Friday, September 15, 2006

more new stuff

No, I didn't push my mother's wheelchair down the stairs and inherit a bunch of dough. For one thing, she could probably deck me with a wheelchair; for another, she doesn't have stairs. For 8 months I've been keeping my eyes open for a laptop and found what I consider a good price for what I'm getting. It's a Toshiba Satellite A105-S4094, and seems to outdo all other laptops in the same price range when it comes to memory (1.5M), disk (120GB), and ports (Firewire and more USBs than feet). It's got the duo Centrino, wireless, 10BaseT port, analog modem, and a DVD burner. $950 plus tax from Best Buy.

What I don't like about the Satellite: nearly nothing, so far. I've never cared deeply for cutting edge, so I'll complain about the simple things. The touchpad is much smaller than that of the HP Pavilion it's replacing, and the front edge drops down about mid-palm, leaving me no wrist support at all. Spending all day moving files has gotten me aching a little. The mouse buttons seem a little stiff, requiring a solid press to keep it engaged.

I cannot find the brightness control. The printer port is covered with a port-shaped piece of plastic, with no obvious way of removing it neatly. The labels on the ports are just small enough to be indistinguishable. I know, I ought to read the manual, and I'll get to it sooner or later. It'll take a little time to get used to the Del key placed by the spacebar, under the period, and a vertical orientation of Home/PgUp/PgDn/End.

But I'm glad to get to pass on the Pavilion. The thing I hated most was that it ran hot. Close to burning hot, not for use in 95-degree weather in your shorts. And it ran hot right in the analog modem area, which always seems to be the shoddiest part of a laptop. The built-in modem broke after 2 years, and the cheap-shit CompUSA PCMCIA modem I replaced it with occasionally overheats as well and goes cross-eyed. It was just bad design to put it right next to the vents. As I write this, the Satellite's been on 16 hours with a lot of disk activity what with re-installing and moving, and it feels about as warm as a human. Sweet.

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