Sunday, July 10, 2005



This week, I finally made a few upgrades to a couple of the computers I have lying around the apartment. (This will probably not be interesting to anyone; I just wanted to make some notes in the blog.)

I have a three-year-old Sony Vaio PCG-GR300P that sits next to my couch. I use it to surf the web or play around with code when I feel like being mostly horizontal. It had a 1.13-MHz processor, 256 MB RAM, and 40-GB RAM, which were fairly impressive back when I bought it, but are not so good today. It should have been fine for the simple uses I had for it, but it wasn't up to those tasks. The problem was that it was almost constantly paging stuff between RAM and disk. So everything was slow (after clicking the Start button, it would take a few seconds before the menu appeared), and when unplugged from the power outlet the battery would only last about 20 minutes.

The solution: add RAM. It had only 256 MB, and one empty RAM slot, so I bought another 256 MB to bring it up to 512 MB total (the maximum allowed for this laptop). The laptop is now nice and snappy. The increase in performance was definitely worth the $70 I paid for the new RAM.

The other computer in question is a Dell Axim A5 handheld. It still had the original ROM. I bought a ROM upgrade to "Pocket PC 2003" a couple of years ago, but never got around to installing it for fear of losing my data. However, the handheld sat unused for a few months, so the main battery and backup battery both died, losing all my data. I tried restoring the data from a backup, but only got error messages about the backups being invalid. So, with nothing to lose, I installed the upgrade. It took about half an hour. After the upgrade, my wireless card wouldn't work: every time I plugged it in, I got an "Unrecognized card" error message. I installed the drivers I had before, but they were no good. After a while on Dell's support site, I found an updated driver for the Dell TrueMobile 1180 for Pocket PC 2003, and installing that did the trick.

Now I'll need to try to re-install all the applications and data I had before, but I'll leave that for another lazy weekend.

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