computer.

Nov. 3rd, 2010 01:12 pm
snugglekitty: (warning)
The chronic overheating of my HP Pavilion finally fried the motherboard. I knew this day would come - so I bought the extended warranty, with shipping included. After forty-five minutes on the phone, the tech said, "This is a hardware problem, we think it's the motherboard, you'll need to send it in." Yes, and I knew that before I even started this call.

Even if they do a great job, even if they send me a new box, which I doubt, I'm still never buying another HP. It has many problems and the customer service is outsourced crap on a stick. Of course, I plan to buy my electronics used from CL in the future since that's been working great for me anyway. Mostly Dells, they seem to be a little sturdier.

Speaking of which, I am heading over to Davis Square to pick up a flatscreen monitor. My hope is that it will enable me to use my old computer (the faithful Dell Latitude Pythia, whose special needs are structural) as a backup while Shiny is getting serviced. My old monitor wouldn't fit in my new space so I took it to Goodwill; hopefully it has a happy home now.

ETA: My new 19" monitor fits perfectly on the shelf where I wanted it to fit and the external speakers are plugged in. The faithful Pythia is humming away reliably, has found the wireless network, and automatically connected to the monitor. (Have I mentioned recently how easy it is to configure things in Ubuntu? Telling it I wanted it only to use the external monitor was a breeze.) I also made sure that my important data was backed up on my external drive, and it is. This day goes to LadyA!
snugglekitty: (sneakers)
While I was decluttering under the dining room coffee table, something I have been putting off for years (it's just so convenient to shove stuff under there when cleaning up!), I found a laptop cooler that I bought some years ago for a previous laptop, which turns out to be just the thing for my cranky, prone-to-overheating HP Pavilion. The last time I'd found it I had tried to use it and couldn't, thought maybe it was broken, maybe I should get rid of it. This time, I was smart enough to notice the power switch. *facepalm*

I really need a tech icon.
snugglekitty: (Default)
So, now LJ has buttons to repost comments to your facebook and/or twitter.
ETA: I would prefer that you not do this for anything in my journal that is filtered, locked, or otherwise not public. There is a way to disable this for your account and remove the buttons (though, sadly, not for everybody else).

ETA: This is no longer true. You can now remove anyone's ability to repost from your journal using these steps, which I promise are simpler than the ones we used below. Kay? Kay!

This was mentioned in the news post on this issue but I thought a step-by-step guide would be helpful for people.

1) First, you must be using Firefox as your web browser. If you aren't already, you can download it here. It will give you the option to copy over your bookmarks, preferences, et cetera from whatever browser you were using previously.

2) Second, you install Greasemonkey. Greasemonkey is a Firefox add-on (and if you're new to this concept, the other add-on you should install is AdBlockPlus, which makes all the annoying ads vanish). Go to this link, click the green button that says "Add to Firefox." A dialogue box will pop up, which will make you wait a few seconds before you click "Install" in case you were in error. To make the changes final, you must restart Firefox.

3) Third, you install the script created to make those buttons go away. Go to this page and click the green button marked "Install" in the upper left. Again, a dialogue box will confirm this.

And hey presto! The buttons are gone, along with the fear you may click them without meaning to. Thanks, fearless script creator [livejournal.com profile] daluci!

slooooooow

Aug. 12th, 2010 06:17 pm
snugglekitty: (Default)
At first I thought it was just that it seemed slow in comparison to Unix. But it is becoming clear that there is something slowing down my Windows laptop. So, now I am doing spybot checks and a million and one other things to try to fix the problems. Windows, I love you less and less every day. You will not be a major fixture in my life much longer.
snugglekitty: (happiness)
Cut for those who don't care.

Read more... )

If this doesn't work, I'm no worse off than I was before. (I hope.) I have Windows installed with WUBI 8.04, I have a complete hot image backup that should work assuming I can get the computer to start at all.

If this does works, first I will back it up so I don't have to go through this again very soon. But I find that regardless I am still not unhappy about the time I spent on all my various installs and upgrades. It was actually a great refresher in Unix and a great introduction to how Ubuntu works. Plus it was sort of fun.

ETA: YESSSSSSS, it worked!
snugglekitty: (Default)
So, thus far I have not yet cracked the nut of installing Linux on my old laptop.

Geeky details. )
snugglekitty: (Default)
Some of you may recall that a while back, I took about a week out of my life to refurbish my old laptop and turn it into a fake desktop. In the process, I was able to increase the speed of that station and donate my old desktop to charity.

Since that time, I have been using my fake desktop in a few ways. As an alternate computer, as a secondary backup, as a computer that my friends can use, and perhaps with the most interesting results, as a testing ground for new software. If I want to try out a new piece of software or a Firefox extension before deciding whether I like it, whether I want to use it on my regular computer, this is where I do it. This is where, for instance, I tested Panda Cloud Antivirus, to discover that it was in fact much less resource-hogging and maintenance-demanding than McAfee while still being just as secure.

I am seriously considering doing another test of something new on the fake desktop. To be more specific, Ubuntu Linux. I don't actually love Windows Vista. No, that's an understatement - I've actually never even liked Vista. That shit updates itself like it gets off on it. It updates just for fun, like every other day. Plus, there are all these little annoying things bundled into the install - games, but you have to pay to play! Little messages saying "Wouldn't you like to try Lightscribe? Just buy discs four or five times as expensive as the ones you're using, and save two seconds writing on the disc with a Sharpie!" Or, "Thirty days of this is free and then you have to register." Plus, it keeps trying to get me to use Explorer. And don't get me started on the new Windows Media Center.

Many worthy geeks use Linux, it is the OS of choice on my favorite tech blog Lifehacker, ,and I understand it is virtually virus-free. Booting from a Linux disc is also one way to recover Windows data when things have gone south. It's starting to look better and better.

If you have any pros or cons to share, I'd love to hear them. Otherwise, stay tuned for the next installment, which is likely to be "LadyA backed up her fake desktop and made an installation CD."
snugglekitty: (Default)
I failed to successfully make a set of recovery discs for my new laptop. Now HP is sending me a set of recovery discs for free, and all it took was a painless 15-minute chat with an algorithim. Much more manageable than talking to a real person on the phone, which is not my favorite thing. The algorithim also talked me through making a test DVD so I know it was not the writer itself.

I will cherish you, recovery discs!

That was the most PITA thing on my to-do list today, so hurrah.
snugglekitty: (Default)
So, I spent most of yesterday reinstalling Windows on my desktop. I was starting from Windows XP 2002, so the updates were endless. Service Pack One... Service Pack Two... Service Pack Three, and then at least thirty-five Security Updates... It just went on, and on, and on. And then reinstalling the virus software and other programs I need...

The first part went pretty well, and I do now have a backup of the clean install. The part that did not go as well? So far, I have neither been able to install drivers from the handy driver install disk that came with the computer, nor from the manufacturers website. Which I suppose is not a huge problem, except that the audio is not working. The manufacturer's website also says "Do not install drivers unless you have to, because they may make the problem worse!" Encouraging, huh? I wonder if I should have installed the drivers before I started to update the Windows. I hope that's not true, since it would mean I would have to start over. :P

I decided around four o'clock to give myself a rest and re-visit the problem today. Or maybe later than today. We'll see. In theory, I should be getting my new laptop tomorrow, which I'm sure will bring its own set of blessings and complications.



ETA: Yeah, the drivers thing... seems to be out of my league. The thing that is first on the list for the "very important order in which to install things which you must respect or things will not work" is not listed on the other important list of "appropriate drivers for your particular computer model." I really wish someone else would take over here. I am not a geek and I have already spent so much time on the darned thing.

Things to still do to the desktop. )
snugglekitty: (Default)
It's starting to seem that the Toshiba Satellite series and the HP Pavilion series would make the most sense for my needs. Right now I am considering the HP Pavilion dv4t and the Toshiba Satellite M300. Any comments or suggestions?

ETA: Current deal at Microcenter is an HP Pavilion dv4-1290us for $699 after rebate. Specs are here (but the one I saw was not in the hideous bronze, thankfully). Can anyone suggest one better?
snugglekitty: (Default)
I am still waiting for the "system restore in case of horrible bad" to finish transferring.

Read more... )
snugglekitty: (Default)
For my first solo Windows reinstallation. (Oddly enough, knowing that I planned to spend the morning doing this is what brought me home early from a rare solo outing last night.)

Read more... )

Wish me luck, everyone. The fact that I am even willing to consider undertaking this on my own rather than asking one of my more technically oriented sweeties to do it for me is really a measure of how far I have come in the past few years.
snugglekitty: (Default)
You know how my laptop battery just died? Like, two days ago?

Well, now the hinge on the cover of my laptop is broken. [livejournal.com profile] mrpet took a look at it and said it couldn't be fixed.

Read more... )

So, friends - any good computer suggestions? What kind of laptop do you use? What do you love about it? Anything you hate about it?
I do use Windows and I am reluctant to get a Mini.

If left to my own devices, I might pick up this one:
http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?oc=dndopm2&c=us&l=en&s=dhs&cs=19&kc=features~laptops_great_deals
but maybe you know of an even better deal? I'd like to spend $500 or less - I can probably spend up to $650 if I really need to. My other desire is for lightness - the current laptop was really only good for moving from one room to another or taking on trips, I never took it around town with me much.

And yes, I do check consumer reports and pc magazine and places like that before making a purchase decision of this size.

ETA: Now I find out that "minis" are between six and twelve inches. My current laptop is around twelve inches. Ha! So I may not be anti-mini after all if I can find something on the larger end of that.
snugglekitty: (Default)
When I can solve my own technical issues.

Even if it's something like "your mp3 player will not support formats that it is not designed to support." Thank you, that is very helpful.

Downloading conversion software... now. :)

ETA: Oh, yeah. And the battery life issue is somewhat mitigated by the fact that syncing the player with the computer also charges it.
snugglekitty: (Default)
I am upgrading to Service Pack 3 even as we speak.

This could be the beginning of the end. I am very suspicious of comments about DRM in the EULA.

Oh, and I wanted to mention another tech thing. My mp3 player could not be updated, and it could not be fixed, even by [livejournal.com profile] jenaflynn. So, sort of on the spur of the moment, I bought a new-to-me one on craigslist. It's a Rio Carbon 5g, and so far it seems pretty cool. (I bought it already and can't return it, so please hold your "Rio sucks!" comments if any. I got it for a specific short-term purpose which I'm sure it will be fine for.)

Some things I like about it: power and volume buttons stick out of the holder, volume much more sensitive than my previous player, big memory, didn't cost much.

Some things I don't like about it as much: how to change the date is not obvious, not all the songs I load are showing up, battery charge doesn't seem to last terribly long. I imagine most of these are fixable once I RTFM.
snugglekitty: (Default)
At least, I think so...

A few days ago, [livejournal.com profile] mrpet backed up my desktop onto my laptop. Then, [livejournal.com profile] 7j reinstalled Windows, drivers, etc. It looks like my functionality is back. The computer is running so fast! No more weird error messages Also, now, finally I have XP Professional, so I can have features that are both secure and convenient.

So now I'm reinstalling the various things that I run on here.

Does anyone have an SSH program to recommend? It has to include SSH2, since that's how I access my email via pine. I've been using Absolute Telnet, but it's not my fave, because it bugs you to update to the newest version all the time. There's a new one every 13 months or so, just long enough for your update privileges to run out, so you have to pay for it again. I don't need something super-fancy, and I haven't even been able to tell the difference between the various versions.

Edit: And for that matter, what other freeware programs do you feel you simply can't live without?

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