Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The Ethically Produced Laptop

Scott and I are going to tag team blog about our respective searches for ethically-constructed laptops. The benefit to you, the reader, is this: Scott knows things about computers, and I try not to. Scott doesn't seem to use proprietary software, and I use MS Word, Excel, and Adobe InCopy regularly. So we are different types of users.

Cnet has buying guidelines that divide users into categories. Apparently I'm a "Business Power User"* because I use the same laptop for everything and travel around with it. This category of user supposedly requires:

AMD Turion 64 X2 or Intel Core 2 Duo
At least 1GB of memory
Midsize hard drive
A 14-inch or 15.4-inch display
Dual-layer DVD burner
Wired and wireless networking
Extra battery
Microsoft Windows Vista Business or Windows Vista Ultimate

That pretty much describes my Sony Vaio VGN-N130G. I don't use Windows Vista or have an extra battery, but I do have an Intel duo Processor, 1 GB of memory, a midsize hard drive, 15.4 inch display, and a wireless card. I'm actually quite happy with it though the speakers are tinny and it came with all sorts of bundled crap software that I didn't want and took forever to uninstall. But I got it before Christmas for $700 after a couple rebates at Frys, so I'm not complaining.

So why am I looking for another laptop like the Vaio? Because we also have a turkey, which Jim uses, the HP compaq nx9110. Now it wasn't always a turkey and it wasn't always Jim's computer. It served me really well for 2 years, but then had a series of hard drive and motherboard deaths and cannibalization of its RAM, which make it untrustworthy.

At the end of the period of death and cannibalization, Jim's desktop computer exploded after a power surge. And by exploded, I mean that after the power had been out in the neighborhood for a period of time, during which Jim left the computer on and plugged into a surge protector, and when the power came back on, a ball of flames shot out of the back of his computer. And, yes, surge protectors are supposed to protect against that sort of thing. This one didn't.

So stay tuned for a series of posts on ethically-produced laptops.

*"Business Power User" seems a bit of an overstatement.