tech woes

My poor Dell Latitude CPx notebook is out of commission. I came home on Saturday to discover that the power cord is fried. This is my third power cord in four years.

My poor Dell Latitude CPx notebook is out of commission. I came home on Saturday to discover that the power cord is fried. This is my third power cord in four years. I’m not even sure I’ll be able to get a replacement — I couldn’t find it listed on the Dell online store. The library has two laptops that are from a similar line, so I’m going to borrow one and see if I can use it’s power cord long enough to clean off my files.

Meanwhile, I’ve been thinking of buying a brand spanking new laptop on credit rather than continuing to limp along and make do with this one. So far, my top choice is a Gateway M305X with a Wireless-G card. It’s a couple hundred dollars less than my second choice, a Toshiba Satellite A45 with integrated Wi-Fi. I’m leaning towards the Gateway, even though it doesn’t have integrated Wi-Fi, mainly because their service package is much better and they have a good reputation for service.

My basic criteria for the laptop is that it has Wi-Fi in some way or another (integrated or otherwise), has a minimum of 2GHz processing speed, 20GB hard drive, and an integrated modem and ethernet LAN. I would like for the laptop to have a CD-RW drive and look sleek (as in, not like the old IBM ThinkPad). If you, my fabulous readers, have any recommendations for laptops that fit these criteria and are in the $1,300 or less price range, please let me know.

Update: I tried a power cord that the library has, and I was able to boot up my laptop, but it died after a minute or two. I think it’s truely fried now.

using my PDA

I have found a use for my Toshiba e355 beyond games of Solitare and a portable digital calendar.

Despite having my Toshiba e355 for over five months, I haven’t found many uses for it beyond the portable digital calendar that syncs with my desktop calendar. I have occasionally used AvantGo to download driving directions, and I’ve played many rounds of Solitaire, but neither of these things was enhanced by the electronic experience.

Recently, I began playing with my new Magellan SporTrack GPSr (thanks Anna!). It didn’t take long for me to become a geocaching addict. Now I’m spending the precious minutes after work on sunny days hunting around the area for hidden treasures. When I first started geocaching, I printed out the cache information on the backs of scrap paper. Then I read about different ways to go paperless. I was excited! Finally, I had found a use for my Toshiba that actually enhanced my experience. I downloaded GPXSonar to my Toshiba, grabbed some gpx files of local geocaches, and off I went.

Last Saturday, I started my day of cache hunting by picking one from the list I had downloaded and going from there. Everything I needed to find the cache was right there in my Toshiba — no wasting paper printing out a stack of cache details. I found three out of the four I went looking for and returned home satisfied with my hunt. I was able to use the program to make field notes right when I found the cache, which came in handy later when I went online to log my finds.

I still haven’t found many library-related uses for my PDA, but I suspect that they will emerge with time. Probably, I will get more use out of my Toshiba when I get a Bluetooth card and/or additional memory storage.

pda

I had a lovely birthday (thanks for asking) with family and friends over the weekend, and I took off work for most of this week. It’s been a nice vacation at home, but I think I’m actually ready to go back to work.

Dad & I went hunting for the PalmPilot on Saturday. CompUSA had it on sale for $199, but they were out of stock. The woman at the counter said she has been having trouble getting it re-stocked. A trip to Best Buy enlightened us as to why that might be. Apparently, Palm discontinued the m505 and m515 last year when they came out with the Tungsten models. While at Best Buy, we took a look at the other PDAs they had in stock, and that is where I discovered the Toshiba e355. It’s priced the same as the m515, which was what first caught my eye. I also like the styling, and it fit nicely in my hand. The other good features all add up to a much more robust PDA than what I had originally been looking for, but all for the same amount of money that my Dad was willing to spend on me. So, we went for it. I haven’t had time to really play with it (other than a few rounds of Jawbreaker and Solitare), but I’ll be sure to comment on it as I get more familiar with it. So far, I’m very pleased. Thanks Dad!