October 31, 2009
If you check out my Netbook Blog, you’ll see that I recently purchased a Dell 11z netbook system. The bad thing, is that it arrived with Windows Vista installed and not Windows 7 (which is what I expected). As such, I have to wait about 10 days to get the Dell OEM Windows 7 install DVDs in the mail (ugh).
So I’m in a dilemma– should I install all my standard apps under Vista and use my netbook for the next 10 days and then later wipe out Vista with a clean Windows 7 installation and RE-install all my apps again? I normally install about 10-12 standard applications that I use for my work (most of which take a considerable amount of time to install) and I don’t want to do these installations twice in such a close period of time. So, I decided to just install the FireFox web browser and use my new netbook at a very minimal level until the Windows 7 OS DVD arrives.
This morning, I stumbled upon a wonderful utility called Ninite which seems to be the answer to my prayers. The http://www.ninite.com web site has a list of programs that you can select, afterwhich you download an installer program that runs on your system and automatically installs all the selected applications using the default settings. So I was able to use this free service to download and install the latest versions of 18 different applications completely automatically. I launched the installer and 15 minutes later it was done, with no user interaction on my part.
Since I normally select all the default settings when I install apps, this utility was perfect for my needs. It also answers “no” for apps that try to install junk (like Yahoo toolbar add-ons, etc). What’s really nice, is that nearly all of my standard apps are among the listed available applications for installation, especially some of the programming apps I use.
So now I can use all my favorite apps on my new Dell netbook under Vista, and later do the same fast installation under Windows 7 and be up and running. Great, great utility!
October 11, 2009
While I’m on the subject of Netbooks, here’s a few that I’ve been considering:
Acer 751h Netbook $310 (from Costco.com)
- Intel Atom Z520 (1.33 GHz, 512KB L2 Cache, 533MHz FSB)
- 11.6″ WXGA LED-backlit 1366 x 768 resolution
- 2 GB Memory
- 250 GB Hard Drive (5400 RPM)
- WiFi b/g
- Windows Vista Home Basic
- 3-cell battery
- 2.8 lbs
- 11.2″ x 7.8″ x 1.0″
I actually bought this Acer model from my local Costco store and gave a detailed review in some previous postings. My model only had 1 GB of memory, a 160 GB hard drive, and had the Windows XP Home OS installed. The price I paid was $290, while this slightly upgraded model is going for $310 if you order online. (Note: I noticed yesterday Costco had a blue and red colored model available, but as of today they only show the blue model. They may be closing out this particular model, so you can get it now or wait to see what Costco might be offering in the next few weeks). Read the rest of this entry »
September 1, 2009
Out of the blue my main desktop PC is having issues with my wireless USB mouse, specifically, dropped connections. As I’m using my Logitech mouse, I’m constantly hearing the “Ding-Dong” sound of a USB device disconnecting and reconnecting. It’s a intermittent occurrence, which I can temporarily fix by rebooting my system. More than anything, it’s a giant annoyance! I’m also occassionally having disconnect issues with my wireless WiFi adapter (also a USB device).
I’ve tried using a different wireless USB mouse, but I have the same issue. I just can’t figure this one out. I’m coming to the conclusion that it could be, (1) A hardware issue with my motherboard, (2) USB or BIOS driver issue, (3) Something corrupt with my Vista OS installation. I tried updating all the chip drivers and BIOS for my ASUS motherboard, but that didn’t seem to help. I also change several different BIOS settings which didn’t do anything. I really don’t want to re-install Vista, since I’m planning to install Windows 7 in about two months (when it is officially released). The motherboard is less than 1-year old, so I can’t believe it is the problem (although it might be). Man, this stuff is just so hard to diagnose sometimes.
If this USB ding-dong issue keeps up, I’m thinking about replacing the motherboard. I like the ASUS motherboard I have now, but they no longer make this model. After some Googling and reading customer reviews newegg.com, it appears that the quality of the ASUS motherboards maybe going down hill. The Gigabyte motherboards are getting great reviews on some computer tech sites, but I had problems with two such motherboards during a recent upgrade attempt. Neverthless, I might still try another Gigabyte motherboard because I can buy one at a local Fry’s Electronics store and return it quite easily if it doesn’t work out.
August 29, 2009
For most of the work I do (web site development, mobile phone app development, etc) I have a Intel Quad processor desktop PC system running Windows Vista in my main home office. I also often work from my kitchen table using my Dell D610 laptop (running Windows XP) so I can help watch my 5 year-old son and our recent addition (4-month old micheavious Labrador Puppy). To make thing easier, I’ll use Windows Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) to remotely connect to my Desktop PC (which is in my home office upstairs) from my Dell laptop.
If you’re unfamiliar with Windows RDC, it allows you to remotely make a connection between two different computers. In my case, my desktop PC is the “Server” and my Dell laptop is the “client”. So, from my laptop it is just like I’m sitting in front of my desktop pc.
It actually works pretty well, as Microsoft’s RDC will resize the displayed application windows to fit my laptop screen resolution quite nicely. Also, the speed of RDC is remarkably quick, where I see virtually no lag in user response. Of course, watching videos or doing any other graphics-intensive activity won’t work very well using RDC since a lot of graphic updates are being sent across the network connection.
Now, my version of Windows Vista is Home Premium which does not allow for RDC (you need to get Home Professional or Ultimate). But, fortunately there is a hack on the internet that allows one to modify the Home Premium installation to allow for Windows RDC.
With Windows 7 OS coming out in October 22nd, I contemplated whether I should pre-order the new OS and, which version should I get. As it turns out, Windows 7 Home Premium also does not have RDC capability, so I would need to get Home Professional or Ultimate. Instead of trying to hack a new Win 7 Home Premium installation, I decided to look around for other alternatives to Windows RDC. Read the rest of this entry »