Bob's past machines

November 28, 2017 in #Sony #toshiba #nostalgia #windows #vista #xp #apple #mac #mac mini #macbook

Much like the article on my current machines, this page will help people better assess my own bias in articles from over the years.

Past laptops

As I was a student (and moved around a lot as a result) my laptop was my primary workhorse for everything. I don't own any of those listed anymore, but I guess it's a testament to how important these machines were to me that I still remember their obscure model numbers!

For the laptop I used 2014-2016 see the Macbook Air entry in "A brief history of Macs". I haven't included the Netbook fad that struck the industry around 2008-2011, but for those interested I went through an Asus Eee PC 900 and two Acer Aspire One ZG5s.

DescriptionOriginal Operating SystemUsual dual-booted Operating SystemsHardware SpecsTenure
15.5" jet black custom-built Sony VAIO VPC-EB Windows 7 Home Premium Ubuntu GNU/Linux, Windows 7 Professional 2.53GHz dual core Intel Core i5-540M, 6GB RAM, 500GB HDD, BD-RW drive 2010-2013
16.4" Sony VAIO VGN-FW21L Windows Vista Home Premium Ubuntu or Fedora GNU/Linux, Windows Vista Home Premium 2GHz dual core Intel Core 2 Duo T5800, 3GB RAM, 250GB HDD, Blu-ray drive 2008-2010*
15.4" Toshiba Satellite L20 Windows Vista Home Basic Ubuntu GNU/Linux, Windows XP Professional 1.6GHz Intel Pentium M 730, 2GB RAM, 80GB HDD, DVD-RW drive 2007-2008**

*See this article for some triple-boot action with Windows 7 beta!

**This originally started out with 512MB RAM, which rendered Vista practically unusable. I ranted about it in several different places and suspect it was a big motivator for me to finally start dual-booting GNU/Linux. The rest, of course, is history.

A brief history of Macs

As things stand I use Macs at work but I don't use them at home (unless they're very old PowerPC models I can tinker with). Although credit to the machines listed below they were still in fantastic condition by the time I was done with them and they were very easy to sell on to others.

DescriptionHardware SpecsTenure
13" Macbook Air (mid-2013) 1.7GHz dual core Intel Core i7, 8GB RAM, 256GB flash storage 2014-2016*
Mac Mini (mid-2010) 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GB RAM, 320GB HDD 2011-2016**

*I decided to "kill two birds with one stone" when the laptop that had served me well through university was finally on its last legs. The Air was a good machine overall, but in the end I found its insistence on having OSX natively-installed (messing with bootcamp or natively-installing GNU/Linux almost always broke things) and limited hardware support restrictive. I also suspect I would have been better off with a MacBook Pro given the Air struggled at times to be my main workhorse.

**I picked this up while I was at university with the intention of learning how to develop mobile applications, but within a year XCode wouldn't run on the box because Apple likes to arbitrarily force-deprecate things. As a result it partially helped me learn how to use Macs, but actually spent most of its time being my "distraction-free writing" box and a network media server.

I felt quite sad about getting rid of it because it was a good little machine, but the Mini was starting to struggle with running modern versions of OSX and thanks to Apple's annoying restrictions it's tricky to install much else on it.

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