My laptop died recently and because of this I've been doing some preliminary research to find myself a replacement.  It's been awhile since I've had to purchase a laptop, so I was a bit surprised when I couldn't immediately find one that I was satisfied with.  For some reason I thought that finding a suitable laptop for development that met my short list of criteria wouldn't be very difficult.  But the more research I did the more apparent it became that "software developer" wasn't a target demographic laptop manufacturers were trying to capture.  With that being said, here's my short plea to laptop makers:

Don't Mess With the Home/End/Page Up/Page Down/Insert/Delete Keys

Seriously.  We need those.  There's a reason why the QWERTY keyboard layout has remained stagnant throughout the years.  It's because people are used to it and they would riot in the streets if it suddenly changed.  Why then, are the home/end/page up/page down/insert/delete keys somehow considered free game to be mangled beyond recognition? I realize that there are space constraints with laptop keyboards, but it's not as though preserving their layout hasn't been done before. In fact, I seem to recall more laptops with the standard 2×3 layout in the past than I see now.

Honorable mention: As someone mentioned in the comments, another common keyboard change is switching the function and ctrl keys.  Most programmers — and computer users in general — use copy (ctrl-c + ctrl-v) and paste (ctrl-x + ctrl-v) so much that it's become a muscle reflex.  Swapping these two keys takes a *lot* of adjusting to get used to.

Test the Heat Under Heavy Load

Ok, so here's the thing: every single laptop I have ever owned turns into a scalding hot piece of plastic punishment after running Visual Studio for 1-2 hours.  I realize there are physical constraints that make cooling a laptop a significant challenge — and I know that I may also be in the minority here — but I'd be willing to put up with a bulkier (read: larger *gasp*) laptop if it meant that I could get proper cooling in return. 

For the most part I think laptop "portability" is vastly overrated.  The difference between carrying a 4 pound laptop and an 8 pound laptop isn't that big unless you're Steve Urkel (ok, so this may be a concern for the programmer demographic). I'm not playing shotput with my laptop.  I'm not doing curls with my laptop. I'm putting it on my lap, which can handle a little extra weight being put on it.  What it can't handle however is being scalded by a poorly ventilated brick of heat.

A 5400 RPM Hard Drive Is NOT Fast Enough

Scott Guthrie has a great blog post — written one and a half years ago — about how a 5400 RPM hard drive is often a bottleneck when developing on a laptop.  Nowadays it's easy to find standard cookie-cutter laptop configurations with 4 GB of RAM and 2+ GHZ dual core processors that are secretly tied down by a 5400 RPM hard drive.  Granted, this is less of a problem if you're willing to pay up the wazoo to upgrade to a solid state drive (and the advantages of these are even debatable in a development environment).  For the rest of us, we're lucky to have an option to upgrade to a 7200 RPM hard drive, let alone a 10,000 RPM one.

Glossy Screens Can't Be Read In Daylight

As great as a glossy screen can be for watching DVDs in the black of night, I can't read a single thing on them in the daylight.  Granted, this really isn't much of a problem since programmers are deathly allergic to natural light.  But on the off chance that I want to get some work done at a park or at the beach, there's absolutely no way of doing this with a glossy screen.

Not All of Us Want a Widescreen

As mentioned in the comments, a widescreen isn't always best for programming.  Vertical space is far more precious to a developer than horizontal space.  Most code is in the first 80 characters, so having the abililty to see 300 characters across usually just leads to a bunch of excessive whitespace.  Yes, if you're running multiple apps side-by-side, the widescreen monitor becomes very handy.  But for the typical Visual Studio developer, this usually isn't the case.

Well, that's my list.  I still haven't pulled the trigger on a purchase yet, but the comments have given me a lot to think about and research.  I don't claim to be a hardware expert so if I have grossly mistated anything here, let me know.  Have any other suggestions for this list?  Leave them in the comments below. 

59 responses to A Programmer’s Plea to Laptop Makers

  1. I know exactly what you are talking about. I used to have the exact same laptop that you have in the image (It was given to me for free from my grandparents) and it was hard to program on it.

    I finally found a perfect laptop that matches all of above plus more. One feature i really love is i can press a key combination and it disables my mousepad thingo so i can type without my mouse going crazy and without disabling it in the bios so i can just switch it on and off without turning of the system.

    Hope you find your perfect laptop soon!!

  2. KSeven said:

    Why would you want a laptop with a 10krpm HDD? Most desktop hard drives don’t have speeds that high. Never mind the fact that these laptops are being constantly moved around and occasionally dropped which will cause more damage on a higher RPM drive. Additionally the power requirements are just way too high. Also hard drives are more prone to damage during spin up and spin down, especially for higher rpm drives.

    Glossy screens are, for the most part, meant for DVD viewing and gaming. If this isn’t what you want…. then why complain? just don’t buy it?

    While i agree with you on the heat there are solutions that are not tied to the laptop. Assuming you still have the rubber feet on the laptop.. putting it on a desk will help a great deal. If that isn’t an option why not get a laptop pad? some of the smaller (lighter) ones are basically just hard surfaces to allow air to flow freely. These are significantly lighter than your proposed 4lb difference and the smaller ones will fit into any regular laptop bag along side your laptop.

  3. Andrew said:

    Manufacturers use slow spinning drives in laptops because they use less power and hence generate less heat (also they are MUCH cheaper). If you want fast drives you can get them but be prepared for bad battery life and burnt legs.

    Laptops aren’t really designed for development work – they keyboards suck and IDEs tend to be very processor intensive (leading to low battery life). I find it almost impossible to get anything done without an external keyboard.

  4. Drew said:

    Ok, my Sony Vaio VGN-AR825 is pretty damn thick and solid. Of course, when it was first released the drivers were explicitly written for Vista. However with todays ever-growing software world drivers are ported to just about everything. I tri-wield Debian/Vista/XP on it. Why Vista and XP you ask? Well, just to show off more or less. I get tired of people asking why I don’t have this OS on there or whatever, so there it is.

    Just shows the masses you can have everything, on anything.

  5. Simon said:

    In addition to the glossy screen i’d also say the wide screens are a mixed blessing.
    You tend to read code from top to bottom, not side to side. Having a wide screen is all very nice for watching films, but for coding it is just wrong.

  6. leo said:

    Look that’s the least of the problems ,
    the monitor isn’t connected strongly enough , you can’t raise it a bit (usefull if your trying to do something on your lap although writing this in a laptop on a table it’s still hell to type in code en masse/time)

    but you know life would be much better if you could assemble laptops like your typical computer. you yeah that would end up costing on width (but who really cares? not the guys who wait for this kind of stuff anyway)
    but selling a case + keyboard + mobo + screen you can pick and then lodge some cards in would be great.
    and on another note laptops (ie not a desk replacment for lan kids) should not consume more then 50-40 watt peak not including the monitor , and have good grills(heatsinks) on the back.

  7. Dennis said:

    Thank you SIMON! I don’t need a Widescreen. I need a HIGH RESOLUTION output, so I can fit what I am coding on the screen and not have to follow a 255 character line to the edge.
    In the world of TABS and extra spaces causing blocks, I would like to be able to code on something portable that doesn’t make me feel like I am writing ‘War & Peace’

  8. Arne said:

    I’m using Lenovo Thinkpad T400. Which can run visual studio for several hours without getting too hot and it’s fast enough for every program i’ve tried so far.

  9. Alx said:

    Heh, someone owns a Toshiba laptop.

    Yeah, I could probably do without the Insert key (many a time have I deleted entire paragraphs typing in Insert mode on accident), but I know I couldn’t browse the internet without the PgUp/PgDn keys. And the Home and End keys are very useful too.

    And highly agreed with the glossy screens being annoying. Matte screens may not be pleasant, but they’re much easier to see in sunlight.

  10. sianz said:

    dude, just get the dell precision series. if you cant afford that, just run your compiler off a home server, do your coding offline, upload it, let your home server do the crunching while you take a dump. On the plus side, i can code while i am using my HTC Touch pro when ssh’ed into it.

  11. Greg said:

    I use a dell latitude d630 You may be more happy with a d830 or whatever the newest high end model is. Mine runs extremely cool and running on the lowest fan speed only gets up to 150. Turning the fan to high makes it run at about 130 which is tolerable (there may be some that run lower but its hard to drop bellow that while under full load). Check it out and see if it fits your needs.
    The Home/End/Page Up/Page Down/Insert/Delete Keys are only moved left (kept in the 2×3 format) and are now above the backspace key. No glossy screen and mine came with a 7200 RPM drive.

  12. Izkata said:

    Home, PageUp, PageDown, and End are exactly where they should be on a laptop. Those are their most intuitive locations – it took me about 10 seconds to adjust when I first started using laptops, while a "regular" keyboard’s block layout I’ve never been able to get used to, even after using one for a couple years.

    Insert and Delete are in the wrong place, though. I like my Delete in the upper-right corner, about Home, and Alt, Menu, Control are the three buttons that should be in that location…

    Cooling is an issue sometimes. My current laptop has really good cooling, as long as I keep the fan clean. (Maxing out both 2.1 GHz cores, it keeps cool for a good 1.5 hours, as long as the battery lasts with that much processing. And I’m not talking about gaming; I’m doing data mining for a class)

    Hard disk, can’t really speak of, but the glossy screens are a huge problem for me. I may like it in the dark, but I’m never alone – dorms or home – everyone else likes it bright.

  13. Jeff said:

    I had the same requirements when looking for a new laptop a few months back. I did end up with a 15" widescreen, and have been very pleased with coding on this screen. The computer is extremely fast, runs Windows 7 really well, 7200 rpm, up to 8 Gb ram, second hard drive slot, etc. In short, this laptop kicks some serious but. And they didn’t F-up the keyboard either. It’s the Lenovo W500.

    Good luck on your search!

  14. tag said:

    Are you kidding! Widescreen is much better for coding then square!

    With IDEs such as Eclipse, much of the real estate is taken up by other windows, to the point of having virtually no room on a square aspect screen. If you are not a IDE kinda guy, nothing beats gedit set up with a few terms to compile and run.

    Widescreen is by FAR the best format for coding.

  15. lee said:

    The truth of the matter is that laptops were once built for people who primarily work on computers, this is no longer the case though as there is a definite drive to make laptops a commodity item. Where developers/IT professionals were once the majority of laptop consumers are voices are now being overlooked, by desktop replacements and purse laptops. A clear allegory to this would be the auto industry circa 1980. Power and handling fell victim to power windows and cushy seats.

    An obvious tip for hard drive related development problems would be to increase ram. But for going faster I agree with the post above about 7200 rpm hard drives being major power suckers, and agree that solid state is too expensive. Has anyone tried intel’s hard drive memory cache devices? or ms windows option to use usb devices as a hard drive cache.

    two plugs though for my lenovo t200, full size keyboard thanks to making it widescreen, plus thinkpad keyboards are still the best for mobile development.

  16. Brian said:

    Sorry, but SSDs are not as fast as a good 7200 RPM drive, especially for writes. I’d rather have a good 7200 RPM drive for $50 then a $500 SSD that is slower overall.

  17. Kevin Pang said:

    Thanks for the suggestions everyone. As usual, the comments here have proved much more useful than the post itself. I’ll definitely check out the Lenovo t200 and Dell d630/d830 (who names these things?).

    As for power consumption, that’s definitely an issue I wasn’t considering with the 7,200 and 10,000 RPM hard drives so good points there. However, I think I’d rather splurge for a stronger battery or a spare battery or at worst, be tethered to an outlet, than have to deal with a slow IDE. That’s just me though.

  18. Jon Davis said:

    The special keys being moved around on a laptop keyboard is something one can re-learn. It bothers me, but what keyboard manufacturers are really offering is "a nice keyboard design, if you’re willing to re-learn some of how you use a keyboard". Some people are willing, some are not. To make it an outright crime for manufacturers to do that is silly; I for one, am willing to adjust.

    Regarding widescreen vs. square, I do prefer widescreen but was always adament that widescreen should not mean to compromise vertical resolution because I value being able to see more than a few lines of code at a time. When 19-inch CRT monitors went to 19-inch widescreen LCD monitors, it was obvious we were getting robbed. The only way you can go from square to widescreen without a major, MAJOR loss of vertical resolution, is to significantly increase the inches while retaining the dpi. So 1600×1200 square would only be acceptable as widescreen if you bumped up to 1920×1200, and you can take it from there.

    Totally agree that 5600 RPM is crap. However, SSD is *not* much better; seek time matters but write time matters, too. SSD also has a short lifespan–it can handle bumps better but can only handle tens of thousands of writes.

    I have a Toshiba X205-S9359 laptop I bought a couple years ago for like $2,500 (not cheap!), and despite its massive bigger-than-brick-size power supply, it does keep cool on my lap, in fact the little rubber feet bothers me before the heat does. It has some thick, hollow plastic at the bottom that I suspect is only there as some kind of ventilation shaft. It’s a thick laptop. Meanwhile, I have a Dell Mini 9 that has no moving parts (no fan) and frankly it surprises me that the plastic and internal components don’t melt. Case in point: If you want cool, don’t worry about thin.

  19. Miles Smith said:

    I also hate it when the put the FN key on the far left. THE CTRL key goes there, FN is inbetweteen the CTRL and windows key, but CTRL must be on the far left, it must!!! and there worst thing is, as its not a standard key, its almost impossible to remap the damn thing… GRRR it makes me so mad!!!

  20. SeanFalloy said:

    I know your probably not in Canada but up here they like to put the multilingual keyboard in everything. They cram a whole bunch of keys where your enter key should be and shorten the tab and shift.

    Although I do find most of these things to be a pain in the ass when looking for a new machine I dont have a problem with heat. Im pretty sure the solution is to get rid of Visual Studios

  21. Annonymous said:

    About the Home/End/Pg buttons, learn vim and it will stop being an issue.

  22. Tomaz said:

    @K Seven – can’t find matt screens anywhere now… Can’t stand glossy screens, the reflection makes them impossible to use. It seems to be a fashion thing, lets hope it ends soon.

  23. little_v said:

    Few things:
    -Overlook the SSD fear-mongering and look at some benchmarks. We’re now on the second gen. of SSDs, and all of these issues are null and void. I have an SSD as my main boot drive, and a 7200 rpm HDD for storage. 99% of the time the SSD is twice as fast as the HDD – and only for long sequential writes (copying a 3 gb file) is it marginally slower. For code and compiling, with lots of small reads and writes, it will be much faster than an HDD. Boots in <30 seconds too.

    -Try a cooling mat if you can’t find a suitable laptop. The one I have has a mesh bottom too, so it’s comfy for long sits.

    -He needs Visual Studio. Never mind vim and ssh. RDP is a subpar option too.

  24. Lyn said:

    You may want to check out the Dell Vostro 1500 (but not 1510). I [i]love[/i] the keyboard. I’m a very fast typist, and I can just fly on this machine. The delete is in the top corner, but I love it, it’s so easy to find. I’m running Oracle on it, and not noticing any problem as far as power goes.

  25. ov3rcl0ck said:

    Use a desktop… Laptops are for portability not programming, i personally hate the compact keyboard of a laptop and the fact that the screen is right there along with your keyboard. Another thing, Why would you ever run Visual Studios IDE? Just use it to compile not design, its a waste of resource and potential for overheating, Visual Studios is a pile anyway. You could also set the CPU clocks down to prevent overheating.

  26. abc said:

    I use vim, so I don’t mind the home, ins key thing. I use a macbook air so it doesn’t even have those keys.

    But the big pain with the macbook air is the 4800 rpm hard drive. I definitely feel you on the rpm complaint. When this thing starts swapping, it is painful.

  27. lowell said:

    @abc – i use an air also; the home/end/pgup/pgdn keys are fn+left/right/up/down, respectively.

    and it’s a 4200 rpm drive; it sucks either way lol. the things we settle for for portability..

  28. My pet peeves:
    [quote]
    fan inlet at the bottom (blocked when [b]lap[/b]top is put on anything but firm surface).

    Power button put where you are holding laptop with one hand when carrying.

    flat key-tops.

    That top-row ESQ key is touch-typing key, don’t shrink it (or any other key).

    Minimum LCD brightness is too bright.

    Don’t put most-often-used power-plug at the back.
    [/quote]

  29. Bubak said:

    And why are you using laptop for development?

  30. Kris said:

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    Regards
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  31. Kevin Pang said:

    @Bubak

    I’m not sure how — or even if — I should respond to all of these "just get a desktop then" responses. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you’re being sincere in your suggestion and not just a snarky ass.

    I want to develop on a laptop because I don’t like being chained to a desk. I want the freedom to be able to work anywhere in my house or outside of my house (e.g. living room, bedroom, kitchen, park, beach, coffee shop, etc.). I know that many programmers like to just hunker down into their work station and code away, but for me I enjoy a change of scenery now and then.

  32. ctrl key said:

    DON’T FUCK WITH THE CTRL KEY BY STICKING A FUCKING FN KEY THERE!!!!!!

    (ok on mac you have the cmd key, but fucking fn key in ctrl place anyway… so confused)

  33. shadows said:

    Well, I am using a Dell D820 and it has a somewhat decent keyboard layout. Do check it out. I still plug in an external keyboard whenever possible though.

    I have somehow gotten used to widescreen, and have started liking it. It seems to be less stressful to the eye. It helps with things like Outlook (using 3 pane) and IDEs where you may have side bars on both sides, like Eclipse. Do try it out for a while if a friend has a widescreen laptop. I find lines of code that cross 80-char limit often these days.

  34. BillAtHRST said:

    One nice use for the addl horizontal space on a widescreen is to hold the task bar — this way it doesn’t take up vertical space, and it can also hold many more buttons.

  35. Kevin Pang said:

    @BillAtHRST

    Yes, I do that with my widescreen monitors too. It’s not a significant amount of space saved, but it’s better than nothing!

  36. I especially hate the relocated page-up, page-down keys. I use them quite often. And yes, I too would like a faster harddrive more than a faster cpu.

  37. nogridbag said:

    I’m surprised this hasn’t been mentioned yet. The first rule of developing software with a laptop is to NOT use the laptop as a laptop! Purchase a docking station with the laptop, get a fullsize external keyboard and monitor (or two preferably). You should only use the laptop as a laptop when going to meetings or traveling. In those cases, you’re hooked up to a projector and the laptop’s screensize/keyboard size doesn’t really matter. If you have a proper setup, a D630 actually makes a good machine. 90% of the time, it will be docked or hooked up to a projector, so its awfully vertically limited LCD doesn’t really matter. While traveling, it’s convenient to have a smaller/lighter laptop. Also, as the user tag said above, if you use an IDE like eclipse, netbeans, etc., widescreen is probably better because of the windows docked left and right of the main editor (trust me I was anti-widescreen for a long time). With a dual monitor setup, I’ve actually finally found a use for the vista sidebar that I hated for so long. I keep it docked to the far right of the second monitor always visible. My work monitors are dual 1680×1050, and the extra 150 pixels for the sidebar really doesn’t matter on the secondary display.

  38. Kevin Pang said:

    @nogridbag

    That doesn’t really satisfy my requirements. As I mentioned in my last comment, there are reasons why I want to develop on my laptop.

    I’ll admit that my use case might be different than others. If you indeed have access to a monitor and docking station and full external keyboard in every place you want to code, then yes, it doesn’t really matter what laptop you get so long as it’s got enough horsepower.

  39. Wow, lots of comments that I skipped [i]right on past![/i] (Thus this might be redundant.) I just wanted to add my weight behind the anti-wide-screen point on your list. Recently I decided to get a ThinkPad T400 to replace my T60p and didn’t realize the screen would be 1280×800 instead of the strange-but-awesome-for-programming 1400×1050. I’m sure I’ll deal with it and become accustomed, but that don’t mean I can’t complain! :)

  40. Hot CPU said:

    "Ok, so here’s the thing: every single laptop I have ever owned turns into a scalding hot piece of plastic punishment after running Visual Studio for 1-2 hours."

    Ever fire up Task Manager? I love how Visual Studio shows up as 0% CPU usage and yet the CPU is burning a hole in my pants and the fan is cranking away trying to keep the machine cool and the battery drains faster than, well, can’t come up with an appropriate analogy at the moment. Task Manager is utterly useless if it isn’t showing ACTUAL CPU usage.

    If you ever figure out the glare issue, let us know! I have a $200 outdoor setup that I’ve basically scrapped because I figured out that I can’t sit outside, get a tan, and program at the same time. I can still utilize portions of it for outdoor events, so the endeavor wasn’t a complete waste of money and time. The sun and computer screens don’t mix.

  41. Hot CPU said:

    Oh, and I completely understand the horizontal vs. vertical issue. The perfect monitor for developers would be twice as tall as they are now. The downside is that it wouldn’t work so well for laptops (they tend to be top-heavy).

  42. tommy said:

    yes, yes, yes! agreed that 5400 is too slow. even desk top keyboards are starting to @##$$% with the keys as well. as the company software guru (not a self appointed title, i just know what a macro and template are) i have to use others computers often. invariably the ins/delete/home keys are all in different places. it also seems that lately all keyboards i use are cheep @#@#%.

  43. Grant said:

    Probably wouldn’t help as far as screen space, but I set up my box in a rack mounted server chassis, put it in our server room (small company), and I have just been using a netbook to remote desktop in. I have a wireless modem for when I am with out WiFi and it works pretty well. My EEE Pc is silent, cool, light, and has a long battery life. The keyboard is ok and I avoid most of the laptop bottlenecks.

  44. luvsal said:

    that’s why i’m using desktop keyboard for my regular work..and even extra monitor..

  45. Kevin Pang said:

    @Grant

    You know, I had considered that as a solution. It’s actually not that bad of a solution either assuming you can have a reasonably fast internet connection wherever you’re working (which is quickly becoming more and more feasible with the number of wireless hotspots, the ability to phone tether, and the affordability of wifi cards).

    I’d still prefer to have the processing take place on my laptop itself, but I have to admit that outsourcing those processor cycles to a beefy desktop located somewhere else is becoming awfully tempting. :-)

  46. mihaisdlc said:

    I have an HP DV5 15,4" wide and i am very pleased with it. I actually like the additional white space because i use it to comment my code and is really nice to read without having to scroll sideways. HP Pavilions have a small button that allows you to turn off the thouchpad + a nice keyboard layout + additional quickplay buttons which are great for pausing/jumping to next track without having to maximize the music player. What i STRONGLY RECOMMEND YOU TO BUY is an INTEL POWERED COMPUTER. I have AMD Turion 64 X2 clocked at 1.91ghz and it usually stays around 59 – 65 degrees Celsius. I use Notebook hardware control to keep the processor at 800mhz + a coolpad with a 22cm fan at 600rpms to keep it around 45-50. Gaming is not an option :(( I have nvidia graphics but in games the processor goes to 70 – 80 degrees. Top was 86. So whatever you decide to buy, make sure you get a Core 2 Duo. I had one and it never passed 60 degrees. Good luck!

    Sorry for any grammar mistakes.

  47. dmsuperman said:

    Uhh, if that seems to be an issue, then _don’t_ get a notebook. It’s simple, a notebook is _intentionally_ laid out smaller.

  48. Jono said:

    Why the hell would you put the delete key were the alt key is and the Ctrl key were the windows key is and don’t have a windows key and 5 clicking buttons and the function button were the Ctrl button is… I have used a laptop like this for 3 weeks when my pc was broken…HELL!!!

  49. Ah… windows people…
    Toshiba right?… Like the one I’m using… The best keyboard ever… nice layout and nice feeling when you press the keys…

  50. I do completely agree with the points about slow 5400 RPM HDDs and glossy screens.

    Moreover, computer shops tend not to put any details about the HDD speed…

  51. Amgad said:

    I’m thinking of buying a new laptop too. I agree with you totally. I even thought of buying a MacBook Pro and installing Windows in it but its screen is too damn glossy you cant use it indoors without adjusting it to a very precise angle, let alone using it outdoors. And I agree with Leonid Volnitsky’s comments too.

  52. Enlightenment said:

    I purchased a 17″ laptop as a desktop replacement. Wider laptops have a full numeric keypad. I connect my laptop to a 27″ LCD HD monitor at 1920×1200 via HDMI. I installed two 500GB 7200RPM SATA drives, yeah try to do that in a small laptop. I attach a small Dell USB keyboard so I’m not dumping a drink in my laptop, nor wearing down the key lettering. I don’t use my laptop much with a battery, but I do use it for work and home use, thus everything I want and need comes with me.

  53. Dmitry said:

    I F***** HATE 17″ KEYBOARDS!!! Navigation keys are the MOST OFTEN used keys, why MAKE THEM F***** TINY, shift them DOWN, so CTRL+keys are a PAIN?? Why I have to stretch to reach HORIZONTAL PgUp/Dn on the OPPOSITE side? Here’s how to do it:
    1st: SAME SIZE ARROW KEYS to the right of Ctrl: Left,Down,Right with Up below Enter with Shift cut out (it’s still the biggest key on keyboard – I can’t believe some A-holes can’t hit it if it’s not flush with Enter). A column to the right of Enter starting from bottom: Right,PgDn,PgUp,Del,Ins and there on top just the room for HORIZONTAL Home,End – it’s horizontal navigation in most documents for f*** sake. I don’t know who’s the idiot who decided Home and End should have PgUp/Dn stuck between them vertically on 15″ laptops, he’s an IDIOT. Long dead rest-in-peace Digital Note had the best keyboard layout ever as described above. Well and now they can stick their numeric keypad on the right for gamers and accountants. You can make those keys as small as possible (say as your lovely miniscule arrow keys now), I don’t care. And on top we have just the room for system keys, instead of having to combine them with idiotically placed Home,End,PgDn,PgUp. “Elite” HP 17″ notebooks are prime examples of this f***-up idiocy. CHINESE LAPTOP MAKERS TAKE NOTICE!!!
    Don’t get me started on the new “FULL HD” trend bull s**t – Laptops are for watching BlueRay movies now, amazing!!! Squashed 10% less resolution screens – to make sure Hollywood drivel doesn’t have black strips on top and bottom to take away the excitement of having a $2,500 BlueRay player with a small screen – it will ruin your frequent air trips!

  54. Jim said:

    I saw the first point on this list and immediately thought of my laptop’s F keys. Rather than putting function stuff (volume, wireless nic, etc) on they F keys when I’m holding the FUNCTION key, they decide to put those on without the function key, and force me to press function-f1-12 whenever I need to use one of those. Also, no numpad, not even a function one on the regular letters.

    Dell Inspiron by the way (it was a gift).

  55. benkaka89 said:

    I have an HP DV5 15,4″ wide and i am very pleased with it. I actually like the additional white space because i use it to comment my code and is really nice to read without having to scroll sideways.
    ————————————————
    laptop apple

  56. Flakpanzer said:

    Im using a Dell Latitude 5400.. its page up/down ins/del/ Home end keys are nearly like the regular desktop keyboard.. you might wanna take a look at it.. unfortunately the drive is a 5400rpm.

  57. Knux Kitsune said:

    Actually, my Home, End, Ins, Del, PgUp, PgDn on my DESKTOP keyboard aren’t the normall 3×2…instead they’re 2×3…which was a little disorienting at first, but I’ve gotten used to it. My arrangement is like this

    [Hm][Ed]
    [Ins][PU]
    [De][PD]

    (abbreviated, the actual buttons aren’t abbreviations, they actually have the words written out “Insert”, “Delete”, “Page Down”)

  58. Yaro Kasear said:

    All in all, I hate laptops. No matter what they do they sacrifice something to make them small enough.

    Just get me a nice desktop to work with.

    And, god help me, never get a Mac. It never fits any needs.

    And frankly, if you program on a laptop, especially with Visual Studio, your credibility as a programmer is already shit. VS sucks. Serious programmers use the GNU toolchain and to hell with proprietary tools you can’t even make use of a cross-compiler with.

    VS guarantees you’ll be developing for one thing: Windows. Say hello to basically one market: The Windows desktop. With the GNU toolchain, you can develop for anything, and I do mean anything. That and you’ll get far more powerful tools to boot, like Autoconf and Automake.

  59. Xamuel said:

    I’m infuriated that my laptop keyboard has made the F1-F12 keys secondary. You have to hold a blue “FN” key while pressing them to get the desired function key functionality. Press them without holding that key and they do various nonstandard things. Some of those are useful, e.g. volume up, volume down, mute. But the default action of the F2 key? It toggles wifi on or off. That’s right, a finger slip while trying to press 2, and your internet connection is down! Absolutely unforgivable.