Geek on the roof: XPS M1330, Sony SZ6 series and Linux tradition

I am on the road looking for a new laptop. At present have two laptops, a powerbook G4 (Legolas) and a very old Inspiron 8600 (Gimli). I find Mac OSX stiffling – can you imagine in the year 2007, a window manager that can not show thumbnails of PDF? And I can not load the new shining Ubuntu or Fedora in it; Linux PPC can not have Flash! Damn Adobe.

Though all flavors of Linux run great on my Inspiron, calling it a laptop comes with the assumption that I have thigh muscles as developed as a certain californian mayor with funny accent 😉 Proclaimation of such a feat will be downright deception and will make my current worry of dieting and carb restriction, meaningless. Nevertheless, the laptop in question is showing its age. Therefore, I turned to my friend Google.

After lots of research I came down to final three choices: Apple Macbook, Dell XPS 1330 and Sony SZ6 series (just started to appear in the shops). Learned readers will immediately notice a big irritation in all three of them, the “mirror-mirror-on-the-wall” type screen. The reflective mirror like screens of these machines remind me of the days of coding in CCMB, in front a old CRT Gateway monitor (one of the best, by the way, at that time, with glorious 17″ screen), trying to endlessly adjust it and requesting all the other colleuges in the room for the permission to switch off the lights, so that I can see clearly the the closing braces at the end of a “for loop” through my nostrils! Alas, those were the days when your computer monitor reminded you to shave, and comb your hair. The present disaster of myself can be largely attributed to lack of enough mirrors in my house.

The other options would be Thinkpad T61 and Apple Macbook pro. But again I can think of them after six months of so, when my present occasional visit to gym with get the desired results. At present I am stuck with these three.

Apple Macbook has lot of things going for it. I must say their finish is the best of all the machines that I have used. But these guys are heavy at around five pounds. A full one pound heavier than the other two. And these guys still do not have LED backlit screen. Moreover, I am little sceptical of buying a machine that does not even have an extension port.

These leaves me with two choices, M1330 and SZ6. M1330 has a big flaw, it does not have a gigabit ethernet. What were they thinking? Hello, we are in 2007 – right? And they call it at cutting edge. This leaves me with just one choice – SZ6.

Yesterday, I almost decided to buy it. I went to Best Buy to check it out. It was a gorgeous looking machine. In fact the laptop was not in display. I requested a guy there to show it to me. As soon as he opened the box, there were a crowd gathered to check this new baby out. I knew that installing linux in this baby will be as difficult as I getting rid of my tummy. But I was almost as steadfast as I am now for my weekly visit to gym. As soon as I reached home, I almost took my credit card out. But I kept thinking myself of the things this baby lacks. It does not have DVI/HDMI. Hmm… I can always buy a dock. On the other hand… I can always buy gigabit express card for M1330. On the other hand… Dell is ugly, and shoddily made. On the other hand… Sony does not support virtualization in their BIOS which Dell supports. On the other hand… it will be very tough to load Linux on Sony…

T R A D I T I O N…

I am still waiting.

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