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This is a really neat tool: GodMode for Windows 7. Here's how it works.

Yes, I finally bought a new computer, my first since... geez, the 1990s, I think. (Shut up.) I've been using an ancient computer my mom gave me after viruses fried the hard drive and memory, and a work laptop for mobile computing, upgrading their memory and video and everything else along the way. Well, when those both finally became unusable, and the English Department IT guy said that they didn't have a decent laptop that I could use, I figured it was time to buy a new machine.

After much research and deals-hunting, I got myself a wicked-fast and beautiful laptop so it could serve all my functions: work and class demonstrations, writing both at home and on the road, telescope imaging with my astro-camera, coffee-shop goofin' off, and so forth. This is not a tiny computer, at more than 15" wide and more than 10" deep, but I wanted awesomeness more than portability for how I use a computer.

Here are the technical details: lenovo IdeaPad Y550P (324156U). Processor: Intel Core i7 720QM running at 1.60GHz. 15.6" screen (and I attach an external LCD for multi-tasking). 4GB DDR3 1066 memory (expandable to 8GB). 500GB, 5400rpm hard drive. DVD±R/RW media drive. NVIDIA GeForce GT 240M 1GB GDDR3 dedicated video card that can output true-HD video (via the HDMI port) to an external monitor. LAN and WiFi Link 5300 802.11a/b/g/n connectivity. 6-cell lithium-ion batter that's reviewed to last between 3 and 3-1/2 hours, depending on use - that's pretty wow considering the hardware it's powering.

And it's pretty:

Click the image to see the story.

Anyhow, it comes with Windows 7, which seems pretty neat, and reviews say it's great and very secure, but it's taking some getting used to. So I went in search of the secret GodMode feature I heard about on the radio. Here's how it works:

Create a new folder and name it thus:


(No ohs, only zeroes.)

After you do that, the folder gets a cool icon that lets you know you can enter GodMode by opening it. Basically, this is an Uber-Control Panel that houses tons of control and configurations options all in one place. Super handy.

I'm at the office right now, installing software: Microsoft Office (KU has a deal for Office - only $10 for those with a KUID - and the same deal for Windows 7) and Sophos Anti-Virus.

I see that Sophos virus protection has finished installing; I'm off!




( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 25th, 2010 10:07 pm (UTC)
Totally just did this on Andy's Windows 7 netbook. Thanks for the tip! :D
May. 25th, 2010 10:18 pm (UTC)
Happy to help!
May. 25th, 2010 10:21 pm (UTC)
I have a Lenovo, which alas came with Windows Vista,which sucketh. The program, not the computer, which is fairly awesome.
May. 25th, 2010 10:26 pm (UTC)
Too bad about the whole Vista thing. I wasn't going to buy a computer that was infested with that OS, which is why it took so long for me to get one.

This thing is screamin' fast! So far, I like Lenovo (er, "lenovo," per their website).
May. 26th, 2010 09:30 pm (UTC)
One had no choice. One's computer bit the dust in a big way and one needed to replace it :-(. I knew 7 was coming, but what writer can be computerless for 6 months?
May. 26th, 2010 02:14 am (UTC)
go you
I loves my MacBook, but that looks way cool.

the PC I'm most in contact with these days is a slave to the IRS, so it is very limited because it is locked into the payment system.

Sounds like you have a new good friend/servant
May. 26th, 2010 02:32 am (UTC)
Re: go you
So far, the relationship is going smoothly ;-)
May. 26th, 2010 02:23 am (UTC)
Re: GodMode
As Flemco puts it so elegantly, "I do not believe in your invisible friend."
May. 26th, 2010 02:33 am (UTC)
Re: GodMode
Heh. Well, you'd better start believing if you want to get through the coming Rise of the Machines intact.
May. 26th, 2010 02:23 am (UTC)
Hi, Chris. Thanks for the very cool Godmode hint. I was so excited that I ran up stairs to tell my computerphile 17-year old about it.

He has known about Godmode since the beginning of the school year.

May. 26th, 2010 02:34 am (UTC)
Hi Jim! Yeah, kids: They know this kind of stuff even before it's available.
May. 26th, 2010 05:00 am (UTC)
might dish out the bucks for Windows 7 then. Vista really hasn't been awful on this laptop once I upgraded the memory by 2 Gig.
May. 26th, 2010 05:08 am (UTC)
My new machine is pretty kick-ass, so I can't say how Windows 7 compares to Vista. But with 4GB memory and this quad-core i7 processor... well, it knows what to do almost before I think it.

Edited at 2010-05-26 05:09 am (UTC)
May. 26th, 2010 03:22 pm (UTC)
Just got a new i5 notebook, and am jealous of your CPU.
May. 26th, 2010 04:40 pm (UTC)
I considered getting the i3 for power-saving reasons (or even lower-oomph ones), but for the few times when I'm not using it as a desktop replacement, it seemed pointless to go for lower power ;-)
May. 26th, 2010 07:19 pm (UTC)
Yeah, i3 is OK for a general-use laptop or a dedicated carry-around but not for more intense apps. I'd have gone i7 but the price difference was a hill too high for me right now. Thus the i5. When I build my new home unit, it will have to have more oomph than the lower-end chips.
May. 26th, 2010 07:25 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I wouldn't have gone the i7 route if it hadn't been for Newegg's massive sale....
May. 26th, 2010 01:37 pm (UTC)
Thanks. Didn't know about this one. [been a long time since I was 17 :-) ]
May. 26th, 2010 04:41 pm (UTC)
Heh, I know what you mean! Though I'm not sure I ever stayed on top of pop-culture stuff when I was 17....
May. 26th, 2010 08:43 pm (UTC)
Have you given the 20D camera a shot yet? (Hahaha).

I did find out through unrelated reading that Canon did make a camera specifically for astrophotography--the Canon 20Da. They added a low-pass IR filter in front of the CMOS sensor, live view mode, which wasn't available in their DSLRs until recently, and improved noise reduction for low-light photos than the 20D you have.

Congrats on updating your computing experience to today's standards.
May. 26th, 2010 08:48 pm (UTC)
Yes, I've been meaning to talk with you about the camera, but haven't seen you! I bought an adapter and extension tube(s) to mount it to the focuser, and tried all kinds of techniques, but it has a number of limitations that prevent me from getting any decent photos through a telescope. And one major limitation: It focuses on the projection screen, which requires a person, um, to remove one's glasses and use reading glasses or something, as compared to astro-cameras that send images to a computer. *sigh*

So I got myself an Orion deep space imager... that I haven't been able to try just yet, on account of the spring cyclone season. But soon! Also what motivated me to get a nicer laptop.

How can I get it back to you? Thanks for letting me give it a try - feel free to keep the astro-adapters if you think you could use 'em.
May. 26th, 2010 10:53 pm (UTC)
You can do what is called shooting tethered, which means you can shot using a laptop connected to the camera via USB. However, I have no idea how your telescope/software work and if this is even feasible. The live preview of the 20Da was probably to overcome this.

It would be interesting to see if my 5D MarkII would work better, with the live preview. It also has much, much better low light capabilities.

I'm going to be making a Penzey's delivery to your house after I go there tomorrow. If you are home after 6:00pm, I can make the drop off then when I can stay for a bit since Mac will be home to keep the kids.

May. 26th, 2010 11:23 pm (UTC)
That would be perfect! See you tomorrow.
May. 27th, 2010 04:18 pm (UTC)
Let me know what the best time will be. Mac is usually home between 5:45 - 6:15.
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )

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