No more reasons to cry the blues – I’ve got a new laptop!

Well this is a first. I’m actually composing this post on a laptop. Yes indeedy, the first laptop I’ve ever owned. Since this is my first, I won’t pretend to know all about them and give you a 5 page in-depth technical review. Instead I’ll just give a hopefully quick run-down and then get back to procrastinating about posting new stuff about Blender, my new handheld video camera (the Kodak Zi6), and a couple of magazine ads I’ve recently done. Never mind doing a new Inkscape screencast or two among many other things.

It’s a shiny black fingerprint magnet of a machine. It’s a Dell Studio XPS13 laptop which you can check out here:

It’s boatloads faster than my aging P4 desktop PC. It has 4GB of ram, a dual core P8600 processor running at 2.4GHz and an Nvidia 9400M G card, a 13.3″ WLED display, 320GB harddrive, and a lot of other bells and whistles (like a very slick backlit keyboard).

I’m still getting used to it, but I can say that I love the keyboard and although I’ve managed to come to slight grips with the touchpad, I will definitely be buying a little corded mouse to go along with it.

It came with Vista (they don’t offer this one with Ubuntu yet, at least not here) and I ran that for as long as it took me to download a Jaunty demo image and burn it to CD. Vista was shiny but I found it hard to believe how little functionality actually comes with a stock install of windows.

I was a little nervous going into the Linux install (leaving it as a dual boot for a while just in case I have to test out any hardware glitches), but shouldn’t have been:

1. Jaunty installed flawlessly in about 18 minutes (impressive).
2. Everything seems to work from the webcam to the touch key volume and media controls above the keyboard area.
3. Wireless worked no problem at all for me.
4. Hibernate, suspend and resume all work fine.

So there it is. So far I love this laptop. The bootup speed of Jaunty seems really good (around 20sec from the Grub loader to the login screen and then about 5 sec to a working desktop). And the speed at which stuff actually installs (aside from download speeds) is vastly superior to my old PC. I feel so spoiled. ;)

Now to get back to “work”. I’ve installed Inkscape, and just realized that v2.48a of Blender is already in the Jaunty repos so that was nice. I’m looking forward to doing my video encoding chores on this little speedster. I had to do a little search to get Dropbox going in Jaunty (see but that works great now too (I’m sooo dependent on Dropbox these days). Installing RecordMyDesktop and getting my screencasting setup working and tested is likely the next order of business.

Let’s hope the next blog post isn’t so long in the making, I’ve been working/playing with lots of stuff lately so there should be no shortage of ideas and information to share.

3 thoughts on “No more reasons to cry the blues – I’ve got a new laptop!

  1. Hey Richard,

    Congrats on the new laptop! From the specs it looks like a dandy laptop and should make one heck of a Linux platform.

    Of course now you can’t say the hardwares lacking when you do your screencast and all. ;-)


  2. Congratulations on the new laptop!
    Coincidentally, I’ve been eying that exact since about the time it came out. I was actually thinking about buying it at one point, but there were a couple of things that I was worried about.
    1) Money. College student. Nuff said.
    2) Linux compatibility. Being a fairly new laptop, I didn’t know just how compatible w/ Linux it was going to be. I’m glad to hear that you had little trouble getting it set up. :)
    3) Heat. I’m sure that you’ve heard the many rumors about this particular laptop heating up really quick and to high temperatures. I hope that his doesn’t happen with yours, but I’d like to see if it’s really that big of a problem, from someone who now actually owns it. And if it turns out it’s not that bad, then I might just have the name of my next laptop ;)

    Have fun w/ your new laptop! :D

  3. Hey guys,

    @Earl – LOL.. now my main excuse is gone. No more getting up to grab a coffee when a blur is being rendered. :)

    @ZeroTruths – I read a lot of those comments about the heat issue. I’m running a temperature monitor on it and it routinely runs in the mid to high 60’s after it’s been on a while and running the Gimp or something. For sure it gets warm, but nothing outrageous.

    That said, I have very limited experience with laptops (this is my first). I know there was a big kerfuffle about the vent being partially covered when you open the lid up past vertical, but not very much of it is covered and it’s not really blocked (there’s still space for airflow). I’ve also read that certain Macbooks have a very similar design that purportedly blocks the vents but has received little complaint or mention. I don’t know. Maybe Earl can weigh in on the Mac side of things…

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