Loss of a storage Device 2013

Earlier today I plugged in one of my USB pen drive/thumb drive only to find that it is no longer readable. I can’t even format it, run checkdisk and what not.  I was using this for nearly a year until this critical failure.

 

Windows just tells me ” Please insert a device / no device found”.

Thankfully I use my pen drives/thumb drives for sneakernet purposes. No real harm done.

 

I will still continue buying this brand product line despite the loss. Another chance.

 

 


Laza Modz Custom XBOX 360 and PS3 controllers

Laza Modz is a  company based in the state of Virginia that modifies original, authentic, brand new PS3 and XBOX 360 controllers. I found out about this via Darksydephil of the DSPGaming youtube channel .

Note before playing the vid: he swears during the video review

PS3 form:
XBOX 360 form:

Rapid Fire modes
Thumb stick color or color illuminated
Controller status light colors
Color of the body/shell of the controller
Logos, custom text or design
Glitter

You seem to get slightly more customization options with XBOX 360 controllers, more buttons that can light up and button styles.

Best of all they accept modifications of a (PS3/360)  controller that you already own, if your don’t want to pay for an entirely new one. What they call their mail in modification service.

Might be a really cool gift for that console gamer you know…


Yoda USB flash drive

Yoda stands upright and waits…

What looks like a mere toy at first glance is actually a USB flash drive! Stands up

The USB computer connector is hidden just under the head. Pull his head up and off to reveal it.   Plug it into an available USB 2.0 port and the drive should be ready to use. There are also  Stormtrooper and Darth Vader editions of the flash drive.

Additional Info:
 Amazon.com


Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000

Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000

This keyboard is the first Ergonomic Keyboard I’ve ever tested. The main feature here is the key layout and shape of the keyboard. This is a full ergonomic keyboard, and not just a curved keyboard. There is a zoom slider  above the Space bar key, “forward/back” buttons are found near below the Space bar. You have the usual multimedia and Internet keys.

This also includes  a Palm lift. A piece of curved plastic that when placed under the palm rest area lifts your palms for added comfort. The keyboard is a USB (wired) keyboard.

The keyboard software in the box is out of date. You’re better off downloading the current version from Microsoft’s website. The software allows you to better use the multimedia keys and even customize some of the actions for the keys found at the top of the keyboard.

Additional Info:
Product Page
Software download page
Image source


Repairing a Pentium 4 Windows PC… again

I was given another chance to work on an old Intel Pentium 4 Powered computer. It’s an HP Pavilion a630n. I had to use the HP-created recovery CDs to get the system back to “Factory Defaults”. It took a set of 7-CDs to do this. The result was Windows XP Home Edtion 32-bit w/ SP1 and almost every device driver installed. The only one missing was the for the 56k modem card. Thankfully, HP has the drivers online. The restore CDs also installed some very old software, This is a computer initially released back in 2004.

What software was HP loading on these computers back in 2004?

(Apple) iTunes 4
(Apple) Quicktime 6.4
Java Runtime 1.4.2
Real Player Real One (version 2)
Quicken 2004
WinDVD 4
Adobe (Acrobat) Reader 6
Microsoft Office 2003 trialware
Norton Anti-virus 2004 trialware
Wild Tangent game bundle
America On Line (AOL) was on version 9
Internet Explorer was still version 6.0
Windows Media Player was 7.0

 

I immediately uninstalled all of that and installed the most current versions…
Windows XP Service Pack 3
Avast Anti-Virus  6 Free (online registration needed)
iTunes 10.5.2
Java Runtime  1.7
Adobe Reader X (10.1)
Windows Media Player 11
VLC Player 1.1
Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 ( latest version that Windows XP supports)
Mozilla Firefox 8
Adobe Flash Player 11
Microsoft Silverlight 5

 

The Processor fan for these Prescott Pentium 4 processors can get pretty loud. It would rev up during the OS recovery process and during the Full system virus scan.  With only a few more updates and tests to do to the OS, I’ll be able to hand this back to the user before Christmas.

 

Additional Info:

HP Pavilion a630n product/support page
https://tonyx35.wordpress.com/2011/06/06/repairing-an-intel-pentium-4-pc/


Thoughts on Logitech Revue with Google TV

Logitech Revue set-top box and keyboard controller - Image source Amazon.

I recently got a chance try out this device. The Revue connects to your TV via an HDMI port. This allows both the video and audio signal to travel through a single cable. It’s meant to be a companion unit to an existing cable or satellite TV service.

 

Features:

  • 1920x1080p /60 fps, HDMI 1.3a support
  • 802.11 b/g/n wireless network support. WPA2 security supported
  • 10/100 Mb Wired Ethernet speed
  • Digital optical (S/PDIF) audio out for a Audio receiver hookup
  • 2  USB 2.0 ports
  • Built-in Logitech Harmony Link IR blaster
  • Intel Atom chipset
  • Google Android OS
  • Google chrome with Adobe flash support

This is what was included in the box:

  • 1 Keyboard Controller
  • 1 IR mini blaster
  • 1 Power supply
  • 2 pre-installed AA batteries to power the keyboard controller
  • 1 HDMI cable.
The  Netflix App built into the Revue is really good. Amazon Video on Demand is also supported. Youtube users are not left out either. The Revue is so much better than the Netgear EVA 2000 / Digital Entertainment Live  I previously wrote about last year.
There are a few negative points to this setup. One, the unit cannot be turned off or set to a standby mode. The player unit is a fingerprint magnet. With its glossy black look.  It seems to be an always on type of device. Hulu is actively blocking this device.  Although the built-in browser (Google Chrome) supports flash playback. It was not updated when the unit was placed onto the  Network/Internet. There’s probably a way to install unofficial updates and community hacks onto the unit. I’m still trying to figure out if this thing can play local video files of popular formats like MP4 without having to hack the device.
For $99.99 This thing is really worth it, especially if you uses the services I mentioned and have an existing TV service (box that has HDMI out.)

Repairing an Intel Pentium 4 PC

Some time last month I took  on the task to repair a computer that belonged to a friend of the family. The specifications are as follows:

Specs:
Intel Pentium 4 @ 2.8 Ghz
1.0 GB DDR
160 GB 7200 RPM
DVD Writer
Onboard Intel graphics
Onboard Sound
Windows XP Home Edition

I haven’t regularly used a Pentium 4 powered computer for a few years now, so I kind of wondered how it handled today’s websites and other tasks.

The user already started repairing the computer, software-wise at least, reinstalling MS Windows XP  with Service Pack 1 and a few of their favorite applications. I  continued from that point bringing Windows up to Service Pack 3, downloading  98 additional  (post-sp3) updates. One of the key updates was the Installer for Internet Explorer 8. version 9 is not supported for Windows systems running anything earlier than Windows Vista. XP SP2 also adds the Windows firewall to a little more security. For free anti-virus software, I decided to go with Avast! free 6, but Microsoft Security Essentials would have been fine as well.

The temperature  and fan speed readings looked fine for a system of this kind. Ran diagnostic utilities and they didn’t report any  errors either.

I took some to to test IE 8 and Mozilla Firefox on this system and while it’s still usable on the Internet for web surfing, streaming audio and Youtube. The low amount of memory  and old processor doesn’t leave you much computing power for anything else. Having more than one user logged on at one time would be a terrible idea. The user only does web browsing, music listening, image viewing and office productivity tasks.

There were a few other pieces of software I installed for them…

iTunes
Microsoft Office 2007  (they provided their disc and product key)
Windows Live Photo Gallery (Far better than what’s included with Windows XP)
Upgraded Windows Media Player to 11
Upgrading IE  to 8 from the included 6
VLC Media Player

After a few final checks, I decided to hand in back to the user to take home. This experience just shows me how great even lower clocked (more power efficient)  dual core processor  can provide a better computing experience. Versus this system.

-Tony.