Reviews & How-To

Hands on Review of the HP Stream 14-z010nr Signature Edition Laptop

I needed a laptop during the Microsoft MVP Summit in Redmond (the restrictions on my work laptop prevented me from completing the posting of a podcast) and found myself at the Bellevue WA Microsoft Store looking for something new before the conference started.  New to the market and what looked to be the best of the low end was the HP Stream 14 Signature Edition Laptop.  With a 14 inch screen, 32GB of SSD, an AMD Quad Core Processer and 2GB of RAM, this laptop is set to compete with the Chromebook.  It deceivingly light for it’s size and very thin for the 14 inch screen it carries.  It carries well in a backpack and comes with everything to get you started with a cloud device.  Right now Microsoft is throwing in 100GB of OneDrive as well. Here is a review we did of the unit as a part of the Surface Geeks Podcast: Start at Have a look at the specs. Display – 14 in diagonal HD BrightView WLED-backlit (1366 x 768) Processor – AMD A4 Micro-6400T GHz Memory – 2GB DDR3 1333 MHz Hard drive size – 32GB eMMC Operating system – Windows , 64-bit Media drive – MicroSD Audio – Beats Audio Video – AMD Radeon R3 Graphics with shared graphics memory Ports – 1 USB • 2 USB • HDMI • Headphone output/Microphone input combo Battery – 3-cell, 32 WHr lithium-ion polymer (up to 6 hours, 30 minutes)* Camera – Integrated webcam Wireless – (Miracast enabled) Bluetooth – Yes Dimensions – x x in ( x x mm) Weight – lbs ( kg) Color – Silver Other – Model number: Stream 14-z010nr • Keyboard travel: mm • Touchpad dimensions: 100 x 68 mm • TPM • 2 years free 100GB OneDrive storage For more technical specifications, please see manufacturer’s website.     Out of the box it was an easy set up.  Plugged it in and started the updates.  With just one set of updates waiting for me, it was up and running in an hour on slow hotel WiFi.  Here are a few things I like and a few I didn’t like out of the box. Pros Great keyboard that is very quiet.  I use Apple Keyboards when ever I can both at home and at work because they are so quiet.  This is especially helpful with podcating.  I would give this keyboard an A+ Thin design!  For a sub $299 laptop, this was impressive.  It handled well both open and closed and was well balanced.  I carry my laptops around a bunch with the lid open, so this is important to me. It had a nice finish worth of an Apple sticker.  You could tell the market they were going after for sure. At just over 3 pounds, its lighter than it looks.  It fits into my backpack nicely and left room for another laptop if necessary. Microsoft is offering 100GB of Cloud Storage and who can’t use more cloud storage? Great for Remote Access (Team Viewer tested) as well as Remote Desktop access to services like Azure.  You don’t need a lot power or RAM with connecting with service like those.  This fit the bill. The screen was just the right size for the price point.  Not super high resolution, but I didn’t expect it for this price. Beats Audio put the speakers right up front and decent sound for a laptop.  Your not going to use it at a dance party, but it made doing a Skype call or Google Hangout easy to listen to.  Better speakers than most more expensive laptops I have used. Cons 2 GB of RAM is just not enough.  A bit sluggish and you sure could tell.  Ran YouTube videos fine and I imagine it would do most games that are web based.  Wouldn’t try anything that is more intensive. Came with a bunch of updates to do.  Not as much as a Surface 3, but still there was some.  I wish Microsoft had a better way of doing this for new PCs. Non touch.  Not sure you really want or need it for this end of the market, but its not there. With only 32GB of SSD space, and after a full spin up there was less than 10GB of space left on the OS drive.  It has a slot for and microSD card.  You are going to need it. While it was a signature PC and advertised as “bloatware free” by Microsoft, it still comes with a few HP applications that are intended to help the user.  I say they are bloatware. Conclusion HP and Microsoft are clearly aiming this at the low end of the market that is now looking at Chromebooks and wondering if they even need a PC any longer.  This laptop is a good answer to that question, and the answer is yes.  Not only more powerful and more capable than a Chromebook, its better looking and runs a “big boy” OS that can get real productivity tasks done in most corporate environments.  So would I take it to work?  Not likely, but it could do the job.  This is one for the kids that should find it’s way under the Christmas tree if you were thinking of getting them a PC.
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Home Tech

Buying a color laser printer on Craigslist: Some tips for the bargain seeker

By Kevin Schoonover I spend way too much time shopping for things on Craigslist. Buying used can be a great deal or you could just be buying someone else’s headache. You need to research and understand what you’re buying. Specifically around printers, vendors have good models and models that are not so good. Doing a web search on the issues around a certain model will lead you to find what kind of problems people are having and if there is any consistency around them. I also look to buy printers from the same family so that they use the same toner cartridges to save money that way, as well. No surprise, I’m a fan of HP color laser printers. They tend to be rock solid, they offer firmware updates and they have the features that I’m looking for. A few years ago I decided it was time to give up on inkjet color printing and move to a color laser printer. I did my research and found the CP1525nw from HP was the printer for me: Oddly enough, HP had an outrageously good sale going on and with some discounts and coupons I had, I ended up buying the printer new at a very reasonable price. The CP1525nw is a wired or wireless network printer and offers HP E-print support to print from the cloud. It has served us well, but I also thought it would be nice to have a multifunction printer, something with scanning. In researching I found the CM1415fnw uses the exact same toner cartridges as the CP1525nw, but the prices were very high:   I started watching on Craigslist, I found a trend that some of these better departmental size printers pop up on Craigslist often. I think people buy them for home businesses and realize maybe they’re too big or in many cases they end up with one from a small business that didn’t make it. I found a CM1415fnw that someone was trying to sell. HP printers make it easy to get information, as there are several reports that can be printed from the printer at a push of a button, showing you toner capacity and total pages printed. The CM1415fnw I was dealing on had roughly half the toner left in all four cartridges. Initially the price was fairly high on the printer and I continued to research it. The known issues or problems with the printer seemed to be driver related and easy to resolve. One day I got an e-mail from the seller. He was motivated to sell and had dropped the price from $250 to $75. I jumped on the opportunity. Meeting the seller in person, he told me the printer had belonged to a small business where his mother was the secretary and when the business folded they let her take the printer home. I brought the printer home. It was in excellent condition. I added the printer to my network, configured it, updated the firmware and ran the maintenance apps to clean the printer. Printing and scanning functions worked perfectly and HP’s tools make using the printer extremely easy. Recently I decided to add another printer to our home, because of course it’s a two-story house with a basement and it wouldn’t be right to not have a printer on each floor. Seriously, we do print a lot, between Schoondoggy LLC, my wife’s volunteer work and my eight year old daughter. I started searching for another CP1525nw, but there were no deals on Craigslist. I expanded my search a bit and found the CP2025; the big brother to the CP1525nw had quite a few hits on craigslist locally:   Researching the CP2025 I found that many of the early units had an issue with black stripes in the print which actually is linked to a motor failure. Later models seem to not have this issue. The CP2025 is a departmental size color laser printer and some versions include full duplex printing. Now that I had a better idea of the issues around the printer I followed up on an ad. The couple was selling the printer because they were moving to a smaller apartment. I asked them to verify the model number and they e-mailed me a picture of the back of the unit. Quickly doing a web search I was able to find that it was CP2025dn which is the model that includes networking and duplex printing. The info also showed me this printer was manufactured in late 2011, which would make it a later model version and should not have the issues with the motor.  The only features missing from the CP2025dn are wireless networking and the HP E-print feature. Otherwise it’s rock solid workhorse printer. I also asked them to print out the configuration page and the supplies page which she e-mailed to me. Much to my surprise the printer had two thirds of the black cartridge and half of each color cartridge still available. Page count showed that the printer had only printed 270 pages. They were asking $100 for the printer.  With this much toner left and the low over all print count, $100 seemed like great deal. I got the printer home and it was in perfect condition. I installed it on my network, updated the firmware and it has printed perfectly since. I use several craigslist apps to help me search for products and technologies. In this case, by doing a search on the CP2025 I found several to choose from. Additionally, searches brought up an ad where someone was selling third-party toner cartridges for the CP2025. They had all three color cartridges and two black cartridges, that would be five cartridges for $120. I have a bit of a concern buying third-party toner unless I use the brand before this happened to be from a company called LD which I have used and have had good luck with. So now for little more than $220 I have a nearly new departmental color laser printer, a whole new set of toner cartridges and I’m a happy guy. Pros of the CP2025dn 21 page per minute Network printer Full duplex Cons of the CP2025dn No wireless networking No E-print Big One point of disclosure, the county I live in offers free recycling for computer equipment so in case I ever get stuck with a bad laser printer it will cost me nothing to get rid of it. The other thing about shopping locally on craigslist is no shipping charges and sometimes if you meet the person to pick the item up you can get them drop a little bit more off the price. Tips for shopping craigslist for printers: Do your research and know what model it is you want to buy. Check the product history for known issues or commonly found problems. Check toner prices. Use apps to automate searches to find the product you’re looking for. Don’t rush if the deal doesn’t seem win-win, don’t do it, there will be another deal soon, As with any Craigslist deal if the seller is not responsive don’t waste your time. Specifically for printers in my case HP there’s a town of information that can be gathered from the printer itself and in the process of printing these reports yet she get to see if the print quality is good as well. Configuration reports, a supply report and a demo page should give you enough information. As you’re in the process of searching for the printer don’t forget about searching for the toner as well. It’s up to you to determine what’s a good deal on a used printer. As toner is a huge expense in this equation, a good used printer with a lot of toner is worth much more than no toner. Just as a comparison new color laser printers have come way down in price.  The HP Pro 200 starts at $229 and is similar in features to the CP1525nw: The HP Pro 400 is the newest version of the CP2025. It ranges in price from $299-$399 depending on features: So what do you think, are these used printers good deals or not worth the time? Here a two screen shots of reports from HP printers:
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Home Gadget Geeks

A Special First Look at the HP ProLiant MicroServer Gen 8 Ultra Micro Tower Server G1610T – HT129

A special edition to Home Tech that was recorded after show 128 (), Jim (@jcollison) stayed live with Andrew Morris (@unrealshots), John Zajdler (@Dieharder), John Stutsman (@JohnStutsman) and Kevin Schoonover (@schoondoggy1979) to talk about the newly released HP ProLiant MicroServer Gen8 Ultra Micro Tower Server G1610T.  Since we didn’t know this would become a podcast, there is no intro to the show. Join us for the show live each Thursday at 8pmC/9E/1UTC at Listen Mobile: Amazon Link for the Server: Newegg Link for the Server: Sans Digital MobileSTOR MS4UM+B 4 Bay eSATA Port Multiplier and USB JBOD – Intel Xeon E3-1220 Processor GHz 8 MB Cache Socket LGA1155 by Intel – Intel Xeon E3-1265LV2 GHz Processor – Socket H2 LGA-1155 by Intel – HP P410/256 Smart Array Controlle by HP – Click on any of the Photos to enlarge: Facebook Page:  Facebook Group: If you’d like to subscribe to the show, click on to update your iTunes library, or for other Podcast downloading applications, please click on the RSS Feed and pick your Pod Catcher of choice! Or, you can now stream the show online at at The Show Announcements and Schedule: #!/TheAverageGuyTV Jim’s Twitter: #!/jcollison Andrew’s Twitter: #!/unrealshots Contact Christian: Contact the show at Find us on Facebook: Find this and other great Podcasts from the Average Guy Network at Some links may contain affiliate codes that benefit the Average Guy Podcast Network.
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Home Gadget Geeks

How to Fix Monitor Troubles, Video Cards, HP XW8600 Workstation, Cheap Memory – HT060

This week Jim, Christian and Gary Johnson bring you the latest installment of the Home Tech Podcast WE HAD SOME SOUND ISSUES at minute 45 and 55. Sorry for the bad quality. Christian talks a bit about his site There might someday be a special guest appearance on the show from the bios mods guys! Watch for it. Listen LIVE every Thursday night at @ 6pP/8C/9E/1aUTC Listen Mobile: Jim complains about his monitors.  Later in the evening, Jim got it fixed.  He is also now using a Dell Dimension 5150 as the PC that runs his camera and Yeti Blue Mic for the podcast.  It’s a power hog but the best he has for now. Gary talked about his New Server – A dual quad core XEON 16GB  ECC buffered ram 2 X 250GB Hard drives. Some deals on Video cards ;N=100007709%20600083901%20600083830&IsNodeId=1&name=Radeon%20HD%206850&Order=PRICE Christian’s Corner This is a cute deal of the week: Finally! Thanks Google….. Google Changes their privacy policy Facebook Page: Facebook Group: If you’d like to subscribe to the show, click on  to update your iTunes library, or for other Podcast downloading applications, please click on the RSS Feed and pick your Pod Catcher of choice! Or, you can now stream the show online at at The Show Announcements and Schedule: Jim’s Twitter: Andrew’s Twitter: Contact Christian: Contact the show at Find us on Facebook: Find this and other great Podcasts from the Average Guy Network at Some links may contain affiliate codes that benefit the Average Guy Podcast Network.
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Home Tech

HP TouchPad is Back! Well, Sort of Back?

I made a big deal about the HP TouchPad just a couple months back and even dropped a few reviews here at the Average Guy ().  But as most of us know by now, HP decided to get out of the table business (later reversed) sold them for $99/$149, quickly sold out and we thought we would never see them again, right?  WRONG! I first saw this at Best Buy, and today I saw the same thing at #160; They are back at $149, but with a catch!  (click the graphic to see the deal) HP TouchPad FB356UT Tablet – WebOS , Qualcomm Snapdragon Dual-Core APQ8060 , 1GB Memory, 32GB Internal Storage, ; XGA Capacitive Touch, a/b/g/n Ok…so it’s not $99 and you have to buy an HP Laptop or Desktop to get the $150 rebate, but if you were doing that anyway, would you pull the trigger on this?  Good luck and happy hunting!
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Home Gadget Geeks

The Future of WebOS, Ringtone Revenue, Multiple Skype Accounts, Chrome gets the Metro UI, Microsoft Touch Mouse, and Google does a Barrel Roll – HT051

Jim and Andrew are joined this week by John Zajdler and Gordon Schmidt for this weeks’ installment of the Home Tech Podcast. The guys start off the show discussing the recent news that HP is retaining the Personal Systems Group, and if HP will keep WebOS, and where HP could use WebOS in their existing product lines, such as the possibility of integrating a WebOS control panel into the enterprise level multifunction devices, or even the home printer, with the possibility of being able to edit photos without using a PC before printing. At this time, as reported by Business Insider, HP do not have any plan for WebOS. Listen LIVE at 6pP/8C/9E/1aUTC every Thursday night over at Listen Mobile: The guys discuss their use of printing these days, with most using their multifunction devices primarily as a scanner, rather than a printer, before discussing the penetration of email into peoples lives. The guys move on to discuss the online revenue generated by music downloads, with of the market being downloaded ringtones, with a total revenue of $2, million dollars, subscription services accounting for , and the remainder being other download services, at   Read more over at All Things D The guys talk about the merits of downloading a ringtone vs creating your own from music you currently own.  The guys go on to discuss some of the features of modern smart phones, and the ease of migrating to a new phone. Andrew talks about running multiple instances of Skype on the one computer, with the purpose of using one account for dialing free-call numbers, and using another as a regular Skype account, with a credit balance on the Skype account.               To launch two Skype accounts, simply allow your regular account to start as normal, open a command prompt, and type in: “C:\Program Files (x86)\Skype\Phone\” /secondary if you are using a 64-bit version of Windows, or “C:\Program Files\Skype\Phone\” /secondary if you are using a 32-bit version of Windows, and login to your second account using the login screen. Starting Skype like this can be run multiple times, allowing you to log into Skype as a different user each time. Each time you start Skype like this it will add another Skype icon to your task bar, which can be controlled individually. The guys discuss the benefits of using Voice Over IP (VOIP) either via using Skype, or a third-party provider, and “cutting the cord” by disconnecting your landline telephone service. Andrew tells us about the latest “Easter Egg” at Google, known as “The Barrel Roll”.  To check this out, open Google Chrome, or Firefox, and in the Google Search Box, type in “Do a Barrel Roll”, and watch the page spin around!  An older Google Easter Egg is to type in TILT in the Search Box, and the entire page tilts to the right. For those of you that love the Metro UI on the Windows 8 Developer Preview, and Windows Phone 7, but also love using Google Chrome, the Metro UI has come to the Chrome Browser, in the form of Awesome New Tab Page. The guys spend some time on the ongoing discussion that impacts most folks, around smart phone updates, and choice of device, given the ever changing technology, and how it may fit in with their lives. Gordon talks about the new Microsoft Touch Mouse he has recently purchased, which “makes navigating Windows 7 a breeze”.  The Touch Mouse is a touch enabled device, that lets you use gestures on the surface of the mouse to improve transitions between various open windows and sessions with Windows 7 – Gordon tells us how he uses it to improve his Windows experience, especially when using multiple monitors. Be sure to check out the Microsoft Touch Mouse over at Microsoft Hardware. Gordon also talks about how he uses apps from within the Google Chrome Web Store (Chrome Web Apps) to keep track of the sites he visits regularly, and how it allows him to click on an icon to open the web application he wants to visit. Don’t forget our feed location has changed – click on to update your iTunes library, or for other Podcast downloading applications, please click on the RSS Feed and pick your Pod Catcher of choice! Facebook Page: Facebook Group: If you’d like to subscribe to the show, click on  to update your iTunes library, or for other Podcast downloading applications, please click on the RSS Feed and pick your Pod Catcher of choice! Or, you can now stream the show online at at The Show Announcements and Schedule: Jim’s Twitter: Andrew’s Twitter: Contact Christian: Contact the show at Find us on Facebook: Find this and other great Podcasts from the Average Guy Network at Some links may contain affiliate codes that benefit the Average Guy Podcast Network.
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Home Gadget Geeks

Drobo S, Computer Recycling, Upgrading Your Internet, No More Landline, HD Home Run Prime – HT049

Jim and Andrew are joined by Gary Johnson at The Average Guy for this week’s installment of the Home Tech Podcast. After the introductions, and weather reports from around the world, the guys kick off the show, talking about Jims’ search for a miniature computer to match to a Drobo S, and run Windows Home Server 2011. Gary warns against small form factor machines that can trap heat inside the case, and recommends using a drive such as the Seagate Momentus XT for a system drive for performance gains. Listen LIVE every Thursday night at @ 6pP/8pC/9pE Listen Mobile: The guys talk about PC recycling programs – Andrew talks about the PC’s for Kids program that runs in Australia, which donates computers to children who are physically, mentally or economically handicapped.  From the chat, we get recommendations of Freecycle, a global organization who are all about “giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns.”  Jim recycles his old equipment through Best Buy.  Remember, if you are recycling a PC, that you either remove and destroy the hard drive, or use a program such as DBAN or Secure Erase to securely erase your data before recycling a PC if you don’t want to, or don’t know how to remove the hard drive. Andrew talks about the possibility of upgrading his home Internet connection, moving from an ADSL 8 mbps connection to a Cable connection at 30 mbps. While talking about in-house services, Jim tells us that he has finally disconnected the phone line in his family home.  The guys discuss the price benefits of VOIP vs land lines, and the various providers and methods for saving on phone bills. The guys talk about the upcoming change of IP addressing from the current IPV4 standard to the new IPV6 system.  Jim talks about a new concept being thought about, being the building of a network in space, to ultimately allow network connectivity for space craft – watch this space! Gary gives an update on the HD Home Run Prime he purchased a couple of months back, from Silicon Dust, and some of the issues that he and his family are seeing when they try to stream video over their wireless network, versus working perfectly on the wired network. The guys talk briefly about some late breaking news, relating to HP retaining the Personal Systems Group, as reported by our friends over at ZDNet, and the potential for the HP Touchpad to run Windows 8, as is also being rumored around the Internet. Gary talks about the increase in hard drive prices that have been since the the Japan Tsunami and the more recent flooding in Thailand, where most of the hard drives on the market are manufactured. The guys talk some more about the recent word added to the Urban Dictionary last week by Rich O’Neil, being The Full Fo-Shay. The guys talk about some of the rumored upcoming mobile phone devices such as the ASUS Transformer 2, and an article Gary has found talking about 18 TB drives being made possible using table salt! Be sure to listen to the show after the music finishes, to hear about Mike Howards’ recent Windows Home Server 2011 adventures! Don’t forget our feed location has changed – click on to update your iTunes library, or for other Podcast downloading applications, please click on the RSS Feed and pick your Pod Catcher of choice! Facebook Page: Facebook Group: If you’d like to subscribe to the show, click on  to update your iTunes library, or for other Podcast downloading applications, please click on the RSS Feed and pick your Pod Catcher of choice! Or, you can now stream the show online at at The Show Announcements and Schedule: Jim’s Twitter: Andrew’s Twitter: Contact Christian: Contact the show at Find us on Facebook: Find this and other great Podcasts from the Average Guy Network at
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