HP TouchSmart PC 520

We got a new computer for the family over GA’s tax free weekend (actually Sat.) It’s for the family, mainly for education … which is every thing and anything on a computer.

For me it’s nice since I LOVE touchscreen devices. It’s a screen as big as my monitor in my office … 23″ widescreen. It’s an All-In-One computer … Intel CORE i5, 6 MB Mem, 1.5 TB harddrive, Beats Audio. It’s not the best there is, but it’s really good, and good for the price, $899.99 + no tax.

My children now have a reliable computer for writing, research, learning, creation, and fun. I have space to put a lot of my laptop files finally, and that will let my laptop run a bit better once I have that stuff moved. It will all be accessible on the network, so it will be right there still. Plus … I love working on the setup in the living room. I LOVE the keyboard that comes with the HP 520-1047c … it’s available from them for $49 as well as in a desktop set (keyboard + mouse) for $79. They are both wireless, and with this All-in-One computer the connection is built-in, nice. Buying them separate they come with a nano dongle to connect to any computer.

We wanted an HDMI game port on this and a Blu-ray drive or Blue-ray burner. None of that was available without custom order, which means waiting for the computer to be shipped later. We wanted one right away and had to keep it under $1000, and this was a descent deal.

I have an HP Pen, from my old touchsmart 12″ laptop which is totally broken, and it works nicely with this HP 520 computer. Finger touch works well too. Of course the mouse works … it has a buttery smooth feeling.

One thing that is fun about this is the Lagoon screen saver. I do miss the Aquarium though. It’d be fun as a touch program. The Lagoon one though, the water is touch able, it’s just novel and that’s that. Nothing exiting about it, just a tad fun to touch, draw the water.

The HP TouchSmart Magic Canvas is interesting. I haven’t yet explored it much. We’ll be ugrading to Win 8 when it’s available. I’m sure it’ll be very nice on this TouchSmart 520 computer.

DVD Software, Printers and Scanners

My laptop (Toshiba Satellite A505-S6025) supposedly has Roxio Creator 2010 on it, pre-installed, well IS SUPPOSED to have … according to documentation on this model. I don’t have it. I have Roxio Burn, that’s it.

There is no “DVD Creation” sort of software on this laptop minus Microsoft’s Movie Maker software, which is not my idea of what to do with my lovely Sony HD video.

I do need to purchase something better, but want to use what usually has been on laptops I’ve had in the past, nice enough to use, easy, put-together a nice DVD with menus and such. I’ve also taken apart Math-U-See DVD’s to put back together in a more computer friendly format, it’s worked great with the HP laptops I’ve had, Cyberlink DVD software on my last HP, and also making a cool DVD for my boys with videos online, You Tube, and other places, things other people made for Bionicles, and also put some music files on it so they can play the whole thing on the TV when ever they want.

My Toshiba Satellite A505-S6025 runs Windows 7 x64 Professional. It has nothing worthwhile to create DVD’s with. Nothing at all. Frustrating. I can’t afford to buy software right now. I have OTHER needs that are higher: An Inkjet printer, a scanner. I have an old HP LaserJet to print with. An older Epson personal (4×6) photo printer that isn’t in good condition and may or may not work anymore (I don’t use it much, and the ink may be too low, dry, etc. and I hate buying cartridge packs for it since I’ve had bad luck with them in the past but never contact the company about it …) Anyhow, I want to print more pictures often, without having to hook something up to my computer, and worry about printing enough photos to get my worth out of it each time … I have documents to print in color, and larger photos too. Not JUST 4×6 photos, and not JUST black/Grey scale documents. That’s all the capacity I have right now, and no scanner anymore. Any I had are old, broke, thrown away, or in storage where I can’t find them. All old anyhow. The last I had was an Epson all-in-one and the printer got to the point of being too full of garbage ink and it wouldn’t work, so the whole thing quit working … dumb. Garbage for sure (I tried methods and eaked out more life from it here and there, but it ended up I’d have to install a tube and container outside of the device to drain out the garbage ink permanently (no way!) and I found that the device used up so much ink for nothing, I hated it to death. So we’ve been without color printing ability or scanning for quite a few years now.

There is an HP printer I have had my eye on, it’s another all-in-one but functionally so much more than the other one and I’m willing and able to print way more often and do more stuff with that new model than I’ve ever been able to do before … just awaiting the end of the month now and hoping HP keeps it on sale that long so I can get it for less. Best Buy used to sell it, it’s on their Reviews site, but no longer on their website for sale. Haven’t really checked the store yet.

There is also a full flat bed scanner I want. I want to scan large things and that’s what I’ll need. A dedicated full scanner. HP has the one I want. I can buy it or the all-in-one printer at the end of the month. I want the scanner worse, but I want the printer worse. Ha. Conundrum. Printer will win if it’s still the same price or less when time to buy. Otherwise, the scanner will be cheaper. Right now both are on sale with “instant rebates” but the funds are not here so the waiting game continues.

Fedora 12 on HP tx2513cl dual-boot Vista

This past week I installed Fedora 12 on my desktop computer, dual-boot with Win XP. I haven’t gotten the wireless card working that is installed in that computer, it works great in Win XP, matches our router too. Both router and wireless card have been abandoned by D-Link, meaning: no updates for future OS usage, no updates for XP or any lower OS editions either. So it’s possible that it might not have any driver for linux either. I already have been prepared for having to upgrade the card, and also would like to get a new router anyhow. Both aren’t THAT old, just a few years, but that’s forever in computers.

This week we are not home, and I brought the Fedora 12 DVD I’d burned and used previously, along. I didn’t know if what I wanted to do would work, but I tried it, and it worked! I couldn’t get the wireless internet thing to work though. I looked on my Palm Pre webOS phone on the web for info, and found several ideas of “it won’t work at all” “it’ll work in limited fashion” and a few “I got it to work” or “It should conceivably work if you do this … but I haven’t tried it on that distro” as well as “this works for this chipset …” which is close but not exact … so maybe it’ll work on mine …

After all that I did try yesterday evening to get it going, going back and forth, Vista to find stuff, Fedora to try stuff … I eventually gave up.

This morning I tried it all fresh. I re-installed Fedora 12 on the entire drive. My setup that worked fine for install and usage in general for dual-booting was:

Running Vista on HP Pavilion tx2513cl –> Fedora 12 DVD in DVD Drive –> installed to –> USB external 120 GB laptop drive –> booting from first drive with Vista on it inside the laptop computer.

Once I’d fresh installed it again I went back to all the notes I’d taken on the different methods to make it happen and decided on which thing to try.

I found this site: jomcode.com/fadhil/2008/broadcom-official-linux-driver-bcm4312 and used the information in that post to download the file called “hybrid-portsrc-x86_32_5_10_27_6.tar.gz” .. untar it, and then build the LKM (Loadable Kernel Module) and then on to more stuff in the post. Ended up mixing that post with a README file that came in the tarball file.

In essence it all came out and I again didn’t think it worked, but then I attacked it again and re-thought through it and put the puzzle together a different way, Nothing I can write down, just a “look at both the documentations and do what seems to be doable, from a puzzle angle. Something worked.

I had gone to Network Device Control, clicked the Wireless tab, then clicked “New” and all of the sudden, in a flash indeed, there was a device showing that hadn’t previously been there, so I did something right in my puzzle put together info from two sources that were not separate in the first place, one begat the other, so source and then sub-source, neither worked to help me on their own, but together mixed up some, yes.

So at that point i flicked the button on my wireless radio hardware control … and the blue light came on! Then I had to get a wireless connection created … at the hotel. It was easy enough to add. Easy as typing in the name of the connection (ssid) basically. It connected really fast.

I worked on the internet for a long time then, fixing this and that. I got Flash installed, for one, got music playing in Rhythmbox (it wasn’t working for quite some time until all of the sudden something I updated and voila! I still have to get the DVD playing ability going. On my desktop I gave up on that and downloaded VCL which worked right off. I’m more dedicated this time to try and get the stuff that came in Fedora working before getting an entire new thing installed.

One nice thing is that Fedora 12 works with my touchscreen enough Out-of-the-Box that it brings promise of more touch-able-ness in the future. It works well with the Pen right off. It doesn’t register “touch” though, only pen-hover/touch.

I find my touchpad is very sensitive, I need to see about fine-tuning it, it works well, too well, almost, if that makes much sense.

The pet peeve I have in Vista hasn’t yet once reared it’s ugly head in Fedora 12. Typing in Vista, the drive will just flash and flash like crazy and my typing will get slow feedback, I mean, instant showing of what I type? Sometimes, usually no though. It’s maddening in Vista. I wrote a post about it in December on this blog. I semi-eradicated it turning of Indexing and a few other things. I turned Indexing back on in late January or so, missing the typing of something to easily search programs or documents on the start area. Right back to the halting typing slowdown, spit it out, wait, not yet, ok now your typing shows. Slow down, keep it inside, don’t prove she’s typed anything yet, not yet, ok, now. Let it out. AUGGGHHHH!

Now my typing is so easy I’m messing up. I don’t “remember” how to type well, expecting the halt to come at any moment. If not that it’s my palm brushing the touchpad and my mouse cursor jumps up somewhere else, that’s a matter of training me or the synaptics stuff or both.

So then as to all this, I’m quite happy so far with Fedora, almost wishing I could get rid of Windows Vista. Not sure if I should keep dual-booting with it, or should I upgrade Vista to Win 7 and dual-boot with that.

I have some software that I haven’t figured out, or thought about. I have used Thunderbird and Firefox for years, so that’s a find transition, none. I am familiar with Open Office, used it for years, when I need something, not very often though, just sometimes. Other than that, there is ONE Windows program I have, came with my laptop, “One Note”. I love it, love it, love it. What free software would replace it satisfactorily?

Then there is Adobe Photoshop Elements 7. It’s a Windows product that I have. I’d rather have a full Photoshop product, but neither of those things are going to be on my Fedora install. I haven’t ever looked at any of the free graphics programs. I take a lot of pictures (Canon Digital Rebel) and it’s important to me to have quality software for that. I haven’t connected my camera to my computer with Fedora running, yet. Canon doesn’t have Linux drivers on their site.

I also have a Sony Handycam (HDR-SR11) and their software is for WINDOWS alone, every flavour. Anyhow, I’m not impressed with THEIR software. I need to find a robust program to work with my High Def files. Sony provides little that one can do with it. I can snip the ends and play them. I can convert them to yuckier formats. That’s pretty much it. No splicing, no timing changes (speed up, slow down) no titles, no production. So, I have less video than I want to have taken, and lots of video I have taken that just sits there on my harddrive.

So I guess in the end I can get some graphic something in Linux (Fedora) with a couple of programs, using my TabletPC, as well as my Intuit4 tablet, when I connect it sometime. But, I’ll have to have Windows programs in some capacity, plus for heavy video work …

So it’ll come down to my everyday computing self is interested in keeping Linux around as her full-time computer, with starting Windows for other stuff … sometimes. So I pay for the privilege of having $ software that is used sometimes only. Well, that’s it now nearly. I hardly ever buy software, I have gotten it bundled, or bought something here or there, but mostly prefer GNU-types of product. I have Vista because it’s on the computer I bought. I bought XP long ago to go with a computer I was building, had I had to do something back then like that. So it goes.

I used WP before it wasn’t yet 1, I used Firefox when it was a shadow of it’s current self, same with Thunderbird, not in the very beginning, but close enough. I’ve used Songbird, but haven’t been sold on it, yet. I wish I could learn enough to write code for something. Eventually I may, or not.

I need to get into my scrapbooking, cross-stitching, graphic art. I used to hand code my webpages. Simple HTML & CSS. I’ve pretty much converted to pure WP. I sort of wish to get some simple HTML pages on my sites too though. It’s pleasing to create with code, which is why it’s not just a good environment for computing, but Linux offers “understanding” of what is going on with your computer, how to update you can see it all happening instead of watching a dumb progress bar forever …

Tweaking my Vista laptop

The year is going fast now. Just a week until Christmas. We have most all of our shopping done, but yet to do some other necessary things.

I have been working on my laptop today as well. I was tired of having the lag time in typing to what shows on the screen and am happily typing away now. I don’t know for certain what thing it was, but I turned Indexing off of my drives and subfolders. I cleaned out System Restore files, reduced it’s allowed size, then eventually just shut it off since I really haven’t had success with it in the past with any other machines, living supposedly dangerously by having it turned off, but that’s the thing about it. I need a responsive machine or else I’d rather have nothing. Having a system that lags, skips and such for what you are typing into a browser, or any other program, is just ridiculous.

My laptop is an HP TX2513cl (12.1″ Tablet notebook) I’d searched and searched for information for two issues, the lag time in typing & the HD light flashing constantly, and I don’t mean consistently, I mean staggered constantly. Oooooooooon,off,ONNNNNNNNNNNNN,ofOOOOONofOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNN, etc.

Now It’s flickering inconsistenly, acceptable for now. I have 116GB of free space now too. That’s more than half the partition free. I was close to having less than 1/3-1/4 free. I did uninstall some programs I didn’t want anymore, and dump temp files, the bulk of it was freed when I dumped everything but the last restore point in System Restore. I decided I was going to do tweaky things before deciding what files to burn to discs, & then when I free up more space I’ll get System Restore back on, maybe. I actually like searching with Indexing on, so that I’ll put back first, in reality.

I put up with that staggering lag thing in typing for so long. I guess I actually had it from early on. I didn’t make a memory about it precisely, just have it in the back of my mind as a consistent annoyance since early on. I got this computer when my latest baby was still small, so in my defense I will say I didn’t type a whole lot, thus wasn’t as bothered by it, as I am anymore since I now have a toddler (more time to write here and there.) I keep hesitating now, thinking “it’s coming” and then it doesn’t. It’s a horrible thing, that feeling, the acceptance of it is almost worse. Ugh.

I don’t want to see it again, but it would be nice to see what thing I did made it go away. I can say for sure that turning Indexing off didn’t do it. HD Light was as constant as ever once Indexing was off as well. So Indexing wasn’t the problem, most likely. I tend to want to blame System Restore, since I sure did with Win XP, was happy to re-install with my OEM disk any old time I had a problem that “System Restore” might have fixed. I can also say the trouble I’ve had with System Restore is absolutely insane & I just don’t like it.

I also installed Vista Battery Saver, which is freeware, a light program to aide laptop users in having better batter life. I”m typing unplugged right now. I have Aero on until 30% battery left, and don’t use the Vista Sidebar at all for many months. Battery is better with BOTH off. I am just testing it this way now, since I like the look of Aero.

Another thing I did was take out several things from starting up with the computer, they are easy enough to start IF I want them. Like ATI’s control center (rarely use it ever.) Windows Live Messaging, I’ll start it up if I want it later. New Side Note for MS One Note, I open One Note often enough and haven’t used the tray functionality of it anyhow. Just things like that. Not getting rid of them, but just not running them all the time.

Well, that’s enough for now. I can’t recall if I missed something, but I’ll write more another time about my tweaking adventures.

New Laptop

I got a new laptop on Monday from Costco. It’s an HP Pavilion tx2513cl — So far I really like it. Thus far the idea of it is wonderful. It’s a tablet pc, so I can use the traditional keyboard and touchpad to navigate the screen, but I can also use my finger directly on the screen to click or move something, and moreso useful is the stylus for really doing so everything normal and so much more than that.

I like the size, it’s 12.1″ though the design has the battery sticking out the back, but the longer I work with it, it seems to provide some kind of stability, I am not sure how to put it into words.

Up to now I’ve always had a larger laptop (ever since having one, that is) but have seen the tiny sort, 10″ precisely and had a fascination with those for awhile, keeping steady with my 15.4″ HP. My hubby has been using a different laptop from work lately, not new, but a cast-off of someone else, it’s a 12″ Toshiba and that got me thinking about smaller computers again.

I wasn’t going to get something new like this, but the way things happened, it was possible. My now previous laptop was an HP Pavilion 5224. It had been acting badly, so when things went right and Costco had this nice laptop, it was do-able. Since that old HP has a “Best Buy 3-year warranty” on it, we brought it in last night, and will find out in the next few days whether or not they’ll [HP] fix it or let us get another.

This gives us options. We have me, hubby, and 4 children, three of who are getting bigger and bigger fast, and an extra computer laying around would be great. What we will be offered we don’t know, but the price on the paperwork is fairly high comparing todays market to what 2 years ago was. A Thousand bucks wasn’t much to plunk down. Before that it was a Compaq I’d had that got way too hot and was a problem, we paid close to or more than $2000 for it and ended up with being able to get from stock of the store we were in whatever we wanted (because of the entire affair with trying to get the thing fixed, it was a bad, bad time with customer support … store manager was more than pleased to help us when CS didn’t) and settled happily for a lesser priced product, a Sony that was worth $1800 those days. I’m nearly shocked looking back from this perspective of time, computers morph so quickly into different animals. Prices go down, power and functionality go up.

My little laptop I’m currently using is pricier because of it’s size and tablet-ability. The regular laptops in the 15″ range are well below $1000 now, well, well, well below it for some of them. Comparing them to the laptop we just turned in under the warranty, whoa! That old (ha, ha) thing was/is Athlon 64. We are so far past that now.

The biggest difference in this and my other computers is the OS. This is Vista. They were all XP. I am liking things about Vista, jumping through a few hoops to find what I want on occasion, but I do like the LOOK of it and how many things function. I hope it’s been long enough since it’s introduction that the bugs are –moreso than not– worked out.

Geek Update

Well I did get a new laptop. It’s very similar to my old one, though a different “model” and different “software” but the same basic hardware. The funny thing is, at BestBuy they pulled up the info on the model I had bought that had the protection, in order to find a replacement for it in their stock. The data said it had an ml-40 processor, when in fact I know it was an ml-37 … and they listened to me but still went with the paperwork that printed out and gave me two options:

They didn’t have an “ml-40” and so they tried to up-me to a “compaq” that had x2 and a “50” but same otherwise except for screen size, it was 14.1″ whereas my “old one” had 15.4″.

They also had an HP that actually had the same hardware profile as my old one, but they considered it a step down since it had a ml-37 and not an ml-40 like my paperwork stated I had.

I went with the HP since I don’t LIKE the Compaq cases, they seem flimsy to me, and I had a compaq before and hated what it did, and don’t like how they treated me. They are now made by HP, but still the same or worse to me, the cases are just flimsy when a few years ago they didn’t seem that way to me. In any case — I like the HP and how it feels and that is primary for the choice, this LOOKS the same as my old one, just is a bit different in how it’s divided on the harddrive, and some of the software.

My hubby got an HP a few months ago, and it’s similar to this new one. The first one I had was a dv5035nr. I loved it. I got it in February 2006. Hubbies is a dv5215us. My new one is a dv5224nr. His has an Athlon Turion 64 Mobile ML-34, mine both were/are Athlon Turion 64 Mobile ML-37.

They all have “Quick Play” technology, but my first, the dv5035nr didn’t have the same software workings as hubbies and this new one in that medium. I also had a standalone install of WinDVD that I can’t recall if it was on the computer originally, or on a disc that was in the box that I had to install (or could, manually) or what. I didn’t BUY it, and didn’t have it from another computer, I don’t think. I still have to look through stuff and see what’s in the box. I know hubbies doesn’t have a dvd player software standard either, like WinDVD, for example, but I never looked through all his stuff either to see if it’s on something else.

I had the BestBuy complete coverage on the old computer. It’s satisfied now that I turned in that one and got a new one in exchange. I have to buy a new warranty on this one now. We have 14-days to do that in. It’s a worthy thing, in a household like this, I guess. Where nothing is sacred from any organic contact, though usually not my own hand having much of anything to do with it, not directly or subdirectly, or indirectly really.

The only idea is this: $350 dollars once is good: but what if the second time that is bought and something happens, thats $700 that has been laid down. Another time then, that’s more. Of course it seems horrid to consider it, but really, could one afford to buy a new computer or be able to get it for $350, laptop I mean, a decent one. So in the end, it means, buy one you like, and spend more to make sure you get a replacement if something happens to it. Then if something happens you can get a new one that is alright exchange … then you have to decide to go it alone, or get the guarantee. Of course it does make sense to get the second guarantee warranty. It does make sense.

I’ll end this mish mosh now. I am pleased with how things went, overall, and overall for sure.

Geek News

We got the news from GeekSquad that my laptop can’t be repaired, so we need to go pick out a new one. Not such a happy bit of news for me, they don’t have many models in the store, last we saw, that are comparable to my HP that I had, a dv5000 series with a Gig of memory for starters. (I want more memory than that, though, and want a decent kick in an Athlon 64 processor, though I don’t need the fastest available.) The thing is too, their website has ONE Hp listed in notebooks, just one. It’s not that I am stuck on HP, but I did like my laptop and it wasn’t broken from their standpoint, but from something that a cat did to it. So poohey I don’t know what will transpire. We are leaving to check it out now.