Sunday, September 18, 2005

Book & movie reviews

I have read some very good books in my time, so I thought I'd share some of them with you, roughly in order of significance to me, but 'results will vary'.

The short fiction reading list is testimony to the fact that I value content rather than style, plots or drama. Put another way, I'm more engrossed in my plot than others, and why limit yourself to 2.5D novelist character depictions when you can understand real life characters. The 2 exceptions below are because these 2 books were very educational to me when I was young, and their romanticist content is still appealing today. I still laugh when I read the dialogues.
  1. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand: This book is a romanticist depiction of the decline of US society. It has its heroes (enlightened capitalists) and villians (despotic & fence-sitting collectivists). This book was less of a novel and more of a philosophical expose, which appealed to me. Its a bit drawn out (at 1200 pages), but it was very compelling reading.
  2. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand: This book manifests in a court room drama placing the architectural standards of the day, and the moral values which underpin them in question. The fundamental values in question are egoism vs collectivism. Its a compelling concretisation of values, though I feel the characters lack empathy.... I suggest because the author did. I found it necessary to flick though some of the descriptive content because its overdone, and repetitive. Though that may reflect my preference.
I have always preferred non-fiction over fiction. This reflects my ambitions, and desire to find values that I can draw upon in my own life. I wondered around the Macquarie University and NSW libraries and never founded another philosophy so compelling....but then I've needed to add to it where I was not satisfied with it. The better philosophy books were:
  1. The Virtue of Selfishness by Ayn Rand: This is a very well-written and compact explanation of the Objectivist philosophy. It includes an essay by the current chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, Dr Alan Greenspan on the role of government. His current policy is a diversion from that.
  2. The Philosophy of Objectivism by Leonard Peikoff: This book captures the fundamental schemes of Objectivism in a single book. Leonard Peikoff is the intellectual & commercial heir to the Ayn Rand legacy.
  3. Objectivism - taped lecture courses: A number of years ago I did a number of taped lecture courses by Leonard Peikoff. It was educational & humoress. The subjects were: Introduction to Objectivism, Understanding Objectivism, Philosophy of Education, Introduction to Logic, History of Ancient Philosophy, History of Modern Philosophy. See Second Rennaissance Books Online or the Ayn Rand Institute


  1. Capitalism Online by George Reisman: This book is being distributed online. Its a long read, though I found his arguments terribly rationalistic. But it stands as a valuable summation of the current state of economic debate. I think its less solid than alot of the Objectivist material.
  2. The Roaring 2000's by Harry Dent: This was an interesting explanation of the relationship between market booms and population demographics.

Business Management

  1. McDonalds - Behind the Arches by John Love: This was an interesting exploration of the development of McDonalds. It works as a business system, but food retention is still an issue for me.
  2. Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman: This was a good read. It highlighted the importance of empathy to me - applied to the realm of management theory. I was not swayed by the underlying values though, just by the practical need to 'get along' , to be practical. But its too late for me. I triedbeing nice when I was 17yo. It just didn't fit. Honesty seemed like the only intelligible standard to me.
  3. The E-Myth Business by Michael Gerber: This is an interesting book on how effective organisations should be structured.
  4. Sony – The Private Life by John Nathan (1999): This was good because it outlined the Sony philosophy. Revolutionaries at Sony by Reiji Asakura (2000): This looked more at the people responsible for the ascension of Sony Corp.
  5. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey: This was a good book on time management.
  6. Principle-Centered Leadership by Stephen Covey: I found this book as valuable, but his Christian values undermine its depth and integrity.

Self Improvement / Health

  1. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki: Kiyosaki is a 2nd generation Japanese American. He makes a compelling argument for changing your life goals - with the focus being on investment. He writes simply. Read the books, but dont go to the lectures. That's his value adding - not yours.
  2. Life Strategies by Dr Phil McGraw: Dr Phil was 'discovered' by Oprah Winfrey, and he now has his own show. He writes simply & effectively on relationships, though I think other authors do a better job on 'life strategies'. He's a Christian, so the intellectual content only goes as deep as his best professor...people he often quotes.
  3. The Life Factor by Dr Ross Walker: This was a useful self-improvement book.
  4. The Energy Edge by Pamela Smith: This was a great book for nutritional & dietary info.

Japan in Focus

Anyone that knows me, knows I have a particular interest in Japan. This would surprise anyone who knows my politics, but in a way its a more interesting experience.

  1. Kawari by Milton Ezrati: I learned alot about the Japanese economic organisation from this book.
  2. Madame Butterfly by Karen Ma (1996): This is an older book, but was interesting to understand Japanese culture.
  3. The Japanese Mind by Robert Christopher (1983): This was a good book on understanding Japanese society.


My favourite movies are either offering intellectual content, have strong moral characters (heroes).

  1. The Thomas Crown Affair (1990s): This is a remake of the old version with Steve McQueen. The new version has a stronger story and scrip, and more real characterisation. It stars Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo. Its perhaps my favourite.
  2. The Fountainhead (1956): This movie is in desperate need of a remake, but this is a great attempt.
  3. Braveheart: Starring & directed by Mel Gibson. Its a great story.
  4. The Shawshank Redemption: This is another good story, but it doesnt strike me emotionally.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Applied ketchism - the art of cheap living

I have always been a saver....which means that I spend very little on myself and others. Why way of extremes, I'd like to point out that China's national savings rate is 35%, but since probably 30% of their population is living a subsistence living, maybe its more like 55%. But I probably save 60-70%, at least whern I'm earning an income. But thats about where comparisons between me and the Chinese end. I dont have a strange English accent, I dont live in China Town, I dont push my way out of elevators, and I dont engage in business in a haphazard way to make a living. But each to his own, anf anyway its entertaining to see them wear themselves out working so hard. I guess by some standard they are 'very practical'...but it aint mine. Oh...I forgot...they are also tight like me. Hmm...I wonder why...anyway so maybe they have something to teach me on this subject. Anyway, philosophy aside (since I have addressed the philosophical aspects on my Understanding People blog), this posting is mostly about saving rather than how is it done....well here are the secrets.

When you live in a developed country you come to accept certain prices for goods and services. In the last decade, there has been great advances in the globalisation of trade - be it goods or services. We are witnessing a huge reduction in prices, so when we go to the dept store - we think we are getting a good deal. My experience has told me otherwise. Companies generally charge what they can get away with - and so I counter this strategy with what I can get away from them legally. Consider the following:

1. Food: Well as a lazy teen I grew up on food courts and home-made sandwiches, but in recent years I have some to appreciate the health and cost advantages of unprocessed foods. I realise by eating mostly fresh foods I can halve my food spending. So for breakfast its toast, jam & yoghurt, lunch is sandwiches, and fruit, dinner is steamed meat and vegetables. Frozen fish fillet and mint sauce goes well with the veges if you dont think steamed vege has taste.

2. Transport: Well I have tended to live in cities where I can use public transport. No great insights here. Transport in Philippines, Malaysia and Korea is cheap though.

3. Travel: I have discovered the benefits of discount airlines. One way flights are so much more flexible than the return packages, and it doesnt matter which country you book from with internet commerce. You will need however to consider the special rules that apply. eg. Cancellations, tight luggage limits. Sample the offerings at Tiger Airlines ( Pity Japan wont allow discount airlines. That is one luxury I permit myself. But the great thing about not 'seriously' working is that you can travel anytime, and that means you can avoid those premium priced 'golden week' fares that the Japanese Salaryman has to pay. Some countries like Australia and NZ have good deals on bus fares where you can travel on bus passes with unlimited stops. But I prefer campervans on the cheap. See
4. Reading: Well there is plenty of free reading. There are books online, there are free books and newspapers in your local library. I download to a Nokia Smart phone and I can read the material at 65% magnification - only just. Books are cheap in the Philippines. I can even read a free newspaper if I have McDonalds breakfast.
5. Movies: Well movies are cheap in the Philippines.
6. Sports: You can pay alot for gym membership, but I prefer just walking because I dont want to strain anything and its good thinking time, and mountain biking because its a great adventure with a GPS. Canoeing is another favourite. Once you acquire the equipment they are cheap sports. And the equipment is not so much these days. Biking $300, Canoeing $400 with accessories.
7. House & Furnishings: Well I have only bought house, land and furnishings in the Philippines and Japan, so I can attest to the savings there. I wanted to spend alot of time in Japan so I bought a house there for $35,000 and that included washing machine, frig, desk and lots of timber to say the least. Both properties in Japan and Philippines were bought as bank foreclosures. Furniture is so cheap in the Philippines I bought everything new. Paid $200 each for leather lounge, dining set, fridge, and $100 each for great mattress and bed frame. But you can rent in the Philippines a nice place for $100/mth in the countryside or $200 in the city. You can buy a studio apartment in Manila for $US20,000.
8. Entertainment: Well I never appreciated the economics of paying a 300% mark-up to drink in bars. But its pretty compelling in the Philippines with $1 a beer with great live music venues. In western countries there is plenty of outdoor entertainment that is free, or entertaining at home.
9. Clothes: I used to do all my clothes shopping in Japan. It was a little more expensive but the variety is so much better than Australia. Now I tend to buy casual clothes and shoes in Japan and the Philippines.
10. Electronics: Another luxury I grant myself is toys like waterproof digital cameras, GPS devices, PDA for note writing and backup trading. Japan tends to be the cheapest - like Bic Camera at Ikebukuro, in Tokyo. Akihabara was the cheap electronics district, but thats no longer the case. The Philippines has a good underground economy in external HDD drives and cell phones, and you can readily find these people on the internet forums. Try as well.
11. Cars: Not a big fan on cars. I prefer something you can move and store, and sleep in, so I prefer campervans, though they are expensive.
12. Eating out: Most cities have a cheap food area where you can eat out. Japan is expensive, but I have eaten cheaper there than I would in Manila - for safety reasons. eg. Noodles and egg for Y290 ($US3.50). The Philippines and Vietnam is good for beer.
13. Reducing costs: There are simple things you can do to reduce costs. For example, but turning the power off at the switch you save electricity. Consider that a TV still consumes 33% of full power when the remote on stand-by. Read newspapers at the library rather than buying them. Like me you are problably only interested in 5% of the content.
14. Residency: Choose a location close to a supermarket, bus/train, recreational area (eg. beach, park or river) and community facilities likes sports facility or library. You might need to pay a more for these conveniences - it depends on your job-location flexibility but you save on not needing as much transport at least in alot of non-western countries.
15. Education: By all means get a basic degree for credibility and structured learning - but I regard anymore than that as a waste of time. Western universities are not institutions of learning, they are intent on blugeoning you with their arrogance. Why pay for a years education when you only stay there 26weeks a year, and half that time is self-study. There is more material on the internet and in library books than you could possibly need. Get a basic degree if you need the `dubious` credibility.
16. Health: Health insurance is the biggest rout in Australia - worst still because it doesn`t cover dental. My advice is - if you are in decent health - drop the scheme and rely on your own savings. Medicare is adequate - and if you require any treatment and don`t want to be waitlisted or pay high fees - go overseas to Thailand, the Philippines or India. Doctors and other specialists in these countries are often trained in the US or EU, and my experience has been they might well have been equipment. Such was my experience in the Philippines. Dont go to any rouge - seek a recommendation by an ex-pat living locally - someone who is a specialist to the stars, who charges local currency. It cost me $US16 to clean my teeth with a US-educated dentist. He had digital photography and laser fillings. I never knew they exist in Australia, and he took time to communicate with me. Be careful where you go....and don`t go to a too poor country. In Vietnam, I`m certain I knew more than a local doctor there - get an expat at an international hospital. Thailand, India and the Philippines are more westernised. Always ask an ex-pat, as you don`t want to rely on local loyalties.
17. Personal Income: Before we spend, we have to earn and save. A life of thrift necessary requires retaining income. The problem is that we live in a society where wealth is expropriated by force. None of us signed on to this taxation system - even if some of us have tacit support for taxation. So its our moral right to avoid its `unjust effects`. Consider the following routs:
a. Salary earners: Employees get the worst deal because they get few tax deductions and get to keep after-tax dollars. Unlike companies, they have to pay their tax at the point of payment, whereas companies pay it 1-2years later.
b. Asset allocation: Another great injustice is the preferential `tax` treatment given to households over asset traders. Why are houses tax free whilst share profits are taxed at 50% - no concession if you intended to make a gain. So investment in new technology and other high risk businesses are discouraged. The lesson is - Buy real estate and leverage it to the hilt.
c. Leverage: The tax system rewards you for debt-financing your business or investments, so take excessive risks, as you know you can always depend on the welfare state.
d. Expenses: You need to structure your life to maximise your deductions. eg. Find a tax accountant in your favourite country, so you have a legitimate tax deduction to claim when you visit him. Companies are even more flexible because you can change your domicile, but retain the same benefits. Non-residents are otherwised paying higher tax rates - starting at 30%.
e. Discretionary breaches: Break all the rules they were never intended to be followed. The Australian Securities & Investment Commission (ASIC) never investigates anyway since its under-resourced. It will drive a high-profile businessman to suicide to give the appearance of action, but its all talk.
f. Investment: Money makes money. A little thrift in the early years can go a long way in later years if you invest right. Be willing to learn about the different markets, whether commodities, stocks, property, CFDs, bonds, art, etc.
18. Living Overseas: I don`t like living in Australia anymore, and being a trader and having assembled an amount of savings, its unlikely that I will return for more than a holiday. Why? Because its small population means that its under-serviced and parochial. I prefer living in Japan, holidays in the Philippines and visiting family only in Australia. Japan has a great ex-pat community, great services and infrastructure, and offers a great lifestyle if you don`t accept the local stressed lifestyle. There are only certain jobs which give you that freedom, but really the answer for most is to struggle and save, then GET OUT of Australia. I go to the Philippines for business opportunities, holidays and surgery. Some 5% of Australian residents already live overseas.
Mind you - you can live like a king in the Philippines - and the same in Japan if you have savings and dont need to go out too often. In the Philippines there is a wide variety of food very cheap, you can rent in the city for $US180/mth, in the country for $US140/mth. You can buy a 3br apartment in Manila, opposite a shopping centre for $US60,000 - with 2 bathrooms and a maid`s room. The only expensive items are power (2nd to Japan) and ADSL internet ($US50/mth).
I prefer Japan for lifestyle reasons. There are wide disparities in costs in Japan. You can pay $US2000/mth for an apartment in Tokyo, though I`ve heard of people buying houses for $US10,000 in the country, or living rent free in more rural communities. Food is moderately-priced to expensive in the cities, but power, telephony and eating out are the greatest expenses. Clothes and furnishing your home are cheaper than other countries. Japan is the best place on earth for a holiday house. Cheap - safe - legal - though for non Japanese speakers its more difficult.

Fixing your laptop computer

Confronted an all to common problem recently - the failure of a hard disk drive (HDD). Its not the first time - in fact its the 2nd time I got duped. The first time I got a friend to fix the computer, then battled through a number of compatibility problems causing my computer to freeze for years - rather randomly too. On this occasion - probably no problem - just I paid too much and got dubious service. I will take note of the following advice from a friend:
  1. Buy components: Buy the components yourself over the internet or from a computer store. In Japan, go to to check out the prices.
  2. Fix the laptop yourself: Apart from getting ripped off by tradesmen who find more faults than are there, I am averse to sharing the contents of my HDD with anyone. Why should I share my password with my Pakistani repairman. Next I`ll find I`m financing the Al Queda network. That smile is probably an act.

Fixing your laptop
It will take you up to 6hours and $1100 to fix or upgrade your laptop.

Step 1: Getting started
The 20-year reign of sealed, proprietary laptops is nearly over. Today's mobile PCs are well on their way to becoming almost as upgradable as desktop PCs. You can often swap out everything from the memory to the CPU and, in some cases, even the graphics card--pretty much everything under the keyboard, other than the motherboard. Not all laptop lines are equally upgrade-friendly, though, and most vendors still resist articles encouraging readers to grab their screwdrivers and muck around inside their laptops. (We're not sure whether they're worried about accidental hardware damage or lost service revenue.) In general, you'll have an easier time working on a second-tier brand, or a whitebook, because the internal components in these models are usually easier to reach and replace.
To illustrate the process, we picked an example of a good whitebook model: the Intel Centrino-based Asus M6000N with a 1.4GHz Pentium M processor, 256MB of RAM, and a 5,400rpm 20GB hard drive. (Asus ships bare-bones laptops to many resellers, so you just may have one.) We updated these components to a 2.0GHz Dothan Pentium M processor, 512MB of RAM, and a 60GB hard drive. The cost of these three upgrades was $1,139, total. You could probably buy a brand-new laptop for about that price, but it wouldn't be as well configured. What's more, if you don't feel like making such a major investment in an aging laptop, you can choose one or two of the three components to keep your clunker running a little while longer. We'll show you how to upgrade each one, starting with the hard drive. One word of caution: Before you try any of this at home, take heed of the industry-standard warning. Once you upgrade your CPU or hard drive, you can kiss your warranty good-bye. But if you're ready for an upgrade, your warranty's probably long gone anyway.

Step 2: What you'll needBefore you even get started with this project, we recommend that you have the following on hand:

  1. A small set of jeweler's screwdrivers
  2. Needle-nose pliers
  3. Containers to hold screws
  4. A grounding strap

Helpful upgrade hints

  1. Place all screws in containers away from your work area. These are small, difficult-to-replace screws, and if you lose one in the carpet, you're toast.
  2. Do not remove a screw or unplug a cable unless it's essential to your upgrade. Laptops are considerably more difficult than desktops to reassemble, so the less you disconnect, the better.
  3. Laptops often use similar screws of different lengths. To be safe and avoid confusion later in the upgrade process, keep screw groups in a bundle and label them, such as "four screws from under battery" or "four heat-sink screws."
  4. Upgrade components one at a time, booting the system after each addition. This way, if there's a problem, you immediately know where to look.

Laptop Processor: A laptop is only as fast as its processor. If your system is getting long in the tooth, the surefire way to give it a little extra oomph is by upgrading its CPU. As long as the new processor is at least a few hundred megahertz faster than the one it is replacing, you should notice an increase in performance.

Laptop memory: Sometimes an increase in memory is just what your laptop needs for that added performance boost, especially if it has less than 512MB of system memory. A total of 512MB of installed RAM should more than meet the demands of Windows XP and today's mainstream applications.

Step 3: Upgrade your hard drive
You can upgrade a laptop hard drive in one of two ways: Clone your old drive to the new one using 2.5- to 3.5-inch drive adapters connected to your desktop PC's IDE ports or take the easy way out and buy an upgrade kit, which has everything you need to switch. We chose the latter option and picked up the $369 60GB Xtreme Upgrade X7200-UP-60 from Apricorn, which includes a 7,200rpm 60GB hard drive.

Prep your laptop for surgery: Before you start, make sure your laptop is configured to boot from the optical drive before the hard drive. Your manual should tell you where to find this option in your system BIOS. Also, be certain the Apricorn EZ Gig II data-transfer software CD is in your laptop's optical drive.

Move your data: Run power to the Apricorn drive with the included AC adapter and, with the laptop off, plug the drive into your laptop with the bundled USB cable. Power up the laptop; it should boot to Apricorn's drive and load its Clone EZ utility. Follow the instructions to clone your current hard drive to the external drive.
Screw your new drive into the old drive's carrier, position the drive in the bay, and secure its pins to the drive's connector.

Swap out the old drive: Step 11 of the kit's instructions describes how to open the enclosure and remove the newly populated hard drive. Once it's out, locate the hard drive bay in the laptop's belly (on the M6000N, with the front facing you, it's on the right). Take out the screws securing the cover panel. To remove the M6000N's drive, slide it away from its pins and gently lift it from its compartment. Remove the four screws on the sides of the drive's carrier, then swap the new drive into the carrier. Position the carrier in the drive bay and gently push the drive toward its connector until its pins are completely secured. Replace the bay cover, and you're back in business.

Tip: Don't pitch that old drive. You can put it into the new drive's old enclosure and use it as an external drive for additional storage or backup.

Step 4: Boost your memory
Our next task is to add memory. Most laptops have two slots for SODIMM memory modules. Our M6000N's primary internal slot came filled with a 333MHz 256MB DDR module, and its external slot was empty. Intel's Centrino chipset (855PM) will run memory up to only 333MHz, so even if you use faster, 400MHz modules, the M6000N will run them at the slower speed. Powerful desktop-replacement laptops are more likely to support 400MHz memory. We chose a stick of Kingston Technology's 400MHz 512MB ValueRAM for $124. The 400MHz speed is overkill, but it won't hurt anything, and it's available at a great price.
Easy does it: Accessing the M6000N's external memory slot is a cinch. Pop off the memory-bay cover--located in the middle bottom of the laptop--pull apart the side clips holding in the current module, and gently pull the module loose and remove it. Insert the new stick at an angle, making sure the notch on the SODIMM's edge connector matches with the key in the memory socket. When the edge connector is fully inserted, press the module down until it snaps into place.

To replace the RAM module, release the clips holding it in place and carefully pull it out. Insert the new one at an angle and snap it into place.

Leave the internal slot alone: Accessing the internal slot is easy on the M6000N but can be considerably harder with many laptops. In some cases, it's under the touch pad, and you need to disassemble most of the laptop to reach it. It's an extreme operation that even we get nervous about. The 855PM chipset doesn't support dual-channel memory architecture, so you wouldn't be losing any speed if you weren't able to access the second slot. But you would give up the opportunity to upgrade to the full 2GB of RAM; the best you could do would be 1.256GB, which isn't too shabby for a laptop.

Step 5: A new CPU
Our final upgrade is the processor. Remove the two recessed screws--roughly in the middle of the back. (They're marked with a K on the M6000N.) These secure the keyboard, and once they're out, you'll be able to lift it and access the motherboard. You may need a pair of needle-nose pliers to remove the screws completely.

Get to the mobo: Turn the laptop right side up again, open the cover, and slide a small, flathead screwdriver under the seam on each side of the plastic frame surrounding the keyboard. Carefully slip your fingertips under the side of the keyboard and gently run your hand along the top until it comes free. Be careful not to disconnect the keyboard data cable from the motherboard. Fold the keyboard over, facedown on the touch pad, then detach the plastic control panel above the keyboard by removing two screws.

Tip: Before you touch anything inside, ground yourself by touching a piece of metal or wearing a grounding strap on your wrist.

Locate the processor: You can now see the copper fan and the heat-sink assemblies. The corners of the heat sink are numbered 1 through 4. Remove (and later replace) the screws in this numbered order. This helps keep even pressure across the chip's surface to avoid damage. You should now be able to wiggle the heat-sink assembly out of position and remove it. If you can't, carefully pry it up using a flathead screwdriver.

Pop in your new CPU: You now have a clear view of the internal memory slot, the chipset, and the processor. The processor is the one in a socket. With a flathead screwdriver, turn the socket's lock 180 degrees counterclockwise (toward the "unlock" symbol) to unlock the chip. Remove the old CPU and insert your new one, being careful to keep the notched corner of the CPU's underside with its missing pin aligned with the corresponding corner of the socket. Another way to know you're doing it right is to match the triangle on the socket with the triangle on the CPU. The CPU should rest flat in the socket, allowing you to turn the socket's lock screw clockwise to lock the chip in place. Carefully lift the keyboard up and fold it over. Be sure not to disconnect its cable from the motherboard. When removing the processor, make sure you take out the processor's heat-sink screws in the order they're numbered.
Pull out the old processor (it's the one in a socket) and drop in the new one, being certain the pins on the processor match up with the holes in the socket. Note: Most Pentium M-based laptops are Dothan compatible but may require a BIOS upgrade from your motherboard's maker to facilitate regular operation. In some cases, an OEM or a reseller provides such support.

Close everything up: Reverse your steps to reassemble the CPU subsystem, taking care to keep the fan's power cable under the CPU's heat pipe. Fire up your "new" laptop and enjoy your newfound power and speed.

5. Video upgrades - optional

Laptop vendors are slowly redesigning their systems to accommodate video-related upgrades, and the best is yet to come. Models from Alienware, Dell, and other vendors already offer graphics chips mounted on removable cards. An ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 chip can be upgraded to the 9700 or even to its Nvidia counterpart when the cards become available. The problem is, unlike today's standardized AGP or PCI Express (PCIe) graphics adapters, mobile graphics cards tend to be proprietary to the specific laptop. Expect this to change as soon as Intel and others start releasing mobile chipsets supporting PCIe. Nvidia in particular has been vocal about its new Mobile PCI Express Module (MXM) standard. The standard is based on x16 PCIe architecture and offers guidelines for three standard card types, each meant for a different laptop form factor. MXM cards are expected to be far easier to upgrade than today's proprietary parts. Though initial models may work only within a vendor's laptop family, future designs are slated to yield universally compatible cards, perhaps even external modules that plug in like a PC Card or a removable optical drive.


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