shopping almanac of a stay home mum

Archive for the ‘Computer’ Category


Dust, Nope!

posted by constance

I’m on the pc almost everyday. And when I’m not here, I’m in the kitchen cooking and baking. So what happens when I am shuttling daily from the kitchen to my desk? I think I bring kitchen ingredients onto my pc..hehehe… I use a lot of flour of all sorts for baking.. Sometimes I’d be weighing them then come over to the screen to check how much I need … Do you know when that happens, my keyboard looks like being bathed in talcum powder? Look at the keyboard pic I took recently while testing my camera.. Do you think it is dust? No those are flour!

Well, as long as I don’t bring sugar, oil and other ingredients, I think my keyboard should be fine.. I’m gonna get the small vacumm and suck up the dust this weekend… Or maybe next week.. my home is gonna be doing some cabling works so I’ll be out of power.. Maybe that would be a good time to clean my PC.


You Are Being Watched

posted by constance

I know many of my friends get online during working hours and chat with their personal pals, spouses and do other things. Did you know that some employers deploy certain tactics to investigate what their employees do during this time. A hidden surveilance camera is one way. The other is the use of a keylogger. A keylogger is a device that can be plugged into the back of the computer to monitor keystrokes on that specific keyboard. It can be also downloaded like a spywared into the particular computer as in a program.

This is useful for parents who wants to monitor activities of their children on the computer. But somehow it can be an invasion of privacy for adults especially at work. There should be an authorized use of keyloggers so that it does not end up being abuse in a criminal offense, like stealing of passwords and identity.


Dell without Doubts

posted by constance
*warning! long story..*

A week ago, I had problems with my PC. It couldn’t start up, in fact it didn’t even go past the Dell logo whenever I power on the PC. It was frustrating so I decided not to bother until I can find a PC fella who can come help me troubleshoot. Ah Boy asked me to sourced through Classifieds, but I didn’t bother. 

Days later, I decided to surf using my laptop to find out if there were people who faced this problem before. I read that there were possibilities with some Bios setup thingy and that I should be updating it. I also had been having with the power supply in the hd because most of the time I get amber blinking lights. A little of cable adjustment sometimes gets my pc powered up ok.

I am really ignorant about IT stuff, so I went into Dell website hoping to get some answers. The PC is more than 2 years already anyway. Not too sure if Dell would ‘patronize’ my problem but it was worth a try. I sent an email to the support technician and wrote about the problems as clear as I could. I was surprised that the following day, I received a reply back and in clear point by point explaination, to follow through steps to see if my pc would power on. It didn’t and I wrote back and even attached a picture of the screen on the stage it hung.

See? My PC hung till this stage only!

A day later, I received another reply back and the support technician Wan Yin, wrote that he will arrange a technician to come to my house to take a look at my pc. What a surprise that was. Someone is coming to my home to check my system!

A technician came in today and he replaced the ram chips, a large board (is that the motherboard? I dunno) the IO card and something I didn’t get to see because I was busy with something. There was two other parts that he didn’t bring but has made some order with the staff at the office. So Dell will be coming in to fix/replace the other stuff within the next week.

Before I had written to Dell, I had no idea about the service provided by them. I had a HD failure more than a year ago and they replaced a brand new one. But because my PC is already 2 and half years already, I had not expected them to provide this replacement service still. Whenever I had spoken about Dell, many of my friends had sounded apprehensive about buying Dell products because they worry about the important part – Service. Most of them had mentioned that Dell may have reasonable priced PCs but it may be difficult to have them provide servicing.

Well, although my pc is not totally ok yet, I think this episode proves that Dell may be US based and I bought this via online purchase, but the service that they have provided for me has been very good. If you go to some PC clinic or some other brands of PC, chances are after 2 years, even with warranty, they would have asked you to bring your PC to their service centre and for them to come over, they probably would have talked ‘money’ with you first. 

So, in future if you asked me about Dell, I’d really give a thumbs-up. Don’t worry if you don’t see any Dell retailers because they may not be very prominent, but their service makes up for it. Also, getting a 3 year warranty is really worth the price for a pc because I am a satisfied customer. And if I do want to get another PC in future, Dell would be the first in my thoughts.




Bypass My Router

posted by constance

I had problems with my router recently. Sometimes I cannot log into some sites. There was a time when I was so desperate that I drove straight to Popular Bookstore, to their Computer section to look for ethernet cable. My modem is quite a distance from my desktop and I had no laptop then. The ethernet cable that I had was shorter and could not reach my desktop hard disk. Luckily a lady at the Popular Bookstore helped me out. She showed me a package of cable that says CAT5e and I wasn’t sure what it was. She said it is the latest ethernet cable that can go up to 155mpbs transfer rate. It wasn’t expensive and it was 20 metres long! Brought it home and it worked like magic!


Great for Geeks

posted by constance

I was reading the newspaper this morning when I saw the advertisement about the PC fair. Singapore has so many PC exhibition that you never have to worry about getting a good deal with IT related goods. This year, COMEX is going to be even bigger than last year. COMEX is the globally recognized IT exhibition that has many visitors flying down to Singapore just to get a good deal and information such as New Product Launches, Great Bargains and Huge Savings that are worth waiting for. It will consist of 5 entire showfloors, 800 leading manufacturers and suppliers and 330,000 sq ft of I.T, Digital Entertainment, Mobile and Consumer Electronic Products. If you are looking to buy good stuff, this is the place! I know many are eyeing to get cheap laptops as prices are really coming to a new low!

COMEX will be at Suntec City Exhibition Centre from 28th to 31st August.


Asus W7 series Laptop, finally

posted by constance

After months of consideration, I finally bought my first pc laptop. The old one I had was the Apple ibook which is almost 8 years old and the screen is not too good. Sometimes the image gets abit distorted and i see streaks of purplish colour on it. The old operating system for that was 9.2 and alternatively OS X but i hardly used OS X because the old softwares were not optimised for OS X. I was also unable to get airport for that model. In fact it is already obsolete, by now. I haven’t really been using Mac OS for about two years because I am using hubby’s PC and still learning the ropes.

As much as I do want to get Apple, I think I have to settle for practicality and cost effectiveness for now. Also, I believe my kids will need to use a pc pretty soon since their school had already got them to sign up for the Wireless @ sg which will cover more hotspots around Singapore as it progress. They can now sign in with the free wifi from their school canteen if they have a laptop now. Quite a number of places has this so one does not need to patronize food outlets like starbucks or mcdonalds to get free wifi now.

So what laptop did i get, actually. Gosh, buying it happened so fast under my eyes that I did not even remember what model I bought. My hubby read the configuration and decided that I should get it since the roadshow had good value for money package that came with freebies.

1. It was a Asus roadshow, so this laptop I got was Asus, of course. W7series.
2. It was on offer for about $1798 and there was only 2 more units left. The first day sold more than 10 units, I heard.
3. Intel Centrino Core 2 Duo Intel processor T7300 2.-ghz 
4. 160gb of hd space
5. Graphic Nividia GEforce 8400M G (what ever is that???!!!)
6. 1536 mb RAM ( i think that is on board )
7. Runs on Windows Vista ( I am still learning)
8. 13.3 WXGA
9. The usual other stuff like wireless, webcam, bla bla bla
These are what I know that read in the configuration. Do not quite understand them all. But it’s ok.

Freebies: Free upgrade to 3mb RAM (when I look at the screen it was only 2.5x) Free external hd 160gb, Free bluetooth mouse (wow factor), Free scandisk thumbdrive 4gb, Free one year antivirus software.

So you think it was a good buy? Hubby will take the FREE mini note book that I got from Starhub instead.

The only thing I didn’t quite like about it was that if only it came in another colour… but beggars can’t be choosers, so black is just neutrally fine.


Frustrating Moments

posted by constance

I was at my wit’s end over accessing my blog lately. In the past 2 weeks, I have 3 occasions whereby I cannot even get into my blog. I have checked with my hosting company and they checked and found no problem on their site and server. When this happens, it is usually resolved by the following day. But this is not the real long term solution to it, right?

My blogger friends globally can view my blog with no problem but I keep getting error or time out problems even though I tried from both Fire fox and Internet Explorer. I checked with my ISP and they found no problem when they looked into it. I’ve been guided to go through looking into my firewall, internet connections and whatever the underlying problems may be. The funny thing is, I CAN CONNECT to ALL WEBSITES except my own blog. Sigh. I then called up Linksys to help me troubleshoot to see if it was the router problem. They went through the same motion as with my ISP, Hosting Provider and said they have exhausted all means! What could be wrong then. The ISP provider told me the router could be causing the problem and may need to have some configurations to be set but apparently Linksys could not verify that. (YET?)

This morning, I woke up trying to access my blog and there it goes again. Same problem again, and I was ever ready to pull out my hair. My desktop is placed a distance from my modem and I am using a wireless adapter to a router, linked to the modem. So this morning, I drove to the nearby mall and waited for the shops to open. I stepped into Harvey Norman to see if I could get an adapter to connect my two short internet cables since both can’t reach the pc hd. The fella discouraged me from doing that and ask me to get a LAN cable they have in store. I looked at it and thought a while. I will need to get really longer one for that then. They had one about 14 metres long and I wasn’t sure if it was long enough. I thought they were a little bit expensive too. It was more than $30 for that or was it $39? I took a while to consider and left the store. The shorter one was cheaper at $8, but too short.

I went down one level to Popular Book Store because I remembered they too have computer peripherals there. I searched and saw something like a Cat. 5e UTP Standard LAN cable.. Oh isn’t that the same, I thought. I looked at the ends. It looked the same and I double checked with the sales lady. Yes. And you know what? This one is 20 metres long and it cost only $18.50 for that, the package has a Best Quality Guaranteed Award and also states a Lifetime Guarantee. Wow, that is great!

When making payment, the lady asked for my Popular Card. More savings! I got a 20% further discount and now I only pay for it at $14.80. That made my day! When I got home I managed to hook up the modem to my pc direct without the router and it worked perfectly fine! And I could get into my blog, NO PROBLEM. So what seems to be my problem then? I still think my router is the problem if I bypass it and it worked.


Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake

posted by constance

We brought the girls to watch Care Bears live performance last week. The girls loved it. It was shown in Downtown East on the day we were there. There was also a family carnival going on. The girls went for the rides at the Care Bear rides. They had fun although they complained the rides were too short. I agree. It went around the castle only twice and that cost $3.00. There were many who were there for the water theme park which we didn’t go in since we couldn’t get to book a chalet that weekend. Perhaps the next school holiday. I grew up with Care Bears and adore them a lot. Care Bears are also making their comeback with so many premiums lately.

Even the old Strawberry Shortcake is making a comeback with a new revamp. Look at the Old (left) and New (right) pics here. I snapped a pic of the carnival game of a large basketball game. (see pic, right) And I mean really large ball in a large net.


Yippeeee! I GOT A FREE HP 2133 Mini Note PC

posted by constance

Yippeee! Yahoooooo! Hurrayyyyy! I just had to blog this! Since yesterday, I read that Starhub was giving a FREE HP 2133 Mini Note PC to it’s customers if they sign up for MaxOnline Express Plus in a two year contract. So I called up this morning to enquire if existing customers with Starhub gets to enjoy this priviledge and the customer sales told me YES! YES! YES! YES! So can you see why am I so ecstatic?

We have been with Starhub MaxOnline for it’s broadband for more than two years and also for its cable TV services for more than a decade. So we currently have no existing contract. However just by signing on that you will stay on with them for a fixed two years gets us the FREEBIE. After all we are already confident that Starhub had been providing us with a blessed broadband speed over the years, we have no reason to even change subscriber. So we signed on a confident contract! I am deliriously happy and I get to collect it on the 7th of July next month. My billing for the broadband is the same, no change and no hidden fee unless I breach the contract within the two years. This recontract also comes with a FREE mobile broadband but I need to purchase a USB adapter so I don’t really need it.

Thank you STARHUB. Thank you!

The PC exhibition is in it’s 2nd of 4 days at Suntec Convention and spans 4 levels of all things Computer and related. If you are a nerd, enthusiasts or looking for good bargains of all things PC/Computer or related, this is a show not to be missed! But I think I will miss it, because all I wanted was to shop for a UMPC. Now that I have this FREE gift, I can stay home and blog!


Back Up Your Files

posted by constance

My friend had problems with her pc lately. She couldn’t work out what had happened to the pc and why it didn’t start up. We decided to bring it to the PC Doc and have it checked. She crossed her fingers and hoped that nothing major is wrong with it. She has lots of work in the hard disk and had not backed it up! After a few days, the technician called her and told her the video card was faulty and had overheated. But her files are all safe. How relieved she was and her next trip to collect the pc will include getting a backup external disk as well. Learning from her lesson, I am also backing up my files too.