Wednesday, September 29, 2010

To buy a netbook or not

This questions has come up few times in the last year. I know I have a damn fast PC at home (OK, apartment!), but sometimes that is too much. Sometimes I wish I could use the PC from the bed. Sometimes while I am cooking, I wish I could watch some videos. Now that I am going back to Sri Lanka in December (yes, that was supposed to be a surprise, but I decided to tell my sweetheart about it tonight, so no point hiding it anyways), I wish I could have a portable PC with me. iPhone is a great little device, but it can never replace a proper PC.

No, I don’t want a tablet. A tablet/notebook convertible is welcome though. But whatever others say, I still prefer a Windows PC because then I can do everything you possibly can. I don’t want any limitations. I want Skype to work properly, with video. I want to watch videos. I want to listen to music. I want to do pretty much everything I can.

So it has to be a netbook or a low cost notebook. Actually, netbooks over here are a bit pricy. Sure, there are weird deals that come up once in a while such as an Asus EeePC 10” netbook going for sale at just 19k yen. That’s pretty cheap, if you ask me. But I have tried netbooks before and they are too slow for my linking. Of course I don’t want to play games on the laptop. So something cheap but in the Intel Core i3 range would do. i5 is a bonus. I don’t need that much performance. But I might put 4GB RAM on it, but not right now.

So it is time to hunt for a proper laptop. I have about 2.5 months before I go to Sri Lanka. I would like to have one before I leave.

This seems to be a good value for the money, right?  Asus K52F with i5 450M, 4GB RAM, 320GB HDD?

This looks even better: Acer Aspire 5741 AS5741-N54E / K

Or Lenovo G560 06795FJ

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sticky keys and now the dreaded “I”

We all know about sticky keys in Windows, right? You press Shift 5 times and the dreaded message window  comes up when you are just about to send a sniper bullet through an enemy’s head. Yeah baby, you are back at the desktop and when you go back, it is all over. OK, this has happened to me many times. Maybe not to you if you don’t play any games. (It’s alright, you don’t HAVE to play games.)

But this is not about THOSE sticky keys. I’m talking about sticky keys, literally. You all know I have a G15 right? (If you don’t, you probably don’t know squat about me) You must be thinking that I take good care of it since that is one luxury item. Heck no! Well, I don’t smash it against stuff. But I am not too careful with it either, especially drink spill. I once spilt apple juice on it, and milk on another day. Of course I was scared that I would burn the keyboard. But it held its guts all this time and recently I think I spilt caramel on it without me knowing about it. All of a sudden, three keys started acting weird. They worked, electrically. But mechanically, there was something wrong. When I press and release the H, J and U keys, they wouldn’t come up quickly. And pressing is hard too. I gave it a couple of days to fix it by its own. Didn’t happen. I couldn’t take it anymore, so I took the keyboard apart.

G15

Damn this keyboard has 18 screws on the back! Anyhow, I took it apart and yes, it was caramel indeed. I took those three keys out, washed them and put back in. Wee…everything worked great after that….except…one.

The letter “I” was acting weird. I couldn’t use left shift with it. It would not register. But right shift worked OK. Funnily, everything else worked correctly. If there was a problem with the contacts, you would expect a few keys to not work properly at the same time, right? Hmm…

Anyways, I couldn’t take it. I took the keyboard apart. Now this is crazy. When I press the rubber contacts inside the keyboard, shift + I would work. But when place the keypad and press shift + I, it would not register. What the heck is wrong? It has to be some kind of short circuit I guess. Will it get fixed automatically? I hope so, because I don’t know what to do. Of course I can adjust to right shift + I, but this shouldn’t happen in a $99 keyboard! Gotta post this on techpowerup and see what they say. Damn it! 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The browser confusion

Microsoft released the public beta of IE9 and I installed it straight away. I had heard good things about it. I wanted IE to succeed this time. IE8 was crap. Interface was shabby. Interface was lagging. Not supporting a lot of sites natively. (had to go into compatibility mode often) It was not a good browser at all. The JS performance was worst among the browsers, and not by a little. However, the browsing speed was sometimes faster that all the other browsers. But it was not a usable browser for everyday tasks. Too slow for us geeks.

But IE9 is not like that. The interface is very responsive. The browser starts within a few milliseconds. (faster than Chrome too) JS performance has been improved, but I can’t notice that except in benchmarks. The interface is simple. However there are few issues. Of course this is still a beta release. But, the biggest issue I have is with the addons. In Firefox and Chrome, when you add an addon, it doesn’t usually add a new toolbar. I need to use lastpass online password manager, and when I add it to Firefox and Chrome, it would look like in the following images.

Chrome

Firefox

However, when I add it to IE9 beta, it would add a whole new toolbar, with just one button. That sucks. It even kills the good looks of the IE9 UI.

IE9beta

Sucks, right?

There are issues once in a while such as crashing and some random website not displaying properly. But all in all, it is a much better experience than the IE8 final build.

Anyways, this is not a post about just IE9. It is about browsers in general. Currently I use Firefox for most of the times. But sometimes, it too crashes. Sometimes it would take a long time to load a page. But addons are still best in Firefox. Chrome is catching up, but the addons platform in Firefox seems to be much powerful. It integrates well with the browser. Chrome is only a little big behind, but is catching up fast. Other browsers simply suck!

There is not perfect browser. Some pages would load fast on one browser. Others would take forever. Some would eat up more memory. Some would not support adds at all, such as Opera, which I would be using extensively if it had addons like in Firefox. Chrome is good, but still, it doesn’t support IDM as much as Firefox and IE do. Basically, I have to keep using all these browsers because there is no perfect browser.

Firefox 4 beta sucks more than everything. Pages don’t render correctly sometimes. Most addons still don’t work properly. Random crashes. etc. etc.

So for the time being, I have to use Firefox 3.6.10 as the main browser, IE9 beta, Chrome 7 beta etc. etc. all are installed at the same time, in case there is the need.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The backup plan

When I was in Sri Lanka, I backed up the important stuff to DVDs. But it was not a great solution because eventually the DVDs stopped working. So much for a backup! Hard drives are much safer than DVDs. So I bought a new hard drive for backup; backup only nothing else.

Yes, I know that it is not the best backup strategy. What if I lose that hard drive. It is not something that won't happen. Actually, it happens more often than you think. But lucky me, it has never happened to me. I love my Samsung drives. They have never failed me. 

So I went to amazon and bought a new 2TB Samsung F4 Eco Drive. Yes it is 5400RPM, but that’s all you need for a data drive. I still use the F1 drive for everything. This new drive is just for backup, which means the data in the F1 drive are duplicated on the F4 drive. If I lose either drive, I won’t lose my data. But there is still no off-site backup. 

The drive cost me only JPY8980. Pretty cheap. There was a WD drive for around JPY8740 but I went ahead with the Sammy because it seemed to be somewhat faster and because I love Sammies. One problem I had was that I had to use the SATA data cable which was connecting the DVDRW drive because I didn’t have any spare SATA cables. I ordered a couple of SATA cables online through Ebay. (It is not a big issue because I hardly use the DVDRW drive. I use it for OS installation only. Everything else is on the HDD(s) or on the internet.

Today I looked at the same Samsung drive on Amazon, and the price had gone up to JPY9800. Lucky me! Samsung HD204UI
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...