Monday, June 30, 2008

Compaq Presario V3837 : My New Toys

I just bought this few weeks ago from a HP dealer in Poins, Jakarta for Rp 6.7mil (non OS) plus Rp 830K for Win XP Home + RAM upgrade to 1GB, total is Rp 7.53mil. The specs are moderate but enough for me.

Actually this laptop was designed to be used with Win Vista, however due to its notorious speed and troublesome, I opted to install it with Win XP. Everything was fine until I tried to make an internet call (using YM) to my wife in Bangkok.

Somehow the internal microphone didn't work. What supposed to be an easy talk was turned into a disappointment and hurdles. I couldn't seem to turn the mic on. I rushed to find an external mic and plugged it to laptop but that also didn't work. I'm afraid that my brand new gadget has some hardware error. I checked all driver setup, system info, etc but everything seems to work properly.

Until I read a discussion forum of compaq presario v3000 series users. It seems that mic problem for V3000 series is a common issue for Win XP user. Since Win XP is no longer supported, HP/Compaq is no longer providing the correct driver, hence the key is finding the right driver.

Some genius in the forum the pointed out the correct driver to be downloaded (click link below) :

In a nutshell, I downloaded and installed the file. Now the mic works properly! Thanks to all genius in Oprek PC!


PlatformNotebook PC with Intel Centrino Technology
Processor TypeIntel Pentium Dual Core Prosessor
Processor OnboardIntel® Pentium® Dual-Core T2370 (1.73 GHz, FSB 533, Cache 1 MB)
ChipsetIntel 965GM
Standard Memory512 MB DDR2 SDRAM PC-5300 (I upgraded to 1GB)
Max. Memory4 GB (2 DIMMs)
Video TypeIntel® Graphics Media Accelerator X3100 128 MB (shared)
Display Size14.1" WXGA TFT
Display Max. Resolution1280 x 800
Display TechnologyBrightView TFT
Audio TypeIntegrated
Speakers TypeIntegrated (Altec Lansing)
Floppy DriveOptional
Hard Drive Type120 GB Serial ATA 5400 RPM
Optical Drive TypeDVD±RW
Network Speed10 / 100 Mbps
Wireless Network TypeIntel PRO/Wireless 2200BG
Wireless Network ProtocolIEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g
Wireless BluetoothOptional
Keyboard TypeQWERTY 82 keys
Input Device TypeTouch Pad
Slot ProvidedExpressCard/ 34/ 54
Card Reader ProvidedSD, MMC, Memory Stick / Stick PRO, xD-Picture Card
Interface Provided2x USB 2.0, Firewire, VGA, LAN, Audio
O/S ProvidedPre-sales Request Available
Battery Type Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery
Power SupplyExternal AC Adapter
Dimension (WHD)237 x 39 x 334 mm
Weight2.4 kg
Standard Warranty1-year Limited Warranty by Authorized Distributor
Bundled PeripheralsCarrying Case
OthersIntegrated Compaq WEBCAM

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Intel Celeron vs Dual Core vs Core 2 Duo

If you are just an average computer user like me, then I think you will agree that Intel processors name are becoming too confusing. These days, when you shop for a notebook, most of them will have either Celeron, Dual Core or Core 2 Duo processor.

While most people are aware that Celeron is somewhat different with Dual Core and Core 2 Duo, but many like me will not know whether Dual Core and Core 2 Duo are actually different.

Without going to describe in detail the technical spec differences, I just want to share that basically now Intel has 3 processor families, namely :

  1. Intel Celeron: Celeron, Celeron M, Celeron D, Celeron Dual Core
  2. Intel Pentium : Pentium M, Pentium Dual Core
  3. Intel Core : Core Solo, Core 2 Solo, Core Duo, Core 2 Duo, Core 2 Duo Extreme

Celeron Family

logo_celeron This processor is basically designed to serve basic computing needs such as, writing documents using a word processor, making spreadsheet or presentation, browsing Internet, chatting, blogging, light games etc. The letter "M" and "D" denotes that it was specifically designed for Mobile (laptop) and Desktop computer. Due to its limited performance, the price of Celeron processor is much cheaper than the other families, however it doesn't mean that it's outdated. Intel keeps developing Celeron for its entry level - low cost segment, as a proof, Intel will soon release Celeron Dual Core processor.


Pentium Family

Logo_Pentium_DualCore3 If Celeron processors are for basic user, Pentium processors are for intermediate users with more advanced computing needs such as video editing, video rendering, mathematical modeling (CAD, graphics design, rapid prototyping), 3D animation design, heavy graphics games etc. The word "Dual Core" simply means that there are 2 unit processors in one chipset, resulting in higher multitasking ability with less power consumption.




Core Family

core2duo_logo_large Intel Core are the top end processors specifically designed for mobile (laptop) computing. It was the further development of Pentium M processor. There are 2 types of Core processor, Solo and Duo. Core Solo means it has only one processor in its chipset, while Core Duo means it has  2 processors in one chipset similar to Pentium Dual Core and Centrino Dual core. The most sophisticated processor at the moment is the Core 2 Duo Extreme with up to 3.2GHz clock speed which uses the 64bit architecture (the rest are still using 32bit architecture).


Which one to choose?

Well, if money is not an issue  then off course you should opt for the top end processor like Core 2 Duo. However, since the price gap is quite significant, then my suggestions is to think about what you need. If you ask a computer salesmen, surely he or she will persuade you to buy the most expensive items as possible to give him or her the highest commission, but this is not wise, right?

So if you are a light user, with browsing, chatting, blogging kind of activities, then Celeron is suitable for you. If you need to do serious work, big spread sheets with lots of pivot table, databases, then you should at least consider Pentium processor. However, if you are a graphic 3D animation designer, or a maniac PC gamer, or an engineer with CAD, prototyping, mathematical modeling, then Core 2 Duo is for you.

My wife owns a UMPC with Celeron processor, my personal laptop has a Centrino (Pentium M) processor (which soon will be upgraded to Pentium Dual Core... wink-wink), and my office laptop has a Core 2 Duo processor. Honestly, I don't see any differences in the performance because actually I'm a light to medium user. I don't play PC games, I don't create any graphic animation. My biggest spreadsheet files are only 2MB max, my average presentation file is only 10 pages. My word documents are less than 50 pages and less than 5MB each. So I don't have to buy a Core 2 Duo processor, even I think a Celeron processor will suits me fine.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Internet Safety for Kids

Few weeks ago my daughter (10 y.o) came to me and asked if she could have her own email address. The first concern I had in mind was not about the cost but more about Internet safety.

At the moment, there are plenty free web based email accounts on the Internet, such as Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, etc. Nevertheless, we also know that there are a lot of bad guys out there, so how could we protect our children but in the same time allowing them to learn and take advantages from the Internet?

My question was answered when I read about Family Safety from Windows Live OneCare. This free software allows us to manage and monitor our children's :

a. Email and messenger contact list (only applicable for Hotmail or Windows Live)

b. Blocked and approved Internet sites, including list of sites that has been visited

In order to do point b. first we have to download and install the Family Safety software to each computers that will be used by our children. Those computers must have Windows XP with Service Pack 2 or later, Internet Explorer 6 or later or Firefox 1.5 or later.


family safety


After downloading this software, every time they want to connect to the Internet, they will be asked for their Hotmail or Windows Life username and a password. The Internet security setting on that computer then will be adjusted according to the user (as a parent we will be able to adjust a different security setting for each children) and when ever our children want to add a contact or a web site address, a permission letter will be sent by email to us to approve or reject the request on line.

Please note that we can only monitor the browsing activities  if the Family Safety software is installed on that computer. Also make sure that the children don't know their parent password.

If you like to know more and download this free service, you can visit their site here .

Mentari : International Roaming

(cross posting from Indonesiana)

Even though I have been living in Thailand for almost 2 years now, somehow I still managed to keep my old Mentari GSM (Indonesian based pre-paid card) mobile number active by using its International Roaming (IR) feature. Nonetheless, I don't use this GSM card to make and receive call in Thailand because it will be very costly, instead I just keep it on stand by. It's just that I like this GSM number so much I decided to keep it and whenever I go back home for holidays, my friends can still call me at my old number.

What I like about this GSM card is that you can receive SMS/Text message for free, while other providers will charge you around Rp 3500-5000 per SMS received abroad. If you send SMS/text message to Indonesia while abroad, Mentari will charge you Rp 3500/SMS, but this is still cheaper than making or receiving a call.

According to Mentari CS, this IR feature is automatically on as long as we have a minimum balance of Rp 75,000. Please contact the Mentari CS before you go to check which GSM providers in the destination country that we can connect to.

On arrival, if you cannot automatically connect to the host network, you need to manually select it from your mobile phone. Go to the Setting menu > Network selection > Manual selection. In Thailand, you can choose either DTAC, AIS or TH GSM.

To check your balance, type : *101# then OK or *555# then OK

To top up your balance, type : *102*[voucher code]# then OK or *556*[voucher code]# then OK

For more detail, go to Klub Mentari website here.

Note : early this year, I still use *102* to top up my balance but few days ago tried again but it failed, then I tried *556* and it worked.

Friday, June 6, 2008

HP 2133 : First Comment

Last week I posted a news of the new UMPC from Hewlett Packard, the HP 2133, here and cross posted in my Multiply. Few days later, I received comment from my online buddy about his complaints on HP 2133.

Basically, he had three major complains as follows ;

1. The pre-installed Win Vista was very slow even with 2GB RAM. He has to downgrade to Win XP by himself and find the drivers on the Internet. HP 2133 works better with Win XP

2. The unit became very hot when in use. Hotter than any other laptops he had, including the Asus EEE. I'm not sure whether this is because of HP using VIA processor instead of Intel or it's just poor cooling system and design

3. Dead pixels. His brand new laptop had several rows of dead pixels on the screen. The HP service center didn't want to replace his unit with a new one so he has to come back to the store. Luckily the store was willing to replace it with the new one

In my opinion, while point 1 and 2 are most likely design/system errors, point 3 was just a manufacturing defect which hopefully will rarely occurs.

Read his full comment (in Bahasa) here.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Asus EEE PC 900 : New Release

After the success of previous EEE PC series, Asus comes back with another cool product, the EEE PC 900. Asus first announce the launch of EEE 900 in their pres release mid Apr 08 but the product will not be in the market until mid May 08 (dates vary between countires).

If you familiar with the previous series (2G, 4G, 8G), then you now that the most requested improvement is a bigger screen (see my previous review here). Despite minor differences on dimension (900 model is very slightly bigger) and weight (900 model is approx 70g heavier than previous models). There are three major improvements in this model, which are :

1. Bigger screen 9" (8.9" to be exact) versus 7" in the previous model (8G and older). See comparison below

2. Bigger storage capacity. This model has 12GB HD for Windows version or 20GB HD for Linux version. The 8GB difference is due to Windows OS requirement.

3. Double RAM capacity with 1GB DDR2, this is twice the RAM of 4G model (8G model already has 1 GB RAM).

Price approx. USD 550 (with Win XP Home pre-installed).

Specs :


8.9” Display, 1024 x 600 resolution


Pearl White, Black


Intel® Mobile CPU


Intel Mobile Chipset



Display Card

Intel UMA


12GB (4GB built-in + 8GB flash) SSD (Microsoft Windows OS Version)
20GB (4GB built-in +16GB flash) SSD (Linux OS Version)


HD audio / built-in speakers


Built-in 802.11b/g


1.3M Pixel webcam

Storage Cards


Input / Output

3xUSB / VGA-out (D-Sub, 15pin) / earphone jack / mic / RJ45 10/100 Mbps


Output: 12V, 36W;
Input: 100-240V AC, 50/60Hz universal

Operating System

Windows XP Home / Linux


22.5cm(W) x 17.0cm(D) x 2cm~3.38cm(H)


0.99 kg