As folks probably saw in My Lady's journal, I am, once again, employed. Woohoo! Those interested in the details may ping me by e-mail - I'm not the sort to put work details here. Suffice it to say that I'll be working someplace pretty near to home, doing something I can feel good about, and pulling down a healthy paycheck.
So, with that out of the way...
I have, for something like seven years, been using work-castoffs for my home computing needs. Since I left employers on good terms, I'd buy my work laptop off them - and thus had a few nice, solid, affordable laptops already set up to do what I wanted. Unfortunately, when I started doing contract work, I stopped getting replacements. And, just after my last contract ended, my laptop died. While My Lady urged me to just go ahead and buy a replacement, I found it difficult to justify the expense when I wasn't working. I'm not good at buying things for myself at the best of times, and these were not the best of times.
Times have gotten better. It is perhaps acceptable to get myself a bit of a present*.
However, over those years, I've largely fallen out of the loop on hardware and makes, having gotten used to just taking what was cheap and convenient. So, what are my requirements?
- While I can drool over Alienware as much as the next person, I have to admit that money spent on that kind of power is probably wasted on me. I don't need cutting edge. I'm mostly an office-productivity, web-surfing, small amounts of media kind of guy. If I have the option of playing Diablo III with a passable play experience, I'll be happy.
- Given time and motivation, and a large swear-word allotment, I could probably bumble through building my own, but I honestly don't want to work that hard on this.
- While I'm thinking laptop, I don't need something ultra-portable. Given my past habits, this machine is unlikely to leave the house often, so it can be big and heavy. Likewise, it is apt to spend most of its life plugged in, so I don't need extra-huge battery life.
- I'm primarily a Windows-user for my home machines, but I am not concerned about being ready for Windows 8 touchscreen stuff.
- I'd like to have a reasonable level of confidence that the hardware is reliable - I don't want to have to send this thing back to the manufacturer in two months to be fixed already.
Thoughts or comments from the peanut gallery?* It's either a laptop, or a tattoo - but the planned tattoo is a piece with a bit of spiritual relevance to me, and I'd promised it to myself "when I got a permanent job". I'm still on contract (long, well-paying contract, but contract), and I am reluctant to sully the promise. Plus, the laptop is somewhat more useful, eh?