Dell Inspiron E1405 HP Pavilion dv5t Laptops

3 1/2 years ago I bought my first laptop. A Dell Inspiron E1405. Nice, little portable machine. Intel Core Duo T2350 1.83GHz, 2gb RAM, 62gb hard drive, which pales in comparison to the disk space available these days. I mainly use it for blogging, updating websites, email, Facebook, Twitter etc. Once in a while I test some code on it. Only downfall is it came with Windows Vista, which was standard at the time. It still runs great, but hardware wise, it is falling apart. I’m missing 4 keys from the keyboard, the left click button for the touchpad lost it’s spring a long time ago. The killer: now the display won’t stay up. The hinge went. Really sucks trying to sit on the couch and type. At the moment I have it set on the counter with a pack of BBs propping it up.
Well, the hinge was the last straw. I sucked it up and bought an HP during HP’s after Christmas red tag sale.
I went with the HP Pavilion dv5t because it has a 14.5″ display. My Dell has a 14″. I wanted something a little bigger, but not really as big as a 15.6″ display. I got it for $806.45 with tax. There was a $100 instant rebate, free shipping and $25.00 off with HP Coupon code SVMB39487. I also saved an extra 5% by clicking through to HP using Ebates. That saved me another $40.32, bringing total cost down to $766.13.
It has Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-460M Dual Core Processor (2.53 GHz, 3MB L3 Cache) with Turbo Boost up to 2.8GHz, 6GB DDR3 System Memory (2 Dimm), 500GB 7200RPM Hard Drive and webcam, bluetooth. Just Intel integrated graphics which is what my Dell has. Good enough for what I do since I’m not a gamer.
I’m a little uncertain as to how the HP’s touchpad is going to work out though. Apparently it’s a multitouch and lots of the reviews complained about it. The whole thing is touch, including the left and right click buttons. I guess it’s more difficult to use than a touchpad with actual left and right click buttons.
After I ordered the HP, I had second thoughts. I didn’t want another Dell since my old work one was a Dell that died and my home, falling apart laptop is a Dell. I went over to their site though and checked out what they had. Apparently, they no longer let you customize a system. They have a bunch of different machines, but you are stuck with how they are configured as far as processor, memory, hard drive size etc. One that came close to the HP I ordered was an XPS 14, but it costs more than what I paid for the HP, so I guess I’m satisfied with the HP I ordered. Hopefully it works out ok.
One thing I discovered though is laptops don’t come with an internal modem anymore. Since most people are going wireless, the modems are no longer needed, except for us poor saps who live in a rural area and can only get dial up or satellite. I am going to look into Mobile Broadband. I should be able to get reception and it should be pretty fast. Verizon’s 4G package is $50 per month with a cap of 5gb. It’s more than the $10 a month I pay for my Toast.net dial up, but I think it will be worth it in the end to look into getting a faster connection. Until then, I can use my good old WiFlyer, which turns a dial up internet connection into a wireless dial up internet connection, or my Zoom bluetooth modem. I may look into getting an external modem too. You can pick one up fairly cheap on Amazon.com.

More Laptops
More External Modem for Dial Up

Wireless Dial Up Internet Connection

I have raved many times about the Wiflyer. The cool, little tool, which turns a dial up internet connection into wireless using wifi. I’ve used it every day for about 3 years now, and it’s been great. Unfortunately, it’s been acting flaky the past few months, so I started looking for alternatives.
Always On Wireless, the company who makes the Wiflyer, appears to have disappeared. The Wiflyer is still available on ebay.
There’s a tool called Nebo Wireless, which uses 900Mhz FM cordless phone technology. It includes a base unit with a usb communicator. Looks kind of cool.
I could hook up a wireless router to my desktop and tap into the internet connection from my laptop. I decided this would be a last resort, since I don’t want to leave my desktop on all the time. Too big of a waste of electricity. My laptop costs much less to leave on than my desktop.
The last option I discovered is a bluetooth modem. There appears to be several different brands, but the only one I could find a link to, to buy was from a company called Zoom Telephonics. The modem plugs into an electrical outlet and a phone jack. That’s it. You then can connect to the modem using bluetooth. If your computer does not have the bluetooth capability built in, then you will need a separate bluetooth adapter, also called a bluetooth dongle. There are different classes of bluetooth: 1, 2 and 3. Class 2 seems to be the most common, but Class 1 provides the furthest range, 100m. The bluetooth modem from Zoom is a Class 1. Zoom also has several bluetooth adapters including a Class 1 adapter. A Class 2 bluetooth adapter will work, but your range will be limited to about 10m, so for a wireless dial up internet connection it makes more sense to go for the Class 1 bluetooth adapter to get the longer range.
Well, the bluetooth modem is the option I went with and it is AWESOME!! The Zoom bluetooth modem is very small, about half the size of the Wiflyer. The only thing missing is a volume control for the sound the modem makes when dialing up your connection. The Wiflyer had a volume control. The bluetooth modem comes with an installation cd that you put in your computer and install. Easy and went smoothly.
The bluetooth adapter I went with was the Class 1 Zoom bluetooth adapter. The bluetooth adapter is also great for connecting my cell phone to my laptop for transferring pictures. The bluetooth adapter also came with an installation cd. Installation of that also went smoothly, no problems. The software used is BlueSoleil. Not sure if that’s good software, but it’s been working well so far.
Once the software is installed, you search for bluetooth devices. Once the modem is found, you right click on the found modem icon and connect bluetooth dial up networking. A dial up networking box comes up where you enter your ISP username, password and dial up phone number. The only problem I’ve come across so far, is sometimes it takes a couple of tries for the connection to connect. Maybe it’s just the ISP and nothing to do with the modem. The Wiflyer sometimes had problems. It’s hard to tell.
Connection speed seems pretty good. I still need to find a good way to find out what my connection speed is. If anyone has any tips, please let me know. I also use Google Chrome, which definitely is the fastest browser I’ve tried. Browsers I’ve tried include Internet Explorer, Opera, Firefox and the classic version of Maxthon. Maxthon comes in second, with Firefox third.
Both bluetooth items are available at Amazon.com: Zoom bluetooth modem, Zoom bluetooth adapter.
If anyone has any other suggestions for creating a wireless dial up internet connection, please let me know.


WiFlyer

I haven’t mentioned the WiFlyer in a while, but I’m still amazed by it. It is so cool. I live in a rural area where the only internet connection I can get is dial up. I’m really glad I discovered the WiFlyer though. It is a small device which plugs into an electrical outlet and phone jack and turns a dial up connection into a wireless dial up connection. I finally bought myself a laptop, so now I can move all over the house and still be able to surf the web using a dial up connection. No more extra long phone wire and no more confinement to one spot. Very sweet. There is also a new version of the WiFlyer out. It has a few more features and has a longer range.
If interested, check it out here. There is also a promotional code to use on check out. For a standard WiFlyer enter: friendw and for a WiFlyer+v enter: friendv. If you’re stuck with dial up, the WiFlyer is definitely worth checking out. BTW, it is also compatible with a broadband connection if you ever switch over. The WiFlyer is also ideal for those who travel frequently as it is very compact and some hotels only offer a dial up connection. It is very easy to setup and very easy to use. I am still amazed every time I use it.
Oh, and the WiFlyer works just fine with Windows Vista.

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Windows Vista, Applet, Toast.net, Wiflyer

Now available for prelaunch at Amazon is Windows Vista and its full line of Office 2007 products which will be launching on January 30. I’m planning on buying myself a laptop and debated whether I should get one now with XP installed or wait and get one with Vista installed. If I got one now, I could get a free upgrade to Vista, but installing an operating system scares me, so I’m waiting until Vista comes out. I’m interested in seeing what it’s like. Security features should be better and menus for the office products will be completely different. Not sure what else, but should be interesting to see reviews.

So my svg, batik project, I built an applet on a laptop running java 1.4.2_09. Bring it over to my desktop running java 1.5.0_09 and it won’t init. In the jsp which calls the applet, I was using ./ before the codebase path and archive jar file paths. Once I removed all instances of ./, the applet ran beautifully under java 1.5.0_09. Strange.

By the way, the wiflyer is still awesome. I haven’t been able to connect at a speed greater than 26400 bps though. Still have other settings to try though. You can buy the wiflyer here or at Amazon.

Has anyone tried the dial up isp toast.net? Speed tests at cnet list it as being the fastest dial up isp. Reviews are good and it has a lot of access numbers in my area. Cheaper than netzero too. One drawback though is the terms say plans are not meant for always on access. Connections idle for 30 minutes or lasting more than 4 hours will be dropped. Yet the plans include unlimited access. Doesn’t sound very unlimited to me if you can’t leave your connection on as long as you want to, which is what I do. Guess this isn’t the best isp for me. I don’t know if toast.net is compatible with the wiflyer either.

Wiflyer

Well, the Wiflyer I ordered came today and it is awesome! A wireless internet connection using dial up. So cool! I was amazed at how small the wiflyer is. It’s about 3″ x 5″ x 3/4″. Small and compact. All you do is plug it in to an electrical outlet and plug in the supplied phone cord to the phone jack on the wall. My laptop automatically detected wiflyer’s wireless network. One thing to make sure of is to close all mail applications such as eudora, outlook etc. and close all browsers and reboot just to be safe. Next, you open up a web browser. It automatically takes you to the wiflyer configuration page where you choose your isp, access number, isp username and password. Save that & hit dial. One thing to note, when you select an access number from the supplied list, the number dialed will include the area code. I couldn’t get through, so once I deleted the area code I was able to connect. One thing I like is, the wiflyer tells you at what speed you are connected. The wiflyer has an init string with some predefined values for tweaking the speed. I need to play around with it some more. The fastest I could get was 19200. I only tried a couple of the options though, so I hope I can get it a little faster. It’s still not bad though. Definitely usable.
I can’t connect to the wiflyer using my desktop yet though. I have to install a network card. I bought a $15 wired card at Walmart. I bought a wired card only because my desktop and wiflyer are in the same location & I don’t forsee moving either one. You never though, someday I may need to break down & get a wireless card.
Anyways, if you are stuck with dial up & want to go wireless, I highly recommend the wiflyer.

SVG Programming: The Graphical Web, WiFlyer

Well, SVG Programming: The Graphical Web by Kurt Cagle seems to be a pretty useful book in learning svg. My only complaint, I wish the pictures were in color. There’s a section which talks about how to create colors with several examples. The example pictures are pretty useless since they are black & white. The info itself seems pretty good though.

I have a dial up connection using Netzero’s 3g highspeed. After installing TZConnectionBooster & CableNut, the connection speed is not bad. I still have room to make it faster, but am leaving it for now. I have a desktop & a laptop, so now I decided I wanted to network them. Did some research & it sounded like a real pain in the butt. Then I came across a router, external modem, access point all rolled into one device. What is this cool device? It’s the wiflyer. Reviews I read were all good, so I ordered it over a week ago and am waiting for its arrival. Stayed tuned for my review.