New Laptop! ASUS ROG G750JW

I recently received the generous gift of an ASUS ROG (Republic of Gamers) G750JW laptop, and let me tell you, the thing is a beast. Seriously, it’s huge.

It’s a 17″ widescreen laptop (1920×1080 TN panel, no touch thankyouverymuch), with an extra two inches or so of chassis behind the hinge. It also weighs just short of ten pounds.

But, I wasn’t looking for an ultraportable. I wanted something that I could use around the house and on the road, primarily for software development, but also for occasional gaming. That meant I needed a comfortably-sized keyboard, trackpad, and display; that meant a 17″ laptop. I wanted decent battery life and decent performance, which meant it would be heavy for its size. And I got exactly what I asked for.

The G750JW runs a Core i7 at 3.2GHz, 12GB of RAM, an NVidia GeForce 765m, and a 750GB HDD. Step one was replacing the HDD with a 240GB Crucial M500 SSD I picked up for $135 on Amazon – less than half what I paid for a nearly identical drive just over a year ago. The difference in speed is truly staggering, going from a 5400 RPM laptop hard drive to a full-tilt SSD. It also cut a few ounces off the weight, and added a good half hour to hour of working time on the battery, so a win across the board.

I tried installing Windows 7 on it as I despise Windows 8, but kept running into an error during the “extracting files” stage of the installation. I found numerous posts online from people with the same problem, some of them with solutions, but none of those solutions worked for me; from what I can tell, it appears to be some conflict between the latest-and-greatest UEFI in the G750’s motherboard and the aging Windows 7 OS. It’s a shame, but I suppose being forced to gain more familiarity with Windows 8 isn’t all bad; I just wish I had the option to use something more, well… usable.

Other than the OS though, it’s been a joy. It performs extremely well, it has all the features and specs I need for what I’m using it for, and it’s a beast for gaming – more horsepower than I really need considering I’m not a huge gamer and gaming was not the primary purpose of the laptop to begin with. Part of its bulk comes from the two huge rear-venting fans in the thing, which do a good job of keeping it cool – something I’ve had problems with when using other laptops, and which was the ultimate bane of my wife’s old MacBook Air. I don’t think I need to worry about it overheating and locking up while playing video like the MBA did on a regular basis.

My only gripe at the moment is that it seems to be impossible to find a decent Bluetooth mouse. Sure, the market is flooded with wireless laptop mice; but 95% of them use a proprietary receiver (I’m looking at you, Logitech!) rather than native Bluetooth, which requires you to use the provided USB dongle. That seems like an utter waste considering the laptop has a built-in transceiver capable of handling mice without any USB dongle.

All I really want is a decent-sized (I have large hands) Bluetooth wireless mouse, with a clickable scroll wheel and back/forward thumb buttons. That doesn’t seem like too much to ask, but as far as I can tell, it just doesn’t exist. Thankfully the laptop has a very generous touchpad with multi-touch, and clicking both the left and right buttons together generates a middle-click. Still, I really hope Logitech gives up on the proprietary wireless idea and gets on board with the Bluetooth standard, because I’d like to have a decent mouse to use with it.

It’s telling that, on Amazon, you can find a discontinued Logitech Bluetooth mouse that meets my requirements – selling in new condition for a mere three hundred dollars. That’s three times what Logitech’s finest current proprietary wireless mouse costs, for an outdated, basic mouse. That’s how much standard Bluetooth wireless is worth to people. Wake up Logitech!

Any suggestions on a suitable mouse in the comments would be greatly appreciated…

Stupid Internet Tricks

A few weeks ago I picked up the delightful ASUS Transformer Infinity tablet. About a week ago, I finally replaced my aging, flaky Linksys WRT310N router with a fancy new ASUS RT-N66U router. For one thing, the difference was surprising. They’re both Wireless-N routers from major manufacturers; however, while the wifi on the Linksys was unreliable and suffered random device compatibility issues (I had particular issues getting and staying connected from both Android and iOS mobile devices), the Asus is rock-solid. The speed and range are also a tremendous improvement. What more could you want from a router?

Stupid internet tricks, that’s what. I spent a few minutes in the (notably snazzy) administration UI for the new router. I set up my (free) ASUS dynamic DNS host name and the (built-in) OpenVPN service, and I can now VPN into my home network securely from anywhere with internet access. A quick install of VNC onto my desktop machine, and I no longer have any use for LogMeIn; I have a free service that does the same thing, but entirely under my control.

The router has some other neat features, including a Guest Access option for the WiFi that allows internet access but blocks LAN access; optional complete separation of the 2.4GHz and 5GHz WANs; dead-simple static IP assignment; and, well, more advantages over my old router than I can even count. Definitely worth what it cost, assuming that it has the reliability and longevity I’ve come to expect from ASUS products.
Some additional features that influenced my decision to buy the RT-N66U that I’ve yet to tinker with:

  • The router has 2 USB ports. My printer already has WiFi and Ethernet connectivity, so I don’t need them for printer sharing, but I fully intend to hook two USB HDDs up to the router for network file service (which, of course, will then be accessible over the VPN!)
  • The router has full IPv6 support. I tried to set this up at one point and it failed miserably; this is apparently because the shipped firmware ( has a fatal failure in the IPv6 implementation that causes the router to become completely unresponsive when you turn it on. I had to factory reset to get back into it. I’ve since updated the firmware, but I haven’t yet attempted setting up IPv6 again yet.