Saturday, February 6, 2010

Dell Inspiron 1427 and Ubuntu

So I finally had the Dell Inspiron 1427 unit I originally purchased but with a factory defect exchanged with another one that hopefully will not have anymore defects since the travel from my place to the computer store is quite a distance.

Maybe because I'm getting a bit more used to it now, and without discovering any defect so far, that I'm appreciating this laptop more. So as soon as I arrived home, I set about changing the OS to Ubuntu Studio 9.10. I had downloaded the image and burned it on a DVD.

Here's where my non-techiness came in. I didn't think of checking my internet connection (there was none) and just wanted to get the installation done and over. But of course, almost halfway through the installation, the installer says "failed to install software packages".

I was so impatient that I aborted installation, popped in instead a copy of Linux Mint Helena's live CD. It was then I noticed that the laptop wasn't getting the wireless signal for the internet connected via router. Worse, Linux Mint kept on hanging.

Alright, so restarted again, replaced Linux Mint with Ubuntu 9.10 and it installed. But still the wireless network wasn't getting detected. Oh no, not another factory defect, I thought. But back in the store, I remember that we checked it and it worked. So there must be something else.

This was how I was until any free time I could get the next day: checking out help for internet and networking. Nothing. Checked out troubleshooting both on the Ubuntu help and Dell's (using a desktop). Nada.

What could be wrong??? I couldn't figure it out and I was so tempted to reinstall Vista Basic since I had the reinstallation DVD. I didn't in the end because I couldn't take going back to Vista and basic at that.

And then it occurred to me to reinstall Ubuntu 9.10 with the laptop connected to the router with a LAN cable. Online, installation was able to complete with all the necessary download and with it detect the need for drivers for the NVIDIA graphic card and the wireless network. Downloaded drivers. Restarted. Voila, wireless network now working.

Did I remember to say I am so un-techie? :)

These are not good pictures but they give you an idea of the Dell Inspiron i bought:


Thursday, February 4, 2010

My new Dell Inspiron 1427

I finally was able to purchase last Sunday a laptop for my personal and other-work use, taking advantage of two loans that are going to be deducted from my salary.

Dell Inspiron 1427 (see picture below which is from another site; I'll post mine in an update) was my choice after searching the websites of local computer shops, calling them up, and even calling up the different branches of the same shop/company--I discovered that they can offer very different discounts and perks!

As I shortlisted my choices I also found it useful to search forums that talked about the brands and models I was considering. For instance, I was really eyeing the MSI EX460x-T66 and the ASUS K4oIN-VX128 because they both fit my budget and had 512 mb of dedicated video memory. I was getting more and more undecided, even after having checked out both models in the stores, and so it was a great relief to find out that there were others who found it just as stressful!

Anyway, I ended up with the Dell because aside from budget (principal consideration), I was looking for 512 mb of dedicated video memory plus a firewire port. The combination of these three were what really made me search and search. The Dell Inspiron 1427 has these.

I can't say much about its looks though. It's squarish and a bit too plasticky to the touch for my taste. But as I had to choose, I chose the specs over the looks. (Tomorrow I'm bringing it back to the store for a change of unit since the external part of the optical drive, the part with the button, is loose.) I just hope it will last me more than the two years it'll take me to pay for it!

For those interested, here are the specs:

Dell Inspiron 1427
  • Intel Core 2 Duo T6500 2.1 GH
  • 2GB Memory (I had 2gb more added)
  • 320GB Hard Drive
  • 14.1" WXGA TL
  • nVidia 9300M GS 512MB
  • Bluetooth
  • DW1397 Wireless LAN
  • Vista Basic (I'll be changing this to Ubuntu)
  • 2.0MP Camera
  • Ethernet 10/100 LAN
  • Firewire port
  • Card reader
  • 4 USB ports