time reversal

the stories of four physicists separated by the whims of fate

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The Switch

January 19th, 2009 by ruth

This pretty much sums up my perspective on computing four and a half years ago:

Merits of the PowerBook G4 were:

  • Shiny
  • Ease of use
  • Moderate Unix goodness
  • Durable
  • Still shiny

This winter I bought a new laptop. I wanted something small with good battery life. I really liked the Lenovo x200s (it’s an x300 but cheaper, faster, and with longer battery life) but this meant switching away from OS X, shiniest and most friendly of operating systems.

It also meant giving up my trackpad for a trackpoint and a dizzying array of mouse buttons (three of them!!). And thinkpads are not shiny. But I do get 6 to 9 hours of battery life and the screen looks really nice. Alson, the construction of this thing is so solid I’ll bet I could drop kick it and nothing would happen. And I can actually remove and upgrade my own hard drive, ram, etc. I like the hardware overall.

Anyhow, I switched to Ubuntu. I tried Windows XP first but ironically a driver bug prevented the computer from falling asleep when bluetooth was disabled. Ubuntu works out of the box and boots twice as fast. Take that, The Man! In addition to being a rock solid OS, Ubuntu makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside because it’s Free.

You see all of these testimonials online of people who switch from windows to mac and they’re so happy and they’re all productive and relieved and so on. But I’m pretty happy with my switch to Ubuntu. I feel like I really own my computer. And it’s fun to use. And it works well. And it’s so fast! I can run Mathematica 7 in a coffee shop. Awesome.

I sure do wish they would get around to releasing a Linux version of Chrome though.

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