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1  Discussions / Miscellaneous Topics / Re: Death of my Laptop on: 2004-11-11 21:51:36
Yeah.  I have a Inspiron 4100.  It's OK, but not great.  I got it because it was lighter than the 8100's.  I'd been unimpressed by Dell's service in the past, so I got only the basic one year warrentee.  Here's what happened so far:

- it shipped with about 7 bad pixels.  I asked to get it fixed, but they said that was normal.  I then asked to return it and they exchanged it for one with no bad pixels.  That left a bad taste, but at least I got a good screen out of the deal.

- after a few months it became very difficult to start or shut it down via the power button.  I didn't want to mail it back, so I lived with this.

- after one year, the hinges started creaking and the battery life went to about 30 minutes.  I ended up buying a better battery from ebay.

- after about one and a half years the right LCD hinge broke.  Bummer.  I lived with it like this, using an external monitor instead.

- after about two years the hard drive froze solid.  At this point, I got tired of the problems and replaced the hard drive and bought a new upper panel from Dell parts.  It was more difficult than I imagined to buy from Dell spare parts, but it was much cheaper than the repair price they want.  Replacing the panel was pretty easy.  I thought I was done with repairs.

- now (just a bit more than two years later) the LCD inverter is dying.  The LCD won't display unless I boot on battery power, and then makes a high pitch hum.  This is quite annoying!  And worse, I have the option of getting a completely new LCD screen from Dell (at like $600 or so) or hunting around for the right LCD inverter.  

During my research into the repairs, I found these are all common problems with Insiprons.  The Lattitude models we have at work are better constructed, but still have component failures.  The best part of Dell's support seems to be its diehard members in the Dell forums.  Email support is awful, but you can get your point across after a few exchanges.  Phone support is hit or miss, but mostly miss.

Personally, I'm ready for an Apple laptop, but I'm holding out for a G5 (or at least a dual core G4).  I'm typing this on a Powermac G5, which is very impressive.

If I had to get a PC laptop, I'd look into IBM.  Or consider the laptop disposable.

[edit] I should have added that it runs Linux pretty well.  Well, except for the build-in winmodem.
2  Discussions / Miscellaneous Topics / Re: Death of my Laptop on: 2004-11-11 10:17:17
> so awful

So, what's the story?  I use XP and Linux at work, but really look forward to OS X at home.  

Perhaps the worst part of OS X (IMHO) is that it doesn't have many games that I like (like Falcon 4, etc...).  But I don't have much time for that nowadays anyway.
3  Discussions / Miscellaneous Topics / Re: Death of my Laptop on: 2004-11-10 22:48:06
> Powerbook

They're awesome.  But I miss having JDK 1.5.
4  Discussions / Miscellaneous Topics / Re: Food for thought on: 2004-10-21 02:18:03
Malohkan: I have to agree with you.  But you have to give us some credit.  At least we didn't fly WMDs in and claim they were there all along (cynical people I work with were wondering if that would happen during the early part of the war).  

Was removing Saddam a good thing?  Yes.  A good reason to go to war?  No.  Are we safer because terrorists are flocking to Iraq?  Unfortunately, no.  IFAICT, tt's fueling more exteremism.  And because they're fighting in Iraq they won't try to get us here?  That's just not logical.  It only takes a few (or one) to strike.  Remember Oklahoma?  Two guys, a truck, and some fertilizer did that.  I suspect that not all terrorists have moved to Iraq, and if a couple get by the border (not really a problem from the north or south), they could do the same.

It's something you can't fight effectilvely with military force.  Sadly, Bush either doesn't want to admit this publicly due to the election, or just doesn't believe it (or has been beguiled by those around him into believing it).  

This sounds partisan I know, but I have only voted Democratic once in the last 12 years.  This time, there's no question.  When the captain shows obvious errors in judgement, it's time to relieve him.  I'm hoping the majority of americans will come to the same conclusion before 11/2.

If you live in the US, be sure to vote!
5  Discussions / Miscellaneous Topics / Re: Food for thought on: 2004-10-20 23:21:53
In my personal experience, many in the US were tenatively FOR the war in Iraq.  Most expected that we'd actually get more countries behind us.  Or at least tacit support.  Then we found that there were actually no WMDs.  Didn't Bush emphatically declare that Saddam had all sorts of nasty things?

And worse, somehow the Bush administration managed to convince a portion of Americans that Saddam attacked us on 9/11!  Of course he didn't (I know that!).

Unfortunately, I think the OP is correct, at least for the US.  

The silver lining is that at least OS X got a half decent flightsim update (

6  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: What's your favourite IDE? on: 2004-01-08 00:33:50

I grew up with emacs and vi and am still comfortable with them but...

Netbeans beats them all for me.  Intellij might be an option, but it is just too much for me for hobby use.  Eclipse is interesting and I forced myself to use 3.0Mx over the last few months to see how the other side lives.  I do like the (relative) native fidelity, but the UI is just too slow to use on Linux.  Eclipse's refactoring is (IMHO) it's only major selling point.

NetBean's 3.6 dev builds are nice.  Much quicker than Eclipse.  Easier to configure projects too.

7  Java Game APIs & Engines / Java 2D / Re: PNG bug? on: 2003-11-07 00:11:54

Well... I won't file a bug report, because I don't know where, I don't remember my login, the request login stuff doesn't work and because I don't want to register again.

The JDC request/reset login does ork, but for some reason it takes days for it to arrive in the inbox.
8  Java Game APIs & Engines / Java 2D / Re: Still trouble with choppy input on: 2003-11-05 00:48:36
You may want to check out

and vote for it. (I think you're looking for "xset r off")
9  Discussions / Miscellaneous Topics / Re: Brace styles on: 2003-06-30 22:45:53
Being an old unix hacker, I use #1 but follow the conventions of the project.

BTW: checkstyle ( includes a brace checker which
is rather useful.  There will also be an indention checker in the 3.2
release (which is also good for more religious wars).
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