brent saner on 16 May 2008 10:33:33 -0700

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Re: [PLUG] hello and laptop question

Hash: RIPEMD160

bridget cady wrote:
| .hmmessage P { margin:0px; padding:0px } body.hmmessage { FONT-SIZE:
| 10pt; FONT-FAMILY:Tahoma } Hi - my name is Bridget Cady and I
| technically live in Delaware, although I'm about to finish
| university in Wales. I'll be coming back
| to the States in a few weeks and I think I'd like to get involved
| with PLUG and meet up with other users.
| I've applied to join the Peace Corps and am in the market for a new
| laptop, and I'd like to run Linux exclusively. I'd need something
| pretty rugged (and relatively inexpensive) and was wondering if you
| knew of something that might suit me.
| Thanks,
| Bridget

hey bridget.

first off, thank you for volunteering for the peace corps.

secondly, it's not so much about the model (well, it sort of is) as it
is about the components.

TOP thing for you would be an SSD- solid-state drive. a platter drive
would be a Very Bad Idea(TM), as moving a laptop around (especially
while it's on) can grind down the life of a platter drive but SSD's
keep trucking. they also use FAR less power than a platter drive (no
moving parts!), and power conservation in the field is definitely
something to keep aware of.

you'll want a CPU with frequency scaling (also called power stepping,
frequency stepping, etc.)- basically, a cpu that knows when it's on
battery and clocks itself down to save power.

you'll, obviously, want something with an atheros wi-fi card that
supports both b and g (and possibly a, although i haven't seen a in
use for.. well, years). avoid broadcom wi-fi like the plague.

yada yada yada. you get the idea.

basically, get an eeePC. the 701/702's are nice models, and
surprisingly rugged (they look cheaply-made but people have dropped
them down stairs, etc. and not so much a crack) and spec higher than
the HP ultraportable, at less the price ($400). the 900's are out now
and have a 9" screen and some other added improvements, but come with
a higher pricetag ($550).
best of all, the linux modules to the eeePC are available and they
work FANTASTIC with linux (but ditch the native linux they ship with;
eeepc-variant xandros is IMHO worthless).

any other questions?

- --
brent saner.
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