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Location: Cheyenne, Wyoming

This cheap Dell laptop I bought a little over a year ago has taken a beating. My constant use of it, particularly in a truck which is bouncing down the interstate has taken its toll. A few months ago, I began having trouble with the monitor lid. The wire running from the body of the laptop to the lid had developed a short from the constant jarring. I discovered that the hinge cover was pinching the wire, so I broke off the hinge cover and that fixed it... for a while. The short got worse and I later resorted to rigging it with a piece of plastic strap to pull the wire away from whatever it was shorting against. I'm able to use the laptop, but the slightest movement of the machine will 'cause it to short and the computer to crash. There is no apparent way to get inside the lid where the short resides and my fear is if I go tinkering in there I may damage it beyond all hope.

So I've been in the market for a laptop... a durable one.

I was at first drawn to the Panasonic Toughbook line. You can drop them, spill your coffee on them and they keep running. They also come with a three year warranty. The cheapest they have in the line however is $1800... a bit more than I'm prepared to plunk down for a notebook.

Then I discovered Durabook, which operates under the same principle; industrial-strength casing for laptops used in "rugged" environments.

Newegg has one at a $1050 price tag. In addition to a more durable laptop, I would be getting a considerable upgrade; 2.5 times the hard disk space, twice the memory, and a DVD writer. I'd be taking a slight hit in processor oomph but not much... and it's not like I do any super-duty computing on the road anyway. A cool grand is still a bit pricey for me, hence my hesitation, but I'm going to have to do something and soon, before my current laptop gives up the ghost. The bottom-line is, I can't be replacing laptops once a year at any price. I'm leaning toward this as a solution to that.

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Do you have any friends who work in construction? The laptop computers they use in the field take a huge beating. They may be able to help you out.

Hmm... I have to say that thing doesn't really look all that durable - I was expecting yer typical G-shock cladding all over. The hinges don't even look reinforced, and the screen housing looks thinner than mine. Is made out of titanium or something?

If you're feeling brave (or more likely if/when you get a replacement), I can look at your Dell for ya. I have disassembled over a dozen laptops; including 5 for client repairs (and have one more coming next week); the only one I ever made worse was my own (dammit!). I've even taken the screens apart to get the tiny little flourescent-tube backlights out of them. So I could probably tell you what's really going on at the very least, even if it turns out I can't fix it. Obtaining the right parts at a fair price is the real bitch.

Well it would have helped if I checked the website... MMMM magnesium. Too bad it's an alloy, a spill could have been REAL fun otherwise.

"Manufactured by the TWINHEAD Corporation" huh huh huh

I know a grand is a lot to spend each year on a lappy. I don't mind it too much seeing as it is a tax deduction (I run PC Miler which makes it a business expense). I have a little Averatec that works well for me. I paid around $950 for this one. Some time around May I plan to upgrade and purchase a new tax deduction.

I just don't wanna be shelling out $1000 every year for a laptop if I can help it... that's why I'm hoping to find a cost-effective semi-rugged laptop solution that might actually last 3-4 years.

How's the warranty on the Durabook?

1 Yr from Durabook... I can purchase a 3yr extended through Newegg for $350, which I'm not apt to do...

Yeah, you need a new laptop.

We have them at work. They're known for developing shorts which crash the computer for no reason. My current one, so far, has lasted a couple of years though, and I do give it a fair amount of tossing around.

That is exactly what mine is doing.

and what do laptops have to do with cocks?

Absolutely nothing... I watched Magnolia today and it's one of my favorite lines from the movie.

IIRC, the durabook is a Twinhead design which is the same company that is making a lot of very problematic units for Averatec.

i *did* see one of these in a CompUSA and it basically felt like a piece of shit.

go with the Panasonic. i understand that if durability is a concern, it is worth the cash. or for slightly less, check out the direct offerings from PortableOne, which has a very good reputation also. both include a three-year warranty. i would NOT buy an extended warranty from newegg. most mfrs will sell their extended warranties direct for 30-40% of the newegg cost.

Yikes, the PortableOne semi-rugged is $2200.

I will likely try to get my hands on a Twinhead at CompUSA or Best Buy before I make a final decision on it. I'm not as hard to please as you, however. :)


But I love that you identified the false economy of buying a decent device once rather than a crappy one three times. You could explain that for years to some people, and they still won't get it.


I don't much care for laptops either... but I've carried a full PC in the truck with me and this is much more preferable; a lesser of two evils.

oh come on. that was funny!

Looks nice. I'd go for it. Or, next time you're near a circuit city or best buy, spend some time and check afew out there, instead of buying at a TA ;)

Oh good lord, I'd never buy a laptop at a truckstop. I feel sorry for the people who do.

If I decide to go the cheap route...

...hey did you get my email about the gallery? It's already to go.

someone's been watching a bit too much magnolia.


doesn't william h macy make you cry?

yes, yes he does. after "respect the cock"... my favorite lines are his...

"I love you and I'm sick."

"No. It's not dangerous to confuse children with angels."

and my favorite...

"I have so much love to give but I don't know where to put it."

as an unrelated matter, i wish to point out once again that your journal is absolutely illegiible on a laptop viewed outdoors.

i can say this because i have no idea what i am actually typing or clicking at this precise moment. i hope there are no typos.

I plan to do a journal overhaul sometime in the very near future which likely feature a very basic black on white layout. It's one of my goals for the first couple of months of 2006. :)

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