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Tom Keating
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Computer Hardware

Compaq Aero: What's Your All-Time Favorite Gadget?

June 27, 2008

Thinking about all the gadgets I've owned over the years and the ones I really liked (easy to remember) and the ones I didn' t like (those are much harder to remember).

Quickly coming to mind was the Compaq Contura Aero, a snappy subnotebook that had its trackball at the right edge of the wrist rest -- great for righties, but must have been impossible for lefties!

This was a great notebook for word processing and commuting -- which when I had it was exactly what I used it for -- made my train rides super productive!  I had both the mono and color versions of this thing, but actually liked the mono better.

Check out these representative stats (on the super high-end model):
Intel 486SX, 33 MHz. 12 MB RAM (4 MB on the motherboard plus 8 MB module in expansion slot).Up to 500 MB hard drive. Screen: Color, 640 by 480 pixels. AC adapter.

Dell Enters the Studio

June 26, 2008

Remember when writing about computer hardware -- actual PCs and desktops -- was the heart and soul of writing about gadgets.

Well, we're getting a bit of that back now, with Dell's introduction of Studio, a new consumer product line "designed for self-expression and creative living."

Here's what Dell had to say: "People seeking stunning design, brilliant colors, and innovative new technology find inspiration in Dell's new Studio brand. These products are built for today's digital nomad based on the millions of conversations we have every year on, Ideastorm and community forums. With Dell Studio we're answering the call for personalization, connectivity and simplicity."

The first Dell Studio products are two distinctively styled laptops, the Dell Studio 15 and Dell Studio 17. These laptops combine sleek designs and striking visual color elements (according to Dell -- but let the people tell it how it really is!) with personalization options and such features as standard built-in webcam, capacitive touch media control buttons, slot load drives and optional mercury-free LED displays and built-in mobile broadband.

MSRP: $799 (Studio 15) and $999 (Studio 17)

Available now at and also at Best Buy and Staples (but the retailers will have these in a few days)

UK court rules Modchips do not circumvent copyright protection

June 13, 2008

UK-based MrModchips was cleared of all 26 counts against him for his role in importing and selling gaming console modchips. You know, the kind that lets you play [cough] backup copies of your video games. The Court of Appeal Criminal Division ruled that modchips do not circumvent copyright protection.

The icing on the cake is that the defendant was "awarded full costs as a result of his successful appeal," Sweet! Can you imagine the look on high-priced lawyers faces representing the multi-billion dollar video gaming industry?

1TB Drive under $200!! Wow! Oh, Baby ...

May 29, 2008

Are Mini-Notebooks on the Way Back?

May 29, 2008

Always loved the smallest of the small laptop PCs, but seems they never really took off for a number of reasons -- form factor is limited by keyboard size (chiclets anyone), features tend to not be pushing the envelope and price is high (smaller means pricier -- MacBook Air anyone).

Now Acer and Dell seem to both be getting into the act. Read more about Acer's latest offering (with photos) here on the UMPC Portal.

Ah, if we could only carry one gadget that could do it all ... will it be phone, computer or wrist radio (Dick Tracy, anyone) ...

That's one of my favorites pictured above -- Compaq's Contura Aero -- note the trackball location (thanks to the Home Computer Museum)!

Shame on Dell

May 27, 2008

Apple Takes Lead in $1K+ Computer Market

May 19, 2008

Build Your Own Notebook -- Really, You Build It

May 16, 2008

OCZ Technology has announced a new spin on an old product: the build-it-yourself notebook PC. Yes, you really do build it yourself ...

According to a report in ExtremeTech, OCZ's DIY Gaming Notebook (part number OCZNBIAS15DIYA on the company's Web site) includes the basics: a 15.4-inch WXGA display, an Intel PM965 chipset, an Nvidia GeForce 8600MGT/512 Mbyte video card and an 8X DVD±R/RW combo drive capable of reading and writing four-layer discs.

However, buyers have to buy and install the CPU, memory, hard drive and operating system themselves, either from OCZ or somebody else.

However, "building" the notebook consists of four steps: installing the hard drive, installing the memory, installing the CPU and attaching the bezel. (Some easy, some a bit hard, unless you've been under the hood of a desktop PC.

The new notebook will be the first of a family of products, the company said, but pricing has not yet been determined.

Dell Goes More Seriously after Gamers

May 13, 2008

New Dell Notebooks Coming?

May 8, 2008

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