Targus XL Backpack

I just got my Targus XL backpack from Amazon. The bag is huge. It fits up to a 17” laptop and has plenty of compartments. I am able to carry the following items:

I was curious and weighed the back it was about 23.9 lbs. I still have room to spare and if I wanted, I could carry a book or 2. But it was getting way too heavy.

HP dv9999us Review

I’ve been looking for a new laptop for a couple of months now. My MacBook Pro is nearly 3 years old, still has the original Core Duo cpu, and it over heats so much it just freezes. I had Apple look at and they replaced a heat sink but it seemed like it didn’t help. They also replaced the battery and power adapter plug – still didn’t help. They finally said that the temperature is normal and they can’t do anything else. My co-worker’s newer MacBook Pro doesn’t heat up as bad. Anyways…

I started looking at the netbooks. They are very light-weight, ultra portable, no CD/DVD-rom drives. I thought it would be perfect for what I need. I can still carry my MBP and have a netbook too. I waited and waited. Then I saw an ad at Office Depot for a laptop. It was a total opposite of what a netbook is but for the price I had to take a look. I ended up buying the HP dv9999us. Here are the specs:

  • AMD Turion-X2 64bit 2.0GHz
  • 4GB ram
  • 250GB hdd
  • 17” WXGA 1440×900 BrightView LCD
  • USB 2.0 (4x)
  • Firewire 400 (1x)
  • S-Video out
  • Built-in web cam
  • Media remote control
  • 2 audio out headphone jacks and 1 input
  • 5-in-1 memory card reader
  • Express card slot

You can view the hardware specs here. So after about 2 weeks of use, here’s a list of likes and dislikes.

LIKES:

  • 4GB ram
  • 64 bit OS and CPU
  • numeric keypad is part of the keyboard
  • 17” screen is great
  • Vista Home Premium 64bit has been impressively stable (so far)
  • memory card reader
  • has remote control for media software and can be stored in the extreme card slot
  • built-in webcam
  • after rebates the laptop costs only $490
  • physical on/off switch for WiFi
  • no incompatibilities so far being Vista and 64bit (programs that are 64bit are stored in the Program Files folder * while the rest are stored in Program Files x86)
  • S-Video out support
  • light scribe DVDRW drive

DISLIKES:

  • media buttons on top of the keyboard are too senstive
  • video card is not all that good when it comes to games
  • right, Shift button is awkwardly positioned and size is smaller than usual – I sometimes press “/” key to the left of it
  • heavy 7.7lbs (but it is a 17” laptop)
  • media software isn’t too responsive, too cluttered – OS X has a more intuitive interface
  • lots of pre-installed software (can be removed, but why are they there in the first place – doesn’t exists in any Apple computer)
  • took almost an hour to access the desktop during first boot – must be a Vista thing
  • no HDMI support, but no biggie
  • sometimes I hear buzzing sound when the laptop seems like it’s heating up – I’ve had this happen on several other * laptops so it seems normal

Overall the laptop is great for the price. My views towards Vista have changed a little bit. It seems the 64 bit version runs a little more stable than the 32 bit version. I do miss my MacBook Pro and OS X but I don’t miss the overheating. I still have Apple desktops at home and at work so it’s not that bad.

hp dv9999us

hp dv9999us

Verizon V740

I was using my Blackberry Pearl tethered to the laptop before and it uses EDGE to get internet access while away from home or work. It was horrible at best. I was lucky to get over 70kbps. On average I would get 48kbps. So I started to look for an alternative. I checked out AT&T since they started to use 3G. According to one of the sales associate, T-Mobile no longer rents towers from AT&T. Instead they sold all their old towers to them. Not sure how much truth is in that, but thought it was interesting. Basically, T-Mobile bought old technology from AT&T. Again, this is from an AT&T sales associate. There is no confirmation whether it is true or false or he’s just trying to get my business.

Then I went to Verizon and checked out what they have. To my surprise, they have a deal where all of their broadband access cards are free with a 2 year contract. I’m hesitant on getting the whole 2 year contract thing but I went with it anyway since in California you get a 30 day trial whereas 14 days elsewhere. I picked up theVerizon V740. So far it has been great. Areas where it is predominantly Verizon coverage, I’m getting over 900kbps down and 300kbps up. Otherwise I’m getting an average of 200kbps down and 100kbps up. Browsing is a lot better either way compared to what I had with T-Mobile. Playing World of Warcraft in areas where I get slower connection isn’t that great but tolerable.

The $60 monthly is a bit high but it may be worth it in the long run. Also, the V740 can only be used with the newExpress slot.

verizon v740

verizon v740

Looking at the picture above, I’m beginning to miss my Nokia N80IE and it’s 3MP camera 😦