Monthly Archives: November 2009

Dell sucks… until mine is here.

Dell - Yours is hereLet’s start with how Dell sucks.

After much research, I bought a Dell Studio 1557 laptop online, to make music with. 9-13 days – I can live with that. However, it eventually took Dell over a month to make and send me a laptop. I was not amused. I even tried to cancel my order, which I was told, by a human being, that it was successful – but NO! They took my money – turns out I couldn’t cancel.

After a long, fraught and annoying wait, I was underwhelmed when an automated computer voice rang my mobile to confirm the date and time of my delivery. And when the package finally arrived, it sat unloved and unopened for half a day while I got on with my life.

I didn’t even bother opening it in the end – got my partner to do it. Spied a big ‘Made in China’ label. Seemed to crawl through orienting itself into life as a laptop. Vista as well! Was not impressed.

How Dell redeemed itself

In under 24 hours I’m totally sold on this product. Specs below. My main considerations were for it to be good enough for making music, a PC (was considering a Mac… but I love PC really) and cost under £700. I’ve gotten so used to this thing now, going back to my desktop seems strange!

Intel i7-720QM(1.6GHz) Mobile CPU – 6MB L3 cache, quick mobile processor. This had only been out about two weeks when I ordered the laptop
4GB RAM
320GB 7,200rpm hard drive – 5,400rpm would be more likely to cause latency/write issues
512MB ATI Mobility Radeon HP 4570 – I like playing games; this is good enough for not-so demanding games
64-bit Vista OS

After it got into the swing of things, this laptop really shone. My desktop computers rely on wifi dongles to connect to the internet and they cut out all the time – but this laptop’s connection is very stable. The sound is great for a laptop; it’s like surround sound. The screen is wide and bigger than I expected (15″ inch widescreen). As a result it’s not as light as I would like, but considering how powerful it is (and it has a DVDRW drive), it’s acceptable. The keyboard is lovely to type on as I write this; the keys big, light and comfortable.

And the speed. It’s quite ridiculous how the speed of a computer can affect internet experience. We only have bog standard wifi and the router’s quite far away. My year-old desktop is very good, but this one is on fire – working though a Java-based website CMS in real-time, as if I’m just working through Explorer locally. I also installed Sims 3 and imported my Sims 3 files from my desktop so I can continue my game. Seems to work fine. I think Sims 3 automatically uses settings that give the swiftest gameplay, which is why the graphics aren’t as good as on my desktop – but it’s not jerky, and is definitely good enough.

I did encounter some stupid errors which presumably is due to Vista – like default shortcuts in My Documents pointing to a location that doesn’t exist and refusing to install Cute FTP despite having the right version of it.

I’ll give making music a go on this thing, after I figure out what software to use! Here’s hoping the laptop won’t slow down…

P.S: Are you looking for a Dell Studio battery for this laptop?

Lifelogging continued

Check this out! An Era of Total Transparency

For the first time in human history, the day-to-day interactions between people are being permanently recorded and formatted in easily organizable segments of information.

If it is a historian’s tool, bridging the global digital divide will be very important as the way it stands, it’s very much developed world-centric. But food is more important of course…

Lifelogging – I see what you see, he sees, she sees

I read in a blog, “A firm in the United Kingdom is about to roll out a camera that people wear around their necks and which captures an image every 30 seconds, all day long.”

Crazy! Have a look at the camera on New Scientist. People are posting enough photos already on Facebook – do we really need to see a picture of them experiencing the joys of a toilet or someone’s back while doing something, erm, private? CCTV ain’t enough – let’s have people walking around with permanently-on cameras on them! Now even big mama is watching you!

I’m sure this device will be useful in some cases, and certainly be attractive to the exhibitionists among us. Lifelogging. Well, as you can see it’s not really anything new. But it’ll probably get more popular the more accessible, unobstrusive and hassle-free it is to do it.

Will the people of the future be forced to be an honest bunch? Since there are now already many ways to ‘catch someone out’. Like someone playing a game on Facebook or posting on Twitter when they are supposed to be in bed/work. You can track someone on Google Latitude. Our actions esp online are logged without us even thinking. Email trails, smses and what not. You used to be able to burn a letter. Now one even can retrieve smth deleted from a broken hard drive. To answer my own question – maybe people won’t be more honest but more likely to be revealed as liars. So have people become more forgiving?

There are always good and bad uses of technology, and some people are more ‘free’ about expressing themselves than others. Good for them. But:  Always sign out of email. Set the right privacy settings. Use different passwords. Be anonymous if that floats your boat.

Would/n’t it suck if someone sabotaged your lifelog, did things you didn’t do, and leave your descendants to find out? I think even if it was smth pretty exciting and good you’ll feel a pang of betrayal. Well, history books don’t always get it right either. Though I think people trust pictures more than words, and a lifelog is a first person thing… you can do a lot of damage.

Thoughts: archive, storage, hoarding, a civilization stored in a very sensitive data format? A message carved in stone has more chance of survival than a file on a usb stick.