Friday, April 30, 2010


Off on a road trip!

We are about to head off on a road trip to the Oregon Coast, to celebrate our third anniversary last Wednesday. It will be another trip in the Prius and over roads that don't include any high mountain passes so I expect our mileage will be pretty good. The best we have had so far was about 53 miles per gallon on the trip last October from Spokane, WA to Chelan, WA. I don't know if I'll be posting while on the road or not. We will take my new netbook laptop (that I am using now) and will be able to log on but I don't have photo editing software on this machine so will be limited in what I can do with photos until we get back home. My camera takes large files and I always reduce them in size as well as usually tweak each image a little before uploading them to my Flickr site. I use Flickr to host the photos that I put on the blog. I'll see how the photos look unedited and may try one or two, just to see how it does.

The three cats will be at home and cared for by one of Pat's daughters. We are not brave enough to risk taking even one of them on a car trip.

Okay, I've got lots to get finished today so will end this & get it posted.

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Sunday, April 18, 2010


The new Netbook computer

I ordered my "new" computer on eBay on a Friday night. The seller shipped it the next day, Saturday, from Kentucky to me in Washington State and it arrived on Monday. I liked it from the start although the info posted on eBay said it had Windows 7 Starter Edition but it didn't- it came with Windows XP. I was planning to install Windows 7 Professional but it having XP made that a bit more complicated as you have to do a full install rather than being able to upgrade. And I had to wait for the external DVD drive that I ordered that Saturday from to arrive, which it did on Tuesday.

I like Toshiba brand portable computers so all of my newer ones have been that brand and these are no exception. Here are a few photos comparing the size of this computer with my regular laptop.

Netbook PC 01
Here are the two of them on the table in our sunroom. The Netbook is on the left, the laptop on the right. You can see that there is quite a difference in their size.

Netbook PC 02
Here they are open and running. The Netbook has a 10" screen and is running Windows 7 while the laptop has a 15" screen and runs Windows Vista. I will move the bigger machine to Win 7 before long as I really do like Win 7. As you can see I haven't yet changed the desktop photo from the standard Windows one on the Netbook. The photo on the laptop is looking downriver on the Wenatchee River about 6 miles west of Leavenworth, WA along US Hwy 2. I don't plan to keep a lot of photos on this new machine as it really isn't intended to do graphics and its internal hard disk is a fairly small 160GB size.

Netbook PC 04
This view is looking down on the two of them. You can see that the keyboard on the Netbook has smaller keys and they are what I've heard called "chicklet" type keys. But, it does seem to be fairly easy to use. My main complaint about both machines is that I really don't like the touch pads for mouse control. The big machine has four USB ports so I just plug in a USB mouse to it. The little one has three USB ports but it also doesn't have a DVD drive, so two of those are used to plug in the exterior DVD drive that I bought. That only leaves one USB port clear. But, it also does have a Bluetooth system and came with a Bluetooth mouse, so I use it without tying up that one extra port. I don't use the DVD drive all the time, usually only when installing programs, so much of the time the two ports it uses are available, too.

Netbook PC 05
A closer view of the Netbook. I do like its bright clear screen which is easy to use although much smaller than the big one I have connected to my desktop machine or even the one on the laptop. The battery in this little guy is a fairly large lithium ion battery that will give up to about nine hours use of the computer on a charge. That would be reduced if I have the DVD drive or an external hard drive hooked up and am using them a lot, but I don't think I will be doing anything with this PC where I will need either of those hooked up all the time.

So far I'd say that I like this machine. It is quite a bit smaller than a regular laptop so will be easier to carry while traveling and it's long battery life per charge should be a help, too. We will be going to the Oregon Coast for a week in May and I'll plan to take it along and give it a bit of a workout on that trip. The built-in WiFi works well and Win 7 makes it a breeze to connect to hotel servers. I may end up not keeping the bigger laptop although this sure won't replace my desktop computer.

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Sunday, April 04, 2010


iPad fever strikes

Okay, I like small portable computers and that new Apple IPad does look pretty good. I have been toying with the idea of buying a newer, smaller portable laptop, something smaller and easier to carry around than my 15" screen Toshiba laptop. I've been looking at those Netbook machines with their 10" screens and thinking that it would be easier to lug around and now that they have fairly large Lithium based batteries they do have a good long operating time on a charge- over nine hours or so depending on how many other things you also are powering on the battery.

Well, I really am not an Apple computer guy and from what I've seen on TV that IPad is mainly a toy, not something that you can also use for serious computing. With all this tumbling around in my brain and a strong wind & rain storm going on outside on Friday evening, I logged onto eBay. When I brought up Netbooks on their site, there was a coffee brown Toshiba NB205-N325BN computer that had only been used about four months and the guy replaced it with a desktop machine. In the meantime, he had expanded it's memory from 1Gb RAM to 2Gb and added a Logitech V470 Optical Bluetooth Mini Mouse with cases for the mouse and the computer.

He started the bidding by asking $99.99 but after 12 bids it was up to something like $275, not a bad price for a package that would probably cost at least $475 to duplicate. I couldn't resist putting in a bid for about $3 more than what had been bid but it was immediately overbid by someone else who had put in a higher bid that he was willing to pay than what was listed. I should also mention that when I first logged onto this auction, there was only four minutes left before it would be done.

With less than a minute left, I quickly decided that I'd be willing to pay up to $325 for this and taking out the $18.45 shipping charge, I entered a bid of up to $306.55 and punched the button with only a very few seconds left in the auction. Mine won for a price of $286.55 plus the shipping charges. The seller is in Elizabethtown, KY and he promptly shipped it via USPS Priority Mail on Saturday morning and it should arrive here tomorrow, Monday, in my mail delivery!

Here is a link to the Toshiba web site, right to their page for the Netbook computer that I have bought. Mine is the brown one. I'll get some photos after it arrives tomorrow and do another post before too long with my thoughts on the machine. It will take a little time before I'll have it fully operating as these machines don't have a DVD drive built in and the one I have on order from won't be here until probably the end of next week.

It is all Apple Computer's fault.


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