A Geek in Review

There’s been a couple of changes in my digital toy box, so I thought I’d do an “update” of sorts: Samsung S105, Pentium 4 2.53GHz, Toshiba e740, Y’z Dock, Sony DCR-TRV25.

Phone: Samsung S105 (update). Well, sorta anyway. See the phone itself is still pretty spectacular. The navigation is on par with Nokia – the menus all make sense and work. Great phone over all. Of course, T-Mobile (formerly VoiceStream) could fuck up a wet dream. T-Mobile is fucking off the MIDLet issue – when you download a new application, it downloads the entire thing and responds with “Install Error”. So not only are you eating up airtime by the Mbit, but you’re also not getting what you wanted. Some say it’s the networks, some say it’s a locked phone, some say that it’s the version of the firmware. Thankfully, Samsung posts their firmware for their S100 on their German web site, so you can flash the S105. The S100 (USA/Europe), S105 (T-Mobile) and S108 (Asia/Pacific) are all the same hardware, but different firmware on each one so there’s different features. Ideally, when you flash an S105 with S100 firmware, it becomes an S100 – you could then use Cingular or AT&T’s WAP gateways and SIM, etc. Of course, when I tried to flash my S105, it yonked all over itself and it’s now a vegetable. It will be fixed shortly – the phone is great though. I just should have bypassed T-Mobile all together and ordered from online – I’m just not used to having a completely useless phone company to not rely on… I followed their rules and got anally probed by it, so obviously it’s more effective to ignore the rules when dealing with T-Mobile.

PC: Pentium 4 2.53GHz. This was an impulse buy, I admit, but it’s one of the better ones that I’ve done. I was running with an Asus P4T motherboard with a 423-socket Pentium 4 1.7GHz and 512MB of PC800/RAMBUS RAM. When I bought this, about a year ago, it was a jump from Pentium 3/866MHz to Pentium 4/1700MHz and this “new fast RAM” blah blah blah. I saw massive speed increases in compiling, but for the most part, it wasn’t all that fast. This weekend I picked up an Asus P4PE motherboard with a 478-socket Pentium 4 2.53GHz and 512MB of PC2700/DDR333 RAM. I gotta admit that I wasn’t expecting that much change, but it was really in preparation for the 3.06GHz CPU with HyperThreading – this motherboard and RAM are completely compatible with it already, so once the chip becomes “normally” priced, I’m good to go. Was sort of a pre-emptive buy in… of course the motherboard is a little different than what I had before. This board sports built-in audio (with digital outs!), built-in LAN (I got the 10/100, but there’s also a 100/Gigabit option), built-in RAID controller with Serial ATA (whatever that is), and built-in USB2 and 1394/FireWire. So I was able to go from 4 cards to 1 card now… that was neat. And because I reformatted, I got to see how Windows XP would react with a LAN card it didn’t know what to do with – that’s a new thing for me – because the LAN card is new, so there’s no built-in XP driver. There were some hiccups with that, but it only took one install (instead of my usual two or three that I usually find myself doing on new hardware) and about five hours. An hour of that was convincing my Pocket PC and my PC that they did in fact know each other and should play along. The bottom line? This machine kicks ass. No other way to put it. I click my Word XP icon and it’s up within a second. Excel’s splash screen is a blur. Boot time is under 20 seconds now, in most cases. All sorts of good times with this upgrade.

PocketPC: Toshiba e740. This isn’t a new buy, but there is a new version of the OS up on Toshiba‘s support web site… fixes a bunch of stuff and adds a new XP looking theme as a default. Well worth the upgrade and free, which is the best price for constantly updating technology.

Freeware Gizmo: Y’z Dock. Already talked about, but the 0.3.1 version includes an option to not make the dock be On Top at all times, so it’s worth getting.

Camcorder: Sony DCR-TRV25. Yep – first time purchase for me. My family has had a VHS-C one for years now, and I thought it was a good time to pick up a digital based one. Having looked at them in stores, and talking to people In The Know, I got the impression that Sony is king here too. No surprise to this Geek – Sony makes the notebook I’m currently typing on, the TV, TiVo, Receiver, DVD player, CD carousel, and other random electronics for me. The only deviants to an all Sony line up are my speakers (Bose), my Pocket PC (fuck Palm – sorry Clie!), my PC (homemade) and my iPod (Apple). This is a MiniDV model, which is neither entry level nor top of the line… I’ve been having some fun with this so far, but I’m mostly getting used to it. The RCA ports for TV playback weren’t that clear but the S-Video hookup was phenomenal. I’m going to start messing around with the FireWire to PC hookup and see about burning VCD‘s soon… could be lots of fun, that!

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