New Gear

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.

Panasonic GF1

I haven't had a chance to exercise it much but if you are in my Facebook or Flickr network, take a look at a few photos taken hours after I bought the camera: On Flickr. On Facebook.

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 :)

Dell Inspiron Unboxing

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.

Dell Inspiron Unboxing

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!


What are the specs for the desktop?

SSD? Installing a SSD and then using it for the root partition + using facebook's flashcache.

Quad-core? Intel i5/i7 or AMD Phenoms? Hyper-threading?


I've been wanting to build myself a mean machine; only scared if I'd use it since I'm so used to Macs now.

Harish: Specs are quite modest since my needs are simple.

Quad-core Intel i5-760 @ 2.80GHz. 4GB DDR3 RAM. Nvidia GT220 1GB discrete graphics card. I think the i5 doesn't have HT.

No SSD - it wasn't even an upgrade option. The box came with a WD 750GB disk & I added another 1TB Seagate disk.

Regarding Macs, Apple desktops seem to be really expensive. But I guess hackintosh is one way to avoid that. ;-)

Clean pics, even at high ISOs. Looks like a sweet camera.

I'm with you on the desktop thing btw. Can't stand working on laptops for too long. Still prefer assembling my own though :)

Anshul, it was you who helped me put together that PC back in 2006! How time flies :)

I don't mind assembling but it becomes a pain trying to track the source of problems. The last straw was some unexplained I/O errors. Replaced HDDs, replaced SATA cables. The only remaining option was to replace the motherboard.. something that I'd bought just a few months before!

In the end, I decided to junk it & get a new one.

USB 3.0?

@Rohit Only USB 2.0

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