My New Toys

For the first time since I began working at my new job, I finally have a computer better than my home PC. I got a new custom-built HP 8730W laptop last week and packed it to the hilt with the top-of-the-line materials available from HP.

This, along with my iPhone, is another step toward preparing for any type of crisis or disaster that may occur at the College. Until now, I’ve been tied to either my desk or my home whenever updates needed to be made to the Web site. However, in the future, I’ll be able to go anywhere in the world that has a wifi connection (or, based on some rumors I’ve heard about “tethering” being part of the upcoming firmware for the iPhone, anywhere there’s an AT&T cell signal) and update the Web site.

I put 8 gigs of memory in (which is the max for any of HP’s laptops), an nVidia FX 3700M (1-gig dedicated video memory) display adapter, an Intel Core 2 Extreme Q9300 (quad-core, 2.53 gHz) processor, a Blu-Ray reader/writer and more. I got a 1TB external personal media drive and a TV tuner to go with it, along with quite a few nice accessories. It has a fingerprint scanner, wi-fi adapter, 56K modem, ethernet adapter and bluetooth built in. It has the 17″ WUXGA display. I also got an HP advanced docking station and a 30-inch LCD monitor to use at my desk. As a bonus (to avoid using up too many USB ports), I also picked up a stereo (binaural) bluetooth headset to listen to music and teleconference.

The laptop came with Windows Vista Business 64-bit installed and I am in the process of installing OpenSUSE 11.1 (I chose SUSE because it seems to have the most reliable, stable 64-bit version of the Linux flavors I enjoy). I just finished installing Adobe CS4 Master Collection (which went considerably faster than it did on my old office desktop) and am eagerly awaiting the Nero suite and an upgrade of my Camtasia software to use on the machine.

While I was at it, I went ahead and ordered an extra capacity battery (which isn’t quite what I thought it was – it actually plugs into the bottom of the laptop, similarly to the way a docking station does). I ordered an all-purpose charger (to be used in the car, at home or in an airplane, apparently). They also threw in an extra regular battery. Therefore, if I ever run out of juice with my laptop, I’m in serious trouble.

I know that the machine will begin to slow down as time goes on, but I have to say I am so happy with the way it performs, right now. I opened PhotoShop 64-bit and it popped right up. I would have had to wait for at least a minute on my old desktop; quite possibly longer.

I love the fact that I push the power button, scan my finger and I’m up and running in about 30-45 seconds. It will be interesting to see how much that slows down once I get hooked into the network at work. To start up my desktop and get Outlook open literally takes 10-15 minutes on my desktop at work.

I can’t wait until I get all of my files copied over and get the network authentication working properly with Vista and OpenSUSE. Then, all I’ll need is a “seat” on our VPN so that I can work on the network from anywhere in the world.

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