Laptop woes…

I’m a little bit fed up today. Since returning from Bulgaria my laptop has been playing up. It’s never been the quietest thing in the world when under load, but the last couple of days it’s been making a noise like a server room at full tilt.

I had a quick Google and it seems Apple have a long history of crappy fan (not fanboi) problems in their laptops. I went in the Apple shop today and turned it on, declaring loudly over the din that looking on Youtube this seems to be a common problem with Apple laptops, at which point the machine was quickly sent for repair.

Why then am I fed up? Well, I’m not really sure how long it is going to be. The repair will probably be quite simple, but the lead time on the part is unknown at this point. With my next Oracle University course in Croatia looming I’m faced with two options:

  1. Wait and hope I get it back and working in time.
  2. Buy a new laptop. I’ve checked the prices and it’ll be about £1,300. Call me mean, but this seems like a massive waste of money considering I will get the MacBook back in working order at some point.

It’s been about 10 months since I got the MacBook and I’ve still not had that moment of clarity where I declare my undying devotion to all things Apple. In fact quite the opposite. I’ve decided my next laptop will run Windows. Why? The only thing I can say beyond doubt is that the metal case on a MacBook is pretty to look at. I think OSX is extremely overrated. It’s not bad, it’s just not as good as people would have you believe. I certainly don’t consider it better than Windows or Ubuntu. So the only reason to go Apple is to get a pretty box that has a minority market share, such that a lot of software “I” like using doesn’t run directly on it.

As a side issue, it will also mean I don’t have to answer those, “Why do all you Oracle nerds use Macs?”, questions. I can fade effortlessly back into the Dell/Windows background.

I will of course stay a firm devotee of Linux on my servers. CentOS does so many things I need from a server so effortlessly, and cost free.



Author: Tim...

DBA, Developer, Author, Trainer.

12 thoughts on “Laptop woes…”

  1. I use Linux Mint on a home desktop and a recent laptop addition.

    If I didn’t have to use Siebel, I would certainly run Linux on my work laptop.

    If I was an independent Oracle consultant, I would definitely run Linux on my personal work laptop.

    You’ve used Linux so tell me – why Windows ?

    Why can’t you get a cheap £350 laptop to tide you over and as contingency ? Surely that would be enough for demos and presentations ?

  2. Hi.


    I guess the Windows issue is because everywhere I go everyone (OK not really everyone, but you know what I mean) uses Windows. By not using Windows what am I accomplishing? Other OSes are not really better for a laptop. In fact, they are worse as there are some things I can’t run natively, having to run on VMs or Wine.

    The Mac thing was an experiment, brought about in part by the sheer volume of positive comments by other people I spoke to. Although I’m sure their arguments still hold for them, for me they have not proved convincing.

    Linux on the desktop? Been there, done that, have the scars. Even though the newest versions of Ubuntu have certainly changed the landscape somewhat, it’s still a minority desktop OS. I am tempted by the next version of Ubuntu, but I know I’ll spend time messing about trying to get an assortment of hardware and software working. There’s always something that’s not quite 100% when I try Linux as a desktop. Sometimes I love the challenge. Sometimes I’m bored by how long it takes me to achieve relatively simple tasks.

    With this in mind, given the choice of Windows, OSX and Linux (Ubuntu or similar) I find myself drawn back towards Windows for the desktop. Having tried the alternatives I see no compelling reason to not use Windows. The geek in me doesn’t like to admit this, but the simple fact is I’ve got better things to do with my life than trying to fight this fight.

    Remember, this is all about the desktop, not the server. Linux is “my” #1 choice there. No questions.

    Regarding the £350 laptop issue, the only thing that depresses me more than spending £1,300 on a laptop is spending £350 on something that I will never use again. I’m not sure I’m even capable of doing that. 🙂



  3. Nosey question, but do you use encryption on your laptop and, if not, any qualms about having a bunch of strangers with physical access to your hard drive ?

    Last time I sent my PC for an upgrade, it took several hours to ‘clean’ it to my satisfaction. Maybe I’m just paranoid though.

    PS. There are places that hire out laptops for short periods. If you are not going to need a specially configured demo machine, then best to ring round a few friends though.

  4. Hi.

    The only thing I really do on my laptop is Oracle presentations. Apart from clearing down the browser caches, there’s not really much else to do. 🙂



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  6. You pays your money you makes your choice.

    I dont think many people would disagree with you in terms of component specs, but the flip side is that the physical unit is way ahead of the majority of other brand units.

    The UniBody is way stronger that competitors etc. Would a.n. other have survived throwing it accross the room? Was it NZ/Australia you wrote about doing that?

    At least its getting sorted though. Nothing is perfect nowadays no matter what you buy or how much you spend.

    I agree the OS is personal preference. Lack of a few pieces of s/w is an issue, but for me I have managed ok.

    Ps. I also remember a problem with a dell laptop where the screen needed fixing and the unit needed to be sent back. Any ideas who the owner was?

  7. Hi Chris. The Dell laptop had the screen fixed in the office if you remember. 🙂

    I have no real problem with the hardware, except the fan, and the unibody pretty and strong. As you pointed out, I did launch it across the hotel room by accident when I forgot to zip the side pocket on the bag. Maybe I should just put Windows on it when I get it back. 🙂



  8. As the owner of both Macbook and Windows based laptops, I like Macs but the problem is that most people use Windows so what I prefer is Windows with VMWare for Linux and Oracle. The Mac is great but overpriced for what you get although I do like some of the user interface features and software such as iTunes, Garage Band, and iMovie that come standard with a Mac not to mention few viruses infect my Apple products. Had to wipe and restore a Windows laptop that got infected recently which was no picnic.

    Still the end result due to limitation in VMWare Fusion for the Mac which prevents you from creating shared disks with VMWare for Linux which is required with RAC is a deal killer for my next computer purchase. I do know that Alex Gorbachev figured out a way to use NFS with the Mac OS to use for shared storage with RAC and VMWare but this is a pain and too much extra work.

  9. Hi.

    You can certainly do a regular NFS installation, but you can also create files on the NFS mounts and tell ASM to use those files are drives. There is an Oracle whitepaper about it.



  10. Hi Tim,

    Correct, but setting up and using NFS with virtual machines is a royal PITA based on my experience trying to get the Mac OS X NFS working with the two guest VMs with Linux and RAC.

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