I’m up to my eyeballs in various gadgets, new systems, etc. that are awaiting configuration and testing. I’ll be writing more about these projects, but I thought I’d give you a preview of what I’m working on. Here’s a rundown of what is currently laid out in our home’s dining room – which also probably explains why Mrs. Kodner is so cranky (hey, it’s not like we use the dining room table every day anyway!)
- New home desktop system – it’s from the HP Pavilion slimline series of desktops – the model S3320F with a higher-end AMD 64 X2 5200+CPU, 500 Gb drive, 256 Mb video upgrade, TV tuner, etc. to replace a long-in-the-tooth four 17″ HP 8000 series lugtop. It was only $500 – a steal I thought. This one’s role is that of a family workhorse – lots of homework done on this one ranging currently from 3rd to 7th grade assignments. It’s also a photo/music/video media center for us. It’s dual-booting Vista Home Premium right now, hopefully to be replaced with Windows XP Media Center if I can get ahold of a copy – with the other boot being the latest Ubuntu distro because Kodner1.html (the about-to-be-12th grader) is a Linux devotee and he insisted. Just for fun, I might add a third boot option for PC-DOS 6 to see if I can get the machine to retro-pretend to be a circa 1989 workstation, replete with WordPerfect Office and WordPerfect 5.1+
- New docked Thinkpad system – this is my latest primary work machine – a new Thinkpad T61. It’s nestled into a Thinkpad laptop stand, to which it’s Thinkpad Mini-Port Replicator attaches. Even better, it’s got a full-size Thinkpad Ultranav keyboard attached replete with the world’s smartest pointing device, the IBM Trackpoint IV (a “pointie thingie” to most people). This one just had a “radical Vistaectomy” via the included XP Downgrade kit (is there anyone who doesn’t consider this an upgrade?). It’s still a virgin, no apps loaded yet. Real Soon Now.
- Honey, I shrunk the laptop – fueled by my growing fascination with the new category of mini-notebooks, the latest entrant in the second generation of these diminutive machines arrived last week. While I started with the original – an Asus EEE 700 Linux system, I quickly found it to be just a little too small to be useful as a work platform. Asus and the market thought so too, and they adjusted. It seems that the “just right-sized” mini-notebooks are now appearing and in my case, in the form of Asus’ latest EEEntrant, the model 1000H (reviewed here by Laptop Mag). With a bigger form factor, it’s still only 2.5 lbs-ish, but the keyboard is bigger (keys are 92% of the size of “normal”) and there’s a larger 10″ diagonal display, 80 Gb hard drive instead of the 4 Gb SSD the 700 sports, and Windows XP Home. Driven by Intel’s amazingly tiny Atom series processor, this lean mean tiny machine is really quick! And at only $549, it’s big enough to actually get work done on without lots of mistyping and constant corrections. More later.
- The new projector – I’m traveling so often with my projector that I decided that “thin was in” and trickled my lightweight NEC LP40 down to Renee and Abe and opted for the thinnest LCD projector on the market – Casio’s XJS-36 unit from the XJS series. It’s only 1.7″ thick so it can slide into my laptop bag and doesn’t need to be carried separately. It also has a USB wireless gizmo allowing me to skip the bulky VGA cable. With 2000 lumens, it seems incredibly bright for such a compact DLP projection system. More later on this as well – it seems pretty close to “perfect” for legal road warriors.
- Testing Windows Home Server – I’m in the process of setting up and testing Windows Home Server, which came preloaded on HP’s MediaSmart 470 home server packed with a terabyte of shared storage. Watch for my upcoming article in Law Technology News about how WHS may just be a practical alternative for the smallest firms who would otherwise get caught up in the “peer to peer” networking trap. LOTS more to come about this idea.
- Various bits and pieces – one of the most interesting new evaluation items is the EnduraPro 104 keyboard from Unicomp Keyboards. $99 gets you a virtual clone of the legendary IBM Trackpoint IV keyboard from 2000. Which means, yes, it’s true: buckling spring key movements (keys that click, like God intended, instead of today’s el cheap rubber dome technology) and a built-in pointing stick. With actual vintage IBM TrackPoint keyboards both rare and expensive, this one’s amazing. Built like a tank – almost three pounds v. the usual featherweight disposable pieces of junk bundled with most PCs today. Can’t wait to crank out work on this thing. Also trying out a new Belkin N-series wireless router since the new Thinkpad supports Draft 802.11n wireless (will this “standard” EVER be ratified??). Finally, Dragon NaturallySpeaking Preferred 10 is waiting to be loaded and reviewed along with a very comfortable Logitech USB headset that has already proven itself a sonic winner in daily Skyping.
I get tired just thinking about all this gadgetry. Mrs. Kodner is simply tired of it all having commandeered our dining room. Add to that the busiest summer MicroLaw has ever had with client projects going literally from Hawaii in the west to West Virginia in the east with British Columbia, Wisconsin, Illinois and several other states keeping all of us hopping. Now if I can only download that famous and fabled “DayDoubler” utility – which is like WinZip, but it compresses 36 hours into a 24 hour day . . . if you run across it, let me know!
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