Sunday, March 13, 2011

iPad? No. Inspiron Duo? Yes.

For the past year or so, I've wondered why the iPad is so popular. Windows tablets have been around for years now, but of course, Apple has managed to popularize tablets with one that runs a non-desktop OS.

IMO, I'd much rather take a tablet that can run every Windows program over a tablet that can only run mobile apps, and doesn't support Flash!

As if the iPad wasn't already enough of a rip, I was reading through the Staples flier today, and saw something I'd heard about before: The Dell Inspiron Duo. I don't own a tablet, and don't really plan to get one. I'd rather have a computing device that has a keyboard, or a mobile phone with a touch screen. Still, Dell has come up with a product that actually appeals to people like me. This thing can act just like any other 10.1" netbook with an Intel Atom, but the Screen can flip over special so it looks just like a normal tablet.

You can have a laptop and a tablet, all in one..... for $500! Wait a sec.... doesn't the iPad cost $500? Yes, it does. So...... why would you buy an iPad? Oh, yeah, it's a sleek, stylish, and really easy to use. Is that really all people care about nowadays? That magical App Store that lets us download programs in only 5 seconds? IIRC, us Windows users have a magical tool called Google to look for software, but that's just ever-so-complicated. Linux users even have a package manager, which is essentially a Linux app store!

I will give the iPad one thing: it's great for autistic children and 99-year-old women, although I don't think that accounts for a large percentage of iPad owners. My opinion might be skewed, being that I'm a computer nerd, but I really don't see Windows 7 as being that complex. I think that the main cause for iPad-ism may just be a want for instant gratification. People would rather have a device that's ridiculously easy to use than a device that requires just a little bit of effort but can do so much more!

/rant. Yeah, that was definitely my rant of the day. I just want to get it out there: if you want a tablet, DON'T GIVE INTO THE IPAD CRAZE!

Celeron D..... FRIED!

This marks the first time that I actually burned out a CPU. Without thinking, I let it get into the 80s Celsius, which led to the degredation of my epic 4.5GHz overclock. At lest I found one on ebay that's 200MHz quicker! :)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt ntoskrnl.exe" after the latest Windows XP update

This is what happened to me last week, with my Dell Latitude D410. Installed the new updates, rebooted, and POOF! No more booting. I went through the steps that usually fix this problem: reconfiguring boot.ini, reinstalling ntoskrnl.exe, and running memtest86. Nothing worked. Eventually, I ran into this thread:
So, MS? Trying to throw out updates that break computers, huh? >:( Luckily, this thread described how to fix the problem, so if the latest updates aren't really doing much for you, check it out! ;)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Flash 10.2 now on the CR-48!

Flash 10.2 was released a couple of days ago, and I'd like to mention to anyone that's wondering: you can now use it on your CR-48! So far the CR-48's flash performance has been AWFUL. Luckily, with the introduction of linux hardware acceleration, flash 10.2 makes the CR-48 display flash content a lot smoother. How do you enable it?
1. Enter about:plugins in the browser bar
2. Click on "Details."
3. Disable the first entry for the flash plugin, which should be the 10.1 version, which will leave version 10.2 as the main version.
4. Reboot.

10.2 may be the default version soon. Also, I'm on the dev channel, so it may not be available yet for users of the beta channel (default).
Happy chrome-testing! :)

UPDATE: Flash 10.2 is now default.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Maybe Compaq didn't quite need to die.....

I took apart my Compaq hard drive today, and it turns out that it has Quantum internals. So I'm guessing that it died mainly because it's at least 12 years old and I dropped it in my case multiple times.... while it was running. :o

But they still need to die, since HP turned them into a crap brand. :)

Sony CRX2100U: An External Enclosure

My DVD-RW drive in my media center was giving me a lot of trouble while trying to burn DVDs, so I decided to use a different drive instead, this time with a USB-IDE adapter going to my laptop. This adapter didn't work, so I turned to my Sony CRX2100U. By default, it's only a CD-RW drive, but I hypothesized that it was actually a USB-IDE external enclosure plugged into an IDE CD-RW drive. It turns out that I was correct. I was able to slip in an IDE DVD-RW drive.

Also, this is a really good external drive in general so it gets the:

Sunday, January 16, 2011

How to Clone a Hard Drive

I just recently realized that my hard drive was going down the road to failure, so I had to clone all the data from the old drive onto a new drive from Newegg. Since I have all the steps fresh in my mind, I figured I'd write a guide on how to clone a hard drive.
For a desktop drive, you'll need:
-A CD-r drive, and a recordable CD
-An internet connection
-A new hard drive, to clone to. It should be larger or equal to the storage size of your old drive. You'll usually have to get a 3.5in. drive, but some Mini-ITX cases use 2.5in. drives.
-An IDE/SATA cable, depending on your type of drive. Make sure that you can plug two drives into your cord. It is also possible to clone an IDE drive to a SATA drive, or vice versa.
For a laptop drive, you'll need:
-A CD-r drive, and a recordable CD
-An internet connection
-A new hard drive, to clone to. It should be larger or equal to the storage size of your old drive. Make sure to get either a 2.5in. or 1.8in. drive, depending on your laptop.
-A USB to IDE/SATA cable. Laptop SATA HDDs use the same kind of port as a desktop SATA HDD, but laptop IDE HDDs use a smaller kind of IDE port that has a built-in power plug, rather than the larger IDE+Molex combination on desktop HDDs. Usually, you can find a USB-SATA/IDE adapter on ebay by searching "USB SATA adapter" or "USB IDE adapter". If you're cloning to a laptop IDE drive, make sure that the adapter you find includes a laptop IDE plug.
1. Download ClonezillaInfrarecorder, and  Easeus Partition Master. This guide was made with version 20100721-lucid of Clonezilla, so download that version from the "oldfiles" folder. If you already have a program that burns CDs, then you don't need Infrarecorder.
2. Put a recordable CD in your CD-r drive.
3. Open up Infrarecorder, and tell it to "Write Image". It will open up an explorer window. Navigate to the folder that contains the Clonezilla ISO image that you downloaded, and open it. Then click "Ok". InfraRecorder will then burn Clonezilla to that CD.
4. When InfraRecorder is finished burning the CD, shut down your computer. Plug the new hard drive into whatever cable you're using for the cloning process.
5. Turn your computer back on, with the Clonezilla CD in your disk drive. If your system automatically boots to the CD, or prompts you to do so, then skip to step 6. If not, then:
     a. Restart your PC and boot into your BIOS. To do this, you'll have to a hit a certain key at bootup, which varies depending on your PC's manufacturer. At bootup, most PCs show an image which will say which key to press. Press that key.
     b. Navigate through your BIOS, and find the setting which determines the boot order. Switch the first boot item to your CD drive, then exit the BIOS, saving your changes.
6. Clonezilla will then start up, looking something like this:
Just press Enter. It will then automatically run at default settings. 
7. You will then be asked which language to run in. If you're reading this, you'll probably want English. ;)
8. Next, you'll be asked about the Keymap. Select "Don't Touch Keymap", or just hit Enter.
9. Clonezilla will then ask you if you want to run in normal or shell mode. Just press Enter.
10. Next, you'll have to select which form of cloning to do, device-image or device-device. Select device-device.
11. Then, you will be asked which mode to run in: beginner or expert. Select beginner. If you think you may want to set special options, then select expert. If you select expert and don't want to change any settings, then just keep hitting Enter.
12. Now you'll be asked what kind of clone you want to do, which will involve local and remote disks. Just hit Enter.
13. Now, you'll have to choose which disk to clone from, and then which disk to clone to. Choose appropriately.
14. You will then be warned two times that the target disk will be overwritten if you clone to it. Type "y" and hit Enter both times. You will also be asked if you want to clone the MBR from the original disk. Once again, just type "y" and hit Enter. Your disk will now clone over. When it is done, you will be given prompts on how to shut down Clonezilla. Follow these prompts. The Clonezilla CD will be ejected , and you will be prompted to hit enter to turn off your computer.
15. After your system shuts down, take out your old hard drive and replace it with the new one. This process will vary, especially with laptops.
16. Turn your computer back on. Then run Partition Master. If your new hard disk has more space than your old one, then you'll see that you're not utilizing all the extra space. Resize the disk's partition accordingly.
17. Defragment your drive. This is optional, but it will improve your computer's speed. I like to defragment using Defraggler.

Congratz, you've just cloned your hard drive. You now probably have more space, and if you cloned because your hard drive was dying, then you no longer have to deal with a feeling of impending doom. :)

Tiny FAQ
Q. A random vague IO error came up during the cloning process. What does this mean?
A. This means that the hard disk you are cloning from has one or more bad sectors. This is a sign of soon-to-come HDD failure, so it's a good thing that you're cloning. If you use Windows, then boot into it and type WindowsKey+R. Then type "cmd". This will bring you into a command line. Type "chkdsk /f". Type "y" and then Enter. Upon reboot, Windows will reallocate any files on your bad sector(s).

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Kingwin Revolution RVT-12025D Heatsink: A quick review

Aah, Kingwin..... or more like AAH!!! KINGWIN!!!! Or so I thought, until just today.
You see, I bought this cooler on Newegg about 8 months ago for $18, when they still carried it. Pretty cheap for a heatsink. It got mixed reviews. Some say that the heat pipes aren't wicked, so you have to attach it with the pipes facing upward. Some say that it's just a plain out piece of junk. Others say that it's great. For the past many months since I bought it, I was one of the people who thought it was a piece of junk. Today, I slightly changed my mind

1. Physical Description
The RVT-12025D isn't a small heatsink. It's definitely necessary to pull the power supply out of your case when you install it. It's got 4 heatpipes that run directly up to its cooling fins. This doesn't translate into the usual six heatpipe-paths of a standard tower heatsink with 3 heatpipes. This heatsink contains 4 pipes, with exactly 4 paths for the heat to go (remember this for later). Installing the heatsink is a bit of a pain, since it has the stupid LGA775 pushpins, but you'll eventually get it in there stable.
2. Cooling Performance
I don't have any exact numbers, but I can say this:
With my Pentium 4 520 @ ~3.7GHz, 1.55v, this thing was awful. A bit better than the Intel heatsink at idle, but about the same at load. Not worth $18.
BUT, with my Celeron D 356 ES @ 4.5GHz, 1.5v, it's quite nice. It kept the CPU in the mid 60s Celsius under full load. I only just tested it with this CPU today, having used a different heatsink (that doesn't work as well) for many months, since I thought that the 12025D was awful.

Here's the deal: there are two differences between these two CPUs that would make a major cooling difference:
1. The Pentium 4 520 was running .5v higher than the Celeron.
2. The Celeron has a D0 stepping, so at it's stock speed, it only requires 65w. This is compared to the 84w power consumption of the Pentium 4 520.

Why does this make such a huge difference? Because of the heatpipe transfer rate. As I said before: a standard tower heatsink supplies 6 paths for heat to travel through the heatpipes. This heatsink only supplies 4 paths. So, although the cooling fins can dissipate heat perfectly fine, the heat has trouble getting to those pipes. I calculated out the overclock wattage for both my CPUs, and it looks like the Pentium 4 consumes 135w and the Celeron consumes 115w. Just a 20w difference pushed the heatsink over the edge.
3. Conclusion
So, in conclusion, this heatsink will work great with most CPUs. Stay away from CPUs that have a TDP of more than 120w, but for most CPUs, even with a little overclocking, this is a great heatsink. I highly recommend it. (with caution)  :-)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Google Chrome CR-48 Full File Access

Just today, I loaded some new songs on my Sansa e250 mp3 player, and I later realized that I had a duplicate song. I had just turned off my Windows desktop, and I'm lazy, so I ended up trying to figure out how to delete the file from the device with my CR-48. With a little exploring, I figured it out in a jiffy:
1. Follow my previous post (it's right before this one) on how to get into the dev mode terminal.
2. Type dir /media
3. Then type cd -P (whichever device seems like the right one, without these parentheses. Make sure to be using correct capitalization throughout this process, or lack thereof)
4. Then type dir. A list of files from that device should come up.
5. After you've determined which file you want to delete, type sudo rm (file, without parentheses)

There ya go, deletion completed. A little message about admins and whatever should also come up after deletion, but it doesn't mean there was an error. Happy chroming! :)