Physical Design

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The physical design of the Presario is impressive. It has an aesthetically pleasing exterior with several useful functionality considerations. The chassis feels sturdily built, with excellent placement of controls, including touchpad buttons and four-direction scrolling controller.

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On the left is an air vent, fixed floppy drive and two PCMCIA slots. The PCMCIA bay shows well thought out design: its spring loaded doors slide open when you insert cards, but pop back closed after you remove them. This is a welcome improvement over the Sony Vaio FXA36’s PCMCIA slots that use removable dummy cards to fill that void that can easily become lost after removal.

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On the right of the Presario is the optical drive, which is a CD-ROM, DVD, and 4×4 speed CD-RW. Beside the optical drive are two standard audio mini-plugs for microphone and headphones.

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The rear sports the AC adapter socket, S-video and VGA outputs, parallel and PS/2 ports, and the two USB ports. Some NOC denizens may mourn the loss of the serial port for use with DTE adapter cables for serial logins into proprietary routers, but most people these days, with all their peripherals being USB would not notice. Incidenteally, these plugs are beneath a folding, plastic cover. This particular cover has a minor physical problem making it difficult to close until we figured out a small trick. The left corner would need to be popped in before the right. I also find the placement of the USB ports to be sub-optimal, being beneath the plastic cover and too close to each other. In contrast the two USB ports of the Sony Vaio are conveniently outside the covered portion, and on opposite ends of the backside, allowing easier access and less fumbling while plugging in devices.

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Here are external media and volume control buttons along with the main power button. Strangely volume controls seem to be broken in Windows XP, but it works fine in Linux. This is an exact opposite of what I would have expected. I will need to do further digging into how Linux recognizes this device as I had previously thought nobody wrote a driver for it. I also have no explanation as to why it doesn’t work in Windows, and I would have no chance in finding an answer because of the lack of source code. =P

It is also worth noting that careful attention was even put into the design of the Presario AC adapter. Attached to the power cord is a Velcro strap to bind the wire together after rolling it up. Small detail, but useful in practice.

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