You no longer have to be an involuntary beta tester. Dr Dave guides you through the technology maze, separating the hype from technology that actually adds to the quality of your life.

The Best of Dr Dave's Weekly Radio Show

Click here to listen to Archive shows

Thursday, January 29, 2009

My Netbook pick

mini notebook - mobile computing SAMSUNG

What started out as a tangent in response to a single caller on the show last week, ended up taking over the show. Netbooks vs. laptops vs. desktops. What to buy and why?

I've warned against the faddishness of new product categories that geeks go ape over for no practical reason. It's an ongoing problem with technologists. It's new, it's neat, you need to buy it. NOT!

Netbooks are NOT in that category. It's one of the most practical value based new technologies introduced in years. I was really impressed with the first "netbook" the IBM z50 introduced in 1999. It was ahead of it's time, showed great promise but was overpriced and seriously flawed. Too slow, too limited, and too crippled on the Internet.

The netbooks of today are available at less than half the price, are MUCH more capable, and optimized for the Internet. Can it get any better?

Just know that netbooks are not necessarily laptop or desktop replacements. They are much less powerful in multi-media performance, and do not include optical drives.

I've discussed the Lenovo S10, the HP mini 1000 series and the MSI Wind before. They are all decent computers. Of all netbooks today, I would buy the Samsung NC-10. Best configuration, keyboard, price and appearance. Up to 2GB RAM, 3 USb ports, 160GB hard drive Windows XP (not Vista) and a beautiful 10.2" non-glare screen and peerless keyboard that's 93% of a full sized keyboard, and nearly 6 hours of battery life.

The NC-10 is my pick. Nearly Apple like in it's appeal. Buy it.

Microsoft's Resurrection?

Should you Consider Downloading the Windows 7 Beta?

Microsoft has been under the gun for a couple of years. With disappointing products like Vista, Zune, Office 2007 and others, it's been a while since Microsoft has really impressed with a product release. They have turned things around with Windows 7. This is a pre-release version, but I have not seen beta product so far superior to a prior release of the product. This beta release is faster and more stable than the final public release of Vista 2 years ago!

Admittedly Microsoft has been able to learn from the Vista experience, and Windows 7 is not nearly as big a change from Vista as Vista was from XP. So it might be expected that this was would a more polished beta, and it is.

I have it installed on an underpowered laptop (1GB shared RAM, AMD Sempron 2400+, 60GB hard drive) that I thought was going to be pretty weak, but it is as fast or faster than XP! It is a pleasure to use. Of course drivers were a bit of a challenge, but that is to be expected with a beta release on an old computer.

Please do not install the Windows 7 beta unless you are prepared to wrestle a little bit, and are experienced at troubleshooting driver issues. You'll also need to remove it or buy it after the release of the product. But if you like fiddling, and want to get a pleasing preview of the OS that you'll be using in 2010, check it out...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Seagate 1TB drive catastrophe

Seagate finally addresses 1TB problems

Although very poorly. They finally admitted a 1TB drive problem, but pulled the "fix" from their site last night, when it turned out the cure might be worse that the disease.

I am not going to get into the details of model numbers, etc. because it appears even Seagate doesn't have a grip on the problem yet. Click on the link above for details, such as they are.

At least they admitted a problem. Until Seagate has an accurate idea of what the problem is and a true to solution to the problem - backup, backup, backup!