many happy thanks – m200

When I bought my powerhouse Dell workstation laptop, I had to forgo my Tablet PC dreams.

Of course, doing development work and spending 12+ hours a day on it, I’m pretty happy with this beast. It is fast as heck, the screen is dense and gorgeous.

An opportunity to buy a well used/loved Toshiba M200 came up and after I was offered purchase terms that were extremely generous I went for it. Thank you Rajiv!

First thing I wanted to do was a clean Vista install. Except there’s no DVD drive. I tried a USB drive, but that didn’t work. I ended up following the absurdly involved steps outlined here InstallingVistaOnYourToshibaM200 to boot the computer over PXE (the LAN connection) and Windows PE 2.0. This was like a flashback to the old, hard days of computing when men were men and I had memorized the complete set of US Robotics modem INIT strings. AT & F B0X4 & A3 & C1 & D2 & M4 & H1 & K1 & B1 & R2.

But it worked and I have a clean Vista install.

LifeHacker quoted “A line in a William Blake poem inspired me to think differently about my day: ‘Think in the morning, act in the noon, read in the evening, and sleep at night.'” the other day. There’s something comforting about thinking about my time that way and I’ve been more or less doing that since. The tablet is perfect for the reading portion at the end of the day. I am able to sit on the couch and read my feeds in slate mode comfortably, not hunching over a keyboard. Technote: FeedDemon, my feed reader is set up backwards for tablet reading for right-handed people by default. Straight from the forums: “Well, apparently there is a fantastic, little-known, and well-hidden feature in FeedDemon that already allows you to do this!! * Go to Tools > Keyboard Shortcuts (stick with me here, I know this seems weird) * Look for an entry call Change Position of Subscriptions, and create a shortcut for it * Exit the shortcut screen and press the combination you just entered * PRESTO! The subscription tree changes sides! * You can’t get to this option through menu’s, but fortunately you probably will only have to do it once”

I decided that Emily is the 60% owner of it since she sold her G4 ibook a while back and has been sans-laptop since. We are setting it up to use as a photographer’s helper, checking exposure/color and whatnot during shoots.

Other technical notes about the M200 & Vista: There is a problem with the current crop of NVidia drivers. The 97 series driver has a bug that prevents the screen coming on after sleep mode. I googled for this and found that if you plug and unplug the machine the corresponding change of screen brightness is enough to wake it up. I can report this method works most of the time, but if it doesn’t you are stuck doing a cold shutdown and restart. Plus if you are rocking battery only you might be screwed. The 100 beta driver resulted in an unusable gray screen for me, and I had to roll back in safe mode.

Overall though, I’m thrilled with it.

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