Archive for November, 2009

Does the Perfect Notebook Stand Really Exist?

Yes. But it took a hell of a long time to find.

I recently bough myself a new desk for my home-office. The old one went into the trash, along with my make-shift notebook stand (that was bolted to it). I was thinking of salvaging it, but I realized that there are probably better alternatives, so went to Staples to look for a good one for a decent price. I wanted one that would support my laptop in such a way that I could type without an external keyboard.

Here are the three I tried out:

Fellowes Designer Suites Laptop Riser:

Price: 34.99 $

Verdict: Junk. My 17″ notebook fell off as soon as I put it on. 34 $ almost cost me another 1900 $.


Hewlett Packard Universal Notebook Stand:

Price 49.99 $

Verdict: I thought this one might work, considering my laptop was an HP. Technically, the laptop fit, but it was at too high an angle for me to type without a keyboard. The USB hub was nice though.


Allsop Cool Channel Laptop Platform:

Price: 39.66 $

Verdict: My laptop just balanced on this one. I’m sure that if someone in the room sneezed my laptop would fall. Plus, 40 $ for a glorified piece of cardboard wrapped  mesh is insane.


Finally, I went to some little shop across the street from Staples (it’s a wonder Staples didn’t buy them out). I found this:

Vantec LapCool TX Ultra:

Price: 29.87 $

Verdict: A miracle! It had a fan, turntable and supported my clunker of a notebook! And All for 30 $! This one also folds up and fits in and laptop bag. The fan is very quiet and will air-condition my entire office. The best thing about it was the fact that there was no shiny crap that my OCD brain had to keep clean 24/7. A really great buy.


So there you have it. Turns out patience and perseverance win out again. I could have settled for the HP one, but I would have had to buy a keyboard. And lots of wet-wipes.


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TSSTcorp CDDVDW TS-L633M CD/DVD Reader Fix

Warning: This post contains very specific technical language that may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors. Viewer discretion is advised.

My friend recently bought a new HP ProBook 4710s. The first thing he did when he first booted it up was install Norton 360 (shut up you open-source imperialists, Norton works). He put the CD in, it spun and… Nothing. He checked “My Computer” and the drive wasn’t even there. He brought it back to Staples and all they could think to do was re-format for $80.00. My friend decided to leave it there so they could see what they could do without charging him (for some strange reason, wherever a computer’s really screwed up, system restore stops working and it’s not covered by your warranty). The next day, Staples called him and said there was nothing they could do. He took it back and called me. Why I was his last resort, I will never know. I fixed it anyways.

If you have the same problem, here’s how to fix it:

1. Open “regedit” (Start -> Run -> regedit, or in Vista, Start -> type in “regedit”)

2. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_<MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E965-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}

3. Click UpperFilters in the right pane.

4. Back up the key by selecting it and clicking File -> Export.

5. Now, delete the key from the registry (but not UpperFilters.bak)

6. Under the same directory, click LowerFilters.

7. Back up that key.

8. Delete it.

9. Reboot and hope for the best.

Note: If you need to re-add those entries to the registry, double click them. If you go a week without problems, delete them to avoid accidentallyre-adding them (and re-creating the problem).

Funny story, a week later he got a call from Staples telling him that his computer has been re-formatted and was ready to be picked up. My friend told the man he already had his computer, and a quick check of ID numbers confirmed they had wiped the wrong computer…

It would suck to be the guy who asked for a battery replacement and got an empty hard-drive.

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*.bat to *.exe Compiler

*.bat to *.exeI’ve been messing with MS-DOS for a little while and I’ve found you can’t do much (innocent or otherwise) with batch files while they still have the *.bat label. Off the top of my head, I can tell you that can’t e-mail them, can’t give them  custom icons and you can’t really encrypt them. With this little utility, you can convert them into executable files (*.exe), where you can do all of those things. Compiling them to *.exe also means they are no longer editable, good if you don’t want people messing with them. This app is also totally portable and requires no installation to run.

Download it here.

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Rainmeter 1.1 Release!

I know I am, once again, a little late, but i just have to follow up on one of the biggest Rainmeter/Enigma updates in history. In case you didn’t know, Rainmeter is the single greatest piece of software in the universe. It is a fully customizable resource meter that can also monitor RSS feeds, weather and much more! It is fully customizable and skin-able. This  new update includes several new features, like RainBrowser and Rainthemes. Updates to Enigma include a Google Calendar skin and a Foobar2000/WinAmp skin.

Just thought I’d let you guys know that it updated.

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