Why do things always go wrong when …

Today is the second day of the 2nd biggest holiday of the year Week. It’s even bigger in our house because my Daughter was born the evening before Thanksgiving, so her birthday flirts with Thanksgiving most years, some more than others, and some falling on the same day as.

Last year was on the day, and this year is the day after. Phew!  The next time it’ll be on the same day is in 2021, but it flirts with it a lot between now and then. I never have written out a chart for such, it’s the only birthday that such a thing matters to us about. It’s a really big deal in how I do things for the holiday and birthday (I’m an introvert and have LIMITED energy every day, so I have to prep ahead, and organization isn’t my highest gift, it’s there a-times, but not always, not on-call 😉 )

I have to start Thanksgiving stuff today, stuffing and the turkey and gravy, then package it all up for the fridge to be re-heated on Thursday. Pre-done, turkey all sliced and separated. 🙂

I still have things to do for the birthday as well. Presents are already wrapped, except for the things I’m making with my art/crafting supplies. I have to work on all that today and tomorrow, but with Turkey today, and Pies tomorrow, it’s quite a lot for me.

So of course, with all this on my plate I got up this morning with task ideas to act on, and there sits hubby’s laptop open on the kitchen table, all night it sat there. Cats in the house = not necessarily a good outcome.

There was cat pee on the keys. Oh boy. I had to take it and figure out the extent of the damage … you know, take the laptop apart and see how much liquid is in there. It was powered on the whole night, and still on when I first saw it. He picked it up and announced the pee on the keyboard, thinking it was horrible … he got upset and stomped off to the bedroom.

With me in control then, I got my tool set and went to work. I had the laptop upside-down and no liquid was dripping out from any angle of any part of the computer, it was just some pee on the keys. I’d wiped the top of the keys with paper towel and rubbing alcohol already.

I took some screws out of the laptop and figured out which one I had to get out to be sure the inside wasn’t wet. I got that done, nothing inside, keyboard came off and it was dry underneath. So I washed the keyboard with soap and water and rinsed and then washed and rinsed again then poured rubbing alcohol over the entire keys surfaces. Now it’s sitting on it’s edge, upright, to drip dry, check for smell, and if good, allow to air dry all night, and be sure it’s dry before re-installing and putting the last screws back if it works. If it’s smelly still, then I’ll use BackOut on it, and go from there. If it doesn’t work, then we’ll have to buy a new one for it. Toshiba m645 keyboard is findable online for $.

Then in any case, I want him to get a silicone protective skin for the keyboard, molded to each key type of skin. Those are online too, lots of places, and at that point we’ll figure out which one to get. There are many options today, in the “old days” they were really expensive, not so depending on what you get now.

So that put my “birthday and holiday” prep plan off-track and it’s 11:41am on Tuesday and the stuffing isn’t anywhere near ready to go into the turkey, so this is gonna be bad … augh!

Breathing Life into 12″ Touchscreen Laptop

I used to use an HP tx2500 laptop. I gave that up to my husband to use after about a year, he used it for awhile, it promptly gave him trouble (while I had no trouble with it per se, mostly the trouble I had was VISTA, in my humble opinion.)

When I handed it off to my husband I fresh installed Windows 7 onto it. It seemed much better, in fact, the things I hated were gone. All new things cropped up over some time. BSOD’s and running hot … so it went on, I cautioned him about over-using it when he didn’t HAVE to, and such things to do to keep it cooler, blah, blah, blah.

At some point he got something else and the little laptop was now an extra one, and so I used it some, and put accounts on it for two of my children. It started getting worse at times, but not always. Eventually though, it had a graphics problem which was quick fix-able by pressing down on the keys all together above where the graphics on the motherboard is. It took the right touch, then would work after a re-start for days to hours, depending on ?.

I retired it, waiting to get more Artic Silver 5 and to think through what I could do and to basically FEEL like opening the laptop up.

I did do so last week. I took it all apart, looked at the motherboard, took the all in one assembled processor & heatsink and the graphic cover off, cleaned up the area with rubbing alcohol  then applied the AS5 and put the processor back on, and the soft sticky pad that goes over the graphic area. Screwed the whole thing down really tight. Put the laptop back together and the power was charging the battery, but the computer wouldn’t boot on at all. Realized that I hadn’t connected that one little thing … and had to unscrew and open up and connect … tried the boot up right then and there, and yes, it does work after all!

I have had to press on the graphic area a few times since, but hardly ever compared to before, and it’s not as “bad” of a messed up problem most of the time either.

It seems that others with similar laptops have “baked” the motherboard to re-glue the graphics to the motherboard. I couldn’t see any problem with that per-say, I mean, it needing that, if it’s evident from looking at it or not. All I know is that the laptop was so hot all the time before. It was so hot. The stuff that was on the processor before was really dry and flaky, so I’m sure it’s in a better state right now, good AS5 in there, not too much, not too little. It wasn’t dirty in there either. It was just old thermal grease and that’s it.

The graphics covered with the pad and then the heatsink, I just figured that having it as well press around it as possible plus the heatsink screwed in just tight enough was going to help.

The heat from the processor is so right next door to the graphics. I hate laptop design, in so many ways. Anyhow, just getting 5 years out of one is a feat, and I have done so with more than I want to count.

Sometime I may get a copper sheet to put over the processor, as in the penny fix, but with a sheet of copper instead. As it is, temps for the cores are in the high 30’s up to 42°c idle, going up higher with browsing, video skyrockets it, but that is steady into the 60’s at most. It hasn’t gone higher.

The processor is rated to go to 115°c … the laptop is performing alright for basic use in schooling for my children and usually the graphics problem crops up when turning the laptop on from on off state. So it’s not a problem that forces a shutdown really.

Time will tell.

Toshiba Satellite A505-S6025

I got a new laptop this past Friday at Best Buy. Toshiba Satellite A505-S6025 a new in 2010 model. We went to BB about a week ago and talked with a guy there and based on what I need, a machine to be able to work with pictures, graphics, video, which will be my interim machine until I can get a big desktop machine built to work with video …

We talked about different models and the point of the Satellite model I got was it had a separate dedicated graphics card, unlike what all the HP’s we’ve gotten over the last few or more years have. Also the size was interesting. I don’t particularly like too big, I don’t like mid-size more though. I had a 17″ laptop long ago. It was nearly too big. I then had a 15.4″ laptop and it was OK, but I longed for a smaller laptop, and eventually got a 12.1″ touchscreen laptop. That’s the one I’m now upgrading from. Not because it’s worn out, not because I don’t like it anymore, but because hubby needs a better computer for work and I could use a more powerful one with the things I do, and that HP tx2500 is powerful enough for the kind of graphics he’ll be downloading and using, but it’s hard to use for processing my Sony Handycam HD video & such things.

I started writing this post, the above two paragraphs, the day after purchasing the laptop. I do like it. I don’t like it. Main points of it are:

Pro:

  • Big Screen, online videos look great.
  • DVD’s played in Toshiba’s DVD player look fantastic (also has “upconvert” feature on/off controllable)
  • Win 7 boots fast
  • Less bloatware than HP’s I’ve had in the past
  • 12-cell battery is excellent, props computer up in back nicely for incline. Holds power well. I unplugged this computer, for instance last evening, worked on it a little, brought it upstairs and didn’t plug it in, shut the lid (which is set to do nothing.) Brought it downstairs at 5:50am and it’s been on since, and at 43% now, which is 10:13am.
  • Dedicated Graphics memory nVidia GeForce 310m …

Con:

  • Dedicated Graphics memory nVidia GeForce 310m ( it’s a pro and a con, because it’s the least of it’s category & also doesn’t allow for nVidia 3D to work if I wanted to purchase stuff.
  • The graphics driver is also less powerful than the sales guy led me to believe, but that’s not entirely his fault. It is though since he never tried to upsell any ideas of higher power graphics, driven laptops. Only thing he did was point out the i3 core vs. i7 core … there was one Toshiba that was i7, power ratings dropped drastically because of i7, and so the i3 looked better, everything else being the same, for a hundred dollars more. No laptop I’ve looked at since online with a better graphics driver was what I wanted, something was off or wrong about every one except for the variety that were $2000+
  • Graphics display resolution is too wrong. 1366×768 is what many things are from what I saw online, but it’s too weird for my liking. Too big. I want smaller, something bigger/smaller … you know how graphics resolutions, the bigger the number the smaller the picture, so 1366 is great, but 768 is not. There are no other good choices either.

I was thinking about returning it (would have to restore it to factory first) but then after a little looking online just realized there was no way I could afford a better laptop, and I need to put any $ like that into building a new power desktop for my video and graphics work.

All in all this computer IS more powerful than my HP tx2513cl, which I gave to my husband, which is an upgrade from my oldest laptop around here, HP5000 series from quite a few years ago.

I moved my stuff off of the tx2513cl onto this laptop, and then clean-installed Windows 7 Professional upgrade onto that HP, which had been running Vista Home Premium (yuck!) I wanted to upgrade it for me since October, but couldn’t convince my hubby to do it. Eventually he agreed to get me a new laptop & upgrade that one to Win 7 for him. OK, better deal in some ways. I don’t have touchscreen, panel swivel, etc. anymore. It was a nice size, small, light. But I do like larger monitors, I do have an Intuit 4 wacom tablet that I can use but just haven’t used it except for once before.

So I just decided for all the reasons stated and not stated that it was best to just keep this laptop and fill it up for use.

I shrank the C: drive and partitioned a second area for my stuff to reside alone (I prefer to have it separated so it doesn’t all blend in, and then I remember to keep everything separate when it matters & wouldn’t have thought of where it would go otherwise) I then installed Fedora 12 64-bit in the rest of the free space. It’s running OK. I actually like Windows a lot more now that I have Win 7 Pro 64-bit. It’s fast, overall, clean, easy to search and doesn’t seem to be working hard ever, when I’m just browsing the web or something easy, like my tx2513cl running Vista did.

This computer has a 16″ screen, it’s big. It does fit into my samsonite soft leather bag, not into the protected area, but fits with squeezing. I need to get a neoprene fitted sleeve then, which will make that easier. The times when I do travel with a computer I’ll have to just load less in the bag, which will probably make it lighter since I have tended to load it up with other devices and books and it got much heavier than my husbands bag (same kind) So a heavier computer that’s bigger will aide me in loading less into it. That’s good.

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.