Merry Christmas

It is indeed that time of year again … Christmas time!

We wish you all a fantastically wonderful Christmas and a better New Year than ever!

HURRAH!

– The FSRC Team

Advertisements

Corrosion … the greatest evil!

It is rare, but it does happen —- corrosion!

This time it was a Laptop with a ever-so-slightly corroded system board. Once this happens your system with begin to slowly but steadily die. Day after day it will crash more often and you will experience strange periods when your machine won’t even power up.

In this case the screen would back-out after the machine being powered on for about 30-60 minutes. It became worse until it was only after 3-5 minutes that it blacked out. By and by it was discovered that there was a slight bit of corrosion beginning around some components on the system board.

Here is how you can avoid it happening to you:

Corrosion is commonly due to moisture residing in an area over a lenghty period of time. This may happen if:
1) You are living in a humid climate
2) You are living near the sea
3) If liquid was spilled on your machine

If you live by the sea or in an area with a humid climate, you will want to:

– Keep your office of work area well ventilated with a de-humidifier, but do not work with your laptop directly around the unit. Likewise keep the Desktop away from the de-humidifier as well.
– A big must for laptops and Desktops alike is ventilation. Make regular checks on the vents of the the machines and make certain they are dust and dirt free. Get a ventilation tray for your laptop to sit on. These are pretty cheap and keep your laptop extra cool and well-ventilated.
– When you are not using your laptop store it in a dry and cool case. To prevent a build-up of moisture in the case you can keep some of those little de-humidifiers that come in show boxes and electronic equipment. Before you put your laptop away make sure there is not liquid on it – wipe it down with a soft tissue to remove sweat and anything else moist.

If you have spilled something on your machine:

– Do not power it on. Unplug it immediately and remove the battery.
– Get some soft tissue right away and soak up any moisture you see anywhere on or around the laptop.
– If the machine is under warranty and you call the manufacturer of the unit, you risk voiding the warranty all together – and besides there is nothing they can do for you right then and there. (Note: For IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad owners you would be able to call up your service branch and get some tips from them as to how to go about drying the item. For Toshiba and HP/Compaq owners you should be very wary of calling the customer support for this sort of thing – they will most likely void your warranty.)
– If you have decided to get the machine up and running again yourself you should go about obtaining the maintenance manual for the machine you have. Then proceed to dis-assemble the laptop to its bare bone to allow you to thoroughly check and dry all the components. (NOTE: DO NOT attempt to take your laptop apart unless you are completely comfortable with such things!)
– Once you have successfully dried all the components and re-assembled the item, you should place it in a dry, cool and well-ventilated place to sit for a couple days straight. This is should allow any moisture to completely dry up. You can then cross your fingers and press the power button.

Good Luck

Vista well-being???

By Bryan:

Memory cards will work as well on vista as they did in XP, no question. USB interface drivers are open and not changed between versions of windows.

What’s to say that apple is more inovative than microsoft? Is it because they package their operating systems with overpriced hardware or because they’ve designed a one button mouse that caters for those who have no fingers? But hold on, to ‘right click’ using an Apple mouse, you need to hold down the control key so our fingerless comrades are still at a loss!

The fact of the matter is that microsoft designed vista from the bottom up and in the process they intentionally threw out a lot of backward compatibility features that were inherited from as far back as windows 95! They did this to increase performance and security. It’s called progression. Yes, it’s true that a LOT of old hardware and software simply will not work on vista. If you rely on old hardware and software, don’t upgrade to vista until you are ready to invest in newer applications. Vista will take a long time to gain as much market acceptance as XP has done over the last 5 years or so.

Anybody in the IT world knows that most people are naturally opposed to change. Vista a a big change. It’s a vast progression of technology that performs better than any previous version of windows when run on the right hardware specs. Install XP and vista each on a new intel core based machine with all the same specs and you will find vista outperforms XP hands down.

I use the new features of vista every day. The file search is amazingly fast and searches not only in the name and attributes of each file but also in the contents of each text based file.

I’m not partial to any particular operating system manufacturer. I threw out linux when I installed red hat and it took me two days to learn how to mount a flash drive. I stopped considering apple’s products when I took a look at the price tag. I was shocked when vista came out at the price it is but at least i had access to afforable hardware, so I took the plunge and have never looked back. I supppose I’m just lucky that I don’t rely on legacy applications for my day to day tasks.

In response to Bryan:

I have to mention here that you are completely wrong in most of your statement regarding the well-being of MS Vista!

I have used MS Windows, Apple Mac and GNU/Linux.

All three systems have their strong points and their weak spots too, however MS Windows Vista (and Windows generally) is by far the most unnecessarily problematic.

The reason I say “unnecessarily” is due to the fact that MS charges a handsome price for its OS, whereas GNU/Linux OS’s can be acquired free-of-charge, and Mac, even thought they may have higher prices then anyone else, are by far the least problem-prone of the three.

So Apple charges a hefty price for a pretty “tight” OS. GNU/Linux is obtainable for absolutely nothing and is pretty darn slick and secure (from virus and malware attacks etc). And then MS is charging a solid price for an Operating System that is EXTREMELY prone to Virus attacks, malware and spyware, not to mention blue screen, hardware issues of its own and now (in fair comparison to any other present-day OS) a monstrously bulky and resource hungry system.

This is not an exaggeration.

You say: “Install XP and vista each on a new intel core based machine with all the same specs and you will find vista outperforms XP hands down.”

Completely false.

I have used Vista on Desktops and Laptops, brand new machines and second hand ones. I have used Vista on a Centrino 1.6 GHZ machine and on an Intel Duo Core 2.3 GHZ unit and many more in between. I am thoroughly experienced in having tested Windows Vista and Windows XP (and Linux) on a host of PC’s, old and young.

I am telling you that no stretch of the imagination could allow me to say that Vista out-performs XP! – and THAT is a fact!

Clients have been pouring in to get Vista off of their machines and will fork out an extra 200 bucks just to get XP Pro up and running again. And, by the way, my clients are pretty computer savvy themselves and tell me that their brand new machines are running slower then their 2 year-old machine with XP on it.

Another major flunk-it in your post was this one: “Memory cards will work as well on vista as they did in XP, no question. USB interface drivers are open and not changed between versions of windows.”

Not true! From the Home Basic version to Ultimate, Vista refuses to automatically recognize and install the appropriate drivers for generic Media Cards and USD Flash Drives, out of the box. Instead, unlike in XP, you have to install additional drivers to meet those accessory needs.

You say you are not partial to any operating system? What a joke! You reek of prejudice and bias!

It may be that you have had a “wonderful experience” with Vista, yes, but you have to understand that you are just one user! Come out of the closet and take a look around you … its a small world, but there are a lot of people in it!

Dusty Duty….

One of my duties today was looking into the repair of a T42 Thinkpad which had a peculiar problem with the screen turning off after about 5 minutes of having powered on.

What I wanted to talk about though, was not the screen or the backlight or even the video adapter. What I wanted to write about, and what took 2 hours of my day, was the state of complete filth in which I received the machine.

The Screen: The LCD look like 100 people had sneezed and/or licked it after while they each took a turn to wipe the LCD with their bare hands, forming an interesting ( but distasteful) modernistic display of swirls, smudges and “splats”.

The Keyboard and Touchpad: … was pouring over with …. food! Bread crumbs, sesame seeds, particles of either rice, potatoes or eggs were some of the materials found beneath and surrounding the keys – not too mention the dust which, in some areas, was thick and damp (oil? honey?).

The Hard Drive and HDD Bay: … was extremely dusty. There were about 7 pockets of clustered bundles of dust and all the surfaces were covered by a decent millimeter of dust.

The Rest of the inside: … was either lightly dusty or held dust in crud-like fashion. Every single ventilation hole or grid of holes was chock-full of dust and completely blocked. The Hard Drive vents and speaker grids were the worst and it took a full 15 minutes to suck, blow, wipe and brush those areas clean.
The PCMCIA slot area was a dust storage, and when attacking it I had to cough several times to get the billow of dust out of my lungs.
The CPU Fan spat out puff after puff after puff of dust particles and clusters, and every single corner, gap or hole was a pantry for dust and other items of once edible materials.

The Entire outside: …was a mixture of dust and oily smudges, and every port surrounding the machine was its own little dust-ville.

So it took me a bit over 2 hours to completely dismantle the unit and clean it out and reassemble it again so I could clean the “face” (outside).

This is a very sad thing for me to see… a perfectly good machine being cared-for so poorly. It is also only a matter of time before the dust allows some sort of short-circuit in the machine and you’re left with an ugly mess on your hands … all because you did not care for it along the way. Very sad!

Remember that it does not take much for you to maintain the cleanliness and order of a laptop — but if you let it get by without maintenance you will find it a major job to get it back in order down the road, or you may loose your $1000 investment in the bat of an eyelid. (Because of the nail the Kingdom was lost)

just for fun…

I just thought this was funny…

http://www.xkcd.com/350/

Virtual Machines…

So I have been busy re-doing my system on the T60 Thinkpad. It has been a lively past week with heaps of work removing a Trojan from around 15 PC’s (all of which run Windows of course) and then my own drama with the microphone (of all things) pooping out on my T60 – HA!

But I had nothing to worry about since my warranty is “On Site” warranty, which means IBM sends out a technician to repair my machine wherever I am. So he was here and gone within the hour and my machine was fixed….

I then went about re-installing Windows (on a 5.5GB partotion) to be followed closely with Ubuntu Gutsy taking the rest of the HDD for itself.

But what I really wanted to talk about here has to do with Virtual Machines.
I am sure many of you use, or have used, a VM at one time or another, and I have played around and worked with a few myself. But I always was unhappy with the space that the VM/s were taking on my system’s hard drive.

Sooooo……… I decided I wanted to run my virtual machine off of my External USB Hard Drive instead……

I went to http://www.easyvmx.com/ and created myself a VM. Then I copied the unzipped files to my USB hard drive and loaded my .vmx file with VMware Player and viola….. oops… not so fast…. what’s this?…. an Error?…. arg……. something about memory allocation……..

No worries, after a few minutes on the vmware irc chat I got the fix… and here it is for you all…

Open your .vmx file in your text editor of choice and add the following to the file (anywhere):
mainMem.useNamedFile=FALSE

This fix was in fact needed because I was trying to run the VM on an NTFS hard drive.

So there you have it… and now I have my VM’s running off of my external Hard Drive….. yipee!