My new Studio 17 notebook was sent back to Dell because IT ordered it with a Blu-ray drive (raising the price $150) and integrated video (saving $150), yielding a lackluster 3.1 on the Windows Experience Index:
There are some things about this machine I do not like, primarily the touchpad and keyboard:
- the keyboard includes a numeric keypad, something I never use
and keys and the and keys are all side by side instead of stacked as they should be
- the touchpad is from Alps and it doesn't work as smoothly as a Synaptics touchpad.
- the Menu key is missing from the keyboard, and it's something I use occasionally
- the Windows key sticks when you do
E to bring up Explorer, for example: the moment you type an L, you lock the machine. This doesn't happen with an external keyboard, and I'm holding out hope Dell will fix it in an update: I can live with it for now (and complain on the Dell support boards).
However, the display is big and beautiful, the system is fast (even with a 5400 RPM drive, which I'll shortly replace with a 7200 RPM drive), and there's room for a second internal hard drive (that's where the original 5400 RPM drive will go, probably to hold extra or backup VMs, other backups, and maybe a test partition for Windows 7 builds).Since I got this thing to run Windows 7, do WPF development, and drive an external 1920x1200 monitor (and I'll be stuck with it for some time), I had IT exchange it for one with a regular DVD burner and dedicated graphics ($150). If they had bought me a refurbished MacBook Pro as I originally requested, it would have cost about the same and been faster (albeit with a smaller main screen). This all would have been simpler (and faster) if I had been given a budget and allowed to create the order myself.
In other news, my former employer in Tampa is doing gangbusters: two acquisitions in 30 days in a bad recession. I regret burning that bridge: whatever problems there were in product management pale in comparison to the insanity at my current job, but my scorpion nature wasn't quite kept in check when I was there. That, and I should never have taken the QA manager position. C'est la vie...
But hey, at least I have a job, for now. In 9 days, the country is officially under new management, and I am hopeful President Obama will make the right decisions and form the right alliances and help set this nation on a course to realizing our potential. If nothing else, he can't possibly do worse than the idiots we've had running things for the last 8 years (last 28 years, actually).