New adventures with laptop computing...

By Zen ยท 24 replies
Jul 10, 2012
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  1. Well to some what I'm about to say my be like "been there, done that, got the t-shirt"! But I'm rather happy with how my efforts turned out.

    Today I got it in my head to expand my laptop computing pleasure! I thought to myself, seeing that I just got myself a nice new Samsung 44 inch LCD television with a boat load of various hook up's on the back, including what I was really after, HDMI, why not use the television as a computer monitor! So I went out to Walmart and purchased a HDMI cable.

    Upon getting home, I went through the motions of setting up my Toshiba laptop for what is what about ready to endure. Set the power plan, so the sucker wouldn't turn itself off when the lid was closed and ect. After turning my TV on and setting the input to HDMI2 I hooked the HDMI cable to the secondary port on the TV and the other end into my laptop. Went into the Nvidia control panel and told it to direct video signal to the HDMI output and presto, after one or two flickers of my TV screen, there was my desktop!

    After hooking up the computer to the television this is what I saw, the desktop....


    Next I ran into a problem I didn't think of while crafting this idea, in order to use any sort of mouse or keyboard, I'm going to have to use the ones on the laptop, my wired USB mouse and external keyboard won't work from about 7 to 8 feet away.I thought myself a little screwed. So I hopped atop my scooter and made my way to my local Goodwill store, seeing I blew a good chunk of coin on that HDMI cable from Walmart, my wallet wasn't that full, let's go second hand and go cheap!

    After about 10 minutes searching for something that would help me, I came across a used Logictech wireless keyboard and mouse set, it's their Logitech EX 100 combo pack, mouse, keyboard and USB receiver, heck I was even surprised to find the original paperwork and software CD in the box......for $3.00 for this deal, I couldn't beat it, I bought it!

    Here's the little Logitech combo deal I got........


    But another unforeseeable problem arose here! The wireless mouse that came in this combo pack sucks! Oh it works real good, quick, smooth and reliable.....but I need a mouse with those two "forward & backward" buttons where your thumb is, I don't like having to go backwards and forwards surfing the web via the browser buttons. So back on the scooter I went and back up to the Goodwill store!

    I hit "pay dirt"! I don't think someone knew what they had when making a donation to Goodwill, I found a sick Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer for Bluetooth! This sucker is built solid, got it home and wen into my laptop's higher settings and activated the Bluetooth internal radio and then went about making the mouse and computer talk and play nice with each other. Super screaming deal, only had to fork out $1.00 for this thing. I was curious to know what I had and Googled the mouse and went into their "shopping" thing and found the same mouse going for up to $100.00 for used. :)

    Here it is, the Microsoft Intellimouse.......(Even has my forward & backward thumb buttons)


    So with the purchase of that Microsoft mouse, this bright idea of mine is now a reality! I just wish there wasn't so much "back and forth" when it came to setting this up! I'm just glad everything now works and is smooth. But I know one thing, tonight when it cools off outside, I'm going to get my butt back on my scooter and head to my nearest dollar store and buy a lot of packs of AA and AAA battery's. :)

    Well as I close this thing out, one more image to show......

    I don't think I've ever seen TechSpot look so big and so good!.....


    Thank you for your time here folks, sorry to some if again....."been there, done that, got the t-shirt" about this. I'm just excited that's all!
  2. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,332   +101

    Cool stuff Zen. I have a lengthy HDMI cable running from my PC through the ceiling to the TV so I can stream videos on a larger screen without using a second machine. Sorry if I missed it, but how do you plan to use this setup? Just browsing and so on?
  3. Zen

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 861   +50

    Well I'm pretty much going to use this new setup as my primary base of operations. As I type this post to you, I'm looking at it on that Samsung 44 inch, which is pretty easy going on the eyes. Like you, my primary purpose here was to take advantage of a bigger screen in order to watch my downloaded movie files and watch streaming TV via mediums like Fancast and Hulu and You Tube. Also now having true 100% digital sound, using my little on-line radio program has never sounded so good. Also something that I didn't realize that would be so interesting and fun, was this morning I had a couple friends over and we spend a couple hours flying around on Google Earth checking things out from around the world.

    I'm just glad that the HDMI cable alone was the only true great expense here! $39.99 plus tax for a six foot cable on the floor at Walmart, talk about not being cheap. I could have saved the money and just use one of the two I already had. But I'm kind of a "have it already in place" kind of guy, I don't like a whole lot of plugging this and un-plugging that, So I used an HDMI two in one deal and batched it into the secondary port, which also hosts my DVD player. As long as no one try's to watch a DVD on my home theater system, at the same time I'm using the computer on the same HDMI channel, were fine.

    But there was one problem that came up, very minor and quickly fixed was my wireless keyboard. I guess it's little radio thing had to be really out in the open for it to pick up what the keyboard was trying to do. I don't think it being a couple feet off the ground was cutting it, for I was finding it very odd and frustrating that I was miss spelling a lot of my words and it appeared that the keyboard was skipping a beat sometimes. I know it was a cheesy fix, but I took a couple of my Son's old lego's that he hasn't used in years and put two of them together, laced the outside with black glossy duct tape, as to be color matching the glossy black plastic of my TV, put the spooled duct tape at both end, mounted the wireless keyboard and mouse radio on top of my TV, bracing it with those lego's behind and under the radio thing, all the while using a piece of duct tape to anchor the USB cable behind the TV in such a way that it makes the radio balance perfectly atop the lego's! Now my wireless keyboard doesn't miss a beat and I'm finding my tendency for miss spelling words has stopped, the keyboard can now keep up with my fingers! :)

    But I may have to do some more research about this setup of mine, my new used mouse is cool, but I don't think Bluetooth mice are really meant for gaming. I tested things out last night by playing Call of Duty 2 on my new setup, after fixing the keyboards radio thing, the keyboard wasn't holding things up or holding me back, it was the mouse. Sometimes when either trying to toggle to sight in on my sniper rifle or throw a grenade, the mouse hesitated and was slow to do some things I wanted it to do. So if you Mathew or to anyone else who is reading this know of any good wireless gaming mice, with those two buttons where your thumb rests please let me know!

    But I'm glad Mathew you like this new setup, I'm rather happy with it as well. :)
  4. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,274   +461

    I have that Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard+Mouse set - cost me over $200. I use it for my PS3 which I never turn on anymore.
  5. Marnomancer

    Marnomancer TS Booster Posts: 723   +51


    Impressive setup.
    When my home's renovations are over, I'll set off on a pimp-my-rig mania.
  6. Zen

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 861   +50

    Thanks for the compliment Marnomancer, and I wish you the best of luck on your "pimp-my-rig-mania"! What I've done here wasn't that hard, fairly straight forward and simple. The only hard part was scootering around town so much in the Summer time heat getting everything I needed to make this idea of mine to become reality. My only word of advise to you, when ever it is that you try to do this yourself, is be mindful of your desktop resolution. At first I had this setup jacked to the max as far as resolution, but from about 8-10 feet away it was very hard to read things, I had to squint and strain my eyes just to read posts here on TechSpot. So I made a choice to kind of go "old school" in regards to my resolution and kind of pretend that this wasn't a huge 44 inch television monitor, I rather thought it a 15 inch monitor and set my resolution accordingly. Currently I'm at 1280 x 720, this makes things way bigger and very pleasant and comfortable on the eyes. Now mind you, to gain eye comfort you will sacrifice how much of a the screen you see. Like the TechSpot forums main page, when I launch into it I'm only able to see 3/4 of the whole page, with the bottom 1/4 not visible until I move my mouse roller down to see the rest. But in order to not have my eye balls blow out of their sockets, I'm happy to sacrifice how much of a web page I can see at once.

    But this new setup is fun, I watched a little bit of Hulu last night, it almost made me feel that I was watching an actual Comcast channel off my converter box. Now I think I'm going to Google some mice, I have to find a decent and stable new wireless gaming mouse, that has good transmitting distance. For I was playing my new COD4 game this morning and the mouse does the same thing as it did when playing COD2, freezes up a bit, lags at times and gets me killed often. So I guess it's off to mouse hunting I go!
  7. HuntForTheWOrst

    HuntForTheWOrst TS Member Posts: 27

    Hmm Pretty Neat I'm going to try it out thanks for the idea hope I can make it work.
  8. Zen

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 861   +50

    Trust me, I know you more than likely will get this type of a setup to work! I guess just remember what I've done here and kind of use that to be your guide. Just do yourself a favor, unlike me, please make sure you've got all the materials needed in order to accomplish this. An HDMI certified computer, an HDMI cable, and a working wireless keyboard and mouse. Also your only going to need to make a few adjustment inside Windows, like telling the thing to not use the monitor on the laptop or desktop computer, to use the HDMI port instead.

    Keep us up to speed on your progress, I'm sure some of us would love to see your final results! :)
  9. Marnomancer

    Marnomancer TS Booster Posts: 723   +51

    Nah, I'm pretty much happy with my Acer's 1366x768. I'll hardly be sitting more than 3 ft away. I just need the real estate. I usually have more than 1 thing running that needs watching, most commonly Terminal, Geany, and Chromium. And if I'm making some notes, code or guide, a place for a notebook on the desk. I was pretty much impressed by Leeky's and slh28's desks, so I'm going to be "inspired". Lol
  10. Zen

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 861   +50

    Marnomancer : I'm glad to hear that some of our more seasoned TechSpot members have inspired you by their setups! Some members have impressive and glorious setups, single monitors, dual monitors, triple monitors and the rare quad monitors! Some have those fancy peek-a-boo cases with all those neon lights inside in a wide range of colors. Some having color matching light up keyboards and mice and sound systems to match. So to be inspired by people who do all of that is a good thing! Personally, before my Desktop computer burned up, I was enjoying a nice triple monitor setup, with matching brands and 22 inch sizes. But to be honest, I'm in no rush to replace my desktop computer with either a store bought or home made one. This laptop of mine has never let me down, it's a great work horse and even close to 4 years of age, it pretty much can keep step with just about any laptop currently on the market. Granted, the day this old Toshiba x205 bites the big one I will be very upset and sad, for they don't make these any more and when they did they didn't go small or compact or anything, they went big, like 14 pounds of weight big. Maybe when that day comes I'll search e-bay, Amazon and Craigs List for an identical laptop, this time maybe buying the quad SLi version with the bigger processor.

    But it's very good to be inspired by peoples good works! I once went mega pimp with a computer I built, it was a beast, fancy neon blue lights, color matching everything, 7.1 surround sound, plush leather gamer chair, AMD Athlon 64 x2 processor @ 3.0 gigs, 4 500 gig internal IDE hard drives, 16 gigs of DDR2 RAM, 2 Nvidia GeForce 9800 GTX video cards, Creative Labs Sound Blaster Titanium 7.1 sound card and many more fancy dancy bells and whistles. To bad I had to pawn the thing off during my divorce and give some of the proceeds to my ex-wife. Maybe one of these days, but not any time soon, maybe I'll think about building myself a monster again. But for the foreseeable future I'm satisfied with just my laptop and my 44 inch LCD television as it's monitor!
    DragonMasterJay likes this.
  11. Marnomancer

    Marnomancer TS Booster Posts: 723   +51

    Nice to hear that! :)
    The case mods are half-done with ricey-blue LED lights, ROG decals, along with "Linux Inside", "Keep your frickin' fingers away, moving fan blades can cut fingers!", and "ATTENTION! SENSITIVE ELECTRONIC DEVICES, USE PRECAUTION!".
    I insisted on a "F*cking Monstrosity" decal, but mum didn't agree with me.
    DragonMasterJay likes this.
  12. Zen

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 861   +50

    Well my friend I can take your little comment one or two ways! (1) your happy to hear I once had a mega beast of a system with all that fancy "bling bling" that your trying for now. or (2) Your happy to hear that via a court order I had to sell my former mega beast for money, which your then happy to hear that my ex-wife made off with 50% of the proceeds! LOL :)

    I think I know what you mean and where you were going with it all, I was just playing........."I think"! ;)
  13. Marnomancer

    Marnomancer TS Booster Posts: 723   +51

    I meant about searching e-bay and a reply to
  14. Zen

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 861   +50

    Cool, no worries buddy, I still think my prior post was kind of funny! And yes, the likes of an e-bay and such will be used the day my laptop bites the dust. Maybe I should just buy the other identical computer now and at least know I have it in storage for safe keeping. Maybe after typing up this post here, I'll switch to Amazon and other as like sites and at least see if I can find it

    *May the force be with me*!
  15. Dawn1113

    Dawn1113 TS Booster Posts: 322   +65

    Wow, Zen, that is one cool set up you got there.

    You've got every right to be excited about it. I would, too.

    Very cool. Must make the computing experience that much more enjoyable.
  16. learninmypc

    learninmypc TS Evangelist Posts: 7,670   +413

    Say, might I suggest a small $$$ saver? Buy rechargeable batteries & a battery recharger so you don't have to keep paying for batteries. Things aint gettin' cheaper anymore. Nice set up by the way.(y)
  17. Zen

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 861   +50

    First off Dawn, thank you very much for the compliment! Second, I'd be lying to you if I didn't say that my new current setup hasn't taken a little getting used to. Trust me when I say that just by connecting a cable between the television and the computer that this took care of everything, it didn't. I had to spend a lot of time tweaking this setting and tweaking that setting and resetting this and that in order to get what I wanted out of it. But it's now kind of cool, from the comfort of my sofa I can clearly read the screen from across the room. Plus getting that wireless keyboard & mouse deal, that made this experience more comfortable as well.

    Another added bonus here about what I've done, my friends and family get to take part in this experience! I had family over the other day and everyone was blown away by my setup and the next thing I know were playing around with it. For so strange reason when people detect that I've got Google Earth, most want to fool around with that, fly here and fly there, let's go "street view"! For some it's like a time machine, some want me to aim and point towards maybe a childhood house across the country. Some want me to zoom in on maybe their old high school! I even had one odd request from an old friend, he wanted me to click and point my way to a certain spot in town, it was behind a Carl's Jr's, I was like what the heck are we doing here? Dude, that's where I made out for the first time back in 1985! Safe to say I clicked my way out of that one, quick, fast and in a hurry!

    But it's fun! :)
  18. Dawn1113

    Dawn1113 TS Booster Posts: 322   +65

    Sounds like fun. :) By that I mean Google Earth on a 44-inch TV. Of course, making out is fun, too, although I don't think Carl's Jr is an ideal venue. :D

    How d'you like the wireless keyboard and mouse system? I've been thinking of replacing my own feeble Logitech combo with a wireless system. I'd love to reduce the cables at the rear of my gaming machine -- it's plain chaos back there and things do get tangled up from time to time.
  19. Zen

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 861   +50

    Well first, this Google Earth and that Mars thing they got packaged up with it are a lot of fun! And I'm with you, making out is hell-a cool, but behind a Carl's Jr.'s I personally don't think is the most romantic spot to pick to enjoy the company of another. But there again my friend might super loyal, but his romantic choices in life have been sickly freaky, he's an odd one! :)

    In regards to possibly how I liked switching to an all wireless keyboard and mouse system, "love it"! Personally speaking, I don't think I will ever choose to go back to a wired system again. I mean, even as I type this post to you I am doing so with my feet propped on a small soft pillow resting upon my coffee table, me sitting on my comfy sofa, while sipping down some tea. The only draw back to this wireless system is the "battery factor"! Since choosing this route my keyboard battery's have stayed with it, their still good. But with my Bluetooth wireless mouse, I'm on the third round of new battery's, it just sucks the juice from battery's quick. I think someone here recommended rechargeable, I might have to look into that.

    If you made the switch Dawn, just think, "no tangled up wires"! :)

    Again that whole Carl's Jr.'s thing to me is just sick! Personally I would more prefer something on the lines of deserted Pacific sands, palm trees, ocean waves, cool breeze, bottle of fresh white wine and the glow of a setting sun. Or the sound of gently swaying pine and red wood tree's, the sounds of valley echos, the darkness of a forest night and the twinkle of stars. I've always been a coastal or mountainous kind of guy where I prefer my spots! :)
  20. Razer

    Razer TS Booster Posts: 126   +14

    Hey, Zen, you got a fantastic setup there that makes me fascinated :)

    this is just my personal opinion, I think this cool keyboard match with your setup
  21. Zen

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 861   +50

    First off, that's like a way cool keyboard you directed me to, if not for the fact that the keyboard is "wired", I think I would have jumped at it. I appreciate the notion, but using a wired keyboard, while sitting up to 8 to 10 feet away from my laptop just wouldn't work! But cool keyboard, I like the whole touch technology! And thanks for the compliment in regards to my current setup, I appreciate it. :)
  22. Razer

    Razer TS Booster Posts: 126   +14

  23. Zen

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 861   +50

    Well, I didn't know about the "wireless" version, hope it's around the same nice price of $29.99 as the wired, I'll go give that a look right now, thanks for the pointer! :)
  24. Jay Pfoutz

    Jay Pfoutz Malware Helper Posts: 4,282   +49

    I do like the idea you express on the HDTV there. I'm awaiting getting my 32", so I can do a similar hookup to my HTPC.

    I got the HTPC as a means for a faster computer to be a workhorse, and to engage in Internet TV.

    Digital TV costs are out the roof and overflowing, and I can't stand paying for television anymore. I just watch some free episodes of fun stuff online from time to time. Even can see some classic movies. :)

    In the past, I had my old workhorse, a Dell laptop. I hooked it up to an Acer monitor, so I can do dual-screen action. Was mostly quite nice, so I could watch Internet TV AND work on the forums. A two sided entertainment. The whole two-birds/one-stone method.

    Back on the digi-TV stuff... I remember my family paying $130 or more on internet and TV combined. I said NO MORE! PLEASE NO MORE!!! We switched to satellite TV service and a better internet provider, and chipped away the cost down by half. Then, I got tired of how high the price surged when the "6-month" period was over.

    Give me a break. Haha
  25. Zen

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 861   +50

    I know what you mean by "engaging in Internet TV"! I'm currently doing the same, just on a slightly more primitive level. I don't subscribe to things like Apple TV or any of those small black box deals, that turns any TV into a web TV. Just my laptop, HDMI cable, 44 inch TV, 5.1 surround sound and a wireless keyboard and mouse. That's all, nothing to fancy! I have been enjoying things like Hulu lately, going back in time watching some of my late 1970's and 1980's TV shows. Also web radio is sweet, instead of being confined to a limited FM radio range, I now have access to just about any on-line radio station in the world, I love it! :)

    Your right about the cost of digital TV, it's a little to much "fat in the pants" for me, it's prices are up there and only seem to be climbing as the years go by. I'm seriously entertaining the notion of canceling my Comcast Television services, and just role the dice on my current version of web TV. I just have to give it a little more thought!

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