RE: HP NotebookDude sweat .... I had a horrible experience when I purchased my HP ZT1170 back in Jan 2002: the entire line of notebooks had an engineering flaw that caused heat to well up under the power connector post on the motherboard, literally de-soldering the post from the board and causing constant screen dimming and eventual battery failure.
I learned a lot about notebook hardware ripping it apart and putting it back together again, having my Electrical Engineering major friend re-solder the post back on to the motherboard once upon a time among other fixes. I have been contacted multiple times about a supposed class-action lawsuit against HP by owners of this series of laptops, but nothing has happened of it yet.
That being said, about a year ago, I bought a replacement screen for the laptop, and it ended up coming as part of an unused complete display assembly for an HP Omnibook 6100. It was so unblemished and new that I couldn't bare to rip it apart to fix a piece of #@@ zt1170, so I ebayed an omnibook 6100 with a broken screen for 120 that included 640 mb of memory. Got it home, worked like a charm, and it took me till this week to finally make up my mind and replace it with an NC8430 (descendant of the Omnibook series I might add) .
I absolutely admire my Omnibook 6100, it is an engineering marvel. I was using it to demo a web site to a computer guy several weeks ago, and he couldn't believe how smooth & fast it was: he couldn't believe it when I told him it was nearly five years old!
Those of you on a budget or looking for a backup notebook cannot go wrong with the older Omnibook line, they are built like tanks and are incredibly fast and reliable for being so old.