Of broken laptops

Somebody (I think it was Paolo) said that this blog might work better as a window in the Silicon Valley. Since I've always lived here (I was born about 500 feet from where I work), it's hard for me to appreciate how 'different' this place can seem to those who live in areas where the mean house price isn't $800,000, or where a decent dinner conversation might not revolve around the not-so-great benefits of upgrading to Windows Vista.

My laptop died. In the conspicuous consumption culture that is SiVl, when that happens one simply buys a new one. Cost is important but not critical. I testdrove a MacBook and several PC laptops. The MacBook was nice, but it looks and feels a toy, and it doesn't handle LUKS cryptology. Also for the cost, it didn't seem all that great compared to what I can get with a PC laptop and Linux.

When I was at the computer store, I met another customer who was putting a Linux Ubuntu CD into each laptop's drive and seeing how the machine took to the operating system. When he found a laptop that ran his operating system well, he told the clerk he'd buy it. When the clerk offered lots of Windows software packages, the customer refused, explaining that he would be wiping the drive clean and installing a 'real' OS.

None of this is abnormal.

In fact, I bought the same laptop.

I'm installing Debian GNU/Linux on it right now. :-)

The only real debate I'm having is whether to do dual boot or wipe out Windows Vista. I tried playing around with Windows's boot loader, but the new one is even worse than the old one. I hope GRUB plays nice with Longhorn.

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At 5/15/07, 3:18 PM, Blogger Pakitt said...


it was me - you got it right.
Apple is a "love at first sight" thing or a "leap of faith" or a "little by little" experience. I like my Macs and for my everyday private use are more than fine for me. I could not just come back home and be greeted by XP/Vista in another grey/black box. It's certainly a matter of taste and I am not certainly pushing anybody in buying a Mac. Whatever you have, if it does what you need, it's OK. Simply put, I am an happy Mac user, but I am not a "Mac fan". I try to keep my feet on the ground and I don't support all that Apple does - rather.
Regarding encryption - FYI Mac OS X supports natively the encryption of the home folder (called "File Vault"). If encryption of personal data on the hard drive is what you were looking for, Mac has it. Mac OS X also supports encryption of the swapfile.
If you wanted instead to encrypt the entire HDD (does NTFS support that?) then you would need a tool/sw, but I don't know if there are any available for the Mac. But I am sure there is something out there (likely open-source).
When I switched to the Mac at home for my private use, rather than Linux, was mainly because I was looking for an hardware solution as well - the Mac mini was the perfect choice at the time. And the Mac OS X interface is simply beautiful - and everything simply works. Exactly what you cannot say for Windows and for Linux respectively... ;)

At 5/15/07, 3:31 PM, Blogger Les said...

I use my laptop as a tool and I simply don't have time or resources to fuck around with a broken operating system. I need solid audio support and I need a real OS, so I went with a flavor of proprietary unix that runs on a particular set of (relatively high-end) hardware.

Occasionally, I screw up applications, but the system itself is solid. I don't care so much what it looks like or feels like (I care a little), I care that it's going to work for me when I've got a gig.

Toy hobby machines are fine and well, but I don't have time for it right now.

I miss the valley a little bit, though.

At 5/16/07, 10:26 AM, Blogger marshlady said...

Where as I used to be a loyal mac user now i am more a habitual one I would say. I'm used to it, I could leave but so far so good. Still happy with my macbook though. And one thing too is apple service care has been great, and I hear horror stories about others.

At 5/17/07, 9:48 AM, Anonymous Alex Wilson said...

What make/model did you end up getting?

At 5/18/07, 12:07 PM, Blogger Crinis said...

I settled on a Gateway laptop (model MT6707). It has a really nice screen (1280x800), and I admit I like the upgrade to USB 2.0 more than I thought I would. Hard drive is 160 Gb, Wireless 802.11g as well as ethernet.

You can read about my trials of putting Linux on it at this link.


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