Tuesday, September 30, 2008

MSI Wind vs. HP Mini Part 2


What is this?

It's the thermometer that usually use by old time doctor to measure body temperature of the patient. Since it's for body temperature, the range covers only from 35ºC to 42ºC. No reading for temperature that is less or more than the range, the mercury does not rise or overshoot to the end. If overshoot, guess the patient should be in ICU or even cold storage liao.

For the moment, I was Dr. Jacko, I was looking after 2 "hot" chicks, Ms Wind and Ms Mini.

Ms Mini's touchpad, 36.2ºC...


Let's touch a bit higher, the keyboard, 36.7ºC...


Opps... too high up, she was getting hotter with the touch, so come down a little, the palm rest, 39.6ºC...


Let's peep to the side, the heat sink, the mercury overshot! It's more than 42ºC!! Wow!! Rescue!! Ambulance please!!! 999 or 911 or 112!!


Let's get more excited, check out the buttock (bottom). Opps! 40.2ºC...


And lastly to reassure my "palm thermometer" works accurately, the power adapter, 37.9ºC...


Done the "touch touch" harassment on Ms Mini, let's move on to Ms Wind.

The touchpad, 36.0ºC...


The keyboard, less than 35ºC, no exact reading...


Palm rest, again, less than 35ºC, no exact reading...


Fan or heat sink area, 39ºC...


The bottom, 35.9ºC...


And the power adapter, similar to Ms Mini's, 37.8ºC...


Certainly Ms Mini is much hotter than Ms Wind. Both were in the same air-conditioned "clinic room", on the same "doctor table" with charger plugged in at the same time and with 3% charge remained in the battery. Think about it, is it comfortable to have Ms Mini sits on your lap and happy fun with her for a long period?

So are you sick? You can come to Dr. Jacko for diagnostic. Let doctor touch touch and measure, doctor would gift you "gold fish" after the visit.

Woi! Harassment wei!! Haha! :p

Monday, September 29, 2008

MSI Wind vs. HP Mini Part 1


An HP Mini landed at my shore. It was resting peacefully with its contender MSI Wind side by side on my bed for few days without any "molests" from me 'cause I was out for most of the times throughout the week.

I was asked to provide a fair review between these two (err... am I working in Cnet or Engadget? Any Cnet or Engadget or Hardwarezone editors here?). Anyway, since HP Mini was initially my favorite, let's see who is hotter and sexier between these 2 "chicks".

Check out MSI Wind's spec over here. Here's HP Mini 2133's quick spec:


On size comparison. Wind just about an inch longer...


With lids opened. Vista Ultimate on Wind and Vista Home Basic on Mini. Wind is slightly taller on the screen and longer in base due to its 10" screen...


Side by side, thickness is the same by eyes measurement...


The waist is also more or less similar...


The keyboard...


You can see that Wind has bigger keys at the first row from top (F1, F2 etc). On the second row (the numeric keys) and the sixth row (space bar row), Mini's keys are bigger. On the third to fifth row, both are almost identical in size but of course Mini wins with its big surface by square key design, whereas Wind is the standard keyboard design with slope at each side. I curious if the keyboard is swappable between both? If so, Wind users could swap the keyboard for better typing experience, though no major issue with Wind's keyboard. Unlike Wind's Fn key is the first key from left at the sixth row, Mini's first key is CTRL key which fits my typing habit perfectly where I always use my left little finger to reach out the CTRL key. I have to twist a little to do so on Wind 'cause the CTRL is the 2nd key. Further, Mini beats Wind on its ergonomic design, the BIOS (press F10 during HP Invent logo screen) provides an option to swap Fn-CTRL key to fit different typing habits. Thumbs up!

The touchpad activation/deactivation button...


Good thing about this button, instead of 2-finger work to disable the touchpad on Wind (Fn-F3), Mini has the button lays on top of the pad with one press to activate/deactivate it. Bad, the button eats up the space for bigger touchpad. Till now, I still can't get myself used to the 2-side button design especially the right button. I looked into the Synaptics software, there is no option to configure one of the edges of the touchpad to simulate the right click. Such feature is available in my Dell laptop. Also, the scroll zone is NOT on top of the line indicator on the touchpad, it extends to the left of the line which makes the zone a little wider where I scroll accidentally quite often when I just wanted to move the cursor. No option to configure the "thickness" of the scroll zone in Synaptics software and I think the "virtual scrollbar" should be on the line indicator not the side of the indicator.


Now the screen with tape on each side. The right side is aligned at the edge of the screen so you can see the difference in size on the left size. Mini's 8.9" seems to be a challenge for my age when I viewed the same web page on it and Wind. Am I too old??!! Haha!

The battery. I would say Wind's battery (right) is double the size of Mini with its connector extended out. Both are 3-cell battery...


Since MID or netbook is meant for portable and mobile, reasonable effort should also be invested on its design to make it as small as possible...


The top one is Wind's adapter, smaller size than Mini's. Both generates similar heat (measured using my ahem~ most accurate thermometer, my palms! Hehe...). I like the cable tie that comes with Mini's adapter which is very handy to keep the cables nicely. I had to get myself one for the Wind. This is where you can see the difference (such as this and ergonomics) between Western based and Asian based company.

Last for this post, look at the slip case...


Err... Don't you think HP's case (left) is a bit cheapskate and bengish? But, HP provides an internal compartment to keep the power adapter whereas you can't squeeze in the adapter into MSI's case. Perhaps portable concept comes in place, you shouldn't be bringing the power adapter with you whenever you are mobile, the battery should serve you efficiently than keep hooking up the netbook to cable all the times. We shall find out the "efficiency" when I test the performance on Mini (consumerial testing) and benchmark with MSI.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Mooncake Festive Season

Finally, I finished ALL! Ya, ALL of them!! Total of 40!!


Err...


I mean, really... I mean I finished 40 episodes of Moonlight Resonance series, not the mooncakes :p


The Hong Kong drama was about ordinary or traditional mooncakes like this...


But they don't have jelly mooncakes like this...


More...


The yam flavor...


The pineapple flavor...


The red bean flavor...


Now another golden opportunity for me to enterprise this. Ok, if you are interested, please contact me. LoL.

Ah! So many opportunities surround me but why am I still so pokkai, so poor one??

p/s: no good camera, my sponsor not yet back home...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

MSI Wind U100 Part 4

I've been contacted 7 times in 3 days from some visitors around the world who "crossed over" to my blog pertaining to my Wind posts. Some also came across from YouTube, but generally they were asking similar questions. I'm happy that my posts were helping others (since I am not a full time blogger and tech reviewer) to make their decision, to find answer to certain question like "could I install Vista onto Wind" and so forth. Now I decided to blog this post in response to these questions and other aspects that I have not covered in previous posts.


In my previous posts, from the comparison matrix to supplement the decision making on which model, to happily got myself the Wind, followed by Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 as you might have read through, it's purely from a consumer and dummy user perspective without much coverage on the technical aspect since there are plenty technical reviews you can find in the net. This post will be slightly techie sound and I will try to put it from other aspects.

Hardware (Sort of summary of my previous posts)

As of today, there are several variants and models of Wind flooded the markets globally. From the initial 80GB HDD, with only 3-cell battery and 4 color options to choose from, now MSI offers 120GB HDD, 6-cell and additional "Love Edition" shown above to add to the color options (also with a change from Synaptic touchpad to Sentelic touchpad). It's still called MSI Wind U100 despite the change of spec. In some other countries (I guess majorly in European countries), it's offered under a different brand name called Advent 4211. One of the readers mentioned that he discovered it's indeed an MSI Wind U100 after the sticker at the bottom was teared off. There is another model, the U90 with 8.9" screen which is out of topic here.

Mine is the first generation of Wind U100x model number MS-N011 (as per the label at the bottom) with the spec below (visit MSI Mobile for details), pre-installed with Linux operating system instead of Windows XP Home. I did not specify the spec previously because there's no other options available when I bought it. Read the Part 3 you will know why I got myself a Linux than Micro$oft box.


The only hardware upgrade I did was the memory RAM to 2GB. To repeat, a 2GB RAM stick was in fact slotted in but Wind refused to boot up, even the power button was not lighted up at all. MSI has released a BIOS upgrade, the question is whether 3GB RAM is supported with this upgrade. Perhaps I shall bring my Wind to an IT store for a try on luck again. This upgrade to total of 2GB RAM is required if you plan to load Windows Vista onto Wind, otherwise the default 1GB should be sufficient for Windows XP.

I did not upgrade the harddisk as I was told by the MSI dealer that it would void my warranty. Perhaps a 250GB or 320GB upgrade upon warranty expiry would be good to use Wind as my photo albums storage. On the other hand, I would love to get myself a 6-cell model at that time, but it wasn't available due to battery manufacturer's fire incident. I shall recheck with the dealer if it's now available as accessories purchase.

In short, these are the hardware upgrades you might want to consider when getting yourself a Wind (or even other models). If you are really adventurous, may be you want to consider to "touch-screenize" your Wind, you can find out more from this liliputing and jkkmobile, and here's the video from Korean...


As far as I know, Wind is still the better choice (if not best) in the market now with strong contender from Asus Eee PC 1000 series. There are other products like Acer Aspire One and Lenovo S10, but I guess I would not change my mind to get Wind even if I had not bought one. Why? Check out the spec of the rest, some minor thing like only 2 USB ports really affect my decision and of course the cost $$.

Software
As working in a competitive IT world, I need to catch up with the trends constantly. Unlike in the past, my workstation was always loaded with latest version of operating system and productivity software, these days I've been lagging in catching up with the trends. My company will be refreshing the IT hardware and software in the near future and since I have an unused license of Windows Vista Ultimate, I think it would be good learning ground to load the Wind with Vista for me to play around. And, ultimately I could continue "talk cock" in my job. Hehe...

Loading Vista is simpler compared to previous version of Windows such as Windows 9x and Windows XP. The only issue is to get an external DVD drive (Vista Setup Disc comes in DVD format) if you do not have one. Alternatively, you may try to copy the entire DVD to a high speed and capacity USB flash drive, press F11 during MSI logo screen and boot up to the USB drive. It might work as if you are installing from DVD drive, though I did not try on this method. A 8GB flash drive is suffice on this. Again, if you are adventurous, replace the flash drive with an 8GB SD Card, give it a try! I bet if it works but the installation progress might take unexpectedly longer to complete due to the card speed. Take note the flash drive and SD card need to be in bootable format.

An in place upgrade from the pre-installed Windows XP Home is possible. You can copy the Vista setup disc content to the hard drive or other supported media mentioned above. The only difference is to boot up to Windows XP and double click on the setup.exe to begin the upgrade. I always dislike such upgrade because there are many rubbishes and mess left over after the upgrade. A clean install is always my preference.

If you are an experienced techie, you may want to "vLite" the Vista installation to gain a little more space. As its name suggests, v = Vista and Lite = lighten or Lite edition. With vlite, you can remove some features that you are certain you will never ever need them. For example, the Windows Welcome screen and some legacy printer drivers. I slightly "vlited" my Vista Ultimate gained me a little space of 7GB+, a total of 15GB Vista installation compare to 23GB of default Vista installation.

No worries on driver compatibility for Vista. If your Wind package came with a Driver / Utility CD for XP, you can rest assure that ALL drivers work for Vista include the Bluetooth. If you browse through the folders like above, you can find some folders like Vista or Vista64, meaning that both Vista 32 and 64 bits are supported! If you don't have the CD, then go to MSI Download Page to look for latest version. Just run the setup.exe for each hardware driver, follow the on screen instructions and you will have hassle free to get every single piece of hardware component in your Wind to work like a charm!


2 things to note:
1. Webcam - firmware is provided by MSI at the Download Page, but you may not find the driver. Download and install Vista SP1, Vista will automatically detects and installs it (make sure the webcam is activated by Fn+F6). If it does not, run Windows Update, scroll to Optional upgrade and you should find an update called Simplo Webcam. Download and install it. To try it out, launch any of your instant messenger like Yahoo! Messenger or Live Messenger.

2. Aero interface (HOME button + TAB) - ALT+TAB is used to switch between programs in XP. You can use HOME+TAB to switch programs in 3D mode. The default driver from MSI does not allow this feature to be activated. Run Windows Update and install Windows certified video driver, Aero should be automatically activated after reboot.

Do you notice Microsoft ISATAP Adapter #3? Don't panic if you see this in your Wind (or any other Vista machine), nothing wrong with it, it's by Micro$oft's design error. You can uninstall it but occasionally it will bug you again.

Performance or Issues
After more than 2 months of using and running through 88 security patches and updates from Windows Update, Vista does not show any degradation in performance (touch wood~). The boot up time is more or less similar to what I timed right after the fresh install, sometimes psychologically I felt it's faster than previous. Wind shows no lagging in multitasking most of the times, with multi-tabs Firefox, Yahoo! and Live Messenger, Microsoft Outlook and iTunes streaming MP3 in the background. There were few occasions I was video conferencing using Live Messenger, thumbs up on the performance with no lagging at all except the network latency caused by the lousy local broadband service. It did not happen all times, there was delay when you see the hard disk indicator LED was blinking rapidly, I guess it was due to the Index service rebuilding the search index, I reconfigured the Index service to index my entire C (system) and D (Data) drives. I did not diagnose further 'cause it's acceptable to me.

There are only 2 issues so far I encountered:
1. Since the resolution of 1024x600 is not a "standard" or common resolution scale, you will notice some software does not dynamically support it. Look at the snapshots below, first was taken with iTunes' Preferences dialog box opened...


Can you find the OK, Cancel and Apply buttons? Some programs dynamically support this resolution, for example the Bluetooth software. When you hover the cursor to the bottom, the dialog box automatically "pushes" itself up a level to show the 3 buttons at the bottom for you to click.

Another example from Microsoft Outlook. Look at the default interface when creating a new contact, the last field at the bottom is Street...


If you set the taskbar to be autohiden, then the Country and Contact fields appear just like the sun rise from the horizon...


Alternatively, you can minimize the Ribbon bar on the top to overcome this issue...


Also, you may encounter the same issue in some Adobe Flash animated websites. Press F11 to go full screen in browser might address the issue if the Flash content is coded with dynamic sizing.

You can also try to get some freeware to resize the resolution permanently. Try search in download.com and you easily find dozens. There is one called Downscaling Switcher developed by a kind Wind user in Wind forum, seems getting good feedback, worth a try I would think.

I don't see this as a problem (since there are workarounds) on Wind (and other netbooks with similar resolution), it's merely a matter for the web developers to be more dynamic in developing the web to support it since netbook is still a very new segment in this era. I guess HP Mini 2133 does not have this issue 'cause its resolution is the standard 1024x768.

2. Just a small matter... There is clipping noise whenever I play Flash content or video from internet like YouTube videos or Justin.TV. Not very loud nor is it annoying but it's noticeable. Such clipping does not happen when I play MP3s and videos from my hard drive. Perhaps tweaking the Audio Manager could get away the noise but since it's bearable to me, I do not bother to troubleshoot :) Let me know if you found resolution.

Oh, there is one more. Since my Wind was pre-installed with Linux, I do not have the camera software. You'd know, if you buy a Logitech webcam, it comes with a software (I think it's called QuickCapture) that allows you to capture still and video images using the webcam. I just wonder does the XP Home Wind bundle with such software? If yes, what is the software name? Hmm...

URL References

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I Scored A?!

I was doing some customization on jacko.my, some are noticeable, some are hidden. Well, let's make this a report card to report on "my progress" for a semester as of today...


As one lazy butt "complained" in the Talk Cock Box, full post is no longer available at main page, but you are just one click away from the full post. Click on the "Read More..." and there you go. Few reasons behind the change, to make the main page tidier and neat view, to allow faster load time of the main page and so forth. Though, feedback still welcome :)


On each post, you will see this Digg button (above) on the top right. No, don't dig your nose or any other holes you found on your body, I ain't asking you to dig while reading my blog (yucks~ if you do so!!). If you do find a particular post is interesting to share, click on the button to share with others around the world. It's a social network in virtual world, just like how you share 8 kuas or gossips with your buddies in the real world. You need an account to do so, err... I have not created mine 'cause I've not used Digg before. Further, I feel like a direct sale person or hardcore insurance agent to hard sell myself if I digg my own post and give good comment.

On the left, few "widgets" added to enrich the site content. For instance, the Search box, you can now use the Search box to search in jacko.my for older posts in the archive. No option to search WWW or google.com, only for jacko.my 'cause such search is already provided by your browser if you have the latest version installed on your machine. So don't be lazy to move your cursor a little higher to reach that search box.

Daily Digest is where I frequent everyday. The forum that I am one of the moderators, link to an automotive blog, links to other daily press and political sites. On the same concept, a section called Friendly Links for someone-I-know's blog sites. Send me email if you wish to share your site here.

Scroll to the bottom, there is a counter below the report card. Everyone should know what is that for, it's to show how many visitors hit my site. See, I also have the "numbers", it displays the exact numbers of visitors who happened to "cross over" to jacko.my. It also has tracking feature to show where do they come from for the purpose to help those commercial sites to target their potential customers. Some people (not for business purpose) use this like a Bond 007's tool to track others, nay, I am not interested in such hide-and-seek tracking and don't understand why others do so. This is also one of the reasons I abandoned the old site which has such in-built feature. Until I want jacko.my to generate $$ for me, then perhaps for $$ benefit sake I may do so. I just need a display counter for now.

Surprisingly, after I added features above, I saw my score in the preview was...


Impressive?! Grade A leh, from 40 to 93, share markets around the world also not so bullish than my report card. LoL. No, I don't believe this as you can see the score is still at 40 on the left. It must be some bug in the script. Anyway, that motivates me a little, let see when I rerun the report again.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

We Speak MalEnglish

Last year, 2007 we anak Malaysia celebrated 50 years of independence. Our beloved G initiated a Visit Malaysia Year 2007 year-long event, here is one of the adverts from the Tourism Board...




Malaysia Truly Asia...

There are 2 major English streams globally, the American English and the British English. Color vs. colour, neighbor vs. neighbour, realize vs. realise and many more. Many foreigners recognize our capability to speak fluent English, both American and British, we anak Malaysia are proud of ourselves and we are so outspoken in English and even localize it to become Malenglish, the Malaysian-English...



American English, sensor; British English, also sensor; Malenglish, sencor.

Per one of our beloved PM's (as of now, 16 Sept 2008, 21:11 GMT+8) quotes, we have world class infrastructure but third class maintenance, and perhaps third class work attitude too. As a result, such thing happens at the heart of Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur, at the brand new shopping mall, Pavilion KL.

Malaysia, Truly Asia, that includes English, Malenglish :)

By the way, I was also wondering if it's Truly Asia, why the models in the adverts were all Mat Salleh but not anak Malaysia picked from our multiethnic society?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Word-PDF Conversion

Most of us applied job before. 7 years ago when I started to work, I recalled for some job applications, I needed to go through snail post that required me to print out my resume, attach my photo and paste the stamps onto the envelop using saliva and send it over to the company. Nowadays, everything is done online, be it online application via JobStreet.com and other similar online agency, or your head hunter would ask you to send the latest resume via email.


I always skeptical to send my resume in editable format such as Microsoft Word document format (*.doc) to head hunter whom I have not known well. And many of us do not have Adobe Acrobat. In such case, I used to install some free software to print the Word document as PDF. Google PDF Tool and you can find dozens. One of the disadvantages of some of these tools is it converts the entire Word document into an embedded image in PDF, and hence the text in the generated PDF is not selectable or copy and the hyperlink is not clickable. Also, sometimes the generated PDF has all the formatting and layout gone hay wire.

Recently I have a need to "regenerate" the PDF. Hehe... An email from the online agency notified me that there's a MNC requested my detailed resume and if I am interested in the position. Of course I am, not that the current company is so bad, I always keep my door wide open like Raya Open House. If the company can make me more healthier by feeding more "vitamin M", why should I deny a better "healthy" life, right? You'd know, like MNE2, my blood type is also M (watch the movie and you would know what I meant). Haha...

Since I've upgraded the operating system to Vista and Office 2007, the old PDF creator that I have is no longer working on my Wind. And I knew Office 2007 comes with a feature to save the any office files i.e. Excel, PowerPoint to PDF directly. Searching in the program did not find that feature, apparently it's an add-in that I need to install separately.

After installed, I ran a simple test to see if the add-in meets my requirements: formatting, pictures, document properties and most important, selectable or searchable text string. Here is the Word document...



Conversion is straightforward, click on the Office button, hover the cursor to Save As and click on PDF or XPS...



The standard setting works for general use, it's not necessary to change any of the settings. Click Publish and your PDF is generated...



If you have "Open File After Publishing" option selected, the generated PDF will open right after you click Publish. Here is the output...



It is identical to the source document, the photo stays where it is, the font is similar, the table and the color are intact, text is selectable/highlightable or copy, plus the link is clickable. One last thing which is related to my current job - if you have document properties like this...



The add-in also populates such information into the generated PDF for better information management and yields better search result...



Cool! I did not try on other Office programs like Excel but I believe it works flawlessly for the basics just like above.

Perhaps I shall start generating more PDFs and send them all over. Hehe...

More vitamin M please... :P