New Laptop

Today I got a new laptop at work. A few weeks ago I was given the choice: either Sony VAIO, Apple Mac, or something else that I can't remember. Since I'd been very happy with Sony VAIO (and confused with Apple's direction with Java), the choice was easily made. I was surprised to discover that I ended up with a whole new model. Instead of the VGN-S5HP/B I found myself with a totally different model, bearing a name that rolls just as easily off the tongue: VGN-SZ5XN/C:

Maybe it's just me, but amidst all the buzz around the Mac Air, the VGN-SZ5XN/C seems to not have received much airtime at all. One wonders why (but only fleetingly, given the name). Despite that, it's a lot airier than I'd always considered the VGN-S5HP/B to be. For one thing, it feels a good deal lighter and, for another, the screen is thinner. The size is about the same. On top of that, it doesn't breathe like an asthmatic chainsmoker, nor belch out fumes, which was one of the features of the VGN-S5HP/B. (Okay, no fumes, but for at least half a year it's been disturbingly loud. Bad fan, obviously.) Or maybe I'd had it too long and that's what happens when laptops begin wanting to be let out to pasture.

Pleased with my new laptop, I immediately set about removing Windows Vista from it. I hadn't used Windows for a while (my move from Windows to Ubuntu is extensively recorded in this blog) and I must admit a few moments of wowdom at the flashy Mac-like stuff that Windows Vista provides. However, the zillion little dialogs with inane questions that, once answered, immediately reappeared (and the dumb way you're still meant to go to "Start" in order to "Stop" the system, compounded by the Hibernate icon that is equivalent to the Shutdown icon on every other system), brought my mind back to the serenity, logic, and plain common sense I had found in Ubuntu Linux. Though I really should have gone straight to OpenSolaris, based on the "fly your own planes" principle, I went back to Ubuntu Linux, because of the "choose the plane you know when others will be flying with you" principle (i.e., I will do presentations soon and don't want to relearn a whole new system with the possibility of spending more time learning it than preparing for the presentations and potentially messing up on some triviality at the moment of truth), which clearly trumps the former.

Once my presentations are over (sometime in June/July), I'll make the move to OpenSolaris. This time, though, I've completely removed Windows, unlike before, where I was running a dual boot situation. Now, though, I'm on Ubuntu 7.10 instead of 7.04. Differences? Yes, two very nice ones. Firstly, the video/sound stuff all works straight out of the box. All the agony I had with that before is no more. Secondly, there's some cool thing whenever an e-mail comes in, a bubble-like thing in the bottom right corner pops up, with the headings of the new e-mails. But that might just be the new version of Thunderbird. So, on top of all the stuff that Ubuntu 7.10 provides out of the box, I installed Thunderbird, Pidgin Internet Messenger, the JDK, and NetBeans IDE. All via the Synaptic Package Manager. On 7.10, only NetBeans IDE 5.5 is available, which I mainly installed because the JDK comes with it. Then I went to and downloaded NetBeans IDE 6.01 from there.

And with that, I'm back to where I started. Except that the laptop is lighter and snappier and Linux Ubuntu works better with video and sound. Plus, best of all, all the stuff I had on my laptop before, and that I was afraid of throwing away for fear of throwing something special away, is no longer cluttering up my work area. I now have 2 gigs (where before it was 512 Mb), without the Windows partition (which I never used) taking up half my disk space. And, above all, my laptop makes no sound at all. Only the slightest sound, like one hand softly clapping a feather. Let's see how long that lasts...


Congratulations on the new laptop. Actually I've been looking at the VAIO SZ series as well. It is very, very light without being frail.

Posted by Charles Ditzel on February 13, 2008 at 12:30 PM PST #


Posted by Mark Ashworth on February 13, 2008 at 03:14 PM PST #

Geertjan, for Ubuntu 7.10, you can try out the Nimbus L&F (Solaris L&F).

Posted by Phantom Jennings on February 14, 2008 at 12:25 AM PST #

Posted by Odszkodowania on April 05, 2008 at 05:31 AM PDT #

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Geertjan Wielenga (@geertjanw) is a Principal Product Manager in the Oracle Developer Tools group living & working in Amsterdam. He is a Java technology enthusiast, evangelist, trainer, speaker, and writer. He blogs here daily.

The focus of this blog is mostly on NetBeans (a development tool primarily for Java programmers), with an occasional reference to NetBeans, and sometimes diverging to topics relating to NetBeans. And then there are days when NetBeans is mentioned, just for a change.


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