I’m currently having a Vaio VGN-S4M inflicted upon me. I can’t say I dislike it totally; the X-black screen is rather nice and it has one killer feature in that there’s a (physical) radio kill switch on the front. However, by and large I do dislike it. The Centrino wireless jobbery is not fully documented, so only works with a binary blob driver which means it’s useless for most of the operating systems I care about (it doesn’t work in CEntOS, for instance, and I don’t have the luxury of being able to switch to Ubuntu where I’ve heard better results are possible). It seems to run very hot doing anything (including nothing), so the fan constantly winds up and down. And it’s a loud little fan. The whole keyboard seems to bend a little when I press any key (although I’m used to the Tactile Pro, so probably whack a little harder than necessary…) The only saving grace in the design is that PC manufacturers seem now to be getting over the desire to install legacy ports all over their laptops; but the thing’s still closer to the size of a 14″ iBoko (hi u.c.s.m) than that of its brother, the 13.3″ MacBoko.
So, with a recent cash injection and an ADC hardware discount coupon both burning a hole in my pocket, as well as a desire to crack on with the ObjC 2.0 work on the c.l.o-c FAQ; it seems an Intel Mac and a copy of some virtualisation tech are in order. The question becomes simple: do I jump now, and get a MacBoko or MacBoko Pro, or do I hold on in case the Core 2 Duo variants are around the corner? Or I could even combine the two and get an iMac, keeping the Vaio for corridor worrying? I’m tempted by the “buy now” approach, as I actually need^Wwant a new system now, not in January…
I’d hang on until the Meroms arrive, which should make for cooler laptops.
Until then, how about installing some real OS on the box? OpenSolaris is quite nice nowadays, and there’s an active laptop community for it. (Meaning: things you took for granted on OS X are starting to appear.)
As long as the Meroms don’t take until Feb (when my voucher expires), that’s probably the best solution. I think maybe a Core 2 Duo MBP may be in order.
As for doing something useful with the current laptop; [i] I don’t think that’ll solve the wireless, [ii] it’s really out of my hands as my code depends on RHEL-or-something-similar so that if I get a different OS, I end up needing some virtualisation doodad. If I need to pay for that (which, let’s face it, for the good solutions I do) then I may as well hold off for a Mac. OpenSolaris is indeed nice, and has good useful features but in reality I’m more likely to plump for a FreeBSD derivative first, OpenBSD second, Ubuntu third (arranged in a “how much I like it”<->“is everything supported” kindof hierarchy).
I’m sure that something tasty will get announced at MWSF in January, so as long as you can place your order then and use your vouchers, you should be OK.