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my new Inspiron - WAS: OT: laptop recomendations

Hi to Everyone,

I've received my new DELL Inspiron 1525... It surely takes some time to get used to such a difference, whatever you speak of the overall size, the keyboard, Ubuntu... and, above all, the touchpad, which I find absolutely horrible. I thought I could just plug any spare mouse, but I now realize that it has to be an USB mouse... didn't even know about these, this is to say how old is my equipment :)

Do you think that just any usb mouse will do the job, or have I better ordering a specific DELL mouse ?

I can't keep using that touchpad. The plate is not hard enough, and the course of your pointer does vary depending of how light or heavy is the touch ; most times it appears difficult to go from one screen end to the other. Doing this, if your pointer stays more that a few tenth of a second on a live word, it will carry you there, even without any button pressing. On my old thinkpad, there was a red button in the midst of the keyboard, and it was just wonderful, compared to that failure...

To the Ubuntu GNOME desktop, I have to get used to, at least for some time, since I am planning to install Debian Lenny instead, as soon as possible, but not before I have checked that everything worked "as is", especially WiFi.

For I have not been able to get WiFi working so far !

The UBUNTU v8.04 Gnome Desktop proposes a few things to get wifi working, but it does not work here. On my Desktop computer (running on Debian Sarge half upgraded to Etch), WiFi works on my DSL box/router, whether with WEP or WPA encryption. My old Thinkpad 600 worked WiFi only on WEP encryption. This one does not work at all so far ; no doubt that it is my mistake, but I'd like to kwow which one is mine. The automated process "network tools" has not given any success. I have tried to insert my WPA encryption key in /etc/network/interfaces as I have done on my Desktop, but I had no success. A ping on gives no result either. I have not forgotten to switch the side button that is supposed to switch the network ON/OFF.

Do you recommend to give it a quick extra trial before installing Debian Lenny, or have I better switch right away ?

Micha Feigin wrote:

On Sun, 04 Jan 2009 21:38:39 +0100
Bernard <bdebreil@teaser.fr> wrote:

Micha Feigin wrote:

On Sun, 4 Jan 2009 15:05:31 +0100
Vincent Lefevre <vincent@vinc17.org> wrote:

On 2009-01-04 11:28:10 -0200, Henrique de Moraes Holschuh wrote:
And BTW, the ThinkPads will waste up to 3W more in Linux than in
Windows, so keep that in mind when you look at battery life figures.
Is there any reason? Is this specific to ThinkPads?

From talks on linux-thinkpad it is not currently know exactly why, mostly
speculations. Either more agresive throttling of the graphics chip and/or
putting pci to sleep. Possibly more optimizations

What I can say is that, with my old Thinkpad 600 then running under RedHat 7.2, I could expect at least three hours of work with the battery, even three and a half hours when the battery was new (I used that thing for about 6-7 years, and this is my third battery). Even though I did have a small MSWIN partition (Windows 98), I have never used it long enough to evaluate how long my laptop would work on battery under that OS, but I doubt that it would have be 3X more, that is 9 to 10 hours.

This Thinkpad 600 was just a perfect machine. It ran at least 4 hours a day, often 6-8 hours daily for more than 5 years ; everything worked perfectly. I still have that machine, but then I was unable to get satisfactory results when it came to operate WiFi. With WEP encription it worked OK, but no workable issue with WPA. I then tried to install Debian Etch, which worked OK, but not with WPA. Also, using Debian Etch, a few utilities are not working properly, such as fan management and sleep and hibernation modes, which worked perfectly under RedHat 7.2, to the point that I rarely shutdown ; I just closed the lid. Under Debian Etch, the log messages say about fan and sleep management : "BIOS too old"... I bet I could overcome this, but I thought time might have come

My guess is that the laptop uses APM which is really old. Debian must have
phased it out, but you can check the packages if there is still APM support
instead of acpi. Otherwise you can check if there is a bios upgrade to
support acpi (they will probably sell it as compatibility upgrade for win2k -
thats how toshiba presented it).

to get something newer, since that Thinkpad was only 300 MHz (Pentium 3) with a Hard Drive of 5 Gb. I then ordered a DELL Inspiron 1525, which I

It's a lot of bang for the money, but it's a bit heavy and they save money
where they don't tell you, such as the touchpad, keyboard, screen. A friend of
mine got it just now, we'll see how it holds up.

should receive tomorrow. This is an experiment, also a bet, with the advantage of a really low cost. It costs about as much as those new mini-computers or internet-computers, but this is a real machine. If it fails, I will take advantage of the warranty and services, and, in any case, that will be an experience. True enough : if I decide that it is a mistake, no warranty that good reliable computers such as Thinkpad T61 will then still be available...

T61 is a bit old now but still available. Reviews of the t500/t400 seem to be
mixed (especially regarding the keyboard, not sure about the screen).

I will let you know of my impressions when I receive that laptop. It is supposed to run on Ubuntu, but I wish to install Debian Lenny instead. Indeed, Ubuntu is probably OK, but I bet that it will include something like Gnome or KDE, and I am more at ease with fvwm. I hope that the removal of Ubuntu and replacing by Lenny will not genearate problems as far as managing fan, video, sleep and hibernation modes, or with WiFi capabilities with WPA encryption.

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