Laptops

The Netbook Gamer: Star Wars: Mysteries of the Sith (1998, FPS)

While in theory this could be game could have been called Star Wars Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight: Mysteries of the Sith expansion, fortunately it was just called Star Wars Jedi Knight: Mysteries of the Sith and is easily abbreviated as MotS. It was released in early 1998, a mere four months after the release of a game still marked as one of the best first-person shooters of all time, and despite getting lower reviews than that game it remains a fan favorite and a standout release for an expansion pack. Yes, and since it was released more than ten…


Divine Divinity (2002, RPG) Review

or … Five Years Loving a Game With a Stupid Name. One of the quirky ‘top whatever’ lists that appears every now and then is the list of worst names for video games. And somewhere on every one of those lists is Divine Divinity. Yeah, it IS pretty obvious why. The game would also appear on another list – if someone could figure out how to name it. That list would be ‘best deep role playing game that fans of classic RPG’s have ignored because it features action-RPG combat and has a very difficult and long dungeon in the beginning.’…


SiN (1998, FPS) Review

Context is everything. I hadn’t touched SiN since replaying SiN Gold when it was released for the Mac in 2000. Then they released the first ‘episode’ of SiN Episodes, called ‘Emergence‘ in 2006, which came with a Steam copy of ‘SiN 1? as it was called. Naturally I played some then as I waited for the release of the episode, but didn’t make it all the way through. Since it is now more than ten years since the original release, I thought it only appropriate that I should do a Retrospective for a franchise that has spent its’ life in…


Shinnorie GEN Label Custom Skinny Slim Bag Review

I recently reviewed Shinnoire‘s custome iPhone Leather Flip Case.  I had a lot of fun selecting my personal color choices for the case.  It’s not often you get to pick and choose the exact colors which will go into your case and then have it personally hand crafted. Shinnorie offers the same level of customization for their bags as well and I was also allowed to custom build a laptop bag for review. The bag I had built is their Skinny Slim Bag.  It’s a slim bag good for short trips, daily commutes to and from work or meetings.  The…


Archos 5 Internet Tablet: A Tale Of Woe In Two Parts…

I love tablets. I used a Windows Tablet PC for years and have been chomping at the bit for the Apple tablet. The iPhone and iPod touch have been and are awesome, but I have been longing for something a bit larger. When the Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android came along, I thought it just might be the ticket. Here was a slick slate tablet with a 4.8“ touchscreen with 800*480 resolution. The 32GB model is just thin and light and… it runs Android. I bit. It is an impressive device. But is it a “keeper”?


HyperMac External Battery Review

Every once and a while a product comes along that really catches my eye.  Such was the case when I spotted an advertisement for the HyperMac external battery in a tech. magazine last month.  The HyperMac is currently the only external battery available for use with Apple’s line of Mac Book computers.  And with the new unibody Mac Book Pro and its built in battery the HyperMac might just be a must have for the true road warrior. Hyper Shop, the company behind the HyperMac, was kind enough to send me a HyperMac 150Wh battery for review.  I’ve put it…


Hexplore (1998, RPG) Review

There are many games from the history of computer role-playing games that deserve the attention of a full retrospective, looking back in-depth at what made the game great and putting it into a modern context. However, for every ‘Ultima IV’ or ‘Arcanum’ there are a hundred games like Hexplore – minor releases that added something at the time but were not significant enough to merit much attention even a year after they came out. Certainly, I had never heard about it until recently when it was mentioned in a thread on a PC RPG forum. As part of my love…


The Netbook Gamer: Unreal (1998, FPS)

Given that my first love of gaming is first-person shooters (FPS) based on my love of the original Castle Wolfenstein back on my Apple ][+, it is somewhat surprising that I was ‘late to the party’ on Unreal by nearly a year. But hey, gimme a break – I had a three-month old colicky baby when it was released in late May of 1998. Yes, that is right: Unreal is well past the celebration of its tenth birthday … but in terms of my ownership it has just passed the decade mark, so I guess that counts for something! You…


The Netbook Gamer: Star Wars Jedi Knight (1997, FPS)

Welcome to the first entry in the new Netbook Gamer series! In the fall of 1997 LucasArts delivered into the hands of gamers something they had wanted since they first saw one twenty years prior – a lightsaber. Dark Forces brought the Star Wars universe a new level of immersion through the first person shooter perspective. The story brought in classic settings abd characters and introduced a new hero – Kyle Katarn. Former Imperial Academy hero shaken by the discovery of the nature of the Empire through tragic events, Katarn is joined by his partner Jan Ors as the pair…


New Series: The Netbook Gamer

Welcome to a new series here at Gear Diary! Called the Netbook Gamer, this will allow me to share two of my loves – playing computer games and exploiting my netbooks to deliver whatever performance I can squeeze from them. In this series I will look at games released over the last decade that might have pushed the boundaries of what was possible when released, but still work on a modern PC and will run smoothly on a current release netbook. In the title I will identify the game, the year it was released and the genre – expect these…


Monolingual: Delete unused language packs on your Mac.

I personally use only one language on my Mac computers, English.  Unless you’re multi-lingual or unless you’re like Judie and plan on taking up another language, chances are you only need one language on your computer as well. The Mac comes preinstalled with several language packs.  These packs includes fonts, and other things which all take up hard drive space. That’s where Monolingual comes in.  Monolingual is a free application (donations are accepted) which allows you to selectively remove any language pack from your Mac that you choose.


Giving the 17″ MacBook Pro Laptop a Try

I’ve been greatly enjoying the HP dv6 that I recently upgraded to Windows 7, and that got me wondering about Snow Leopard (OSX 10.6). Dan was evil kind enough to send me a link to the latest Apple refurb sales last week, and I couldn’t help myself…after perusing the wares, I bit.


Jolicloud OS Review

Netbooks are all the rage, and while Linux did start out on netbooks, it seems Microsoft has been getting the lion share of the shipments.  Well, if you have a netbook and are tired of Windows XP, but your hardware is too anemic Windows Vista or you don’t think you are geek enough for Linux, maybe you should try Jolicloud. Jolicloud is based on Ubuntu Linux, the Linux OS that is considered the easiest Linux distribution to use. It has been getting a lot of love from such sites as Lifehacker, PC Magazine and Cranky Geeks. How good is it?…


Using the HP dV6 Laptop and Mini 110 Netbook in Tandem: Moving Back to Windows from Mac

all pictures are thumbnails; click them to enlarge Right before I finished up the HP Pavilion dv2 laptop review, I was sent a couple of boxes containing an HP Pavilion dv6z-1299lx and an HP Mini 110-1036NR. Even though I knew the purpose of the experiment which was about to happen, I couldn’t help but wonder why anyone in the world would need two laptops? The answer to that question is actually quite simple…


Comparing MacBooks – Mine is Better than Yours

I’ve had a Mac laptop since 2006.  I love my notebook and carry it just about everywhere I go.  That’s part of my problem. The contents of my Gear Bag My Gear Bag holds just about everything that I might need in my portable office.  I have my 13” Unibody MacBook, my MSI Wind, a copy of Windows Vista Ultimate Windows Vista Business, Office 2007 Ultimate, various other CD’s, miscellaneous paperwork, a 320GB USB hard drive and charging bricks and cables for all of the above. The bag weighs near 40 pounds. This weight is the major reason why, when I…


Moving Back to Windows from Mac: Why I made the Move to Mac

I bought my first modern Mac in February, 2008, a 15″ MacBook Pro. At the time I was frustrated with the laptop I owned – a 17″ Toshiba X205 – which was running Windows Vista Ultimate in what seemed like a most underpowered way. I was tired of being told that there were no drivers yet available for my gear, I was tired of seeing notifications pop up asking me constantly if I was sure that I wanted to do something, and I was basically ready for a change. It didn’t help that I had already seen Mitchell and Vincent‘s…


The HP Pavilion dv2-1199us Laptop Reviewed

photos by Kevin As many of you know, two different MacBook Airs in a row have performed as my main computer for over a year. I can get away with using what others have called an “oversized netbook” because I don’t do a lot of processor-intensive computing beyond basic video and photo editing, and much of what I do can be done “in the cloud.” I would be lying if I didn’t say that part of the Mac’s attraction for me has always been hardware based. From the first time I laid eyes on Mitchell’s MacBook Pro, I knew it…


Swapping the Drive On A 13″ MacBook Pro

Yesterday Mitchell posted a first look at his new 13″ MacBook Pro. In his terrific overview he showed a few pictures of his swapping out the installed drive for a mammoth 500GB drive. As luck would have it the 120GB Solid State Drive I ordered from NewEgg earlier in the week arrived while I was reading it. As a result, the iPhone 3G S that is “Out for Delivery” isn’t the only piece of “zipper” Apple Hardware I’ll be enjoying. Instead of taking some shots of the install I figured I would grab my Flip UltraHD and film it. So…


My First Impressions of the 13″ MacBook Pro

Since Dan posted his thoughts on the new 13” Pro compared to the previous 13” non-Pro, I thought I’d throw together the thoughts I’ve had in my first day of ownership as well. I bought my very first Mac back in 2006 and I have never looked back. It was a second generation 15” MacBook Pro, the first of the Core 2 Duo models, and it was fantastic. Beautiful screen, super fast, looked great and ran an OS that I would become very happy with. Today that laptop headed off to its new owner as yesterday I took delivery of…


Unboxing the HP Pavilion dv2-1199us Laptop

HP and Microsoft sent me an HP Pavilion dv2-1199us Entertainment PC to try out. Once I got past the fact that the model number is a mouthful, I couldn’t help but notice how lovely this moonlight white computer is – both in appearance and specifications. The exterior is described as a “magnesium-aluminum-alloy case in a white imprint finish,” but that barely describes it; the look is stunning.  The touch pad is a mirrored surface, and it runs Windows Vista Home Premium with Service Pack 1 (64-bit). The dv2 has a bunch of bells and whistles…both in the hardware and in…


Loading Windows 7 on an Acer Aspire One D150 is a snap – once you know the secret

My friend Mark contacted me via GTalk video chat three days ago to test out his new Acer Aspire One that he purchased for $349 at Costco. I was so impressed that he was able to connect and video chat without difficulty on a Netbook that cost so little that I immediately ordered one for myself on Amazon. Last night I put Windows 7 Release Candidate on the machine by creating a bootable USB drive (I used a 16GB drive – instructions here – that I bought for $35 from Staples). The USB thumb drive was the easiest way for…