This journal is a chronicle of my trials and tribulations as I try to purchase a laptop (used) and put Linux on it from scratch.


18 April 1999 (12:29am

Hmmm... ten days since my last update.

I got the laptop Friday, but I'm going to have to send it back because its left hinge is loose. Yuck. Ah well. When I get the exchange back, I will work on it then.

One thing I want to do is set it up with Coda. I suppose I should set it up on my desktop first, eh?

Coda and the latest kernel. Now would be a good time to upgrade the kernel on my desktop. But.... Not this weekend. I think I'll just read tomorrow.

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8 April 1999 (1:29pm)

A few more details on the machine: 10.4 inch display, ESS sound. They won't be able to ship it till next Tuesday since UPS only comes by twice a week. I'll call them tonight and see if it went out today.

But today I saw that a Sparc-based laptop with 64Mb of RAM was going for $500 on eBay. Man! If I could get SparcLinux on that sucker it would be cool. Alas, 'tis not to be.

7 April 1999 (12:24am)

Well, I thought I was going to bed. But I got sucked into eBay's profitable little web. Now I'm going to bed. I found a nice Dell P75 laptop and bid on it. And then in the last ten minutes of bidding I kept a close eye on it. The high bid changed about four times during that time. It went from $525 to $590. I managed to get my bid in with two seconds to spare.

In retrospect, I should have considered a couple of the other laptops that this guy had for sale. Less loaded, but probably decent. Ah well, I'm sure Emacs (the real man's editor) can use that extra memory (32Mb RAM and 2.1Gb drive).

Oh, and why did I go with Dell instead of NEC? Well, the research I did seemed to indicate pretty standard parts. I wish I had gotten something with IrDA, but I'm not sure I would have used it.

Heck, if this works out, I might consider one of those old PowerBook laptops that go for under $100. (Unfortunately, because of how sucked up into it I got, I have a couple of bids on some other laptops right now. Hopefully they won't go through.)

I think I need an Ethernet card now.

Good Night!

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6 April 1999 (10:51pm)

I tried to bid on a laptop today. I tried my "new" strategy of bidding at the last minute. But no go. I bid $305 on this sucker. About seven minutes were left in the auction. And I went away confident I had it. But no, when I came back later to check the status, someone had put $310 on it.

Ah well, it was a TI laptop anyway and had a passive- rather than an active-matrix screen. Next time.

I'm wondering exactly what I have to put on the laptop to get it to a state where I can boot it up and transfer a compiler over. I guess I'll figure that one out by trial and error. I imagine if I copy over a boot floppy that that will do the trick. The question is, If I'm really going to do this from scratch, then does that mean I have to create my own boot floppy?

And another thing, eBay can be addicting. Its time for me to go to bed. I've been up way too late the past few nights.

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5 April 1999 (9:48pm)

Well, no go on the Thinkpad. I did bid, but was out-done. And another auction I tried just finished with someone else out-bidding me at the last minute.

I've been looking around at the various laptops and I think I'm going to go with an NEC. Of the various large brands, they seem like the best outfit. They put their service manuals online and tend to stay away from poorly documented proprietary hardware. So Linux is a good bet on them.

I'm also refining my eBay strategy. Catch auctions in the last few hours of the auction and put a bid on it in the last minutes. That way, people can't out-bid you.

Time to go hunt down some NEC portables.

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4 April 1999 (5:22am)

Today, I begin my journal. This journal will record my attempts to purchase a laptop and install Linux on it.

This past night I stayed up entirely too long. First, I had to sell my old computer equipment on eBay. (Alexis told me I had $500 plus whatever I made on the sold equipment. So I had to sell the equipment first.)

Well, they are listed on eBay now. The 386 laptop that I found for my brother-in-law a couple of years ago and he ended up not using. And the NeXT that I bought 'cause it was cool.

Now, after I posted that, I looked around and found some interesting deals. Right now the IBM Thinkpad with docking station looks good. But in my research, I found that it has an unsupported sound card. Yuck. The author of the Mwave Hack holds out some hope that it will work eventually, though.

One reason I'm considering this computer (in the whole five hours that are left in the auction) is that the docking station has a SCSI controller on it. Nice, eh?

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