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Old Presario is “good enough” for Colin

July 18, 2014


Another binner friend of mine who’s been trying unsuccessfully to get himself a laptop for over a year finally succeeded last night.

It’s a hand-me-down from a friend who got himself something better.

We fired it up at McDonald’s this morning. After the coal smoke cleared I could read the brand and model: a Compaq Presario A900 — a 2008 “tank-top” produced seven years after Compaq “merged” with Hewlett-Packard.

A 2008 review of the A900 by PCWorld Australia described the 17-inch budget laptop as “good enough” and seven years later Colin agrees.

Would you prefer a Vista or Windows 8 laptop?


Not a half hour earlier an elderly couple could not get their iPad to connect to the McWi-Fi — par for the course at the Broadway and Granville McDonald’s. Windows was a bit fiddly about it but I was able to connect Colin’s elderly Compaq in only two tries!

Microsoft’s Internet Explorer wouldn’t work with the McDonald’s Bell Wi-Fi signup procedure but the Windows version of Apple’s Safari web browser — shortcut right on the desktop — did the trick.

And did I mention the A900 was running Windows Vista Home Premium — the Windows 8 of its day?

Vista really is a terrible resource hog; worse than Windows XP, or Windows 7 or 8 but experience has shown me that if you feed it sufficient processor speed and RAM it can perform well. Hopefully the A900’s 2GB of DDR2 RAM and 2.1GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor are enough satisfy Vista’s hunger.

Vista does have better security features than Windows XP — at least stricter user permissions — and Microsoft will be supporting Vista with operating system updates until 2017.

Colin had the AC adapter so we could plug the old laptop in, else this would have almost certainly been a much shorter post with the word “brick” featured prominently.

The mere fact that the battery still showed zero charge after 20 minutes on AC power strongly suggested the seven-year-old battery was now just dead weight.

Otherwise, everything worked.

By “everything” I meaning the Presario turned on, connected to the Internet and allowed Colin to login to his Facebook page and play Flash-based games.

As far as Colin is concerned computers are only good for checking Facebook and playing online poker. We confirmed the Presario could adequately do both of those things and that was good enough for Colin. Click the images to enlarge them.


  1. Slowcrow permalink

    Yay!!!! 🙂

  2. ~xtian permalink

    …As far as Colin is concerned computers are only good for checking Facebook and playing online poker…

    Brilliant! So Vista is a perfect fit 😀

    Seriously though – it’s always nice to see old gear going to a good home. Against all odds my 2006 Dell beater is still my daily driver and it still runs a current version of Iceweasel/Firefox. When it no longer does that it will be time to “upgrade”.

    Or switch permanently to Lynx. No pokies or Faecesbook in a console browser though 😉

    • Back in 1992 there was no public Internet, no mp3 files, no video files larger than postage stamps and no Facebook or Twitter. “Social media” was in the form of large and small bulletin board systems at the end of long distance connections.

      Yet I distinctly remember using my Apple IIci all day every day. What could I possibly have been doing with it? Not counting Photoshop, I only ever played four computer games: Shanghai, Mombasa, Missile Command and a Breakout-style game called Bebop.

      It’s a mystery.

      • ~xtian permalink

        It is that. I’ve been discovering Gopherspace the last three or four weeks. It’s something I missed out on when it was new and when you get in there with a console client in full ascii glory you’re almost literally going spelunking in one of the older parts of the live internet.

        There’s even a blogosphere of sorts.

        It’s fun stuff, but I don’t think I’d want to be restricted to it.

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