Friday, March 31, 2006

Toshiba Tecra M4 Power Management

By accident the preinstalled Toshiba Power Management stopped working. I’d experienced this once before, and it had something to do with the software not being able to read from the registry. This time I didn’t have time to fix the problem, so I decided to continue without it. I’m running the Notebook Hardware Control as my tool of choice for undervolting the processor on my Tecra M4.

I had previously been under the impression that I needed the Toshiba Software to control the fan on my laptop, but after a few hours I found out that because I’m undervolting my (almost) stripped computer (running AVG anti-virus software instead of the hungry Norton Suites and almost none of the preinstalled Toshiba utilities) the processor isn’t running hot anymore and the fan doesn’t kick in at it’s highest speeds. The temperature stays between 50–52 and 58C.

I’ve updated the undervolting settings from last time I wrote about it. Now I’m running at 0.988V at full speed, and 0.716V at the lowest speed. I’ve also noticed that running in either “Performance”– or “Max Battery” mode makes the processor running colder than when using the dynamic switching or battery optimized modes.

In addition, undervolting the computer gives me a bit more battery. I’m usually getting almost three hours on my Tecra now. It’s the best computer I’ve ever had. Honestly!

What's an application?

One of my daughters asked me a question that made me think the other day. She’s almost ten years old, and is very interested in technology. She’s using the computer in school, chatting with her friends using msn from home and creating homepages with some online tools she has found.

So, what was the question? Six months ago I introduced them to Microsoft Frontpage so that they could make their own homepage on the internet. When she found an online service for creating and editing homepages that uses a lot of AJAX-based technologies, I reminded her that this was the same thing as we had been doing in Frontpage. She then asked me if Frontpage was an application on her computer or if it was an application on the internet. For her there wasn’t any difference between using an online, hosted application to using a huge, expensive and locally installed application like Frontpage.

So beware, Microsoft, young generations will abandon your applications without a thought. For them everything is an applicaiton – wether it’s a local or remote application.

Long time

It’s been a long time since I’ve shared any of my rdn() thoughts with you. I’ve been very busy both at work and in my private life. We decided to buy ourselves a new appartment on a very short notice. Actually, I haven’t seen it yet(!) I put all the trust I had in the pictures of the appartment and my girlfriend’s judgement. But I’m really happy to be included in the circle of real estate owners again.

Because I’m moving together with my girlfriend (who also happens to have some children) we’ve also spent some time looking for a new car with enough seats. Enough seats for us means seven seats, so we settled on a used Peugeot 807 with a lot of extra equipment and the biggest diesel engine (2,2l).

To be able to pay for all of this we had to find a bank to get ourselves a loan. Even though it’s possible to shop around for the best interest on the internet, we still had to show up in person with a few hundred signed papers to get our money.

So all of this has taken a lot of my time. I hope to be back blogging very soon, even though we’re soon starting the process of moving the kitchen in the new appartement. And not to mention that we’re planning on rebuilding the bathroom.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Using my Tablet PC to order a new bed

We’re currently upgrading some of the bedrooms in our apartment, and one of the things we’d like to do is to get one of those beds (I’m unsure what it’s called in English) that you can stack on top of each other so that three of our kids can sleep in the same room. This isn’t the usual IKEA bed, so I decided to make call a friend of mine that works as a furniture carpenter.

We agreed that I should make a sketch of what I needed and send to him. I picked up my Tablet PC and drew a sketch in Paint.Net. The sketch looked ok, so I sent it over to my friend. No need for a scanner or snail-mail here, just my trusty “old” Tecra M4.

Since I’m a bit picky, I must say that drawing with the pen feels a bit sluggish (I tried both Paint.NET and Photoshop). I don’t think that the pen is as responsive or accurate as I’d like it to be. I also think that there is a lag problem whenb using the pen. This is not the lag that people are complaining about with the mouse pointer (since I’m constantly upgrading my video drivers), it’s more of a pen-based problem.