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Choosing new notebook

Hi, Community Brain. It’s time for me to change my old good Dell Latitude D820. I need performant machine and following the results of my findings. It’s really important for me to know your opinion about those choices. Also, if you have additional choices, I’d be happy to hear about it.

  Dell Precision M6300 HP 8710W Lenovo T61p
  image image image
Processor Intel® Core 2 Duo T9500 (2.6GHz, 6Mb, L2 cache, 800MHz FSB) Intel® Core 2 Duo T9500 (2.6GHz, 6Mb, L2 cache, 800MHz FSB) Intel® Core 2 Duo T9500 (2.6GHz, 6Mb, L2 cache, 800MHz FSB)
Memory 4GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM (2×2048) 4GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM (2×2048) 4GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM (2×2048)
Video Card NVidia® Quadro® FX 3600M (512MB dedicated) NVidia® Quadro® FX 3600M (512MB dedicated) NVidia® Quadro® FX 570M (256MB dedicated)
Hard Drive 200GB SATA (7,200RPM) + fall sensor 200GB SATA (7,200RPM) 200GB SATA (7,200RPM) + disk encryption
Optical device 8X DVD +/- RW 8X DVD +/- RW Blue-ray 8X DVD +/- RW
Modem 56.6k v.92 56.6k v.92
Wireless Networking Intel PROWireless 4965 802.11 a/g/Draft-n Intel® Wireless LAN 802.11a/b/g/n Intel Wireless WiFi Link 4965AGN
Bluetooth Dell Wireless 360 Intel Bluetooth‏ Integrated Bluetooth PAN
Primary battery 9 Cell Li-Ion (80 Whr) 9 Cell Li-Ion w/XPP 3 yr warranty 9 cell Li-Ion Battery
LCD 17” WUXGA (1920×1200) UltraSharp + anti-glare 17” WUXGA+WVA (1920×1200) anti-glare 15.4” WSXGA+  (1920×1200)
Weight 8.5 lbs/3.8 kg 7.4 lbs/3.4 kg 7.3 lbs / 3.3 kg
Dimensions 1.6”(H) x 15.5”(W) x 11.3”(D) 1.3”(H) x 15.4”(W) x 10.8”(D) 1.4”(H) x 14.1”(W) x 10.4”(D)
       
Cons I saw Precision series in work – performance is not good enough for such configuration (for comparison, my old Latitude with the same hardware configuration worked much better) Everyone I asked, tell me, that HP machines are not reliable enough Keyboard layout is absolutely awful. It impossible to work with Fn and Ctrl swapped.
Graphic card is not strong enough
It’s 15.4”
Pros It is very reliable Very good performance
Much lighter
Good battery life
Absolutely reliable
Great performance
Outstanding battery life

 

What to do? What to choose? Please advice!

Thank you

A couple of updates – mega update post

Today, only updates

Yahoo finally releases Yahoo! Messenger for Vista – this was one of very first prototypes, shown in Mix last year. I did not install it, however, here a couple of review Erik Burke, Tim Sneath and Ryan Stewart. As for me, they lost "wow effect" last year

image Microsoft Expression Blend 2 – December Preview. What’s new? VS2008 integration, inheritance, no SL2.0 support (strange, maybe, because of breaking changes toward near beta)

 

 

 

Vista SP1 RC1 available for MSDN subscribers (via Nick Whites). Nothing special, 40 minutes of installation, profile information loss and performance fixes

 

Office 2007 SP1 is expected to ship 10-December week. This time it is not RC or Beta, but final product (via Mary Jo Foley). Great work.

 

Windows XP SP3 is very close to RC1, but nothing about public beta yet.

 

Starting today, you can configure Messenger presence.  Some cool features become available (via Angus Logan). Here is how.

 

PDC 2008 (canceled last year) will be on October 27-30 in LA (hello, Peter). It promised to be great event about the company’s emerging services platform efforts, .NET, Windows and Mobile technologies.

 

imageA little about mobile devices, while waiting for my new mega-device (more information soon): Dell is about to enter mobile phone industry in 2008, Opera compiled their browser for Brew platform (hello, Pelephone), while Google create their mobile version for IPhone.  Windows Mobile 6.1 is going to be cool. Here screenshorts. Meanwhile, you can update your Mobile Office to version 6.1 for free or your Nokia (N-series) with Internet Radio application. As for me, 8 hours speak time and 30 days standby, quad-band. Those are features, that you need from your handy.

 

Well, that’s it for now. Have a nice weekend.

 

Now I have a question for you. What do you think, about such format of posts? Should ?I go on with it or continue to write post-per-event?

 

Thank you

As promised, I reinstall my laptop with Windows Vista 64bit

I decided to reinstall my D820 with 64 bit version of Windows Vista as involvement act with Gadi. 13 minutes of installation. All hardware was found and all drivers were installed (this why I love Dell). The same score as was with 32 bit version – 3.2. Fist run of Windows Update = 38 fixes (about 130MB, only required updates, downloaded and installed within 55 minutes including first restart). Another turn of Windows Update brings me additional 2 fixes (63.9MB of driver’s updates and 10 minutes ). It downgrade my computer to 3.0. Now I have to add my computer to domain. It was done via VPN over WiFi and took about 10 minutes including security check, policy update and IPSec. After Vista was activated, come Office’s and Live Suite turn to be installed. 

image

Office installation took about 2(!) hours. Well, I do not know why it happens, however, let’s go on and install VSTS 2008. The first step of VSTS installation required me to restart my computer twice. It looks like there are issues with "Microsoft .NET Framework v3.5 (x64)". However, after I "run as Administrator" the Visual Studio installer, the problem disappears. It looks like there are some files become locked, when running the installer without elevated permissions (THIS IS BUG). After the first step passed, I wait for another 35 minutes for VSTS to be completely installed. To be honest, in x64 HxMerge works a bit faster, then on x32 platform. Additional 15 minutes of MSDN library.

Well, overall experience of installations was rather bad, but much worse is how x64 works. More then half of system processes (see the example of such service – Console IME at screenshot)  are working in simulation mode, so performance of the system is sucks.

image

What will be my next step? Probably, uninstall of x64 bit version of Windows Vista and installation of x32 bit system. I can not see real advantages of using x64 due to fact, that this software is not ready for public use and waste your system resources.

What do you think about this point?

DIY: How to replace your Dell Latitude D820 keyboard for only $13.99

  Well, after my fight against Dell Israel and Omnitech, I decided to replace my keyboard my self. The keyboard was ordered via official Dell US website for only $13.99 (inc. P&P)

DSC06586

It took about a week to arrive and now I’m ready to start replacement process.

DSC06587

You’ll need two wrenches like those.

DSC06605

First of all, you should shut down your computer and remove it’s battery

DSC06588

 

DSC06589

Next, by using plastic scribe or small wrench remove front hinge cover.

DSC06590

DSC06591

DSC06592

After the hinge removed, you’ll get an access to three screws in the top side of the keyboard and small plug. Unplug it.

DSC06593

 

DSC06594

Then remove screws.

DSC06595

DSC06596

After the screws removed, rotate your laptop by 90 degrees and pull the keyboard forward up to remove it.

DSC06597

Turn the keyboard upside down. You discover the plug, that connects the keyboard. Unplug it by pulling it up.

DSC06598

DSC06599

And remove the old keyboard. Now replace the old with new one and plug it back.

DSC06600

Put the new keyboard to it’s place and push it down from the upper side and both right and left side to secure it in place. Do it gently to avoid scratches.

DSC06601

Replace all three screws and upper plug.

DSC06602

Put the hinge cover back by pushing it gently

DSC06603

And you done.

DSC06604

 

You just save $121.01. Not bad does not it? Thank you, local thieves, and know, who spares the bad, injures the good. However, here in Israel, an open door may tempt a saint.

Be good men and have a nice weekend.

Is it Dell in Israel or x5 prices of Dell accessories

Those, who remember my posts about Dell Israel, probably know what I’m going to talk about. How much costs Dell Latitude D820 keyboard (part number: UC172) in Israel?

image

Well, shipping, handling, etc… Let’s say another 20$ (it’s almost twice). So, $13.59 + $20 = $33.59. Well, they should be profitable, so another 10% = $1.36. You know what, 25% = $3.4. OK, ok, this is little money, so $40.

I just received the proposal from the well known company, which is authorized distribute of Dell in Israel as following $135 (+VAT).

image

I called general manager of the company and asked him the simple question: "WHY?". He responded: $75 – the keyboard + work. Well, 65$ for keyboard installation (even in laptop) takes about 15 minutes. So their technicians earns much more then software architects and consulters, about 260$/hour. Maybe I got a wrong job?

But, let’s leave technicians alone and see their earn margins – it’s 500%. Pretty good, isn’t it?

I tried to call Dell Israel to get answers, but no one  (of 10 extensions) did not even poke a phone. I’ll send them and their parent company an email to ask about their price policy. Maybe this way I’ll be less surprised about such prices…

Dell story – part II

Today sales manager from the distributor store called me to notice, that I can come there and get my upgrade to Windows Vista, arrived from Dell. The only thing he mentioned in our conversation is fee of $45. I asked him what I’m paying for, and he told me that is’s for shipping and handling. The same sentence, I found in Dell Vista Upgrade FAQ web site, but if I’ll come to take it, it’s seemed him, that I should not pay anything. 

A minute later, he called me back, and told, that I should pay for it anyway. After my request to explain he told me, that those $45 actually they’ll pay to Microsoft and don’t earn a penny for it. So he do not really know what I should pay for. 

The upgrade price for Windows Vista Home Basic is around $100, complete package costs around $200 (including shipping and handling), so the question is what’s for I’m going to pay a half of regular licence price, when my system is eligible and the licence for Windows XP Pro SP2 already paid? I’ll check this next Sunday.

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Israel? It’s beside our propose… The Dell story

I got my new Dell Latitude D820 a couple of month ago (after the announcement about Dell’s Express Upgrade to Windows Vista. Right after I got it, I checked the site with the computer service tag to be sure eligible for upgrade program. So, I was. Working fluently with my new Dell with Beta and RTM versions (first internals and then MSDN) I was really happy (the first thing I did, after purchase is to format disks with pre-installed Windows XP Pro SP2, which I paid for). So, some way after the official announcement about Windows Vista release, I called the retailer, I purchased the laptop to ask about upgrade. The first answer was: “We do not know anything about it, please contact local Dell office for additional information”.

I called them and, sure, was redirected to distributor. I sent a message (using my google account) to Dell’s local office and wait for about a month for them to reply, that I never got. So, after another call, I sent another mail (this time using my work address in Microsoft) with the same question. Hurrah!, I got an answer from Shlomy Quarter from Dell as following (hebrew):

 

תמיר שלום,

מדיניות השדרוג אינה חלה על ישראל בשלב זה, מכיוון שהמידע לא הגיע אליך במעמד הרכישה חברת אומניטק תשדרג לך תוך כדי חיוב בדמי המשלוח בלבד כפי שמתוארים באתר.

אנא פנה אל מאיר או עמית בחברת אומניטק בנושא.

Best Regards,

                   Shlomy

Wow, why you, Shlomo, did not sent me the same email to @gmail.com account? The regular client, paid for new Dell computer is not important enough? The client should come from big company to get any response for his after-purchase query?

A couple of hours after this email, I checked another time my Dell service tag for eligibility of the upgrade. Sure it was not, but I have a screenshot a month ago, where the same service tag was eligible. Strange, don’t you think? Another computer, purchased earlier in US is still eligible system for this upgrade, I tell you more, I got a disk with an upgrade to my Israel postal address about two weeks after global lunch of Windows Vista.

So, according Dell, all those who purchased new Dell computer here, is Israel are really different customers, then all those who purchased in USA? Don’t this seemed a bit strange, or, maybe Dell is really different here? Don’t them? All of us are beside there propose, or not?

P.S. I’m really do not need this upgrade, due? I have both internals and MSDN versions, but the Principe is matter…

UPD: Here the article from Real Tech News regarding very similar behaviour, but in US.

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