Searching for the Moon

Shannon Clark's rambles and conversations on food, geeks, San Francisco and occasionally economics

Did I get a deal?

Posted by shannonclark on October 14, 2003

stay tuned, will know in a few weeks

So, since moving my office and starting to work virtually I have been shopping for a new laptop, one that will be lightweight, have a long battery life, ideally run Windows XP (possibly in as Virtual PC), and eventually likely will be running a UNIX OS to serve as a portable server.

In the course of this I have been looking at more configurations of laptops than is really reasonable, more brands, more options, more different approaches which I could take.

This afternoon I found a solution, then may have found an even better (actually possibly found two even better solutions).

The first solution that I found early this afternoon was a student at the University of Chicago who is selling a slightly (less than one year) used Sony ultraportable. It is not flawless, and would require some changes to make it work well for me (additional battery as it turns out – not cheap, and an OS upgrade which is a bit cheaper), but it would be a possible solution and would be less than $1000 which gives me some room for the rest of the items that I would need.

As I was learning just how much I would have to do to make that system work for me, I found a few options for refurbished or other special situation Mac Powerbooks. There the best I found from a dealership based on the East Coast is a system that was configured as a special system being offered at a discount of about $600 from the price of the system normally. It would have 1GB of memory, a very fast processor, a large hard disk, a writeable DVD drive (something I really don’t need) and in short would be a pretty potent and powerful system, but it is also even with the discount $2200 and to that figure I would have to add the cost of a MS Office suite + Virtual PC (and likely other additional software). So the price break not withstanding it would be a fairly expensive solution for me to consider, but it is tempting and on the more reasonable side the same store had other less costly options to consider and I have also found some used 12″ powerbooks here in Chicago (the system in question was a 15″ one).

But then, on a whim, I started looking at another alternative site for refurbished Apple laptops. As it turned out while it had a decent deal on a refurbished 17″ powerbook (nice but likley too heavy for me irregardless of how “cool” it is) on the whim I looked at what options the store had in PC laptops.

It had a Sony TR2A for pre-order, and so I did.

And there in is the possible deal, earlier today I described it to someone I love as “playing the high tech lottery a bit”. For $15 (with shipping) I may, emphasis on the may, have just bought myself a $2200+ geeks wet dream.

The TR2A is a 3.1 pound (with CDRW/DVD drive and battery) laptop capable of an estimated 7 hrs (tested at over 5hrs at least in a previous less powerful incarnation). It has a 40GB hard drive, 512MB of memory, built in wifi and even a builtin camera. In short it is a very small, very long running, and very cool laptop. Not the largest or the most powerful by any means (“only” a 1 Gig processer) but potent none-the-less. And if I do get it for $15 an absolute screaming bargain.

I do have the reciept from the online store confirming my order and the price, as well as their own email marketing (their “tell a friend”) advertising the price. A few hours after I ordered it they had corrected the listing, but as of yet I have not recieved any email from them other than the order confirmation.

The system does not get released until later this month (Oct 22nd I think) so I have a while to wait to see if I am going to get it for the unbelievable bargain. If I do, I will be buying a number of additional products – an extra battery, an upgrade to XP professional, MS Office 2003 (which will have just come out by then) and probably an extended warrentee from Sony.

But I am not going to count on it, though I suspect rather strongly that I have a case should they try to get out of delivering the goods, they sent me a confirmation email and rather clearly agreed to their price, so hopefully it will come down to them and Am Ex in the worst case.

On other news my books from Amazon arrived to today. Two that are for business and two for pleasure, adding to others I picked up already this month I have a net influx of books of over 7 and a net outflux (i.e. books I finished reading) of 1, at this rate I will have hundreds of unread books surrounding me on all sides in just a few months. So I have resolved to set aside some serious amounts of time in my schedule to start making a dent in the deep piles of books.

Next weekend, however, will not be such a time for the most part, it looks like I will have another (like this past weekend) weekend which I spend very happily with Julia. It is strange, on one level we did not do much at all this weekend, but on another that was the entire point of it, not doing much but not doing it together. A very cool and enjoyable feeling indeed.

At the moment I am listening to my birthday present from my sister a CD by the Flaming Lips, catching on some emails (a small email I sent off to a mailing list asking people’s opinions on laptops has turned into a partial Mac vs. PC debate), and contemplating pulling an all nighter to get cought up on a lot of life’s chores. Specifically I have books I want to read, a pile of laundry that needs to be done, and a house that still needs much cleaning – and the early morning hours such as now are a good time for all of the above. There are rarely many other people using the laundry room so I can take a lot of machines and use the one side loading double machine which I need to run two seperate loads of comforters through. And in between loads I can continue on my ongoing task of unboxing and cleaning up my house putting it back into some semblance of order. Especially now that the garbage strike here in Chicago has been resolved I should start throwing out a lot of random stuff (empty boxes for one starting point).

More like I think I will get a bit of reading in for a few hours the go to bed, laundry still waiting for me but much else accomplished.

All in all, a very good weekend (since Monday was a holiday, even though I did work much of the day, I am counting this morning as the beginning of the week).

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