Category Archives: Tech Stuff

E4300 resolution?

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I got word from our IT department last week that Dell is going to replace the motherboard in my E4300 sometime in the next couple weeks.  The rumored BIOS update that was supposed to be out on January 19th still hasn’t appeared.  The only thing that is making life with my E4300 palatable is that the connections problems seem to under control now that I reinstalled the Dell Connection manager software.  It still behaves oddly from time to time but at least it is mostly usable.

The one behavior which still drives me crazy is the unwillingness to turn off or go into Stand-By.  I can press the function key or use the Start Menu option but the computer simply remains powered on.  Sometimes it will go into Stand By only to turn itself right back on a minute to two later.  Very annoying when it happens while it is in my computer bag.

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Dell E4300 improvements

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After all of the frustration I have had with the WiFi and wireless broadband I have had with my E4300, things are a little better.  The really odd things I am not really sure why.  Dell was supposed to have a BIOS update on January 19th but as of the 29th, it has yet to ship.  I have been checking their web site daily.

I had taken the SIMM card out of my laptop to use in a Sony-Ericsson Z750 UMTS phone that I have and when I put it back in my laptop, I noticed that I didn’t have a BroadBand device listed with the Dell Connection Manager.  Very odd.  I cannot explain why it went away.  After dinking with it off and on for a couple days, I decided to reinstall the Dell Connection Manager software.

After doing so, my BroadBand card was recognized AND both my WiFi and BroadBand connections have been more stable.  I worked for almost two hours Saturday night via BroadBand without any problems.  Last night I used my home WiFi connection for several hours also without any problems.  I had also noticed that there was a newer version of the Dell Connection Manager (A11 vs A10) than I had installed so I have installed it as well and all seems to be well for now.

I will continue to monitor this and I am sure that now I have committed it to a blog post, it probably won’t work worth a crap tonight when I need it!

I want an HTC S743!

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Why is it all of the phones I am interested aren’t carrier subsidized?  HTC unveiled the S743 at CES.  This phone is pretty much everything I want in a phone:

  • Windows Mobile Standard
  • Slide out QWERTY keyboard
  • WiFi and GPS
  • Numeric Keypad

It’s a phone first, PDA / email device second which is exactly what I want.  I really wish AT&T would pick this device up.  Looks like it will be north of $600 unsubsidized at Best Buy, CDW, etc.  Bleh.  I like this phone better than the Xperia X1 I have had my eyes on for a while.

My E4300 is driving me nuts

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I really like my new Dell E4300 laptop but it has an odd behavior which is driving me nuts.  When connected with either WiFi or BroadBand (I have the AT&T card) it will lose network connectivity after some period of time.  Sometime is takes an hour or more, sometimes it happens very quickly.  Once it  happens, I am usually hosed and need to reboot.  But not always.  It only affects WiFi and BroadBand.  It has no affect on the wired Ethernet connection.  As long as I am in the office or at home I am ok.

I have been round and round with our internal IT people as well as Dell on this issue and haven’t found any resolution yet.  A new BIOS update (A05) actually made the problem worse.  With the A03 BIOS when it happened I could still ping other computers and eventually full connectivity would come back.  But not now.

Reportedly Dell has a production stop on the E4300 to resolve a bunch of issues and a BIOS update is supposed to be available on January 19th.  I hope so – I am about to spend a bunch of time on the road for work and having an unreliable network connection is not ok.

If you are considering an E4300 I’d hold off for now and see if reports improve over the next couple weeks.  That is of course assuming that Dell actually delivers a new BIOS update and doesn’t delay it again!

Solved my DSL woes

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I finally solved my DSL woes.  I got Cable instead.  It took me a while to find someone at Earthlink who could help me move from DSL to Cable.  Seems like it should be a fairly simple thing to do since Earthlink offers both DSL and Cable but it isn’t.

I ended up having to set up new service and now that is is running, I need to migrate our e-mail addresses from my old account to the new one.  The support person I worked with assured me this should be simple to do, we’ll find out in a day or so when it bubbles on to my to-do list to take care of.

DSL Woes

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I am getting increasingly frustrated with my Earthlink DSL service.  At our old house it was very reliable but since we moved it has been up and down on a regular basis.  It usually isn’t too bad, it comes up and the performance is usually pretty good.  But for the last week or so, something is wrong and my patience for Earthlink is waning.

Look at this results from DSLReports.com’s Speed Test.  Bleh.  I need to call the cable company.

RockBand Update

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I have posted much about RockBand lately.  Not playing as much as I was.  At this point I have finished the original RockBand game on Guitar at both the Easy and Medium levels and started the Hard level.

I am now to the point where I can usually make it through a song on Hard as long as it doesn’t get ridiculously complex.

We’ve been playing some RockBand 2 at home lately.  For the most part I like the game better but I do miss the Solo Tour which really walks you through the game in a logical progression.  In RB2 I find myself without the time to play the 3-6 song sets required to finish many of the tour stops.

Last night my son and nephew were playing Guitar and Bass so I played some Drums with them.  I haven’t played the drums in a while and was pleased to see I wasn’t totally incompetent with them like I had been previously.  I guess just playing the game has helped somewhat.  I was able to finish the first City on the RB2 tour playing Easy Drums and got 4-5 stars on all songs but one.

The Drums are much harder in my opinion.  I find myself getting out of sync from time to time and really struggling to get back on track to hit the notes.  When I do that I really need to pause, skip a note or two and then get back at it but often I will bang through a whole phrase slightly out of sync and miss all the notes.