Category Archives: Uncategorized

2 Years Later

It’s been two years since I last updated this site. Yes. I’ve been busy. I have moved on from the netbooks and all the tech of 2014. I’ve traveled a bit since then, worked way too much, and spent not enough time writing. So let’s catch up a little.

The tech I’m rocking right now.

Phone: Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.
Laptop: Lenovo Thinkpad S431 (don’t really use it much), Surface 3
Tablet: Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro
Desktop: Dell XPS 8700 Core i7 4770 with a GTX 950, Intel Core i5 5th gen.
Display: Samsung 40″ 4K Ultra HD UN40JU6500FXZA

I’m probably missing a few things but that is most of the new tech I’m rocking. The 4K TV as a computer display is probably the best things I’ve installed so far. Forget the multiple displays.

A few things you should know before deciding to use a 4K TV as a monitor. Make sure your 4K TV has a display port or has HDMI 2.0. Make sure your computer has a display port or can output HDMI 2.0. That’s why I upgraded to a Nvidia GeForce GTX 950 for the HDMI 2.0 output. I believe all Samsung 4K UltraHD TVs come with HDMI 2.0 but please verify before you buy.

Disclaimer: These are products that I use and the opinions on this site are my own. I have affiliate links on this site.

I’ve Been Bad

I haven’t been posting on this blog. Yes, I still own it. It’s facing an identity crisis. When I first started this site, I was focused on a wide range of technology. After a few years, that all came to a grinding halt because I was not looking into new computer parts or upgrades. Lately, my passion for technology has moved to photography. I’ve been investing into my camera equipment more than my computers.

I think it’s time to start clean with the declaration that this blog is for me now. It probably will include tech, cameras, food, and everything else that goes on in my world.

Virgin Mobile Mifi 2200

Virgin Mobile Mifi 2200

In keeping with gadgets and technology, I’ve forgotten how pleasant it is when something is simple. Technology is supposed to make our lives simpler, but it seems to do the opposite most of the time.

Virgin Mobile recently announced a prepaid unlimited data plan that takes advantage of the Sprint 3G network. The only downside is that you have to make the initial investment of $150 for the Mifi 2200 card. You can connect up to 5 devices to the Mifi card with wifi. The battery life of the Mifi card is claimed to last 4.5 hours with one connected device. Packaged with the Mifi card is a micro USB charger and cable.

Set up was a breeze. You have the option of paying by credit card or purchasing Virgin Mobile Top Up cards. It’s basically a prepaid card that you can purchase at major retail outlets. $40 will give you unlimited data for a month. After the month is up, you can add more funds to activate another month or activate it whenever you like. You can stop and start service whenever you like.

On a recent business trip, I found out that the card will not charge via USB cable. It has to be connected to a wall charger. Lucky for me, the hotel loaned me a charger for the duration of my stay. It also heats up when in use.

There is no credit check, no credit card required, no activation fee, monthly bills, or costly accidental overages. That’s a big plus in my book. The speed will vary depending on how close you are to the Sprint cell towers.

Never have I been delighted by the simplicity of signing up for the Virgin Mobile Broadband2Go. It’s really easy. It works, and the fine print is kept to a minimum. You could spend $80 and purchase the USB modem instead. However, you can only connect one computer to it at a time.

Since the announcement of the new unlimited plan, the Mifi 2200 card are hard to find because of its popularity. Major retailers such as Best Buy and Wal-Mart are having trouble keeping it in stock.

I highly recommend this product and service.

I’m being lazy

Yes, Popmonkeys.com has been left alone for a while.  In my absence, there has been a lot of new gadgets that have hit the market.  The iPad is making the tablet segment cool.  It’s effectively squeezing out the small netbooks.  However, I still think there’s a market for the 12 inch netbooks.

I’m discovering that having a media player can essentially replace a HTPC, Home Theater PC.  More on that later.

Comment spam has been taking over this blog.  I haven’t published any comments because it’s all spam.  It’s bad.

That’s all the updates for now.  I look forward to posting more.

I’m Back

It’s been a while since I posted anything.  There’s been a lot of changes in my life that has forced me to put popmonkeys off for a while.  Well, I’m back.  And like my life, this blog is going to change a little bit.  It’s now going to be a foodie site.  No no…I’m kidding.  Not only am I going to talking about hardware, netbooks, computers, digital cameras and more, I’m going to share tips for living/managing your digital life.  Yes.  You have a digital life if you use the internet.

So stay tuned.

Chief Monkey

Japan

On a recent trip to Japan, I learned a few things.

  1. When traveling to Japan, bring a netbook with an RJ-45 cable.  Wifi isn’t as popular.
  2. Electronics cost up to 4x more than the US.  Well, everything is more expensive.
  3. Vending machines are awesome.
  4. Many people had iPods too.

They had the latest and greatest available for purchase.  Surprisingly, big screen TVs are not as popular in Japan.  With space being so scarce, a huge 40 inch LCD TV would take up too much space.  They are really green and care about not producing any unnecessary waste.  Obsolete electronics are not replaced as quickly as they are here.  Many computers were still using Celeron and Pentium 4 CPUs.  They haven’t found a need to move onto the fastest processors.  I’ll post pictures a little later.  Now to get over this jet lag.

Asus Eee PC 1101HA

Asus Eee PC 1101HA

It’s only a matter of time before our little Eee grew up.  The Asus Eee PC 1101HA is an 11.6 inch netbook with a bigger screen and higher screen resolution of 1366 x 768.  The Eee PC 1101HA is part of the Seashell family, so it’s thin, sleek, and lightweight.

Keep in mind that this Eee does not run on the standard N series Intel Atom N280 CPU.  The Z520 is a little slower than the N280.

So here’s what you’re getting.

Intel Atom Z520 1.3GHz
1 GB DDR2 Memory, 1 Slot, 2GB Max
160 GB Hard drive with 10GB EEE Online Storage
11.6″ WXGA LED 1366×768 Screen
Intel GMA 500
Built-in Webcam
Wireless G/N
RJ-45 Network Port
3 USB Ports
1 VGA out port
SD Card Reader
10 Hour Battery
~ 3 pounds
Windows XP Home

Pros:

Bigger Screen
Thinner Design
Longer Battery Life

Cons:

Slow Z-series CPU

Amazon.com:  $429.99 with Free Shipping

Samsung N510

Samsung N510

Well well well…this will certainly throw a wrench into things.  Another day, another netbook right?  Wrong.  In my opinion, if money is not a problem for you, the Samsung N510 may be the netbook for you.  At the equivilant of around $700, our European netbook loving brother and sisters are getting the Samsung N510 available to them.  What’s so special about the Samsung N510?

Sure, it’s packs the common Intel Atom N280.  Yes, it still comes with a meager 1GB of memory.  The 160GB hard drive might be worth replacing too.  But, it comes with an 11.6 inch HD WXGA screen with a resolution of 1366 x 768.  The 6 cell battery will last about 6.5 hours.  Oh wait…did I mention it comes with NVIDIA’s ION graphic chip?  I can’t wait until Q4 2009 when the ION netbooks are suppose to make an appearance here in the US.  But for now, I think I’ll drool over this for a while.

UPDATE:  The Samsung N510 is rumored to be released in North America sometime in September or October 2009.

Asus Eee PC 1008HA Seashell

Asus Eee PC 1008HA Seashell

Asus Eee PC 1008HA Seashell

Another day, another netbook.  Today, I bring you the Asus Eee PC 1008HA, also named “Seashell”.  Think of this netbook as the MacBook Air of netbooks.  It’s thin, light, with all of it’s components designed to fit and operate in tight quarters.  All the ports are hidden away behind tabs.  The Seashell has a mini VGA port with an adapter built-in to the bottom of the netbook.  The Seashell is about an inch think and weighs about 2.5 lbs.  You can pick up the Seashell at Amazon for about $420 with Free Shipping.  Click here to go to the product page.

Asus Eee PC 1008HA Seashell

Asus Eee PC 1008HA Seashell

Specs:
Intel Atom N280 1.66 GHz
10.1″ LED Backlit WSVGA screen (1024×600)
1GB DDR2 Memory
160GB + 10GB Online storage
1.3 Megapixel Webcam
6 Hour Battery. (Molded to fit the new design)
2 USB 2.0 Ports
1 Mini VGA Connector
1 RJ45 Ethernet port
Mic in, Headphone port
SD Card reader
Win XP Home

Asus Eee PC 1000HE Keyboard

Asus Eee PC 1000HE Keyboard

Asus Eee PC 1000HE Keyboard

Shortly after the discovery of modding an Asus Eee PC 1000HE keyboard for use with the 1000H, Asus could not keep the replacement keyboard in stock.  Well guess what, this Chief Monkey managed to buy one when there were only 10 in stock.  It was actually a fluke.  I happened to check the Asus website a couple of days ago, and they happen to have it in stock.

I should be getting the part in a week.  Of course, I’ll post the how to when I get it.  The chiclet style keyboard is a much welcomed addition to the 1000H.  I think after this mod, my 1000H will be all modded out.

Dual Boot Asus Eee PC 1000H

Windows 7 Release Candidate was released for trial this week.  I already downloaded a 64 bit and 32 bit copy.  I plan to install the 32 bit version of Windows 7 on the eee 1000H.

Luckily, when I re-installed the OS on the new hard drive, I created another partition knowing that I would install another OS.  As usual, stay tuned on how Windows 7 will perform on the Eee PC 1000H.

Update:  The Asus Eee PC 1000HE keyboard is still out of stock on the Asus Estore.  I’m still waiting to get my hands on that part to complete this mod.

Intel Core 2 Quad Q9650 Review

Yes, I have a new Dell Vostro 420.  But Dell managed to screw up my computer.  Dell Hell is still alive and well.  I’ll dedicate a seperate post about my “situation”.

Intel Core 2 Quad Q9650

The system is outfitted with an Intel Core 2 Quad Q9650 running at 3 GHz with 12MB of L2 cache.  Now, compared with an Intel Pentium D 820, this CPU is fast.  Start up takes less than 2 minutes, installing Office 2003 took less than 5 minutes, and running multiple resource intensive application is no sweat.  The quad core is prefect for me because I tend to do many things at once.  I wished my work laptop was can keep up with me.

Overall, I’m very impressed by the Core 2 Quad Q9650.  Yes, I agree that this CPU is a big overkill for my needs.  But hey, you never know when you might need some crazy computing power.  Overclocking is not something on my list to do.  I’ve already paired it with 4GB of memory and a 1TB Western Digital Caviar Black drive.  I might upgrade the heat sink and fan with something better.  I think Dell used the stock assembly.

When I purchased the system, I did consider the Intel Core i7.  However, manufacturers were charging a premium for it.  Ideally, the Intel Core i7 would be the way to go at this point.  I went with the Q9650 because I had a crazy deal on this tower.  I think I only paid a total of $300 after you factor out the price of the 24 inch Dell Ultrasharp LCD.

Site Updates

I’ve been busy lately.  But something that caught my eye was people leaving spam on popmonkeys.com.  One of the recent comments advertised electronic and computer cables.  I won’t name the site.  However, I will name my preferred store for cables, especially high quality HDMI cables.  Go to www.monoprice.com.

Also, I’m working on a new template for the site.  Hopefully it will vastly improve load time.  I promise I won’t load the site up with a bunch of ads.  Those unbiased and real life reviews will still get churned out.

Canon FS100 Camcorder Unboxing

Here is the Canon FS100 Camcorder unboxing.  Full review coming soon.  For now, here are the pics.

Specs:

Standard Definition

Image Sensor:
1/6″ CCD Sensor
Recording Time
(8GB SDHC)
LP (3Mbps):  5 hours
SP (6Mbps):  2 hours 45 mintues
XP (9Mbps):  1 hour 50 mintues
Zoom:
37X Optical/2000X Digital
Programmed AE:
Auto, Program, Tv, Portrait, Sports, Night, Snow, Beach, Sunset, Spotlight, Fireworks
Max Shutter Speed:
1/2000
1/500 (stills)
Minimum Focusing Distance
10mm (wide)/1m (tele)
White Balance
Daylight, Tungsten, Auto, Manual
Image Stabilization
Electronic

Asus Eee PC 1000H Hard Drive Swap – Part 1

*DIsclaimer*  Follow this guide at your own risk.  I am not responsible if you damaged your property.

I decided to do a fresh install on the new hard drive.  A fresh start is always better.  The actual swap and installation of the OS only took a couple of hours.  However, typing everything out with pictures is more labor intensive than doing the actual upgrade.  So I’m splitting the how to article into two parts, hardware and software.

This is the hardware portion.

Let’s go over things you’ll need.

Asus Eee PC 1000H Hard Drive Swap - Tools

Small Philips and flat head screwdrivers.  I have another one with a bigger handle for better grip.
Your Asus Eee PC 1000H
A towel to lay your Asus Eee PC on to prevent getting scratches.
Your new 7200RPM Hard Drive

Step 1.  Unplug the AC adapter and remove the battery from the Asus Eee PC 1000H.

Step 2.  Lay the Eee PC on the upside down on a towel to prevent any scratches

Step 3.  Removed the back cover by removing the two screws located near the battery bay and carefully prying the back cover off.

Step 4.  Removed the two screws holding the hard drive cage to the Eee.

Step 5.  Carefully slide the hard drive away from SATA Connector.

Step 6.  Remove hard drive from the cage.  There should be a total of 4 screws, 2 on each side.

Step 7.  Replace old hard drive with your new hard drive in the cage and replace 4 screws in Step 6.

Step 8.  Place the hard drive with the cage back in the hard drive bay.  Carefully align the SATA port of the hard drive with the port of on the Eee.

Step 9.  Firmly push the drive towards the SATA ports once everything is aligned and properly seated.  It should slide easily.

Step 10.  Replace the two screws holding the cage to the Eee in Step 4.

Step 11.  Replace the back cover and secure with the 2 screws in Step 3.

That’s it.  11 easy steps to installing a new hard drive in your Eee PC.  It sounds like a lot of steps but it should only take you 15 minutes at most.  30 minutes if you are brand new to computers.  If you are brand new computer, maybe you shouldn’t do this upgrade.

Questions about netbooks and the answers

I’ve been writing about and using Asus Eee PC 1000H for a while now.  I think the netbook category can definitely serve the needs of many people looking to buy a regular laptop.  So here are a few common questions and answers about netbooks.

Q:  Can it replace my laptop or desktop?
A:  Well that depends on how you use your computer.  Basic functions will no sweat for netbooks.  Video editing is not.

Q:  How big is the keyboard?
A:  The keyboard size varies with different models.  The keyboard on the Asus 1000H is 95% of the size of a regular keyboard.  I have big hands and it’s easy for me to type.

Q:  How big is the screen?
A:  It depends on which model you get.  My Eee PC 1000H has a 10 inch screen (1024×600).

Q:  What’s the maximum amount of memory you can install in a netbook.
A:  Most models will only take 2 GB on a single SODIMM memory module.  4 GB is out of the question.

Q:  What kind of memory does a netbook use?
A:  Most models use a 200 pin SODIMM DDR2 533 MHZ memory module.  Check your manual to be sure.  My Asus Eee PC 1000H has a 2GB DDR2 667 MHz module.  Newegg has many to choose from, but I would purchase Kingston, COrsair, Crucial, or mushkin.  Click here to go to Newegg’s netbook memory page.

Q:  Can you play games on a netbook?
A:  I’m not sure about other models, but my Asus Eee PC 1000H has Diablo 2 and World of Warcraft installed.  Gaming experience is decent.

Q:  What’s the battery life on a netbook?
A:  Most netbook will come with a  3 cell battery, which lasts between 2 –  3 hours depending on use.  My Eee PC 1000H has a 6 cell battery, which will last 6 – 7 hours.

Q:  What operating system can you use on a netbook?
A:  Anything you want.  Most have Windows XP or Linux installed.  Leo Laporte installed Windows 7 on his MSI Wind.  I’ve even seen Mac OSX on a netbook, make sure you read the EULA before doing so.

If you have any more questions, please leave me a comment and I’ll try to answer them.

Deal: Canon SD1100 IS for $140.95

Looking for a quality point and shoot for cheap?  The Canon SD1100 IS is a great little 8 megapixel digital camera.  It little size and lightweight which is perfect for traveler.  Or if you are looking for an inexpensive digital camera that takes quality photos, you won’t be disappointed with the Canon SD1100 IS.  I highly recommend this unit.

Canon Powershot SD1100IS

Specs:

8.0 Megapixel
3x optical zoom
Canon’s Face Detection Technology
2.5 inch LCD
Digic 3 image processor
ISO 1600

Abe’s of Maine has this digital camera for a good price.

$150.95 – $10 Coupon Code LOYALTY10 = $140.95

Click here to go to the product page

Canon FS100 Flash Memory Camcorder

I wrote a few posts ago about using my Canon SD880IS digital camera as a camcorder.  Yes, for those quick moments, I would use the video recorder function.  But for those moments that you want to save and share, I would definitely get a camcorder.  But there are so many.  DVD, miniDV, Hard drive, flash memory.  Which one do you choose?  It’s all about how much you want to spend and what kind of features are you looking for?

Canon FS100 Flash Memory Camcorder

I highly recommend the Canon FS100 Flash Memory Camcorder if you’re looking for a basic camcorder that is portable and reliable.

Pros:

  • Small, lightweight, perfect for one handed operation
  • Uses Flash Memory as the recording medium, cheap and available
  • Image Stablization
  • 2.7 Inch LCD

Cons:

  • May lack some advance features
  • Battery life

I’ll speak to image quality when I get the actual camcorder.  It comes in a few colors, silver, purple (wine red), and blue.

The best deal I could find was from Abes of Maine.  For a limited time, they have a $10 off any $75 purchase coupon code:  LOYALTY10

$285.95 – $10 = $275.95 (Sales Tax only in NJ) + Free Shipping.  Click here to go to the product page.