Monday, October 29, 2012

Windows 8 is out

So Windows 8 is out. You will have fun getting used to it if you buy it. It costs $40 (or $14 if you are resourceful, just find an eligible laptop on Bestbuy's website and register it. You don't need the serial number.). Also, it does not include Media Center, however you can get it free for a limited time, then it will set you back a few more bills. There are three versions. Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro and Windows 8 RT. Pro will allow you to connect it to a domain and encrypt your disks and RT is for Tablets running on mobile processors. Enjoy Your new OS!

Update 8/16/2013: Obtaining Windows 8 for $14, and Windows 8 Media center for free is no longer available at this time. Keep checking back once in a while for Media Center, however. It may be offered at a discount in the future.

- Jacob -

Friday, October 12, 2012

It's been a little while - Raspberry Pi

   It has been a little while since I have been here, but I now have more to share. I love to mess around with electronics about as much as computers in my spare time and have recently played around with Arduino, which I love. I built a self balancing bot, but I have been having a lot of difficulty with the programming of it. So I've taken a break from it for a while. I will post all the info when I pick it back up.

   In my boredom, I have recently found a micro sized computer called Raspberry Pi and have fallen in love with it. This computer which is roughly the size of a credit card is only $35 and packs a punch. It's not the fastest thing in the world, but it is capable of amazing things. I wont go into the details, but I will say that it is built around an ARM11 processor, has 256MB RAM, HDMI/Composite Out, audio, USB, Ethernet and is powered by only 5 volts through a micro USB cable.

   My co-worker and I both bought one of these and have tried out several operating systems including Debian Linux and XBMC. I have found out that some folks have even installed Android 4.0 ICS on the RPi (Raspberry Pi). My co-worker plans to use his for a carputer and I... Well, I'm not sure yet, but I will definitely install Android on mine because of the absurdly large Google Play Market chock full of software designed for the ARM processor and Android. Several thoughts I've had are: a micro HTPC (Home Theater Personal Computer), an extremely small computer for the kids and a refrigerator accessory to create a shopping list and allow me to scan the bar-code of exhausted food containers.

   Today I also found a couple of RPi cases that I really like. The Adafruit Pi Box and the Built-To-Spec RPi Enclosure Kit which I bought and found that the case schematics were open source, which is always a plus for me.

   There are a large number of accessories available for the RPi also.
Here are some of the many sites that stock them.
   If you would like to share your info about your RPi or have questions, post a comment below.

Update: For those of you interested in getting a Raspberry Pi, now is the time. The Raspberry Pi model B is now being shipped with 512MB of RAM instead of 256MB.This should facilitate the issues with the Android builds.

- Jacob -

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Toshiba BIOS Password

   So my co-worker and I have been working on a laptop that he got from one of his friends a while back ago. The computer suddenly began asking for a password at start-up. Now I thought that this would be a simple fix where I could just short out the CMOS battery like I did with my Wife's and that would be it. Turns out there was more to it.
BIOS Password Jumper
   We scoured the internet to find solutions, some insisted that there was a capacitor labeled C628 that needed to be shorted. I tried finding a factory BIOS password, but couldn't. I even tried just clearing CMOS to reset the BIOS back to factory setting by shorting the CMOS battery. Even then, the password seemed to remain, then after restarting it seemed that the newer BIOS came back somehow.
   Finally I found information online the indicated that there were to contacts under the RAM that were used to clear the BIOS password. I tried it and after working on this thing for nearly two weeks, it worked. With the RAM in place and power connected, I placed a jumper over the connectors labeled PAD503 and powered the system. Amazingly, it worked. Finally, my co-worker re-assembled his notebook and was thrilled that it worked.

Model: Satellite M115-S1061
O/S: N/A

Update: I continue to get questions on different models of computers. When requesting help, I will try to respond within 48 hours, just please be patient and wait for a response. Also, don't give up, because I wont. Please provide both the model and part numbers. This will allow me to help you better. Here is where you can find the model and part number.

! These pages were posted over two years ago, but I am still alerted when a comment is made and I WILL respond within 48 hours. So hang in there.

Recovery Partition

   Just the other day, I was working on a model similar to my wife's notebook. The user took it to Best Buy who told him that the recovery partition was damaged and that he would need to purchase a recovery disk for $60.
   He brought  it to me, and to double check BB's work, I attempted to recover the OS from the recovery partition. I found that it was in fact damaged, so I copied a folder named "SWsetup" from the C drive (it contains all of the drivers and software that came with the computer from the factory) and tried to copy the users profile, but BB erased it when attempting to re-image the OS. I burnt my copy of Vista 64 and re-imaged his system, copied over SWsetup and installed only the necessary software to get everything to work. I also left him the copy of Vista that I burnt, in the event that he would need to re-image his system in the future.

Make: HP
Model: Pavillion DV7
P/N: Unavailable
O/S: Windows Vista (64-bit)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Graphics Controller Not Functional

    Today, I looked at my wife's laptop because it wouldn't boot. In fact it wouldn't do anything. All it would do is flash the keyboard lights four times and then repeat. So I looked on HP's website and found that the cause was: "Graphics controller not functional"
    I did some more searching online and found a forum where a user said that he switched the slots that the RAM was in and it booted for him. I gave it a shot and swapped the RAM around and then pulled the CMOS and main batteries. I held the power button for about 15 seconds, and while holding, plugged the power cable in. Amazingly, it booted for me.
    Finally my wife can have he computer back without me having to give myself a stroke by calling HP.
Edit: I also found out that secure sites and updates could not be accessed after fixing her computer. It turns out that I needed to adjust the date, since the date was off by 10 years. That fixed the problem.

Make: HP
Model: Pavillion DV7-1129wm
P/N: FS133UA
O/S: Windows Vista (64-bit)