Teeth and laptops, again

Long-time readers may remember that I seem to have discovered a cause and effect that is hard for science to explain.   Using the formula of a well known Internet meme, I have summed it up like this:  “Each time you buy a laptop, God kills a tooth.”  This has held true at least three times in a row:  I bought a laptop computer, and one of my teeth broke or came loose.  (Although two of the times it was an artificial tooth, of which I have two or three, I think.)

Well, we are about to find out whether it is a rule without exception, because I not only bought a new laptop today, I also went to the dentist.  Actually, I went to the dentist first.  This was a routine checkup that I have twice a year.  The dentist did not find any holes this time (yay!), although the still took some money for the time and the x-rays.   When I returned to my workplace, however, my laptop was broken.  Well, not literally broken to pieces, but it was not a laptop anymore.  The screen now showed 6 small pictures instead of one large.  It was not merely a driver issue either:  I got this picture already in GRUB (the loader where you choose which operating system to run) and even when booting straight from a CD.  So at the very least something was wrong in the BIOS (basic input/output system) or mechanically somewhere on the path from the computer to the screen.  I don’t know, I don’t do that machine-near work anymore and haven’t for many years.  The problem is solved by plugging it into an external monitor, but alas, that was not what I used it for.

So we have the opposite situation of the normal.  The laptop breaks, but the tooth is good as new! Obviously something was telling me, “Good job with those teeth! Go buy yourself a new laptop.”  God does not admit to having said that, but said, approximately “You’ll probably try to do it anyway.”  Which I did, of course.  So now we just have to see what happens to my teeth.

Besides getting a new actually portable computer, I was particularly interesting in trying out Windows 7 while it lasts.  I hear they have started work on Windows 8 already.  Of course, I am used to Ubuntu Linux, which comes with a new version twice a year, but those are free.  A new Windows version is quite an event, despite the relatively short shelf life of Windows Vista.  Windows 7 is supposed to be much better.  Well, what do you know, it is.  After the lengthy process of setting up the computer, it was quite responsive despite its low-energy processor and only 1 GB of RAM.  (Of course, five years ago 1GB was a lot of RAM and had to be ordered separately.)

A small disappointment was that it rejected my 4GB USB memory stick for use with ReadyBoost. It was not good enough, I was told.  (It was good enough for Vista, in its time.)  I guess with the new, faster and sleeker operating system you need faster accessories to add anything useful.

The lack of an internal CD drive means I cannot just install Ubuntu from the CD I used on the other machine, I will have to prepare a USB key instead.  But for the first days, I hope to use Windows 7 and see how good it really is.  I am sure I could find something to mock it for eventually. But it sure beats Vista, very much so.

The computer incidentally came with a 250 GB hard disk, despite its rather low specs otherwise. This surprised me, but will surely come in handy if I am to have two operating systems on it. In any case, I expect this to be my last laptop with rotating hard disk instead of SSD (solid state disk, flash disk).  SSD is more expensive by far, but the difference is shrinking,  it is faster on reading small files and it uses less power.  It seems like an obvious part of the next generation of laptop. Although I probably won’t be seeing any of those for a while, because this time I bought a Hewlett Packard.  I love HP and HP loves me, it seems:  My HP computers just keep going on and on, year after year, until they are just too slow even with Linux. That can take a while. If this one lasts as long as the one on the table beside me at home, there will certainly be many changes before I need another.  It came with Windows XP, and now we have Windows 7.  I wonder how long Microsoft can keep up with the competition – Linux in particular is improving at a ferocious speed – but Windows 7 is definitely a decent buy.  If you can do it without breaking any teeth, at least…