A recent hard drive failure has forced me to purchase myself a long overdue new laptop. I ended up purchasing a nice Asus F3. The machine is a lot better than my old Dell 505 which has served me well for the past four years but unfortunately came installed with vista. A long time user of Dell products, I decided on the F3 as it has a very similar feel to the 505, which after struggling with my Toshiba Tecra at work was very important to me (the tecra has a number of really annoying features / non-features such as no right hand control button, windows button at top of keyboard, lack of bluetooth etc etc...)

The spec of the machine is much better than my dell and should see me ok for the next few years.

Originally I had considered changing to macs but the extortionate price of the macbook pro gave me trouble justifying it. My next choice was very obviously Dell, but as I really needed to pick something up this weekend I was left with little choice than to change manufacturer.

Being a writer of open source code I decided that it was also long overdue to replace my aging office suite with a better and open source version - especially as I dont think my old version is compatible with vista.

I've tried open office before - it came bundled with a fedora installation that I installed and I also installed / uninstalled it from my old laptop. this time though - I've decided that I will not give in to the pressure of installing office instead.

Browsing duties go exclusively to Firefox of course, but with the addition of Internet Exploder / Opera and now Safari for testing purposes. Unfortunately the ieolas standalone version of IE6 no longer works :(

(deja vu)

Another product that I've downloaded is netbeans - an open source and cross platform IDE supporting multiple languages. I've yet to use it and so cannot tell if it can replace visual studio express for me - I will keep you all posted.

I previously used sharpsoft but ended up replacing it with visual studio express as it was a little too buggy.

I'm embarking on a project to develop a desktop app - its a basic data handling and reporting app - I'm tempted to use the java portion of netbeans to write this - both as a test of the IDE and also to end up with a x-platform app.

Another change for me is the adoption of Thunderbird as my email client - this coupled with the lighting calendar plugin has me pretty much set.

This combo allows meeting requests to be sent to outlook clients with no porblems.

All I need to do now is get push working with my windows mobile PDA when it gets back from the repairers and I can finally junk using the works SBS :)