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Notes on the Compaq Presario SR2011WM

I’ve been working on a Compaq Presario SR2011WM. It’s a basic, low-end, single-core Celeron D system from 2006 or so. It can take up to 2 GB of RAM, runs Windows XP adequately, and has SATA ports, so you can put an SSD in it if you want. But don’t be fooled by the name–the Celeron in this machine is single core, and has a Prescott-era Pentium 4 core in it at that, not a low-TDP, Pentium D-style core.

In case you’re wondering, the easiest way to get it to boot from USB is to plug in a USB drive, hit ESC as the system runs POST, then select your USB drive from the menu.

Now let’s talk about options for upgrades.Read More »Notes on the Compaq Presario SR2011WM

Don’t read too much into the PC sales drop just yet

If you’ve been paying any attention at all, you probably know that new PC sales are in the toilet–out of the five biggest vendors, the only one whose sales managed to hold steady in Q1 2013 was Lenovo, while the other four saw a sales decline. So now Slashdot linked to a ZDNet piece stating that Windows is over, and said it must be true because ZDNet always sides with Microsoft.

Let’s not read too much into that. The author of the piece is a longtime open-source advocate. The points he raises are completely valid, but if there’s one person who’s going to take Microsoft to task, it’s Steven Vaughan-Nichols.

Microsoft has a long road ahead, but there is precedent for salvaging the boondoggle known as Windows 8. And I don’t think Windows 8 is the only factor here.Read More »Don’t read too much into the PC sales drop just yet

The 1 TB-ish SSD: The Micron M500

Anandtech has a review of the Micron M500, which is the first 960 GB SSD to retail for less than $600. Micron had to make some decisions to get that combination of capacity and price, so it’s not truly a no-compromises SSD, but like the article states, it’s a not-quite-a-terabyte capacity at the price that the best 80 GB drive was selling for in 2008. That’s a long way to come in five years. At $599, the price is high, but it’s not out of reach. If you really need that much high-speed capacity, you can probably come up with that sum.

And the drive’s reception has been very good. It’s backordered everywhere I’ve looked.Read More »The 1 TB-ish SSD: The Micron M500

Internet Explorer 10 is out for Windows 7

Microsoft finally released IE10 for Windows 7 after a long development cycle. Conspiracy theorists think it had something to do with Windows 8 sales. Whatever the reason was, it’s out.

Allegedly, you can slipstream it using these official instructions. I’ll give it a whirl the next time I have to install Windows 7. If you want to slipstream all the other updates, here’s how. You can skip the IE9 part if you slipstream IE10.

If you needed another reason not to buy Windows 8….

I’m still waiting for someone I know to tell me he or she likes Windows 8. I’ve seen some strangers online say they like it, but not a lot of them, and many of them appear to be astroturfers because they just like it too much. I’m sure Apple loves it, because, like my boss told me, a lot of older apps (like anything older than Office 2010) won’t run on Windows 8. So, if you have to re-buy all your software anyway, what advantage is there to buying a Windows 8 machine over a Macintosh?

In fact, that’s exactly what his parents did. They gave up on Windows entirely and bought a Mac Mini.

The other approach, of course, is to buy a Chromebook. A lot of people seem to be doing that too, seeing as it’s the best-selling laptop on Amazon–so much so that they don’t have any stock, and third-party sellers are scalping them for $80 above retail like they used to do with Nintendo Wii consoles.Read More »If you needed another reason not to buy Windows 8….

If you’re wondering where those anti-Google ads came from

If you’re wondering why political-style anti-Google ads are suddenly running everywhere, it’s no coincidence. Microsoft has hired one of Bill and Hillary Clinton’s advertising masterminds to try his hand at campaigning against Google.

While it seems to be having some effect on public opinion, its effect on market share and Microsoft’s bottom line will take more time to gauge. But I think in the long term, talking to customers and figuring out why they are walking out of Microsoft stores empty-handed will prove more effective.Read More »If you’re wondering where those anti-Google ads came from

What to make of this Black Friday’s sub-$200 laptops

It’s still a couple of weeks off, but we already know two retailers will be offering sub-$200 laptops on the day the United States gorges itself on bargains.

The question is, what do you get for your $200 on these minimalist laptops? I’ll answer those questions, then you can decide whether they’re worth $200 and braving the crowds, the weird hours, and likely the cold. (Yes, there are costs beyond the money you spend.)Read More »What to make of this Black Friday’s sub-$200 laptops

Don’t look for me waiting in line to buy Windows 8 at midnight

Windows 8 is out. Yawn. I won’t be standing in line. I wait a minimum of a year to install new versions of Windows anyway, a practice that’s beein serving me well since 1994, and I skipped Vista altogether at home. I had it at work, so I know I didn’t miss anything. If Windows 8 is worth having, I’ll know about it by this time next year.