Long-time readers may remember that I seem to have discovered a cause and effect that is hard for science to explain. Â Using the formula of a well known Internet meme, I have summed it up like this: Â “Each time you buy a laptop, God kills a tooth.” Â This has held true at least three times in a row: Â I bought a laptop computer, and one of my teeth broke or came loose. Â (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. Â Actually, I went to the dentist first. Â This was a routine checkup that I have twice a year. Â The dentist did not find any holes this time (yay!), although the still took some money for the time and the x-rays. Â When I returned to my workplace, however, my laptop was broken. Â Well, not literally broken to pieces, but it was not a laptop anymore. Â The screen now showed 6 small pictures instead of one large. Â It was not merely a driver issue either: Â 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. Â 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. Â I don’t know, I don’t do that machine-near work anymore and haven’t for many years. Â 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. Â 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.” Â God does not admit to having said that, but said, approximately “You’ll probably try to do it anyway.” Â Which I did, of course. Â 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. Â I hear they have started work on Windows 8 already. Â Of course, I am used to Ubuntu Linux, which comes with a new version twice a year, but those are free. Â A new Windows version is quite an event, despite the relatively short shelf life of Windows Vista. Â Windows 7 is supposed to be much better. Â Well, what do you know, it is. Â After the lengthy process of setting up the computer, it was quite responsive despite its low-energy processor and only 1 GB of RAM. Â (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. Â (It was good enough for Vista, in its time.) Â 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. Â But for the first days, I hope to use Windows 7 and see how good it really is. Â 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). Â SSD is more expensive by far, but the difference is shrinking, Â it is faster on reading small files and it uses less power. Â 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. Â I love HP and HP loves me, it seems: Â 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. Â It came with Windows XP, and now we have Windows 7. Â 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. Â If you can do it without breaking any teeth, at least…