Kieron wants me to upgrade my circa 2005 laptop. I'm reluctant. I've been able to keep this thing together through blue screens, lost work, and hours of inane debugging with Arch Linux.
The joke is, my current computer is almost as good as all the new ones if it just had double the hard disk space and twice the processing speed.* Processor speeds have sort of maxed out because their cooling abilities can't handle the extra heat generated by a faster processor. That's where spintronic/quantum computing applications might one day help. Oh, and my current laptop weighs 12 pounds.
So, you have me on the heaviness thing.
Unfortunately, I'm not an undergraduate, so I might not be able to deduct this off my taxes, but I'm ready to go from Eric Clapton to Eddie van Halen and accept that the computing world got itself into a big hurry. While I might someday regret choosing the fast computing life and leaving the safety and comfort of yesterday's small town computing palace, Kieron is adamant and I have no leverage.
After an exhausting search, I've decided to get another laptop. Getting a desktop would be like playing the cello in a marching band for what I need it for: conferences and the weekly group meetings. My strategy is to go small and go light. The lightest options as of writing this blog** are the Macbook Air and the Ultrabook series.
I originally was going to get some stupid cheap, old laptop and install Linux on it (which you can do really easily on either class of laptops, apparently). But it seems like it's not cheap enough to justify the headache--and I need it to work without spending all my time on it. Further, I get a university education discount with Apple at least because I work for one. Another reason is that the first*** year graduate students keep egging me to (Kieron, skip to the next paragraph!) play online video games with them. Haha! Jokes on them, I just wind up getting my spawn points camped and feeding the other team, n00bs/lol/lmao/l337!
Now, I've seen Windows 8. I've watched commercials for Windows 8
(which, let's face it aren't particularly good), and reviews for Windows
8. I'm not saying Windows 8 is bad (even though everyone else seems
to)...I'm just saying that Windows 8 isn't Unix based and since I'm
using more open source software and Unix type things, it makes more
sense to not get Windows 8 right now. Further, there's this Open Office
thingy that has a Word equivalent...and the buttons are all like it's
1999 instead of whatever they are nowadays! Yay! I'm using LaTeX now exclusively, though, so...
In short, I wound up ruling out the ultrabook because they're more expensive than the Macbook air in general and have hardware issues that seem petrifying if I'm going to keep this thing for another 8 years. Lots of Youtube videos helped guide that decision.
You see, Youtube isn't just a huge waste of time!
So, take a bite out of the Apple. Why buy a Windows machine to just overwrite it with Linux? Why not instead get an Apple operating system, not play any games, and eventually need to upgrade after 2 years because the next generation of software updates will (uncannily) slow your system down to something unusable until you finally A) buy a new Apple computer (Apple hopes) or B) give yourself a headache installing Linux.****
Pick your poison.
And the poison I pick is the Apple because at least you (incoherent Snow White pun:) get the seven dwarves. I'll upgrade to Linux as soon as Kieron starts bugging me about the age of my computer again to steal a few more years of usable life out of it. The price...well, it's worth the lost weight when I carry this around (~2.5 pounds, a 480% improvement).
But which monopolistic-ally priced Apple device should I purchase? I see with a cheapish external hard drive, the 128 Gb device should suit my needs--and look! I already got a 1TB external drive because I was convinced my current laptop would crash by now and needed backups! And for the guys and gals who play video games, it appears it will handle those too. I could even get a monitor and see things comfortably instead of on the 11 inch screen I picked.
I made sure to look at it in the store before buying and had it shipped to the campus store to get it quicker. I can't wait to see Kieron's reaction when I roll up to group meeting with it! Well...maybe the biggest reaction will be the lack of sighs and grunts from the whole group when the computer works.
Now what to do with this old computer...and we'll figure that out in another post.
*-and a better graphics card, resolution, faster USB/HDMI ports, battery life, internet speed, the ability for a USB clicker for a presentation to be plugged in and not have the laser pointer button make the screen toggle between full size and otherwise, and a working F11 key. You know, the trivial stuff.
**-[Editor's note: This information is already out of date]
***-Now second years!
****-Oh, and upgrading Linux versions generally makes the whole thing crash, so I heard. Therefore, the Linux fix might not be so fixy!