Then shove a great processor, a mouse pad that's not accidentally click able while typing, and a high resolution screen.
That's a developer laptop. Ill install my own software, Thank you very much.
At the very least a laptop designed for developers ought to keep the Insert/Home/PageUp + Delete/End/PageDown cluster in the normal formation, like Thinkpads do.
We are typists before we are programmers, and software is something we do have control over. Dell should be fretting over the things we don't have the ability to change on a lark.
I prefer the thinkpad keyboards myself and use a mechanical keyboard on my desktop (one which I consider to have the best tactile feedback available: a Topre Realforce).
However, as a dvorak touch-typist I was curious to find out just how well different keyboards performed, so a while back I did a 1 minute random word test on each and got (approximately) the following results:
#1) Topre Realforce: ~110wpm random, ~140wpm non-random
#2) White macbook (island style): ~98wpm random , ~120wpm non-random
#3) Thinkpad T420: ~90wpm random, ~110wpm non-random
I used this site to do the comparisons: http://speedtest.10fastfingers.com/
Would be interested to see what other people get.
It's also cheap - Rs. 1500 ($30)
- looks stylish
- very cheap to manufacture
Obviously the manufacturers wouldn't switch arbitrarily, but I wouldn't be surprised if those two reasons alone weren't enough to drive the switch.
I prefer them for that last point alone. Non-chiclet keyboards get filthy and are a nightmare to fully clean.
For me, one of the biggest factors in choosing a keyboard is if it has a right control key directly under the forward slash. I use the key to the left of the A (Caps Lock on my ThinkPad) as my left control key when a key chord involves a letter on the right hand side of the keyboard (e.g. C-u in qwerty), but I still use my right control key in chords whose letter is on the left side of the keyboard (e.g. C-a). I've considered trying to get used to using the left control key all the time to preserve my right pinky and to faciliate the adoption of new keyboards (e.g. MacBook), but I'm not there yet.
I bought both an 87UB (the $400 one) and a 103UB, and kept the 103UB because I both prefer the feeling of it over the 87, and also discovered that I like having a 10-key again. Had pretty much abandoned them.
...all purely subjective, of course, but i just prefer the typing experience on the 103 to the 87.
I do agree the ThinkPad keyboards were the best in its class.
A) You'll either pay the Microsoft tax or have Linux pre-installed, possibly both depending how how deep MS' hooks are.
B) Having all the drivers work is important, especially modern laptops will often switch their peripheral chips without changing even model # so there.
Ask nicely for a laptop with no OS. When the reply is 'No', return/wipe the Microsoft default, carefully documenting your refusal of the End User License Agreement, and ask for your money back on the OS. (They'll still say 'No'.) Be firm, be persistent, and even go as far as issuing a Small Claim.
They will ultimately accede, because the law is on your side.
No one need pay the Microsoft tax.
To me that sounds like a whole load of work for not that much money. If I don't want it I'd just order the cheapest most basic version of Windows I could, wipe it and move on.
I consider it highly anti-competitive to force people to buy an OS with their
computer. It doesn't matter if you're a GNU/Linux person or simply already
have a Windows license - it's forcing you to pay for something you don't want
and don't need. And even if you want or need an OS with your computer (which many
people, in fact, do), it should be an option, not forced upon you. As far as
I'm concerned, this should be illegal by consumer protection laws.
In fact, there is a consumer protection directive in the EU that does just that -
forbid unlawful bundling. It's just that no one knows and no one gives a shit,
and here in Germany, there's a saying: "Wo kein Klaeger, da kein Richter." -
"Where there's no complainant, there's no judge.". So, become a complainant.
It's your good right, and those companies like Lenovo know it - that's why they
make the process of getting a refund as arcane and customer-hostile as possible.
Most people will just bite it and silently pay the Windows tax, further fueling
this vicious circle and the Microsoft monopoly.
: For all I care OEMs can make it the default option, as long as I can choose
"No OS" or "Preinstalled $distribution" - I don't care as long as I'm not forced
to pay for something I ultimately won't use.
: I had a slightly older (2008) mailing list post on (I think) Google Groups about refunds
from Lenovo Germanu somewhere, but I seem to have lost the link. It included contact
details for a guy at Lenovo Germany who apparently was responsible for granting refunds,
but it took the author of the mail hours to get this information from the from
the various hotlines.
* battery will last several hours (macbook still at 4+ hrs on full charge and it is 1.5 yrs old)
* very good (open) acpi support - if I can't 100% trust closing and opening to just suspend and resume correctly, I won't use it for anything other than toy purposes. (and open because I will be using my own kernel, or at least my own install of a distro, so it needs to be supported or at least compilable for every kernel).
As for the lid opening and closing doing what it's supposed to, it does. Coincidentally, the ACPI also works flawlessly on my wife's 5 year old Japanese Toshiba laptop running Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.
Edit: here's a link to a thread in which I described the steps I took to get great battery life out of my thinkpad T420. May need tweaking for different thinkpad models, but I used it on my x220 as well with only minimal changes:
I have a T510 and despite the 80 watt hour battery I get only <4 hours of runtime.
Edit: ah, "git clone git://git.moblin.org/powertop powertop2" works.
What I'd really like is to be able to disable touchpad clicks without disabling scrolling, but I understand if I'm on my own for that one.
Also, the screen on the Series 9 is one of the better screens out there. Also, I don't find the keyboard on my 13" loud though.
My MacBook Pro, mid-2009, original battery:
Temperature = 2982
CycleCount = 591
DesignCycleCount9C = 1000
DesignCapacity = 5450
MaxCapacity = 4814
WearRatio = 88%
CurrentCapacity = 1514
ChargeRatio = 31%
Voltage = 11077
Amperage = -694
InstantAmperage = -661
InstantTimeToEmpty = 2:17
TimeRemaining = 2:11
AvgTimeToEmpty = 2:11
FullToEmptyTime = 6:56
Close to three years of daily, heavy use. The thing just doesn't want to die (crossing fingers).
Temperature = 2990
CycleCount = 488
DesignCycleCount9C = 1000
DesignCapacity = 5450
MaxCapacity = 4804
WearRatio = 88%
CurrentCapacity = 4804
ChargeRatio = 100%
Voltage = 12568
Amperage = 253
InstantAmperage = 88
TimeRemaining = 0:8
AvgTimeToFull = 0:8
- TimeToEmpty makes no sense.
- you're 8 minutes to full.
It is bulkier than other laptops and by now its processor is behind the latest i7 and i5's.
Also as soon as I got I installed Ubuntu on it. Ubuntu lets me re-map caps lock to a control for my emacs usage.
And most of all this machine has worked great for many years . It has traveled with me, has been banged up, dropped, had hot liquids spilled on it and it still works.
Aside from the screen feeling a bit outmoded to me (although I like matte, LCD tech has come a long way in 5 years) it's an absolute pleasure to use.
So I was disappointed when Dell's announcement was about Linux shovelware instead of just saying "easy modular upgrades, quality keyboard, portable and light but solidly built." :/
I keep a spare T60 just in case this one breaks. They are pretty cheap on eBay, especially if supplies without HDD off-lease.
-sent from my T60
+1 for ebay. I can buy a new one for 100GBP if this packs in.
I shifted to:
CapsLock -> Enter
Keys next to spacebar -> Ctrl
This feels a whole lot better. As Xah Lee  points out, the original symbolics keyboard that Stallman developed emacs on, had Ctrl keys next to the space bar.
When using Emacs on a PC, for the longest time I didn't remap CTRL and with the default position Emacs becomes quite awkward to use. On a PC keyboard, I used to have pinkie strain a lot when doing lots of coding. But these days I spend most of my computing time in front of my Dell Netbook and the keyboard size is ideal for this key mapping - so nice, in fact, that I'm wondering whether there are any external netbook-sized keyboards that I could use with my desktop PC.
Another comment on this page complains about the arrangements of the HOME/END/INSERT/DELETE keys etc. on most laptop keyboards. I've got to say that I basically never use them. Even though the SUN Sparc keyboard had arrow keys, at some point I disabled them on my keyboard to force myself to learn Emacs' native shortcuts for moving the point. Now my hands hardly ever have to leave the home row.
I don't know about this whole CAPS LOCK thing... then you are stuck with only one key to hit, and I find it much better to press the modifier opposite the character key with my other hand, rather than scrunch up one hand.
I picked it up at BestBuy and when I was there I glanced at their Ultrabooks display. They had 3. The Asus and Toshiba seemed complete crap. Flimsy. Trash.
The only one that seemed a plausible purchase was the Samsung. I wasn't a persuadable customer: I'm not going to switch my platform choice because of one credible alternative. But for those customers that are, I think it's fantastic that they at least have 1 credible windows 7 alternative to an Air.
(Not that it matters, but if you're interested, this MBP is a work-supplied machine and it's the first Mac I've ever used. My other PC is a sony vaio core 2 duo circa 2008 or so running Windows 7. I was very impressed with Windows 7 when it came out. But as an engineer it's only a credible option because I was running a Ubuntu VM. When I took my current job and had my choice of machine I finally took the plunge and I've loved it ever since. I still use Ubuntu VM's for sharing dev environments but having a fantastic terminal app and a clean experience is something I have no interest in giving up. Thus, i'm not a persuadable.)
1. Are you happy with the Air versus the MBP?
2. Seems a strange time to buy. Why not buy in six months time?
Yes. Very. Largely due to portability but also because the Pro didn't have an SSD. The pro was about 18 months old so it had similar specs in other aspects but no SSD.
I wouldn't hate more RAM of course. But the SSD in here is anecdotally faster than an aftermarket SSD I installed in a windows machine last year and it definitely helps you overlook the 4GB limit.
> 2. Seems a strange time to buy. Why not buy in six months time?
I have a zen about these things. There will always be something right around the corner.
Agreed, although I don't consider the processor all that important. I run out of ram way before I can exhaust the CPU capabilities in the current generation of "ultrabooks". I want a 13" macbook air or something of similar build quality with a higher res screen and 8-16GB of ram.
I absolutely don't get what's with the pre-installed software thing, I can do that myself. What I need is full-driver support and some basic information of what is known to work. I don't expect them to maintain a full Linux compatibility list, but just a simple list that says: With this specific kernel and this mainstream distro, those things don't work out of the box. You need one intern for about two days to do that. Throw in exact specs and I can figure out a lot of things for myself.
Realforce 87U keyboard
2x (yeah they do exist I think) 1920x1200 screens, perhaps with really high PPI like the new ones Apple is releasing soon.
No touchpad (I'm quite happy with plugging in a mouse), I'd rather use a nipple.
Light, lots of battery, no need for a fancy graphics card. Decent CPU, doesn't have to be extreme.
Tons of memory, 16gb at least, the more the better.
No software at all. I'll install my own distro.
Too bad though the hardware & chasis design of the product line was extremely shoddy & defective; if the notebook didn't fry itself so often it probably would've been noticed more.
I haven't seen this so I am curious. The biggest bummer for me about Apple is the lack of a USB external trackpad.
And when people won't care because the hardware is not worth it (especially when it's not that much cheaper than MBA), it will be interpreted as "no one wants linux".
They could have stopped at "full hardware support for Ubuntu". Nobody cares about their crapware.
Just two weeks ago I bought an HP ProBook for a colleague for the sole reason of being Linux certified. It came with a Suse license but he's using it with Ubuntu.
The one Dell laptop I could have bought came with an Ubuntu version from 2010.
Not getting rid of my Latitude D830 (14.1" 1920x1200) until I can get something with /more/ pixel density and vrez
So this is good news to me. I looked into recent Dell's and found that there is almost always something slightly "wrong" with them when you run Linux on them. Either weirdness in power management or the touchpad or some other random thing. Just being able to buy a computer and not have to worry if it is going to work with my OS is very nice. I have too much to do and don't want to spend a week futzing with drivers and other nonsense (I have done enough of that for a life time).
That said, if someone came along and really did good Linux support, I'd probably switch.
But they lost me when they dropped WUXGA. That extra 200-pixel row may not matter to folks using their machine to watch movies, but it's missing developer real estate to me.
I hate the shift towards widescreen in laptops for pretty much any activity, and it's only bearable in desktop monitors because there's no real size limit on them, so it can be adding width rather than just reducing height.
It pains me that there's no good way to assemble or upgrade laptops to one's liking. It's pretty much take it or leave it.
Emphasis on durability and ergonomy before slim-ness, providing :
- Stronger structural material for laptop frame
- Shock and torque absorbing bits around corners, and hinges
- Stronger hinges that you can manipulate carelessly
- Better ergonomics by balancing weight
- More space for internal addition (PCIe, USB3) for modders
- Ease of access to internal, repairability.
- Easier heat dissipation aiming for 35-50C min-max range with minimal fan speed.
A true 8bit IPS LCD.
A thinkpad class keyboard.
I agree, running a VM leaves you at the redline. Running 2? Good luck.
I do run with a single Ubutnu VM nearly 100% of the time, but I skimp on it and only allocate 384MB usually. Sometimes I'll bump it up depending on what I'm doing in it.
All that said, I do wish that I could have 8 GB in my Air. But, with the extremely fast SSD, it's not essential. I use this machine as my daily driver (for mostly web-based Python, PHP and Go development) and love it. It's honestly my favorite development machine ever. I've never enjoyed developing on-the-go more, and at home plugged into a Cinema display it's a real joy to use.
Unfortunately, that market actually exists, and nine out of ten times that lack of caring for quality is reflected in their work.
You won't run the risk of buying a notebook, install Linux, find that driver xyz doesn't work, then find the store won't take it back because reinstalling the os voids warranty. And waste money. This is a big risk when shopping for Linux laptops. Specially for cheaper brands that you can't easily find online reports about whether it works or not.
Official support makes shopping much easier.
That's why you should make a disk image before you wipe Windows. Plug in a Linux Live USB, use dd + gzip to create a bit-for-bit copy of your hard drive (it should compress well because there's no data on the machine), keep the copy in an external hard drive, and then wipe the internal hard drive. Nobody at Best Buy will know what you did.
Every single interaction save for one I've had with dell has been an absolute joy. Our rep remembers me by voice, and even when I've had servers with expired support, I've had techs following up with me to make sure issues have been resolved.
I don't know who you've been dealing with, but Dell has been a complete dream to deal with for me; more companies should be like them.
First one's screen broke.
Second one's graphics card was faulty.
Third one's sound was messed up, sent the PC in for repairs. Dell technicians dropped it on the ground, blamed me for doing it, then refused to further support it.
I don't care one way or the other if anyone else buys Dell; but there's no chance in hell that I will ever again.
They still keep chugging.
*When I'm talking about multiple laptops, I'm talking about multiple laptops within my company. Not my personal laptop [although I have had one]
The business versions of laptops are usually far better built, but you cannot buy them at Best Buy and the like.
Nothing is more annoying than opinions like "I hate X because it sucks" without an insightful counter-point like "You should try Y because it's much better for reasons A, B and C."
Such "Dell sucks" anecdotes are generally of the "my company bought 400 of the cheapest desktops that Dell manufacturers, of which a couple presented troubles. Therefore Dell sucks." variety.
The monitor is really awesome at its price point and I don't want to miss it but the service Dell is doing is the worst I have ever seen.
Let me tell you why.
When I bought the monitor I was really happy to get a 3 year ultra warranty service from Dell for free. So the monitor gets shipped and I plug into my MacBook Air. The monitor works but the colors are really bad like a 16 bit color scheme. I call the Dell "ultra service" and tell them just what happened. After changing three different employees the guy on the other hand asks me what happens and tell him that the screen looks broken when I plug it into my MacBook and his answer is "oh we don't Mac's cause Apple doesn't conform standard graphical ports. I really don't know about Mac's so I can't help you. Don't you have a "normal PC" to plug it in?". At this point it was clear to me that I would never buy something again from Dell!
It turned out that the monitor was broken and my next monitor worked just fine with my MacBook. the monitor was not replaced by Dell but by the shop I bought from cause they swear that the fault was my Mac.
Next time I will pay the extra money and buy something from Apple again. They don't do shit like that...
You do realize that it is 27" with a 2560x1440 resolution and it uses an IPS panel, right? That doesn't come cheap. Dell's comparable monitor is only $100 cheaper:
Of course, I would rather get the Dell, but the Apple display isn't really over-priced.
And I would hardly give Apple a free pass. They are the ones who are quite eager to blame any issue on a water sensor that is well known to indicate false positives.
People who will argue that all PCs suck because their old $300 netbook compares unfavorably with their new $1000 Macbook Air.
And when I say first class, I don't mean "give it the Supported Platform stamp." I mean "respond to user reports of touchpad bugs" and "fix them."
As a result of this, I can turn any computer into a me-friendly machine in about an hour. Install my favorite Openbox-based distro (Crunchbang), copy over dotfiles I've already customized, and install every package from a list that's been exported from my main laptop.
Screen 13": is enough, even 12" is enough. If you are kind of developer who moves his behind from meeting to meeting or spends some time on plains or conferences. 13" (max) is your choice. You can buy really cheap big monitors and plug you machine, in every place where you work.
Processor and Memory: this is out of discussion i7 and 8GB ram. Memory is so cheep those days that giving developers less than 8GB is a sin.
HDD: SSD 128. This works for me. I have external drives, as a developer I don't keep movies, games, photos on my computer.
Graphic Card. I had a rule that if I'm using Linux I'm using Nvidia cards. This probably not true any more. I've heard from people that Intel Cards work well. But still, switching screens is done decently in NVIDIA drives.
Screen: for me Glare.
Battery: should follow at least MacBook Pro 13". which is 3-4h.
Price if this will be more than 1400 $ people will buy MacBookPro.
Ubuntu: I'm using Xubuntu. Unity still keeps me angry, and as smallest as possible number of installed programs. Because I'm developer it doesn't mean that I'm using Eclipse.
In the end, I went for a speced up Thinkpad T420 with i7/NVIDIA/8GB - works really, really well.
Keep in mind that the manufacturers also subsidize the cost of systems with all the preinstalled crapware that comes on a lot of machines.
What kind of developer doesn't have their own workflow and customize their own workstation to their needs? You just can't mass produce a one-model-fits-all laptop for developers...
Of all Dell laptops, the Precision line is the only one I'd buy - the M6600 looks especially good now that HP abandoned the near-perfect design of the Elitebook 8740/8540w (just for the sake of a new design it seems)...
And there in lies the problem, every other spec is fucking useless compared to 'does this keyboard suck'. If it sucks you can have 32GB of RAM, a draw that spits out toast and Knuth built into it and I still won't buy it.
Trackpoint is a must. I can even live without a track/touch pad.
- a 13 inch 1080x1920 screen
- two video outputs (for when its docked)
- an SSD for the OS and my tools
- an average hard disk for my data
- a good keyboard
- enough memory
- a camera and audio
- 3G data (or better)
- Bluetooth for the keyboard and trackpad when it's docked.
And the rest of it would be a humongous battery. And power it with an Atom-class processor so that the battery lasts a day. Leave the software alone.
Make it pretty.
I assure you, I do not have malware.
It happens when the justin.tv widget in the side-bar loads. It attempts to load something that redirects to http://rts.pgmediaserve.com/03d458/
I have Little Snitch installed and locked down so it can't make any connections, but it tries two different sites over SSL in an attempt to fetch content for the frame.
Curiously it works with AdBlock enabled, too.
(founder of the site)
Great form-factor, especially on planes.
It eventually started falling apart, and I never found quite the same thing again.
My 27" display gets used for watching movies mostly these days. I do go through phases though, and will probably try using the large screen for work again eventually. For now, I find the smaller screen less distracting.
Now, design work obviously needs a lot more, but that's offset by the fact that my HP 2730p is also a tablet with stylus, which made me extremely productive in dishing out graphics.
I'm amazed at how much work I have actually managed to get done. When I'm in the office I dock it to a keyboard/mouse/monitor, but even on the road I've found myself able to use it, once I adjusted to the keyboard.
If you run light-weight ubuntu (lubuntu for me), have your browser/editor/terminal in fullscreen, and you can get back to work. The slow processor does struggle with our companies rails app though...
Bought it last week, and did almost go for a Macbook Air after the Linus endorsement. I am so happy I didnt!
However, I'll keep the low-end version in mind the next time I'm shopping for "America's Best Protection." Oh wait, they all come with that. Hrm.
Are they really hoping to get a piece of the Macbook Air pie with this?
Says right there on the page you linked that the $999 base model comes with a 128GB SSD. So does the final summary if you went through their configuration tool (which is admittedly laughable because all it allows you to configure is what level of Windows/MS Office licenses you want bundled, warranty coverage, and accessories like a monitor/printer).
Also, a 'solid state drive' is mentioned in the feature details under 'Turns on instantly'.