carlfoxmarten: (Default)
My laptop screen seems to be slowly dying on me.

First, it had started to flicker a bit when opening and closing it, which then developed into a kind of "colour static" when it wasn't opened properly.
(don't think of the old TV static, think particular colours that don't show up properly)

Now it has a slightly green vertical line on one side and needs lots of adjustments each time I open and close the lid.

I've tracked down the issue (Toshiba laptops are easy to service) to the cable between the graphics card and the screen that goes through the hinge.
I can try asking Toshiba for a replacement part, take the cable apart and try fixing it myself, or buy a new laptop.

Personally, I'd like to buy a new laptop, but getting a new part from Toshiba (or similar) would be preferable to fixing the cable myself.

It's fortunate that I'm not using this laptop as my primary computer, as I've just started to use my new desktop machine more often, despite the fact that a desktop machine isn't very portable...
carlfoxmarten: (Default)
It seems as if my primary laptop is starting to show signs of its age.
The first real signs, anyway.

The screen hinge, while still fairly stiff, is starting to cause the screen to go funny colours when I open or close it.

Yesterday I had strangely coloured "ghost" pixels that went away when I wiggled the screen a bit.

This means I need to think about replacing it, as my netbook won't cover all of what I want to do with it.
(my present laptop is a Toshiba Satellite ..., which was pretty nice for its time, but rather wide and kind of heavy)

Unfortunately, I don't have the money to spend on a new one, and I'm a little confused as to the current laptop landscape.
I've seen the new HP 4520S and really like its specs and look, but most of what I've heard about HP is generally bad news.
(plus it seems to be about 30% cheaper in the States than up here in Canada)

Out of a dozen pages mentioning the "upcoming release" of the 4520S, I only found one official review, and it was a fairly favourable one too.
The only problems I noticed the article mentioning were mostly that the case gave in a couple of spots and the speakers weren't that great (I think they faced down, not a good spot for students).

Aside from those, it seemed like a solid computer, what with 4GB memory, 250GB harddrive, an ATI mobile Raedon HD 4330 with 512MB dedicated memory, and an Intel Core i5 running somewhere around 2.4GHz.
(the software can, of course, be changed, so I'm not concerned about that part)

Anybody have any suggestions or comments about the current laptop market?
carlfoxmarten: (Default)
Anybody want a touchscreen fridge magnet?

Actually, more like an Open Source touchscreen fridge magnet...

It's the Touch Book by Always Innovating, and it's a 9 inch portable notebook computer with a removable screen (batteries in both the keyboard section and the screen section, of course) that has been magnetized enough to stick to a metal surface.

Really cool image. If you see this text, you probably need to click on this link.

What really got me interested was the three internal USB slots (yes, you read that right) that you can open, slide a dongle or USB stick into and close it up again. No more sticks hanging off the side or back of your laptop!
(there are also some USB ports on the outside of the device, in case your USB device has a cord)

One thing I'm a little concerned about, but with the usual geek spirit, I'm sure they it won't be a big problem:

Instead of the usual Intel Atom processor, they've chosen an ARM processor (RISC instead of CISC, an all that), which gives them a battery life of 10-15 hours. (the usual 2 or 3 hours using just the touch screen)

This means that I can't take my current OS and throw it on there directly (it also means that I can't use Wine to run some Windows programs under Linux, either), but it'll all run just as fast as on a "regular" laptop (whatever that happens to be).

On the whole, I'm really looking forward to this, I just hope they can ship this to Canada sometime soon after they start making them...
carlfoxmarten: (Default)
Recently I've obtained (or will obtain) two new items (one of which is new to me).

The first item I received was a Toshiba Satellite M60, obtained from my great-aunt who'd received it from my late great-uncle who'd died a couple of years ago.

I have to say that despite the fact that it has about the same specs as my current laptop, I'm going to be very happy with this one, especially with the keyboard (it actually has a number pad on the side!) and accessories, such as a built-in SD-card reader, a CardBus slot, a PCMCIA slot, built-in wireless network card, Harman/Kardon speakers, and an 80GB hard drive.

I'm going to be very happy with this, once I get a copy of Linux installed on it...

The second item I'll be getting is an LCD display from robotshop.ca that I'll be able to connect to my Arduino board and will be able to use it to display text and possibly graphics.
(I think it's the hardware hacker in me trying to express itself)

It should arrive this Monday, and once I get home from class, I'll probably be rather busy playing around with it... =^.^=

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Carl Foxmarten

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