Category Archives: computers

You know your anti-virus software is a POS when..

It needs 100MB to run effectively.  How does McAfee need 100MB to run?  Seriously.  I’m not even running the firewall or other tools.  This is the biggest resource hog/POS.

And let’s not even go there on why the OS needs a 3rd party AV package to keep it safe.

Well, at least I don’t have to use Mac hardware…I couldn’t keep my prior attempt at running a Mac from locking up on me at random times.

Update:  I have actually switched to Mac now.  I still was unhappy with the fact that my old laptop kept locking up but my new one has been run happily for a while now.

The Decline of the ThinkPad

As some of you know I started a new gig a couple of weeks ago at teebeedee. One perk was that we could pretty much choose any laptop we wanted. The other two guys had MacBook Pros and while I almost got one of those I decided to just stay on Windows and I had been really wanting to get away from Dells and go back to a ThinkPad. They have the best keyboards and have always been rock solid from a build aspect.

Well, I would have liked to have tried out their new T60p or Z61p but it was not to be. Why you ask? Well, it never arrived!! I originally wanted a T60p but there was a minimum 4 week wait to get one from Lenovo and the new ones hardly ever make it into the channel or they don’t have the configuration I want. CDW had them but they were $3300 before adding RAM, a docking station and extra battery. Through Lenovo’s site that same configuration was about $2800 for everything. It’s not my money but jeez, I can’t in good conscience do that. I decided to compromise and get the Z61p. It’s not quite as small but comes with a 1920×1200 15.4″ screen and 802.11n draft support. Also, it should ship within 5-10 working days. I got it ordered in early November.

I started my job and it hadn’t arrived yet. Lenovo backed up the ship date to December 7th. December 7th rolls around and on that date they move it to January 9th. January 9th! So you’re telling me, Lenovo, that you didn’t know you were going to delay it again before the 7th? That’s pretty pathetic in my book.

At this stage I needed a laptop, though. I went online and find that the HP nc8430 is getting good reviews and the price is definitely right. I tried configuring one through HP’s site but the ship date was a bit far out. I was reluctant at first to use one of their resellers because of the markup I saw on the ThinkPad’s resellers but it turns out there really wasn’t any markup or at least it didn’t seem like there was that much. So on Monday I should get my Core 2 Duo (2.16), with 2GB of RAM, 100 GB 7200 RPM drive, ATI X1600 w/256MB, Wireless, bluetooth, CD/DVD writer, docking station and extra battery after ordering it yesterday (Thursday!) from CDW for less than they want for the base T60p (sans extra RAM, battery and docking station). The stats are almost identical with the only exception being that the ThinkPad has the FireGL 5250 which is an ATI X1700 with crappy directX drivers. The X1700 and X1600 are nearly identical so that’s not a big deal there.

Sorry Lenovo, but if you can’t manage your supply chain better people are going to find other options and if the quality is pretty close or as good you can guess what they’re going to do. So maybe the ThinkPad is still as good as it was before Lenovo took over managing the brand but I don’t really know since I was never able to get one from them.

Nintendo Days Are Here Again

It’s funny how excited everyone was over the superior graphics of the original Nintendo at the time it came out. I remember working as a page at the state capital (and no, none of the representatives made a pass at me..but we also didn’t have e-mail and instant messenger back then) so I could afford to be an NES and a TV to go with it. My dad wouldn’t let me buy a TV, though, so I had to use it on the main TV in the living room. A 2nd TV would have been a huge luxury back in those days.

My favorite games, or at least that I remember, were Contra, Castlevania, Mega Man, and probably Zelda. Remember the gold cartridge? What were your favorite games? If you Zelda, did you have the gold cartridge?

If you want to play some of the original games in your browser just check out this site.

The Paperless Home — Options?

After looking at the mess of papers that my wife and I try to keep track of all the time we’ve decided to try and go paperless. By this we plan on scanning everything in that we get from a financial perspective and then hopefully just ditch the paper. Of course, shredding it first.

After discussing it and knowing how we are I’m pretty sure that we have to make this simple. If it’s not simple we just won’t do it. So, single page scanners are pretty much out. We get too many multi-page documents, statements, etc. I just wish we could get all of our statements online and this wouldn’t be necessary. Next, it has to be easy to get them in to a format that’s usable. PDF is probably the easiest. We want them searchable too, though. I’d love to have document management as well because I’d like to be able to search them, categorize them, whatever so that finding one down the road or searching for a particular term would bring up all the documents.

I figure we’ll just have an external hard drive that we dump the document to, encrypt the drive if possible and then back them up on DVDs using encrypted files. If our house gets broken in to the hard drive basically has all the information to steal our identity so it’s gotta be hard enough that a common criminal or even someone he pawns the drive to can’t break the protection.

So, I started searching. On Windows, at least, I have a few options. It seems like the following fit the bill:

Fujitso S500

Reviews Amazon, NewEgg, and PCMag

This one seems to get universally good reviews. It’s fast. It does duplex. It’s easy to use. It has a small footprint. The downside? At $400 street price it’s relatively cheap for a full document feeder. You also have to use its software since it doesn’t support TWAIN or any other standard interface. It does scan to PDF and comes with Acrobat 7.0 and Abby Reader OCR which makes up for it a bit. Still, it makes me wonder how easy it will be to upgrade its software. Am I always going to be stuck with the current versions of Acrobat and Abby? They might be very good but with a TWAIN and ISIS driver it would be easier to upgrade. Right now, as I write this, it’s the one I’m leaning towards.

Microtek ArtixScan Series

Reviews: Well, all I could find were bad ones to be honest. I really kind of stopped looking after this. Microtek is not really known with document scanning product groups so I’m just going to skip it.

Xerox Documate 152.

Reviews: PCMag and NewEgg

I couldnt find as many reviews for this as the ScanSnap but it seems to come with a good software setup including PaperPort’s document management and OCR software plus it has a TWAIN driver. Nice. It is a little more expensive than the ScanSnap but I like the fact I can use it with other software if I want to. It does duplex as well. It will create searchable PDFs and so on. Is relatively small from a desktop footprint standpoint. The main downside is that it is a little more expensive than the ScanSnap.

Other

I looked at some reviews of a Canon DR-2580C and HP ScanJet 7800 but both were out of the price I would find value at for home document scanning. The Canon lacked software I would require as well. The HP had really good software but I’m not sure I really need some of the software that I’m essentially paying for with the scanner.

When I make my final decision I’ll post it up here along with some early inputs as well as the final document workflow solution I put together.