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06-12-2009, 03:42 PM   #76
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The Panasonic Toughbooks aren't aimed at the consumer market.
They are ruggedized models sold mostly to government and industry, thus the high price.

Chris

06-12-2009, 04:48 PM   #77
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QuoteOriginally posted by ftpaddict Quote
You want an overpriced laptop? Since we're comparing apples to.. windows, I thought I'd throw in the odd brick.

Panasonic Toughbook CF-19 - Fully Rugged, Wireless Notebook PC Convertible to Tablet PC

A cool $3486 for a 2 GB, Intel SU9300 (semi-useless) and a 160GB HDD.
isn't that like comparing a land rover defender to a toyota corolla? what's the point? do you think your reasonably priced hp laptop will ever go where those toughbooks can go?
06-12-2009, 05:28 PM   #78
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QuoteOriginally posted by ftpaddict Quote
You want an overpriced laptop? Since we're comparing apples to.. windows, I thought I'd throw in the odd brick.

Panasonic Toughbook CF-19 - Fully Rugged, Wireless Notebook PC Convertible to Tablet PC

A cool $3486 for a 2 GB, Intel SU9300 (semi-useless) and a 160GB HDD.
Panasonic toughbooks are meant to be used in impossible conditions... Most do not need to be super powerfull as they run simple fixed terminal applications and in most cases are locked down (both physically and the OS and it's applications).

We have them bolted into every fire truck in the city for our GPS aided dispatch system. They have touch screens to make their use as simple as possible. They are tough as nails and they need to be, the vibrations alone would destroy a consumer grade laptop in less then a week in our trucks.

Pat
06-12-2009, 05:46 PM   #79
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QuoteOriginally posted by ve2vfd Quote
Panasonic toughbooks are meant to be used in impossible conditions... Most do not need to be super powerfull as they run simple fixed terminal applications and in most cases are locked down (both physically and the OS and it's applications).

We have them bolted into every fire truck in the city for our GPS aided dispatch system. They have touch screens to make their use as simple as possible. They are tough as nails and they need to be, the vibrations alone would destroy a consumer grade laptop in less then a week in our trucks.

Pat
And we have them for hydrologic field techs to haul around and download data from wells and stream gages in wet, muddy conditions (and general outdoor usage), things that regular laptops tend not to like for long... Good little workhorses!

Jim

06-12-2009, 05:47 PM   #80
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QuoteOriginally posted by X Man Quote
OS X has extremely limited software available for it? Just because Windows has more software written for it doesn't mean it's better software. Quantity doesn't equal quality.
I will be very thankful if you would point out me Mac OS X equivalent for FAR Manager, foobar2000. These are two essential applications on my windows system and I can't just find anything close in Mac OS X. And if you would point out something like PL/SQL Developer for Mac, I could even use Mac OS X at work!
Oh, I forgot PhotoMe. And DVDShrink. ImgBurn. FastStone Image Viewer. All freeware.

I use Mac for a few weeks now and still was not able to find anything which is freeware and has functionality and convenience of above mentioned extremely well written Windows software.
06-13-2009, 03:06 AM   #81
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Thought I'd report back after giving Linux a go.

After recommendations from here and from a colleague at work, I downloaded the CD image of Ubuntu desktop and burnt it to CD. Rebooting my laptop with the CD in, loaded up the Ubuntu CD, which then asked if I wanted to run it from the CD or install it. So far I have only run it from the CD.

First impressions: (bearing in mind it's running from CD, so probably is a bit slower than normal)

I was quite excited to try out a completely new operating system, so I was slightly disappointed to find that the operating system just loaded up without any problems, and just worked! There was no splash screen, no guided tour, no swirly graphics. In fact, once it had loaded, the operating system was eerily quiet. Normally I'm used to the whirr of windows in the background (I never know what it's up to, but always seems to be assessing the hardrive, or downloading something). Going from Windows to Linux is like moving from London to the Cotswolds.

It's very pretty and elegant - everything is smoothed. As I'm typing this, I'm greeted with soft pastel shades of orange and grey. This has caused some problems with my laptop, which has only a 1024x768 screen, and I think ubuntu struggled slightly - things look either too big, too small or too blurry and fuzzy. However, using my girlfriends laptop (with a 1440x900 screen), it's a different story, and everything looks just right.

Another impressive thing is the ease at which it connected to our wireless network, without any hitches. This is something that we have been unable to get working on my gf's brand new Dell Precision laptop! We assumed it was a problem with the router, but I appear to be typing this without any ethernet cable coming from it...

Overall : Hugely impressed. My initial disappointment that it isn't full of bells and whistles is clearly its main advantage. I should also add that there's a completely different feel to windows. Difficult to explain, but it's like it's more deliberate and quieter. The only problem is running it on my T40 with the 1024x768 resolution feels cramped and confusing - but it has inspired me to possibly think about getting a new laptop to run it!

I like it!

I may install it as a dual boot if it's not too much hassle, and see how long I can go on it before I need to boot up XP again.

Duncan.
06-13-2009, 11:14 AM   #82
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QuoteOriginally posted by Duncan J Murray Quote
Thought I'd report back after giving Linux a go.

After recommendations from here and from a colleague at work, I downloaded the CD image of Ubuntu desktop and burnt it to CD. Rebooting my laptop with the CD in, loaded up the Ubuntu CD, which then asked if I wanted to run it from the CD or install it. So far I have only run it from the CD.

First impressions: (bearing in mind it's running from CD, so probably is a bit slower than normal)

I was quite excited to try out a completely new operating system, so I was slightly disappointed to find that the operating system just loaded up without any problems, and just worked! There was no splash screen, no guided tour, no swirly graphics. In fact, once it had loaded, the operating system was eerily quiet. Normally I'm used to the whirr of windows in the background (I never know what it's up to, but always seems to be assessing the hardrive, or downloading something). Going from Windows to Linux is like moving from London to the Cotswolds.
hahah. that's pretty cool, may i quote you on that?
to be completely fair, because it is running form cd it has no need (or possibility) to write to the disk, i suspect that's most of the whirringcoming out from windows (which is, btw, famous for that kind of stuff). it will still be very similar when running from disk though, but i just want to be completely fair.

speaking of hdd: it might be quite old, if you havent, consider upgrading to a bigger and newer drive, and keeping the old one as backup (before it grinds to a halt and gives you trouble).

QuoteQuote:
It's very pretty and elegant - everything is smoothed. As I'm typing this, I'm greeted with soft pastel shades of orange and grey. This has caused some problems with my laptop, which has only a 1024x768 screen, and I think ubuntu struggled slightly - things look either too big, too small or too blurry and fuzzy. However, using my girlfriends laptop (with a 1440x900 screen), it's a different story, and everything looks just right.
this is not normal. please run "xrandr" in a terminal, and tell me what it says. if the native resolution fo your lcd is 1024x768 and the entry with the * in fornt of it reads the same, it should all look nice and sharp.

here's what the output looks like on my laptop, to give you an idea:
nanok@spartakus:~$ xrandr
Screen 0: minimum 320 x 240, current 1280 x 800, maximum 1280 x 800
default connected 1280x800+0+0 0mm x 0mm
1280x800 50.0* [this is the * entry i was talking about above]
1024x768 51.0
800x600 52.0
..... (it goes on, irrelevant)

if this goes as expected, something else is wrong, but we will see (one step at a time)

QuoteQuote:
Another impressive thing is the ease at which it connected to our wireless network, without any hitches. This is something that we have been unable to get working on my gf's brand new Dell Precision laptop! We assumed it was a problem with the router, but I appear to be typing this without any ethernet cable coming from it...

Overall : Hugely impressed. My initial disappointment that it isn't full of bells and whistles is clearly its main advantage. I should also add that there's a completely different feel to windows. Difficult to explain, but it's like it's more deliberate and quieter. The only problem is running it on my T40 with the 1024x768 resolution feels cramped and confusing - but it has inspired me to possibly think about getting a new laptop to run it!
maybe hold that about the new laptop, let's try to get it to work as well as possible on the t40, you might not want the upgrade (for now), if you do, nothing lost, you can still do it. afaik, it should run on the t40 like a champ

QuoteQuote:
I like it!

I may install it as a dual boot if it's not too much hassle, and see how long I can go on it before I need to boot up XP again.

Duncan.
should be trivial to install as dual boot (ask here if in doubt), and it's a good first step to check if you can do all your work, photo processing and such, and be happy with it (you never know, maybe you just can't live without lightroom :P, or something).

let us know how it goes on, and if you need some pointers (which software to try for various applications and so on).

really glad to hear you find it to your liking

edit: meanwhile, check this out. it's pretty straightforward, but if it sounds intimidating, just ask for explanations, it seems there are many people here who can help (besides me)

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/WindowsDualBoot

a few hints while i'm at it: i use geeqie for image viewer, fast and does the job very well, i love the histogram overlay, and that it brilliantly extracts the embedded jpeg from the raw's. so i can see the previews made by my camera immediately, not having to convert the raw files first

for raw conversion i use ufraw and like it a lot, people who like lightroom or the likes might like rawtherapee better though (free, but not open source - at least not yet), or digikam (fully open source).

gimp is a good replacement for photoshop, great documentation online and tutorials, i don't use it much though (ufraw is almost perfectly enough for me, most of the time).

pkremote for (pentax) tethered shooting (also works with some samsungs and some pentaxes which are not supported officially). there are some threads here, check it out.

for noise reduction, i use a feature included in the ufraw (wavelet based i think), i am happy with it, but than again i don't do much noise reduction in general. there are other options too i guess.

i use gutenprint for printing, works very well with my epson, i use photoprint on top of it (i like it because it is no-nonsense, it does what it's designed to do, offers 16bit all the way to the ink on the paper :P, and last but not least, is developed and maintained by a very friendly developer (and photographer)

hugin for panoramas and more (if you don't know it, you should try it, regardless you are using windows, mac, or linux. yes, it is that good).

i seem to recall qtpfsgui was a good comprehensive package for hdr and tonemapping, i don't do hdr though. is use

enfuse, instead. give it a go (again, regardless of operating system), brilliant application, exactly what i need (automatic exposure blending, NOT hdr)

that should do for now, i trust you will ask if you want something specific. good luck


Last edited by nanok; 06-13-2009 at 11:41 AM.
06-13-2009, 12:22 PM   #83
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QuoteOriginally posted by Duncan J Murray Quote
Thought I'd report back after giving Linux a go.
Let us know how much you like it after installing some apps and making things work. I've gone the Linux (or BSD) route several times over the years, each time finding that regardless of what people have been saying over the past decade, it isn't ready for the desktop. Far too many things required some googling and checking the Linux forums for solutions.. and this coming from somebody who's been a hardcore *nix nerd in the past. For a desktop/laptop I use for my work/hobby stuff I just want things to *work*. I don't want the OS to be a hobby too.

Were I to switch, I'd go OS X. Seems nice, stable, and is well supported. But W7 has impressed me so far, so may well stick with that.
06-16-2009, 05:02 PM   #84
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QuoteOriginally posted by pingflood Quote
Let us know how much you like it after installing some apps and making things work. I've gone the Linux (or BSD) route several times over the years, each time finding that regardless of what people have been saying over the past decade, it isn't ready for the desktop. Far too many things required some googling and checking the Linux forums for solutions.. and this coming from somebody who's been a hardcore *nix nerd in the past. For a desktop/laptop I use for my work/hobby stuff I just want things to *work*. I don't want the OS to be a hobby too.

Were I to switch, I'd go OS X. Seems nice, stable, and is well supported. But W7 has impressed me so far, so may well stick with that.
I've been working (part-time) as a *nix admin (*BSD and linux recently) for the last ten years, and I don't know how to use a computer without a command prompt, ls, find and grep. GUI file management is inefficient. I can do things (to the file system) many times faster typing few commands than clicking around on pictures. Although, installing the latest hardware can be a pain in the neck or impossible on Linux, not to mention FreeBSD or NetBSD.

BTW, I still fondly remember having a conversation with a buddy of mine, when he claimed that Window "NT 5.0" would finally replace *nix as a server OS.

Different strokes for different folks.
06-16-2009, 07:01 PM   #85
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QuoteOriginally posted by pingflood Quote
Let us know how much you like it after installing some apps and making things work. I've gone the Linux (or BSD) route several times over the years, each time finding that regardless of what people have been saying over the past decade, it isn't ready for the desktop. Far too many things required some googling and checking the Linux forums for solutions.. and this coming from somebody who's been a hardcore *nix nerd in the past. For a desktop/laptop I use for my work/hobby stuff I just want things to *work*. I don't want the OS to be a hobby too.

Were I to switch, I'd go OS X. Seems nice, stable, and is well supported. But W7 has impressed me so far, so may well stick with that.
OS10 isn't always stable. I've had it crash with CS3 and 4. It's no better no worse than XP
06-16-2009, 07:50 PM   #86
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QuoteOriginally posted by pingflood Quote
Let us know how much you like it after installing some apps and making things work. I've gone the Linux (or BSD) route several times over the years, each time finding that regardless of what people have been saying over the past decade, it isn't ready for the desktop. Far too many things required some googling and checking the Linux forums for solutions.. and this coming from somebody who's been a hardcore *nix nerd in the past. For a desktop/laptop I use for my work/hobby stuff I just want things to *work*. I don't want the OS to be a hobby too.

Were I to switch, I'd go OS X. Seems nice, stable, and is well supported. But W7 has impressed me so far, so may well stick with that.
I've been using it for nearly two years now, running lots of stuff under Wine (up to and including Photoshop CS2) and everything has been more or less peachy. The only thing I presently run Windows for is to play Halo - which runs under wine with no errors or issues as far as stability goes, but is unplayable (1.5fps FTL -_-)
06-17-2009, 03:21 AM   #87
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especially in the past few years, installing the latest hardware has become easier on average than on any other os i have had to use (talking about linux, not bsd's). there are still rare situations when the hardware vendor refuses to support linux in any way (like for some wifi cards, for instance, and in the distnat past, for soft modems), but it's quite rare now. on average, the experience described above is quite average in the past 5 years or so: you boot a live cd, and everything just works. beats the hell out of windows, from the convenience point of view too.
06-21-2009, 02:55 PM   #88
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I promised I would report back on what happened, and so I am here a week or so later, and currently still using Linux.

My previous post was probably while I was feeling the 'honeymoon' period with Linux. I went on to have a go installing from the CD, and probably stupidly, tried to install it into the last 4 GB of my ailing hard drive. This seemed to go to plan until I rebooted the computer and discovered that neither linux, nor windows was going to load again! I probably should have read instructions in more detail. Anyway, it had transpired the CD I was using was somehow corrupted, so I burnt a new CD on my gf's laptop (very slowly), and decided to wipe the laptop clean. This time it rebooted beautifully, ubuntu appeared, and everything looked rosy. I was happy again!

Everything, as before, worked. At the moment I largely use the computer for the internet - buying, gmail, maps, ebay, news etc etc. No problems with firefox, although I must admit that I slightly miss google chrome. Open office works without any problems whatsoever, in some ways better than my copy of microsoft office 2007, which bizarrely decided to rearrange all the buttons from the previous version. Again, things ran smoothly.

That was, until I tried to print! I won't go into the several hours it took to find, convert and install the printer drivers for my iP2500 canon printer. I only really persisted because I refused to be beaten. The outdated drivers came from the canon website, required converting into debian format, which required a terrifying foray into 'terminal' - the text-based doing-thing. I honestly didn't know what I was doing, and for all my competence could have been rewriting the operating system. Once I had the packages installed, I still had problems, as apparently the driver pointed to outdated libraries, and again I had to use terminal to work out which ones it was trying to get to, which ones I had, and then to redirect the driver to the correct one. At the end of ~4 hours of sweating and googling, I got the printer to print a test page, and it has worked a charm since then.

The other problem was the music, which would cut out everytime I switched screens, closed screens, minimised to desktop, or pretty much do anything. The problem seems to have somehow slowly resolved itself without me doing anything, and then I cut out the graphical eye-candy from the preferences which seems to have prevented it from happening again.

So after 1 week, a quick review:

PROS
Works beautifully without problems, once it's working. Seems perfectly reliable. Boots very quickly. Does not meddle with your hardrive while its running. Very convenient controls on top right of screen which give you access to the music player, your calendar, and your email. Connects quickly and without fuss to networks. Excellent reliable internet usage.

CONS
Does require some technical knowledge. Installing some stuff requires figuring it out. Either just works or just doesn't. By default has some fancy graphics tricks that can floor an old computer. No google chrome (yet). Have had a couple of niggles with some websites vs firefox.

Overall, I'm very happy with the system. Haven't yet tried any photo-editing.

Thanks for the help nanok. I will definetely be writing to you when I get stuck!

Duncan.
06-21-2009, 04:04 PM   #89
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sorry to hear that, printers have always been a problem, mainly because manufacturers seem to be unwilling to help. currently epson and hp seem to have the best support (actually, hp is the leader here, by miles, kudos to them), canon also seems to be trying something, but, as you saw, not very convincingly. my epson is supported by gutenprint, i only bought mine after i made sure it was, and it was a breeze getting it to work. for future reference, you might be able to install the rpms from canon (they were rpm packages, that's what you converted, if i am not mistaking?), using the rpm package manager on ubuntu, it's ugly, but it should work. also, be sure to keep your drivers safe, for future usage (these not being opensource drivers, you never know when canon decides not to make them available anymore, this is why i avoid stuff with closed code attached to it, as much as possible)

not sure what to say about the music cutting out, that should not happen, no matter how "eye candy" your desktop is, if it went away, no need to beat on it; but if it comes back, let us know, maybe we can try to figure it out. i think it was jsut a bug, and maybe you updated the software which had it. it might also be that you had some sounds activated for those actions, and somehow they were interfering with the sound card (which also should not happen, btw, it should "just work").

glad to hear overall you are still happy, i would say, if you managed to go through the printer horror, the hardest part is over, so you are probably stuck . feel free to ask here or even contact me, if you need any help.

enjoy

oh, almost forgot: when you download an iso image, in the linux/opensource world, you will also have a file of the same name available, only it is .md5 instead of .iso, you can use that to check the integrity of your download (run "md5sum filename.iso", and compare with the content of filename.md5, the hash should be identical)
09-11-2013, 02:23 PM   #90
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Am I really allowed to post to this thread? Great!

So a brief 4 year update.

All of our computers now run linux at home. My Thinkpad T40 was working fine and was my main laptop until a few months ago (yes - it was 9 years old!) I dropped it, and the left hinge sheared off. I have replaced it with a refurbished T60p (14inch) which currently runs Ubuntu 10.04, like a charm!

My girlfriend runs Linux Mint Cinnamon LTS, and has been for the past couple of years. My Thinkpad T40 runs in the study, unfortunately unable to open and close, running Linux Mint Mate LTS, and a recent addition, a Thinkpad X60 runs Ubuntu 12.04 fallback.

Linux
Pros:
Fast, reliable, efficient, well-organised, doesn't slow down, incredible repository system allows you to install OS and application updates, new pieces of software, and uninstall software, all at the same time, while automatically working out what clashes, and what various programs need. Incredible. Also pretty secure. Not needed a virus checker so far. Shuts down v quickly. Autonomous - doesn't mess with your computer unless you ask it to (doesn't try to update!). The filesystem is definitely quicker than on Windows - file transfers its noticeable, and there's less mashing of the harddrive. Wireless has been flawless. Extra workspaces are really useful if doing a big project. Applications are nicely integrated - i.e. my favourite music player will drag-drop playlists in the correct order onto my favourite CD burner. Not that I'm burning many audio CDs nowadays, but you know what I mean.

Has spotify.

Cons:
No photoshop. GIMP is ok, but lacks adjustment layers.
A lack of various applications that people will need (though I find Libreoffice is good, and generally there are alternatives).
Have to understand the repository system before trying to install software
Microsoft office not on linux - can lead to compatibility issues with colleagues
Difficult to know which distribution to go for. A lot of in-fighting between desktop environments.
Some hardware is incompatible - you have to check before you buy.
Doesn't usually use graphics cards to their full advantage. Linux works best with Intel integrated.
Most video streaming now requires silverlight which is a problem.

Overall, you've probably guessed, I'm happy! It isn't for everyone and there it does require initial learning curve and effort. I would say it pays off for it quite quickly. If you're thinking of switching you should consider what applications you use and whether you can deal with the alternative, or whether WINE works to run it. You should also check what printers/hardware you have, and whether it will work with it. Maybe run the linux off a USB or CD for a while so you can mull it over!
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