach.

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[User Picture]From: sja
2001-03-20 02:36 am (UTC)
BTW, I'm talking about the Inspiron range, I can't speak from experience of the other range they do (the name escapes me!).

I have the inspirion 7500.
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[User Picture]From: kvance
2001-03-20 03:14 am (UTC)
If you've got a lot of money to blow ($3k), I can highly reccomend an IBM T21. 800Mhz P3, 128M RAM, DVD drive and floppy that are hot swappable, etc. I've only used it in Win2k, but I was impressed. And IBM swears it's linux compatible, even offers one preloaded with caldera. Did I mention it's made out of titanium? ;)
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[User Picture]From: bradfitz
2001-03-22 06:40 pm (UTC)
yeah, but only a 14.1" screen on the T series? those 15" screens seem pretty sexy..... being able to do 1600x1200? hot damn. ;)
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[User Picture]From: firelegend
2001-03-20 07:10 am (UTC)
I have never liked IMB thinkpads, and they have a stupid stupid mouse, as for the VIAO (sp?) it sure looks sleek!
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[User Picture]From: visions
2001-03-20 12:44 pm (UTC)
pointing sticks are far superior to trackpads. all i have to say is *type type type.. fucking trackpad... type type.. fucking trackpad*

thinkpad's are notorious for being very high end hardware selection, full featured, and expensive.

with quality, comes price though.

i have only owned thinkpad laptops.. for a few reasons. my current being a 600e.
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From: joshknowles
2001-03-20 07:43 am (UTC)

Sony Vaio

I've got a sony vaio which I've got RH7 and Win2k running on. There were a few issues with getting the pcmci slots regognized but other then that it works great.

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[User Picture]From: righellis
2001-03-20 07:47 am (UTC)
pay yourself for livejounal... hell you spend plenty of time on the bitch...
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[User Picture]From: nighthawk
2001-03-20 08:41 am (UTC)
Actually, I just found out I'm getting a check for $2000 from Mom, so I'm in the market for a laptop too. So I've been doing my homework for the past day or so. The only two names anybody speaks to me when I say the word "laptop" are "Dell Inspiron" and "Sony". Sony appears to be all the power of the Dell laptops, for a wee bit more money but usually HALF the weight which is a nice bonus. The 4000 series Inspirons, though, can be had for $1400-$1700 nicely equipped, and refurbished ones on their website are PLENTIFUL. A friend of mine, Shinjisan in IRC, suggested the 5000e series laptops from Dell. As of yesterday their website had two refurbished 5000e's, one $2300, one $2800, both DAMN nice. They don't appear to sell the 5000e new anymore, from what I could tell.

But yah, Sony looked really nice too for a couple hundred more for a comparable laptop. I just have a tighter budget than you might. ;) I'd definately pay the extra bucks for something that isn't bulky though, and that would be their All-in-One laptops.

How soon you gonna be buying this? I'm ordering mine when the check arrives and becomes available in my bank. If you're waiting a week or two, when my Dell gets here I'll let you horse around with it and see what you think. Lemme know!
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[User Picture]From: sja
2001-03-21 06:03 am (UTC)
The only point I will make about the Sony's are this ... because of the size and weight, a lot of the stuff on a lot of the models will be external (e.g. CD Drive). I'm not saying this is the case for all of them, but it will be with some, so be carefull if you go down that road.

P.S. I'm Scottish and I think that is the first time I've heard anyone who isn't using the word "wee"!!! (sorry, completely off topic, but it had to be said!)
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[User Picture]From: alachicky
2001-03-20 09:10 am (UTC)
Thinkpads are awesome, that would be my vote!
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[User Picture]From: whitaker
2001-03-20 11:22 am (UTC)
WHAT? I didn't think they had laptops in Alabama. :-)

(just kidding, I always give my dad hell about stuff like that)
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[User Picture]From: topher
2001-03-20 09:17 am (UTC)

My experiences. . .

I spent the past 6 months or so saving money, researching, investigating, talking to people, reading reviews, and trying out laptops.

In the end, there were two laptop manufacturers who, I felt, were way ahead of the rest of the pack from everything I'd found: IBM, and Dell.

I ended up going with a Dell Inspiron 8000 (just arrived last week;-), for two major reasons (as well as a handfull of minor ones). First of all, I could get it with a 15" display that would do 1600x1200, and secondly, because I could get their 3 year CompleteCare warranty (Extra $160 for my machine, varies depending on what the standard warranty for the laptop is). This warranty basically covers anything that could happen to your laptop, except "intentional damage, fire, or loss/theft" (Of which, the first is your own fault, and the second two are usually covered by insurance).

The lesser reasons I went with Dell, are: Came with both a trackpad, and eraser thingy (trackpoint), while the IBM only has a trackpoint; Available Linux support for the hardware (even RPM's provided for most of it, and you can even get Linux pre-installed, though you lose a lot of flexibility in customizing it if you do), required to get an internal Mini-PCI modem, but for $30 more you can make it a combo NIC/Modem (It's a WinModem, but from what I understand it's somewhat supported, and can usually be made to work (If you get an Actiontec card, it's an LT WinModem, if it's a 3com, there's partially supported drivers from 3com);

If you really are thinking about getting an IBM Thinkpad, let me know. . . I can likely get you a discount. . .
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[User Picture]From: majestros
2001-03-20 11:18 am (UTC)

Get an Apple Laptop

the things are sexier than hell, and weigh less than any other laptop with a drive in em, and have 3 times the batter life of a PC laptop so no having an extra battery wouldnt kill ya,, but if ya want the two bays, you can still find the g3's at education bookstores around with two bays for up to 10 hours battery life, but seriously, theres a reason Apple has 3 times the market share of laptops that it does of desktops.. You can run linux (even debian) on Apple comps too
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[User Picture]From: visions
2001-03-20 01:03 pm (UTC)

Re: Get an Apple Laptop


although i hate apples... with macos X, it could be bearable.

its still debateable though. as far as linux on apple goes... ick. that is all i have to say on that topic.

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From: ibrad
2001-03-21 06:32 am (UTC)

as for me...

I think I'll grab one of these babies (when OS X is included):

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[User Picture]From: solace
2001-03-21 01:37 pm (UTC)

Re: as for me...

have you used one yet?

they look a LOT fucking cooler in a small image like that than they do in person.

i was really excited when i saw the PR and photos, but when i got to use one, i wasn't as impressed. the display isn't nearly as bright and crisp as that of the iBook's. and the track pad on it is annoying as all hell. also the slot loading dvd sounds nice and everything, but it scratched the hell out of a few cd's i tried with it.

all in all, it still kicks ass, but i'd say use one before you jump into buying one.

and as for OSX, no way i'd buy the first release. no dvd playback, and no 3d acceleration w/ the new nvidia cards.
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[User Picture]From: teferi
2001-03-21 08:58 am (UTC)
I'd strongly recommend against getting a ThinkPad - IBM tends to put absolutely horrible video stuff in 'em - they only started using Rage Mobilities recently, and even then, they use the low end ones.
Before, they were using NeoMagic chips. Ugh.
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From: (Anonymous)
2001-03-21 06:16 pm (UTC)


Go check out the Toshiba Satellite line of laptops...you can easily find one with the speed you're looking for at a resonable price. Many of them give tons of PCMCIA support and built-in network cards...don't know much about being able to switch batteries/drives around, but overall, Toshiba makes a fine product...
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[User Picture]From: twistah
2001-03-22 05:11 pm (UTC)
Hmm. Wow. *scratches head* And I thought I had a bad day.

Just reffering to the dormando/visions fallout on lj_dev, and visions quitting win32 lj client development and such. It'll be a nice welcome back surprise for Brad.

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[User Picture]From: dethbunny
2001-03-23 02:20 am (UTC)
I couldn't help but think that myself.
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