Tech Thursday

So my cousin asked me for recommendations for a laptop in the region of £350-400. Considering I haven’t looked for laptops for a while, I though I might use this exercise to find out what you can actually get for your money. I’m currently writing this post on my 6 year old laptop (a Toshiba M50 Satellite Pro) and I have to say, even though it’s getting on a bit now, it has seen me through thick and thin (I’ve written two dissertations and most of my second and third year courseworks on it, CV’s, websites, you name it) and I would very happily get a Toshiba laptop again. Also I’d say that it’s the most stable installation of Windows I’ve ever used.

I’ve also had bad experiences in the past with Acer laptops – my sister had one which was an absolute nightmare, both because of the Vista operating system and the hardware failing. I know everyone has different experiences with different hardware, but it’s amazing how loyal you can become to a brand when you experience something good on them. Anyways, you can actually get quite a lot of hardware in laptop form for your money these days – this one in particular caught my eye:

Whilst I’m on the subject of computer hardware, I want to bring to your attention this website: It discusses (well, it shows you rather than discusses) the illegal transport of computer and electrical hardware waste to India where it is “recycled”. The recycling happens on the minutest scale usually involving putting the various different parts into vats of acid in order to extract the more precious metals from the melted down substances. The conditions this recycling is performed in is not only bad for the environment, but it severely affects the poor people who work on it. The moral of this story is, buy your computer hardware to last, and if you can’t find someone to donate your older hardware (if you’re anything like me you will always have some family who would benefit from an extra stick of RAM, or a hard drive or something) then make sure you take it to your local amenity centre where it can be properly and safely disposed of.

iOS 5 was out yesterday to much fanfare, although apparently not if you’re me. I didn’t really enjoy the process of upgrading my iPad in the slightest and my faith in upgrading firmware has not been made any better by the ordeal. The first thing to go wrong was clicking “Update” when asked to update iTunes to the latest version and I received a Blue Screen Of Death. After restarting the computer, I managed to download the update pretty quickly, it extracted the files, and then as it put the iPad into recovery mode in order to install the new firmware, it decided the verification server couldn’t be reached. Now my iPad was no longer recognised by iTunes. After a few more attempts, it managed to verify it, but couldn’t no matter how many times it tried, restore my iPad. The screen was also just black and wouldn’t respond. Bricked it.

I left it until this morning and gave the iPad a bit of a charge, and luckily it actually calmed itself down a bit and restored beautifully. My first impressions of iOS 5 have been one of annoyance especially considering the apps haven’t been restored to the damn thing meaning I’ve had to go through the App Store and one by one reinstall them. This evening I tried updating my phone and with the exception of not putting my apps back in the right place, it worked seemlessly. I hate installing firmware, although thanks to the iCloud I will never ever ever have to use iTunes on Windows ever again (I hope).


~ by shepherdnick on October 13, 2011.

2 Responses to “Tech Thursday”

  1. Those Toshibas are absolute beauties. I rarely use mine now, as I have the ipad for “round the house” browsing, but when I need it, it is still there, and it is still working. I only ever had to blitz it twice. First time was a BSOD issue, the second time was because I was a freaking idiot, and took a USB Drive from an infected PC and used it on the laptop accidentally.
    Otherwise, that laptop, still rocking XP, has lasted me for years.
    I also have dads Sony Viao, but I haven’t got around to reinstalling windows 7 on that to make it my login, not his. It runs a bit slow apparantly, so dad bought himself a new Dell.
    And that IOS 5 thing was a pain but jeebus it really wanted to piss you off didnt it? I would have ripped the damn machine apart if it went that far.
    I just kept getting the 3002 error, which was basically due to the Apple servers being over loaded. Took about 15 to 20 goes on my iphone, but worked first try on my ipad. Left with the same issue as you now though, have to find all my apps again.

  2. At that kind of money you may be better off with a top end netbook instead.

    ATI’s Fusion boards or the Nvidia Ion offer better (5-8 hour kind of mark) battery life, with performance that will dick that integrated graphic and celeron and they hover around the 370 quid range.

    You can even get ones with semi decent sized screens like the (now a bit old) HP 311c Mini.

    30 quid to upgrade the ram on most netbooks should be taken into account!

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