James & Carolanne

Serving God with Power to Change - Digital Strategies.

Laptop Ordered!

We are very excited to announce that we have raised all the money necessary for purchasing the new laptop for my work.  Thank you VERY much to all of you who helped us in raising the money for it.  It has been so encouraging to see how the Lord has provided so quickly and generously through you our family, friends and supporters.

We have ordered the laptop from the supplier and it should be here near the beginning of January.  It should be just in time, as my old laptop continues to have problems in spite of recent servicing.

Tech Notes on the Laptop Itself:

Those of you interested in technology may find the following notes useful if you are looking for a laptop yourself, or simply want to know what I got.  For the non-tech-savy like my wife, beware of eyes glazing over.

In looking for this machine, I attempted to find a good balance between power and mobility.  As such, I tried to get something not too big size wise, but still powerful enough to run everything I needed.  I also wanted to get something that would not only be able to run today's applications and technology, but also remain usable in 3+ years.  I was looking specifically at three basic aspects of the machine: memory, hard-disk space and CPU speed.  Everything else is somewhat superfluous and can either be incorporated as external features or upgraded at a later date.  (example: getting DVD capabilities instead of Blue-ray)

The laptop itself is a Dell Latitude E6500 and is actually the machine in the picture above.  I chose to get it with the Intel T9400 2.53GHz chip which I felt was not too extreme yet should remain adequate for running most applications developed in the next 3+ years.  Other critical pieces were 4 GB ram and a 250 GB hard-disk.  My main reason for these specs is that I typically run at least two Virtual Machines as testing environments for the work I develop.  I also want to be able to dual-boot Linux (my main Operating System) and Windows (for testing and some non-Linux applications).

For the screen, I got a 15.4 inch WXGA+ LCD which again is somewhat lower-mid-range.  This keeps the price and size of the machine down a bit, but I do hope to eventually raise money for an external screen to use on my desk at work as well.  When coding and testing it is VERY useful to have as much screen real-estate as possible to allow for viewing and editing many lines of code, in addition to keeping a second (and sometimes third) window open to see the results of what I'm building.  I often work building applications with thousands of lines of text code and being able to see more code on the screen is a huge bonus.

I skipped most of the fancy add-ons like Blueray player, web-cam and fingerprint reader, but did ensure that the machine has a decent wireless component as well as built-in bluetooth (very useful for connectivity).  It also has a somewhat lower quality video card which is a bit of a down-side for me but saves a bit on cost and should be sufficient for my needs.

As far as software is concerned, I chose to get the Vista Business License with XP Pro SP3 downgrade.  Basically this means I can run Windows XP until they work out all the problems with Windows Vista then upgrade when ready.  Other than that, I just got the basic bundled software applications seeing as the majority of my time is spent in Linux anyway rather than Windows.

Well, that's about it.  The machine will hopefully arrive in early January, just in time to start the new year.  I hope this has been helpful to you in understanding a little more about what I look for in a laptop and why.  Feel free to email me or comment below if you have any questions or other issues to mention.

Published Mon, Dec 22, 2008 in: newsletters prayer requests
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