Saturday, February 12, 2005

Stage 12 of TabletPC Ownership: Upgrade Anxiety

While browsing the forums of my favorite TabletPC web site, I happened again upon a thread where someone listed the Stages of TabletPC Ownership. I realized with more than a little amusement that I was now at stage 12, or Upgrade Anxiety.

Memory Upgrade

I don't think I've gone overboard. As I mentioned before, my V1250 came with only 256mb RAM, and that ceased to be even remotely sufficient after Microsoft's Service Pack 2 for XP. It was only natural to upgrade the memory. At that point, 512mb becomes essentially a minimum requirement, and no one wants the bare minimum (Don't tell Safe Auto I said that!). Since the maximum my device could hold was 768mb, it just made sense to spend a little bit extra and do the most good--and what good it did!

The 512mb memory upgrade in place Posted by Hello

Several very knowledgeable friends had told me years ago to buy Kingston memory. Not only were these very reliable modules, but Kingston memory is warranted against defects for life, and I believe that was rather unheard of at the time. Since then, I'd always been willing to pay the extra for Kingston quality, and I have seen what can happen when you don't. Knowing that Kingston is what ViewSonic recommends only reinforced my conviction. With this in mind, I began saving for that expensive (for me) upgrade.

Saving was taking soooo long. There were bills to pay. and GoBinder and TPC accessories to buy (see previous blogs). The MVPs on the Microsoft newsgroups and TabletPCBuzz (as well as others who post to those forums) praised another vendor, Crucial. They said Crucial sold good stuff, and that they also had a lifetime warranty. I was tired of waiting, and my baby was sluggish after Service Pack 2, so I nervously gave Crucial a try. End result: I now have two companies I trust for my memory upgrades. My TabletPC once again became a joy to use.

Hard Drive Upgrade

Another deficiency SP2 was good at pointing out was that a 30gb hard drive simply isn't sufficient, even if it is 3 times the storage capacity my last laptop had. In order to do the practically mandatory post-upgrade defrag, I had to uninstall EtherLords, among other things, just to free up that crucial 15-20% free space. It didn't take me long to call up ViewSonic support for reassurance that the planned hardware upgrades would not invalidate my warranty.

The new hard drive's box (I installed the drive before I thought about snapping a pic) Posted by Hello

I had decided a 60gb drive would be sufficient and would be less of a drain on the pockets, but after I received Neverwinter Nights Platinum as a Christmas gift (it needs 4 gigabytes of hard drive space!), and after deciding I absolutely must run at least four operating systems on my baby (and thus learn what VMWare is about), it occurred to me that I would be needing more. Add to that my insistence on keeping an image of my boot drive on another partition (no restore disks for me, thanks), then sticking a movie and some traveling music on yet another partition, and my final selection of 100 gigabytes starts to look a little small. The Seagate drive certainly wasn't cheap, either, but I made the purchase palatable by tossing in a couple of CompUSA gift cards I'd received. I didn't buy a particularly fast drive, but at 5400 rpm, it's still faster than the original (4200 rpm) Hitachi TravelStar. I also purchased an adapter (shown below) for attaching my notebook drive to a desktop PC. The CompUSA staff member who'd help me locate that connector also led to to some rather reasonably priced USB enclosures. I was pretty sure a USB solution wouldn't work for imaging my new drive, but I'd wanted one, anyway, so I bought it.

ATA to IDE Adapter Posted by Hello

As I suspected, when I slapped my new drive into the USB enclosure (pictured below) and booted with my external TEAC burner), Drive Image 2002 did not see the USB drive, so I used my new adapter to connect my old drive to the cable on the secondary IDE channel of my desktop PC. After that, it was easy to create a compressed image on the desktop's hard drive. I then removed the old drive from the adapter, attached the new one and used Drive Image to put the snapshot of my old drive on the new one, enlarging the source partitions as I went along. When I removed the new drive from the desktop computer and installed it in the TPC, I was almost surprised to see that a change was barely even noticed by the machine or by Windows. I think Windows reported a new device and wanted to reboot, but the process was otherwise shockingly perfect.

USB Notebook Drive Enclosure Posted by Hello

The USB enclosure is now an accessory. I popped an old 3gb hard drive in it and use it for data transfers.

I'm currently debating buying a G WiFi PC card (I don't use the slot for anything else, and my onboard WiFi NIC is a B).


Anonymous said...

Can a tablet pc express love for its owner?

The Miniature Mage said...

Computers cannot love yet :)

However, my general observation has been that a user's hatred/fear of the technology is a pretty good predictor of just how poorly that machine will perform for him/her.

Anonymous said...

Can owners express love for an inanimate object, like a tablet ?

The Miniature Mage said...

The capacity for humans to express love for inanimate objects is doubtless equal to their capacity to express hatred. Just MHO, of course.

bill naka said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.