January 16th, 2007

long beard

laptop update

I'm going to go to Future Shop in person tomorrow to check out this bad boy:

Acer Aspire 5050 ($999.99)

This is the same machine as the $799.99 unit Nic alerted me to, but with 2GB of RAM. This begs the question: $200 for 1GB of RAM?! Especially when Dell.ca lets you upgrade that much starting at $150. It's a question I'll pose politely to the salesperson. Let's see if they bite.

If I go with the Acer over the Dell Dimension 6400, I lose several significant things:

  1. Step down to AMD Turion 64 x2 from the faster Intel Core 2 Duo.
  2. An inch of display.
  3. MASSIVE step down in battery life (esp. compared with the 8-cell primary I would have opted for with Dell), from 3-4 hours to less than 2
  4. People say that Acer laptops are kind of crap, and the Acer I witnessed in our group in Ukraine did turn out kind of crappy in the end - the irritant for me was that the sound went wonky and off-pitch (even with headphones!) and try as I might I couldn't restore proper sound. It was just off just enough to be really freaking annoying, you know?
  5. This is really just a convenience issue, but the Dell and the Lenovo both had bootless media playback - you could play your movies and music without loading Windows first!
  6. The Dell just looks nicer. The Lenovo looks WAY nicer, and if it weren't for the Lenovo's inability to run Vista in Aero Glass, I'd still be shopping for one.

The Acer comes with a generous hard drive and it does have... well, 128MB integrated graphics, but even the Dell was 50% integrated (128MB shared, 128MB dedicated). The important thing is that it'll run Windows Vista in Aero Glass. Plus with its generous default 120GB drive I can totally sc**w around with it. Open Solaris will be in the mail any day now. I can run Linux, Win98, FreeDOS... the sky's the limit! This would be true of any modern machine, but a bigger hard disk makes partitioning decisions far easier.

Another nice touch is that my first computer was an Acer - an Acer AnyWare 1100LX with a 386SX processor clocking in at 16Mhz. 1MB of RAM (which I upgraded to 5MB after copping some freebie sticks from an IT guy at a certain high school; they were worthless to anyone else but me by then) made it able to run Windows 3.1, but very, very slowly, and even with the upgrade it couldn't run it in 386 Enhanced - probably either due to the low clockspeed or the lack of math coprocessor in the SX chip, I don't know which. Oh, and a 16-gray grayscale VGA display at 640x480 pixels, and a 40MB hard drive.

I mean, for 1990 when it was manufactured and even for 1992 when Dad got it for me, it was a pretty sweet machine. I had lots and lots of good times with it. Heck, it's not too much to say that I grew up on the thing. I even brought it to SMU a couple of times in 2002 when I was taking Intro. Computer Science; I sat behind the guy with the Pentium 4 Desktop Replacement.

So getting another Acer would be kind of poetic, although this new Acer wouldn't be nearly as robust as my other one. I mean, that AnyWare was a tank. The CMOS battery has gone in it so I'm restricted to using the floppy drive, but I still fire up MS-DOS Editor and type English papers in it sometimes. Hopefully, I won't do so anymore out of need.

Oooh! I had no idea Acer was (Republic of) Chinese! In buying one I'd also be showing my support for the legitimate government of China! <ducks> =)

* * *

I. Really. Miss. My. Phone. It was not only my organizer and my communicator; it was also my phone/address book and alarm clock. It was my dictionary and a way to play Tetris.

"Muddy Asics Shoes"
To the tune of Goody Two Shoes by Adam Ant:

'Cause you got no phone, no car, what do you do?
No phone, no car, what do you do?
Collections through the mail follows
I can't call GoTime outside

Muddy-mud muddy-mud
muddy muddy Asics shoes
Muddy-mud muddy-mud
muddy muddy Asics shoes

'Cause I got no phone, no car, what will I do...

My shoes aren't really muddy and I'm not complaining, but I think it's a catchy tune.

* * *

You know that class last semester that I really hated? I went and got an 85 (A) on the term research paper. I was stunned - stunned enough to run off another copy and submit it to the undergrad conference people. So now I've got two papers in their hands; I'm up against stiff competition, but it's a great feeling to be putting in high-end papers because this would totally not be happening before I was abandoned to the Real World™.


UPDATE: NO FIREWIRE ON THE ACER AUGHH BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD *AGAIN* ... I should have known it was too good to be true. =)