Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Acer netbook details. Why is it so SLOW?

Below is info copied from its system info:

Acer Device Manager

Computer - ACPI Multiprocessor PC

Disk drives - SSDPAMM0008G1

Intel(R) Atom(TM) CPU N270 @ 1.60GHz
Intel(R) Atom(TM) CPU N270 @ 1.60GHz

WindowsXP service pack 3

Intel Atom
CPU N270 @1.60GHz
1.60GHz, 0.98 GB of RAM


Unmentioned but needed to find PC info on the Acer web site is its model: 110. The closest thing to that is: ACA AOA1101588 Netbook with WindowsXP.

It has solid state memory instead of a hard drive. That's one reason that I bought it, I figured that this memory would be more stable physically and would work considerably faster. Note: Acer presented this as 16 gig. It's 8 gig, plus an 8 gig SD card, which I usually do not have inserted.

I monitor CPU usage in task manager, when the system is not locked up for maybe 10-30 seconds doing who knows what. I also check CPU usage in Norton Internet Security. I suspected Norton as the problem but turned off LiveUpdate and everything else but the Acer is still SLOW.

Note the two processors from system info device manager:

Intel(R) Atom(TM) CPU N270 @ 1.60GHz
Intel(R) Atom(TM) CPU N270 @ 1.60GHz

Two processors are also shown in task manager. Why are there two? Doesn't that cost more than one? Are the two working at cross purposes? Are they using the operating system inefficiently. Can the OS even handle two processors? What about the apps?

The OS is Windows XP, which was first released on October 25 , 2001. Hey, it's almost EIGHT years old! If you cruise back on my posts you can trace my unsuccessful attempt to use a netbook running Linux, flavor Ubuntu. The thought of Ubuntu still makes my teeth hurt. I chose Windows XP as an unwanted default. According to wikipedia.com:

As of the end of May 2009, Windows XP is the most widely used operating system in the world with a 61.54% market share, having peaked at 85% in December 2006.

Microsoft is scheduled to release Windows 7 on October 22, 2009. It is a better version of Windows Vista. Will Acer provide an upgrade to Windows 7? Will it be free?

Both netbooks (Dell/Linus v. Acer/Windows) that I have had shared a common problem: the cursor runs amok. Often. It must have something to do with the small screen and high screen resolution. Why do I need to deal with this junk?

The New York Times June 27, 2009 article about Acer:

This year, Acer appears poised to overtake Dell as the world’s second-largest seller of personal computers, which would put a real dent into one of America’s favorite dorm-to-empire business stories. And if this comes to pass, Acer would trail only Hewlett-Packard; no computer company based outside the United States has ever climbed so high.

As far as I could find on the Acer web site I cannot order more RAM to try to improve performance. Something like that can be done easily with Dell and probably also with HP.

Gianfranco Lanci is the chief executive of Acer. Maybe I'll send him this message.

Symantec's Norton Internet Security on Acer netbook.

Symantec has been sending me e-mail messages to determine whether they can close a trouble ticket that I had submitted. Below is my most recent comment to Symantec.

1. Several times have have gotten error 8504, unable to open Norton Internet Security. I followed the instructions, which include restarting, and eventually got the program to open. How unusual is this error condition? 2. How can I determine if Norton Internet Security is running something in the background, possibly slowing down my PC? I have turned off whatever I could find and run LiveUpdate when I first turn on the PC so that I can control when it runs. Symantec should provide more options like prompting before running (background stuff) and provide clear indications of what is running and its effect on system performance.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Acer netbook problems

Just sent this to Acer about my netbook AOA110:

1. Skype - neither built in, nor external mic/speaker work; they did work but stopped. Windows Sound Recorder works OK with all.

2. SLOW! I checked everything and simply loading a program can take a long time. Turned off auto run of Norton Internet Security LiveUpdate but problem persists. Acer netbook becoming unusable.

After submission Acer showed this:

Our technical support team provides system level support for hardware and pre-installed software only.
E-mail requests are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

I forgot to mention the colossally annoying cursor run amok and screen/font size suddenly changing and inability to page up/down. Gee, I'm starting to really hate this netbook. I'm so annoyed that I'm thinking about dumping both my Windows PCs and paying an outrageous amount plus $300 for an Apple MacBook and dumping problems at the nearby Apple store.

I'm really tired of having to know a bunch of junk to do the simplest of tasks: access the Internet. That's all I'm doing with this stupid Acer netbook.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Technical Difficlties

My Internet radio program was messed up. I'm not sure how but one possibility is stupid Norton Internet Security. When I started my PC I purposely started that stupid LiveUpdate that seems to give no indication that it is running and no way to end it.

LiveUpdate ran and finished. I checked the Norton Internet Security program.

About 45 minutes later I had lots of problems: blogtalkradio.com crashed, my Skype call ended. Later I noticed that LiveUpdate had ended two minutes before. The stupid thing must have started again. It probably did not crash blogtalkradio but it didn't help with Skype, which had terrible audio quality.

Another possible culprit was Verizon Wireless mobile broadband MiFi modem/router. This was the first time I tried it for an Internet radio program. It never crashed but it may have caused or contributed to the problems.

Most likely cause: blogtalkradio.com crashed on its own. I had two tabs open to it, one for my dashboard to run the program, another to monitor my page there. Both crashed.

Technology's great except when it sucks.

My way or the highway: tyranny by the wireless companies.

My one month trail period for Verizon Wireless MiFi mobile broadband service expires in a couple of days. Performance is good, although I've had an annoying inability to know when the MiFi mobile broadband modem/router is connected to the Internet.

Apple is introducing it's third version of its iPhone a day AFTER I must decide about the Verizon MiFi. If I can get the current iPhone for $100 WITHOUT a service contract with ATT Wireless I can use it with my little MiFi modem/router and a Skype iPhone app and have the best of both worlds: iPhone on the Verizon Wireless network.

Unfortunately, I would still need to carry my Palm Treo 700P to make the more reliable voice calls; don't trust Skye enough to fly it solo. My three year old service voice only plan with Verizon Wireless for my Palm Treo 700P smartphone is one of the few that does not require that the customer pay not just for voice service but also for data, i.e., Internet access. I can even ask Verizon Wireless to turn its Internet service on and off any time, although I must speak to someone at Verizon Wireless; I cannot do it online. Once I change my Verizon Wireless service plan there is no going back. That plan was retired long ago.

Even if I buy a new iPhone, Blackberry, G1, whatever, ... and pay some outrageous amount for the smartphone without a service contract, Verizon Wireless and ATT Wireless (probably the others, too) insist that I may not get voice service only but must pay an additional minimum of $30 (plus 25% tax and tip) per month for Internet service even though I prefer to get access to the Internet by using the WiFi built into the smartphone connected to my Verizon Wireless MiFi mobile broadband modem/router.