Sunday, August 12, 2007

Power tip, accessorizing, Office Depot, and more

  • Welcome Office Depot shoppers!. This laptop computer has gone on sale this week (August 12 to August 18) at Office Depot for $450 after two mail-in rebates of $180. Last week it was on sale at Circuit City for the same price.
  • Power tip: If you are using the battery and you are not near an AC supply, or you forgot the A/C converter at home, it is a good idea to shutdown the notebook before you get the out of battery warning. Perhaps shutting down at 10% may be a good idea. Why? Because Windows shutdown is not always fast or smooth (and if you used Windows you know what I'm talking about). Sometimes applications take longer to shutdown or Windows waits for something to finish or something freezes/crashes. So it may run out of battery before it has time to properly shutdown. It happened to me a couple of days ago, that's why I am mentioning it :)
  • More accessories! Accessory #2 is a USB optical mouse. I did not want to get a tiny tiny mouse, and I did not want to use my regular sized mice, so I picked up something in between, a generic Logitech optical USB mouse. The mouse cable ends with a USB cable, but it also comes with a green USB-to-PS2 converter so you can use it with computers that take PS/2 or do not have USB slots available. Or you can just use the green converter for other purposes. Or sell it on eBay :-) I picked up mine from Office Max ($15 + tax). Also available at Amazon for $16 (also 61 customer reviews of this mouse there). If shopping from Amazon, use promotion code LNGXV7VK for a 5% discount (expires 8/13/07). Needless to say using the laptop with a mouse instead of the finger-tablet-thingy device is much faster, at least for me, since I am not particularly used to using the finger-tablet-thingy. But the finger-tablet-thingy remains active when you have a mouse connected, so you can use both. A best of both worlds approach!
  • Fighting for the right-side USB port: Since there is only one USB port on the right, both the mouse (for the right-handed people) and my USB chillpad/fan are closer to the right USB port. Obviously they can't both use it, so one of them has to use the left side. This may add cause some very minor cable clatter, but as long as they are behind the laptop, they don't get in the way... Perhaps when shopping for a notebook chiller/fan, look for one that has USB slots on the left-side (or both sides) - if you do not want cables reaching across behind the notebook :) Not a big deal, but for people with limited space or who like everything organized and neat, it may be helpful!
  • Last day of the Circuit City sale: Today is the last day of the weekly Circuit City sale that has this laptop for $450. It's their 2nd cheapest laptop, they have an Acer under $400, but without a dvd burner and with only 512mb of RAM. Neither one looks as cool and trendy as the Dells in eight vibrant colors, but they don't cost as much either :) I think either the sub-$400 Acer or this Presario F572us are a good bang for the buck considering where laptop prices were a year ago :)
  • Thrifty Accessory Buyer Tip: If you are looking for cheap generic mice as backups or throwaways, Rite Aid (yes the drugstores) have them for under $10. They are made (or branded) Sakar/iConcepts. They usually go on clearance sale for dirt cheap (under $5) at the end of the back to school sale season. I bought a few of them last year for my desktop and they are quite good for general purpose use (especially given the price). Now if you are a gamer or you have specific application needs, that's a different story :)

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