Calling all you tech-heads

Echidna 15 October 2010 25

Hi all, bit of an urgent problem. My laptop has packed it in completely I think. I am about to head off to the WA desert for 5 weeks for work. I won’t need a laptop there because they supply one. However – it can’t play media files or DVDs.

I am going shopping tonight. What should I buy and where in Canberra should I buy it to keep some level of sanity? I have an external hard drive with great music and TV shows on it and nothing to play it on.

Your advice would be greatly appreciated! Money is a bit tight so going out to buy another laptop is not an option. Thanks!


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creative_canberran creative_canberran 2:25 am 16 Oct 10

johnboy said :

Acer Aspire netbooks are excellent value right now ($380ish at JB hifi). If you can install ubuntu on it all the better.

We couldn’t even give those away at $249 where I worked… no one was stupid enough to spend money on a microscopic, Linux powered machine.
There’s some full size 15″ Compaq machines out there for $500 with DVD drives and the option of plugging in a TV tuner. They’ll get the job done.

Netbooks are a total scam. The number of customers who hated them after a week, the number that fell apart in a month were shocking.

    johnboy johnboy 1:06 pm 16 Oct 10

    Oh I’d totally hate it if I was running windows on it. but with a decent OS configured for netbooks, it’s very useful.

Dr Strange Dr Strange 10:39 pm 15 Oct 10

+1 for Woody Mann-Caruso’s suggestions. We have to assume here you have access to a telly. Both Western Digital and Seagate make good machines for around the $150 mark and 1/2kg. Forget overpriced iPod/iPads as the small / weird ratio screens will drive you nuts over time – disclosure: I own an Android but I wouldn’t watch a movie on my HTC for any length of time either and I don’t know why anybody would on a phone. If you are prepared to wait a few days then someone like City Software will also post. If you see a Sony player for about $60 be warned it’s good but has serious limitations regarding file sizes, etc.

Good luck if your going where I think you might be.

damien haas damien haas 5:32 pm 15 Oct 10

Davo111 said :

Gungahlin Al said :

iPhone and earphones.

yeah, paying $860 for something that doesnt play flash is a great idea *rolls eyes*

Flash is the devils work. Im with Steve Jobs on this one. Until i loaded a flash blocker, my dual G5 fans would sound like the damn thing was about to take off as it processed that bloated resource hogging code.

Muttsybignuts Muttsybignuts 4:31 pm 15 Oct 10

Woody Mann-Caruso said :

If you’ll have access to a TV at the other end, buy one of these for $59 (note – won’t do hi-def – you’ll need this $169 version instead if your stuff is all x264 or 720p+ XviD). One end into your telly, the other into your HDD, off you go. The cheap version has probs with XviD files larger than 1.4gb, too – it’ll just stop playing, and no amount of fast forwarding will let you see the end of the movie (unless there’s been a recent firmware update I don’t know about).

Most portable DVD players that can play DivX / XviD will only play from disc rather than USB, won’t play anything remotely hi-def or non-standard, and have tiny, crappy screens. I don’t think you’ve got time to burn five weeks of media to DVD-R anyway.

If you can’t install stuff on the work laptop, but it will let you plug in your external USB device, get the portable version of VLC. It’ll run without installing anything, needing admin access, external libraries etc, and won’t leave a trace on your PC (well, I’m sure some sort of forensic investigation would find something).

This is the best option. $60 and you can watch all your stuff on your hard drive, provided there is a TV ( which I’m sure there is).
And Woody, thanks for the info re files over 1.4gb. I literally hooked up this cheapo WD mini media player last night and am looking forward to watching Machete and Jonah Hex tonight. Trouble is, I think they might be a little bit over 1.4gb. I hope I get to see the end.

Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 3:38 pm 15 Oct 10

Ooh! Good stuff, I’m after an Acer for the kid’s Xmas pressy!

I got a great deal earlier in the year – JB had 10% off, Acer had a cashback offer, so ended up with a new Acer One for $291.

Davo111 Davo111 3:09 pm 15 Oct 10

Gungahlin Al said :

iPhone and earphones.

yeah, paying $860 for something that doesnt play flash is a great idea *rolls eyes*

Go to jb or DSE, buy a cheap netbook and be done with it.

georgesgenitals georgesgenitals 2:56 pm 15 Oct 10

prhhcd said :

georgesgenitals said :

“I am going shopping tonight. What should I buy and where in Canberra should I buy it to keep some level of sanity?”

There’s quite a few bookshops in Canberra. That way you can buy as your budget allows.

George and your Genitals – have a think! I was asking about technology – your intended smart comment just didn’t work. I am taking books but unforunately books provide no background noise… at least not for me, maybe that’s different for you.

It was just a suggestion. I didn’t say it was a good one.

😉

Gungahlin Al Gungahlin Al 2:54 pm 15 Oct 10

iPhone and earphones.

Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 2:45 pm 15 Oct 10

Almost forgot:

If you can spare a couple of hundred, check out the JCMatthew MyMovie. Apparently you can talk the good folk at Harvey Norman down to $199. 9″, but plays anything.

Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 2:38 pm 15 Oct 10

If you’ll have access to a TV at the other end, buy one of these for $59 (note – won’t do hi-def – you’ll need this $169 version instead if your stuff is all x264 or 720p+ XviD). One end into your telly, the other into your HDD, off you go. The cheap version has probs with XviD files larger than 1.4gb, too – it’ll just stop playing, and no amount of fast forwarding will let you see the end of the movie (unless there’s been a recent firmware update I don’t know about).

Most portable DVD players that can play DivX / XviD will only play from disc rather than USB, won’t play anything remotely hi-def or non-standard, and have tiny, crappy screens. I don’t think you’ve got time to burn five weeks of media to DVD-R anyway.

If you can’t install stuff on the work laptop, but it will let you plug in your external USB device, get the portable version of VLC. It’ll run without installing anything, needing admin access, external libraries etc, and won’t leave a trace on your PC (well, I’m sure some sort of forensic investigation would find something).

Solidarity Solidarity 2:26 pm 15 Oct 10

How exactly has your old laptop “packed it in” ?

prhhcd prhhcd 2:26 pm 15 Oct 10

poo666 said :

You could buy a TV media player, just plug your usb into it and connect it to a Tv and you can watch your media files through it(if the file formats are supported). You can get a Western Digital media player for $50 at JB HI-FI. Check em out, or just get a 360 or ps3.

Thanks heaps re the media player!

prhhcd prhhcd 2:25 pm 15 Oct 10

georgesgenitals said :

“I am going shopping tonight. What should I buy and where in Canberra should I buy it to keep some level of sanity?”

There’s quite a few bookshops in Canberra. That way you can buy as your budget allows.

George and your Genitals – have a think! I was asking about technology – your intended smart comment just didn’t work. I am taking books but unforunately books provide no background noise… at least not for me, maybe that’s different for you.

georgesgenitals georgesgenitals 2:11 pm 15 Oct 10

“I am going shopping tonight. What should I buy and where in Canberra should I buy it to keep some level of sanity?”

There’s quite a few bookshops in Canberra. That way you can buy as your budget allows.

poo666 poo666 2:06 pm 15 Oct 10

You could buy a TV media player, just plug your usb into it and connect it to a Tv and you can watch your media files through it(if the file formats are supported). You can get a Western Digital media player for $50 at JB HI-FI. Check em out, or just get a 360 or ps3.

prhhcd prhhcd 2:04 pm 15 Oct 10

parle – yes should have a tv- thats not a bad idea. Do DVD players do that these days???
The things you find out…..

parle parle 1:57 pm 15 Oct 10

Do you have access to a decent television at this location? If so why don’t you get a cheap dvd player ($50) that has a USB connection and will play divx/xvid?

Pommy bastard Pommy bastard 1:55 pm 15 Oct 10

johnboy said :

Acer Aspire netbooks are excellent value right now ($380ish at JB hifi). If you can install ubuntu on it all the better.

Ooh! Good stuff, I’m after an Acer for the kid’s Xmas pressy! Thanks for the tip off.

prhhcd prhhcd 1:54 pm 15 Oct 10

I can’t download or put any programs on the work laptop. It is completely locked to that sort of stuff for security reasons (sigh).
Even if I could figure out how to put programs on it (which I very much doubt) I’d get into trouble. Hence my considering the purchase of “something”

john87_no1 john87_no1 1:50 pm 15 Oct 10

If i read your post correctly you are looking for a media player to watch video/music on your lappy in WA.

If so:

You can download VLC or KMPlayer onto your laptop in WA.

Either of the two media players will let you watch any type of format. I use them daily and have never had a problem.

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