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Any body know if DK used to do his posts on a laptop?

by Bill Osler / February 27, 2010 8:13 AM PST

I remember folks used to give him a hard time about the typos. I always wondered why there were so many. I think I may have the answer to the question now.

I've been using a small laptop for the last month or so, and most of my posts look like something DK would have posted unless I go back and proof them VERY carefully.

Someday maybe my laptop will grow up and get a real keyboard.

I hope he's doing well, whatever he's up to.

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17" screen laptop seems to be okay. I was using a 14.1"
by Ziks511 / February 27, 2010 8:37 AM PST

belonging to my son, but I pulled the cash together. 14.1 was really awkward, mis-strikes galore and not least because I kept catching the edges of the little caps on the keys, which seemed to have been stuck on with one tiny drop of super-glue. My 6'7" friend, Lurch, also finds the keyboard tolerable.


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(NT) Are you using a net-book now, Bill?
by grimgraphix / February 27, 2010 10:41 AM PST
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Sortof a netbook ...
by Bill Osler / February 27, 2010 11:00 AM PST

It's an ASUS UL30A. It's not the smallest laptop out there, but it is not exactly big either. There is no built-in optical drive and it is a bit on the small side, but it has more processing power than most of the netbooks, and it runs Win 7 Pro, which most netbooks don't have.

I wanted something light that wouldn't break the bank. Overall I like it, but I've been typing on a standard size keyboard for about 40 years now and the smaller keyboard takes some getting used to. Also, I keep bumping the touchpad by accident with my thumb while I type. It makes the cursor jump in random ways while I'm typing. Some of the resulting sentences make it look like I've been getting in touch with my inner Timothy Leary.

I don't really need the optical drive for the things I do when I'm out and about. For example, when I was at the hospital recently, waiting for a procedure to finish, I reviewed charts and did some other odds and ends. All I needed for that was Internet Explorer. Since it has Win 7 Pro I can access my employer's network (Linux and the home versions of Windows won't do that, so most netbooks were off my list).

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Nice computer
by grimgraphix / February 27, 2010 12:13 PM PST
In reply to: Sortof a netbook ...
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It does OK ...
by Bill Osler / February 27, 2010 7:34 PM PST
In reply to: Nice computer

Mine is a bit different from the one they reviewed (Win 7 Pro 64 bit, with a smaller HD and a bit less RAM) but it sounds like substantially the same machine. The screen is a bit small for my older eyes and I'm still getting used to the weird aspect ratio but that is really my only complaint.

I never saw one of the Atom based notebook PCs that would work for me. I have to have a Pro version of Windows in order to access the network at work but most/all the Atom based units run Home versions. Also, since my employer will NOT support use of anything newer than XP Pro I wanted to make sure the laptop would run XP Mode, which this ASUS will do but the Atom based units will not.

It looks like Windows 7 mostly does OK with my employer's LAN but I may yet have to install the XP Mode because of some minor flakiness. The remote access nominally requires use of the MS Java Virtual Machine, which is why IT does not want people using newer versions of Windows. OTOH I think it is unreasonable to expect people to run XP instead of Win 7 when they buy shiny new hardware. Skipping Vista I understand but I haven't seen anything about Win 7 that worries me too much.

I still plan to keep a desktop machine with a really big hard drive that I can use for finances, photo manipulation and more comfortable browsing on a larger display but this works quite nicely for what I needed. I don't want to edit pictures using a touchpad and a tiny display, nor do I want to carry around some of the more sensitive stuff on a laptop that could break or go missing. In any event, a 250 GB drive is totally inadequate for my stuff. I can't believe I just said that. The first PC I bought had a 250 MB drive that I thought I would never be able to fill. Now iTunes has 50 GB of stuff all by itself.

My biggest headache so far? Keeping things in sync between my desktop and the laptop. I've given up on syncing iTunes, but I may yet find an acceptable solution for the rest of the stuff.

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You're not alone
by Steven Haninger / February 27, 2010 7:57 PM PST
In reply to: Sortof a netbook ...

I don't get along with touchpads and I actually type fairly well as in HS college prep students were encouraged to take the same typing classes that were afforded to the girls who were considering becoming secretaries. As a result, I absolutely cannot "hunt and peck". I'm lost on my company PDA and need to connect it to a laptop and use a utility which allows me to use a keyboard if I need to type more than just a few words. My wife and kids do fine on the netbook I bought last summer. I like it but cannot use the keyboard well and the touchpad is almost an enemy.

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you can disable the touchpad if desired
by James Denison / February 28, 2010 3:06 AM PST
In reply to: Sortof a netbook ...

If you use a mouse with it, you can turn the touchpad off in Device Manager. If you need to use it, turn it on again.

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I know ... and I may yet do it.
by Bill Osler / February 28, 2010 6:45 AM PST

A mouse is just one more thing to carry around, but it may prove necessary before I tear out any more hair. Still wouldn't fix the problem with the undersized keyboard, though.

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if you go the mouse route...
by James Denison / February 28, 2010 8:33 PM PST
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Yes, personal privacy rights took a hit
by Angeline Booher / February 28, 2010 12:34 AM PST

,,,, when traveling and after the hurricane.

Another reason is that he is mildly dyslectic, which he made known.


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(NT) That should have been "Yes, when trebling" and...
by Angeline Booher / February 28, 2010 10:16 PM PST
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Ohh, I agree entirely!
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / February 28, 2010 5:01 AM PST

When my Vista system went down a few weeks ago and had to be shipped back to the maker, I purchased a Packard Bell laptop to get me by. It's larger than a Notebook, but I just couldn't get on with it.

My typewriting skills took a nosedive, and they are not that good at the best of times, and the damm touchpad! I'm sure that was designed by a masochist. I soon connected a USB mouse and disabled the touchpad in the Control Panel. It wasn't until a couple of weeks after that that my friend and her 12 year old son were visiting, and he showed me a small button by the side of the touchpad that disabled it with one small press.

I don't like wide screens either! I use my own web pages, not published anywhere, just on my own computer, for quick links and so on, and for the laptop I had to re-design them all.


Other than that, it's a good little machine, Happy

I've gott me ild PC bick now, and me tipping is mich butter!


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(NT) Yeah, your typing IS much better!
by Bill Osler / February 28, 2010 6:47 AM PST
In reply to: Ohh, I agree entirely!
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by MarkFlax Forum moderator / February 28, 2010 7:11 PM PST
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I did a double take, then...
by James Denison / February 28, 2010 8:36 PM PST
In reply to: Ohh, I agree entirely!

...remembered you were in Britain.

Packard Bell was run out of the USA. They aren't allowed to do business here anymore.

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by MarkFlax Forum moderator / March 1, 2010 1:48 AM PST

I didn't know that. But looking at Wikipedia I now see this;

"Packard Bell posted losses totaling more than $1 billion in 1997 and 1998. In the U.S., price pressure from Compaq and, later, eMachines, along with continued poor showings in consumer satisfaction surveys made it difficult for the company to remain profitable and led to Alagem's departure in 1998. In 1999, NEC began withdrawing the Packard Bell name from the U.S. market, while keeping it in Europe, where the brand was untainted by allegations of sub-standard quality"


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beginning of the end for Packard Bell USA.
by James Denison / March 1, 2010 3:57 AM PST
In reply to: Really?

It might be difficult to locate that info now, but discontinuing any further business in the USA was part of either this agreement or a later one. It's been so long, but what I recalled was a smaller settlement against them in some court case but on the grounds they'd leave the country and never return.


Packard Bell agreed to pay more than $5 million as part of a multistate and federal settlement over allegations the computer maker sold previously used components in "new" computers, the company announced today.

Under the agreement with 22 states, Packard Bell will pay $70,000 in attorney fees and investigative costs to each of the states in the case. $3.5 million will be paid to the federal government for its case.

Packard Bell is also required to post notices on its computer and monitor boxes informing consumers that the new equipment may contain components from previously sold computers.
In addition to Pennsylvania and California, other states involved in the agreement were Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, West Virginia, and Vermont.

This is informative.

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by MarkFlax Forum moderator / March 1, 2010 4:39 AM PST

So my new Windows 7 PB Laptop may have old parts from a Win 95 100MHz processor 8 MB RAM computer? Happy

That was my first PC by the way, and coincidently, a PB.

I didn't know they were supplying used parts in their new systems until i read the wiki article. I see other manufacturers were doing the same, but at least they stated that.

Ohh well.


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I build my own
by James Denison / March 1, 2010 9:35 AM PST
In reply to: Ouch!

Except for laptops of course, which I never use but my wife and daughters prefer.

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Heck, I hate regular keyboards,
by Roger NC / February 28, 2010 9:57 AM PST

much less our laptop when we travel. Actually our laptop is a 2004 widescreen HP and the keyboard is near standard size. It's heavy certainly, but we actually use it for a travelling desktop rather than a true laptop. We take it on vacations more than any other use. Occasionally it get used in the living room while watching a movie. And we have hooked it via S-video cable to stream something from the net to the HDTV, an episode of some show we missed that is on line for instant. The only think I really remember streaming is some early Hero episodes we missed.

At home I use one of the angle keyboards, and love it. Right now I have a Microsoft one, but I have had others. This one is a Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 v1.0. I just installed it as a keyboard with native drivers, didn't use the software that came with it. Everything but some programmable extra buttons seem to work. I guess XP or it's updates has the correct drivers for this line of keyboards by Microsoft.

I also got convince by my wife to use an Evoluent mouse. It's a bit more than a standard one, but overall it is much less strain to use.

We sometimes call it a rat instead of a mouse because of it's size, but it is less strain to use. And the extra button that acts as back key for your browser is nice too. That's without installing it's software, just installed as a mouse, using native drivers as the OS chose to use. I think it has a few special functions if you install the software comes with it, but neither me or my wife ever have.

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go Dvorak
by James Denison / February 28, 2010 8:42 PM PST

supposedly faster system than Qwerty.

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Dvorak is a layout to improve speed
by Roger NC / March 1, 2010 6:49 AM PST
In reply to: go Dvorak

since the Qwerty keyboard was actually designed to slow people down to allow mechanical keys to clear out of the way in early typewriters.

After all, for fastest typing, shouldn't the home row be the most used keys in the language? The only vowel on the home row, "a", is your little finger, the rest you have to reach.

The problem of learning a new touch layout for typing is the transition. You learn the new layout down to your instinctive use level and I'll bet you have trouble going back when you're somewhere else, say at the library, or when you have to use an older one at work.

But my liking for the angle board is it's less stress on my wrists and hands. I can tell a huge difference using a regular keyboard vs and angle in just a few minutes. All we have at work is angled unfortunately, but as long as I can reasonably afford it, I'm sticking with my angled one at home.

The lessen stress at the wrist probably is more noticeable for me than someone smaller because my shoulders are wider and literally my arms have to be more angled in for my hands to come together. Then I have to sharply bend my wrists to get my hands vertical on the keyboard. With the angled keyboard, my arms come in from about a 45 angle to the keyboard but my wrists are almost straight while typing.

I am a lazy typists though, I have the bad habit of resting my hand on the nice ledge at the bottom of that keyboard. In fact, I have to bottom edge higher than the top so I can rest the base of my hands on the bottom area and reach flat or a little down to the keys.

Anyway, the angled keyboards and the Evoluent mouse work great for us.

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I'd love to go DVORAK myself but....
by C1ay / March 1, 2010 9:10 AM PST
In reply to: go Dvorak

I work on so many other people's computers that I am weary of the thought of having to go back and forth from one layout and another.

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me too
by James Denison / March 1, 2010 9:41 AM PST

I've spent so many years doing QWERTY day after day, I'm too much a creature of it to change.

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