Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Favorite Android App: Equalizer

Latest addition to my list of Favorite Android Apps is Equalizer, a great tool for adjusting sound frequencies and effects on Gingerbread (version 2.3) and later versions of Android.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Worthy Netbook Computer At Last!

Netbook computers are a great idea – portables with good battery life and real keyboards that are less expensive, smaller and lighter than typical notebook/laptop computers, but up to now they have been flawed by poor performance (processor and graphics), small low-resolution glossy screens that are hard to read in bad lighting, poor keyboards, limited RAM memory, and lackluster design. It's no wonder that tablets like the Apple iPad have been giving them a run for their money. But now that's changing thanks to a new breed of netbooks powered by AMD Fusion APUs, which feature CPU and GPU on a single chip resulting in good performance with relatively low power consumption (good battery life).

The best of these new netbooks is the Lenovo ThinkPad X120e (awarded Best Affordable Business Ultraportable at CES 2011):
  • Very well built and supported
  • Superb full-size keyboard with both TouchPad and TrackPoint
  • Non-glare (matte) 11.6" screen with high 1366x768 resolution and LED backlight
  • Very good performance, more like a notebook than a netbook
  • Up to 4GB RAM
  • Fast 320GB 7200rpm SATA Hard Drive
  • Excellent connectivity (Wi-Fi, gigabit Ethernet, 3 USB 2.0, SD slot, Bluetooth)
  • Webcam
  • Small and light
Look for sales on the Lenovo website to bring the total price under $500 with free shipping. (Through May 26, 2011, a fully loaded configuration can be had for only $428 here, no Visa card needed, just apply displayed coupon at checkout.)

MY OWN REVIEW (based on 2 hours of intensive use of a ThinkPad X120e with 1GB RAM, should be faster with 2-4GB RAM)
  • Fit and finish is very good, case not rubberized like ThinkPad T-series, but still a nice matte black.
  • Machine itself is quite light, with much of the total weight in the battery.
  • Keyboard is very good, with nice key travel, albeit not quite as rigid as older ThinkPad T-series.
  • Both TouchPad and TrackPoint provide excellent response and accuracy.
  • Single headset (smartphone-type TRRS) socket instead of separate microphone and headphone sockets makes sense.
  • Screen is sharp, on par with higher resolution ThinkPad T-series.
  • Software (OS, utilities, Microsoft Word) is responsive and snappy, programs opening quickly and running cleanly, with little apparent difference versus a more powerful laptop, even when running more than one program at the same time.
  • Video playback was smooth even at full screen when accelerated, although it was sometimes a little jerky when not accelerated.
  • Did not test webcam, speakers or microphone.
  • As compared to ThinkPad T-series, screen has lower contrast and less even backlighting.
  • No ThinkLight or other keyboard illumination, a glaring (inexcusable) flaw.
  • No SSD option. 
UPDATE: The X120e is being replaced by the X121e, which may make the X120e more affordable until supplies are gone.

    Sunday, May 22, 2011

    How To Restore Google Chrome

    Google Chrome is an excellent Web browser, fast and secure, but you might get the error message: "Your preferences file is corrupt or invalid. Google Chrome is unable to recover your settings." This unfortunate bug can normally be fixed with Windows Vista or Windows 7 using the following procedure:
    1. Close any Chrome windows that might be open.
    2. Click Windows Start at left end of Task Bar, put the following in Search Box or Run, and press [Enter]:
      That should open an Explorer window with folders including "Chrome".
    3. Right-click on the "Chrome" folder, and then click "Restore previous versions" in the pop-up menu to open the Chrome Properties window.
    4. Click to select the top (most recent) version, and then click "Restore...".
    5. That should pop up a confirmation window ("Are you sure you want to restore..."). Click Restore.
    6. Windows should then copy a bunch of files to restore Chrome, finishing with
      "The folder has been successfully restored to the previous version."
    7. Click OK to close the message, then close the Properties and Explorer windows.
    8. Launch Chrome. If you get a "didn't shut down properly" message just close it with the "X" at the right (or ignore it).


    1. "Restore previous versions" does not exist in Windows 8. Use File History instead
    2. This procedure is covered in Windows 7 Help and Support under "Recover lost or deleted files" in the section "To restore a file or folder to a previous state".
    3. This only works if you have System Restore enabled and/or have used Windows Backup.
    4. You can try restoring an earlier version if necessary.
    5. If this doesn't work, you can start over by closing Chrome and deleting the Chrome folder.
    See also How To Restore Mozilla Firefox.