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Asus Eee PC 1000H Optimization

It’s been a while since I’ve posted about my Eee.  I’ve been using it daily, and it’s holding up like a champ.  I did notice some slowing.  It’s really odd because I don’t install much software on it.  The only thing that I’ve notice is that the Windows Update might be causing the slow down.  SInce purchasing the it, there has been 3 updates.

Here’s a few tips to optimize your netbook and computer if you experience a slowdown.

  1. Defrag your hard drive.  Open up “My Computer” -> Right click on the “C:\” drive -> Go to properties -> Tools
  2. Software – Don’t install a lot of software and uninstall any you don’t use.
  3. Clean out your registry – The registry needs the occasional scrubbing to get rid of obsolete entries.  I recommend CCleaner.   CCleaner - Freeware Windows Optimization
  4. Scan for viruses and spyware.  You should have a anti-virus program and a anti-spyware program.  I recommend AVG’s Free Anti-Virus Protection:  AVG’s Website.  Here’s a good Anti-Spyware:  Lavasoft’s Ad-Aware Website.

I hope these tips will help you optimize your Netbook or computer.

Holiday Gift Idea – Cheap Netbook

I can’t believe netbook prices keep getting cheaper and cheaper.  Dell makes a pretty nice little netbook with the Inspiron Mini 9.  It features the most of the same parts as the other netbooks:  Intel Atom N270 Mobile Processor, 1 GB DDR2 Memory (upgradable to 2GB), Glossy 8.9 inch LED display (1024X600), Up to 16GB configured with a Solid State drive, and a 4-Cell Battery (Good for up to 3.5 hours).

Dell Inspiron Mini 9

Dell Inspiron Mini 9

More importantly, it’s only $231 with Free shipping for a limited time.  Use this coupon code:  SDN2Z85FXG5XD9 at checkout to get the discounted price.  Click here.

Holiday Gift Ideas That Don’t Suck

Laptops, MP3 players, GPS, TVs, and etc all make excellent gifts.  But they’re so expensive.  Sure, you want to give an awesome gift, but I’m sure the recipient wouldn’t want you to go broke in the process.   So here are 3 geeky gift ideas that won’t break the bank.

For the road warrior geek.

Belkin mini surge protector with usb charger

Belkin mini surge protector with usb charger

Do you have a road warrior in your life?  This little surge protector works wonders.  The USB charger will comes in handy.  Most of the gadgets I take with me on a business trip are changed via USB.  So all I carry is this surge protector and a USB cable.  It’s compact size is ideal for packing.  At less than $20, it makes an ideal gift.

Amazon Product Link Here

For the college student.

Belkin Cushtop Notebook Stand

Belkin Cushtop Notebook Stand

WIth this Notebook stand, laptop users will have a very comfortable computing experience.  Most laptops generate a lot of heat.  It can make your lap quite uncomfortable to work for long periods of time.  With this notebook stand, users can make sure that the computer is in an elevated position.  This is the perfect item for college student who compute from the bed.  At under $25, it’s very affordable.

Amazon Product Link Here

For the automotive geek.

CarMD Handheld Tester

CarMD Handheld Tester

CarMD is the perfect gift for the automotive buff in your life.  It helps diagnose problems with your car with paying hefty mechanic bills.  This gadget will work with all 1996 or newer cars.  A common problem that calls for this gadget is the check engine light.  There’s no way for you to tell what’s wrong with the car without making a trip to the mechanic. At less than $100, it won’t break the bank.

Amazon Product Link Here

Black Friday Deals – Newegg

Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year.  People are lined up at their favorite stores, outlets, and malls to get the best deal. For me, it’s all about the online shopping.  It’s more convenient and I don’t have to line up.  And don’t get me started with the fighting and wrestling for the $0.99 DVDs.

So here’s a few deals from Newegg’s Black Friday Sale.
Sony NEC Opticar 20X  DVD IDE Burner  – $19.99 Free Shipping

OLYMPUS FE370 Pink 8.0 MP 2.7″ 230K LCD 5X Optical Zoom All-Metal Body Digital Camera  – $129.99 Free Shipping

Kingston 8GB Secure Digital High-Capacity (SDHC) Flash Card Model SD6/8GB – $19.99  Free Shipping

CORSAIR Flash Voyager 32GB Flash Drive (USB2.0 Portable) Model CMFUSB2.0-32GB – $55 after rebate with Free Shipping

Stay tuned for more deals.

Holiday Gift Idea – Kingston 32GB Flash Drive

If you have a geek in your life, chances are that buying him (or her) a gift is one of the most difficult things to do.  They probably own what they want already.  Tech gifts don’t have to always cost over $100.   Tech accessories are definitely the best way to go when buying for a geek.

Just look at this Kingston 32GB Flash drive from Newegg.com.

Kingston 32GB DataTraveler 150

Kingston 32GB DataTraveler 150

Packed in this little USB drive is 32GB of storage.  This drive is one of Kingston faster, higher end drive.  Your geek might turn this into an SSD drive for his or her’s UMPC.  I would.

The best part is that it’s only $48 with Free Shipping at Newegg.com.  Click here to go to the Newegg.com Product Page.

Intel’s new CPU on the block – Core i7

For the longest time, since the introduction of the Intel Core 2 Duo processors, I thought my desktop could hold it’s own against these new faster CPUs. This weekend, my trusty Dell Dimension 9150 showed its age.

Dell Dimension 9150

The Intel Pentium D 820 had trouble keeping up with some of the new high definition video.  It was a very sad moment to see my “once top of the line” system struggle.  I think it’s time for it to retire from active duty and become a server.  This whole time, I’ve been see the Core 2 Duo and the Core 2 Quad CPUs make a significant leap in computing power and lower energy consumption.

Well, the Core 2 Duo and the Core 2 Quad are now officialy obsolete.

Intel Core i7

Intel recently announced their new Core i7 processor using the Nehalem architecture.  Say good bye to dual channel memory and hello to triple channel and DDR3.  Intel also brought back Hyper Threading.  So, in theory, the Core i7 can function with 8 cores.  There are some downfalls to the new Core i7.  Early benchmarking reveals that the new CPU doesn’t do well with gaming.  This is sort of true with certain games requiring certain configurations.  Fortunately for me, I don’t game on the PC.

The raw processing power of the new Core i7 CPUs trumphs the old Core 2 Quad in many ways.  So now, I’m on the search for a Core i7 system that won’t bankrupt me.  I’ll probably go with HP or Dell because they can get me an entire built system for about $600.  Those prices will fall soon.  Depending on the situation, I might even settle for a high spec Core 2 Quad if the price is right.  Stay tuned for more details.

If you are looking for the bare CPU, it comes in 3 flavors:

Intel Core i7 920

Intel Core i7 920 – 2.66 Ghz LGA 1366 Quad Core – $300 with Free Shipping at Newegg.com

Intel Core i7 940

Intel Core i7 940 – 2.93GHz LGA 1366 Quad-Core – $579.99 with Free Shipping at Newegg.com

Intel Core i7 965 Extreme Edition

Intel Core i7 965 Extreme Edition – 3.2GHz LGA 1366 Quad Core – $1059.99 with Free Shipping at Newegg.com

Canon SD880IS vs Canon SD790IS

I love it when I get questions.  So here’s one from Micasa who comment on this post, Unboxing:  Canon SD880IS:

Hi, i’m interested in this model. How much you paid for it? What the different between this model and SD 790IS?

In a nutshell, the SD880 has a better zoom (4X), utilizes the latest image processor (Digic 4), and the size.  The SD790 is a bit slimmer.  In my opinion, it’s a little difficult to hold the SD790 while taking a picture.  The buttons are flat and are a little hard to use.  Both cameras have wheels that rotate, so that is a flaw there.  It’s more likely to wear out and break.  However, the wheel on the SD790 is larger and has a dual function as the directional or navigational button.  If that breaks… 🙁 .  The wheel is the dark wheel around the function button below.

Canon SD790IS

On the Canon SD880IS, only the ring around the navigational button rotates.

canon sd880is

As for the price, they fluctuate all the time.  I saw the SD880 earlier this week for $209 at Dell.com, with coupons of course.  This deal expired fast.  The Canon SD790IS is currently available for $190 with a free 4GB Kingston SDHC Card at amazon.com, product page here.  The Canon SD880IS is $260 with a free 4GB Kingston SDHC Card, product page here.

I bought my Canon SD880IS for $220 at amazon on a pricing mistake.  Thanks Slickdeals.  If you can wait until Christmas, I would get the SD880IS.  Black Friday is around the corner.

Both cameras are extremely good.  The digital ELPH line from Canon take awesome pictures.  The SD880 provides a little more manual controls for a point and shoot.  It takes fantastic pictures in my opinion.  Either way, you’ll be happy.

I hope this helps Micasa.

Samsung 22″ Widescreen LCD for $200 after MIR

Samsung 2232BW Widescreen LCD Monitor

Samsung 2232BW LCD Widescreen Monitor

I can’t believe the price of LCD monitors have fallen so much.  Just a year ago, a 19 inch LCD monitor would run you $300 easily.  But just look at this here, a 22″ widescreen LCD monitor for $200.  This is the perfect monitor if you’re in the market for one.

Here are the specs:

  • 22 inch widescreen LCD
  • Native resolution 1680×1050
  • Dual VGA and DVI inputs
  • 1000:1 contrast ratio

It is currently $199.99 with Free Shipping at Newegg.com.  Click here to go to the product page at Newegg.com

Asus Eee PC – Cheap 2GB Memory Upgrade

I was just cruising Newegg’s site like any geek would and found this.  This is the perfect module for your Eee PC or your laptop.  It carries a lifetime warranty and pretty speedy.  If you’re a gamer, you’ll know what you’ll need.

CORSAIR ValueSelect 2GB 200-Pin DDR2 SO-DIMM DDR2 667 (PC2 5300) Laptop Memory

Asus Eee PC Corsair ValueSelect Laptop Memory

Price:  $24.99 with Free Shipping

Click Here for Newegg Product Page

Are Netbooks Getting Too Overpriced?

I took a lot of time before jumping on my Asus Eee PC 1000H, and I paid the early adopter tax for it.  But are manufacturers getting ahead of themselves?  With the recent release of new netbook models, the price of the new units are competing with some Core 2 Duo laptops.

Let’s pick on the new Asus Eee PC S101.  These are 10 inch models with the Intel Atom CPU.

Asus Eee PC S101

This is the Asus Eee PC S101.  The price is $699.99 at newegg.com.

Specs:

  • Intel Atom CPU N270
  • 10.2 WSVGA (1024×600) LED Backlight
  • 1GB Memory
  • 16GB SSD
  • 4 Cell Battery

I mean for $700, you don’t even get 2GB of memory.  Yes, the unit is slightly slimmer than my 1000H, but it doesn’t justify the price.

For the same $699.99 at newegg.com, I can get this full size Toshiba Satellite L305-S5884 Laptop.

TOSHIBA Satellite L305-S5884

Here are the specs:

  • Intel Core 2 Duo T5750 2.0GHz
  • 15.4″ WXGA (1280 x 800)
  • 250GB Hard Drive
  • 3GB DDR2 667 Memory
  • 1 x ExpressCard slot (ExpressCard/34 and ExpressCard/54)
  • DVD Drive

I don’t know about you, but I would gladly sacrifice the mobility of the Eee for the power of the full size laptop.  You get more of everything, more storage, more CPU power, more memory, more screen real estate.  This is what I’ve been preaching all along about the price of netbooks approaching the price of full size laptops.

New Product: Western Digital TV HD Media Player

I’m a big fan of media players because I watch a lot of Anime.  No, I don’t like to dress up as my favorite characters.  Anime to me is like a good sitcom or primetime TV.  Anyways, I always want to watch my anime on the big LCD TV instead of my computer monitor.  I have a Pioneer DVD player that can play files on a USB drive.  However, it cannot play high resolution files.

Finally, Western Digital has a solution.  Meet the Western Digital WD TV HD Media Player.

WD TV HD Media Player Box

Here’s how it works.  You connect this Media Player to your TV via HDMI cable.  Then you connect a USB drive or portable hard drive like a Western Digital Passport drive to the media player.  The WD TV HD then plays your high-def video or anime on your big screen LCD TV.

WD TV HD Media Player

This makes it really easy to get your media on your TV.  You can also share your pictures on the media player too.  This makes the perfect Christmas present for the geek in your life that has everything.  It’s only $120 with Free Shipping at Buy.com.

WD TV HD Media PlayerWD TV HD Media Player

Review – Canon SD880 IS

After using the Canon SD880IS, I have to say that I am extremely impressed by this digital camera. My previous camera was a Canon SD600.  It’s very capable and took great pictures, but didn’t impress me.  It was felt too small and light in my hand.  The other reason is that it didn’t have an image stabalization system.  I have really shakey hands.

Canon SD880IS Digital Camera

Of course, with most modern Canon models, Image stabalization comes standard like power windows in a new car.  The size of the Canon SD880IS feels right too.  It’s significantly bigger than the SD600 while only weighing slightly more.  The large 3 inch LCD is about the size of my old SD600.

The SD880IS has all the controls located on the right side of the camera.  The send picture to printer button can be reassigned to something else, i.e. LCD off.  There are very few manual controls, but that is to be expected in a point and shoot.  If are an avid photographer and want full manual controls, I would suggest getting a digital SLR, the Nikon D90 or the Canon XSI.  But as far as point and shoots go, the Canon SD880IS is at the top of the list as far as features and perforamnce.  The breath-taking 3 inch LCD is the biggest feature people will notice first.  With such a big LCD, there’s no room for a viewfinder, but who uses a viewfinder on a digital camera anyways.  Okay, the viewfinder has a place for when the battery is running low and the LCD goes off.  As far as I can tell, the battery life on the SD880 is pretty good.  I’ve taken over 300 shots on one charge and still going.

Canon SD880 IS Box Content

Normally, Canon like to have a switch to toggle between camera, video, and play mode.  The SD880IS is a little different.  The switch toggles between camera, scan, and video mode.  There is a dedicated play button to review all your pictures.  The addition of a scroll wheel is a nice to scroll through all your pictures in a hurry.

Picture quality is outstanding.  I wouldn’t expect anything less in that department.  The SD880IS has the brand new DIGIC 4 processor, 4X optical zoom, capable of widescreen photos, and much more.  The icing on the cake for me is that it’s made in Japan.  It’s very rare to have electronics made in Japan now.

Now for the cons, if you can even call it that.  There’s only one thing that I can fault the SD880 and that is the LCD.  It’s large, which is good.  But a large LCD can get scratched really easily.  But a simple fix would be to get a screen protector at your local Wal-Mart or Target.  The screen is supposedly coated with a tough anti-scratch material, but I’m not will to test that out.

Currently $260 with Free Shipping at Amazon with free 4GB Kingston SD Card.

I recommend it.  Click here to go the Amazon Product Page.

Asus Eee PC 1000H – USB Annoyances

The Asus Eee PC 1000H has 3 USB ports.  These are pretty convenient, expect when you’re trying to connect an external hard drive, such as a Western Digital My Passport 320 GB ($110 at newegg.com and free shipping).

Asus Eee PC 1000H - Western Digital My Passport

To my surprise, the drive would not spin when connected to the Eee PC.  It’s not a defective drive because it connects to my desktop just fine.  Yes, I have an old fashion desktop.  I’m not just a UMPC type of geek.  Here’s the problem.  If you’re not connected to the AC adapter, the USB are running on less power to maximize battery life.  Plugged in, the Passport drive powers up  just fine.

On another note, the Passport drives are nice.  For about $100, I can transport all my media files without carrying a huge hard drive with me.  The Passport drive slips in my Eee PC case just fine.

Asus Eee PC 1000H – Hard Drive Part 2

For the past 2 weeks, I’ve been debating whether or not I want to install a Solid State Disk in my Asus Eee PC 1000H.  To maximize speed and battery of my Eee PC, an SSD would certainly help.

Asus Eee PC 1000H

But the price, $179 after rebates at newegg.com, is definitely holding me back from doing the mod.  SSDs suffers from memory cell loss.  Like a battery, the capacity of a drive slowly depletes.  For me, it’s not quite worth it to spend that much on an SSD.  Intel is supposedly developing their own line of affordable SSDs.  I think I’ll leave the Seagate drive in the Eee PC alone for now.

Asus Eee PC 1000H – Hot Keys

I cannot believe that I have not mention the Eee PC’s hot keys.  There are four Hot Keys to adjust the backlight, change the resolution, adjust the “Super Hybrid Engine”, and Skype.

Asus Eee PC 1000H Hot Keys

I have the backlight setting at the dimmest to maximize battery life.  So that button rarely gets used.  If you use the button to change the resolution on the Eee PC, everything looks ugly.  It stretches the display to 1024×768.  I prefer the native resolution at 1024×600, so that button is rarely used.  I removed Skype from the system because I don’t use Skype.  This is very handy if you are a Skype user.

So now that leaves the “Super Hybrid Engine” button.  This button is a little more interesting.  It toggles between Eco mode, High Performance mode, and Super Performance mode.

In Eco mode, the Atom process is throttled back to 1.2 GHz to save and extended the life of your battery.  The lag is hardly noticeable when running single applications and doing simple tasks.  In my experience, I only ran into a little lag with watching videos online (YouTube).

In High Performance mode, the CPU is running at the normal 1.6 GHz.  The performance increase is noticible when multi-tasking.  I normally shift into this mode when using Works, Firefox, and listening to music.

In Super Performance mode, the Atom CPU is overclocked to 1.8 GHz.  There is no lag in this mode and applications launch almost instantly.  I only recommend using this mode if you are plugged into a socket.  Battery life dramatically goes down in this mode.  The little system fan is constantly running to help cool the CPU under load.

The hot keys are really easy to forget, but their function is tremendously convenient.  I would play around and customize your Eee PC 1000H to fit your needs.

Asus Eee PC 1000H – Optimize for Speed

I have no complaints with Eee PC 1000H’s performance.  The Intel Atom processor is quite capable of handling heavy loads.  Again, Diablo II runs smootly on my Eee PC.  However, I’m all for tweaking Windows down to the bare minimum to extract every bit of performance out of the Eee PC without sacrificing much.  This will be a series of posts about this subject because there’s always something to change or  tweak to make your Eee PC that much faster.

So for Part 1:  Let’s do the easy tweak.

Disclaimer.  Everything presented on this site is my opinion and my own personal experience.  I am not responsible if you perform any of my recommendations that may result in damaging you or your property.

1.  Click on Start -> Control Panel -> Performance and Maintenance -> System

That should open up the System Properties window.

2.  Click on the “Advanced” tab and click on the “Settings” button under the Performance section.

3.  Under the “Visual Effects” tab, select “Custom”.

4.  Make sure everything is unchecked except:  Use common tasks in folders, Use drop shadows for icon labels on the desktop, and Use visual styles on windows and buttons.

Asus Eee PC 1000H Optimize Performance

More performance tweaks to come.

Unboxing: Canon SD880IS

Last week, I posted about buying the new Canon SD880IS from Amazon on a pricing error.  I was nervous about whether they would ship the camera or not.  Turns out, they honored the deal and it arrived today.  This is why I love Amazon.  I’ll do an unboxing first.  A full review will follow in a few days.

The Box

Canon SD880IS

The Manual and CD

Canon SD880IS

The Hardware

Canon SD880IS

The Camera

Canon SD880IS

Canon SD880IS

Canon SD880IS

Canon SD880IS

The SD880IS is a 10 Megapixel camera.  Each picture is about 2.5 MB.  Canon only included a 32MB SD card.  32MB!!!!.  12 pictures.  That’s it.  I don’t know if you can buy a 32 MB SD card anymore.  Thank goodness that Amazon sweeten the already sweet deal with free Kingston 4GB SDHC memory card.

Canon SD880IS

The free Kingston 4GB SDHC memory card.

Kingston 4GB SDHC

More Netbooks

In the past two weeks, there have been a slew of new netbook releases.  I won’t bore you with the Eee PC or Wind clones, but Asus and MSI released a new version of their popular netbooks.  Let’s start with MSI.

MSI Wind U120

MSI is releasing a new Wind, model U120.  The price of the new model will be around $600.  The look will be a bit edgier with minor design changes to the case.  The one major difference than the original U100 is the built-in 3.5G Modem with a SIM card slot.

MSI Wind U120

ASUS Eee PC S101

If you combined the Asus Eee PC 1000H and an Apple Macbook Air, you’ll get the Asus Eee PC S101.  The price is between $600 and $700.  At this price point, I would suggest getting a full size laptop.  You’ll get more power, more screen real estate, more keyboard, more features, and more functionality.  The Asus Eee PC S101 has exactly the same internal hardware as the Eee PC 1000H.  There’s a few choices with the hard drive, i.e. SSD vs 2.5 inch drive.  The only major difference is a new 10.2 inch WSVGA LED Backlit screen, a thinner and lighter unit, and a non-removable shorter life battery.  Asus is call this a luxury netbook.

asus eee pc s101

My recommendation is the just get the Asus Eee PC 1000H or the MSI Wind U100 (with the 6 cell battery) if you’re in the market for a netbook.  Otherwise, with the money you’re going to spend on either of these two, you can purchase a really capable laptop.