failing like never before


HP dv2910us (dv2700) – Unboxing

(The beginning to my review of the HP dv2910us (dv2700) can be found here)

Its become fairly popular in reviews these days, to include pictures and a description of one's experiences with unboxing expensive electronic equipment. Lemming that I am, here's my unboxing experience with my HP dv2910us.

The box is a standard, nondescript brown box bearing an HP and Intel logo on the front, nothing at all like Apple's shiny white boxes, complete with carrying handle, that so many people have become fond of. There are people that are of the opinion that it is Apple's attention to small details, like the box, that has allowed them to be so successful. I frankly couldn't give a crap what the box looks like, and I find the Apple boxes to be unnecessarily flashy.

When I opened the box, I was greeted by a lovely little instruction sheet from HP, a sure sign that HP really does care about improving the user experience. A sort of nice clever trick, the simplified setup guide had been stuck into a little slot above the laptop, so that it is the first thing a new HP laptop owner sees upon opening the box. Its the little stuff that counts, right?


HP dv2910us (dv2700) – A Review

On Saturday, two days ago, I bought a brand new HP dv2910us from Circuit City for $680 (US), with a $50 rebate. The dv2910us is a pre-configured version of the dv2700 series, and its popularity with retail stores right now, is why it tends to be so cheap. The same model can be bought online directly from HP for $829.99.

Just as an aside, I would like to point out that HP makes a model called the dv2911us, which is the same as the dv2910us except that it lacks a Lightscribe drive. Lightscribe drives allow a user to "print" an image directly to the surface of a special Lightscribe disc. Its a neat trick, and if you burn a lot of discs and like to have them look pretty, then maybe Lightscribe is for you. But I doubt I'll be using my Lightscribe drive anytime soon though. For most people, the dv2911us is perfectly fine.


Continued Review of Zenwalk 4.6

I tried reinstalling Zenwalk 4.6 again after I got home. Strangely enough, it installed and ran perfectly fine this time (my previous installation problem). I'm not quite sure what happened, or if I even did anything different. After installation, it prompted me with some rather simple questions to configure to hardware. I appreciated that it asked if I wanted to have numlock enabled on startup, a rather simple thing but a nice touch.

All the applications seemed to work very quickly and I did not experience any problems with any media codecs or Flash. I did have to configure my network connections myself but that was fairly easy to perform. Zenwalk is very speedy, especially when compared to distros like Ubuntu and Fedora, so it should have no problem working on a much older computer then my Pentium 4. I think I will be installing this on my old 400mhz AMD Duron just to see how it run

The creators of Zenwalk did a good job choosing programs to include by default. For each kind of task, there was ony one application, leading to a very slim distro. And the applications provided will do pretty much anything a basic user will require, watching videos and DVDs, listening to music, editing photos, browsing, the web, instant messanging, and much more. All full list of the applications included in the distro can be found at

After a few minutes of browsing the web, I noticed that images were strangely stretched out. It turned out that Zenwalk hadn't been able to configure my resolutiion properly. I have a Samsung Syncmaster 225bw (EDIT: 226bw, sorry) with a native resolution of 1680x1050 and Zenwalk was using 1024x768, so of course, everything looked a little funny. I went into the terminal and ran "vi /etc/X11/xorg.conf" while as root and added my resolution in. upon restarting X however, I got an error message and X wouldn't start. It turned out that Zenwalk had installed the vesa drivers for my Radeon X800 XL, so I installed Mesa, which seemed to fix everything out all right.

I was bit annoyed that Zenwalk had such a problem with setting my resolution up. Of course, I was using an ATI graphics card and my monitor had a pretty unusual resolution, but even still...

All in all, I found Zenwalk to be a rather wonderful little distro. I like the fact that its been streamlined and performs amazingly quickly, has a small install size, and is ready to perform pretty much all common tasks right after installation. However, I'm not really a Slackware type of person. I'd like to have a stronger package management system, and I'd prefer to have a little more "eye candy." Now granted, I could configure the system myself, but I'll be trying out another distro very soon.


Review: Zenwalk 4.6

I had some pretty high hopes for Zenwalk 4.6, but I experienced one very strange problem.

Installation was fine. There weren't any fancy animations or graphics like Ubuntu, just a simple text-based installer. It was a pretty basic and simple installation.

After installing the OS, I rebooted the computer and was presented with a little menu of which OS I would like to boot into. Unfortuently, there were only two options, Windows and Zenwalk. So apparently the automatic bootloader installation option I had choosen while installing Zenwalk didn't work so great, because it didn't find my Fedora partition. This wasn't too big of a deal since I figured it would be pretty easy to fix later on, but it was a bit irksome. I selected Zenwalk, and it procceeded to boot.

I got some lines of text scrolling by, and then the screen went black and stayed that way for the next ten minutes and refused to respond to any keystrokes. I tried a hard reboot and got the same problem twice, whereupon I decided to reinstall the OS which didn't help either. This was the real problem. It wasn't like X crashed and then Zenwalk reverted back to a command line, I can handle that. Zenwalk died. It didn't give me any error messages or any way of fixing the problem.

Granted, I don't know everything there is to know about linux but I'm quite sure I didn't screw up the installation, after all, there wasn't much to screw up. I'm going to try reinstalling it again later on today and see if I can do anything to make it work.

If I cannot get Zenwalk to run, then I'm going to try to use Elive