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How's Your New Laptop?

It's super, thanks for asking.

I got a Dell Inspiron 8600 with the WUXGA (1920x1200) display (15.4"), which I believe is the best laptop display available from Dell.

The first thing I did with the laptop was watch about half of a DVD (Moulin Rouge). The visual experience is tremendously better than television. DVDs have a resolution somewhat better than ordinary television, but a laptop can easily deliver it. On a laptop, the video is always digital, so there's never any loss or interference during transmission. Finally, a 15.4" screen on my lap covers a larger visual arc than a 27" screen across the room. The image is bigger, clearer, and better quality than television. I can notice things in the background I had never seen before.

Outside of video, there are disadvantages. Laptop audio isn't great, so you'd need to hook into a home theater system… and then you've got a long wire going across the room. With a computer on your lap, eating is a bad idea. You also can't have a large audience due to the smaller screen, unless you're very friendly with them.

So if you had a porno with good music and you wanted to have an orgy with ten of your closest hungry friends, that's right out. But I wouldn't know anything about that.


Wireless ethernet is great, too. I learned that at least three of my neighbors have wireless, and only one of them is using encryption, so there are two I can mooch from. That makes my own purchase of wireless equipment much less urgent.

As soon as I started using Internet Explorer, I noticed an annoying feature — IE will try to scale up images to make them easier to see on a high-dpi screen. The scaled images are ugly, though — it makes everything look blurry and there are lots of aliasing artifacts. I went into the registry right away to turn off the scaling, but I have to criticize Microsoft: They should have this as a prominent option within the program itself. Editing the registry is not an appropriate way to turn that feature off. A better feature would have been to provide a zoom function like Opera does, so the user can control scaling easily. Opera has spoiled me.

I just discovered an irritating bug: When I drag an icon on the desktop, the icon is only visible along with the cursor if it's in the extreme upper-left corner of the screen! Sigh. This is the first computer running Windows I've owned since Windows 3.1, and right now I'm not impressed. Sigh…

Tiny Island