Monday, January 5, 2015

A Laptop for...

I am a amateur radio operator or ham as many people say. First step is to admit you have a problem? Well, I do spend a lot of time on the radio. Not so much in the way of talking, but listening. I listen to all sorts of crap out there. I like to see what country is booming in to the US and what type of traffic it is. Voice is cool and fun, but digital or data mode is really cool. Most of my time is spent watching the waterfall on FLDIGI. This program performs on all bands in many different data modes. Best of all it is free.
Let's get on to my thoughts on laptops. I have used laptops by Dell, Toshiba, IBM/Lenovo, HP. Had all them for a few years at a whack. Used for all sorts of tasks, serial port comm, network tasks like email, and swatting hornets and the like. The most reliable laptop I have used for work and personal tasks has been the IBM T41/T61 series. Batteries are hit & miss. But, I have had good luck with the batteries for the IBM series of laptops. I comb e-bay looking for these and there is a lot of them out there in good operational shape. They are not fancy machines at all. But, they work and last. They may not survive a gravity check, but they are a work horse. I bump up the RAM if there is only 1Gb and load Linux Xubuntu on it.
While I am on the topic check out Compaq dc7900 SFF desktops or dc7800 SFF desktops. These can be awesome machines for radio. Runs Linux and is reliable and tough as well. Bump the RAM to max and you have a machine that will play video or music and let you get into your radio hobby. Efficient power consumption and a small footprint that does not eat up a lot of real estate around the desk.  I have built the PC's with the 600w power supplies, 4Gb of RAM, and ASUS mother board made with surround sound in the giant server case. It was fun to do and learn how to build a PC.
So, you may say Ok, but what do these handy dandy computers cost? A used one with no OS can be had for less than 100$. Hard drives can be had at a reasonable price, same with RAM. Linux is free. You end up with a machine that is hard to beat.
Just my thoughts. Everyone has their opinions and I am sharing mine with the equipment that works for me. If you are looking, just some ideas that won't break the bank.


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