For the last few months my laptop has been in bad shape. Such bad shape I’ve been using a backup laptop. 1 Something on my laptop’s motherboard went bad and killed the battery. 23 I could still use it – but I had to keep it plugged in all the time. If I needed to move it, I had to shut it down all the way, move it, then boot it up – since it had no battery life at all.
Besides being Friday the 13th, today has a very special meaning for the truly nerdy. Unix is a computer operating system developed back in 1969. For those of you who remember DOS, that kind of what it looked like. The up-and-coming operating system Linux is based on Unix. The Unix epoch, the time from which it starts to count “up”, was on January 1, 1970. On 2/13/2009 at 6:31:30PM ET the Unix epoch reached the time “1234567890“.
Less than 24 hours later I got a call from their local technician – James. He came to my home that very evening and swapped out my motherboard. 4
Here’s Lionel’s e-mail to me from just after midnight this morning:
That’s great news. I’m really glad to see it all worked out smoothly. I appreciate you being a loyal Dell customer. Feel free to tell any other Dell customers how to contact me directly if they need some assistance.
It’s customer’s like you that make this the best job I’ve ever had.
If you’ve got an issue with your Dell, get a hold of Lionel directly. He’s an incredible guy working for an incredible company. Lionel and Dell took care of me. This Dell XPS m1210 is my third Dell laptop, and my next computer will absolutely be a Dell too.
It died within 1 year after my warranty expired, but by the time I talked to Dell it was more than a year out of warranty. [↩]
It was a very simple and short e-mail, so it took me forever to write. [↩]
I’m undecided what kind of laptop I want/need. A netbook? A basic laptop? A high-end laptop?2
Figure out what you need, then figure out what you want
Its all about what you want and what you need. I need a laptop that will let me program, surf the web, listen to music, and send e-mail. This accounts for roughly 98% of my computer usage.
The last 2% of computer usage is comprised of processor intensive activities such as watching DVD’s, video games, video editing, DVD and CD burning, and manipulating large amounts of programming code. For instance, the WCAB legacy number to EAMS number converter involved more than 4.6 million lines of code. 3 My previous laptop struggled with that one. I probably only do these things once every six months or so.
For what I need, a netbook would actually work very well for me.
As any computer user knows, its very frustrating to have a computer that will not do what you want or takes to long to do it. My wants are a super slim, light-weight, battery efficient, computer that has the processing power to deal with large amounts of data and the ability to burn DVD’s and CD’s.
A netbook fulfills the wants of a slim, light-weight, and battery efficient computer. A basic laptop would suffice for the processing power and CD/DVD burning capabilities.
Having it all
When it comes to laptops, sometimes you can have it all – it just depends how you’re going to compromise.
If money were no object, this would be a no-brainer: buy a high-end light and powerful laptop. These cost $1500 and start climbing steeply after that.
The other compromise is not so intuitive. A very decent external CD/DVD burner combo drive would probably only cost $75 or so. If I’m only burning discs 2% of the time, this is a very reasonable solution. The bigger problem is the underpowered processors in netbooks. They simply do not have the ability to play new games, handle large amounts of data, or deal with too many simultaneous tasks. The only possible work around here is where you use your underpowered laptop to remotely control a more powerful computer and use that more powerful computer to crunch numbers.4 However, this won’t help with video games. ;)
What am I going to get? I’m going to run down the pro’s and con’s of netbooks, basic laptops, and high-end laptops next time. Stay tuned!
A little over a month ago my laptop died. I took it to a shop in Contra Costa County named, “Paramount Technologies” who were able to fix up my laptop in record time. 1 Apparently, the problem was the video chip which had loosened from the motherboard over time (probably through overuse).
Friday evening my laptop died all over again. At least it was peaceful. I put my laptop to sleep and it didn’t wake up again.