Setting Up My New Laptop

So, after 18 months of faithful service, my laptop’s hinge finally gave up. Although I dropped it months before, the replacement part cost $1000, which isn’t really cheap. Instead of getting a new laptop as the screen broke, I kept using it for another 6 months before my laptop turned into a tablet.

20151231_171931.jpg  My laptop, hanging off it’s hinges, screaming cries of despair.

While it’s still usable, it’s time for an upgrade. For my upgrade, I settled on this HP Pavillion 15t, which was a great deal when I bought it. It comes with a Skylake i5-6200U processor with Intel 520 Graphics, a 1080p IPS display, 6GB of RAM, a 1TB 5400rpm (ahhhhhhhh) Hard Drive, an Optical Disk Drive, Backlit Keyboard, 2 USB 3.0 ports and 100/10 Ethernet Port. All for just $518 (with a 5% student discount). If you take off the IPS display, Bluetooth and backlit keyboard, it costs just $450.

As soon as I got my laptop, I was ready to set it up for productivity.

Step 0: Unboxing and Degunking.

The unboxing was really straightforward. After slicing the tape off the box, I got the 5lbs laptop surrounded by Styrofoam padding. The battery and charger were in a smaller box which gave the laptop a snug fit. Once I placed the battery in, I switched on the laptop where I then signed my soul to the devil agreeing to terms and conditions and providing login, I got straight into the desktop where I’m amazed at the quality of this panel.

Moving on, one reason why this laptop is so cheap is that it comes with a bunch of bloatware. Fortunately, it was very easy to remove, although I had to get help from John McAffee himself to remove the awful anti-virus.

McAffee being helpful as always, with his amazing assistants. He’s literally killer.

Step 1: Getting Normal Applications

Once I cleansed the laptop of it’s sins with a restart, I was able to connect to my college’s convoluted internet system, I used 9nite to get the following software:

  • Firefox, Chrome and Opera Chromium– In case I meed to do cross browser testing and while Edge is great, my heart is with Chrome.
  • SumatraPDF – A very fast, lightweight PDF reader thatbalso opens eBooks.
  • Spotify – My music player of choice because it cost $5 a month for college students.
  • Picasa– Better photo viewer than the inbuilt windows version.

While there is a of stuff 9nite will let you install, like development tools and screen casting software, I decided to install it for a time when it would become necessary.

Once I got the essential software running, I installed Microsoft Office, which is free for college students. I could use Google Drive or LibreOffice all the time, but there’s just something about Microsoft Office that makes it so irresistible.

Step Two, Installing Developing Tools

Next up, development tools. First up, I got git since Windows doesn’t have in built development tools like Linux or even OS X. git is a version control system which is sort of like a checkpoint system for files where each checkpoint contains history on a particular repository. It also allows you to work on repositories remotely and post them online, through services such as GitHub and Bit Bucket.

Continuing, I installed Python (both Python 2 and Python 3) since that’s the language we use most at my college, Wartburg. Plus, it has some pretty neat frameworks like Django and Flask that are great for web development. I also got IntelliJ IDEA 15, a comprehensive IDE (which is also free for college students) that can be used to program anything from Scala applications to PHP development. Speaking of IDEs, I got a couple of text editors like Brackets, Sublime and Atom so that I can evaluate them and report back on that.

Finally, after all that, I got a small Java IDE called DrJava. While it isn’t the fanciest thing ever, it lets me write, compile, debug and run all my Java applets in one place, which is nice.

Now that I got my laptop up and running, I’m ready to head into this new year making lots of cool stuff. Next time, I’ll do a couple of upgrades to my laptop, specifically RAM and SSD and compare performance.

Until then, I wish you best wishes as you go into 2016 and go kickass!





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