Wednesday, March 29, 2006

New laptop

I managed to blow up my computer at the weekend. I've had problems with the hard drive since a repartitioning exercise went wrong, so I'd picked up a new hard drive to replace it. That's very easy to type, and is a relatively easy hardware task (and would be very easy if it wasn't for those ribbon cables which seem to lots of twisting to get the plug the right way up). Not sure whether it was static, dust, a loose connection or what, but when I plugged it in there was a flash from the power supply, a bit of smoke and one dead box.

So after some discussions with the holder of the budget (my wife) we went off to the David Jones to get a snazzy new laptop. We went for an Acer Aspire 1642 configured with 1Gb of RAM and 60Gb of hard drive. David Jones is a department store that sells computers as an afterthought. Asking the salesman about firewire, he looked blank and pointed at the Ethernet port. To be honest, I didn't expect much technical nounce from them (and I'll need to get a PC card with a firewire adapter at some point). Still 18 months interest free and Microsoft Office Student+Teacher edition thrown in were the reasons I went there.

I've got the dubious drive (80Gb) and the new one (120Gb) which I want to get rigged up as external hard drives. Then I can have what I'd consider a REAL backup regimen rather than relying on two drives in a single box.

The only weird thing is that the drive is set up as two FAT32 partitions rather than NTFS. Haven't decided whether/when to convert it over. I have decided to give up on the Linux dual-boot thing. I tried Ubuntu once. but couldn't figure out how to get the dialup modem working. The HELP wasn't. Yeah, it's great to talk about community support and such, but I couldn't access that support without going back to Windows and switching back and forwards trying things. Instead I switched to Fedora 4, for which I could buy a physical book and with the book I was able to get the modem working pretty quickly. But I've never really used it, and am happier with cygwin to drop down to a shell-like environment. Now I hear Fedora 5 is out, and I really can't be bothered (especially after Dizwell's review of FC5).

I did get a nice new install of the Production version of Oracle XE and was able to confirm that the DB18 fix is in the Production build. It will be interesting to see how future patches get incorporated into XE, and how we'll get to know what fixes are in which XE build.

To test whether the fix made it in, I had to learn how to do the initial exploit. It was surprisingly (frighteningly) simple once I found the right tidbits to install.


Anonymous said...

Did you concerned apple's powerBook? I want to buy a laptop mainly for oracle consulting work and am searching about Powerbook. Any suggestion?

Anonymous said...

Apple's Powerbooks are the best laptops around, but they are useless for Oracle development as none of the software runs on OSX.

Gary, I don't know when you last tried Ubuntu but I'd be tempted to give it another try. I've got my (work supplied) Dell Inspiron dual booted and everything works like a dream - there's even a Debian package of Oracle XE as discussed in this blog post.

If you're nervous about dual booting just try out one of the Ubuntu live CDs as a test drive. If you like it then there's a fairly painless installer provided.