I made a couple of long-pending purchases recently: a new camera & a new computer.
First, the camera. It's a Panasonic GF1 with a 20mm F1.7 pancake lens. This camera was in my wishlist ever since it was announced just over an year ago. Since the announcement, I kept waiting for its price to fall below the S$1000 mark, but no dice. It seems there's neither a lack of demand nor any decent competition for this beauty! So I bit the bullet & bought it.
The controls are quite good, with aperture & shutter speed, focus mode, ISO & white balance on easily reachable dedicated buttons. For the rest, there's a 'Quick Menu' button that makes changing everything else a snap. In short order, I hope to be taking photos like this. (Ed: Wishful Thinking Alert!)
Coming to the second purchase, it's a new Dell Inspiron 580 desktop PC with a 23" Dell HD monitor. My old desktop, which I first assembled in July 2006 and replaced parts several times since, finally became unfixable. This time, I went for a branded system since I didn't want the hassle of tracking down any (inevitable) hardware errors. An extended three year warranty will hopefully ensure peace of mind till the computer's end of life! Moreover, thanks to a friend who got me a sweet deal, it didn't cost me that much more than an assembled PC :)
Speaking of desktop PCs, why is everyone so surprised that I bought a PC instead of a laptop? I have a laptop but I also need a PC. Have you tried editing photos or running Eclipse on a 13" laptop?! Impossible!
Anyway, even before I booted up the PC for the first time, I opened it up & installed another 1TB Seagate disk. Then I booted up the pre-installed Windows 7, ensured everything was in order, ran Windows update & then rebooted to start installing Ubuntu 10.10 on the Seagate HDD.
I miss the days when getting a new computer meant publishing a new Linux install guide (Exhibit A, Exhibit B) sharing my experiences getting Linux running reliably on the hardware. Now it's just next-next-done. Everything worked out of the box. Everything! Stuff like Adobe Flash player, mp3 playback, video playback, Java, etc., all installed before first boot. That's an arguably better out of the box experience than Windows!
So with a new camera & a new PC, hopefully I'll be shooting more photos & coding more apps. Time will tell!