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.
Continue reading Replacing a Memopad HD7 screen
I found this oldie but goodie Lifehacker article: When two computers are cheaper than one. It advocates buying a cheap laptop and building a desktop PC to meet your computing needs.
I think it makes a lot of sense. A few weeks ago, a coworker asked me what the most I would be willing to pay for a laptop. I hesitated, thought for a while, and said you might be able to convince me to spend $600. “Wow,” he said. “I’m considering a $3,500 laptop.”
I wouldn’t. Continue reading Don’t buy a “desktop replacement” laptop
Last month, Rapid7’s Trey Ford appealed to security professionals:
You have an opportunity to be an ambassador. When you see XP out there, have an adult conversation, educate in terms that others will appreciate. Your actions and words reflect on the entire community.
As the family CIO/CSO – look for the smart investment. There are options that will make your life easier. A small investment is a lot easier to stomach than compromised shopping/banking/credit card credentials (or identity theft.)
Continue reading What I did for Mother’s Day
I’ve been working on a Compaq Presario SR2011WM. It’s a basic, low-end, single-core Celeron D system from 2006 or so. It can take up to 2 GB of RAM, runs Windows XP adequately, and has SATA ports, so you can put an SSD in it if you want. But don’t be fooled by the name–the Celeron in this machine is single core, and has a Prescott-era Pentium 4 core in it at that, not a low-TDP, Pentium D-style core.
In case you’re wondering, the easiest way to get it to boot from USB is to plug in a USB drive, hit ESC as the system runs POST, then select your USB drive from the menu.
Now let’s talk about options for upgrades. Continue reading Notes on the Compaq Presario SR2011WM
I gave my out-of-box impression of the Acer Aspire One 722 last week. It’s completely unacceptable out of the box, and adequate when you do some basic cleanup on it.
Now I’ve installed an Intel SSD in one and clean-installed Windows, and I’m much more impressed with it. Continue reading Speeding up an Acer Aspire One 722
My webserver seems to be having a hard time keeping up with demand. It was only a couple of weeks ago that I could have had my preferred low-end motherboard for about $33, but I was able to come up with about 10 reasons not to buy it at that time and tackle the project. I can get an Asus Socket 775 board and a 2-core Intel CPU to put on it locally for around $90-$100 total, which will give me a four-fold increase in available CPU power and RAM, not to mention a newer and better-known chipset to work with. But I had several things come up this weekend that kept me from making that trip. Studying, of course, but also a family matter.
My server managed a not-exactly-heroic uptime of 3 days on this last reboot. If I can swap the board for something better this week, I’ll try. And if it dies again before I’m able to do that, I’ll have to see if I can remember to put some more memory in it. I just found a half-gig PC3200 DIMM that will fit, assuming I have a slot available.
Consumerist had some fun today at the expense of a Best Buy ad from September 15, 1996.
Here’s the kind of price deflation we’ve seen in 15 years.
Continue reading 15 years ago, at the home of the blue shirts
So you’re shopping online, and want to know if you’re getting a good deal on something. It’s pretty easy to shop around, and check multiple web sites to see how they’re pricing an item. But sometimes prices change over time, and wouldn’t it be nice to know if pricing on the item is relatively stable, or if it’s something that frequently goes on sale for less?
Enter the Camelizer.
Continue reading Is that price a good deal or not?
I’ve resisted the pull to 64 bits, for a variety of reasons. I’ve had other priorities, like lowering debt, fixing up a house, kids in diapers… But eventually the limitations of living with 2003-era technology caught up with me. Last week I broke down and bought an AMD Phenom II 560 and an Asus M4N68T-M v2 motherboard. Entry-level stuff by today’s standards. But wow.
If you can get one, an AMD Phenom II x4 840 is a better choice, but those are getting hard to find. And if you can’t afford a $100 CPU there are bargains at the very low end too: A Sempron 145 costs less than $45, and a dual-core Athlon II x2 250 costs $60. The second core is worth the money.
Continue reading 64 bits or bust
I picked up an IBM Thinkpad T30 this week. People ask me occasionally to keep an eye out for an inexpensive used laptop, and Thinkpads from 2005 or earlier are a good choice because they’re generally well built, easy to find, and most importantly, parts and information for them are plentiful if anything goes wrong.
In the case of this particular model, that’s a good thing.
Continue reading Upgrade and repair diary: IBM Thinkpad T30