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First Week with the Dell XPS 13

I’ve had my new Dell laptop for over a week now and I have to say, I’m loving it. It’s fast, sleek and a pleasure to work on. I’m running Ubuntu 12.04 LTS 64 bit Operating System as my only OS. Some people run shrieking from the room when I tell them I run Linux only on the laptop, but when they see it in action, they usually change their tune. Ubuntu is a really slick operating system and there is very little that I cannot do.

The hardware has a very sturdy feel to it and the build quality is exceptional. Nothing feels cheap or looks anything but beautiful. The laptop does get warm in my lap, but no warmer than any other modern machine. I think the only design flaw in that regard was to put the cooling vents on the bottom of the laptop. That’s where your legs go and thus they get warm.

The keyboard is smooth and meets my back-lit requirement just fine. I like the feel and key placement just fine. The track pad is smooth and elegant but still gets touched by my thumbs while typing and this makes the cursor go astray. This may require a tweak to the  touch pad drivers. But if I keep my thumbs off the track pad, everything works fine.

The screen is completely adequate for what I do with the laptop. I don’t paint pictures or edit movies, I just write books and surf the web. I also don’t share the screen with anyone, so I don’t mind that the best view is directly in front of the machine. That’s where I operate it from.

I’m beginning to really enjoy Unity and the whole lens concept that comes with it. Unity is the dock to the left of the screen that serves as a combination of task bar and launcher. I’ve never balked too terribly at Ubuntu for moving to Unity, because I like innovation more than stagnation. Free software is all about changing the rules and redefining how things work. If you want things to stay the same use those other popular consumer operating systems. You know the ones. Or switch to a different distribution of Linux, as many have.

I’ve taken to finishing up my novel in FocusWriter, so here’s a snapshot of that in action, not in full screen mode. ScreenCloud is the app that I used to snag these desktop images and share them on their cloud based server. Pretty slick. The RSS reader that you see in another image is LightRead. I love how I can make it use Ubuntu’s native font and it makes my RSS feeds look great.

I’ll update you again in a month or so, to let you know if my opinions have changes in any measurable way. For the time being, I’m loving the laptop and the OS.


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