Hardware

July 2014

Apple MacBook Pro
15 inch Retina Display
2.6GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.8GHz
16GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM
512GB PCIe-based Flash Storage

I needed a laptop to work on all day every day, and the Mac Book Air just wasn't cutting it any more. The MacBook Pro has a lot more power, memory and a bigger disk. My new job might have me writing mobile apps, and a MacBook will allow me to develop both IOS and Android applications.

Update Q1 2014

All 3 of these computers are still in use! The MacBook Air is still my primary computer, the Dell laptop is used by my kids, and the Mediacenter is still attached to the TV although used infrequently (we use Optus Fetch TV for recording TV now - nothing wrong with MythTV but when we got Fetch, we just didn't use MythTV any more).

January 2011

Apple MacBook Air
13 inch display
Core 2 Duo 1.86GHz
4 Gig RAM 1067 MHz DDR3
256 Gig SSD

I wasn’t wanting to move away from Ubuntu, but nothing could beat the MacBook Air for portability, power and price. Portability (lightweight) and battery life was my main criteria here. Its been great – I hardly know I have it with me, and the battery easily gets me from home to work and back. I never turn it off – just close the lid and it suspends. This is my first SSD experience, and its all good – a totally different experience to normal hard drives where you’re constantly aware of when they are working.

March 2008

Dell Inspiron 1525 Laptop (R510302N)
Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo Processor T5550
1.83 GHz, 2MB Cache, 667 MHz FSB
15.4″ Widescreen WXGA+ (1440×900) TFT Display with TrueLife(TM)
Integrated 2.0 mega pixel web cam
2GB (2 X 1024MB) 667MHz Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM
160GB 7200RPM Performance Hard Drive
Internal 8X DVD+/-RW Combination Drive with dual layer write capabilities
Intel(R) Integrated Graphics Media Accelerator X3 100
Intel(R) PRO/Wireless 3945 Dual Band 802.11a/g 54 Mbps Wireless Mini Card
Dell(TM) Wireless 355 Bluetooth Module
6-cell Lithium Ion Primary Battery
Integrated Sound Blaster Audigy ADVANCED

This laptop came with Windows Vista Home Premium, but I’ve rarely used it. The first thing I did was install Ubuntu 8.04 beta on it, and then upgraded 8.04 when it was released. Overall the experience has been good, with only a few issues:

  • A couple of dead pixels appeared soon after I got it – these have spread a little bit, but it is still a small inconvenience
  • Ubuntus suspend and hibernate have been slightly random. If I’m not connected to the network it takes forever (minutes) to resume (but it is very quick if connected). Sometimes it fails to suspend, sometimes it fails to resume.
  • Wireless worked okay, but I don’t use it anymore because I have a cable anyway. I think from memory I’d have to do: ’sudo /etc/init.d/networking restart’ – to get networking back after suspend or hibernate
  • The touchpad is a bit sensitive – sometimes it clicks when I didn’t.
  • The volume only really gets audible at over 50% so you really only have half the range you expect.
That said, its a good machine for the price, and I’m still running Ubuntu so it must be working okay for me.

November 2007

Custom specified desktop built for media center
Sonata III 500 W case
Gigabyte GA965P-S3 motherboard
Core2 Duo E6550 cpu
Gigabyte 8400GS video card
Kingston 1Gig DDR2 800MHz memory
WinFast DTV1000T (digital TV tuner)
Pinnacle NanoStick DTV 73e (USB digital TV tuner)

This desktop is installed with Mythbuntu and connected to the TV with X configured as TwinView Clone. The motherboard has an optical output which I’ve connected to a Yamaha surround sound receiver. I’ve installed a couple of terabyte SATA drives so I’ve got enough storage. I haven’t set up a remote control, I’m thinking I’ll just use a wireless keyboard if I want a remote. I’ve also got it attached to an LCD monitor, since we use it for browsing the web and other short-term computer tasks. MythTV is definitely fulfilling the requirements – mainly playing music and TV record/playback. The case is not a media center case, and is large for the living room, but it is quiet and gives me room for expansion.

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