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Re: Best "new" laptop

> Sorry for that last post, I accidentally hit send.  Here's the full ...

'sokay, happens to all of us sometimes.

> >>>>> "Heather" == Heather  <star@starshine.org> writes:
>  H> Anyways I have to agree that if you're buying from IBM - at least
>  H> at the moment - you're at least supporting a company that cares
>  H> somewhat about linux users' opinions.
> You'd think so, eh?  Remember, we're talking about IBM, where the left hand
> doesn't know what the right hand is doing. ;-)  (Anyone remember OS/2, and the
> "support" it got from IBM's PC division?)

"at the moment" ... "somewhat" ... I think I hedged it down to my level of 
reasonable.   All megacorps are octopi who have little idea how many hands
they have, much less what they're doing.  But, at the moment, the loud and
visible portion known as PR thinks that IBM is supporting linux, and their
website is backing them up to that claim to some degree.

For example, the only vendor-supported open source winmodem is IBM's.  
You won't find a laptop that's an S/390, but there's linux for it, and I
doubt that would have happened without some cooperation.
>  H> x 1280x1024 resolution ... I'll settle for 1024x768 ...
> Don't forget to make it a TFT screen.

My eyeballs are the final judge, and they care less about acrronyms than
results.  Since I'm restricting on the size I may actually not get a lot
of choice.  But passive matrix probably would not cut it.

hmm.  I do care somewhat about battery life.  if passive matrix use less 
energy, and the screen quality is good enough, I might go for it.  Anyone 
know if the difference is significant to the battery?

>  H>   * video chipset that is -actually- supported by X 4. ...
>  H>     Wish me luck.  I think this is my pickiest feature request.
> All features of the chipset should be supported by X 4.  

That is pretty much what I meant by stressing "actual".  I'd like some
acceleration (even if it's incomplete) because without it, I could back
down to X 3.3.6, use the SVGA server, and have a simpler config I'm 
already used to get the same results, right?   (I already use ttf's
so TrueType support isn't news to me.)

Ideally support would be complete and known to be working, but I don't 
know if they bother to keep such chipsets on laptops.  I hate chip churning.

> If it's supported, but doesn't accelerate, it might not be worth getting.


>  H> x Memory is more important than CPU, after all, I live on a 233
>  H>   MMX for goodness' sake.  Skipping stright to Crusoe is tempting tho...
> I agree.  If you get too little memory you'll spend all your time in your swap
> space, which can be very painful on a laptop since laptop HD's are typically
> slower than desktop ones.  Memory is probably one of the easiest things to
> upgrade on a laptop, though.

I usually recommend completely tanking up, if you can afford it, as long as
you aren't buying at a time when memory prices are riding high. 

>  H> * arrow keys in a T. ctrl key wider than Fn. backslash above Enter/
>  H>   below backspace.  Esc at far top left.
> And the ~/` key to the left of `1' (unlike Toshiba's layout).  

Um, yes, ideally, but I'm willing to let ~ flutter around.  

Turns out my desk uses a backwards L enter key, with \ below it, and I don't
seem to mind that, so \ is obviously less of a biggee.   

> If you're an emacs user,

I'm not, though I enjoy seeing the emacs quoting style.  vim with syntax
highlighting, usually.

> you may want to make sure you have a second set of Alt and Ctrl
> keys on the right side,

preferred, at least an extra Alt key.  oh yeah.  no objection to windows key.
I can abuse the windows key both inside and outside of X.

> although it's not completely necessary since you can just use xmodmap to 
> change it (as long as there's a physical button there that you can press).

I actually live more outside of X than inside it, however, I'm fairly unafraid
to to custom keyboard layout for myself.  I'll do this for others as a
consulting gig;  I need to get a bit of info from the laptop itself about
scancodes in order to do a good job.

revised keyboard prefs:
   (critical)  Esc at farthest top left.  backspace top right two keyspots above
               Enter. Ctrl bigger than fn, alternately, fn NOT at bottom left.
               arrows somewhere at bottom right. \ on right side.
   (would prefer) arrows in inverted T.  ~ left of 1 key.  \ above enter.
               Alt on right as well as left.
   (enjoy but wouldn't miss) function key row line above is slightly 
               distanced from qwerty area, like in desktops. IBM does this.
>  H> Ignoring: - trackpoint/eraserhead vs glidepad.  All mice suck, but
>  H> I only care that it is responsive enough I don't feel forced to
>  H> get an external.
> If you do a lot of copy/paste with your mouse, you'll want to get a laptop 
> that has three mouse buttons (IBM), or one where you can hit both buttons 
> with one finger (Dell, Sony, probably others).

I've long since grown used to the common two-buttons-at-the-bottom style.
Both buttons with one finger?  where do they put this feature that doesn't 
lead to accidentally hitting both instead of one? 

While I touch type my style is a little non-standard, I have no problem
returning to "home" after using right thumb+index to click both.

given that keyboards have a 2.3:1 wide aspect ratio while screens are -usually-
3:4, the bigger the laptop, the more wasted plastic area, which they usually
use to add weird features to the glidepad.  buttons above as well as below
for instance. 

Back to dreaming:
	enough space below and they could put a REAL numpad in at the lower 
	right corner... we could dispense entirely with the stupid embedded
	numpad.  vendors who presently put Home/End/PgUp/PgDn at the side
	could use a wider key layout.

	different dream, not for everybody but okay for me: I don't mind 
        smaller keys, how about put in a full 101 key layout across (3:1 
	aspect ratio).  Slide this far enough down and you can get even 
        more *inside* estate - usable for all sorts of things.

* Heather Stern * star@ many places...

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