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Calling all you tech-heads

By 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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Calling all you tech-heads
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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 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 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 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 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.

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