My Old Dell Inspiron 1100

Yesterday I decided that I wanted to bring out my old Dell Inspiron 1100 laptop and see if I can get it working. The computer works, it’s just that the screen doesn’t. When you turn it on the screen lights up and you can see everything but then it dims out and you can see shadows of what is on the screen but only if you have a bright light on it. I had to use my desk light so I could see the screen.

Normally I sit here with the CR-48 (the smaller laptop) and the desktop going so it was a bit strange having this bigger laptop on my desk taking up so much room.

What’s the point of bringing it out if it doesn’t work you ask? Well, I was trying to see if I could hook it up to my TV. I have a Panasonic HDTV that I can plug a PC into. The laptop has a monitor plug as well. In fact when Chips computer wasn’t working and he needed a computer, he was using the laptop until the screen decided to go black then we hooked his monitor up to it so he could still use it.

Well, it works great on monitors but not so great with my HDTV. In fact my TV didn’t recognize it at all. I think maybe because it’s an old laptop from 2004.

My point for wanting to hook it up to the TV was so I could use that as my internet tv box. I could have it hooked up to the tv and watch Hulu and Netflix with it. If it was slow (which it is) then I would reformat it so I could have a faster laptop for this purpose. Unfortunately since it doesn’t connect with my TV then there’s no real use for it so I may as well toss it back in its laptop case in the closet.

I would like to buy a new screen for it and while I’m at it upgrade the hard drive and give it more memory. If I couldn’t use it as my internet tv for my HDTV, then at least Darrin would have a computer to bring with him to work but that’s gonna cost a lot of money that neither of us have. He has a desktop at his job but I figured he could use a laptop as well for when he’s out and about.

The whole exercise wasn’t a complete waste of time though, at least I learned that it does not work on the tv and I got to give it some windows updates. One of the windows updates was for the video driver which apparently did no good since the screen is still black.

I paid $700 for this laptop in 2004 and today since the screen doesn’t work the laptop is probably worthless. Then again what else is new lol.

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Live Go on my CR-48

One of my favorite things about this Google Chrome OS (aka CR-48) laptop is this website called LiveGO. Since the Google Chrome OS is a browser-based operating system, I won’t be able to load these separate programs like Windows Live Mail for my emails, AIM, Yahoo IM, MSN Messenger etc.  I am so thankful for LiveGO because without it, I would have to load several websites just to check all my emails and see all of my buddy lists for chatting.

One of the things I really wanted was to be able to Skype and unfortunately that feature is not available but I read that it will be coming soon as well as some other features like Todo lists, calendars, notes and a quick menu.

The only thing that I really don’t care too much about is seeing Twitter on there because I like to look at lists.  I want to see tweets in their list of importance to me like friends/family, celebs, true blood RPers, gays, mentions and direct messages.  That’s where TweetDeck comes in which I don’t mind having in a different tab.  And actually I keep my desktop on for TweetDeck then do everything else on the CR-48 laptop.

I am really looking forward to LiveGO’s new additions because I really want to Skype with people, especially at Christmas time but since it’s only a week away I don’t see that happening so I guess it doesn’t really matter.

I have to show another screen shot of this LiveGO program showing some emails and my buddy list (everyone blurred out) as well as the dashboard.

Notice how the buddy list on the right shows Google talk and Facebook buddies?  It also shows my AIM and Yahoo IM buddies.  I can’t connect with my MSN buddy list since I connect to Windows Live Messenger via my Gmail email address.  I guess I should sign up for Hotmail so I can make it easier so I can see those buddies too.

In the left you see all of my services that I have connected, Twitter is connected but signed out.  It shows in my Gmail and Yahoo Mail the number of emails I have so I know if I have email.  Then in the middle, on the top it shows my actual emails (in this case spam) and the bottom it shows my social feeds from Facebook.  If I had Twitter signed in you would see that but I signed out because it scrolls so fast from all 2000 people I follow tweeting every second.

So that is what I’m using now instead of many different websites and/or programs.  I am all set to spend the next 6 months in Google Chrome heaven on my CR-48.

My Chrome Apps and Extensions

I am really enjoying Google Chrome these days. This is my Google Chrome front page. As you can see I have a few apps and unseen a few extensions.

The apps that you can see are pretty cool. The top ones are what came automatically in the browser and the rest I added. If I can’t use programs on my desktop then I gotta find a way to use them on the browser only laptop.

Typically when you are given things in a new product, the first thing you do is get rid of the junk you don’t want. Well, I did get rid of something. There was an icon for a Poppit game from Pogo but when you click it, it loads the Pogo website with the Pogo logo but the game never loads. So screw it, it’s gone lol.

Entanglement is a really cool game and I like to play it so I kept it. I’m not very good but I’m just a beginner. You gotta start somewhere right?

The Gmail and Google Talk ones I can do without but I’m not going to get rid of them if I may need them one day. Instead of using those, I downloaded the app LiveGO . It allows me access to MSN, Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, Yahoo and AOL/AIM all in one web page. For Facebook MSN, Gmail, Yahoo and AOL, it allows me to get access to my inbox and IM. It doesn’t have MySpace or Skype and I really wish they would get Skype on there so I can use the webcam. The IM’s have the webcam button but it says Coming Soon when you mouse over it. Hopefully they will get that up and running soon. For now I can use Google Talk to video chat, although I haven’t had the opportunity yet as I still don’t have any Gmail friends in all the years I’ve had Gmail.

TweetDeck is great. I’ve used that for Twitter on my Desktop so I now use it on the laptop in browser format instead of the installed version my desktop has. I actually like the browser version because the program takes forever to load and the browser loads instantly.

Autodesk Homestyler is such a cool one. You get a measuring tape and measure the rooms in your house and add rooms in the program according to the measurements. Ok I don’t needthis but it’s neat. I can add furniture to each room so I can make decorating decisions. I’m not a decorator but Darrin is so he can use that.

Google Books I added because I’m a book-worm. Although I have a Nook so I don’t need that but I was using it to look up books. I may get rid of it if I need the space though.

Todo.ly is a to do list lol. Yeah I know, lame. I may get rid of it if I don’t use it that often.

Picnik is for photo editing, although they want you to pay for premium features, I just wanted it so I could use it for the webcam. Since I can’t have Gimp on this laptop I needed something but if I really need to make a graphic I’ll just make it on my desktop.

Spider One Suit FREE … It’s Spider Solitaire lol. I can’t imagine a world where there is no solitaire on a computer.

SoopBook is for writing your own book. You can write it in there and invite people to read it and correct your mistakes. Although I don’t know if I want anyone messing with my autobiography but it’s a good way to write it since I am using this as my primary computer.  It also gives me a backup so if my computer crashes then I don’t have to worry about a backup copy.

I haven’t been writing my book at all lately anyway because I’ve been too busy. When I am ready to write again I have SoopBook and/or my desktop to write with. Although I could use SoopBook when we aren’t home and I have the laptop with me so there’s a good reason to keep it for a while.

Do I really need to explain YouTube, Hulu, Google Maps and Scratchpad? I’m sure you know what those are.

I have a few extensions which are on the very top of my browser, to the right of the address bar. I’m using GlueAOLGmail and Yahoo email notifyer so if I’m not in LiveGO then I can see if I have email or not. Then I have Aviary for taking screenshots for blogging (example above).Amplify extension which I use occasionally for blogging and finally After the Deadline which is a great spell/grammar checker, not just for blogging but anywhere you type on the internet.

I am still adding extensions and apps so this is not all I am playing with. There will be more but for now, this is what I’m up to. Playing with and learning how to live with a browser only based laptop, it’s actually not as difficult as it sounds. I’m sure anyone can cut their ties to programs if they really had to. I guess this is an if you were stuck on an island, what program would you bring with you” type of question. Well, in my case I’d have to say the Google Chrome browser would be the only program I need since I can find a way to add all of my programs as web apps.

Ok that’s it for now. I’m tired and my eyes are too blurry from staring at this 12.1 inch laptop screen for the last 16-18 hours lol.

Google Chrome Laptop

Google announced this week on Tuesday that they are going to give 60k laptops away to groups and people so that they can test out the new Google Chrome OS. People aren’t testing the laptop, they are testing the operating system itself. These laptops have a 12.1 inch widescreen monitor, built-in webcam and mic on the top of the screen, 8-hour battery, WiFi and 3G with Verizon where they give you 100mb of data for $9.99 each month for 2 years.

The test itself is only supposed to last for 6 months which makes me wonder if they will be asking for the laptops to be returned but the statement that they are giving you 2 years at $10 a month for 3G tells me that perhaps these laptops aren’t going to be taken away after 6 months. But I can’t tell for sure. I mean, what are they gonna do with 60k used laptops? They can’t sell them and they’re not going to take the time and money to refurbish them are they?

In case you are wondering why I am blogging about this all of a sudden, well, I have one. I signed up to be a beta tester last year but I don’t know if that’s why I got so lucky. I got an email from Google on Wednesday inviting me to apply to get one. Friday morning I went to the grocery store for an energy drink and found it on my doorstep when I came home.

At first I didn’t know what it was because I didn’t order anything. It didn’t even occur to me that I got approved for a laptop. As I’m opening the box I see this diagram of a helmet that an evil scientist mouse would build for world domination. Or at least cat domination. As I opened the box I see the battery pack then the laptop itself.

My first thought was “WOW I was approved? NO FREAKIN’ WAY!”

I took a picture of the keyboard, screen, top and bottom. It looks navy blue in the image for some odd reason when in reality it’s more of a charcoal color. Click it to see it full size which is 1280×768.

By the way, this is not a product review, it’s more of a bragging post :p lol. This is not what is going to be for sale in 6 months when the beta testing will be finished and as I said I am not testing the laptop but the operating system.

One of the rules about being in this program is that I use this as my primary machine. I’m not sure if blogging about it is allowed but since I’ve seen other blogs talking about it and a few YouTube videos (as I write this 1,130 videos) showing it off and people talking about it, I figure it might be ok.  Since this is going to be my primary computer for the next 6 months I figure I might as well talk about it.

I have used Google Chrome as my default browser for over a year now so it’s not a difficult adjustment for me. Although this new keyboard and touchpad are adding to the challenge. I am getting used to it tough.

I have not actually timed it but when you first turn the computer on by either opening the lid or pushing the power button, it gives you this cool Chrome logo then within seconds you are in your login screen.  When I see my image with my Gmail account name, I type in my password and I’m in.  Instant desktop, no waiting.  When I close the lid while it’s turned on then come back to it later, it loads instantly back to where I left off.

My desktop is a Chrome browser like you would see when you first open your browser but it’s always there.  Instead of having the most used websites on that window, it has icons like you would have on your desktop.  There is a new Google Web Store where you can search for extensions, apps and themes.  When you find the one you want, just click install and viola it’s installed.  No muss no fuss.

If it’s an app then you will have a new icon on your “desktop” but if it’s an extension then you will have a new icon on the top of your browser next to the wrench and bug report link.

Since it’s a website based computer, it’s really fast.  I’m telling you, it is so fast that it puts my desktop computer to so much shame.  Like when I watch a YouTube video it’s very smooth.  It plays the video from start to finish without any interruption like my desktop does.  I’ve gotten to the point where I hate watching videos on my computer because of how they keep pausing and I’ve recently reformatted it too so this new laptop is very welcome on my desk.

I haven’t tried the webcam yet but as soon as one of my friends and/or family members logs into Skype then I can try it.  Oh, since Skype is obviously not a web-based app, I had to find a web-based IMing website that allows you to Skype.  I found imo.im in the web store and I’ve been using it for all of my IMing.

I have been able to use the webcam with taking pictures with Picnik so I can tell that the webcam built into the top of the screen isn’t very good quality.  Then again like I said, I am not testing the laptop but more the OS so it doesn’t have to be great quality, although it is much better quality than my current webcam but I digress.

I have had a few crashes but it turns out to be my fault because I’m not used to the touchpad.  It doesn’t have any buttons, it’s just a touchpad.  You can press on it and the whole thing clicks on the bottom but you can also lightly tap on it which is how you click.  The problem I have with it is that it’s so freaking huge that when I type, my hand is constantly moving the cursor and clicking things.  I have to learn to lift my right hand while I type to avoid that.

It’s an awesome computer and I will be very happy with it just as long as they don’t take it away from me lol.  I don’t know how much it is going to cost when they start selling it in the summer of 2011 but it is worth every dime considering it is the easiest computer for anyone to use.  You don’t have to know anything about computers, all you need to know is what website you want to look at.

There is still some time if you want to get in on this.  All you have to do is go to this website http://www.google.com/chromeos/ and apply for the pilot program.  The deadline is 11:59:59 on 12/21/2010.  Good luck.

Google Chrome OS?!?!

This is coming straight from the Google blog…

Official Google Blog: Introducing the Google Chrome OS

Wow.  That’s so cool.  This is going to be neat to be able to turn your computer on and once it gets past all those tests that you see, you know, where it shows how much memory you have, then all of a sudden you’ve got desktop.  No more waiting for the Windows screen that shows that animated bar at the bottom of the screen.  Instead you are instantly taken right to your desktop so you can immediately start browsing the web.

The only thing that concerns me is if this will allow me to install my Windows programs like the Sims, EverQuest, Adobe Photoshop Elements, Adobe Premiere Elements, Autodesk 3DS Max 2008, my webcam software, my mp3 player software etc.  And will it allow my hardware like my webcam and my Kodak printer?

One of the things that I really look forward to is if this will allow me to play my old Win 98 games that Win XP won’t let me run.  I just hope that this isn’t something like Mac and Linux where you have to buy the Google OS software only which will probably only be a few programs at first and will always only have 10% of the software compared to the 100% that Windows offers.  That’s always been an issue and why I won’t ever have a Mac or Linux again because I want to be able to buy whatever program I want.  It’s really depressing when you go to buy software and the aisle for that OS is just a shelf while the rest of the store is for Windows.

Of course I’ll have to wait until the 2nd half of 2010 for this to become available so I look forward to all of the blogs and pictures and possibly videos showing how well it is on Netbooks.

Edit 2011-02-15: I have been using Google Chrome OS CR-48 since mid December and it does not allow me to install anything and it does in fact have apps that you can install from the Google Chrome store.  They apps install a link to your desktop which are basically just a link to a website.  There are also tons of extensions that you can use and it does work with my printer through the cloud.  No I can’t play those games I listed above but there are other games I can play that are web-based.

I would not want this to be my desktop, it works great as a netbook only in my opinion.  You would still need your regular desktop for your other programs and MMO games.