It’s been a while…

I’m still here, honest – it’s just been a manic time over the past year, and I’ve not had chance to post anything meaningful here.

Sorry – I’ll try better in the new year. In the meantime, here’s a picture of me collecting two awards at the recent UK Oracle User Group Apps14 conference for my presentation last year – Best UK Speaker and Best New UK Speaker 🙂


Foehn & Hirsch laptop – follow up

A little while back, I wrote about the new laptop that I had bought from eBuyer.

Quick update – they found that the laptop was faulty when it arrived back and have refunded the cost of the laptop.  I have raised a new customer support note because eBuyer have kept hold of the £9.99 shipping costs for sending the faulty unit out to me, which I don’t believe they should have done.

So far, it has cost £9.99 not to get a working laptop from eBuyer, so the complaint goes on.

Foehn & Hirsch laptop and Linux

Last week, my house was broken into and one of our laptops was stolen.  Not too much of a big deal, since there wasn’t much data on there (thank goodness for Cloud computing!), and once the insurance assessor visited, I went out and bought a new machine.  Since this was for my wife, I left her using my Toshiba Portege M800 which runs Linux Mint 8 x64, just to see what she thought of it and whether she could move from Vista to Linux.

After a few days of it, she was mightily impressed – there are some nice features of Mint that she liked over Vista, so asked if the replacement could be one that ran Linux.  No problems – might be a bit cheaper, after all! – so I hunted down a Foehn & Hirsch laptop on which was cheap, and came with no OS.  Here’s the detailed spec:


  • Intel T3000 Celeron Dual Core Processor 1.8Ghz,
  • 1MB Cache
  • SIS M672 + 968 Graphics Chipset


  • 4GB DDR2 667MHz
  • 2 x SO DIMM
  • Expandable to 4GB

Hard Drive

  • 320GB SATA 2.5″

Optical Drive

  • DVD+/-RW Supermulti


  • Operating System: No Operating System


  • 15.6” HD TFT
  • Resolution: 1366 x 768


  • SiS M672 Integrated
  • Shared Memory Architecture 256MB
  • High Preference 3D/2D graphic Accelerator
  • Microsoft DirectX 9.0 Compatible
  • Super Vertex Shader 2.0 and Pixel Shader 2.0


  • High Definition Audio
  • Compliant With Microsoft UAA
  • Direct Sound 3D
  • 2 x Built in Speaker
  • Built in Mic

Input Devices

  • Multi Language Keyboard
  • Touchpad with Scroll zone


  • 56K Fax Modem
  • Built in 10/100MB Base-TX Ethernet LAN
  • WLAN: 802.11 b/g

Power Supply

  • Full Range AC Adapter 65W
  • AC in 100~240V, 50~60Hz
  • DC Out 19V, 3.42A / 18.5V, 3.5A
  • 6 Cell Lithium Ion Battery
  • up to 2.5 hour battery life


  • Width 374mm
  • Depth 256mm
  • Height 25~37mm
  • Weight 2.7kg


  • 3 x USB 2.0 ports
  • 1 x VGA port
  • 1 x Headphone port
  • 1 x Microphone port
  • 1 x S/PDIF output port
  • 1 x RJ-11 port
  • 1 x RJ45 LAN port
  • 1 x DC-in jack


  • 7 in 1 Card Reader (MMC / RSMMC / SD / Mini SD / MS / MS Pro / MS Duo)
  • 1 x Express Card Slot

Warranty / Miscellaneous

  • 1 Year Manufacturer Warranty
  • 1.3mp Webcam

That should be fine, I thought – keep her in laptops for a while, good spec and should be fine for Linux.  There was nothing anywhere that I could find that said otherwise, apart from a line that said “Please note that this Laptops does not have an Operating System installed, Ebuyer recommends Genuine Microsoft Software”

Then, it arrived, and things started to go badly wrong.

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