Resist the urge to buy that refurbished laptop

Especially that blue Toshiba model that you see for around $1,000 when that’s exactly what you can afford to spend.

Back in December 2004, I did my research, I comparison shopped, and I bought a lemon.  A refurbished lemon with a 90-days-only warranty at that.

I’m not going to get into model numbers and vendors here, but let’s just say that when a deal sounds too good to be true, the quality control guys were probably all on holiday that week.

So now, as my laptop is in the throes of the second of what are commonly listed as the three major malfunctions of this particular genus, I’m faced with a choice:

Do I spend another couple hundred bucks on repairing the lemon, knowing that Problem Number Three looms out there in the dark, or do I fold and ante up for a Mac product of one flavor or another?

And then there’s the wildcard entry: Computer #3 in the house, the dormant desktop that needs a hard drive.  I could always hit up Fry’s for a cheap and big drive, then install Ubuntu…

…not sure I want to take on that sort of project right now, though.

Anyone having any luck with Ubuntu out there?  We tried Redhat a few years back, and it was more compiling than I was really willing to handle.

If you see a picture of a shiny white computer on this blog sometime soon, you’ll know what happened…

5 Replies to “Resist the urge to buy that refurbished laptop”

  1. Yay Ubuntu! I have a laptop with a cracked screen. A few months ago I built a desktop and set up a prtition each for Ubuntu and Windows. Unfortunately I haven’t gotten around to forcing Flash and Photoshop to run in Ubuntu, or I’d never use Windows.

  2. A second for Ubuntu. I’m doing some development work on an Ubuntu box and it was a breeze to set up. Download the CD images, burn them, slap them in a drive and answer some questions. I too tried Red Hat a few years ago — you will not believe the difference. The GUI’s and the standard software packages are great for the basic user, and it’s got all the Linux geekery you could ever want at your disposal should you decide to go that way.

  3. Mac: I have the $2400 Macbook Pro and I lust after the equally powerful and smaller $1200 Macbook. Especially the black version. Very cool machine, and the hardware quality beats anything else you can buy at that price point.

    Ubuntu: If it likes your hardware, go for it. Test first with a live CD. The biggest potential trouble spot is wireless networking; some hardware requires Windows-only drivers and Ndiswrapper, which makes that theoretically possible, is not reliable. If iTunes ran on Ubuntu, I’d get rid of Windows at home.

  4. I lusted after the BlackBook pretty openly upon its arrival in stores, but the bevy of bugs in the latest Mac laptops has kept me from tripping over myself to buy one.

    It looks like the smart thing to do, economically speaking, is going to be to repair the Doomed Blue Toshiba POS and try to squeeze another few months out of it.

    I’m dropping it off at my local computer repair spot this morning.

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