I'm a keen amateur photographer and have been since I was at school. Of course back then it involved smelly chemicals, strange lights and dark rooms. The expense and hassle of film eventually did it in for me and in 2000 I bought my first digital camera. After a series of increasingly sophisticated devices, back in 2007 I bought a Nikon D80 and soon thereafter I discovered that you can do things with raw camera files that have some analogies to the darkroom processing of my youth.
LCA is once again proving it's premiere status as one of the top free & open source software conferences in the world. Our hosts in Hobart are well-organised and friendly, and though I've been locked into the Systems Administration miniconf by virtue of being one of the organisers, what I've been hearing from the other delegates with the freedom to sample other streams is that all of the miniconfs have once again achieved the high standards that we've come to expect from the conference.
Right now I'm in the keynote by Tom Limoncelli who's giving us all a good kick in the proverbial, to switch us to the mindset of plenty, and to see beyond limited scarcity. Wonderful stuff. Linux == Infinite Love :-)
After a few years of only buying laptops with Intel hardware, today I bought something totally different. It's not really what I wanted (which was an HP HDX 16t) but I get the feeling that none of these 16" HD 1080 laptops will make it to New Zealand for a while yet, and the NZ dollar has done such a nosedive recently that it's better not to wait any longer.
In the places that hold stock there seem to be some good specials around at the moment, and as the owner of a new free, open-source consulting business (i.e: a cheap bastard) I went shopping for the cheapest dual-core I could find with a half-decent screen, and I found the Asus X53K for $999 (USD$589) at Dick Smith, including a 2G ram upgrade to take it to 3G. It's entirely non-intel, with a 2GHz Turion dual-core, ATI Radeon X2300 with 1440x900 panel, Atheros AR2425 wifi and 160G HD. I'd bought a replacement 320G hard drive even before I got the laptop, so now I have a pristine, unbooted 160G hard drive with the install files for some other OS on it - no doubt I'll find a use for the disk, at least!
Since AMD got ATI to release all their chip documentation earlier this year I felt able to shell out for this, rather than the extra $100 for the model next to it, and it was nice too to get home and find that Atheros have recently released the HAL for their a/b/g chips. Which presumably means that they haven't done so for their 'n' chipsets, and I should continue to steer clear of that technology for a while yet...
I'm running Debian GNU/Linux 'Sid' on the Asus X53K and, everything pretty much just works out of the box. My installation process was to rsync the old laptop onto a new disk, and boot the new laptop from that - after compiling a new kernel more appropriate to the changed hardware.
After overcoming my own stupidity in not syncing the /dev/ underneath udev, which I easily googled my way out of, the only problem I've found so far is that the free radeon driver doesn't do 3d for me. Presumably the non-free ones would, but they won't compile against my 2.6.27 kernel so I don't know for sure. Fortunately I don't use 3d for anything so it's not a huge inconvenience to me. With 3G RAM and a fast 320G hard drive the laptop actually is an upgrade for me, too, and it has a webcam too, which I expect I'll look at in much the same way as I did the fingerprint reader on the old laptop. It will be good to finally hand that old one back to Catalyst, too, who have given me the flexibility to take my time on this.
Now to try and peel off all these stickers without damaging anything!