[svlug] request: which notebook to buy?

J C Lawrence claw at kanga.nu
Sun Jul 22 21:35:01 PDT 2001


On 22 Jul 2001 20:59:58 -0700 
Stephen R Savitzky <steve at theStarport.org> wrote:

> "Daevid Vincent" <DayWalker at TheMatrix.com> writes:
>> I'm wanting to get a notebook computer in the <$1500 range if
>> possible that I can dual boot Linux on. I'd like it to be fairly
>> hassle free to install RH7.1 on, with full support of all the
>> major notebook features, especially resolution, OpenGL, Ethernet,
>> Modem, USB, APM, Audio.

> My group at work recently bought a laptop from Dell with Linux
> (RH7.0; I understand they're now shipping 7.1) pre-installed.  I
> particularly liked the fact that it has both trackpoint and
> touchpad for the mouse.

I have a Dell Lattitude (which matches your description).  

Short story: 

  I despise the thing.  Horrible unusable machine.

Longer story: 

  I suspect I despise all laptops and not just this one in
  particular.  Minimally I know I also despise Sony Vaios as well.

Commentary:

  Linux runs well enough (Debian/Testing), PCMCI is a fiddly,
  but everything seems to be supported and/or to work well enough
  given some effort.

  Two button mouse.  Blech.  Very annoying.  Reason enough to ditch
  the machine there alone.  At least Thinkpads and Toshiba's are
  smart enough to have 3 buttons.

  The trackpoint has a different set of acceleration curves than on
  area IBM Thinkpad.  Both the angle of attack and initial rate seem
  higher.

  The glidepoint works about as well as glidepoints do.  It also
  registers false mouse actions when the laptop case is flexed (such
  as being martially balanced on a knee or across a corner
  structure).  Additionally it has bad tendency of picking up
  fore-arm/shirtcuff/sleeve motion across it as intended mouse
  movement.  For a while I stuck a sheet of duct tape over the
  thing to try and turn if off/disable it.  That just made a gummy
  mess rather than improving affairs.

  Fiddly easily broken not-very-positive-contact power cord
  connector.  Several times now I've ripped/knocked/pulled it out of
  the laptop unintentially.

  The balun on the power cord is in just the right position to sit
  under the laptop whenever you move it, making it even more
  unstable and tempermental.

  At least it has a 100% size KB.  Its a small saving grace.  Of
  course the KB has all the usability and general utility of a
  piece of wet cardboard stuck on the nether surface of the titanic.
  Flat, reactionless, soggy, plastic pap.  The only times I use the
  thing any more are when I can stick an actually usable keyboard
  off the back.  

Summary:

  I've very little positive to say about it other than:

    Yes, it runs Linux.

    Yes, its portable.    

    Yes I've had it three months now and its actually been used in
    that time for no more than 3 hours.  I'm not sure I could take
    using it for any extended period without giving into the urge to
    find out if its dishwasher safe..

  Not worth my time or effort.  It now lives on a shelf in my office
  and is gratefully ignored.

-- 
J C Lawrence                                    )\._.,--....,'``.	    
---------(*)                                   /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
claw at kanga.nu                                 `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
http://www.kanga.nu/~claw/                     Oh Freddled Gruntbuggly




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