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Re: laptop ideas (kinda long post)
- Subject: Re: laptop ideas (kinda long post)
- From: Joseph Fisher kzfisher@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Thu, 11 Mar 2004 02:56:04 -0500
On Mar 10, 2004, at 11:11 PM, Mark Garvey wrote:
I could just wipe out Windows and boot it up as a DOS machine, and
run Xywrite on it, couldn't I? And theoretically such a machine would
have no problem running the print
drivers and floppy drive I'd need, would it?
Yes, you could reformat the drive and then load a version of DOS and
XyWrite. However, with Win 95 & 98 you can simply by-pass Windows
starting with a simple change to the windows GUI boot command line in
the system.ini file. (e-mail me for instructions if you're interested).
This would give you and option to use Windows if you wanted.
Concerning what to buy - Here's my two pennies worth;
1st - If you don't have the need or desire to run Windows XP and
mainly want to run DOS and XyWrite with maybe occasional Windows 95 or
98 use, I would save the $$ and search out a great older model laptop,
especially if battery power isn't a big deal and you plan to be where
you can plug into AC or use a car adapter -Most older laptops come with
DOA batteries. There are companies which sell replacement batteries for
many popular older notebooks but sometimes they cost more than the
laptop is worth!
2nd - In my experience, many of the old laptops have better keyboards
and are more solidly built than current offerings (especially for
Here is my "short list" of the notebooks that I have kept & currently
own & use - my criteria is; durability - solid & responsive keyboard -
system flexibility - size/weight & cost - None of the below listed
have built-in CD/ROM drives.
1) HP Omnibook 800CT 166MHz
Approx $125-190 for a good functional one on e-bay. This is an early
sub-notebook but has a wonderful keyboard (almost full size) and a
great color screen - Very study and versatile. This is my primary
XyWrite machine. I've set mine to boot into DOS and have option to boot
Windows 98 from the C: prompt. XyWrite III & IV run beautifully. It
prints to my portable HP Deskjet 340 & HP LaserJet 4P. New batteries
are still available from many sources @ $90-100. It has PC Card slot,
major ports including IR- It is small, portable, and light BUT has a
solid construction and feel. (Drawbacks) - (1) uses an external floppy
drive (2) no ps/2 ports (3) some persons don't like the unusual pop
out mouse stick setup called the PAW (but for using XyWrite who needs a
2) GRiD 1680C
Approx $80-120 Used by government & law enforcement. They were showing
up surplus on e-bay a couple of years ago but I don't see many for sale
today. These are a "ruggedized" notebook with fast 486 processor -
built in floppy & all major ports, PC Card slot - Has solid responsive
keyboard - The 1680C has color screen - The 1680 is B/W - Even
ruggedized it's not bulky & only weighs about 6 lbs. - (Drawbacks): (1)
Getting hard to find - new batteries expensive at $120 & also getting
hard to find (2) Has an unusual "mini" trackball mouse.
(NOTE: Panasonic made this same notebook in a non-ruggedized version
but with the same great keyboard - Panasonic CF-580. Tandy owned GRiD
and made an identical non-ruggedized Tandy branded model but I don't
remember the model number. The Tandy 4860HD looks to have the same
keyboard but is slightly different body)
3) AST Ascentia 950N -
Approx $40-100 on e-bay - A bit larger and heavier (7 lbs) than the
GRiD - BUT the nicest keyboard I have encountered for feel, response,
and durability. A very sturdy notebook. A friend rebuilt me one of
these after wanting an inexpensive notebook computer to run XyWrite
with a great keyboard and color screen. It looks & operates like new.
It is a Pentium 120MHz but other models of 950N exist. - It runs
XyWrite III or IV without a hitch. Boots to DOS with option to run
Windows 95 too. It has a PC Card slot, Floppy drive, and all major
ports. Great value machine.
4) Other considerations - older Pentium Toshiba Satellite like the
110CS or the Toshiba Terca, Portege or an older Pentium IBM Thinkpad
these models have fairly nice keyboards and are inexpensive and
plentiful on e-bay. I don't have experience with Dell or Gateway to
give an opinion.
5) In the very inexpensive pure DOS realm I would suggest; GRiD 1660,
Toshiba 4400C or 4600C, Tandy 4500HD - These are all 386MHz DOS/Win 3.1
machines which can run DOS and Win 95.
Hope this is helpful - Joe Fisher