On the Road, Again

If you’re interested in Stealth Software I have a couple of programs to tell you about. No, you won’t become invisible or undetectable.

You may be able to find your notebook if it’s lost or stolen though. These programs reside on your notebook and send a stealth message to the software company’s servers when your computer is connected to the internet. You will not notice the software in the Disk Directory, Task Manager or Control Panel. You won’t find them if you check the Windows Registry either. The software is compatible with Windows 98, Me, NT 4.0, 2000 and XP and can be used on your notebook and desktop. They also work with most versions of the Apple Operating System. If you’re interested, check out PC PhoneHome at www.pcphonehome.com and XTool Computer Tracker at www.stealthsignal.com.

I’ve been doing some research on fingerprint readers lately, you know, those USB devices that secure your computer. I’ve seen a few in the $50 range but I’m afraid I’ll misplace the device and I won’t be able to get onto my computer. Anyway, I like the idea that you don’t have to remember lots of passwords when you have your computer password protected. I guess I’ll do some more research and see how these devices shake out. If you have any experience with fingerprint readers email me and let me know what you’ve learned.

At the latest Intel Developers Forum, Intel predicted major gains in mobile technology, including substantial increases in battery life. New chips, batteries and displays should add up to about eight hours of performance in light portables by the end of the decade. Intel’s next notebook platform, code-named Sonoma, will have the latest Pentium M processor, the Alviso support chip (due out early next year) and Intel’s 802.11a/b/g adapter. Some info on their first dual-core mobile processor code-named Yonah were also revealed. This dual-core processor will be a major component of the new Centrino platform, code-named Napa. Sort of makes you feel like your reading a national security document doesn’t it? Also included in Napa will be a support chip with integrated graphics, the IGH7-M I/O controller with up to six PCI Express ports and enhanced power management and mini card wireless device named Golan. Intel says that “Napa will have most of the experience of a desktop.”

Verbatim (www.verbatim.com) has the Store’nGo USB HD Drive with 2.1 Gigabytes of storage. The Store’nGo weighs 1.8 ounces and is priced at $249.

Take a look at Toshiba’s (www.toshiba.com) Satellite P35 notebook models. Toshiba calls them “the gamer’s pc.” They have three models to choose from: the S611; the S6111; and the S629. There are some differences in these models besides the prices. Toshiba’s on-line prices are $1,749 for the S611, $1,829 for the S6111 and $1,999 for the S629. I’ve just acquired a S611 so I’ll concentrate of this particular model. The S611 has a Mobile Intel Pentium 4 processor 548 supporting HT technology (3.33 Gigahertz), 1 Megabyte of L2 cache, 533 Megabyte FSB, 512 Megabytes of PC 2700 DDR333 SDRAM (256MBx2), a 17 inch Wide-screen XGA with TruBrite Technology (1440 X 900) (it’s awesome), ATI Mobility Radeon 9000 IGP with 64 Megabytes of shared memory (user adjustable to 128 Megabytes), a 100 Gigabyte hard drive (operating at 4200rpm), a DVD SuperMulti drive (you know, DVD±RW/R & CD-RW/R, etc.), an Atheros 802.11bg wireless LAN port supporting Atheros SuperG Technology, three USB ports, an iLink IEEE 1394 port, a 5-in-1 Media Bridge port, a TV-Out (S-Video) port, a 10/100 Ethernet connection and a V.92 (56K) modem. Also included are Windows XP Home, Microsoft Works, Microsoft Office OneNote, ArcSoft ShowBiz DVD Version 1.3 and Sonic Solutions. The S6111 has Windows XP Professional while the S629 has the Home Edition and a Radon 9700 discrete graphics chip. So far, I find the S611 to be an awesome machine. These notebooks do not come with a floppy drive so you’ll have to get an external USB floppy drive if you happen to have lots of stuff on floppies (like I do). They’re reasonably priced (unless you want a recognizable brand name).

If you have all kinds of media cards for your cameras, PDAs, etc. you may be interested in the USB devices I’ve found that allow you to insert your media card in the device and plug it into the USB port on your notebook. No cables, power or drivers are required. Windows recognizes these devices as a low speed USB device (1.0). Windows then assigns a drive letter to the device and you’re ready to go. The various sizes of devices are all priced at $9.99.

Chuck Horowitz, a HAL-PC member, can be reached at chuckh@hal-pc.org for questions or comments.