It ain’t new, but it’s new to me!

A couple months back, when I was experiencing some health issues (read about that at Nocturnal Slacker v1.0 – Paying the Piper), I mentioned at one of my regular forums that I’d love to have a laptop one day. I thought it would be very cool to kick back in the recliner and get online while watching TV. And it is! Indeed!

How did I manage to acquire my cool little laptop? Well, I accomplished it with the help of some great friends. Urmas, my Finnish cohort in crime over at Scot’s Newsletter Forums – Bruno’s All Things Linux, saw where I had mentioned this and sparked up a conversation about it with another fellow Admin over there, SecurityBreach. SB had a nice Dell Inspiron 1521 sitting around. He had bought it a while back, but it had a passworded BIOS and a locked hard drive.

He packed that baby up and sent it to me to see if I could get it working. Well, I had the BIOS cracked in about 2.5 hours (thanks Google), but couldn’t get past that hdd lock. I realized, though, that I could defeat the hdd issue by just replacing the hard drive. Well, that’s where another good friend comes in. Frank Golden, a pal from Scot’s and my own boards, alerted me that he had a drive that would work for this machine, plus 2Gig of Corsair RAM… oh, and a really cool little wireless Logitech Trakball mouse. He shipped it all to me.

When the goodies showed up, I went outside to my shop, where I had already disassembled the lappy a few days before, and I installed the new hdd and RAM. Voila! Everything came up peachy; no bumps, no blips, no errors. Of course, there was no operating system on the drive. That was the next project.

I whipped out my little “thumb drive toolbox” (SLAX) and booted that baby up. I gparted some new partitions and prep’d the drive for two operating systems. I installed MS Win 7 Enterprise and Slackware64 13.1 w/ Xfce as the primary OS. That little Dell was rockin’ and rollin’ at that point. The only thing wrong with the thing was that it had a bad <– left arrow key. I fixed that yesterday by installing a new Dell replacement keyboard ($12.95 on eBay w/ free S/H). It’s beeautiful now! 🙂

Here it is with the original silver keyboard…

And here it is with the new black keyboard…

Nice, huh?

I’m enjoying my little laptop immensely. I’m very thankful to Urmas, SecurityBreach, and Frank Golden for what they did. If you don’t know what it means to be thankful, maybe you should read my Happy Thanksgiving article here. 😉

I’m off to tinker now.



P.S. MS Win 7 is pretty cool, but we’ll talk about that another time.

About V. T. Eric Layton

vtel57, Nocturnal Slacker

4 responses »

  1. Wow, that keyboard makes the machine look totally different!! It looks very nice Eric. Although, that Windows key is way too bright for my taste, I think I would have to use a sharpie to color it in. 😉

    I am so glad you are enjoying the laptop.

  2. lilbambi says:

    What a wonderful thing! It is always amazing to see what an online community can accomplish. Remember what many members of Scot’s Newsletter Forums did for us back when Hurricane Isabel hit here in our area of Virginia and destroyed the entire east facing roof on the main portion of the house?

    It is great to see a true community spirit on the forums.

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