Apple Macbook Air 11″, and why I decided to get one

I said I’d never get a Mac.

I swore I’d never get a Mac.

I thought people who had Macs were pretentious.  I thought people who had Macs had more money than sense.  Linux worked just fine for me and I was also pleased with Windows 7.

That was before I heard about the new ultrabooks that actually came out earlier this year.  I seriously looked at them at Best Buy early in June; the Dell XPS ultrabook looked really nice, but I read some hassles about Ubuntu and there was absolutely no guarantee about battery life (they were advertising almost eight hours of battery life under Windows 7).  I asked some questions, then wandered over to the Apple desk.  I played with both 11″ and 13″ Airs, and was impressed.

(This is long, so we’ll go under a cut.)

Continue reading “Apple Macbook Air 11″, and why I decided to get one”

Death of my hard drive


My laptop is currently back from the dead (does that make it a zombie? but I digress…) with a new hard drive.

Well, a new old hard drive.

The story:

Earlier this week, I was in Windows running some updates and stuff and generally just browsing. We went to lunch around noon and I came back to a black screen and this error:

Intel UNDI, PXE-2.1 (build 082)
Copyright (C) 1997-2000 Intel Corporation

For Realtek RTL8111B/8111C Gigabit Ethernet Controller v2.0 (071105)

Client MAC ADDR: 00 90 F5 91 CC FC GUID: 0090F591-CCFC-000-000-000000000000
PXE-E53: No boot filename received

PXE-M0F: Exiting PXE ROM.
Operating System not found

How can the operating system not be found? This computer had two operating systems on it (Ubuntu and Windows 7) and I know it was working before I went to lunch. Ok, it was time for some troubleshooting.

I booted to a LiveCD and checked in Gparted. My main hard drive wasn’t detected at all. It was like I had pulled it out of the computer. I rebooted and checked my BIOS. No hard drive at all. I reseated it, and ran the same tests (BIOS check, LiveCD) and noticed that it started clicking when I did a startup. Not good.

So I submitted a note to the Ubutu forums that maybe System76 could help me out. I was directed to send them an email, which I did.

Ok, so it turns out that it’ll cost about $170 to replace the drive. I politely declined service, as I can replace the drive easily on my own. I know I was out of warranty, but I thought I could at least get a drive from System76 as it was a replacement from November of last year.

Price comparision: I can replace the drive with a 500 gb one from Newegg for between $60 and $80.

I’m working fine with this 200 gb drive from my brother. I’d like to get a 500 gb drive so I can devote 75-100 gb to Windows 7 (just so I have plenty of room to install games and stuff).

I’ll still recommend System76 as a vendor if you need laptop hardware. It’s too bad they won’t even take my old drive back to get some of their money back though. This is still a great computer, and runs well. My warranty had run out (just barely though) and I understand that they can’t do any “free” work on it. Makes sense.

New Mouse

Ah, more new hardware.

Ended up getting a new mouse; my old Logitech was getting long in the tooth so I decided on a Microsoft Blue Track mouse, which is MS’s new laser tech.

I quite like this mouse.  It’s got a very precise tracking and has a decent heft.  I was used to my wired Logitech which had no batteries.  This does, being wireless (2 AAs).

Also, having batteries makes the mouse heavier than what I’m used to.  I liked the lightness of the Logitech.  Having a wire made it a little more tethered than this is.  I’m slowly getting used to the weight of the mouse as well as the rubbery grips on the side.  Awesome.


  • Speed of movement.
  • Extra buttons: I have 2 side buttons.  They seem to be mapped to forward and back in my web browser.
  • Scroll wheel.  It’s so smooth and fast.  It needs a little breaking in for clicking, but other than that, it’s great.
  • Blue Track: it’s very precise.  Wow.


  • Weight.  Seems a little heavy with the batteries, but I’ll adjust.
  • Wireless.  I really, really wanted the corded version of this mouse.  I couldn’t find it anywhere.  Maybe Microsoft doesn’t make it.  Oh well; I’ll use batteries.  At least I can take the USB dongle and stick it in a spot on the bottom to shut it off.

This is an awesome mouse.  It’s fast, precise, has horizontal and vertical scroll, two extra buttons, and rubber grips on the side.  It’s very comfortable to use.  Microsoft makes great peripheral hardware!

Oh, I have it running just fine in Ubuntu.  It says that it “requires Windows 7 or Mac OSX” on the box, but it’s a mouse!  There should be no software required to get it up and running.  If it was a gaming mouse, I could see requiring extra software, but not a basic mouse.

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