New laptop & Another try at Ubuntu

Well, as I dicussed in a previous post, I have been in the market for a new laptop. I have finally bought one. I decided to go for a Dell XPS rather than Apple (mostly due to cost). Such is life – maybe I will try a Mac next year. It is my intent on my new laptop to either dual boot Vista and Ubuntu, or (if I have a good enough experience with Ubuntu), just run Ubuntu and do all of my Windows stuff in hosted virtual machines.

So, last night I take my brand new laptop, and my newly burned Ubuntu CD, and set out. Ubuntu boots up from the CD just fine, but the screen resolution sucks because Ubuntu is philosophically opposed to loading the drivers for my video card. No big deal, I can live with 800×600 until I get a proper install done. So, I click on the install icon, and away I go. Or, actually, I don’t. It seems the Installer UI is not expecting 800×600 resolution, and the buttons to let me proceed through the installation are lost off the bottom of the screen. I also do not seem to be allow to resize this window. It being midnight and all, I gave up. I am sure there is some way around this, but I did not feel like screwing with it.

I will probably have another shot at trying to set up Ubuntu or some other Linux distro this weekend. Maybe I will have better luck and not just give up on Linux (sorry folks – this is stuff that should just work!)

PS – Vista is working fine on my new laptop. Transfered my files and settings from my old machine using “Windows Easy Transfer” – not a problem.


MacBook Pro versus Non-Mac Laptop

I am speculating about my next laptop purchase, and as always, I like to think of alternatives to my current environment (which is an Inspiron 9400, 2.0 GHz core Duo, 2 gb of RAM, running Vista). I do not own a desktop machine, and really do not see myself going that route, unless I were to get a new iMac purely as a luxury.

I am thinking of the following options:

  1. An Apple MacBook Pro (17″, 2.4 GHz, 2 gb of RAM, High resolution display, everything else pretty much standard)
  2. Dell Inspiron 1720, configured pretty much the same as the MacBook (except with only a 2.2 GHz processor) with Windows Vista or XP
  3. The same Dell, but loaded with some flavour of Linux.

(note that whatever choice I make, I would still have to run Vista and/or XP somewhere on the machine in order to co-exist with the real world)

These options appear very similar to me. I even configured the Dell with stuff I might not care about (like a built-in webcam), in order to make the comparison “fair”.

The main difference I see is the price. I can get the Dell for about $1800 (Canadian), whereas the MacBook Pro comes in at over $3200. Is there anything about the Apple which justifies this price, beyond being “cool”? Is the price of the Mac OS really $1400? Or is there something else intangible here?

As much as I might like the MacBook alternative, I cannot really see justifying the cost.

Can anyone tell me why I (or they) would let Apple overcharge them like this?

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