Monthly Archives: September 2011

New a new PC. Time for a desktop?

My 2 year old Dell Studio 1558 is doing it again: slowing to a snails pace, heating to an inferno, and then spontaneously powering off (which I think is a saftety set at CPU temperature reaching 100*C).

I had Dell come and replace parts on this laptop about 9 months ago when similar symptoms developped. I originally purchased this unit while I was in the UK, around January 2010 I think it was. I was hoping to get 3 years out of it. Sadly, at around 20 months old, I’m getting too frustrated to put up with it. I’m now living in Australia, and having any PC multi-national company honour their warranty internationally is a challenge. Heck, worse offender in this scenario is Sony, who want £20 to answer the phone!

Now that I’m no longer living in a flat with a very transient lifestyle (lots of travel having gone, and replaced by a 1 year old boy), I’m much more rooted to my home office desk. So, in light of this, I’m thinking of getting a desktop with a reasonable screen. I saw Russell Coker’s post about a 27″ whopper from Dell for AU$899 or so, and was wondering what to pair that with, or if to go for a slightly smaller screen. Then comes the questions of the all-in-ones, and the touchscreens that are around.

What I’d like is something thats got a few (2?) USB 3 ports for the next few years of my accessory usage, SATA 3 so I can throw in a fast SSD. I’d potentially run Debian on this, so possibly don’t want a Windows license.4 GB RAM minimum, possibly 8.

So looking around its a quagmire of detaisl that 15 years ago I used to thrive on. Do I care about UEFI instead of a traditional BIOS. DO I really need SATA 3 instead of 2? What about legacy (!) 1394? HDMI connector – yes please – do I still want a VGA port? What about a second HDMI? Hm. That 27″ screen’s native res is more than most on-board graphics can drive… perhaps drop to a 24″ screen. What size should this be: ATX, mini ITX, smaller?

Then comes the pre-built or custom built. Dell, pretty I’m upset about your product quality right now. HP, you’ve (a) killed my DreamScreen recently, and (b) put your entire business in up the creek with indications that the PC business is going away/sold off. Lenovo? Acer?

So I’m at a computing crossroads. I can’t be bothered to build my own PC again – I’ve been living on laptops for almost a decade now. But they are expensive, and when something goes wrong, the there’s very little to salvage. Laptops suck, but do desktops suck less. Vendors suck, but then so does the time waste on building your own? I think Tablets suck for doing lots of data input (programming). All in ones – not sure. Touchscreens – probably a gimmick.

I am registered for LCA!

Yay – not only did the programme come out, but also registration for Linux.conf.au 2012 opened within hours of my last post – well done LCA team! And I’m now registered and paid and ready. Just need to sort out flights… its been a few years but I’m looking forward to it.

LCA 2012 – registration opening soon, hopefully

Looking forward to getting myself sorted for Linux.Conf.Au 2012 this January in Ballarat, Victoria. A heap of mini confs have been added before hand – now comes the problem of choosing between them.  Registrations were slated to open early september – hopefully soon, as I want to confirm my ticket and accomodaiton before booking flights… and they get more expensive as time passes. So, I guess everyone is watching the LCA web site intently!

May have a few days in Melbourne afterwards with my Mrs and son… we’ll see. ;)