Tag Archives: laptop

HP you surprised me

On May 25, 2011 FedEx delivered a new laptop, a HP ProBook 4430s. This is it’s my first purchase where Windows is not the OS from the manufacture. The last few years I’ve used a couple used IBM T42’s which are excellent machines, and the keyboard will spoil you. When it came time to find a replacement I wanted something that didn’t come with Windows, as I wouldn’t be using it, surprisingly the search led me to HP.

At the start of 2011 I did the same search and found Dell’s Vostro V13. I read Dell offered it with Ubuntu pre-loaded but was never able to find out how through their on line store. I did purchase one and it is a good package. Every thing worked out of the box with Fedora 15 and Gnome3 but there were two issues for me, the keyboard was too cramped and batter life was low. That was enough to send it off to mom, she needed something to replace the 7 year old Compaq, and I could search from something more suitable.

I’ve read good things about Zareason and System76, they both have a good selection and offer Ubuntu. The construction wasn’t what I was looking for and some of the other options out there were ThinkPads or Dells with Linux loaded. I wanted to find something with a metal chassis and not much plastic. To compare would be the construction of a MacBook Pro, but I wasn’t looking for a Mac. It took a few months until I came across the HP 4430s Notebook. This model, if you configure it, offers Suse Enterprise 11 installed. I haven’t used Suse for a number of years but the “flavor” of Linux wasn’t important. The fact the hardware fit my criteria and was available with Linux installed sealed the deal.

On first boot it took awhile as it uses KIWI to install the OEM image. A standard suite of applications is included, Gnome 2.82 as the window manager and all the hardware (wireless, camera, card reader, sound) worked… as one should expect. There are plenty of pics on the web, so I don’t need to put up much here but I will say if you like to “get under the hood” access has never been easier. Memory, drive, processor, etc is just pull the battery and slide the cover back after releasing two holding pins.

I’m enjoying it so far especially with an Intel SSD and Fedora 15 (Gnome3). I’d recommend the ProBook 4430s if your in the market for something non-Windows, 14′ wide screen, wireless, bluetooth, card reader, and ever thing working. If Suse is not your flavor pick another. I only had to load iwlwifi-6000g2b for wireless, every thing else worked out of the box. It’s great to see mainstream companies offering solutions like this. Thank you HP!

Laptop woes, again

Sigh …. a few hours ago I plugged the power cable into the laptop and the battery continued to drain. It didn’t stop until the system shut down. I don’t have any testing equipment but if I had to guess it’s the power connection on the motherboard, again.

It was about a year and a half ago that I replaced the motherboard after debating on getting a new one…. when that very problem occured. It seems like replacing the motherboard then may not have been the best choice. The original plan was to get a machine that would last about five years. In the beginning of 2005 that’s what I was shooting for with the v2000. So for now I’ll pull out the old i200 that it replaced until I can verify that it’s really the motherboard. If it is, it’s time for a new one.

Update: Good news after some testing with a ohmmeter, thanks dad, determined it more the likely was the power cord. After getting a replacement we are back to normal.

The laptop lives again

Seeing as it has been a month since my last post thought I’d get off my bumb and continue the saga of the laptop. A few weeks ago it died completely so I’ve been using the old IBM i200. Since email was really the only data of any size that I used regularly I purchased a $20 USB 2.5 drive case and stuck the 60GB drive in it. The quickest way to get email back was to add a symbolic link from .mozilla-thunderbird to the appropriate local folder on the USB drive. That setup worked for a while and still works today but the battery only lasts about 20 minutes and the fan runs constantly. So last week I finally took it on the chin and ordered a new motherboard.

It arrived yesterday and in about an hour I had it installed and everything back together. It was nice to see when pressing the power button the laptop sprung to life. It booted with no problems and I was back to normal. In the end I hope the money for the board is worth it. At one third the price of a replacement machine a few more years out of it would be preferred.

As for not posting much, just haven’t been “feel’in it”… so to speak. But that’s bound to change as every day is a new one !!!!

Latest happenings

After my last post about problems with the laptop I headed off for a few days of r & r, a little skiing with my sister, brother in law and their kids. Kay isn’t a skier so she held the fort down at home. It was a great time no broken bones or bruses just one whoops !!!! on the last day which was a good laugh.

No pics to post from skiing as they are on the V2000 that’s acting up again. I’ll get them on Flickr by the weekend. It was working good without the battery in, only shut down once in a week, but yesterday it went down twice. Granted I put the battery back in and that’s probably the problem. It could be worse, the drive is fine so I’m not concerned about the data… a minor inconvenience.

Last week was one of catch up with work and one last hockey game before a few weeks off and another session starts. You know your getting old when guys come out to release frustration and your just out their to sweat and have a good time…. yes youth does make you brave.

I did finish getting a department intranet website upgraded so it will be interesting to see what anyone may have to say. The addition of OpenFire went over like a tree falling in a forest, but I didn’t expect much. At least with the site upgrade it’s on the current version of Plone and I’ve enabled anyone to join. Where before I needed to have local mail running, which would never have been validated on the network, I can now use esmtp settings. So we’ll see what that does to the traffic stats, maybe it will peak some other peoples interests.

Battery dilemmas

Since the last post about the V2000 coming back to life, but only to frustrate me even move, it would seem the common denominator is the battery. First of all their is no problem running on A/C power regarless which drive is in. The caviot here is the battery cannot be in the laptop. With the battery in funky things happen, as mentioned earlier. So what remains to be seen is it the physical battery or some part of the motherboard which is used for charging/discharging.

A test with another machine which takes the same battery will answer the question. As for someone local not that I’m aware of but my mom has a Compaq that would take my 12 cell. May just need to wait till we see them again. If I need to roam the i200 is running well on Debian, even at six plus years old.