William Matheson (nova_one) wrote,
William Matheson
nova_one

the new laptop

I got my beautiful Dell today, and I'm posting from it. It's quite good-looking. I'm generally happy with it, but there are a few outstanding issues:

- It took three-and-a-half hours to install all the Windows and Office (Word) updates. (Well, I passed on IE7, because I've heard it can mess things up, and I don't use IE anyway.) Yes, 3:30. Would it have killed Dell and Microsoft to come together and bring things a little more up to date? I mean, I was downloading patches from 2004 here! I don't mind doing lots of things myself, which is why I was comfortable with choosing a PC over a Mac, but this seems silly.

- The Num Lock doesn't work. It's nice that I can theoretically bring it on just by pressing Num Lock (instead of having to use Function key + Scroll Lock like I've seen on some models), but pushing it just lights the Caps Lock light a little brighter. Actually, I wouldn't care about the lamps, but I still get letters when I hit the appropriate keys. Heck, Scroll Lock lights the Caps Lock lamp as well. I hope this is a software issue, but with the wrong light going on, I have my doubts! At least Caps Lock works, but I rarely use it. UPDATE: Okay, it does work, just not the way I expected. If I don't have Num Lock on, holding down Fn and pushing those keys causes the cursor to move; if I have Num Lock on, I can use the Fn key to get numbers out of them. Gee, my old Acer had a better solution than that...

- The FireWire port is a 4-pin. I don't know if that means I just need a dongle, or if that actually limits what I can connect to it. Research to follow. I'm a number of days away from even thinking about editing video, but it'll come.

- A fair amount of unnecessary things start up by default. I've cleared out the worst offenders, but Dell ought to know that when the left edge of the system tray icons starts to creep past the middle of the screen, it's time to chose who goes there a little more carefully. For instance, please spare me that hateful QuickTime Quick Launcher. You would have made me just that little bit happier without these kinds of annoyances.

Things I liked:

+ The initial run of XP prompted me to set a bunch of things up while Enigma or some kind of new-age elevator-relaxo music played over the speakers. It felt and sounded good. The speakers on this rig are NOT your stereotypical tin-bin wonders, and while they're not going to deliver heart-pounding bass, they sound just fine. Also note that I did not need a 17" 10-pound "multimedia" behemoth to get this satisfactory performance.

+ Typing's not too bad on this. I especially like the dedicated cursor control keys, (Home, End, etc..) although it'd be nice if they were a little bit bigger. Of course, this is notwithstanding the major, major keyboard issue noted above.

+ The wireless 0wnz. I'm glad I sprung for the Intel chipset - at least it's not doing any harm. This baby connected to my network faster than I can read this sentence and a heckuva lot faster than I can type it. Throughput is barely distinguishable from a conventional ethernet connection - maybe that's par for the course these days, but I've seen my share of pretty crappy wireless connections and I'm glad I'm not reliant upon one of them. Of course, part of this is because my network is named "default" (ugh) and is totally unsecured. But if you saw where we lived, you'd forgive my laxity.

+ The display is nice and bright while maintaining fine detail. I didn't really have any specific expectations, but I'm pleased nonetheless. The colours come across quite well. I have yet to run any games on it or do any of the zillion things I dreamed I might do tonight (creating a FAT32 partition and installing Ubuntu and FreeDOS, for instance), but I think it'll be fine. I could be the envy of Intro Psych.

I'm trying out LiveJournal.NET for this post. Apparently it can leverage Word for spell-checking. (It does - it's just horribly implemented. After you hit the post button you get the lovely red sqiggly lines but no way to chose a correct spelling. Plus it's checking with American spelling, and I've already set my default language in word to English (Canadian).)

I'd better hurry up and get some sleep - I've got a phone interview with the former video director at Camp Towanda at 11 ET / Noon Atlantic. I don't know how I feel yet about spending more than 8 uninterrupted weeks in a bubble, but I suppose it would be just like Canada World Youth only with more games, fewer CADs, and a wage.
Tags: clients, computers, dell, issues, laptop, windows
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