Dell AY410 Speaker System Review

When purchasing a new system online, you’re often met with a screen filled with accessories the company wants to sell you along with the computer itself. While you might be inclined to skip this page without a second thought, many users take advantage of the available merchandise in order to bring a convenient end to their hardware purchases in one place.

If you happen to be purchasing a Dell system, the AY410 Multimedia Speaker System ($59.99) will likely be on this page. This 2.1-channel 33 watt system is designed to fulfill the needs of everyone from the business professional to the hardcore gamer.

To start, their design breaks away from the classic black and stainless steel look most speakers and computer peripherals tend to lean towards. Their white plastic shell and black accents doesn’t look all that terrible, and depending on your particular desk arrangement, they can actually come off looking pretty sleek. Nothing about this set really feels cheap, though the plastic material is a definite cost saver especially on the subwoofer, which is usually a wooden enclosure.

The controller has line-in and headphone ports allowing you to quickly switch to headphones for privacy and attach an mp3 player which mixes with the primary input. This is a feature typically reserved for pricier sets. It has a very sturdy feel and giant volume knob that has a very smooth feel to it. A separate control on the side targets the level of bass.

No matter how good speakers look or their controls feel, nothing matters more than the quality of sound. This is one area where this particular system excels. The bass is powerful, even on low to medium settings, and the highs and mids are fairly good on lower volumes. If you crank the speakers up you start to lose some of the mid-range sound while the subwoofer keeps cranking the bass while the highs scream out of the satellites. This can be especially annoying when listening to music. In any volume that could be considered apartment-acceptable, the AY410 performs remarkably well even when compared directly with the $99 Bose Companion 2 system.

Overall this is a pretty decent offer when compared to other systems in its price range. This isn’t a terrible budget system and at its price point I generally wouldn’t expect plenty of amplification, rich sound, and a powerful bass. It looks like the biggest cost-reducing step taken with their design was the materials. While the official price may come with a little sticker shock, refurbished AY410 systems are sold in electronics stores all over at a considerable discount.

Will All Future Notebooks Look Like The Apple MacBook Air?

I read an article yesterday in which there was an interview with the CEO of Nvidia. His take on the future of the notebook computer is that they all would resemble the Apple MacBook Air. He also stated that since there are no heat pipes, fans, nor the addition of extra batteries to carry around, a thin, light notebook made sense. He also stated that this was his vision for notebook computers by the year 2012.

While I respect this person’s opinion, and while I also believe that all future notebooks will be lighter and faster, one needs to look at what happened to Dell. In 2009 Dell introduced its Adamo notebook computer, which was going to be a direct competitor against the Apple MacBook Air. Priced at $2,000 when it was first introduced, the lightweight, thin notebook did not sell well.

Dell is eliminating its Adamo notebooks. At its outlet center I found two models being sold at steep discounts:

Adamo XPS notebook without a DVD RW drive for between $919 to $999

Adamo XPS notebook with an external DVD RW drive for $999

All of these computers come with Intel Core 2 Duo 1.4GHZ processors, 4GB of RAN, 128 GB solid state drive and Windows 7 Home Premium. Screen size is a modest 13.4″ and the units weight in at about 4 lbs. So much for the air aspect of a lightweight computer.

So why did the Dell Adamo fail? Price. Few of us could afford $2,000 for a notebook.

With newer ARM Processors and the new Tegra Processors from NVidia, the future does in fact look bright for thin notebooks. In addition the promise of new processors that come with the operating system on-board could bring to us instant on computers. This is one of the things I truly like about the Google Chrome Cr-48 test computer. Boot is instant.

What do you think? Was Dell ahead of its time? Can you see yourself with a lightweight notebook in your future?

Comments welcome.

Source – CNET

Source – Dell Outlet

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Dell Inspiron Duo – Part Tablet And Part Notebook – Reviewed

Just before the holidays, I had spoken with a neighbor who was looking to buy a new computer. He mentioned his looking at both notebook and tablet computers, but was having trouble making up his mind. I briefly mentioned the Dell Inspiron Duo, and its part notebook part tablet design; I basically didn’t give it further thought about what he bought — until on Monday night when he called. Sure enough he had ordered a Dell Inspiron Duo several weeks ago and he knew I had a Cr-48. So we decided to swap computers for a day, which gave me the opportunity to review the Duo.

The first thing I had to do was put my prejudice aside regarding Dell computers. A decade ago I recommended Dell computers to all of my clients. But when Dell farmed out its technical support overseas, like others did, Dell lost its credibility. It became just ‘another PC maker’ and it was not offering anything new nor innovative. It also seemed to me that the quality of its hardware suffered. Again, Dell was no worse nor better than the others like HP, Compaq, and Acer to name a few.

Here is the first thing you must accept. Repeat after me: This is not an Apple iPad, this is not an Apple iPad. The Duo touch screen works fairly well. The only issue I noticed was that it appeared to me to be sluggish in performance. This could be a hardware issue since the little Duo comes with the Intel 1.5Ghz Dual-Core Atom processor. Windows 7 needs some extra horses, in my opinion. Also, I would prefer 3 GB of RAM instead of 2 GB, but that is just me.

Flipping from tablet mode to notebook mode is fairly simple. You just flip the screen and you are ready to go. But like with all touchscreen devices, this one is also a fingerprint magnet. For some of us, fingerprints aren’t a bother. But for me, I hate greasy fingerprints. I even keep my cell phone case and screen clean and free of fingerprints.

The Duo is also thick and heavy. Trying to hold the unit in one hand and use the touch screen with the other requires a good deal of strength. I had my wife try it and she thought it was heavy for holding in one hand, but worked just fine when placed on her lap or table.

I have another concern about the Duo. Since this is a brand new product and a brand new design, I wonder how long one could continue to flip the screen before developing problems? I think that waiting for the second generation of the Duo is advisable, unless you need the latest and greatest right now.

I think that Dell has a great idea and the Duo at $549 is reasonably priced for what you get. Yes, the notebook/touchscreen Duo could use a few additional hardware features, like more RAM, faster processor, better Web cam, and a media card reader. A future version of the Duo that addresses these concerns could be a winner, IMO.

If you own a Duo, please share your experience with us.

Comments welcome.

Source – Dell

Samsung’s Slider Tablet Combo Notebook (Say That Three Times Fast!)

A few days ago, I had mentioned that one of the problems with the tablet computers, were that they were not equipped with a real QWERTY keyboard. Though Dell has a device with a flip screen that doubles as both a tablet and notebook, Samsung seems to have the right idea in design and function. Samsung will introduce in March of this year, a tablet computer with a slide out keyboard. The unit, pictured below, has just one small problem. It comes with Windows 7 installed, which has not received rave reviews when running on a tablet computer.

Some of the technical facts are:

As far as technical details are concerned, the 7 Series will be available in 32- or 64GB and Samsung is reporting expandable storage via a 4-in-1 memory card reader which sounds neat on paper but we’d like some more details. There’s also a HDMI port for sharing multimedia on HD TVs which is something we haven’t seen on a lot of tablets so far. Webcam on the front is standard but as far as we can tell there’s no back-facing cam.

The computer will also have an Intel Atom processor at 1.66GHz, but no mention how much RAM the unit will have, but my guess will be about 2 GB of RAM. Windows 7 needs at least that much to function at an acceptable performance rate.

Price for the unit will retail at about $699.

Comments welcome.

Source – Mobile Magazine

What Is The Best Laptop, Desktop And HDTV?

Yesterday I mentioned to my wife that I was struggling with trying to find an interesting subject to write about. She mentioned that I should write about which computer products or HDTV’s that are on sale. Though I agree that price is always a concern when making a major purchase, but that reliability is what I look at as well. After talking to her I glanced at the current issue of PC World and there it was. A reliability article for laptop, desktop computers and HDTV’s.

What I are articles that are generated by real world users. People like you and I that actually own the product and use it on a daily basis. Though I respect opinions from those who write computer or HDTV articles, I would take the opinions of actually users over one writer. With this information at hand, I decided to read the article to see if I agreed with those who responded to the reliability survey.

Laptop computers. The top 3 laptop computer companies were Apple, Asus and Toshiba. I have owned, recommended to clients and family the Toshiba brand. So I wasn’t surprised that Toshiba was high up on the list. What was surprising was the bottom 3 companies, HP, Dell and Gateway. These 3 companies at one timed were considered as having very reliable computers. Times have changed and now these 3 are at the bottom of the list.

Desktop computers. The top 3 desktop computers were Apple, Asus and Alienware. The bottom 3 again were Dell, HP and Gateway. It is interesting to see how the mighty have fallen. I have a 5-year-old Gateway that runs like a champ and I have never had a problem. I personally would never buy a HP or Dell system, but that is just my personal preference.

HDTV. The 3 top brands were Panasonic, LG and Sony. This came as a surprise since I thought that Samsung would have been among the top 3 brands. But Samsung only rated in 13 out of 17 places mentioned in the article. The bottom 3 were ViewSonic, Mitsubishi and JVC. What was surprising is that Panasonic is one of the only remaining companies that still makes a Plasma HDTV. I own two of these are they are great.

What brands do you think are best and why? Share your opinion.

Comments welcome.

Source is the January 2011 printed version of PC World – no link available.

Mobile i5: 6 Months Later

I have been using my Dell Studio 1749 (Core i5 2.27GHz, 4GB RAM, 500GB 7,200RPM HDD, and ATI graphics card) for about 6 months now, and it’s still going strong. This is the first computer I have had that’s not part of the famous Core2Duo range, and I have owned this computer longer than any other (even my Macintoshes started flagging at 4/5 months).

There should be an image here!Now, yes, I do use my computers all the time, and yes, a desktop would probably be a better investment for me, but this Mobile i5 is super fast and has yet to even lag with anything I do to it. Hats off to Intel there.

Just the other day, I had a Virtual Machine open, a video editor, Web browser, and an email client. A usual Intel C2D freezes at this point, trust me. The i5 just did what it was supposed to do, and it did the same the day I got the laptop.

In conclusion, the i5 is one of the best, most durable and fastest laptop processors out there today. It could handle anything you throw at it. So, time for an upgrade?

Toby Staton-Bevan is an English teenager who has a passion for tomorrow’s technology. Stop by his blog, Intelligent Tech, or his YouTube channel, and say hello!

The New Dell Inspiron Duo – Is It A Good Idea Or A Great Idea?

Dell is getting ready to introduce a new Inspiron model that is dual purpose. One side is a tablet and when you flip the screen you have a notebook computer. Specifications for the new computer include an Intel 1.5 GHz dual-core Atom processor, 2GB RAM, 250 hard drive, Broadcom HD graphics accelerator and Windows 7 Home Premium will be standard.

Here is what the unit looks like:

Once the screen is flipped you have either a tablet or notebook:

The Dell computer will come in black, blue and red. The chassis is made of a rubber material for protection and secure handling. Battery life is limited to only 3 hours. The unit does come with 2 USB ports and Java support.

Pricing starts at $549.

But here is a question for you. Is this a good idea or a great idea? Would you buy one?

Comments welcome.

Source – Dell

Source – Yahoo News

Have You Ever Wanted To Streak? You Can This Friday

We have dumb phones, smart phones, netbooks, tablets, and laptops. All of these devices have their pros and cons. Dell is going to introduce what is called a ‘Streak,’ which will try to be the Swiss army knife for all devices. Some are describing the new device as a ‘tween-er’ — somewhere between a smart phone, netbook, laptop, or whatever type of device you can think of. But can Dell pull off a magician’s trick and make us consumers believe that one device can do it all?

The Streak has a 5″ screen compared to the 9.7″ screen of an iPad or 3.5″ screen of the iPhone 4. According to Dell, users will be able to view Android supported widgets easily and their 5″ screen will eliminate squinting.

The Dell Streak gets a 5-megapixel camera with a dual-LED flash in back, a front-facing camera for video chat, the powerful 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 2GB of internal storage, Bluetooth capability and Wi-Fi connectivity. According to Dell, the Streak will ship with the Android 1.6 OS.

But here is the amazing part. You can even make phone calls with it! The price for the Streak will be $299 with a two-year service contract with AT&T. There is one minor problem with the size of the device. The Android and iPhone have what can only be described as the ‘cool factor.’ I must admit I have used both Android and iPhones and they are cool looking. So how will consumers take to a device this big?

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

Source – Christian Science Monitor

Are You An Apple iPad User? Microsoft Wants To Place you Under The Microscope

Apple iPad Users Can Be Part Of A Microsoft Survey

Microsoft is looking for Apple iPad users to be part of a survey being held at its Redmond campus. The study is intended to study how people use their iPad. It seems that anyone can sign up for the study, which will last about two hours. The study will be between July 16th to July 21st, 2010.  The only mention of payment is stated as:

In appreciation for your time, each participant will be offered a Microsoft gratuity item

To sign up just follow these easy instructions:

If you are interested, please respond to the questions below to [email protected] with the subject line “iPad”:

• Name/Age
• Phone Number
• Job Title/Company
• Are you employed full time?
• Are you a student?
• Do you own an iPad?

It should be interesting to see how people respond, since most people who bought the Apple iPad could be considered Apple fanboys. As most of us know, Apple users have no great love for Microsoft and may be reluctant to help what they may consider the enemy camp. LOL

Comments welcome.

Source – TechCrunch

Dell Responds To Lawsuit, Capacitor Problem In OptiPlex Computers

In what I found to be an interesting read, Dell has responded on their blog, to the capacitor problem they had experienced in their OptiPlex computers. The company stated that this was an industry wide problem involving capacitors from one the leading suppliers for all computer companies. The faulty capacitors were made by Nichicon between 2003 to 2005, and not all computers that had the capacitors failed. It seems that according to Dell, it was an issue of how many of the faulty capacitors were used on a particular motherboard that determined how soon the board would fail;

Dell states these points:

  • This is an issue we addressed with customers some years ago. The Advanced Internet Technologies lawsuit is three years old and does not involve any current Dell products.
  • Dell did not knowingly ship faulty motherboards, and we worked directly with customers in situations where the issue occurred.
  • This was not a Dell-specific issue, but an industry-wide problem.
  • Dell extended the warranty for up to five years for customers who had affected machines.
  • This is not a safety issue.

The blog post goes on to state further evidence from Dell that they took the proper actions and repaired the faulty computers in a timely manner. But not everyone who read the blog post agreed:

The quote “Emphasize uncertainty” is the most troubling. Dell knew there was a problem and rather than be open and forthcoming about potential issues, they chose to leave their customers in the dark. It’s not like the failure rate was 5 or 10%, we’re talking about problems occurring in 97% of the Optiplex machines containing the effected capacitors over a 3 year time span. This number comes straight from a Dell study.

Another reader posted this comment:

Dell “addressed with customers” the problem?

It did not. I am sure there are many, many customers who had no idea there were any such problems until reading this article, or probably still do not know there were any problems. I had a desktop in the time period completely melt down due to overheating, never happened before on over a dozen Dell machines.

Never heard once about a recall, any faulty parts, or any steps I should have taken to fix it.

You can check out what Dell also had to say in their defense. I have no opinion whether good or bad about the situation since I personally had no issues with Dell systems failing. These machines were usually used by government and businesses.

Comments welcome.

Source – Dell Blog

Dell Shipping Faulty Computers

There should be an image here!Dell is not the company that it was in the ’90s. There is really no question of this considering the poor customer service, subpar products provided, and apparent lack of interest in what its customers want.

Then, as if to drive the point further, we see an article like this. Dell allegedly sold faulty computers to a multitude of outlets and customers. It seems that there were faulty capacitors involved and the talk on the street is Dell knew of this all along.

Clearly this is not the kind of PR Dell needs at the moment; it should be interesting to see if it makes like Toyota and deals with this head on or, instead, hides behind excuses. I expect that it will eventually have to deal with this head on.

[Photo above by ammanteufel / CC BY-ND 2.0]

Dell Sold 11.8M Computers That Were Doomed To Fail – Did The Company Try To Hide The Problem?

Between May 2003 to July 2005, Dell allegedly had sold some 11.8 million computers to various business and government clients. But what is now coming to light is that the company knew the computers could fail, yet they purposely continued to sell the faulty models. These models that Dell sold were their OptiPlex desktop computers designed specifically designed for business and government use.

In one allegation, from the University of Texas, Dell stated that the computers failed because the machines were subjected to an overload of mathematical calculations.  Duh! Isn’t that what computers do? LOL It seems that these millions of bad boxes were sold to anyone and everyone including the lawyers who are defending  Dell, who also were victims of the bad computers. I guess sharks all gather together when the money is good.

In a recent article it went on to state:

Documents recently unsealed in a three-year-old lawsuit against Dell show that the company’s employees were actually aware that the computers were likely to break. Still, the employees tried to play down the problem to customers and allowed customers to rely on trouble-prone machines, putting their businesses at risk. Even the firm defending Dell in the lawsuit was affected when Dell balked at fixing 1,000 suspect computers, according to e-mail messages revealed in the dispute.

The documents chronicling the failure of the PCs also help explain the decline of one of America’s most celebrated and admired companies. Perhaps more than any other company, Dell fought to lower the price of computers.

Its “Dell model” became synonymous with efficiency, outsourcing and tight inventories, and was taught at the Harvard Business School and other top-notch management schools as a paragon of business smarts and outthinking the competition.

A study by Dell found that OptiPlex computers affected by the bad capacitors were expected to cause problems up to 97 percent of the time over a three-year period, according to the lawsuit.

But Dell employees went out of their way to conceal these problems. In one e-mail exchange between Dell customer support employees concerning computers at the Simpson Thacher & Bartlett law firm, a Dell worker states, “We need to avoid all language indicating the boards were bad or had ‘issues’ per our discussion this morning.”

In other documents about how to handle questions around the faulty OptiPlex systems, Dell salespeople were told, “Don’t bring this to customer’s attention proactively” and “Emphasize uncertainty.”

I don’t think that Dell will ever be able to shake off this image of knowingly selling faulty systems. But what is incredible is that they thought no one would notice. Hello! We are talking about almost 12 million computers.

To be fair, one must consider that other companies also had similar problems that were attributed to bad compositors. But Dell was expected to handle this situation differentially since consumers had placed so much confidence in the company and their computers.

Comments welcome.

Source – NY Times

Will HP, Dell, And Acer Be The First To Get Google Chromium OS?

Previously it had been reported that Acer would be one of the OEMs that would in fact be using the Google Chromium OS. Acer is well known for its unflattering opinion of Microsoft after Vista was unleashed on the masses. Just about two years ago I did an article in which Acer stated that Vista was the worst OS ever. [July 26, 2007 article is here] Also, HP had previously indicated that it was interested in the Chromium OS as well, but adding Dell to the list could be another feather in Google’s cap.

Here is the information that could support HP, Dell and Acer, supporting Google’s Chromium OS:

Officially, Google has only stated that Chrome OS devices will be arriving late this fall “from select partners.” So who might those partners include? If the files I spotted in the Chromium OS Git repository are any indication, Acer, Dell and HP are good bets. The overlay-x86 bits take care of configuring Chrome’s hardware support during the build process — so these would seem to indicate that Dell, Acer, and HP might be at the point where they’re building the OS for specific configs.

Apart from the conspicuous files, all three have already been connected to Chrome OS in some way. Dell engineers put together a customized build for their Mini 10V netbook shortly after Google opened the Chromium OS code. As Sebastian wrote recently, HP is tinkering with Cloud Print — which will feature prominently in Chrome OS. They’re also not averse to trying different things with their netbooks — like their heavily-customized Ubuntu remix.

As for Acer… Well, if anyone’s willing to try cramming a Chrome OS dual boot option onto a netbook, it’s Acer. They already tried an Android/Windows combo with the AOD250, but that didn’t turn out so well.

If these three big OEMs do in fact decide to use Google Chromium OS, this could be a giant shot in the arm for Google. Needless to say that Microsoft would not be overjoyed at the prospects. Microsoft has held the operating system lead for so many years that it will not look kindly on any outsiders giving it a run for its money.

Comments welcome.

Source – Downbloadsquad

Raising The Standards For System Management

There should be an image here!This Web seminar takes place on Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010 at 7:00 AM Pacific Daylight Time. Select Register to attend this event.

When was the last time you talked to your product? When was the last time your product talked back?

A sound system management strategy makes it possible for you to stay in touch with your product through good and bad times. Until recently, the lack of standards resulted in solutions that were too specific for most designs. With the development of DMTF standards such as DASH, WS-Man and CIM, the system management ecosystem is becoming interoperable and flexible, making now a great time to learn about the technologies you could be leveraging to lower deployment and maintenance costs.

What you will learn:

  1. Problems addressed by systems management today
  2. The DMTF Standards
    1. Desktop and mobile Architecture for System Hardware (DASH) Initiative
    2. Web Services for Management
    3. Common Information Model (CIM) Standards
  3. DASH implementation in the XE
    1. Architecture
    2. nique sensors
    3. SDK
  4. vPro vs. TruManage
  5. The future of systems management

Duration: 1 hour

Who should attend:

  • System architects
  • Firmware and hardware developers
  • System management and IT professionals

Joe Kozlowski, Manageability Architect, Dell

Joe Kozlowski is an Architect on Dell’s Advanced Engineering team specializing in systems management. Joe has 15 years of experience with Dell’s Systems Management technologies. Joe has been the lead architect on many of Dell’s manageability features. Joe co-chairs the DMTF’s SDMWG working group and is a member of various other DMTF working groups and has authored and contributed to many of the DMTF standards in use by the industry today.

Josh Neland, Global OEM marketing, Dell

Josh Neland handles Global OEM marketing at Dell for workstations, desktops and portable based solutions. Over the past eight years at dell, he has also participated in consumer product line marketing, supply chain management, quality improvement, firmware development and factory infrastructure. Before joining Dell, Josh worked for various start-ups, including Trilogy where he developed configuration solutions for the automotive industry. Josh has a degree in Computer Engineering for Texas A&M University.

[awsbullet:Kathy Schwalbe]

Repeat After Me, ‘The Dell Streak Is Not A Tablet!’

This is an Apple iPad:

  • 9.7-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit glossy widescreen Multi-Touch display with IPS technology
  • 1024-by-768-pixel resolution at 132 pixels per inch (ppi)
  • Fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating
  • Support for display of multiple languages and characters simultaneously
  • 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB flash drive1GHz Apple A4 custom-designed, high-performance, low-power system-on-a-chip
  • Built-in 25-watt-hour rechargeable lithium-polymer battery
  • Up to 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi-Fi, watching video, or listening to music
  • Up to 9 hours of surfing the web using 3G data network

This is a Dell Streak:

  • A sharp 5-inch capacitive multi-touch WVGA (800×480) display for a great full-screen experience watching video or browsing the web
  • Fast 1GHz Snapdragon ARM-based mobile processor from Qualcomm
  • 5 MP autofocus camera with dual LED flash that offers easy point & shoot capability and quick uploads to YouTube, Flickr, Facebook and more
  • VGA front-facing camera enables video chat functionality down the road
  • A user-removable (and replaceable) battery
  • A 3.5mm headphone jack means many of you can use the Dell Streak as the music source (and more) in your car
  • Integrated 3G + Wi-Fi (802.11b/g) + Bluetooth 2.1 (think headsets, external keyboards, stereo headsets, etc.)
  • UMTS / GPRS / EDGE class 12 GSM radio with link speeds of HSDPA 7.2 Mbps / HSUPA
  • A user-accessible Micro SD slot expandable up to 32GB. That means you can store  lots of movies, music, photos or other kinds of files.

These two devices are very different from each other, not only in size but also in function. Anyone who even thinks that these two devices can even be considered similar, is sadly mistaken.

So what do you think? Can these devices be considered the same?

Comments welcome.

Dell source

Apple source

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