Have you read more than 6 of these books?

Written by AboKevin on . Posted in Blog, Opinion, Personal

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?Have you read more than 6 of these books? The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here.

Instructions: Copy this into your notes. Bold those books you’ve read in their entirety,italicise the ones you started but didn’t finish or read an excerpt. Tag other book nerds.

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR TolkienThe Lord of the Rings
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte

4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
34 Emma – Jane Austen
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding
50 Atonement – Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel
52 Dune – Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zifon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses – James Joyce
76 The Inferno – Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession – AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factoy – Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

 

So what about you? Have you read more than 6 of these?

HP Pavilion dv7 2114eo :The Review

Written by AboKevin on . Posted in Hardware, HP dv7-2114eo, Microsoft, Opinion, Windows 7;

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I got my new laptop yesterday, Friday 30 October. As you know from my previous posts; here and here, I got my new HP Pavilion dv7 2114eo as a replacement for my old HP dv9074ea which broke down for the third time due to the same error. Despite my problems with my former laptop, I really liked it and was thoroughly satisfied with its performance. Although it was purchased in 2006 it ran Windows 7 beautifully and were able to run a game like Call of Duty decently. Since it went down for the same error for the third time, I was issued a replacement PC; a brand new HP Pavilion dv7-2114eo. Being a gadget and tech lover I was really looking forward to un-boxing, setting up and testing my new machine, and I could hardly wait for it to arrive.

In this review I will cover the following;

– Specifications

HP Pavilion dv7 2114eo

– Overview

– Windows 7 – installation process and compatibility

– Performance

– Battery-life

– Conclusion

 

Specifications

Processor, operating system and memory
Operating system installed Genuine Windows® 7 Ultimate (64-bit)
Processor type AMD Turion X2 Ultra-mobile technology ZM-82 / 2.2 GHz ( Dual-Core )
Standard memory 4096 MB
Memory layout (2 x 2048 MB)
Maximum memory Supports up to 8 GB DDR3 memory
Internal drives
Internal drives 1000 GB (2 x 500 GB)
Storage controller SATA Hard Disk Drive
Hard disk drive speed 5400 rpm
Optical drive type Lightscribe Super Multi DVD Writer (+/-R +/-RW) with Double Layer support
Lightscribe Create silkscreen-quality disc labels direct from your PC with LightScribe: Just burn, flip, burn.
System features
Memory card device 5-in-1 integrated Digital Media Reader for Secure Digital cards, MultiMedia cards, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, or xD Picture cards
Network interface Integrated 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet LAN
Wireless technologies 802.11 b/g/n
External I/O ports 4 (4th shared with Esata port) USB 2.0, 1 HDMI connector, 1 eSata + USB connector, 1 VGA port, 1 RJ45 ethernet connector, expansion port, 2 headphones-out, 1 mic-in, 1 IEEE 1394, Consumer IR, cable docking connector
Video capture interface IEEE 1394 FireWire® Interface
Expansion slots 1 ExpressCard/54 Slot (also supports ExpressCard/34)
Display size 17.3” Diagonal High Definition HP LED Brightview Display
Display resolution 1600 x 900
Graphic subsystem name ATI Radeon™ HD 4650 Graphics
Video RAM Up to 2815 MB total graphics memory with 1000 MB dedicated DDR3
Webcam HP Pavilion Webcam with Integrated Digital Microphone.VGA low-light
Remote control HP Mobile Remote Control
Speakers and microphone Altec Lansing speakers with integrated subwoofer
Keyboard Full size keyboard with integrated numeric keypad
Pointing device Touch Pad with On/Off button and dedicated vertical Scroll Up/Down pad
Power supply type 90 W AC Power Adapter
Battery type 8-cell Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) battery
Dimensions / weight
Product weight 3.52 kg
Package weight 5.81 kg
Product dimensions (W x D x H) 27.7 cm (W) x 41.26 cm (L) x 3.5 cm (min H) / 4.32 cm (max H)
Package dimensions (W x D x H) 450 x 160 x 345 mm
Price 8995,- NOK – approx $1500

Overview

The specs shows off a fairly decent laptop with a good processor, a good GPU, lots of storage and a potentially great screen. The screen resolution should have been higher though, real HD would have been nice. The machine was originally delivered with Windows Vista Home Premium (x64), but I wiped the C drive and installed Windows 7 Ultimate on it as soon as I got it. But that is all based on numbers, how does it work in real life?

Prior to setting the machine up and being able to test it, I had to unbox it. A moment I truly savored and enjoyed. For me at least, it is not an everyday occurrence to get a new laptop. Here are some pictures of it, courtesy of Hp.com;

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Front side; showing off the espresso wallpaper as well as the 2 phone jacks and the microphone port.

image

The Espresso imprint on the lid, with the glowing hp logo

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Front and left side;

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Front and right side;

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Left side with the VGA, HP expansion port, RJ45, HDMI, eSata (+USB), USB and card reader.

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Right side with the DVD writer, 2 USB ports, the Kensington lock and power connector. (The picture has two additional ports which are not present on my model)

The machine has got the glossy (fingerprint prone) black Espresso finish with a discreet circle pattern. The lid has a glowing HP logo (taking a cue from Apple) and with the silver lined edges it gives the machine an elegant and eye-catching look. As with the previous Pavilion notebook models there are no ports on the rear side, everything is placed either on the sides or on the front as shown in the pictures above.

The keyboard, which is a full size QWERTY keyboard with a numeric pad, is comfortable to use with just about the right resistance and responsiveness. It looks great and seems to be of good quality. The touchpadThe Altec Lansing speakers are placed above the keyboard, and there you will also find the quick launch buttons. The latter are way better in this iteration than they were on the dv9074. Much more responsive, without that annoying clicking sound and placed further away from the keyboard itself, avoiding the accidental clicks. The speakers themselves deserve some additional recognition: The sound is quite good, and with the subwoofer found under the laptop they are doing a very decent job indeed. They will in no way replace external speakers, but you get quite good sound straight out of the box.

The screen looks just great, although the common problem with viewing it from the sides are still there. That said; how many people tend to work or watch a laptop at any given time? One – exactly. And he tends to be right in front of the screen – and there there are no problems. The one issue I have with the screen, is the fact that they haven’t gone to full HD. 1600×900 is a great resolution on this screen, but I see no reason why they haven’t made it 1080p.

So with an AMD processor and a good GPU plus 2 large HDDs you expect the fans to making some noise, right? Well, you are right on. The fans are going constantly and are making some noise. Less noise than my older laptop, but still much more than I hoped for when I got this machine. While playing a game or a movie you will not really notice it, but while working on your machine, like I was when I wrote this, I certainly picked up the sound.

 

Windows 7 – Installation process and compatibility

The laptop came with Windows Vista Home Premium with the normal mixture of trial versions of different software included. I contemplated removing the software I did not want and then to do an in-place upgrade to Windows 7 Ultimate, but decided against it. I have always advised clean installs to others, so I decided to follow my own advice. I prepped my memory stick according the instructions in my own complete guide on how to install Windows 7, and booted from it. I chose custom install, formatted the C drive and installed Windows 7 Ultimate on it. From the time I restarted until the Windows 7 desktop greeted me it took exactly 18 minutes, including the time it took for me to format and to enter my credentials.

HP had already put up their drivers for Windows 7 for this very machine, and I had downloaded them all. After installing them and I then went to the Device Manager to check the status, and was greeted with everything being ok, except for an unknown device;

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After some digging around I found that this device has the hardware ID ACPI/HQP0004 and I have yet to find drivers for it. Hopefully HP will provide one soon…

UPDATE: Hp on 5 November had a Windows 7 Expert day over on their support forum, and they were quick to solve the missing driver issue for me. I was missing the driver for the HP Mobile Data Protection Sensor, an accelerometer that detects sudden movement and freezes the hard discs in order to protect them. For some reason that driver never showed up on my computer models driver home page, but I was given a direct link, and the problem is now solved.

So how does Windows 7 work on it. No surprises there – just great! Smooth, responsive and every way I would expect this OS to work on newer hardware. The only problem I encountered so far was when yesterday the wireless modem acted up on me. I thought my connection speed was slow, and tested it only to find that I had less than 1 Mb/s download speed. And given the fact that I have a 12 Mb/s line this annoyed me big time. After checking the router I decided that it was probably the driver that was the problem; I uninstalled the hardware, and reinstalled the drivers – and I got my 12 MB/s download speed again.

The Windows Experience Index for the machine looks like this;

image

The processor is obviously the weakest link scoring only 4.9 as opposed to the rest which scores around 6. Having stated that, it is time to test the performance of the system…

Performance

In order to test the performance of the system I ran it through some synthetic tests in order to see how it would perform when it came to gaming and desktop performance. I also ran a battery test to see how long this one would last, remembering clearly how poor the battery on my dv9074ea fared.

I have compared my results with my old laptop as well as well as two results from the Norwegian site Hardware.no; the very high-end and expensive Toshiba Qosmio X300 (ca 15000 NOK – $2500) and the Dell Studio XPS 16.

3DMark 03

HP dv9074ea:                                                 8265

HP dv7-2114eo:                                        17612

Toshiba Qosmio X300:                                    NA

Dell Studio XPS 16:                                            NA

3DMark 05

HP dv9074ea:                                                 3584

HP dv7-2114eo:                                          9982

Toshiba Qosmio X300:                                    NA

Dell Studio XPS 16:                                            NA

3DMark 06

HP dv9074ea:                                                   NA

HP dv7-2114eo:                                        5901

Toshiba Qosmio X300:                           10091

Dell Studio XPS 16:                                     4379

PCMark Vantage

HP dv9074ea:                                                   NA

HP dv7-2114eo:                                         2969

Toshiba Qosmio X300:                               3995

Dell Studio XPS 16:                                           NA

Crysis

I ran Crysis on Medium settings, screen resolution 1600×900 2x antialias just fine. No hick-ups or artifacts, which speaks volumes about this machines gaming capabilities.

This laptop comes up with some pretty decent results compared to the other ones. That the Toshiba comes up with better results should be expected, given the price and thus the included hardware. For me personally it is truly great having a new laptop as a replacement that is way better than what I had before. I can only say; HP dv9074ea R.I.P.

Battery life

In order to measure the battery life I ran three tests; the first two with the utility Battery Eater Pro. The first test was in the so called Classic mode, which resembles full load with no power saving options enabled ie the minimum capacity of the battery. The second test I ran was in the Idle mode, which gives the maximum capacity as all power saving options are enabled. The third and last test I did was to close all programs and start playback of a DVD (Platoon) to see how long the battery would last.

Battery Eater Pro v2.70 Classic Mode                               74 minutes

Battery Eater Pro v2.70 Idle Mode                                  190 minutes

DVD playback                                                                              90 minutes (not enough – pc was in balanced power mode)

So for graphic intensive tasks not nearly enough, but for ordinary work related tasks it should provide enough juice for getting the things done. That said, this is a desktop replacement and I at least will in 9 out of 10 cases always use it connected to the power grid. Although it would have made people look at me, I don’t see myself pulling this enormous laptop out on an airplane to watch a movie 🙂

 

Conclusion

All in all I am very satisfied with the dv7-2114eo. It looks great, is comfortable in use and packs all the power I need and then some. Being a casual gamer, this machine has more than enough gaming power to satisfy me. The downsides of it being the “non-HD” screen resolution, the constant humming of the fan and a battery that I hoped would perform better.

I have no problems recommending this machine to anyone interested in a multimedia desktop replacement system. For me this is value for money. Actually double so, since I did not pay one cent for this machine… 😉

Installing Windows 7 on my 2002 Toshiba Satellite 1200-S121

Written by AboKevin on . Posted in Opinion, Windows 7;

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There has been many stories going around the internet on how well Windows 7 manages on older and inferior hardware compared to what Windows Vista did. Having an old laptop lying unused in my shed, I decided to test this out myself. I went to the shed, picked up my old dusty Toshiba Satellite 1200 S121 and returned to my office. I plugged in the machine, popped the Windows 7 Ultimate x86 DVD and booted from it.

This is the story of how that went down, but first some facts;

Windows 7 hardware requirements

Windows 7 Requirements Toshiba Satellite 1200 S121 OK
1 GHz or faster x86 or x64 bit processor 1,2 GHz Intel Celeron Processor (x86) Yes
1 GB RAM for x86 or 2GB RAM for x64 512 MB SDRAM PC 133 No
16 GB available hard disk space (x86) or 20 GB (x64) 20 GB (18 available) Yes
DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver   No

So, as you can see the Toshiba is lacking when it comes to RAM and video card. Both could be show-stoppers, but hey, since I am not using the machine anyway, lets give it a go.

Installing

After choosing Custom Install and reformatting my drive the installation started. And here I noted the first difference compared to my previous installations on my other laptops and desktops; It took a lot longer to install Windows 7 on this one. A total of a little more than an hour as opposed to the 18 minutes it took on my HP laptop.

I was really curious to see if this would work, and if there were serious problems around after the install had finished and I was greeted with the desktop for the first time. As always, one of the first things I do after installing an OS is to check out the Device Manager for any potential problems.

image

As the screenshot above shows there were no surprises. I already knew that there did not exist any WDDM 1.0 drivers for the onboard Intel 830MG video card, so the fact that it showed up with an exclamation mark was expected. So this was  a good start.

The next obvious thing was of course to head over to Windows Update to get whatever was available for me.

image

I got some updated drivers, amongst them drivers for the soundcard that only now I noticed did not work properly.

The next thing was to download an anti-virus for the laptop, and I chose to use the trial version of Trend Micro Internet Security Beta for Windows 7. Will see how that one works out.

How does it work?

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Basic System information on the Toshiba Satellite 1200 S121

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The Windows Experience Index comes out with the result of 1.0 due to only using generic VGA drivers. Not that any available WDDM drivers would have raised it much given that the processor and RAM only get 1.8. It is obviously not going to run any demanding games or applications well.

Starting applications takes some time, and I would not multitask on this one! But that said, once an application is running it works just fine. (as long as the app in question is not too demanding on the hardware – this post is written in Live Writer on the Toshiba, and without any problems whatsoever).

As you also can see from the screenshots above, I installed Ultimate on it, which really is a waste, given the limited available hardware resources. I did install it, since I already had downloaded and burned the x86 ISO to a DVD, and did not feel the need to waste bandwidth on another download. So I thought it was time to trim off some of the fat, and remove unnecessary features in order to speed it up a little.

Prior to the trimming, with WordPad, Live Writer and the System Information Tool running the Windows Task Manager showed me that the system was using approximately 400 MB of the available 503 MB. I did not think trimming away features would improve this much, but decided to give it a try anyway;

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I ended up with turning off Windows DVD Maker (having no DVD burner), Tablet PC Components and Windows Fax and Scan. To what effect? Nothing positive… RAM usage went up and available hard disk space was reduced… So much for trimming the fat!

Conclusion

Windows 7 is less demanding on hardware than Windows Vista was. I tried installing Vista on this very same machine, and it was utterly unusable, whereas the Windows 7 install works. The machine can be used for internet surfing, basic word-processing and similar tasks, but not for more heavy applications. The official Windows 7 hardware requirements looks to be a good guideline when determining whether to upgrade or not, as this system would have done much better with double the amount of RAM as well as a newer video card.

The machine will probably be used by my 9-year old daughter for internet surfing (mostly Facebook and Facebook-games) as well as the writing the occasional document, for which she can use WordPad. For more demanding tasks there is always the desktop PC that my kids normally use…

All in all an interesting experiment, and although Windows 7 works on this machine, it cannot perform miracles. The hardware in question is 7 years old, and the mere fact that an OS of this day and age actually do run adequately is most impressive.

Anyone else around that has tried something similar? What are your experiences?

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