Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Early Christmas Present

Notice: This is a super geeky post. Some friends and family may wish to turn away...

I was reading the Washington Post Weekend flyer last week, and I decided to give myself an early Christmas present this year. My eight year old Dell laptop--named Raptor--is just too... darn... slow.

A couple years ago, I gave Raptor a new lease on life when I gleefully wiped out Windows XP and installed Ubuntu. This alone increased its performance two-fold. That's a pretty huge difference, considering its meager Pentium M processor and 512 MB of memory. It's amazing what well written software, plus the lack of anti-virus software, software firewalls, anti-adware software, and all the Windows Updates garbage can do for a system. Ubuntu just doesn't need all that overhead to keep itself safe from malicious software. It's a much better operating system, and I've loved using it for the last two years. (And it's FREE!)

But alas, hardware becomes obsolete, and eventually fails. My photo editing in Gimp was taking lots of time to load up and process, and with my laptop being so old, my first bona-fide hard drive failure must be lurking in the very near future. I'm WAY overdue for a crash, and I don't want to lose anything, especially precious family photos and videos. Mind you, I have a very regimented backup policy, but there is still a possibility of losing data between weekly backups.

So, with Raptor being eight years old, and my hardware rationalizations firmly in place, it was a pretty easy decision (and pretty easy to convince Becky) to get a new machine. The old laptop will continue to run Linux, but will probably be more for the boys to use.

Dell was having some Black Friday specials, so I pounced. I ended up getting a middle of the road model, a Dell Studio 15. This was the perfect balance between performance and price, and will be a big improvement over my current machine.

The Studio 15 sports a whopping 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 2MB level 2 cache. This is nice because it's 64-bit processor, so I should be able to take advantage of the newer operating systems that support 64-bits.

The laptop comes installed with 3GB of RAM, a 15 inch display, and a 250 GB hard drive (a big increase over my 60 GB drive on Raptor).

Unfortunately, it also comes installed with Windows Vista, which I will not even boot up. I hate Windows, and will not even have it dual partitioned on my new laptop. I've already downloaded the 64-bit version of Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex (happily provided by my alma mater), and I will reformat the hard drive for the "ext" filesystem first thing out of the box. Well, maybe I need to boot it one time, just to check that everything works and to pull off all the pre-installed Dell manuals that they usually stick on their new laptops. But that's it!

This laptop also has an upgraded 85 WHr Li-ion battery, an 802.11n wireless card, an 8X dual layer CD/DVD burner, and an integrated Web camera (so I can start my own episodes of Lonelyguy--Purcellville edition).

I'm pretty excited to get the new machine. Now I just need to come up with a good name for it. Perhaps "Falcon" in keeping with the raptor theme.

Any suggestions?


gaz said...

when i mentioned in a recent post about replacing our dino-pc with a laptop, it was a studio15 or an xps1530 i've been eyeing up!
let us know what you think of it.

Bonnie said...

You lost me at "Ubuntu".

Matt and Deachi said...

I'm with Bonnie on this one....

Scott said...

I knew I'd lose y'all. But my Dad and Chuck may enjoy the post.

Chuck said...

I salute your choice of operating systems of course. I would also note that you can get stuff off the hard drive without ever booting Winblows – the ubuntu live CD can read NTFS just fine.

In terms of naming, "raptor" is a category, not a specific bird, so going to "falcon" you are increasing specification but not denoting a change. Sort of like naming the old one "fruit" and the new one "banana". So may I suggest Harrier, also a bird of prey? It also has a cool military flavour. Much more intimidating than the finches or the toucans etc.

Scott said...

LOL. I am in awe of your correctness in my naming flaws.

My other systems were Eliza, Ella, Rabbit, Raptor, and Jaguar. So I'm not particularly consistent, though at least for the past decade, I've been sticking with vertebrates (whether specific--jaguar--or not--rabbit).

But I do like Harrier... not BAD! Kind of a cool bad-ass play on "Harris" too!

Dad said...

Chuck's suggested name is a good one. My only problem with it is the Harrier jet is old technology and the air force "Raptor" f22 is the newest technology fighter plane.

One idea is velociraptor. Early version of disk drives were raptors and the latest is the velociraptor. Probably most people would this of dinosaurs first, but that would also give your naming dual meaning.

I also thought about something from the Star Trek line of ships, since your real start in computer programming started with the Star Trek game. But, I couldn't come up with anything that knocked my socks off.

Good luck on finding the perfect name.

Scott said...

I like sticking with the naturalist theme... so maybe chaffinch or titmouse or chickadee. But I'll point out that all of my previous animal names (Raptor, Rabbit, Jaguar, and Falcon) were, in fact, car brands. The dual meaning of car brands and animals was what I was originally going for.

So I'm wavering back to Falcon, except that it was a pretty wussy car. Maybe it's time for a Mustang.

Dad said...

Well, now that you are in the car arena, I think your new super fast laptop might be a Jaguar! Next thoughts would be a Thunderbird or a Cobra.

Is your head spinning yet?

Scott said...

I already have a Jaguar. But I like the Cobra idea!

What were we talking about anyway?

gaz said...

my tupence worth is 'predator'.

Adolfo said...


Adolfo said...

PS I love Chuck's concepts- winblows. Gosh, he is so right. I still have Vista, and it does suck.-

From an average NON-geek user point of view, Ubunto is not as user friendly as the Mac operation system-per say. However, I do recognize that it is very secure, and there is no need to add slow-hardrive-running software to 'secure' your computers from 'malicious' software...

Besides selling you a software (Winblows) with lots of flaws, you are penalized spending money to buy additional software because their foundation sucks. Not fair.
This is my last computer using Windows. Besides it is annoying their monopolistic way of doing business.
My token.

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