Boondocking Computer

November 7th, 2011

My beast held up long enough for me to finally decide on a new laptop computer.  I have to admit, I could have picked one out sooner, but I was holding out for AMD to put a Llano A6 processor into a 11-13′ LCD laptop. It didn’t happen within the allotted time, so I ordered an ASUS Eee PC 1215B-PU17-BK. After much research, I believe it delivers the best ROI out of the laptops I compared.

1215B Pros:
8hrs+ battery life
40w power supply
Uses 6-11 Watt hours when idle (my current laptop is closer to 43w)
Uses 16-19 watt hours under load. (current one is closer to 70w)
Priced as low as $300

1215B Cons:
ASUS!
no spill proof keyboard
glossy screen

Johnny’s laptop, an ASUS EEE1005pe is a boondockers dream, but I cannot quite deal with a 10″ screen. If you can, you will be rewarded with up 14hrs (no joke!) of battery life with a 1hr recharge time at 40watts. It’s about as energy efficient as you can get. It’s perfect if you don’t do many CPU intensive tasks.

Anyway. My new laptop should be here this week. For some reason my $14.00 worth of “Amazon Standard Shipping” AKA SmartPost (bleh) is getting it from Kentucky to Colorado in nine days. Not exactly what I thought I was paying for, but it is what it is.

Once it gets here I get to experiment with operating systems. FreeBSD is what I prefer but there are still a lot of hoops to jump through to get it “mostly working” on a Eee PC. It appears that Linux has all the correct drivers, but I haven’t really used Linux since Slackware 7 and prefer FreeBSD. Hopefully, all will go well!

Not Ready To Let Go.

September 3rd, 2011

I seriously need a new laptop. Mine is almost on its last leg, literally. It is missing two of the the four rubber feet that it came with.

The keyboard is toast. About 8 months ago I spilled a beer on it. A deliciously thick, extra sticky porter. I instantly pulled the battery. I then opened it up, entirely, and cleaned everything pretty well. I rinsed the keyboard out in the kitchen sink. Then, I let it all sit around for about two weeks to dry out. It mostly worked after that. There was a 1.5″ blemish on the screen and about 3 keys didn’t function. But hell, I am not picky. It still worked…. until about two months ago. That’s when I, but lets blame the dog, spilled the glass of water on it. Now only three keys work.

The USB ports are flaky.
It’s like my computer is an old Nintendo and my USB device is a Legend of Zelda game cartridge. Sometimes I have to wiggle it, push it in and pull it out until I hear the music. Also, the ports may or may not be active when returning from hibernation which then requires a reboot since de/reactivating them doesn’t do the trick.

My hard drive is failing. I am very surprised it hasn’t, yet. It must be quality. I mean it did survive a ten foot drop off of a balcony and onto the side of a rocky hill. Quality. Darn thing didn’t even blink. I guess the other couple of falls off of the table in front of the sofa, again I totally blame the pets ;), finally did it in. For about the last five months, I have been loosing sectors randomly. Every one in a while, I get to cringe at the *ker-plink* sound my hard drive makes as it reminds me that the end is near.

In addition to all of the poor laptop’s plights, the damned thing causes us to run the generator if we have a couple of cloudy days. It’s a pig. Our inverter says that it pulls up to 160watts when it is charging.

All that and I still haven’t purchased a replacement.

I don’t really want to. My current laptop is what I wanted. Once upon a time(OK more like all my life), I used to game…A LOT A WHOLE LOT. Back then, I got excited about my next video card or processor. Things like the bus speed of the north bridge were really important to me. I researched hardware deeply and knew exactly what the best bang for the buck was going to be. I did the same thing with my current laptop. Now, that gaming isn’t really part of my life anymore, I don’t need a separate video card with decent cache and a ton of memory. I need a hmmm… I guess that’s the problem. I don’t know what I need. Well, I do know one thing. I need a laptop with a smaller screen and a huge battery that is very low voltage and wont be too much of a bugger to get UNIX running on. (OK that’s four things. Sue me) I just don’t know how to research and buy something that’s not an enterprise server or wintendo.

I am going to have to figure it out, though. This computer’s days are numbered and as much as it pains me, it isn’t worth fixing.

Anyone want to buy a used laptop?

Broken

March 26th, 2011

Between my laptop being out of order and being super sick, I’ve been out of commission for a bit. I am not sure which one is worse 😉 Probably the laptop. Once again, it’s power cable is giving me trouble. This time I cannot easily fix it. Maybe if I still lived near SkyCraft (gawd, I loved that place!) and had easy access to tubs full of relays and resistors (and anything else imaginable) I could or if I had held on to the old one for parts. Instead, I just ordered an “OEM Replacement“. In all actuality, I could have repaired it on the road… for free. It would have just taken time to diagnose which component had died, searching through the many electronics that people dump in the bushes for a replacement, and soldering it in. For some reason that just doesn’t appeal to me at this moment. I hope it’s just a phase. I fixed the last one three times before it finally gave up the ghost.

Breakfast sandwich on a homemade stovetop bun

Today’s breakfast served on a stove top bun

I am not completely out of ambition (though with this cold/flu/plague I am pretty close). I have started making bread, again. However, since I am without (conventional/solar/dutch/convection) oven, I don’t do it the orthodox way. I bake on the stove. I also use my crock pot. Now that we have solar, making bread in the crock pot is even cheaper.

Well, I had a few other subjects I wanted to touch upon, but I am feeling drained and am going to go back to bed. Maybe next time.