Sunday, October 16, 2005

Technolust Pt. 2 (laptop edition)

Ah, Websurfing from the comfort of my easy chair. Long dreamed, now realized, thanks to that home refinance (making possible a Linksys wi-fi router) and my brother Pete, who handed off a 5-year-old HP OmniBook 6000 that was gathering dust.

It got a bit tricky to swap out the router (instructions never presume you already have one - that'll change in the future, I presume) but I'm VERY impressed by the speed I'm getting with this "prehistoric" notebook (Pentium 3, "only" 256MB of memory, etc.) It shows to go ya - the upgrade we did to the new DOCSIS 2.0 cable modem and top-tier Bend Broadband service (4.5 mbps at least, for about $50/month) is FAR more important than the processor in terms of surfing enjoyment.

Even before I try it out at a Starbuck's or somesuch, I'm free! Untethered from the "computer room" at last. Big thanks to the bro, who faces the next step in his cancer battle this week, and is in a whole lotta folks' hopes and prayers.

I'm also again impressed with HP. I've always been a big fan of their printers, and now with the new MediaCenter PC (it's on the Nov. Computer Shopper cover - first time I've had a cover PC since my Tandy 1000 20 years ago!) with my awesome 19-inch flat screen, and this old but so nice OmniBook, I've deepened my respect and admiration for the company.

I've had a not-great reason to try out HP's tech support: the new PC's remote doesn't work. Without going into all the messy details, at least for now, I have found their online live-chat with techs very helpful, several times. Yep, for now, I've gotta say; HP stands for Helpful People. (And no, they didn't pay me to say it;-)

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Woohoo! Technolust!

OK, first off, I do feel guilty. I bought my last 2-3 PCs locally, from DSI, and they do great stuff.

But a confluence of events led me in a new direction as I replaced my pretty darn trusty 3-year-old machine. New issue of PC Mag gives Editor's Choice kudos (for the value end of "content creation" PCs) to the HP Media Center m7160.

I decide on a what-the-heck to check Costco - and there it sits, with a big 19-inch monitor drawing me in - in fact, it's the m7167c and that has a 300-gig HD (up from the 250) in the review. A Pentium dual-core processor, gig of memory, etc. for $1,499.

So I did it, with all the trepidation of a John Dvorak (who writes in the same issue of PC Mag how lousy it is to upgrade PCs and move stuff over, etc.)

I've been down that often bumpy road, but tonight - knock on silicon, again - the smoothest I've ever had. (Getting a 100-gig Maxtor external HD earlier made the whole transfer much easier). Even Microsoft is in for kudos - again (I gave them some earlier for their real strong effort to help me solve my old PC's woes) - as the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard actually did its thing.

I had looked at Shuttles - the small-form factor PC, so cool, quiet too - though some tech friends bemoaned the relative hassle for any later expansion (I don't usually expand, I just upgrade and hand off the old PC to someone in need.) All the nasty talk about Dell led me in another direction.

So here I sit, just after midnight, using my new, pretty darn quiet wireless keyboard and mouse and staring in awe at a screen that is like an IMax compared to my old 15-incher.

I do have stock in HP - OK, just one share;-) - and have always loved their printers. But dang, can you color me impressed. We all hear the horror stories, but rarely hear from those who are blessed to get a box that works right out of the box. Ya never know what tomorrow may bring, but for now - hats off to them.