computer

Compaq IPAQ C500 Legacy-Free PC

While this PC is largely uninteresting, at the moment www.accurateit.com has them for $25 shipped. They are coming with 128MB RAM, ~4GB disk, and a CMOS password. I envisioned using this system as a NAS, containing my 250GB disk. Sadly enough, this is currently my largest-capacity disk, and I have it connected to my laptop (my fastest machine, a 2.16GHz Core Duo-based HPQ mobile workstation with Quadro graphics) via USB2. Just making a high-volume data transfer between that disk and my internal drive can raise CPU consumption to as much as ten percent for sustained periods of time (although it's typically more like three to five percent.) While this is pretty minimal, it's entirely senseless. IEEE1394 has much lower overhead and superior throughput, but the connector on my system is tiny and thus annoying.

Netboot-installing Ubuntu Gutsy via PXE

There are oodles of guides to netbooting the ubuntu install. This is the story of what worked for me. You could start with any of the nearly-identical guides – I began with FRIS's "Install Ubuntu Gutsy over network or from a hard-disk" on Linux Mini. Now that we've gotten credit out of the way, here are the basic steps in broad strokes:

Fun with HP Laptops; or, how I spend my time these days

These days it seems like there's an infinite number of laptop brands to choose from - perhaps staffed by an infinitude of monkeys. Actually, based on my experiences with laptops and the lack of quality of their hardware, this seems like a fairly generous estimate - I would actually place the average engineer somewhere down around slime molds. Having now owned and worked on laptops from most major vendors (and a number of minor ones) I have a few observations to offer - especially in light of today's labor.

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