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Re: laptop ideas (kinda long post, sorry)



Just a few points, if it's not "after the fair":
1. As far as flimsiness is concerned, I have a Compaq Lte 5200: P1, 120
MHZ, only 24 MB of Ram, but a beautifully clear screen (as far as I'm
concerned, and I'm blind as a bat). I had thought is was going south a
few months ago (started getting power flutterings, but I have to assume
that was a problem with our local power grid, since I left it on for a
couple of hours more recently, and no flickers), but have taken to using
it again. I dropped it--2.5 feet at least, though to a carpeted
floor--but it rebooted without a whimper. Plastic, but a sturdy, if
somewhat heavy, box. Got it second-hand at a show and sale in Dec. 2000
or Jan 2001. Cannot take a battery charge, but runs fine off the mains.
Win 95 came on it, and I did manage to use my e-mail app twice when
traveling, but mostly I just run XyWrite and dBase in DOS boxes.
2. The tricky thing about wiping Windows and running just DOS is that you
may lose some necessary hardware drivers. And laptops have more
specialized hardware, and hence more driver dependency, than desktops. I
would try doing the boot-to-DOS routine first and making sure all the
needed hardware functioned OK.
3. If  you don't like the fonts in a DOS box, check out the Sieber fonts,
mentioned here several times.
4. Compiling with DOS apps (as in Turbo Pascal) under 32-bit Win may have
something to do with speed, but it can also be a memory issue. I use
dBase 5 for DOS, also a Borland product, by the bye, and one that runs in
DOS protected mode and needs 8 Mb of RAM. I was never able to compile
programs (which you have to do after writing them; unlike earlier
versions it cannot be run in interpretive mode) when running under
Windows; had to reboot to DOS. Then there was a discussion here about
setting the pif settings for XyWrite, and it gave be the bright idea of
doing that for the dBase PIF too. Set its Protected mode memory to 8192,
and Voilà! nice, clean compiles while running under Windows (95, 981st,
and 98 SE).
5. Where to get them: there are lots of dealers that specialize in
second-hand laptops: www.Kahlon.com, www.redemtech.com,
www.thelaptopfactory.com, www.truedataproducts.com are a few. Make sure
any machine comes with the .CAB files on the hard drive (that way, you
get a legitimate license and can reinstall if necessary). It's also a
good idea to go to the manufacturer's Web site and see if they still have
the docs and drivers for that model available for download. (Case in
point: my "new"--also second hand--Thinkpad needed a special driver to
get the PCMCIA card socket to work right.) I have gotten two (the Compaq
and the TP) at local shows and sales. If you're not familiar with the
practice, I'll send the details off list. This post is far too long as it
is.
Patricia.