As a parent of three teenagers it seams like every time I turn around I’m paying for something, couple this with the fact I’m turning into a real miser these days – and I’m all for any bargain I can find! With this in mind, it was less then thrilling when my son came begging for a new notebook for his birthday, but after a couple of weeks of working mom and myself over, we succumbed to the pressure, and off to the Best Buy we went.

Good Greif that’s Cheap!

Sometimes a good slap in the face is what a jaded IT guy like myself needs, and the trip to a big box retailer to purchase a prebuilt system, rather then the Fry’s do it yourself approach, was indeed enlightening. Illuminating that is, as to just how clueless the average retail sales guy is; but he was efficient enough to take my money and get us out of the store with a shiny new HP/Compaq. It was a Compaq Presario C751NR to be exact, with decent specs – AMD X2 Mobile chip, 1 Gig of Ram, and an ample 120 GB HD. But the shocker – Out the door under $500!

Just Say No – to Vista that is

On the drive home my son began to question which OS he should run on the new system. Of course it was preloaded with some Vista Home Shit edition, and I suggested that we reload it; figuring on a version of XP Pro. He heartily agreed, say that he (my non-geek son) had heard nothing but bad things about Vista. But he shocked me when he asked, ”Dad, I want that cool looking one you run, what’s it called… Ubeny?” I grinned on both the inside and out, as I corrected him, Ubuntu, to which quickly agreed that was the one he wanted, as it, “Just looks so cool!”

What the Duce? Wireless always just works…

Now at home the hard drive wiped of the vile interloper, Vista, we quickly loaded Gutsy, Ubuntu 7.10 (possibly the most gorgeous release of any distro, I’ve ever used.) Install was uneventful and all the hardware was detected on this very new model notebook, but no WiFi. Not that the Atheros nic was not detected – it appeared in the Restricted Drivers – but just didn’t work. However, after about an hour of searching around on Ubuntuforums I did find a solution (Click here if you are interested.) This was a bit surprising though as device detection has been on of Ubuntu’s strong points.

All and all this has been a Win/Win/Win. Junior has his new notebook and is happy, I got out of the deal relatively unscathed in the pocket book, and perhaps best of all there is one less system out there running Vista.