Tag Archives: BIOS

Windows 10 on the Dell E1505

I upgraded my venerable Dell E1505 to Windows 10 over the weekend. It was harder than it needed to be, but I got it running. It’s an old machine, but the CPU is fast enough to run Windows 10, and if you max out its memory and put an SSD in it, I think it may even run Windows 10 better than it ran Windows 7.

Here’s how I got it working. The same trick may work if you have a different older machine as well.

Continue reading Windows 10 on the Dell E1505

HP Compaq 6910p upgrades

I spent some time exploring HP Compaq 6910p upgrades because used HP Compaq 6910p laptops are dirt cheap these days. I picked one up for $75 as an alternative to a Black Friday cheapie.

If you look for one yourself, either look for one with a valid Windows 7 or Windows 10 license on it, or get one at a deep enough discount to make it worth your while.

Here’s what I did to turn an outmoded laptop from 2008 into something better than what I could have bought on Black Friday.

Continue reading HP Compaq 6910p upgrades

The Logitech F310 on Retropie

I went looking for a reliable, modern controller to use on my Retropie setup, and eventually settled on a Logitech F310, having had good experience with other Logitech peripherals in regards to their quality and value for the money.

The reviews I found suggested the F310 continued in this tradition, and I found enough people who said they got it working with Linux to feel confident I could get it working on the Raspberry Pi. And sure enough, I did.

I paid $18 for mine, and my first impressions of the quality were good. It’s precise, and button pushes register with a slight click. It’s no worse than a Sony, Microsoft or Nintendo controller, and if anything, I think I liked it a little better. A pair of Logitech F310s costs more than the Raspberry Pi board, but playing games is a lot more enjoyable when the controller does what you want it to do all the time, not just most of the time.

The F310 wasn’t a drop-in replacement for the controller I’d been using, though. I had to configure it for Retroarch, the software that provides most of Retropie’s console emulation.

Continue reading The Logitech F310 on Retropie

Setting up Retropie on the Raspberry Pi

I bought a Raspberry Pi over the weekend intending to turn it into a retro gaming system. I’d rather not have a mess of systems and cartridges out for my kids to tear up and to constantly have to switch around at their whims; a deck-of-cards-sized console with everything loaded on a single SD card seems much more appealing.

I followed Lifehacker’s writeup, which mostly worked. My biggest problem was my controllers. NES and SNES games would freeze seemingly at random, which I later isolated to trying to move to the left. It turned out my Playstation-USB adapter didn’t get along with the Pi at all, and was registering the select and start buttons when I tried to move certain directions, pausing the game.

When I switched to a Retrolink SNES-style pad, the random pausing went away. The precision reminded me of the really cheap aftermarket controllers of yore for the NES and SNES, but at least it made most games playable. It could be my controller, which I bought used, is worn out. I’ll revisit controllers later this week. Continue reading Setting up Retropie on the Raspberry Pi

Curious conspiracies… or maybe just progress all at once

In the wake of Truecrypt’s sudden implosion, someone sent me a link to this curious blog post. I can see why many people might find the timing interesting, but there are a number of details this particular blog post doesn’t get correct, and it actually spends most of its time talking about stuff that has little or nothing to do with Truecrypt.

What’s unclear to me is whether he’s trying to say the industry is deliberately sabotaging Truecrypt, or if he’s simply trying to make a list of things that are making life difficult for Truecrypt. His post bothers me a lot less if it’s just a laundry list of challenges, but either way, the inaccuracies remain. Continue reading Curious conspiracies… or maybe just progress all at once

When Linux is easier than Windows

A few months ago I bought a Gigabyte GA-Z77M-D3H to learn computer forensics on, because at the time I thought that was the direction my career was going. I dropped it into a neglected Compaq case and installed Linux on it, since most of the free forensics tools run on Linux. The current version of Debian loaded effortlessly and ran nicely, as you would expect on a dual-core CPU with 16 gigs of RAM.

Then my career went another direction. Today I analyze Windows threats and vulnerabilities for a living. That’s a better match for my experience and the pay is the same, so I’m perfectly fine with that. But my mind turned to that hotrod computer in the basement. I suppose I could still use it to learn forensics, but I probably won’t, so why not see how Windows runs on it and bring it upstairs? Continue reading When Linux is easier than Windows

The NSA’s disaster aversion by keeping BIOSes safe for the free world

This weekend, CBS ran a story about how the NSA foiled a sinister plot to brick millions of PCs and cause a financial meltdown. At least they didn’t say MELTDOWN.

My opinion is that this is a puff piece. A source managed to scare a journalist with a threat that sounded credible enough, and make something routine sound big and threatening.

Continue reading The NSA’s disaster aversion by keeping BIOSes safe for the free world

A dark day for security

A security professional’s nightmare happened to AMI this week. Tons of confidential data, including the source code for the UEFI BIOS for Intel Ivy Bridge-based systems and an AMI-owned private key for digital signatures, turned up on a wide-open FTP server for all comers to download anonymously.

The implications are nearly limitless. To a malware author, this is like finding a hollowed-out book at a garage sale stuffed with $100 bills with a 25-cent price sticker on the front. If you’re a budding security professional, count on being asked in job interviews why you need to protect confidential information. The next time you get that question, here’s a story you can cite.

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Is TRIM better than Native Command Queuing?

Another question from the big bag ‘o search queries: When you’re shopping for an SSD, is TRIM better than Native Command Queuing?

It’s an interesting question, and my first inclination is to say no, because TRIM and NCQ solve two similar but distinctly different problems. But the more I think about it, the more I understand why it’s possible to confuse the two.

Continue reading Is TRIM better than Native Command Queuing?