Tag Archives: dell

Computers still too expensive in Australia, despite strong Aussie dollar

Dell just released their new Vostro v13 for US$450 in the States. How much is it in Australia? AU$999.

Based on exchange rates at the time of writing, US$450 = AU$490.

We’re being ripped off over AU$500! That’s more than a second laptop costs in the USA!

Sure, it’s all about the market, but with the strong Aussie dollar it sucks that we cannot get some benefit when it comes to computers!

Apple does the same thing. The 13″ Macbook Pro is US$1190. In Australia it’s AU$1599. A rip off of over AU$300!

On the flip side, it stops me from spending money..

This could be my new MythTV box

I think the upcoming Inspiron Zino HD could make a great MythTV back/frontend.

Coming with Ubuntu, up to 8GB RAM and a 1TB internal drive, the units have AMD processors with AMD graphics. My problem would be the graphics driver – I’ve no idea if the free drivers will support it, but in my experience AMD’s proprietary driver on 64bit machines is absolute rubbish.

Nevertheless, it looks like a cool little box:

In every case, the Inspiron Zino HD includes wireless networking (802.11b/g or 802.11a/b/g/n), four USB 2.0 connectors (two front, two rear), audio I/O (microphone, line, and headphones), a four-in-one memory card reader, and gigabit Ethernet. The device’s rear panel (below) also includes a VGA output in addition to the HDMI port, plus two eSATA connectors for external hard disk drives, says Dell.

Of course, they’re not going to sell it with Linux in Australia, right? *Sigh*

Dell release Ubuntu Moblin Remix Developer Edition on Mini 10v

Dell looks to be moving more and more towards Linux for their products with the release of a developer version of Ubuntu Moblin Remix Developer Edition.

Naturally it’s not the final release, things like Bluetooth don’t work, but Dell is hoping the community will pick it up and help to improve the system.

You can purchase the machine with this special developer release from the Dell website, or download the image yourself from the Dell Moblin wiki page.

Dell 10″ netbook with Linux (in Australia!)

Only just noticed that Dell is selling the Latitude 2100 10″ netbook with Ubuntu 9.04 in Australia. None of the Mini series appear to come with the option of Linux, even though my friendly Dell representative told me that they do.

The Linux option is $60 cheaper than Windows XP, however it does not have the option of a built in camera. They both have the option of a touch screen, but the Linux model does not let you change the bezel, which means the configuration is broken. Perhaps this can be resolved on the phone, but the web interface presents a rather limited number of options. That’s disappointing.

Still, if you like Dell and are after an atom based netbook which comes pre-installed with Linux, perhaps the 2100 is for you.

Getting MythTV working is easy

My good mate Tthu wanted to make himself a mythtv box. He bought an old Dell online and after a trip to the computer fair to get a 500GB SATA hard drive, low profile PCIe video card and a PCI digital TV tuner card, had everything he needed.

So, at my place we started the install. First thing I noticed was that the video cad had a passive heatsink that took up the space for the only PCI slot in the machine. I gave Tthu the option of waiting and trying to find a more suitable card, or hacking up the box to make it fit. Here began the first of our modifications..

After removing the heatsink from the GPU, we broke off the part that stuck out over the capacitors and proceeded to bend the other fins over. Isopropyl alchohol and some arctic silver later and it was back together again. Perfect. 🙂

Then we noticed that the case no longer shut because the hard drive bracket came ever so slightly down onto the back end of the card. I whittled away a little of the PCB, but it wasn’t quite enough. Due to the bracket design, we had to break off a part of the metal. This then allowed us to hack at the bracket itself and with Jason’s trusty multi-tool filed away a perfect gap for the card to slide into (with my trusty Dyson grabbing the filings, of course). Only problem was that the plastic slide rail for the hard drive couldn’t slide in anymore.. so we cut that in half. Done! 🙂

End result? Machine works perfectly with the video card running at about 80 degrees, which is well within spec. How long it all lasts for remains to be seen! Only problem now is that the TV aerial can’t get any signal in the basement.. Jason, where’s that multi-tool?