My New Computer

Regular readers are aware of my recent travails (no, I’m not going to search for links). As an experiment this fall, I’ve been using an ASUS tablet and bluetooth keyboard and mouse. I won’t go into all of the frustration and screaming I’ve gone through to make this work, but it just. doesn’t.

I finally broke down and went out shopping at Best Buy near our place in Golden, CO (that’s where we are until the trip back next weekend). They had a fantastic deal on an HP AMD laptop for $229. Two problems with it: its 4G RAM isn’t expandable, and it has a 15″ screen. Why is the latter a problem, you ask? And well you may. It’s a problem because in addition to my old laptop needing replacement, seat pitch has gotten to a state at which you cannot use a laptop that size on a seatback table. I needed a smaller machine.

So I looked some more, and I found a 2-in-1 HP with a much smaller footprint, and a touchscreen. It also has a pen, in theory, but I don’t give a rat’s tuchus about that because the whole reason that I love computers is that I no longer have to drag something across something to communicate my thoughts. God’s gift to me, despite the fact that I don’t believe in Him/Her is the keyboard.

Its memory is also not expandable, but I’ve given up on that; these new machines are so thin that the RAM has to be soldered to the board. For $350 plus tax, it’s good enough. And so far it has been.

Next step is to see if I can install a good OS on it…

21 thoughts on “My New Computer”

  1. Did you get more compute than you would with a Chromebook? I am assuming that HP gave you a garbage version of Windows. Let us know how the migration to Linux goes.

    1. I don’t know. My problem with Chromebook is that it’s basically a Google browser with no native software. I want a stand-alone machine, not one utterly dependent on the cloud, and particularly Google’s cloud. Yes, it’s Windows 10, with all of HP’s bloatware. I’m assuming I’ll be able to boot past it, but too busy tonight to deal with it.

      1. Chromebooks work off-line with Google Docs, and Google Sheets, perhaps others as well, but I generally only need those two. For computing work, I use Chrome Remote Desktop to access the AutoCAD computer; it all seems to work. You do, however, seem to end up drinking the Google Kool-Aid!

    2. A chromebook running is standard mode is an appliance. In developer mode you have root access and can do stuff like install a proper linux in a chroot environment.

  2. Rand,
    There is a version of Linux (crouton) for chromebooks and plenty of blogs about upgrading chromebooks to something else, adding storage, etc.

  3. Well Too late now but probably should of looked for a used Lenovo X230/X220 everything is accessible and replaceable. Throw a new ssd, and new battery and install linux and good to go with a possible upgrade to the supported 8 gb or 16 gb of ram. Though that 600$ or more proposition. Get a sturdy laptop that has a lot of parts find able and kinda meant to be worked on and accessible and has strong linux support.

    1. I was looking for something that I can fit on a seatback tray. I doubt if the Lenovo would have worked. I could have gotten a 15″ HP for $229, but it was just too damn big.

  4. There are no good OS and that’s with everybody under the sun creating different Linuxes. If QNX had gone for the mass market, maybe…

    1. Everything does most everything right except one or another of the things I absolutely insist on. Most seem to not do at least one of them at all.

      1. Both GEM and DesqView were mass marketed so they had there chance. QNX never was, being priced in some cases more than the machine it would run on. Even the version from the late 70s is superior to anything else we have today with capabilities that are still unmatched.

        Add the development environment I have firmly defined in mind (which does not quite exist) and every other OS and development environment would become an orphan. I’m not up to the task myself because of health. The language should have a terse syntax but not to the extent of C (or APL.) It may include aliases so that SEQ and SEQUENCE are the same keyword but predefined. Allowing that kind of customization with generalized aliases allows nightmare maintenance issues. Tricky code that hides meaning is just poor practice. It’s where OOP often fails.

        I really like some things about SQLite and have a kluge that makes it workable over the network multiuser. I’d like a directly compilable (no linking required but possible to libraries) language simpler but similar to Euphoria (which is not directly compilable being translated to C first.) Libraries for windows, linux, etc for standard 2D, 3d & GUI elements (and easy expansion like Delphi… I hate Pascal… and C++. Forth being a disappointment since it was created.) VB6 allowed me to instantly fix issues in over a million lines of code because of one or two click drill down.

        No includes, header files or macros. Function order should not matter with forward references being fine (computers handle that fine. It’s only lazy programmers that think include is a good idea. Encapsulation is not just a good idea for classes.) You should never have to look outside a function (other than drill down) to figure out what it does.

        The language has to be able to compile itself, preferably with a core that is a single file.

        With QNX web GUI programming should be very simple. Spiderbasic being a possible example. REBOL having similar problems to forth.

        Report writing should not be as primitive as it is and not requiring a third party program.

        I may have been born a hundred years too early?

  5. At that price, you probably got an AMD APU. They aren’t very powerful. Will such a laptop have enough power for whatever you’re going to do with it?

      1. Dunno if there in the lead they got the best performance for price. Don’t believe they are beating intel in performance per watt which critical metric for Portables though they closed the gap.
        Performance per watt was what AMD was killing intel with back in the Pentium 4 days where intel need 100 watt+ cooling to compete with 45 watt amds.

        1. It doesn’t really matter. I don’t need a high-performance laptop. That’s what my desktop is for. I just need something to write and stay in touch on the road.

      2. There’s some Ryzen laptops now. You can get a 2500U (4C8T with Vega 8 graphics), for around $700, although I think most of the few available this early are 15.6″ displays so probably not good for what you want.

  6. Although I’ve never attempted it I’ve had many friends who’ve experience mixed luck with Linux installs on portable devices. The best experiences I have seen start with friends who have taken the time first to peruse the web for portables that are listed as supported in the various Linux home sites (CentOS, RedHat, Debian, Ubuntu, etc.) and go with those particular models. From experience, reading of results of those working from the other direction (as you are doing), I have seen most have had mixed results. Oftentimes some particular feature of the portable may remain inoperable under Linux due to either lack of publication of the necessary hardware specs or a Open Licensed/GPL’d Windows driver that could be ported to Linux. So to you Rand I wish you luck! Hope that you get enough of your new portable operable under Linux to be useful enough for you….

  7. FWIW, I’ve been using an ASUS with I3 running mint linux for several years. Very easy install, fully functional

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