Tag Archives: tweaks

How to disassemble a Marx 490 locomotive

Disassembling a Marx 490 locomotive isn’t too difficult, but it’s very different from other Marx locomotives.

Once you take one apart, though, you’ll see why it was designed how it was. It was Marx’s lowest-cost locomotive, and it could be assembled without tools, so the labor costs were minimal.

For that matter you only need one tool to take it apart, and since there’s so little in it that can break–not even a headlight–you can find anything you would need to service it at the nearest hardware store or auto parts store.

Continue reading How to disassemble a Marx 490 locomotive

Windows 10 is out. I say you should upgrade, just not necessarily right now.

Windows 10 is out today. Of course I’ve been getting questions about whether to upgrade from Windows 7 to 10, and I’ve been seeing mixed advice on upgrading, though some of that mixed advice is regarding Microsoft history that isn’t completely relevant today.

My advice is to upgrade immediately if you’re running Windows 8 or 8.1, and to wait, perhaps six months, if you’re running Windows 7, but I still think you should do it. I’ll explain.

Continue reading Windows 10 is out. I say you should upgrade, just not necessarily right now.

Don’t wait for Service Pack 1

I was on a conference call discussing the Microsoft product lifecycle with several coworkers and our Microsoft-assigned support engineers when someone asked if a server version of Windows 10 was going to come out.

The Microsoft rep said no comment. Then I chimed in.

“We need to assume they will release a server version, probably about six months after the desktop version, and we need to start testing and preparing to deploy it when it comes out,” I said.

“Shouldn’t we wait for Service Pack 1?”

I went in for the kill. Continue reading Don’t wait for Service Pack 1

Benchmarking Android

After rooting a device and loading a ROM or two on it, it’s easy to start to wonder what tweaks and settings actually make a difference in performance or whether you’re just imagining things. For example, my devices all have the option to force Android to use the GPU for rendering (under Developer Options), but does it really help?

Benchmarks are a synthetic but objective way to measure the effect. I use Antutu. Continue reading Benchmarking Android

I have a new favorite Android ROM for the Nook Color: MROM

My Nook Color is my experimental Android rig. Since it’s aging fast, I don’t use it nearly as heavily as my other Android devices, so if I accidentally do something wrong, I can live without it much more easily than I can do without a phone or my nicer tablet.

So I tend to try a lot of different things on it, just because I can.

The newest ROM I’ve tried on it is called MROM, and I must say I am impressed. Continue reading I have a new favorite Android ROM for the Nook Color: MROM

I found a reasonably good, inexpensive keyboard for the Sero 7 Pro

I bought a keyboard this week for the Hisense Sero 7 Pro. It’s a universal keyboard/case made by Afunta, and I paid $12.50 for it. I took a chance on it, and now you don’t have to. Its spring-loaded jaws nicely accomodate the Sero 7 Pro, and the keyboard works with the Sero 7 Pro with no issues. Plug it in, wait a moment, and it starts working, replacing the onscreen keyboard when you need keyboard input, basically turning your tablet into a convertible. It has a micro USB connector, unlike many 7-inch keyboards, so it works with the Sero 7 without an adapter. It’s odd that most keyboards seem to have full-size USB connectors but most 7-inch tablets have micro ports.

I wouldn’t want to type at length with the keyboard, but it’s much nicer than using an onscreen keyboard on a 7-inch screen.

Continue reading I found a reasonably good, inexpensive keyboard for the Sero 7 Pro

A skeptic looks at Libre Office

Since MS Office 2003 turns into a pumpkin in April 2014 or so, I decided maybe it’s time to start looking at alternatives. I’ve looked at Open Office off and on over the years but its sluggish performance always turned me off. But I thought I’d give Libre Office, the successor, a look.

And now that I’ve lived with Office 2010, I don’t find Libre Office 3.6 all that bad.

Continue reading A skeptic looks at Libre Office

Hot-rod Cyanogenmod 7.2

Whatever you do, don’t call this post Optimizing Android 2.3 for Games, Graphics and Multimedia. I’ll kick your… nevermind.

But of course the first thing I wanted after I installed Cyanogenmod 7.2–which is based on Android 2.3.7–on my Nook Color was to make it run smoother and faster. What else would I want? So here’s some stuff I did, since adding three CPU cores obviously isn’t an option.

Continue reading Hot-rod Cyanogenmod 7.2