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steve | Laptopsunder500bucks.com

About steve

steve has been a member since August 23rd 2011, and has created 7057 posts from scratch.

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Your Questions About Orange Laptops Contract

Steven asks…

If I change my broadband provider would I be certain to get a better speed?

As they all use the same cables anyway, I’m wondering if it would make any difference. I’m with Orange who regularly give me speeds of less than 5 but although they all advertise fantastic speeds it’s well known that these are the maximum and not everyone will get them. By the way, I’m not far from an exchange.

steve answers:

If close to an exchange you should get a lot more than 5mb. Could be your computer might need tweaking before you go to the hassle of changing companies.
(try something like tune up utilities)

Keep in mind that wired is much much faster than wireless so try that.

All companies using the same copper line will have the same speed.

The only other option is to get Virgin Media fibre optic broadband which, is much better.

I pay for 60mb broadband and I actually get around 62.4mb and it never goes under 58mb.
(my other laptop in the bedroom uses wifi and i still get over 22mb on that one!)

Its definitely worth getting fibre optic… Not sure if Sky is doing it as well, but shop around first and see whats available in your area, and compare the prices.

Also cancelling a contract may cost you cancellation fees that you may not have expected.

I hope that helps!

Linda asks…

Cheapest place to rent a laptop for a month?

I’m traveling to Europe for a month and taking a class, and I’d like to have an Internet-access laptop with me. What’s the cheapest place? I cannot buy one, so please do not just say to.

steve answers:

Most places that rent notebooks are going to require minimum 3 month contracts. If you get a notebook it will pretty much work at most hotels and coffee shops over there. All notebooks you get will have wifi built in, but of course you’ll need to use a hotspot.

But if you think youre going to go WWAN (anywhere access) you aren’t going to be able to do this. You would have to PAY for a WWAN card (like tmobile, verizon, cingulair, orange, etc) about 150 US dollars, then have to pay for a WWAN contract at about 60 a month and most of those have 2 year minimums. Even if you get the card here, you would need to make sure it works on their network.

Europe has tons of internet cafe’s and all good hotels will have business centers and will have wifi hotspots for their residents. You’ll have no problem with this option

Have fun on your trip! Good luck in your class!

Carol asks…

Who is the cheapest company to connect my mobile via bluetooth to my pc to surf the web in the uk?

Gonna be without an internet connection and want to know how I can get round it. I’m connected to O2 if that makes any difference?

steve answers:

Contact 02, your probebly resticted to a contract, If you want to fork out the expence you can buy a card to plug into your laptop that links to the mobile phone network, but it doesn’t come cheap. That is avalible from vodaphone, Orange, (that I know of).

Hope that helps.

Susan asks…

Can i put my phone sim into my dongle and get unlimited internet access?

I have a 3G unlimited internet contract on my phone, can i take the sim out of my phone and put it in my 3G dongle and get unlimited internet access on my laptop with no extra charge to my phone bill?

steve answers:

Yeah it is possible to do that , i dont it only i connected my mobile to the computer and used it as i had unlimited mobile internet from orange. But be careful though when you are doing it though, there is a fair usage policy on unlimited tariffs, if you go over that you might get a nasty suprise when you get your next phone bill.

Lizzie asks…

[UK]Whats the best monthly mobile contract for Unlimited data?

I don’t text very much or call very much but i use the internet/data a hell of a lot on my iPhone 36S. I used to be on contract but went pay as you go, i want to switch back but on the lowest contract possible with unlimited data. Im currently on Orange, dont mind moving.

steve answers:

If you particularly want to go on contract then I would suggest 3. However, the lowest they go with unlimited data is £13 per month, for the Samsung Galaxy mini. Have a look at the Ultimate Internet 100 plan, on the page below.


If you want to stick with pay as you go, then I would suggest giffgaff. Have a look at the £10 goodybag, and see if it suits your needs. The unlimited data here is truly unlimited, with no fair use policy. As long as you don’t tether your phone to your laptop, you will be fine.


If you decide to order a giffgaff sim, please do so from the link below. The first time you top up by at least £10, you get an extra £5 credit, and I get 500 points towards payback credit, which earns me £5. I will receive this payback just before Christmas. You can earn payback too, by recruiting customers and participating on the forum. The payback could pay for your usage for the year, if you earn enough of it.


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Your Questions About Pedal Board Cables

John asks…

can some one please explain guitar pedal boards to me?

in a pedal board do you hook up all of the pedals together and what do i do with the remaining chord after i hooked all of them together. explain everthing. yes im a begginer

steve answers:

It’s pretty simple. Every pedal has an input and an output. Some will only have one input / output, some will have a stereo input / output that has 2 options for each.

For the time being just use one cable for each piece of the chain.

So guitar goes into the input of your 1st pedal with a cable. Then use another cable to go from the output of the 1st pedal to the input of the 2nd pedal. A 3rd cable will go from the output of your 2nd cable to the input of your 3rd pedal. Then last cable runs from the output of the 3rd pedal to the input of your amp.

If one of your pedals does have a stereo input / output combination just use the mono connection which is usually the Left channel.

There is a recommend order for pedals as well. Distortion – Vibrato – Chorus – Delay is ideal.

But without listing what you have, you’ll just have to play around with it.

Patch cables are best for in between pedals.

Mandy asks…

How could I build my own mini pedal board?

I have:

BOSS AC-3 Acoustic Simulator Compact Pedal
BOSS RC-2 Loop Station Compact Pedal
BOSS DS1 Distortion Compact Pedal
a Pocket POD

I also have a boss psa adaptor, and daisy chain cables and all the wires I need. Its just building a cool little board.

steve answers:

You can get really cheap pedal boards without power, that come with bags or in a hard case, but if you want to build one. . . (been thinking about this myself lately.

I’d start by spacing out my pedals on a piece of paper and tracing a rectangle around them. Maybe leave room for a couple more.

I’d probably go with 3/8″ plywood and cut the board, trying to round the corners if you have the tools for it. The next step would be to get some dark fabric, or paint to cover the board. To make it look nice, use a dark primer to start, then paint multiple thin coats. If fabric get a heavy-duty staple gun to attach.

Then, you need to think about feet, or angles. You might cut some wedged pieces as a base to angle your board up.

You might build little “rails” for the pedals to rest on the front.

You could also use velcro tape to secure the pedals.

I saw a guy who built a box that clipped onto the board for carrying.

The sky is really the limit, but it all depends on your carpentry skills, and how much your time is worth to you. If you spend hours and have to buy new tools, perhaps buying a manufactured board would be cheaper.

James asks…

How do you power your pedal board?

I heard of this Voodoo Lab Pedal Power i was thinking on getting it because right now they are on batteries and die all the time

steve answers:

I’ve got Voodoo Labs supplies on 2 of my pedal boards, and I can’t say enough good things about them.

Each output is isolated from the others, which means 2 things:
– If a pedal shorts or fails in a way that draws a lot of current, it won’t affect the power to anything else

The ground loop thing is huge. If you use something like a 1-Spot to power your board, then you’ve got a ground through the power AND a ground through your audio cables. Sometimes it works…sometimes it’s noisy.

There are others out there now as well. Dunlop makes a fine supply, as does a new company called Decibel 11.

I’ll say this…running your pedals on batteries is (electrically) the most noise free way to go…but they do die. The Voodoo Labs is just as quiet.

Greetings from Austin, TX

Robert asks…

Guitar Pedal Board – Set Up …?

How do i set up aload of guitar pedals about 5 – 6 to an amp….


steve answers:

If you have the cables for the pedals (they are small, about 3” or more, you can buy them at the music store if you don’t), you should be able to plug them into each other. I.e plug the wah pedal into the distortion, etc… So once you have them connected to each other, you want to plug your guitar ( with a regular length cable, or wireless adaptor) into one side, and the amp into the other side.

Charles asks…

How do I make a pedal board?

how do i make a pedal board for my guitar pedals, with outlets for plugs and ac/dc adapters?

steve answers:

Hello, this is actually a very personal question. Making a pedalboard is like choosing a guitar, everyone has different ideas of what is right. First research in the web, look at boards that are made by companies and find the features that you like in a board. Some good sites are:







I chose plywood for mine, but I routed out 3 openings through the center of the board so that I could route cables under the board, similar to a pedaltrain board. You also need to decide how you want to secure your effects to the board. Most people use hook & loop material (Velcro). Another option is an industrial double sided tape. Power….hmmm, there are many power supplies – Voodoo Labs Pedal Power, The pedal Pad, Dunlop DC Brick, Gator G-Bus-8 and many more. Don’t skimp here, a good power supply will do you a lot of good and keep noise at a minimum. Next determine the maximum amount of pedals that you may have, then plan a layout to determine the size of the board. Cut it out, add Velcro (or whatever you choose to use), attach power and effects. I have 1 – electrical outlet strip and 2 Gator GBus 8′s attached to the bottom of my board that sits at an angle. This allows me all the power that I want and also maximixes my room for effects layout. The other option is to look into a premade board from any of the aboved mentioned companies. Also search musiciansfriend.com, searcxh under pedalboard to see what is available, that may give you more ideas. If you build your own oedalboard, your options are limitless, you just really have to plan and take your time with it. Good luck.

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Your Questions About Pink Slime

Steven asks…

Pink Slime Ground Beef Q..?

My hubby & I love ground beef & basically meat. This whole pink slime thing is getting me worried. We don’t mind to pay extra to have something healthier or better for our bodies. We shop at Walmart since it’s like 2 mins away but I’m wondering what grocery stores DOESN’T sell pink slime. I thought walmart was fine but some friends of mine don’t say so. Also what brands don’t carry pink slime? I don’t know much about this but I really hate knowing that we are eating stuff like that. Thanks
I hardly eat at mc donalds..thank God. I heard it’s at taco bell too? .. Nevertheless they said they removed it and some grocery stores said the same but I am not one to believe what they say. We aren’t sure where a butcher is at? We are busy people so it can be difficult or out of our way to do that.

steve answers:

I would like to say that the “pink slime” debacle has been blown out of proportion. I know that because I work for Beef Products, Inc. I would first like to say that the official name for “pink slime is Lean Finely Texture Beef (LFTB). LFTB is a 100% USDA inspected beef. There are no bones, no tendons, no organs, no scraps, no additives and no fillers used in the making of LFTB. It is a 95% lean beef. The next scary part is the use of ammonium hydroxide. Not so scary when you get into in. Ammonium hydroxide is used to slightly elevate the pH level in ground beef. This creates an unfriendly environment for bacteria such as samanella and E. Coli O157:h7. Ammonium hydroxide is actually ammonia gas that is puffed onto the meat in very minute and highly regulated amounts. When the ammonia gas comes into contact with the naturally occurring water in ground beef, it becomes ammonium hydroxide. Many foods have ammonium hydroxide used in their process such as baked goods, breads, cheeses, jams, jellies, pudding, chocolates, and condiments. Ammonium hydroxide is naturally occurring in ground beef, plants and in your own body. Tofu actually has 4 times more ammonium hydroxide that a ground beef patties with LFTB. Beef Products, Inc prides itself on food safety. It is the #1 priority of Beef Products, Inc. They also are 1 of the first companies to test for STEC’s Shiga Toxin (Verocytotoxin)-producing Escherichia Coli. Beef Products, Inc started testing for STEC’s in July of 201l although it was not mandated by the USDA until June 4, 2012. Beef Products, Inc has a strict test and hold process. Each finished box of beef is sampled. The samples are sent to an independent laboratory for testing. The boxes are all put on hold until negative test results come back for the facility. Dr. Elisabeth Hagen from the USDA stated that they have tested LFTB for E.Coli O157:h7 and salmanella over 7000 times in the last 3 years without out a positive test result. Beef Products, Inc has served 300 billion meals without a reported sickness or illness of any kind. My conculsion to this question is the “pink slime” is not bad for you. It is lean, safe, nutritious, cost effective and sustainable. According to Dr. Temple Grandin, “pink slime is the new green.” Many food scientists and food safety advocates have come forward to stand behind LFTB, yet none have came forward against it.

Ruth asks…

Does applebees use pink slime?

steve answers:

Applebees food is so bad they most likely use something way worse than pink slime.

Joseph asks…

What is this: pinks line, pig slime, pinks slime?

My opinionated aunt was freaking out, as usual, about something. I’m pretty sure it was pink slime, pig slime, pink lime, pinks line Something but im pretty sure it was pink slime and people were consuming it with animal tits??? and it was gross blah blah blah. Anyway What is it?

steve answers:

Pink slime is something added to ground beef. It’s trimmings left over on the meat house floor that they gather together, put through a process, add chemicals that may not be good for human consumption, etc.

Read about it. Yuck.

Sharon asks…

Do boca burgers contain pink slime?

I really worried about boca burgers containing pink slime. I know it’s in a lot of our meats but why in boca burgers? Anyone know if it does? Also, I got nutted in 3 times last week. My uterus hurts and I puked all day! My boobs are huge as always but are even bigger now! So, do boca burgers contain pink slime and am I Pregnant?

steve answers:

I doubt it isint pink slime a meat filler boca burgers dont have meat they use soy and id take a pregnacy test good luck :)

Lisa asks…

Do boca burgers contain pink slime?

I really worried about boca burgers containing pink slime. I know it’s in a lot of our meats but why in boca burgers? Anyone know if it does? Also, I got nutted in 3 times last week. My uterus hurts and I puked all day! My boobs are huge as always but are even bigger now! So, do boca burgers contain pink slime and am I Pregnant?

steve answers:

NO, there is not pink slime in the Boca burgers. I hate when you girls let your male friends just fuck you, knock it off already.

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Your Questions About Soft Case

Betty asks…

Where can I buy an ipod classic case online?

I just got an ipod classic (160GB) and i would like a hard case but a soft case would also be ok.

It needs to be able to ship to Australia.

steve answers:

Go to Amazon, you can get anything what you want:

Paul asks…

What are some ways I could carry my french horn to school on a bike?

I want to ride my bike to school as often as possible, but I have a french horn to bring to school with me. It’s a fixed bell, hard case. Are there any ways I could attach straps to it, or something like that until I get a soft case with straps? pics would be helpful, thanks.

steve answers:

Getting a soft case would make it much easier :)

Do you have a bike basket which can fit your horn? That would probably be the easiest option, though you’d still have to hold it down with luggage straps (http://www.partsworld-uk.com/images/thumbs/0003281_300.jpg) or risk damage.

If not you’ll have to be a little more creative. Do you have an old backpack that will fit the case? Alternatively you could try and fix it to yourself or the back of your bike with hiking clips (which are safe because they won’t open by accident) and elastic cord (http://image.made-in-china.com/2f0j00yeCaZAcdiwkt/Elastic-Cord-With-Metal-Clips-in-Each-End-for-Baggage-Cord.jpg). The cord doesn’t have hook ends like the luggage straps so will be safer when you’re cycling. Use the cord to make straps and attach them firmly to your case with the hiking clips. Experiment with that until the straps feels really secure and you’re happy to cycle with it. Remember that you’ll have to go over bumps on your bike – the case mustn’t be able to slip out of the straps (but you have to be able to get your instrument out!)
Good luck!

Sandra asks…

What kind of case would be best for my droid razr MAXX?

I just got the razr maxx for verizon and I definitely am going to be needing a case. I want something I can put into my pocket without it snagging or pulling but is still a softer case (the ones with the silicone under and hard cover are actually preferred). I would also prefer that it doesn’t make the phone much bigger or heavier since it’s already big enough. What I’m most looking for in a case is durability and some extra grip.

steve answers:

You can read user reviews & ratings to help you find a good one for Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX cases & accessories such as the OtterBox case, and more at Amazon.com, the most trusted store online.
Check them out.
> http://www.amazon.com/b?ie=UTF8&tag=uce-phn-20&node=2407755011&keywords=motorola+droid+razr+maxx

Chris asks…

What iphone case is big and has a soft outside?

I was originally looking at otterbox cases on amazon but I forgot to write down the style otterbox I was looking at. It had two parts: a hard inner case with a screen protector and an outter softer case. It was not straight down the side but rather had raised and flat parts. That’s a terrible description, but I need to find what type this is. Links if you think you know what on earth I’m talking about.

steve answers:

You’re describing the otterbox defender series, the most rugged and tough case otterbox has to offer

Jenny asks…

When traveling, what is the best way to save space in your makeup bags while protecting them?

1 plush soft case- small
1 large caboodles case.

steve answers:

Pack it like usual then wrap it with plastic wrap some ppl even plastic wrap large pieces of luggage

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Your Questions About Intel Graphics Card Download

Mandy asks…

thinking of buying a a Acer Aspire 5750, it has a Intel HD3000 graphics card will that ruin experience?

i am going to buy a laptop, the Acer Aspire 5750, 8GB ram and 500GB HDD, I5 processor, but it only has a Intel HD3000 intergrated graphics card, will this affect my gaming experience? i am going to be downloading from steam, games such as portal 2, gta…etc Any thoughts?

steve answers:

Few things first, DO NOT buy an acer for games. You will be disapointed as they all use intel graphics GPU that are only fit for displaying documents.
Secondly 8GB is too much memory as windows and games are only designed and constructed around 2GB. (Not many people know this). 4GB ram (proven under testing) will only give the same performance as 8GB.
Dell’s XPS and Alienware range are aimed at gamers and their specs reflect this. Go for an XPS at about £500 GBP or an Alienware at around £1000 GBP and you will have a laptop fit for gaming.
Prices are obviously a lot cheaper in US Dollars $

Lizzie asks…

what graphics driver do i need to download for maplestory?

i have a HP compaq dc5700 and i need to download a graphics driver but i dont know what one to download from this list..

Set Video Refresh Rate Utility for Microsoft Windows 2000, XP, and Vista

Intel Graphics Driver for Microsoft Windows XP

NVIDIA Graphics Driver for Non-HDMI Graphics Cards

Intel Graphics Driver for Microsoft Windows XP

steve answers:

If you have no idea on which driver is needed, you could use driver detective to make choices for u.

Mark asks…

Unreal Tournament 3 on Intel Graphics Card?

Hi, i just recently bought Unreal Tournament 3 for my PC but have had some trouble installing it.
I installed it and when i try to run it it gives me an error report. I have gone over the specs recommended and all of mine surpass them except my graphics card. I am currently running on an:
Intel 82915G/GV/910GL Express Chipset Family
128 Mb Memory
Running with DirectX / Direct3D

I have been searching for somebody with the same problem but have yet to see something. I was thinking maybe there is a patch for me to download to fix a bug like this? Any help would be appreciated.

steve answers:

There isn’t a patch that will fix this problem. And it’s not so much that you need to “change” your graphics card, really you need to purchase one. I’ll explain…

The “Intel 82915G/GV/910GL Express Chipset Family” featuring “128MB Memeory” is really just a fancy way of saying that: the Integrated graphics controller on your motherboard is appropriating 128 MB of your system RAM for the purpose of rendering your monitor output. It’s the computer’s way of squeaking by without a graphics card.

You need to go out and buy a physical card with it’s own on memory and processor for the purpose of rendering your game.

Next, considerations when purchasing a new video card:

1) Slot type: Find out what card type your motherboard accepts (PCI-Express or AGP or PCI)

2) Price: A good all around card like a GeForce 8600 GT goes for about a $100. But it, or anything more powerful than it will likely require too much juice for your current supply, so really you’ll end up purchasing two things.

3) Power requirement: The power supply your computer came with may not be sufficiently powerful to run the shiniest of the shiny new cards. (Think 500 watts as a baseline requirement)

And finally some good news… You’ll get your money’s worth. Just by using a physical card versus the integrated processor, you regain the 128MB of RAM the had been allocated to the graphics rendering, which will feel like a RAM boost in terms of performance. I’d even hazard that virtually ANY card will be better than what you have now, for that reason alone.

Now some links:

1) a wattage calculator – should help you get an idea of where you are in the grand scheme of things

2) a graphics card whose performance I was impressed with when I build my friend’s computer, its specs should be fine for playing UT3

Feel free to post a refined question and bring my attention to it in your comments.

Best of Luck…

John asks…

Will this program work for my intel 965 graphics card?


Can I pick anyone of them programs to work with my Intel 965 Graphics accelerator?

steve answers:

From the page http://www.gmabooster.com/home.htm
“currently supported chipsets: GMA 950 (mobile Intel® 945 family) and GMA 900 (mobile Intel® 915 family)”
So no… Not according to the people who make it.

End of line

Paul asks…

Is it possible to download graphics drivers so they mimic Nvidia?

I don’t have a very good graphics card (a mobile intel 945GM express chipset) and was wondering if it’s possible to download something for it so that it acts like Nvidia.

I know…probably wishful thinking. Thanks for any answers though.

steve answers:

Yep that’s wishful thinking…Nvidia drivers only work for Nvidia graphics cards, Intel drivers only work for Intel graphics chips. Your Intel graphics chip won’t recognise the Nvidia drivers. Graphics performance is limited to what the graphics HARDWARE is capable of

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