ITLT: Computer Product Pages

So in the previous ITLT post: “Ultrabook & the latest Intel HD Graphics“, I realised how horrendous laptop product pages can be: hard to find the latest models and sometimes even harder to find their specifications at a glance.

In the order of best to worst that I saw are

  1. Apple: basically 2 different skews of notebooks each has 1 page for all specs and extra text with configuration options. Shows full specs and starting prices (MBAs /MBPs)
    Apple - Airs
  2. Apple - Airs specsSony: 1 page showing the 4 different types/segments of notebooks showing screen sizes and start prices. No filtering but the 4 different segments are unique enough that they don’t really need filtering. Each segment shows different models in that segment with processor, screen size & resolution, price. Comparison between models available non obvious page.
    SonySony - detailsSony - current models
  3. Lenovo: results show main specifications (CPU, Graphics, RAM, storage, screen size & resolution, OS, price) items list shows main specifications and has nice sidebar filtering but no filtering on screen resolution. Does not show possible upgrades. No comparison
  4. Dell: 86 results in total but good filtering: checkboxes that work and filterable by 4th gen processor. Results list show OS, Storage, RAM, price.
    Dell - ComparisonDell - Listing
  5. HP: the main page separates devices into “Home” and “Work” which I don’t really like. Results show (screen size and possibly price). Filtering by size shows a checkbox list but it works like an option dropdown – you can select only one. There is no filtering based on processor, so results could be showing you old laptops. Comparison of up to 3 devices to see further specs. 40 devices in total.
    HP - FilterHP - Listing
  6. Asus: Nice sidebar filtering options but dismal details of results listing: only shows screen size. Processor filtering does not show 4th gen processors (only 3rd gen and below). UX 301 LA is named as “Ultrabook” but filtering by “Ultrabook” thinness hides it. Can compare models (max 5) to see more specs. 51 results in the “thin and light” category (176 in all categories) – lots of older models.
  7. Samsung: Results show only screen size. No filtering and shows a lot of older models. Same model of different colour listed as a separate item – meaning there are duplicates. Viewing all shows all 187 results (lots of old models).

It’s sad to see how manufacturers are giving consumers a hard time just looking to find a laptop. It’s even sadder to see some manufacturers showing old models in their listings (Asus and Samsung). Kudos to Sony for simplifying their range to 4 distinct types of laptops but Apple takes the cake due to their minimal yet sufficient product line up and having information rich specification pages.


ITLT: Ultrabook & the latest Intel HD Graphics

So I’m looking for a thin and lighter laptop like the Macbook Air and looking at all the ultrabook and it’s sad to see that it seems that only Apple combines the latest 4th generation Haswell Intel processor (with better battery life) with Intel HD 5000 Graphics (or above) at a reasonable price. The HD 5000 series have a pretty decent performance advantage over the 4000 series (also see stats).

Sony, Dell, Lenovo, HP, Asus and Samsung all seem to have Haswell CPUs but paired with the older 4000 series GPU instead of the latest 5000 series with a few exceptions in bold. (These are based on Australian sites and perhaps other countries may have different models)

So it seems there are only 2 non-Apple notebooks with HD 5000 series and both are high spec’d. Strangely the i7 model of the HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G1 with the HD 5000 doesn’t seem available and the one that i7 model with the HD 4400 goes for AU$3,199 (HP). The Asus Zenbook UX301LA model with the HD5100 seems to be super tricked out and is AU$2,865 (Scorptec) with the regular i5 version at $2,499 ( The Airs start at AU$1,099  (11″) / AU$1,249 (13″) with a fully spec’d 13″ at AU$2,099 (i7, 512GB SSD, 8GB RAM). 

Even when ignoring the HD 5000 difference, I think all ultrabooks don’t meet the Air’s competitive price and spec combination (even when the Airs are configured with better RAM / CPU / storage). Hopefully with CES coming up, and the announcement of new ultrabooks, there may finally be a price competitive ultrabook to the MacBook Airs.



Note for personal future reference: 4th generation Haswell CPUs for each Intel Graphics series:

Concepts Computers is not Recycling

So I finally managed to talk to Mr Vincent Pao, the General Manager of Concepts Computer regarding the recycling issue that I had, resulting in my “Concepts Computer Lying to Us?” post. In my talk with him about a few things but most important to me at the this time was the recycling issue. He stated that people from the recycling place came and picked up the equipment and that he did not have the contact number of the place or of the person in charge. He mentioned the place was at “Sungai Akar” which I believed to be the Sungai Akar rubbish dump. He said there is a little building/section where they recycle the equipment.

Today I went to the rubbish dump to try and find this recycling place that was supposed to be there. After some walking around and talking to the workers there, I was directed to “Ah Huat” who told me that they did pick up the equipment from Concepts but they are not recycling it. They are merely taking the equipment apart and dumping them in the dump. As shown below you can see the remains of some of the monitors and some PCB (printed circuit board) remains.

I admit, in my last post I was a bit harsh on Concepts, but after some thinking it could be a misunderstanding or miscommunication. It could have been that the person misled Mr Pao to think they were recycling or it could have been a misunderstanding on Mr Pao’s side. Whatever the story may be, I believe everybody should just know that at the end of the day the items being traded-in are not being recycled

Repetitive Strain Injury

RSI on Wikipedia

So I’ve been having a slight pain/tingling in my right wrist for the past day and being reliant on my keyboard to do my work it is worrying. Something I picked up from Computer Related Repetitive Strain Injury:

While you are actually typing your wrists should not rest on anything, and should not be bent up, down, or to the side

Keep your arms & hands warm. Cold muscles & tendons are at much greater risk for overuse injuries, and many offices are over-air-conditioned.

There’s a few things I didn’t know. So it looks like I’m going to go find something like the A4Tech A-Shape Nature Keyboard. Over the past few months I’ve been trying to work right, the posture, keyboard height, monitor height and such but I think the pain is in my right wrist in particular possibly due to a lot of FPS games as well with all the mouse movements. So with my back issues now I have a wrist issue.. Aaaaah life, nice to see that you (well kind of myself actually) have been giving me quite a few challenges over the past few weeks. But as I remember telling a friend of mine after a sermon back in Singapore: “Goliaths will fall”. Yes they will (and will that I’m just had one of those ‘flashbacks’ of mine where I’ve seen this scene before in a dream. Deja vu? That’s for sure…)

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Hack of the day

If for some reason your SD card’s lock switch has fallen off and the card is locked in a read only mode (i.e. you can’t delete or copy files to the card) stick a piece of tape where the switch used to be and viola!
This tip is brought to you by TGForumz and the letters S-D


Blogging from work great huh? Well more like ranting from work. Spent this week in training learning how to use a system to be integrated in our solution. So everything seems fine and dandy until I start playing with it and finding that my Portable Firefox and IE6 crashes at times. Opera seemed to work okay but had an issue that didn’t allow me to click the “Ok” button on a Java applet that was launched using Javascript that was processing a button press. It only seemed to work nicely on IE7 on the server. The system also required Adobe SVG to display some graphical charts and stuff. Saw that it could display these graphics using Flash so me and my bright ideas was to try download the latest Flash and Java plugins and try switching to Flash as perhaps it was a plugin issue with SVG that cause the crashed. So after updating to the latest Java runtime I find that some of the Java applets are now broken in Opera, FF and IE6 on my computer. Switching to Flash required an Active X control to be run on the server’s IE7. Problem is that IE7 ‘nicely’ informs me that the current IE7 configuration does not allow me to run Active X. Okay so I think to myself just to change the configuration and it’ll be ok. For some reason even on setting to “Low” security and making sure that all the Active X settings are set to enable to run, I still get the Information bar saying that IE7 is restricting me from running Active X control. Man… Gave up after a few tries, so if anybody knows please enlighten me. End rant, back to finding a workaround…..

Portable applications

Just came to me that I would like to have portable applications running on a USB drive. So in my search I refer to The Portable Freeware Collection which has a whole lot of free portable applications. An in the process I think I found my almost perfect file manager called tabbyFile.

My current list of applications are as follows:

  1. Browser & Email client: Opera-USB
  2. FTP server: Baby FTP Server | Quick n Easy FTP Server Lite
  3. FTP client: FTP Wanderer
  4. HTTP file server: HFS
  5. Telnet/SSH Client: PuTTY
  6. Compression/Extraction: Portable7zip
  7. MSN messenger: PixaMSN
  8. MD5 integrity utility: MD5 checker
  9. Text Editor: Notepad++
  10. BitTorrent client: uTorrent
  11. Offline browser: HTTrack
  12. Audio recording/editing/encoding: Audacity

That’s the current list for now but will be updating as the list grows as I’m sure it will.