I've had it. Sitting in the lounge waiting for my flight to Bangkok, I was casually reading a Sydney Morning Herald story about Kevin Rudd, when this happened.
Another BSOD! This is the first on this machine-a Dell XPS15z--but it the third machine in a row in which I've had this experience.
The first was a Dell Studio 17 which I purchased two years ago, and which had so many BSOD crashes in so many inopportune moments that I finally nicknamed it Mephisto and went in search of an alternatve (see "My Dog of a Dell”).
I went with my university’s purchasing office’s choice of HP–only to have that machine crash with a BSOD on its first overseas trip two weeks later! Having been through the experience of the Dell Studio crashing, I would estimate, about 1,000 times in the year before I decided to replace it, I wasn’t about the repeat the experience with HP, so I returned it and attempted a repair of the Dell–a replacement of its motherboard and memory after having previously replaced memory, hard disks and (for other reasons) keyboard beforehand.
With 4G of RAM installed, it began to behave itself–until two weeks before my trip to England in September/October to launch Debunking Economics. Then it crashed in the middle of a lecture.
My students can put up with such an experience, but it means that I can’t record the lecture for the web–the program doing the recording (BB Flashback) goes down with the operating system. I couldn’t afford a repeat of the problem while launching the book, so I hastily purchased a Dell XP 15z online, and it arrived a day before my departure for England (I can’t fault Dell’s online sales system).
To my great annoyance, I then found that the XPS 15z didn’t have a VGA port, and Dell didn’t supply a mini-DVI to VGA converter. So how was I supposed to give a presentation then?
I reluctantly lugged TWO laptops with me: the refurbished Studio 17 that I hoped would not fall over as I gave my speech at the launch, and the XPS 15z for research (since it’s significantly faster).
I have since tried to find a workaround to the absence of a VGA output on it, to no avail–and I am not the only one, from what I have seen on online discussions. Nothing has worked satisfactorily: the Apple DVI to VGA converter worked when directly linked to a desktop data projector by one specific VGA cable, but it failed today at the Society for Heterodox Economics conference, so I wasn’t able to put my presentation up on my blog.
I was contemplating being forced to buy an ultra-portable with sufficient screen resolution to match a decent data projector (minimum 1024x768, preferably 1400x1050), when this BSOD happened.
So I’ve had it–to repeat myself. I now need an ultraportable that must have a VGA output port, minimum screen resolution as above, plus sufficient grunt to run my software–minimum 4G RAM, preferably +750Gig Hard Disk, and … reliability. I will no longer consider either Dell or HP.