Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Microsoft Wireless Laser Desktop 5000

Today I was gifted a Microsoft Wireless Laser Desktop 5000 Keyboard and Mouse. Out of the box it was nice. The keyboard is ergonomically approved. There is a raised palm rest and a bent keyboard. There is also some accessories along the top (Media Controls, Customizable Links, and other assorted controls). The raised palm rest is a issue because my keyboard shelf does not always open all the way and I can't fit my hand under the bar to type so I have to pull out the keyboard all the way and the grip needed for me to do that end ups with grease or lubricant on my hands. There is also and enhanced f-key bar with shortcuts to commonly used items. The mouse is a 5-button laser with a four-way click wheel. There is nice response time and is pretty accurate. My overall first impression was good but I think that the downward slope of the keyboard will be annoying and that adjusting to the side buttons on the mouse will take some time. I think that this was a good gift and that Microsoft makes nice wireless keyboard combos. Check back later for more updates.

View photos here !!

--Jerry Smith

Sunday, February 17, 2008

My Computer

I though I'd post my computer specs so you could know what I run and what runs it.

  • Brand: HP
  • Model: Pavilion a1250n
  • Screen: 17in HP vs17
  • RAM: 2GB
  • Processor: AMD Athlon 64 x2 Dual Core Processor 3800+ 2.00 GHz
  • Video Card: Radeon Express 200 Series
  • Audio: Realtek AC'97 Speakers (Built in to monitor)
  • Standard HP Keyboard and Mouse
  • DVD/CD Drive: (2) HP VD Writer 740r ATA w/ LightScribe and IDE-DVD DROM9216 ATA
  • Printer: HP Photosmart 8250
  • External Hard Drive: Elements 500GB (via usb)
  • Web Camera: Creative Live! Cam IM Pro (VF0410)
  • Network Adapters: (2) Netgear WG311v3 54mbps Wireless PCI Adapter and Realtek RTL8139/810x Family Fast Ethernet NIC
  • 16 in 1 Card Reader
  • 7 USB 2.0 Ports, 2 Firewire 400 Ports
  • Thumb Drive: PNY Optima Pro Attache 4GB
  • Primary OS: Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium 32bit (had for almost 10 months now and no BSOD yet, knock on wood)
  • Primary browser: Firefox
  • Antivirus: Grisoft AVG Free Edition
  • Anti Spyware: Spybot Search and Destroy
  • Instant Messing: AIM
  • Blog Post Editor: Scribe Fire (FireFox Add-in)

If you have any other questions about my computer feel free to contact me at

--Jerry Smith

Screens, laptops, "usba", RAM, Hard drives, ect.

Thank god my birthday isn't next week or even next month because the list of things that I have compiled that I need is starting to overflow my brain and the little post-it note that I have it all scribbled down on. All the stuff I need computer related or not is just staring to get overwhelming and actually getting it all will be a very confusing path. Birthday, random incomes, Christmas, or even a job (which i so desperately need); are just many of the numerous ways for me to obtain things. Thank god for is the list of "stuff" that I think I need :)
  1. Solid State Hard Drive to supplement my two existing internal hard drives (225GB and 8GB) and my external hard drive (500GB)
    1. Don't even get me stared on what size I should ask for/ buy
  2. Wireless headphones for my computer. I have a Creative Live! Cam Video IM Pro attached to my computer (via usb) and the supplied headphone and ear buds are too long because they were designed to be attached to the back of the computer but, let it be, I have ports on the front. So when I'm rolling around my room I am constantly rolling over the cord and getting it stuck in the wheels of my chair.
  3. An "usba" or usb hub. I am now running out of USB 2.0 ports on my computer. I have a external hard drive, a printer, a web cam, and a thumb drive that are all usb and my computer has 7 ports (4 in the back, 3 in the front). I'm starting to run out of room! Maybe I might even have to get a 3.0 hub (gotta stay with the latest technology).
  4. Another GB of ram for my computer. My computer is ok but when I start video IMing my friends my computer goes down the toilet. The addition of the video im makes it so much harder to do simple tasks such as open Microsoft Word or watch a YouTube video.
  5. Another monitor for my computer. I currently have a HP vs17 on my computer with built in speakers but when I start doing multiple things on the little 17in screen, real estate starts to go way up. I'm looking at a Dell 19in 1908WFP Wide Flat Panel which has multiple usb ports on the side (Yay!)
    1. Along with the screen comes the task of buying another video card (Boo)
  6. And finally an EEE Pc from Asus. This would make life easier because I could bring this tiny little laptop on vacation with me when I need to do homework or other little tasks. It also comes with a built in web cam and has a solid state hard drive so it can survive those little falls.
That caps off my list for now. Check back later to see if the list grows or maybe even shrinks....

--Jerry Smith

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Machines 'to match man by 2029'

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Cable Managment

USB, Power, FireWire....There are many types of cables out in the world that do many different things. Bring things to life, carry data, output sound. But the more cable you get the harder it is to keep track of them. They start showing up in different locations around your room or home office. Here are my top five tips for cable management

  • Keep one draw or box for all of your cables. This may be hard but when you go looking for that special usb cable for your iPod it cuts down the look time drastically.
  • LABEL, LABEL, LABEL...after a while you might get two or three black power cords that have different ends but say the same thing or nothing on the adapter. Use a silver sharpie (4 for $5.19 at staples) or buy a pack of file folder labels and write on them in PEN. Nothing's worse than having the lettering fade of a label in a draw full of identical cables
  • When storing fold them up and put a rubber band around them...It makes it easy to store in a draw and if you have them on a desk it keeps the desk clean.
  • Put heavily used USB cables into the plugs in the back of the computer...this makes it easier to connect those "quick use" cables in the front.
  • If you don't have USB connections on the front of the computer or have more usb cords than your computer has a USB hub (Chris Pirillo reviewed one here). It makes access to ports better and you can put it right under your screen. When buying a hub always thing about future expansion.
  • BONUS!!! Try and keep cords going to the same area rubber banded or twisty tied together. This makes it easier to control the mess of cords behind the computer and makes it look more sightly if your computer isn't in a case.
I hope these help you clear up the clutter on your desk and by your computer.

Chris Pirillo's video of my top 5 list.

--Jerry Smith

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Jerry Smith For Dummies

This is a result of way too much spare time and Google.

Get your own at

Friday, February 1, 2008

Windows Vista

I upgraded to Windows Vista about 8 months ago and have been somewhat pleased. I found that the overall UI has been changed very much, specifically the start bar. It took me a while to get used to, but the transition ran somewhat smoothly. Around Thanksgiving I found that the computer was starting to run slightly slower and decided to check out the RAM on my HP Pavilion a1250n and found that Vista Areo had taken around 300mb of my ram and dedicated it directly to video. I was more than slightly pissed at this and found that the only way to fix the problem was to disable Areo but i didn't want to because I think that it made the UI much nicer. So I decided to ask for another GB of ram for Christmas and that did the trick. My computer has been running fine since the upgrade. Here my top 5 tips that I have for new Vista customers.
  • Disable the sidebar, it's nice if you want you computer to slow down so much that it takes forever to start up. I found that there was really no use for it and that it had really pointless gadgets, I mean...come on..a cpu speed test, is it really that hard to do the regular way, it also takes up room on your desktop that can be used for better things.
  • Upgrade to at least 2GB of ram...if you can't afford that or you don't want to disable Areo and set the display theme to Vista will speed up your computer so much.
  • Customize the size of the desktop icon text. To do this right click on the desktop and go to personalize. Click the Adjust font size (DPI) at the left. Click Custom and drag the ruler to change the size. This makes reading the icon text easier.
  • Group the icons. This way you can put the most used icons in the middle of the screen or anywhere else you want them. I have my desktop organized into three sections. Two across the top and one down the right side. The first group is hard drive links, and my recycle bin, and anti-spy ware/firewall. The second group is basically all my most used programs; Word, Excel, PowerPoint, yadda, yadda, yadda. My third group is links to file folders that contain documents. There is a link for My Doucments, Pictures, and Music, and also my Website, Projects, and School Work.
  • Disable pointless start up programs. Do this by either going into the startup folder in the all programs folder or run "msconfig". This opens the System Configuration Utility. Go to the startup tab and disable anything that isn't absolutely necessary. Especially do this after installing a HP software on you computer, they typically come with a lot of bloat ware.
Have fun with you new OS. Explore, poke around, have fun with it. If you really mess anything up just roll back the computer using System Restore. Have Fun

-- Jerry Smith