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UPDATE: I buried the lead... by switching from AT&T to StraightTalk I'm basically getting my new phone AND laptop for FREE. :)

Wow. I exhausted all the possibilities and finally settled on a new laptop, phone, and phone service. I'm going all open source, unlocked, and contract free. :)

Laptop: ZaReason UltraLap 430 w/Ubuntu 12.04

Phone: Google Galaxy Nexus by Samsung

Service: StraightTalk Unlimited (Month-to-Month)

BTW, I'll save more than $1000 over two years by leaving AT&T... plus another $1400 since I'll be canceling my MiFi as well. I can buy a new phone whenever I want! (This made it easier to say no to the Samsung Galaxy SIII for now, as did the promise of Jelly Bean sooner on the Nexus... not to mention the Nexus was half the price unlocked. I really wanted to do the SIII on Credo for $199, but the two year contract at AT&T like prices turned me off despite Credo's social mission.)

Also, the laptop has double the RAM of a Maxed out Macbook Air, and more SSD storage than possible with a Macbook Air... for over $300 less. And, I found great looking alternatives to all my favorite Mac Apps, including TextExpander and FlyCut. Oh, and they're all free.

These are still not inexpensive purchases, but I feel like it's money well spent... I was out the door for 15% less than I would've been with a maxed out Macbook Air and a basic iPhone 5. And with the savings over time with the cell plan, I basically just got my new phone and computer for FREE!

I guess I buried the lead, eh?

And of course I'll be sharing my experiences switching from OS X and iOS to Linux and Android... and I'm looking forward to finally walking the open source talk. :)
Mark Wagner's profile photo
I don't think I'll be "suffering" with that machine at all. :)

And I'm looking forward to having to think about my computer again - and learning... and I'm impressed with how far it looks like Ubuntu and the options available for linux have come in recent years - even the past three months! 
I live in the cloud already... and I'll actually have more flexibility with local backups, sync'ing, and offline apps on this machine than I've had for the past year with my Chromebook or with my Macbook (with only 32 GB of SSD storage). I haven't used MS Office literally in years (and there's open office anyway), I haven't used iMovie in at least a year (and there are options), and I'm excited to move out of iPhoto (again with good - and more open - options). It'll be interesting to see what if anything I miss. I thought it might be TextExpander and FlyCut, but there are several replacements for those, so I think I'm free to switch OSes now. There's even great solutions for Time Machine, Google Drive, Google Music (and movies etc on Play)... everything I've thought to search of during my "research." And from ZaReason and Ubuntu 12 I should get a fair measure of "just works" experiences out of the box.
I lived on Fedora Core for a year before buying my own Macbook during my dissertation research... there just wasn't a good linux laptop solution at the time. There is now. :)
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