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Contiki Coach Tour 1990

3 week holiday travelling around Europe in a bus 18 to 35 year olds

Page 1 intro - Page 2 travelogue - Page 3 photos

So there I was a Limey on a Ozzy coach tour. And it was a very good time.

"If you miss the bus: you are having a good time!"
Bus Song: The Monkeys, Daydream Believer

In 1990 I used to work with an Australian called Rob. He had been on a Contiki tour and highly recommended it to me, but until I stepped onto the bus I had no idea that I was going to be the only Limey along! But hey the Ozzys, Kiwis and South Africans were up for a good time so I had no worries there.

We sailed to Belgium first over a very choppy sea. Here the tour combined to make a full bus; the other half had already seen the delights of Amsterdam.

During his speech introducing the tour George, the tour guide, told us that if we were not there for the bus he would leave us behind, assuming that we were 'having a good time'. Of course the tour saying became 'if you miss the bus you're having a good time'. He also playied the Monkies every day we setoff in the coach.

There was only one blight on the tour when one of the girls was knocked over by a car in Florence. Watch those mad italian drivers, they are lunatics. She had a few superficial injuries and rejoined us a few days later (girl in 'bear behind' pic, with the 'bear behind' on the photo's page).

The rest of the tour was a great time of partying and seeing Europe, never to be forgotten.

Contiki "European Experience" included: France (Paris, Fontainbleau, Beaujolais, French Riviera, Monaco), Italy (Pisa, Florence, Rome, Venice), Germany (Munich, Heidelberg, Rhine Valley), Belgium, Switzerland (Lucerne, Jungfrau), Austria, Holland, Liechtenstein.

Page 1 intro - Page 2 travelogue - Page 3 photos

My stereos - a history

My Stereo(s) (Hi-fi) The rise and fall and rise again. A History of my stereo endeavours.

Part 1 - from a radio to the Pioneer

Part 1 | Part 2 | My stereo in June 2015

This is no boast but I love my stereo. Having a good stereo is the centre of my life and my only essential possession for someone who is not really into possessions.

Early days

I started my stereo life with a radio my Grandad gave me. Then I got my Dad's old setup (record deck and Sinclair System 2000 compact amp) which I added another one of my Grandads radio's to.

My Dad's amp was like this only black:

Sinclair System 2000 - pic from:
The Pioneer compact hi-fi

When I got a proper job I was able to start saving for something better and I bought a Pioneer compact Hi-fi which after a time I really started to hate. The Pioneer quality was lacking from this unit and really a lot of it was for show, like the twin display spectrum analyser. I hated the way the cassette and cd decks clunked about. Many things frustrated me with it, like the lack of external connections. It did sound good with surround optional speakers. We are talking a record deck, two tapes, radio and twin CD, epic specs!

It was one of these but without the 6 disk CD (pic stolen from ebay):

Pioneer Compact Midi System

The Pioneer separates:

I decided the answer was to buy separates to replace it. This Pioneer setup which at the time I thought was 'it' for me and the stereo for the rest of my life. I intended to keep it for as long as it would last, which taking into Pioneer's reputation for "finish like a Rolls Royce; with build quality like a Volvo" I really hoped this would have been true. I was so in love with this setup:

Core components

Amp: Pioneer A-777 4/12/91 £399.99
CD: Pioneer PD-8500 13/11/92 £199.80
Tape: Pioneer CT-676 30/12/91 £199.80
Speakers: JVC SP-X990 floor standers 8/01/91 £199.80
Total: £999.39

Misc components

Headphones: Sennheiser HD 530 II 12/10/94 £79.95
Tape 2: Pioneer CT-540 8/3/93 £35.95
Radio: Technics ST-X933L


Cobra 3 interconnect from CD to AMP
Carnival Silver Plus speaker cables
Homemade rack
The misc components were second hand and cheap

I started buying the components in 1991 one unit at a time. I used to fawn over the catalogues but the 3 main separates were the components I really wanted. They didn't come easy, and it wasn't just a matter of going out with £999.39+ and getting just what I wanted. First of all I got the amp and paid top whack for it on a "buy now pay later" scheme, it was the worst thing and hung over me all along until the payment was due and I vowed never to do it again. With the other units I was lucky: I got the tape and speakers in sales, they should have been £80 more each. The CD I left far too long and by the time I was ready to buy you could only get the ugly 1 bit machines. I just happened to visit Peter Watts Pioneer Dealer in Bury St. Edmunds (Suffolk UK) one day and there was the CD I had wanted all that time... and... £200 cheaper than new! Therefore my stereo core components should have cost £1359.39 so I saved £360 on marked price. I often went into Peter Watts from '89 onwards and I guess they got to know me, so when I was ready to buy they knocked a bit off the price. Peter Watts is now closed down (perhaps they were too generous!) the original compact hi-fi came from them too.

Pioneer A-777 Amplifier
My Review: It is based on the minimal A-400 which was a prize winning amp in its time with a very transparent sound. The A-777 is a fully loaded version with much greater power and every knob and twiddle you can think of. Reviews were not too favourable in the hi-fi magazines saying that the sound was hash. The amp weighs 19 kg with its massive heat sinks and transformers: as there are two of everything and each channel has its own components. Personally I love the way it sounded and dislike the 'warm-fuzzy' sound of other amps, however the so called harshness of the sound can grate at higher volumes for a longer listening period. This can be a quiet detailed listen or turn it up to let the monster breath.
95+95watts at 8ohms, 140+140watts at 4ohms. It also had more connections than you could wave a stick at.

Pioneer A-777 amp

Pioneer PD-8500 CD Deck
My Review: I know little about what the media said about this unit, all I know is that it was only a current model for one year and the following year all Pioneer cd players were 1 bit units. Mine was a 28 bit unit. I find the sound very clear but just on the side of too clear. Cosmetically it is a babe and has minimal front panel buttons, most of the functions are relegated to the remote. I was utterly in love with this unit.

Pioneer CT-676 Tape Deck
My Review: This one I know is a winner and it was given rave reviews at the time for its sound quality. I loved the powered cassette door, just needing to press play to have the door whip in and play to start! I also loved the Super Auto BLE where you can match the cassette exactly for recording. The machine analyses the tape and sets its Bias, Level and Eq accordingly. You do get great recordings from it. All topped off with a real time tape counter and display off button.

JVC SP-X990 Speakers
My Review: Yet Again I have little idea what the media said. They were not so expensive as far as speakers are concerned. They were a 3 way setup with 25cm bass cones. They standed 858mm tall. The sound is a little too glaring sometimes, but it is hard to know if this is the fault of the amp (etc). They can play quiet but they have real abilities to pump out the bass. In the picture I have taken the grills off, but usually they run with black grills over the speakers.
100watts, 200 watts music
Speaker update: My son (3 years old at the time) put his fingers through the tweeter and midrange on one side of the speakers. I contacted speakercity USA and ordered 2 Peerless tweeters and 2 Vifa 5 1/2 inch midrange. I then replaced the lot on my speakers. The sound is exactly what I wanted, less glairing but more detailed, speakercity USA delivered on the speakers but unfortunately their communication and ordering process leaves something to be desired.

Sennheiser HD 530 II Headphones
My Review: The Hifi mags said these were best suited to Jazz and to start off with I found the sound odd. But over the years they have "broken in" and I like the sound very much. They are able to handle all music very well from techno to classical. The bass weight is perfect and the detail stunning. Build quality is second to none the only problem was needing new foam for the ear pads, but this was after 10 years use! Before these I had a string of top of the range Pioneer headphones, all of which fell apart in less than 2 years. (I still have these in 2015)

Chord Company Cables
My Review: I have replaced my ageing IXOS cable to the CD and QMM speaker cables with Carnival Silver Plus speaker cables and a Cobra 3 interconnect from CD to AMP from the Chord Company. There is a great improvement in sound quality, much more detail and the 'flabby' bass sound, which I blamed on the speakers, has gone.

Watershed 2006 on 19/3/06 all components taken down dump and chucked away. It is all very well to have these ideals but sometimes life doesn't work out that way.

Small Info: Little things that annoyed me, but trifles really. The size of it started to get me down, a great slab of stereo and the box it had to stand on had to be a big lump to take the 19kg amp alone. Then the speakers were big floor standers which ended up as a huge lump of black of a stereo up the corner. Ok it still sounded good, but I wondered if new ones sounded better, also technology was catching up with it and not being able to play mp3 on the cd was frustrating. What was the point in being able to have bone crunching loud music when you can never turn it up as it will annoy the neighbours? Having said that I do wish I still had it.

Final Info: There were many other issues involved not just the ones above but that is all in the past now and best forgotten, there is no point putting the private info here and has nothing to do with the stereo. We can plan many things in life, but sometimes it is just not so simple, who knows what is round the corner.

JVC SP-X990 (with new mids and tweeters)

JVC SP-X990 (before my son put his fingers though the tweeters)

The other bits

CD and Amp

 Part 2 - after the Pioneer - NEXT >>


Justin's Citroen 2CV

(was) Justin's Citroen 2CV - Charlie

This was my mid-life crisis “steam horse”
Citroen 2CV6 Special 1982 X-Reg
I wanted a 2CV for a long time, when I was young my father had a Dyane 6 which is similar, although 'uprated'. "Steam Horse" becase 2CV stands for: deux chevaux vapeur, literally "two steam horses", from the tax horsepower rating. Quoted from wikipedia: 2cv

This one was purchased for £1000 via ebay in 2010. I went to Bournemouth to collect it and purchased it from a young lady who bought it before she had passed her test, and after 40 lessons she was loosing interest. It was her dream car, but lucky enough it was also my dream car, therefore I was a good person to take care of it.

I fell in love with the car on the journey back from Bournemouth and wanted to pat it like a faithful dog each time I stopped for a break. And closer to home I had to turn on the stubby wipers and it was like two little furiously waging tails.

This was the sixth car I had owned, the others were mostly modern sporty models. Most men buy a red sports car when they are 40, trust me to be different! 602cc is not a high performance manhood replacement!

This is a yellow and black charleston which is a very rare colour and was only produced for a year. I have heard that there may only be 50 existing worldwide, and not all of those on the road. Money people respray other coloured 2CV's into this colour, but there is nothing like an original.

I used to like to modify my cars but these days I have decided that my new modified is standard. It was very cheap to run.

Unexpected renovation for £6000 plus

However soon after I got it I took it for a wheel bearing to be done and got it back six months later with a bill for £6000. The man had done everything mechanical to it that you can. It was very hard to pay this back and I had to take out several credit cards and pay back the balance transfer over a year.

He had gone quite mad. There were new cylinders either side, new front wishbones, new alternator... oh the list goes on and on. Ok it did save me the job and it did run sweetly compared to the original tired car I bought back from Bournemouth.. but still. And really there was so much more to do, like bodywork etc. I had expected to either run it and sell it in a year untouched or fully renovate it and keep it forever. I hadn't expect to do it all at once.

Myself I also replaced the hood with a high quality one, added a high performance coil and electronic ignition, and I spent a lot of time and money under-sealing it myself it with Dinitrol. It was still on the original chassis, which was good but a little buckled on the drivers side near the engine.

Then I drove it around for only six months or so, which did include a trip to the International 2CV Friends meeting in Salbris in France, a 2CVGB meeting at Winchester, 2CVGB - Firkin Feezing, and several car events and country fairs.

Then the car was off the road for some months while I was away doing conservation from 2011. It was stored for sometime but in the end I got it back on the road for a few months and sold it. While it was back on the road I was unable to drive it much as I had no money for petrol.

It went to live in London and has had an awful lot of money spent on it since by the new owner. I sold it to start my new life in Indonesia, but which didn't work out.

I sold the car for just over £2000 in Sept 2013, a loss of £5000(!)  For a cost of at least £7000 I drove it for under a year, but the time I did drive it were great times.

Driving Charlie to Geldeston Locks in Suffolk from my house in Norwich video:

More pictures

Silly Photoshoping

Second ebay picture in Bournemouth before I got it

A car show in St Neots

2CVGB meeting in Winchester

2CVGB meeting in Winchester

2CVGB meeting in Winchester

On the way to Salbris International 2CV Friends meeting
with boot box

International 2CV friends meeting in Salbris France

When it was stored while I was away saving the planet

In London - no longer mine
Copyright Alan Livingstone MacLeod
Spotted in London! 2CV spotters are everywhere!
Copyright Rob Obertelli Clark
Charlie in a music video, my own music and video back when I owned it

More stuff: 2CV pins at my Pinterest:

I would love to have another 2CV one day, currently I have no car (2015). I did love the bumble-bee Charlie but I wouldn't have a special edition again. While I had it I had to keep touching up the paint, and each spray can was £50. It was a burden. If I got another one I'd paint it matt black, like this:


2CVTV the site where I sold Charlie:
International 2CV Friends forum:
Really good 2CV/Citroen FB group: 2CVs and Friends

My Computers

My computers - or 'a whole lota landfill!'

The rise and fall and rise again of my computers and a life wasted in cyber world
I don't know if it is wrong or right, bad or good but a lot of my life has been spent inside a computer in cyber world. I was happy, wasn't I? I am dyslexic and had trouble reading and writing when I was young, computers just made so much sense!

Apple 2 - where it all started for me

The coming of the Apple 1970's
My first experience of computers was an Apple 2 at my Mum's work, sometime in the late 1970's, probably '77. Then it just seemed to have great games on it. Subsequently they had Apple IIe and an AppleIIc. I was allowed to use these computers and did a lot of Apple Basic programming which was very good practice for making websites as it turns out! I ended up owning the IIc and IIe when they were thrown out as obsolete.
Great times were had holding the paddles (2 wheel things, one for each hand, acting as a joystick) playing Choplifter and Breakout! Also all the keyboard games such as Trolls Gold, Lemonade and Wilderness were great fun.. then! These were the days when you bought a book full of programs and typed them out word for word to make a new game to play. In the end I had quite a few. Having to type 'catalog' to view the items on the 5" floppy and then "run 'so and so'" led me onto making my own programs and I would spend hours fine tuning my many little creations. One of my favorite times for computers they offered a whole new exciting world. The first Apple 2 didn't even have small letters, it was all in capitals!
I blew up the IIe buy trying to fit a PC card, what a stupid move! In the end I got rid of the them as the green screens drove me mad, especially the tiny one on the 2c. And the software was getting so old. One day I switched it on after using my Amiga and I thought that it was so rubbish having old computers that I sold it all. I so often wish I had kept them! I sold the 2c on a car boot for £5 in 1998!! They got a bargain there.
I find it a shame that I fell out of love with Apple in more recent times, back then these were so super and I have fond memories of the quirky ways in which they worked and were programmed. I often wish I could fire one up again.
The coming of the Spectrum 1980's
At home I was bought a Sinclair Spectrum when I was a kid and rather than just play games on it I had a good go at programming.
Starting with the 16k, where I was unable to load so much stuff. I think I was bought an upgrade to 48k quite soon after, though I am not sure how soon it was. Later I also had it put into a proper keyboard, though for some reason they stuck with the space bar as a button to one side like the original speccy keyboard, I really hated that.
Many hours were wasted on the games, I loved the flight simulator F15 Eagle and all the old favorites: Attic Attack, Sabre Wolf, Jet Pac, Luna Jetman, Manic Miner etc etc. Not to mention my first ones, Hungry Horrace, Planetoids and Breakout.
Beyond games and basic programming it became pretty useless in the end and I couldn't handle all the loading from tape anymore, as I never got any drives for it. Once, when I was programming an epic adventure game I was working on for weeks, my Mum wanted to cut my hair one night and I sat with the speccy on my lap and programmed while she cut my hair. As the leads were too short on the tape deck I pulled them out. After the haircut I saved the game back to tape and reset the machine. Then I noticed that the leads were out! I had recorded blank over my game and cleared the computer's memory! What a doofus! But as computer tech people know, the big mistakes are what make us learn!
Old PC's fill a gap
I owned a few chucked out old PC's: Olivetti and the quirky Apricot. I did Dos and Gwbasic programming on them. They were so old that they had to go in the end with no real software available anymore. I did have a lot of fun using Dos and getting Gwbasic to do fun things. It was nice to have a harddisk after the old Specy. At one point I had serveral Apricot's and Olivetti's making a few funtional ones from a pile of them. The Apricots were the least usefull but the LCD screen with shortcut buttons on the keyboard was fun to manipulate, if nothing else. They looked futurisic even if they were, under it all, a rather limp PC.
The coming of the Amiga 1990's
Things got more interesting when I got an Amiga 500plus. Then I stepped up to 1200 which had better graphics. I modified this 1200 with a lot of upgrades but went one step too far when I bought a big tower case and card slot motherboard (for 7 cards) including a Delfina Soundcard. While trying to get all this to work (it turned out that the card slots were not comparable with the Delfina) I was jiggering the whole lot (while switched on!) and the stripped wire power lead fell out the back of the Amiga, fell accross the motherboard and blew the whole thing up. I was unable to afford to buy a replacement so I sold all my A1200 stuff and bought an Amiga 2000 which I put the Delfina Soundcard into. The A2000 was a good workhorse and a '030 processor at 70htz. Which made it a fast computer (at the time). The restriction was the graphics chip being the same as the A500. I thought about getting a graphics card, but never decided on the best one to get, or had the cash required to get it.
I did have a lot of fun at the Amiga stage, making music, playing games and using it for serious activities. Making first steps onto the web with the 1200 and 2000. I spent hours and hours on my old Amigas and I look back at them with fond memories, sometimes I wish I had never sold the a1200 (or blew it up). I loved the Amiga time. Hours and hours were spent on Civilisation 1 and 2, Settlers, The Secret of Monkey Island 2, Sim City 2000/3000, loads of demos and other games. Making music, paint, animations, word processing, images, and just major geeky fiddling around. Loads of software packages to play with. Happy times, who needed girls? I will never forget when I fitted a 1GB HD to the A1200 and A2000 I thought it was just so huge! Easily my favourite time for computing.
Playstation 1 / 2
I had many hours of fun on the PS1 and 2. Gran Turismo, grand theft auto, music 2000, fluid. All the demos you used to get on magazine DVD's, happy times. What the Amiga couldn't give me in games the PS1 could. The Amiga 2000 was the serious computer and the PS1 for play, though it's music capacity of the PS1 was high.
The coming of the PC 2000's
They had been primitive for a long time, the Apple and Amiga were better bets but the PC was finally starting to make my old computers look silly. I held out for sometime with my old technology at home, even though I was using far better at work. So I got a cheap Pentium 100. Which was so slow but ultimately could offer no more than basic word processing, basic web design with Netscape Composer, slow internet and a couple of old games. I liked it though and at the time had the Amiga 2000 and the PS1 as extras for what the PC could not offer.
Then, in about 2001, I stepped up to a better PC, the Compaq EXm 933mhz, which I put in a graphics card and Creative Soundblaster Audigy Platinum card with Drive for the 5" bay, this had a huge array of connectors for music application. With this I was finally able to make better music, do serious web design and fast games. Programming seemed to have died on its feet but for HTML for webdesign. This was about the time the Amiga left my life, the poor old thing could not come close to the PC and PS1. The PC had a Tatung 17" monitor, which to me seemed huge for my home computer, even though we had bigger at work.
This was the time I got Storm music software as it was bundled with the soundcard, in 2012 I am still playing with Storm, even though Arituria stopped developing it and reduced support I still rate it as a splendid, almost analogue, virtual music rack. The amount of music I have made with it is astounding.
The coming of the Laptop
Then to the laptop! The EXm was starting to show its age and was a huge lump of computer and I wanted to travel. Laptops were getting as loaded as desktops, so why not? The HP compaq nx9010 I had was faster than the old EXm. Only a 15" tft display, but it displayed full to the edges and appeared little different to the old Tatung 17" monitor. Ultimately though I was frustrated with the soundquality and fought with it for a long time, always my issue with laptops until much later. For a long time I tried to convice myself a laptop could repalce a desktop, but now I don't think so.
Lightning Strike!
During a thunderstorm there was a surge down the phone line and the nx9010 laptop was zapped! Luckily my house insurance covered it and I got a replacement, this time a Compaq Presario R3114EA which was slightly faster and slightly more expensive than the old one, perhaps not quite as slinky though. As usual it had it's little raft of compaq faults such as the USB mouse did not initialize on startup but was also better than the HP in that the fan didn't fire up every 30 seconds and make a right racket.
No computer
In March 2005, the Compaq went wrong and I had no computer at all, I sold everything I had computer related as was skint. I now relied on computers at work. I went anti-technology and bought a sharp font writer from ebay at £1.20, it took me no time to know it inside out. The reason I sold all my old computers, stupidly in some ways, was simply a lack of storage space. Oh to have all the old computers! If only I had a big spare room with all my old computers in there. Emulators have helped soften the blow but it isn't as good as having the old hardware to play with, and I doubt very much I could afford to buy them now as computers like the Apple 2 have now entered the realms of retro computing.
I have used / use Apple Macs, various PC's and Unix. My whole working life has been based on computers. I was not allowed to study computers at school as they said my mathematics wasn't good enough. In this day and age that seems bizare.
When I first used a Mac I was delighted, I still rated Apple then and the Mac seemed very exciting. Eventually I fell out of love with them. I hated 'Suitcase' for managing the fonts, and spent to much time having to use it. Though Quark Express and Photoshop were fantastic. Modern products from Apple annoy me rather, like my ipod. Maybe it is the geek in me but I want more control over it than Apple will let me. It is a shame as the old Apple 2 was such a different beast.
During my time at Archant I was a superuser and loved to explore the bones of the system figuring how to troubleshoot a problem that had shut the system down is such a feeling of accomplishment when the system is back up and you found the problem. I do actually miss that a lot.
Landfill list:
Dell C610 laptop: 2006 second-hand lappy, This computer impressed me so much that I stuck to Dell from then on.
Dell Inspiron 6400 Laptop: spec On 2006 very powerful at the time. 2007: it died. Meh.
Dell Dimension 9200 Desktop spec This was a bruiser, almost a business computer.
Dell Inspiron Mini 10v Laptop spec 2009 £155 Cheapest new laptop you could get then. Linux Ubuntu operating system. Was interesting to play with, sold it a year later, was so restricting, bit of a mistake.
Dell Latitude D510

2010 £200 square 15" screen lappy Pentium 1.73GHz one gig ram.

My computers early 2015:

Dell Studio 540MT Desktop
2009 £655.66
I use it as my TV, DVD player, Stereo. The OEM soundcard was rubbish as it would not record internal audio, this is a new thing to protect copyright infringement, but at the same time it stopped me making music in the way that I did before, and I was not happy with the sound quality. So I got another original Creative branded one. Other than that the computer has a few foibles but I really like it. I love the black shiny finish and the fact that it is a quad core. I now have a terrabite HD for it. Hopefully this will last me for a long long time.

Ha! That was asking for it, April 2015 the desktop is sort of dead. 
I sold it all for about £50 on ebay, June 2015.

Dell D830
2012 £400 second hand. I can run Ableton and play live gigs
Processor Core 2 Duo 2.0GHz
Hard Drive 250GB
Screen Size 15.4"
Optical Drive DVDRW
Operating System Windows XP Pro - Now upgraded to Windows 7
No. of USB Ports 3
Size/Weight 1.39 in (H) x 14.21 in (W) 10.34 in (D); 3kg
Bluetooth Yes

This laptop is now my main stereo. Thinking about an SSD to go in the DVD drive port. See my June 2015 stereo >> 

Through my dyslexia needs for University I now have a HP laptop, see my new laptop >>

Currently on my harddrive (2015)
Ableton Live, Traktor, Wave Lab, 70gigs of music, Dreamweaver, Photoshop.

Specs (just kept to see how things date!):
Dell Inspiron 6400 Laptop
Intel Centrino CoreT 2 Duo T5500 (2.16GHz 667MHz), Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 (April 07: upgraded to Vista), Ultrasharp 15.4" Widescreen Truelife (1280x800), 256MB Radeon graphics card, 120GB Hard Drive, 2048MB Memory, 9 Cell Battery, Intergrated Sound Blaster Audigy.

Dell Dimention 9200 Desktop
Intel Viiv Core 2 Duo E6600 (2.40Ghz, 1066Mhz), Memory 2048MB 667MHz, Hard Drive 320 GB, Vista Home Premium, 20" Widescreen Ultrasharp Flat Panel 800:1 contrast, Nvdia GeForce 7900GS 256MB Graphics card, Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme, TV Tuner.

Dell Studio 540MT Desktop
Intel Core 2 Quad-Core Q8200 (2.33GHz, 1333MHz), Vista Home Premium, Memory: 3072MB 800MHz, Monitor: 21.5in HD Widescreen (1920 x 1080), 256MB ATI Radeon HD 3650 graphics card, 640GB Hard Drive, Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme, TV tuner, Logitech 5.1 Surround Speakers

Dell Inspiron Mini 10v Laptop
N-Series Intel Atom N270 (1.60GHz, 533MHz), Memory: 1024MB 533MHz, Video Card: Integrated Intel Graphic Media Accelerator 950, Hard Drive: 8GB Solid State, Operating System: Linux Ubuntu, Battery: 3-cell Lithium-Ion, Integrated 1.3MP Camera, LCD: 10.1" Widescreen with Truelife (1024x600)

Dell Studio 540MT

I bought the C510 and C610 from these guys:
Cheap used and refurbished laptops and parts from Dell, Toshiba, Compaq and Packard Bell.

See also:

My computers a history

My new laptop

Samsung 24" monitor on hdmi laptop

New Dell Keyboard 

My favourite games