New computer, old monitor

New computer, old monitor

New computer, old monitor: I see questions fairly frequently about using a new computer and older monitor together. More often than not, it’s possible to do, but you may need to know where to look for the cables and adapters you’ll need.

Here’s some help.

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Linksys EA6200 DD-WRT installation

Linksys EA6200 DD-WRT installation

I picked up a couple of refurbished Linksys EA6200 routers this past weekend. For whatever reason, DD-WRT isn’t officially supported on them, though it does seem to be a popular DD-WRT router. A lot of people make the upgrade far more difficult than they need to. With some simple hacks, Linksys EA6200 DD-WRT installation is pretty straightforward.

I came up with an 18-step process that I simplified just as much as I could. Unlike some methods I’ve seen, I don’t have you editing any binary files or creating custom startup scripts.

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Replacing a Memopad HD7 screen

It probably was just a matter of time, but one of my sons dropped his Asus Memopad HD 7 and cracked the digitizer assembly. What we usually call the screen actually sits behind the breakable piece of glass, and more often than not, it’s the glass digitizer that breaks. I left it that way for a while, but once the screen cracks, the cracks tend to spread, and eventually the tablet will get to a point where it’s unresponsive.

Replacement digitizers are available on Ebay. Note the exact model number of your tablet (my kids have ME173Xs, so here’s an ME173X screen) because they aren’t all interchangeable. The part costs around $20. It took me about three hours to replace because it was my first one. If I did this every day I could probably do it in 30 minutes, and I’m guessing if I have to do another–ideally I won’t–it will take an hour or so.

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Women in tech: The forgotten story of Vector Graphic

I frequently hear lamentations about the number of women in the technology field–or the lack of them. Although there have been a number of successful women in the field, such as Meg Whitman, CEO of HP and formerly Ebay; Marissa Meyer, CEO of Yahoo; and Carly Fiorina, former CEO of HP, men outnumber women in the field and often by a large margin.

That perhaps makes it even more sad that Vector Graphic is largely forgotten today. Last week Fast Company profiled this pioneering computer company that time forgot.

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A simple fix for an Asus Memopad 7 that wouldn’t charge

I’ve written enough about the Asus Memopad HD 7 that you can probably surmise I’ve had a few issues with them. Fortunately the fix is usually simple, and in the case of a Memopad that won’t charge even after you did my battery fix, that’s true as well.

It started with my observation that the USB cable fit rather loosely into my sons’ tablets. I cleaned out the mini-USB port with a wooden toothpick, which is a common fix, but it didn’t help–the cable still fit very loosely and the device wouldn’t charge.

Then I tried other cables. I found most of them didn’t work either. If I set something heavy on top, they would charge for a while, but doing that caused the cables to wear out in a matter of weeks. Finally I figured out the tablets are just picky–or at least they are once they get some age to them. The charger for the Moto E, which has a hardwired cable, works fine. So does some other random cable I had that I never used for anything else because it happens to be so short it’s not useful for anything else. I bought some new Monoprice cables, and while they’re fine for data transfer, these Memo Pad 7s don’t like them for charging.

I really hate to say try every USB cable in the house, but… your best first step is to try every USB cable in the house. And if you have to buy a cable, buy something locally, ideally in a store that will try it out with you before purchase. If you don’t have a store with that kind of service near you anymore, then buy a cable and try it out in the parking lot in your car right away before driving home. That way you can exchange the cable right away, or get a refund, if it doesn’t work any better than what you already had.

New options for low-TDP PCs

Earlier last week, Intel quietly unveiled a new series of Braswell SoCs, intended for very low-TDP PCs. Literally low-power, as the chips use between 4 and 6 watts. Add the requirements of the motherboard, memory, and an SSD and you’re probably still looking at a computer that uses less than 15 watts.

The SoCs are priced between $121 and $161, which probably means the motherboards will run between $140 and $200 depending on the feature set. Add memory, a case, power supply, and an SSD, and you have a silent, power-sipping computer.

So far only MSI has announced motherboards and they haven’t announced pricing, but given Asrock’s selection of boards featuring previous-generation 6W TDP CPUs, I expect at least Asrock will join in, and probably Asus will as well.

These aren’t powerhouse machines, but they’re fine for everyday use, and someone like me who has a 7-year-old PC that works fine could think about replacing that machine with one of these. It’ll be marginally faster, but with the difference in power consumption being nearly 100 watts, the computer will probably pay for itself eventually. Or go grab one of the previous-generation boards, which sell for well under $100, and settle for less performance but a faster payoff.

How I set up Asus parental controls

I’ve mentioned Asus parental controls on its Android tablets such as the Memo Pad 7 HD, but never elaborated on them. Here’s how I set them up and why, so you can make your own decisions about how best to set an Asus tablet up for the child in your life.

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How to open an Asus Memo Pad 7 HD and fix the battery

How to open an Asus Memo Pad 7 HD and fix the battery

My son’s Asus Memopad 7 HD would not power up or charge, and my earlier non-invasive solution wouldn’t fix it. Here’s how I opened it up to disconnect and reconnect the battery.

Always try holding the power button and volume down button first because that’s easier (see the link above for details), but if that doesn’t work, proceed to open the case.

While you’re in there, you can also fix an issue that may be causing the power or volume buttons to be hard to press or malfunction entirely. Dropping the tablet a lot makes this happen. If you have young children, you probably understand.

Another malady these tablets can develop is a battery with a question mark when charging. This will sometimes fix that issue as well.

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