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Re: [Discuss-gnuradio] Re: notebook computers

From: Rick Parrish
Subject: Re: [Discuss-gnuradio] Re: notebook computers
Date: Sun, 14 Nov 2004 16:08:22 -0600
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.7) Gecko/20040616

My laptop ramblings ...

My first laptop was a Winbook XL3 that I bought on sale new in 2000. The cool feature of this model was the "triple spindle" - CDROM, HDD, and LS-120 "superdisk". It was heavy - which is fine - I don't like small breezes affecting my typing platform. It worked great ... except for small cracks that spread throughout the external case. I sent the unit in for repair on the last month of the 12 month warranty. They sent it back with new plastic. In the following months, the plastic began to crack again. With no warranty to cover what I consider to be a manufacturer's defect, I decided to abandon the Winbook brand (which BTW, is manufactured by Twinhead). Anyone need spare parts for their XL3 (like hinges, screen, DVD-ROM or CPU) ?

My current laptop is a now 18 month old Compaq Presario 2100. This model does not come with an internal floppy. Of course, so many folks use flash drives or some sort of wireless access for exchanging files so this wasn't as big an adjustment as I first thought. I did accidentally crack the screen - my fault and definitely not covered by warranty. HP's website listed a replacement screen for $595. I could purchase a new laptop for around $1000 to $1100. Two aftermarket dealers offered to sell the same part to me for about $470. Finally, e-bay to the rescue! I was the winning bid on an OEM refurbished screen for $170 - including shipping.

Note to self: check keyboard deck area for debris before closing laptop!

I don't like booting multiple OSes from the same HDD so I physically swap HDDs when I need to boot a different OS. Swapping the HDD on this model is slightly easier than the Winbook - about six screws in all. The other HDD holds a stale copy of Slackware 9.

The Compaq - which came with Windows XP Home - hit me with a suprise when I needed to run Windows 2000 on it. I needed to run a C++ compiler suite made by Paradigm for a consulting client (target platform was an embedded X86 processor running inside a point of sale terminal). This compiler came with a USB dongle. The driver for the USB dongle would only work on Windows 2000. When I boot the Presario in Windows 2000 (using the HDD pulled from the Winbook), I'm stuck with a dimunitive 640 x 480 x 4 bit color bare VGA screen. The video drivers for this laptop (which uses a fairly recent video chipset) only works on Windows XP. The project - and my agony - lasted for several months.


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