ase: Computer and internet icon (Digital chained wretch)
I am buying a new laptop to replace the 4.5 year old, 8.2 lb, 15.4" baby laptop. Almost anything would be an improvement.

The top contenders are the Toshiba Portege R705-P35 (CNET loves it) or maybe a Satellite for the larger screen; Acer Aspire TimelineX AS4820T([personal profile] norabombay loves it); and the Samsung QX410 (the Best Buy salesman would love it, if he could afford it). My father is pushing far more affordable HP Pavilion dm1z, but it's an 11.6" screen so that's a giant no. The sweet spot in this era of degenerate 16:9 widescreen is no less than 13" and preferably a 14" diagonal. Also, after my adventures with the Pavilion zv6000, I'm not rushing back into HP's customer service embrace. And then there's the bloatware, and - okay, HPs are at the bottom of the list with Dells.

As much as I want awesome specs that will last another four years, realistically, this is my 2012 school laptop. If I stay on track, I should be in a better place, financially, in two years, so it's not necessary to buy a laptop I can run into the ground. However, this is my school laptop, so it must be absolutely reliable, portable, and comfortable for extensive word processing (13" screen being a minimum and one I'm not totally happy with). So I'm back to the "it will last forever (for a laptop)" $600 - $900 range.

Oh, Baby

Apr. 24th, 2010 06:31 pm
ase: Default icon (Default)
I am in denial that I may or may not be killing laptop AC adapter #3. Since I've got backup, and the other option is the port itself going, I'm going to stick to scowling at the part that's broken with depressing regularity in the past and work on denying without ruling out other possibilities.

In related news, the optical drive appears to have slid down the functionality curve to 95% dead. My roommate had a peripheral that wasn't in use: it has been co-opted for my electronic-industrial complex.

The first thing I will buy when I have a job is a mattress, box spring and frame set. The second thing may be a laptop. (Not an HP. Unless I can get something reliable, under 6 pounds, quad core, with a 15.4" non-widescreen LCD, plus 2 year hardware warranty, for significantly less than anyone else is offering.)

I keep going back and forth on the value of replacing the baby laptop before it outright clunks. The only major component currently out of commission has been unreliable for pretty much ever, but the core components are hanging in there, so I'm tempted to top off the laptop savings account and lock it down until the next major components revolution, or another logic board meltdown, or until it gets significantly more flaky on internet and MS Office use. The last time I poked at laptops I decided I hated all the consumer models (ugh! That scratch-attracting plastic finish! Ugh!), which is a shame, because do I really need a business-quality machine? No. On the other hand, the baby laptop is three and a half years old and has been issue-prone. So maybe I can forgive myself if I spend a lot of money on a machine I buy in mid-2010 with the expectation of replacing in 2014. Are the sales reps ever going to look at me funny when I flip over the display machines and squint at the CD bays.

The other option is some sort of netbook-desktop combo. Regrettably, I have no interest in screwing around with the sub-$500 computing market in any way, shape or form until the iPad competition is into its second generation. Say, three years? Which puts us near the end of the projected Next Generation Laptop cycle anyway, so: no netbook-and-desktop for my Skynet@Home contribution yet. (I shall call my next computer Skynet! It is very wrong and yet very funny to me.)

Temptation

Oct. 23rd, 2009 01:01 am
ase: "Inspiration - 99% perspiration" icon (Efforts will be rewarded)
The baby laptop decided to start randomly shutting down last weekend, possibly because it's been a while since I blew the dust bunnies out of the casing. So Wednesday I went to the computer store to restock on air cans and incidentally cheat on the baby laptop with other portable PCs. Netbooks are right out: the tiny screens gave me eyestrain within five minutes. Then I let myself be talked into looking at Macs. The MacBook Air is very sexy to the touch, but got slammed on wiki for overheating and hinge issues, and despite its weight and nerdcore solid state drive, is pretty much out of the running. I am being tempted by the 15" MacBook Pro, which is sort of impossibly over my original tentative budget, but is leading me down the pros/cons primrose path:

Pros: 15.4" widescreen, at least a pound lighter than the baby laptop, my sister loves her Mac. Everything I do on a Windows box is available for Mac: Firefox, MS Office, Photoshop.

Cons: Limited ports, proprietary Apple stuff, limited DIY. (I grew up on home-built desktops. Voiding the warranty was not an issue.) Freaking expensive. Jerks in the Cult of Mac. Turning into one of the Cult of Mac jerks. Still 5.6 lbs to haul around.

Unresolved concerns: durability and battery reputations, money,

Possibly it's time to look into working retail for the holidays for an employee discount? Unfortunately, Apple keeps such a lock on prices I'm not sure authorized retailers extend the discount to the Macs. Maybe I need to find the magic words that will persuade my supervisors I want to work extra hours, and that they want me to work the overtime.
ase: Default icon (Default)
It's time: laptop suggestions? My HP zv6000 is pushing four years, and the A/C port on the baby laptop is getting... wiggly. I'm seduced by the netbooks' size and price, but I'm replacing a primary machine, so I think I actually want something larger. I'm not sure I want to shell out for another HP machine: the two year warranty covered the replacement of one or two CD drives, which never worked for more than a month, and the motherboard, as well as two power bricks, but that seems like an excessive amount of wear and tear. I want something more durable for my next laptop.

This time around, I want Windows 7, a fast processor for handling ever-larger picture files, and a working CD/DVD burner. Integrated bluetooth optional but nice. Power bricks that aren't an annual expense also nice. I'm willing to pay for quality, but the only pointless flashy feature that might sway me even a bit is an illuminated keyboard. My other tab is open to Lenovo's Thinkpads, because I will use my laptop until the hardware cracks up, and all the consumer models have shiny finishes that look like an open invitation to scratches. My other other tab is open to Craigslist, because sometimes it's necessary to drive by the $20 savings on netbooks as a reminder it is not worth the warranty transfer hassle.

Typing the Appeal to Internet Computer Geekery on the baby laptop feels positively brazen. Despite my better intentions, some part of me has confused the baby laptop with a velveteen rabbit and I'm expecting it to grow up a bit more and start talking any time now.
ase: Bad day icon (Science bad day)
Morning: the baby laptop works fine with the home network. (Unlocked, because we are a house of technologically half-ept. It beats inept by exactly as much as you think.)

Evening: the baby laptop cycles through not seeing a locked network, not connecting to a locked network, and connecting just long enough to drive me and other troubleshooting people nuts.

Late evening: I debate the merits of interventions starting with a can of air, ascending to reformatting the hard drive, and buying a new PC. It turns out that some models of the Asus EEE can be upgraded to match my current RAM, and the chipset is slightly better than the baby laptop's. An underpowered netbook, plugged into an external monitor and a number of usb supplements, has a minor computing edge upgrade on my baby laptop. It's not an upgrade, but it's roughly parity. (Except for the keyboard situation: full keyboard or bust.) Cue hysterics, gnashing of teeth, etc, as I wonder if the baby laptop is dying or just hates locked wi-fi. Or Verizon internet; I swear I had this fight with my laptop when I tried to set up wireless the last time I gave Verizon money. (I now am in the thrall of the devil Comcast. My landlord is tasked with dealing with their customer service.)

J. just handed me the printouts of the WSFA Small Press Award nominees, which is a nice reminder to read them, but printouts are just not right: some things were meant to be read on a screen. And some time when it's not after midnight I will do the paper-and-pixels approach to modern reading.
ase: Default icon (Default)
Game night: check. Apparently I can too feed seven, but I need to remember by table really only seats six.

The electronics plague is back. My cell battery hiccuped Saturday, and I believe I've destroyed the baby laptop's third A/C adapter in 3 1/2 years. I break laptop adapters with depressing regularity; I blame HP's engineering. (I continue to ignore the misappropriation of a desktop replacement as an actively mobile device.) I was thinking it might be time to order a second cheap knockoff A/C adapter, but then Windows stopped booting, and when I unplugged it and put in the recovery disk, magically sensed the disk and booted from the hard drive, just as I was settling in for an evening of sandwich with troubleshooting. Neither of these should have had an impact, but lo: the baby laptop booted. The issues with all things plugged in make me think the baby laptop has a death wish, but if it'll hang on until Windows 7 is out of beta, I will swallow all my usual griping and just buy something.

Between game night on Friday, socializing in Baltimore on Sunday, meeting C. in Crystal City on Monday night (which was really cool, except for the part where I got totally lost finding her hotel), and work scheduling and work baby showers with cookies, I am way behind on my reading lists, so if there's anything that applied to me in particular, please point me at it.

The important point of all this is my continued quest for the perfect butterscotch walnut cookie.

Recipe as of last tonight: )

I think I'm either overbeating the butter, or the eggs, or need to drop the cooking temp another 25 degrees. The butter-sugar temp may also be an issue; it may need to be cooled more before adding everything else. Or maybe sifting the dry ingredients really does make a difference.
ase: Photography icon (Photography)
Dear beloved external hard drive (late April 2007 - about now),

When I named you after Rosalind Franklin, I had no idea what I was intimating for your lifespan. Please cough up my music mixes. Now.

Sadly, A.




Now that I have my bonus in hand, and have hit my minimum savings goals, it's hardware time. Since I can get a 1 TB external now for the same price I paid for 350 GB in 2007, the only question is: can my ancient desktop handle modern peripherals?

The other big hardware purchase is the camera. (Camera!) I'm looking at the Canon SX110is with a thoughtful eye. Angst by analysis follows for the photo junkies. )

If anyone has anything to say about the SX110, now would be a really good time to weigh in.
ase: Default icon (Default)
Okay. I am bad with change. This is not news. And I really ought to have an antivirus program, because you never need that sort of thing until you do.

With that said: can someone tell me how to remove the screen-wasting Norton 360 toolbar from Firefox before I rip out the software and burn it? Smoking plastic has such a stench.


ETA: Fixed.

Revival!

Feb. 1st, 2009 04:53 pm
ase: Happy icon (Happy txt)
While looking for something else, I found my XP recovery CD. And lo, an hour later, the baby laptop booted once more.

Now I just have to figure out what else I nuked, clean out whatever junk has the machine operating at a crawl, and oh, punt backups to the external drive and stick a disk image on DVDs. Yay, working laptop!

Mulligan!

Jan. 29th, 2009 06:32 pm
ase: Default icon (Default)
This week has seen: unresolved laptop issues, the email about my cousin's little girl's brain surgery on Monday (she's fine - okay, as fine as post-op gets), the latest cultural appropriation round (what's the escalation from trainwreck?), snow, Wednesday's icepocalypse, cancelled evening class, and continued laptop troubleshooting, and Thursday's impromptu 1.5 hour work meeting on What's Changed Since Our Last Meeting (Lots). Also, I left my mp3 player at home. It was sorely missed.

Tomorrow is payday, with 2008 bonus money, and it's also the WSFA Fifth Friday party, which I volunteered to host. By taking the low road (bedroom as storage room), most of the house is mostly presentable, which leaves only food prep and nervous collapse from pre-entertainment nerves. Next time I do something like this, I'm exploring the merits of semi-potluck.

Fortunately, tomorrow is payday, and I get to see people I like, and in a stroke of genius, I foresaw the brewing Steelers Fans Versus Everyone Else conflict and took Superbowl Monday off. I'm debating the value of 1.) going to the free afternoon at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, 2.) finding someone with TiVo to watch the ads with, 3.) investing some metro time and seeing college people on Sunday. Or combining all of the above, whatever. The point is, it will be a restful three day weekend, except for that part where I have to start studying for class.

If anyone needs directions to Fifth Friday and doesn't have them, comment or email. The ase at livejournal address is broken: use the yahoo address.
ase: Default icon (Default)
Ha ha ha, guess what? Computer people say I broke the baby laptop's software but good! As in, won't get to the command prompt or autoboot from the CD drive good. I foresee time and money spent to fix this.

Note to self: no, no one wants you to chapter-by-chapter blog Regenesis. It would not be entertaining. Half of your comments would be, "Jesus God, Ari. You are not now and never will be the Holy Ghost!" and an \o/ + /o\ tally for Justin and Jordan fights. The other half would be canon-tracking against the rest of the canon and bad ideas in the margins.

I am not a happy music camper. The last playlist I made had issues: one, it was backwards. After I flipped the order, it sucked only a little. I'm fixing it. Two, I need more music in the vein of Are You Out There and The Mountain. Any recs?

Today I made french toast, and wow, was it ever soggy. Here's what I did:

Recipe for the curious )

I think I've got the heat too low, but I'm not ruling out other options.
ase: Default icon (Default)
Last night I was an idiot with the baby laptop. I typed CHKDSK /F into the command line, and then CHKDSK /F E:, and then the baby laptop tried to melt down. The cross-links and corrupted files on the external drive are "fixed", yeah right, and my laptop refuses to boot to Windows, even in safe mode. In light of the hour, and tomorrow's promised epic nature, and items of a similar nature, I'm living in denial until Wednesday 7 PM at the earliest. So computer people: this is a complaint post, not a help request. The help request will show up sometime Wednesday evening, EST.

Other than that, today was sort of awesome. Dinner with K., registered for an NIH course, library dropoff and pickup, and time for a quick grocery run in all of that. And you know what? The rest of the week will be awesome too. Because I said so. So there.
ase: Computer and internet icon (Digital chained wretch)
Dear internet, 350 GB external drive with most/all junk on it crashed
while swapping music files to mp3 player. Please send troubleshooting
thoughts and/or 1 TB replacement drive.

Also, it was 22 F when I woke up this morning.

Silver lining also on crashed drive?

Speculatively,

A.


ETA: Loose power cord. Did you know that CNET-respected 1 TB drives are now under $200? I know what I'm getting myself in January!

It is still colder than freezing out, but I have long underwear. Before this week is out, I plan to have more.
ase: Computer and internet icon (Digital chained wretch)
Dear internet tech gurus,

How can I beat resource-hogging LUCOMS~1.EXE with a stick?

Thanks!

-A. (who'd like her CPU cycles back, thanks much)

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