Mini memory

My 2GB memory module arrived today (thanks Joanie!) and I installed it in all of two minutes, one of which was spent finding the right screwdriver. This machine is incredibly easy to upgrade. The keyboard will be nearly as easy to replace as the memory, though there’s a couple of persnickety little tabs I’m going to have to be careful with. The keyboard isn’t going to arrive until after Memorial day, though.

Oh, and I got VirtualBox installed without any of the finagling Michael had to do on his mini; Ubuntu 9.04 seems to have almost all the prerequisites installed already. Now I just need to figure out how to get a legal Windows CD and a drive that connects via USB– Dell makes good machines, but even they couldn’t squeeze a CD drive into this tiny box. It would have filled half the insides, even without the bigger power supply they’d have to put in.

Did I mention this thing doesn’t even have a hard drive? Well, technically it does; it’s just a solid-state one, like a USB stick. That means the machine doesn’t have to burn a lot of power spinning a stack of metal platters, which in turn means I get over four hours of battery life even with the dinky little four-cell 32WH battery Dell put into the machine. It also means there’s no need for a built-in fan, though I’m a little worried about the machine overheating and killing my battery (you do not want to get Lithium-ion batteries hot; leaving one in a car on a summer day can permanently destroy most of its capacity. For more on this see Battery University.) Ive taken to popping out the battery and running on AC only when I have a plug available; probably a bit paranoid, but I like this thing and you won’t be able to get batteries for it forever.

I sprung for the extra-big 16GB drive, which may sound small compared to normal drives, isn’t even a quarter full even with a full operating system, Open office, and a metric boatload of other programs. Put that in your cache and smoke it, Windows. If I ever start running out of space, there’s an SD card slot for more space, plus I can always use some of the metric boatload of USB sticks I’ve accumulated over the years.

And I guess I’m old, because I remember when it was totally awesome that you could get a hard drive with 20 whole megabytes on it! Like, you could never fill that up for years, man! It was the size of a brick, and weighed about the same as one too. Now a thousand times that much fits on a couple of chips, and seems like not very much room. The eighties were a long time ago, and we live in the future now.

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