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Dell Optiplex case swap

Rebuilding old Dell Optiplexes for home use is common, because Dell Optiplexes are so easy to get and cheap. But there’s a problem if you want to put an Optiplex board in a standard ATX case, whether it’s to make the computer look less corporate, or because you got the board cheap and don’t have a Dell case. Dell uses proprietary connectors. Not only that, the connectors aren’t even consistent across different models, even in the same generation. Here’s how to deal with that so you can do a Dell Optiplex case swap, and put a Dell motherboard in a new ATX case.

While Dell uses the standard ATX mounting holes in its minitowers and even its desktops, the front panel connectors are completely nonstandard, and sometimes the power supply connectors are too. Fortunately you can get adapters.

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The secret history of the F-14’s flight computer

If you’re Gen X, you know the F-14. You may have even known about it before the movie Top Gun. The story of its flight computer, and the man who designed the hardware, Ray Holt, is intense. I don’t share a ton of links, but this is one you’ve gotta read. It’s the best piece of tech journalism I’ve read in years. Every possible box they taught me to check in journalism school, this story checks. I’m trying to remember the last time I saw a technology piece do that.

I’ve heard of Ray Holt before. He’s almost the Gary Kildall of computer chips. This story tells the story of his triumph, tragedy, and how he carried on, reinvented himself, and is still helping people today. It makes him human.

Baking computer chips: Fixing chips in an oven

Does baking computer chips fix them when they’re broken? Can you fix computer chips in an oven? The answer is sometimes. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to know when it will help, and when it does, we may not know why. But, when faced with a broken chip, we don’t exactly have anything to lose, either.

Baking computer chips does seem to fix them, at least sometimes. Whether it works depends entirely on why the chip failed in the first place, which isn’t always possible to know.

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Jonard EX-2 review: The best chip puller

If you’re looking for the best chip puller or IC extraction tool, I don’t think anyone will argue with my assertion it’s the Jonard EX-2. I finally picked one up this fall after watching various retro Youtubers use them for more than a year. The videos aren’t exaggerating. This chip puller makes life with retro machines much easier. This is my Jonard EX-2 review.

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Broadcom vs Intel NIC

My son was having trouble with the Realtek network card in his PC. The question was what to replace it with. Well, it wasn’t going to be another Realtek-based card. Should I get a Broadcom? Or an Intel? Let’s look at the pros and cons of a Broadcom vs Intel NIC.

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Are tenkeyless keyboards good?

I’ll admit it. I’m a keyboard snob. There are two reasons for that. My mind races much faster than most people can type, and on a good keyboard I could type at insane speeds in my prime. Secondly, I’ve had repetitive stress injury, and after a day of typing on cheap keyboards, I can feel it. I’m an extreme case, but if you’re asking about a specific kind of keyboard, that’s probably the opinion you want. So are tenkeyless keyboards good? I thought I’d hate them, but I was wrong.

Tenkeyless keyboards offer at least three advantages over a traditional keyboard. They’re cheaper, they take up less space, and they allow a better position for the mouse. If you’re not an accountant, they’re worth a look.

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Can a storm damage a modem?

In early August 2020, strong storms blew through St. Louis, causing power outages and other disruptions. A friend shared a story about the storm causing a modem to burst into flames spectacularly, then asked if it was real. It probably was. It’s entirely possible for a storm to damage a modem, sometimes in dramatic fashion.

Although it’s unusual, it is entirely possible for a storm to damage a modem. The damage can be partial, or complete.

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What is a PS2 keyboard?

Sometimes you’ll hear references to a PS2 keyboard, or, more properly, a PS/2 keyboard. It’s an old standard, and a fair number of newer computers can’t use them anymore. But what is a PS2 keyboard? And if it was good enough to last so long, why did it go away?

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