Computer Stuff

I am still having to run a fan to keep the computer cooled. I have a 6″ AC clip-on fan hooked to the cart. In the warmer weeks prior, this was fine. But now that it is cooler (it is currently 55F), my mouse hand is freakin’ freezing! So when I am not playing a game, I turn the fan off.

With the Dell, I went through several different cooling systems, none of them lasting long. Right now the Dell (which is miraculously still alive!) is using one by Vantec. It is cheap plastic and bows in the middle. Sheesh. The one before that isn’t being made anymore. It connected (like most of them do) via a USB cable. The end on the fan itself was on a removable USB hub. Sounds good except that hub had to really be set right before the fan would work. I also have a USB fan by Thermaltake sitting at the back of the Dell directly onto the heatsink.

Now with the Toshiba, the heatsink is on the side so I have to be careful what I put on that side so the thing gets adequate air. I also have a short piece of 2×2 along the back to raise it up off the table. Anyone have any advice on laptop cooling? What works?

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I also just bought Dragon Naturally Speaking 10 (DNS). I got an email (from a company I have bought stuff from before) announcing they had a great price at about a third of the cost. So I grabbed it. I’ve used voice software before with mixed results. ViaVoice was decent. I’ve had several older versions of DNS. I’ve only had it for a few days and have done limited training with it. But I will say that first impressions are this thing rocks!

First off, when setting up the user profile, I had to select a language. I selected US English (duh). Then, I got to choose SOUTHERN US English. How cool is that?

I’ve used it in several different situations and overall, I’m really impressed with this software. I can talk in a normal voice, without pausing to clarify words, and it keeps up fairly well. I have to get used to saying punctuation, though. I don’t think about it as I use a keyboard, ya know? I figure I’ll work with it during the day then in the afternoons and evenings, when the house is noisier, I’ll use the keyboard to edit and continue.

There’s this “DragonBar” thing that is always on top of whatever. I dislike things that do that. Sure, I can take away the “always on top” check mark, I guess.

Then I found out I could make that go away and still get to almost everything through the tray icon. Right-clicking is the way to go, dudes.

On the other hand, Nuance (who makes/sells DNS now) is heavily attached to Microsoft. Which means it is designed to work with Word and I would assume it does it quite well. But I use OpenOffice.org (OO.o), dammit. So when it scans the My Documents (which isn’t where I keep my manuscript files anyway) to build up the vocabulary and dictionary, it only scanned in the .rtf and .txt. It skipped the .doc because this laptop doesn’t have Word installed. It also offered to scan emails to further learn my writing style but only works with Lotus somethinganother, MS Outlook (every hackers dream), and some other MS based email. Not Thunderbird. Really annoying.

But, it will open OpenOffice.org and any other program that is listed in the Start Menu. I renamed a few things to make it easier to say (“OpenOffice.org Writer” was a bit long). I can dictate into OO.o but I am limited in some things. Not sure what exactly. Mostly I think in controlling macros (which I don’t like) and accessing other MSWord stuff.

A few other bugs I have about it: it came in a DVD. Not a CD, a DVD. Luckily, this Toshiba reads both. But what if it didn’t? Would a CD drive read a text DVD? And, with all that it downloads onto the computer, it does NOT download and install the .pdf extended help files. WTF? I found them (the written itty bitty manual mentions many times where they are) and drag/dropped them onto the desktop. What a silly little thing to not do automatically.

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I am doing my laptop shopping again. The Toshiba came to me used but in great condition. It has a few weird quirks (don’t we all?) and I knew from the beginning it was only a temporary fix to my laptop problem. Anyone have any recommendations? I like the Lenovo stuff. And Dell for the most part. I abhor HP/Compaq and I want to stay away from no-name brands and cheap brands. I need a “desktop replacement” computer. I use it constantly. 12-16+ hrs a day (I have no life, ya know) I like the bigger screens (my eyes are 43yrs old and not getting any younger). I don’t want lightweight, I want usable. I want one that is easier to keep cooled. I will wait until the next MS OS comes out since Vista is Satan wearing a “Blue Screen of Death” mask.

Speaking of which, am I the only one freakin’ about the idea of MS Sync in cars? They can’t get their OS right and they want to be in my car? I don’t think so!