Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Bigger Is Better

I haven’t been paying hawk-eyed attention, but I haven’t seen too many monitors this big for under $300…

Samsung S27B350H 27″ Widescreen LED Backlit LCD Monitor – Mega DCR, 1920 x 1080, 2ms, HDMI

And, yes. When it comes to viewing screens, bigger is better. A big screen and upgrading your Internet speed are my top two methods for improving your “computing experience”. (Nice specs on that one there..)

Also, if this (next) unit had a SSD, I think I’d jump. (Seriously considering buying my last laptop I ever buy now, before Windows 8 (and cloud OSes) arrive.)

Dell XPS 15z 15.6″ Ultra-thin Core i5 Laptop
What makes this a great deal?
This PCMag Editors’ Choice award-winner is described as “every bit as luxurious as the Apple MacBook Pro 15″, but it won’t cost you nearly as much.” At less than an inch thick and stuffed full of the latest technology, like an Intel Core i5 and 1GB NVIDIA graphics, you won’t be wanting for anything with this premium PC. You’ll especially like the finer touches, like the backlit keyboard, aluminum design, and 1 year in-home warranty with premium phone support. Click See It and step into a new premium PC today.
How to redeeem:
1. Start at Dell store
2. Click “Review & Checkout,” then “Add to Cart”
3. Apply coupon code R536ZTX3RS8NL8 for total $300 instant savings applied automatically, proceed to final checkout.
List Price: $999.99
Sale: $699.99 + FREE SHIPPING
You save: 30% ($300)

Has specs I like (like USB 3.0, and 2×2 Wireless A/G/N [can “see” 5.0GHz], and HDMI out on discrete graphics card…)(But.. not on sale is a 1080P version, w/2GB’s discrete.. hmmm..)

Hmmm.. a docking station, and the two together.. Santa? You there?

Reading reco: Are you bored? Need to start a good argument? Sending certain people you know this science news item will cure your troubles…

Today’s quote:Don’t accept your dog’s admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful.” ~ Ann Landers

Copyright 2007-2012 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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All we really have, in the end, are our stories.
Make yours great ones. Ones to be proud of.

October 20, 2012 Posted by | advice, computers, hardware, mobile, shopping for, tech | , , , | Leave a comment

Dream Machine

We’ve Come A Long Way, Baby (#2)

I was cleaning out a drawer the other day, and – down at the bottom, in the back, I found this sales brochure. When I saw it, two words popped into my mind: “dream machine“.

Dell sales brochure, 1997

Yes. I said “dream machine”.

My P-II was only a 233. And RAM was so expensive, going from my 32 MB’s all the way to 64 was only a young(er) man’s fantasy.

And I would never have to delete files to make room on my hard drive.. who could fill a whopping 6.4 Gigs?

[a brief aside: An interesting (to me anyway) side note.. looking at the date – the end of 1997, and doing some quick math, 13 years. Makes me marvel at how time seems to be compressing. When I talk with older folks, they tell me 13 years is not all that long. When I talk with younger folks, they think 13 years is forever. Whichever. 1997 was long before the “Y2K bug” and the World Trade Center attack.. and so it surely qualifies as Ancient History. (Sigh)]

Related reading:
* Then and now– advances in tech*
* When bigger was better

(It’s OK. You can admit it. Looking at that changed your attitude about the price of a new computer.. didn’t it? Did for me. I had forgotten…)

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Copyright 2007-2010 © Tech Paul. All Rights Reserved. jaanix post to jaanix.

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May 11, 2010 Posted by | computers, tech | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Which is Better, HP or Dell?

Reader Asks For My Recommendation

Yesterday I received an e-mail enquiry from a person claiming to be a regular reader, who is shopping for a new computer during this “Black Friday”/holiday shopping period.  They asked for my personal preference as to a computer manufacturer… specifically, if the two machines were essentially identically equipped, would I choose an HP Pavilion or a Dell Inspiron?

I kind of had to laugh, because hours earlier (that same day) I had posted, BasicDELL_logo2 Guidelines for Buyinhp_logo_1g a New PC — 2009. In it I had said (yet again) “It really doesn’t matter if you decide upon a no-name, a HP, a Sony, Dell, or whatever. You may want to take advantage of the many mix-and-match-components “custom build” option, and design your own PC.

How can he say that?
Well, folks, it’s like this: computers are really an assembly of parts.
* The motherboard (aka “mainboard”) inside a machine is probably a manufactured-under-license version of either an Intel or an ASUS board.
* The hard drive was probably made by either Toshiba or Seagate.
* The optical drive may be made by, LG, Sony, Fujitsu, or someone you’ve never heard of.
* The power supply is made by somebody else.. or, manufactured-under-license, by somebody’s subsidiary.
* Etc., etc., etc..

Other considerations:
But what about other considerations.. like Customer Support after the sale, you ask.
Yes, you may have heard scary stories about somebody’s “tech support”.. Or maybe you had a neighbor who “will never buy another __________” for one reason or another. I think we all have. In my experience, I have heard bad stories, and I have heard good testimonials, about every single name brand.
Bottom line is, each one has had its embarrassing moments. Each one has its loyal supporters.

Let me give you an analogy: when I have a drippy/stuffed up nose, I use a tissue. I don’t care if it’s made by Kleenex or King Kookie.

I have now, or have purchased in the past, (for family, too) HP, Dell, Gateway, Apple, eMachines, CyberPower and Acer computers. I am probably forgetting somebody.. but this list is in just the last few years. Laptops and desktops. I can nitpik some fault, or find something to laud, about each one.

There is one thing about Dell I do like and feel is worth mentioning.. you can order a “crapware free” version (no “trial” software, Penguin Mania, or “Connect to AOL” icons..).

On the other hand, 3 of my last 4 buys were HP desktops, and when I got them home, I downloaded and ran PC Decrapifier, and got rid of that *stuff* with a couple of clicks… The HP’s were just the best bang-for-my-buck that particular day..

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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November 27, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, shopping for | , , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

XP and Dell

Folks, yesterday I pointed out that June 30th (that’s tomorrow) marks the end of Microsoft’s shipping of copies of XP to retail stores and PC manufacturers, (Install CD’s will be limited to stock-on-hand) and suggested to those folks for whom XP is it, (aka “Vista bashers”) that they should get whatever copies of XP they might need now. XP has reached EOL (end-of-life).

Mike McGinley, who writes My Tech Talk, posted this (helpful) comment, “Dell did announce that customers may buy new PCs with XP until 2009. There is still hope for the (XP) die hards.”

It is true that Dell will continue to ship computers with XP installed past tomorrow’s deadline, but there’s a couple details that — if you’re considering this– you should know:
1) The version of XP is XP Pro– and only XP Pro.
2) You also are buying either Vista Business Edition or Vista Ultimate Edition (Install DVD’s).
3) 2009 is not so very far away. Install CD’s don’t expire.

This is so you can “transition on your schedule” to Vista.
Today’s free link: Dell explains all this, and answers FAQ’s, here. If you’re thinking about this, please read these pages. Also, there’s an interesting comparison chart of the OS’s posted there.

Frankly, since you’re paying for Ultimate Edition w/SP1, and it’s a new machine, I cannot understand why you would want to downgrade it to XP. It makes no sense to me. Vista’s bad rep came from early adopters who tried installing it on older, underpowered machines.. and griped because there was no device drivers for their legacy (that’s a polite word for “obsolete”) hardware yet.
(My deluxe “gaming rig” runs Vista Ultimate Edition w/SP1. Would I do that if “Vista is slow”??? I think not.)

However, if XP is it — or you think you’re going too want XP Home or XP Media Center Edition — for you in the future, I suggest you go get whatever copies (Install Cd’s) you think you’re going to need.

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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June 29, 2008 Posted by | computers, tech, Windows | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment