Sunday, April 13, 2008

Toshiba U405 Big Cleaning

Right out of the box the CPU is running at 70% all the time, and 1.2 Gbytes physical memory is taken by the Vista and other software. Which leaves the user about 600Mb of RAM. What a waste!!

I ran the Control panel, found the Software install/uninstall applet and started it. Wow - looks like the last installation was done a week ago, 4/6/08. That is a new meaning of a brand new computer!!

Well, let's do some cleaning..

- MS Office demo,
- Symantec security something,
- Napster,
- many software packages starting with word 'Toshiba',
- Quicken web accounting package,
- face and speech recognition software,
- buggy web camera suite (it kept showing a big white box in the left upper corner of the screen upon restart),
- fingerprint security suite (which works, however it's so big that using it makes the machine hardly usable for anything else),
- a few other smaller things.

Now the machine is moving a little faster. About 700Mb of RAM is now taken by the system, and 1.3Gb is available to the user. The CPU is now running at average 3-8%.

To be continued...

Toshiba U405 Series Review

Just unpacked it. I am going to gradually update this review as i go through the set up and configuration steps..


Comes in a standard cardboard box, like pretty much all Toshiba laptops.Well packed. Good.
There is a restore DVD, sealed booklet, power adapter and cable. Battery is packed separate from the machine. Smart. No extra cables, microphones, earphones, nothing like that.

Machine looks absolutely gorgeous and slick. Shiny surface matches the new Vista glassy look. White LED controls and lighted logo look cool and catchy. Very nice.
Interesting that there is no screen latch. Just open the screen. I guess there is no need for it. And i agree, the latch holes always collected dust and breadcrumbs.
The keyboard while looking very nice, has a somewhat flimsy feel of a cheaper computer. Not for strong or big hands i believe.

Power up

Let's power it up. Power button is above the keyboard on the same surface. This is now normal for all laptops as i noticed. I however prefer those older sliders on a back or the front of the machine, like when you set it up with external monitor, you don't have to open the screen to turn it on or off.

After turning it on, it starts setting up Windows Vista. The machine comes with the Vista Business Service Pack 1. That's better than most of those machines that nowadays come with Home version.

Within about 4-5 minutes, the machine is done setting up and beeps to let you choose the initial user settings. The Administrator user is disabled by default and you can't use it to log in. You must select another user to be able to log in. The "good" thing is that the newly created user has Administrative rights on the machine so you can easily enable the Administrator user and change its password. The only other user on the machine is Guest and it is a good idea to keep that guy disabled forever.

Now we are finally through and can examine what kind of junk we have preinstalled on the machine. It appears that there is quite a few things that need to be taken care of before the machine becomes usable.

The machine comes with the MS Office 2007 preinstalled. Nice. Can I use it? NO. The version is something that does not support standard MS Office Value Pack Registration ID. I have a real version of MS Office so i tried entering the registration number. No luck. Looks like this is either an academic or some other type of a demo version of MS Office. Stupid.

Well, that means that we are up for a big cleaning... stay tuned.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Toshiba U405 Series

Just went to BestBuy and got myself a new Toshiba laptop. Ultra-portable series.

Toshiba U405

Toshiba specs

Stay tuned for the upcoming review.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Laptop as server

Now give it a thought.... The broadband packages we buy here at US are fast, but rarely faster than 20Mbit down/5 up. That's what Fiber optic offers. Now, if i want to have a web server at home - should i set up a real server with the stupid RAID or mirror, dual power supplies and all that stuff? My answer is - No, get a laptop.

Let's see... modern laptop is usually cheaper in the first place than a server. If you check out eBay prices, you'll be surprised even more.
Laptop has at least a 100Mbit built-in network card. Which is faster than the broadband. So no bottlenecks here.
It has a built-in keyboard, built-in monitor and touchpad - so no separate console or a kvm switch.
It has a battery - which effectively replaces a bulky lead UPS.
It is very quiet.
It has built-in overheating protection, so you can run it in your bedroom closet.
Now the best thing - it consumes very low power - taking the electricity prices into consideration, that alone will save you over $50 bucks a month on your electric bill. Nice!
At last - do you know that the modern servers now accomodate 2.5 inch drives? Laptops do that already for many years. 2.5" drives are less prone to temperature bending and more resistant to shock than those large 3.5" drives.

Maxmind geotargeting

That Maxmind piece of code that goes with their database is completely driving me crazy.. Anyone knows why it leaks memory? Looks like you just can't use it on a web server, in an page. If i turn off the geotargeting function, everything works fine. Once it is on, it leaks memory like crazy. Terrible. Have to rewrite that code that they give out, just no time now. Tax season, you know.

On the positive note, they do update their database monthly. I'm just wondering how those internet providers sit on that data for months and then suddenly release the information to those public sources like maxmind and others. I had a static ip for a year and never in the internet saw any information about it. Now it's all over the place. And looking at my name all over the internet i am thinking that i have to stop using the Roadrunner as soon as possible. Moving to Fios.
Btw, anyone knows how to get a static and at the same time anonymous ip without purchasing a vps package?

Yeah - regarding those vps's - if you decide to buy a vps package from Verio - forget about it. It's 300 bucks a month and you can't even access local files. They don't even answer emails. Go for 1and1 vps. They have US vps packages for 40 bucks. You get your own server, you can Remote console to it, play with it, fill it up with junk, reboot it, reimage it, whatever. It's all yours. All for 40 bucks what Verio does not even offer for 300.