Laptop Or Desktop: The Ultimate Question

So which is it? Are you someone who is interested in seeing your screen smaller and portable when logging onto the world of computers or, instead, do you enjoy the comfort of sitting in front of a desktop? This has been something discussed amongst geeks for years. Despite this, it appears that no real progress has actually been made.

No, even speaking for myself, I find that I am unable to really decide which way is the best to work from. It really depends on my mood. When I am on top of my game, there is no question that working from within my home office on the desktop is where I prefer to be.

But if I am feeling under the weather a bit, then I’ve found that working from my notebook provides me with the kind of mobility a sick person might come to expect.

So what about you? Which type of computing appliance best meets your needs? Hit the comments and let us know how you best like to get your geek on.

Display Your Laptop Screen On A Projector In Windows 7

Windows 7 makes it easy to display your laptop’s desktop on a project. All you need to do is press the Windows key + P and a pop-up box appears. From the Display Switch settings pop-up box, you can change how you want your desktop displayed on the projector, as described below:

  • The first setting, also the default, displays on the computer screen only.
  • The second setting clones the computer display to the projector.
  • The third setting extends the computer display across both the screen and the projector.
  • The fourth setting switches the display to the projector and turns off the computer screen.

Furthermore, pressing the Windows key + X launches the Windows Mobility Center. From here you can turn on presentation mode which disables the screensaver, changes to a neutral wallpaper and turns your status on your instant messenger client to “do not disturb.”

Robot Fragmentation Graphite Graffiti


Whether you call ’em notebooks or laptops, the little buggers still need fixin’ from time to time.

Six degrees of Summer Glau?

For excellent savings and all of your downloading needs, be sure to check out our downloads page! It is updated frequently, and there are great finds!

What’s the old saying? “A pencil never forgets?” Something like that.

If Twitter were around when Matthew Broderick was playing WarGames, he may have updated his status like this.

GoToAssist can help you provide instant support to clients, friends, or family members.

I always wondered why the Terminator had to ask around for Sarah Connor. Robots are stupid!

IBM Lotus Symphony for OS X review.

If you’re looking for the best way to maintain your home or office network, look no further than SolarWinds.

Can you say “file fragmentation filter” ten times fast?

The war against graffiti just got a secret weapon in its arsenal.

If even Google’s Chrome browser is too slow and bloated for you, try Midori.

Going for a tech job? The person interviewing you may not be very tech-savvy. Speak their language.

Curious about PerfectDisk 10 Professional? It’s got a trial version (and here’s a review).

OS X browser crashing? Maybe we depend on Flash a little too much.

Maybe Windows 7 won’t be so touchy-feely, after all.

Capturing images on your screen is pretty simple, right? But what if you want to do more with them? Then you want to snag a copy of SnagIt. How did you ever get along without screen capture software? This one even integrates with AOL instant messenger and potentially your blog, too! Start your next screen capture the right way — manage it with TechSmith’s SnagIt.

Easy Laptop Fixes For Fun And Profit

Okay, so the for profit part of the title likely depends on how “clean” the job you do actually is. This being said, I do believe that this article has some fantastic tips on how you can save a lot of money doing otherwise simple laptop repairs yourself. And let’s face it, if that old laptop is out of warranty, this is approach is likely the best approach.

Easily the two best tips I found from the link above had to be the fan troubleshooting and removal, plus the skinny on how to best deal with a stuck key on your keyboard. These two tips are very handy and are worth bookmarking the article alone in my opinion.

But without a doubt, most people are going to give it up for help with dealing with a waterlogged laptop. Seriously, very little hurts more in life that bumping over a soda onto your brand new MacBook Pro or some other expensive portable computing device.

Do you have some laptop repair tips you might like to share? Perhaps you would enjoy smacking me for calling notebooks laptops? Whatever you have, feel free to hit the comments with your thoughts on this subject.


Google Chrome OS Potentially Bad For Google?

Whoever wrote this article clearly has followed very little on how Google does things and just how effective they can be at avoiding massive problems when something goes wrong. But before getting into this, let’s first examine how Google will likely keep things running pretty smoothly in the first place.

First off, Chrome OS will likely be put out there with generally tight controls. Open enough for people to mess with, but tightened up out of the box in any case. I have seen other Linux distros do this with great success. Just provide a single avenue for software installation and updates and make sure the patches are designed for select hardware and chances are things will be fine. Sound familiar? Think different, think Apple.

I have no question in my mind that Google will be following some of Apple’s approach to hardware for those people who just want things to work. For those who want to install the OS on their own hardware, Google will use our old friend the beta label. That beta label will give Google as much of a pass as it could possibly need.

And finally, I would also point out that Chrome’s development will be much like we are seeing with Android: under Google control, but not distracting it from its search efforts in the slightest. In short, setting such a small goal as netbooks only is very obtainable for Google. Anyone who has used Linux for an extended period of time realizes just how simple this actually is.


To Netbook Or Not To Netbook

Recently, I received an email question as to whether or not now is the time to buy a netbook. The big issue the person asking the question had was concern over buying a netbook only to have it being seen as obsolete a short time later.

Look, netbooks are, by nature, pretty low-power. So being overly concerned about them becoming outdated is almost a moot point. The fact of the matter is that I would be more concerned about keyboard accessibility than whether or not the CPU is top of the line. After all, it’s a netbook… so it is likely to be underpowered.

Should you be looking at buying a netbook now? Actually, the question should be whether a notebook might instead be a better option. If power and processing ability are the focus, then clearly going with a netbook makes no sense.


Netbook, CULV Notebooks or Laptop – You Decide

This holiday season is going to be a bit more confusing as OEM’s add CULV [consumer ultra-low voltage] to the shopping list of netbook and laptop computers. So who is who and what is what? Over at cnet they describe the units this way:

Netbooks are mini-notebooks with screens between 9 and 11 inches, that have lower-power processors, and fewer features, but very attractive price points. CULV-based notebooks are ultrathin notebooks. They come with a more traditional 12- or 13-inch screen, but are also very low-power, so they have great battery life. Starting at $600 to $1,000, they’ll occupy the price range just a step above Netbooks, which run between $200 and $500.

I guess we can than toss in the traditional laptop with screens in the 14″ to 17″ range, full featured and priced from a low of $350 up to a few grand.

So what we consumers are going to have is a lot of choices that should offer something for everyone. I personally look forward to testing one of the new CULV’s to see how they function compared to a full blown lappy.

What about you? CULV sound good to you?

Comments welcome.


A Leading Text Editor For Gnomies

A long friend and supporter of Lockergnome has an award-winning software program. Eric Fookes is the creator and driving force behind the NoteTab program. This program has won numerous awards, and it is recognized as one of the very best text and HTML editors available.

Usually, the programs suggested here have gone through some extensive scrutiny. The assessment process for Eric’s program goes far beyond the normal review process. There are ‘Gnomies’ we know who use this program every day for all their text editing, and they’ve used NoteTab for years. One long-time NoteTab fan likes using the multiple text document feature. Think of it as a text editor with a tabbed browsing feature. People are truly loyal to this program and they could never function without their NoteTab.

There is an extensive description given at the Fookes Software site. You may wonder why you need a text editor. It is essential for organizing your work and, at the very elementary level, it saves your time (and sanity). This probably has happened to you: On some email correspondence or blog comment, you’ve spent time composing and putting down your thoughts in exactly the way that you want. You’ve hit “send” or “post” and something (or nothing) happens. The browser tried to work… and then there was an error. All that work was gone — lost! If you’d used a text editor, all you would have had to do was go back to the text editor and copy your work again. Then you could have tried to paste it in the email or blog a second time without having to re-think and re-do the whole process again.

There are really too many features to this program to mention adequately. Here is a quick outline of the key features. It really is one of the best text and HTML editors available. Eric is allowing our readers a special, time-limited discount on his programs:

NoteTab Pro: $10 discount

NoteTab Standard: $5 discount

This offer expires on June 30th, 2009. NoteTab can be used on “Windows 95 / 98 / 2000 / 2003 / NT4 / ME / XP / XP64 / Vista / Vista64, or Mac OS / Linux in conjunction with Wine.”

If you are doing text work, this is a must have program. It simply makes your work easier and you will wonder how you managed without it. NoteTab is that good.

New Notebook – AA Batteries Not Included

These days, hearing about low-end notebooks/netbooks for under $200 is not really the news it once was. And let’s be honest, at this price the product you receive is not going to be anything to write home about with regard to performance really.

But one unique angle with this particular laptop is rather than using the typical laptop battery one might expect to come with this model, this notebook actually users simple AA batteries! Great if you are at the airport and need a quick charge from the nearest gift shop, bad if you are stuck without being able to use rechargeables as buying batteries the time could get to be a bit pricey.

Overall, I can almost see the appeal of this lower end notebook. I mean, being able to swap out batteries with a never ending supply from your local 7-11 does have a rather nice appeal.


Toshiba Introduces Laptop With 512 GB SSD

Toshiba is introducing their newest notebook computer with a whopping 512 GB SSD drive. Toshiba claims that this is the worlds largest SSD to date being offered to the market place. Toshiba is also offering this computer for sale at their online store.

Toshiba issued the following statement about the new system:

Toshiba Corporation (TOKYO: 6502), reinforcing its “dynabook SS RX2 series” of notebook PCs offering light weight, slim lines, and long-lasting battery operation, today announced the introduction of the top-of-the-range “dynabook SS RX2/WAJ,” world’s first(1) PC integrating 512GB SSD (Solid State Drive). The new model is available in two versions from today at Toshiba’s on-line shop for the Japanese market.

The new, Toshiba-developed 512GB SSD employs a 2-bit-per-cell multi-level NAND flash memory to realize, the world’s largest capacity SSD, with four times the density of SSD integrated into currently available products(2). Furthermore, a new controller that realizes high-speed parallel processing with the multi-level NAND flash memory boosts data access speeds by approximately 230%(3) for read (max. 230MB per sec) and 450%(3) for write (max.180MB per sec), compared with SSD integrated into current PCs. It also boosts data access speed by approx. 300%(3) for read and 250%(3) for write, compared to a hard disk drive (HDD)(4). SSDs are free of mechanical structures such as a rotating disc, and ideal for integration into mobile notebook PCs, making them more resistant to vibration and shock.

The dynabook SS RX2 is a mobile notebook PC created to the design concept of “true mobility”. Its light (approx.1,095g), thin (19.5mm to 25.5mm) design integrates capabilities essential for mobile notebook PCs, including long-time battery operation (12 hours)(5) and a ruggedness that sailed through tests(6) by an independent certification organization. Integration of an SSD reinforces the hallmark performance excellence of the RX2, making the notebook perfect for use on the go. The RX2 also achieves an energy-saving design that cuts power consumption by adopting an ultra-low voltage CPU, a transreflective LCD that uses natural sunlight to make screen images more visible even without switching on the backlight, not to mention the power-efficient SSD.

Toshiba will continue to meet users’ needs by developing and commercializing notebook PCs integrating advanced features and functionality.

Now the first thing you want to know is how much? Toshiba lists the system at 423,000 yen which is about $4,400 in US dollars. Pricey unit.

Comments welcome.


Truly Honest Linux Opinions

Without a doubt, this is one of the most honest Linux articles I have read in a very long time. Up until now, we had either Linux fans such as myself giving our perspectives or the Windows reliant blogger giving his latest top ten why Linux is just too difficult to be switched over to.

Speaking for myself, as someone who uses Linux on most of his desktops/notebooks each and everyday, I see the Linux situation as follows.

Is Linux too difficult for the average user?

It’s basically, like teaching someone to go from an automatic to a manual transmission based car. There is more to it, but the advantages are readily available. This said, it is NOT for everyone. But with a pre-configured system…I have seen it work for people from all walks of life time after time.

It’s too difficult for most people to install and setup.

Actually, if the user is able to install the distro as the dedicated OS rather than foolishly trying to trust it to dual-boot cleanly, it is brainlessly simple to install. The trick, is that most people do not install their own operating systems. Yes, I said it. Most people are not installing Windows. It is either pre-installed for them, with drivers for most of their stuff ready to go…or they hired a tech to do this for them. In my experience, I found the same to be true with Linux. My mom’s bookstore used Linux boxes for years at the bookstore. If maintained just like one would maintain any business’s computers, the setup runs just fine.

Software is not plentiful, presents a learning curve and codecs are missing.

No, yes and sort of. That about covers it, right? Well the truth is the software is out there, but is not really presented in the best light possible in my opinion. Yes, Yum, apt-get and other methods of installation are really not all that bad, especially with fancy GUI front-end methods of installation. But when you live in a world of MS Word, Quickbooks and Outlook – knowing where to find solid alternatives is something that comes with time when switching to Linux. Sadly, no set of repositories is really so complete that you will not end up on Google looking for yet more alternatives to those legacy apps. They often exist, but finding them is a learned art in some instances.

Then there is the perceived learning curve. Clearly there is no real learning curve with switching from Outlook to Evolution or Outlook Express to Thunderbird. But what about going from a Windows based publishing program to Scribus or Windows Movie Maker to KINO? You bet there is a learning curve there! And taking up for the Windows user, it can be amazingly frustrating. I say this as I think back to my early Linux days…

Finally, we have the perceived “missing codecs” for MP3s, etc. Well, assuming something like Ubuntu is coming into play, the perceived level of difficulty comes down to how the user is first trying to play the music or movie. In a Windows world, the licenses have all been paid and the user is ready to play just about everything out of the box with the exception of DVDs. Yet with Linux distributions such as Ubuntu, the user may not be alerted to why the MP3 or other restricted licensed format is not playing when it is tapped to do so.

If I am trying to play an MP3 in browser for instance, Ubuntu may not play the media without really explaining why. Yet if I download an MP3 from Amazon, then try to play it by double clicking it, I will be alerted to needing to install “restricted codecs”, which sounds really scary and would certainly turn me off if I did not understand what was going on.

Personally, Fedora has the best approach to this as that distro actually will provide you a means of staying legal here in the States by being able to purchase the license to play those restricted formats. Yeah, it must seem like a raw deal to have to pay for something that Windows and Mac seemingly provide for free, but the truth is those OS’ already paid the license fees. So it makes sense that the Linux user also have the opportunity to do the same should they choose to. And both restricted codecs and DVD playback is indeed available for purchase at the Ubuntu store. Time to put the money where are mouths are.

Unmanaged, Linux is for geeks – managed, Linux is for anyone who wants what it offers.

Unpopular amongst Linux purists for years now, I have been steadfast in my belief that Linux is about personal choice – not making your operating system a political statement. This means the freedom to choose to install open source and proprietary software so long as all licenses (closed and open source) are adhered to.

Over the years, I have switched a number of people over to Linux while leaving others to their existing operating system. Different strokes for different folks. There is no single answer for everyone. This being said, I have found with total honesty that managed by someone with an understanding to an operating system’s inner workings, any OS can be made very usable for most people. This means Windows, Linux or OS X. I have found that the OS is only as valuable as the person managing it. Sometimes this means the end user, more often than not, this means the local repair tech.

For me, this largely means Linux as it has proven to be a massive time saver for me to manage. See, I retired from the PC repair industry sometime ago. And for many folks, this meant breaking the Windows XP habit for alternatives as my days of babysitting needed to come to an end.

But there are more than one alternative to Windows XP. It just depends on what the user was needing from their computer. Vista, OS X and yes…Linux each had their place. Once remotely managed and locked down, I have found that all three alternatives worked great and I was able to do remote access when needed for minor issues. Yes, despite my dislike for Vista, it can be made to be secure enough for most people.

My break down for who ended up with what came down to this, mostly.

  • Photographers/Artist types – I just kept them with OS X for reasons stemming to color handling and Photoshop where GIMP was not really working for their needs.
  • Legacy program users – While virtualization is great for me, I try to keep things native whenever possible for others. So this means in some cases, switching from Windows was not something that made sense. And in these cases, despite my own feelings, Vista fit the bill as it ran the client’s legacy programs in compatibility mode.
  • New or casual users – Despite being a big fan of Linux, switching people to another OS is a pain in the you know what. So I found that it is just easier to avoid any learning curves by only switching casual PC users. Not because Linux does not offer enough software, rather because I choose not to dwell on the differences that are involved with going from one program to another. Call me lazy. Casual users are super easy as they are generally using a web browser, email client and maybe the word processor. Games and new software discoveries are just gravy bonuses that happen on their own. :)

The key is whether they are wanting to learn to use it or if instead, desire a managed solution that is is a better fit. In my opinion, this is no different that Windows or OS X in that respect, as tech support is always being sought after to some degree.

The only thing I wish to see happen, is more efforts to bring in software…but to do so more from the approach rather than merely presenting it as the “here it is – go for it” approach. But that is just my take as an existing Linux user. Perhaps others prefer to handle things using alternative methods. Regardless, being open to all of the OS choices has provided me with the strongest level of success I could have ever hoped for. Too bad most people will never realize how powerful adding Linux skills to their IT tool bag can truly be…

Notebooks Will Not Be Replaced

The idea of the notebook eventually being replaced by something handheld, is simply not going to happen in my mind. Not due to technology constraints, rather due to a human constraint – it’s called the human hand. While some of us out there may have hands small enough to make such a transition a possible, the vast majority of adult men have hands large enough to make such a switch highly unlikely.

Another possibility, is the thought that Netbooks may one day replace notebook computers. Again, size remains a factor. As cool as those little Netbooks are, the fact is they are simply too difficult to type on with any level of effectiveness.

Perhaps revisiting those old laser virtual keyboards is the solution? It would certainly provide people with a more viable option that trying to learn how to use those incredibly tiny alternatives seen with typical mobile devices? While it might now be all that great on the netbook front, it might add something new to the tablet PC perhaps?

What say you? Do you think that we will ever actually come to a point where going to a handheld computing device the size of the iPhone will replace the typical notebook computer? Hit the comments, share your thoughts.

Getting A Netbook On Black Friday

For those of us living in the States, the day after (American) Thanksgiving is known as the biggest shopping day of the year — also known as “Black Friday.” Apparently, Mike Elgan of Datamation believes that this year Netbooks will be all the rage. While Mike and I have seen things differently in the past on OS related issue, I happen to think he nails this one with his assessment of how ASUS changed the way we perceived ultra-portables.

Mike also points out the importance of understanding that those expecting XP may end up with Vista or a Linux distribution of some sort. Not that there is anything wrong with either of the above, just so that you realize that should you run software that is not going to work with WINE or is incompatible with Vista for some reason, you will not be caught off guard due to a lack of research ahead of time.

Do I plan on picking up a Netbook this holiday season? Honestly, I am watching my pennies pretty closely as many of us are right now. I have cut back on my holiday spending as, clearly, I have enough computers in my life. A Netbook of some sort would be cool, but I just cannot justify it right now. How about you? Will you be hitting the Black Friday sales this year? This goes out to my Canadian neighbors as well, as I know that with a stronger Canadian dollar than in years past, some deals here in the States can be pretty sweet — duty and all. Hit the comments, would love to hear from those who plan on exploring the deals this year from both countries.

Geeking It Up On An Average Monday

If you’re looking for geeks, we’ve got just the place for you! Now with a membership well over 9,000, our community site is looking for you! Join us! Here’s some of the stuff being talked about there today:

Forum Threads

Blog Posts

If you haven’t joined us yet, what are you waiting for?


HP Small Business Store’s Deals And Steals

On the lookout for business desktops, printers, notebooks, or accessories? The HP Small Business Store has some more great offers for us to pass on to our fellow Gnomies:

Save $933 When You Buy 3 HP Compaq dc5750 Business Desktops and Get 1 Free
Now through 10/31/08

Save up to $500 Instantly on a Designjet 500 printer
Now through 10/31/08

Save up to $771 on Free or Discounted Accessories with Notebook Purchase
Now through 10/31/08

Get the HP On the Run Bundle for only $578
Now through 11/30/08