The HP Elitebook 8440p and Windows 10

I got an HP Elitebook 8440p because I wanted something a little newer and faster than my old Dell E1505. It was certainly newer and faster, but it had a problem. Every morning it greeted me with a BSOD. That E1505 was getting older and it had its own quirks, but I don’t remember it ever bluescreening on me. Here’s how I fixed the bluescreens I got with the HP Elitebook 8440p and Windows 10.

Not only did it bluescreen, but the behavior seemed pretty consistent. Two days in a row, I woke the laptop up from hibernation, and about nine minutes later, it bluescreened.

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Lenovo Thinkcentre M58 upgrades

I picked up an off-lease Lenovo Thinkcentre M58 over the weekend. Based on the date code on the hard drive, this one dates to 2010. It’s a serviceable machine. You have a few options when it comes to Lenovo Thinkcentre M58 upgrades.

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Using the OSI model to troubleshoot video

I was at church on Sunday and the video projection wasn’t working. After a few minutes of watching everyone struggle, I volunteered to take a look, and working together, we were able to get the video working again using a simple, repeatable methodology: Using the OSI model to troubleshoot video.

I’m going to share that methodology now.

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4K displays get affordable for Cyber Monday

I’m not quite ready to upgrade to a 4K (4096×2160 resolution) monitor yet, but if you are, Samsung’s 28″ 4K display is on sale for $400 (down from $700) for Cyber Monday.

At that size and resolution, it works out to 165 pixels per inch, which is very close to what we used to call “near letter quality” in the days of dot matrix printers. To me, this seems more practical than using a 42″ 4K television, and the refresh rate is much better.

Keep in mind you do need Displayport to drive a 4K display. Most video cards costing $100 and up have those these days, but even some Geforce 210 cards have them, like this Jaton.

The time bomb in your older computer

I was listening to an interview between Paul Asadorian (of Pauldotcom fame) and Cigital CTO and software security expert Gary McGraw. They discussed how the target of attacks moved from Microsoft to Adobe and now that Adobe is showing signs of getting its act together, it’s going somewhere else.

“If I were Nvidia,” McGraw said, “I’d be thinking a lot about software security. Fortunately they are.”

Nvidia does sound like a juicy target. Read more

How to get 1440×900 resolution out of an Nvidia video card

I have a Gateway FPD1975W LCD monitor with an unusual 1440×900 resolution. Intel video cards have no issues with this resolution, but Nvidia cards don’t support it by default when running under Windows.

Hack the drivers a bit and you can get this monitor to work just fine with an Nvidia adapter, though. Believe it or not, the only hacking tool you need to accomplish the deed is notepad.exe.  Read more

My $30 desktop PC upgrade

I built my main desktop PC three and a half years ago and have no complaints about it, save one. Hard to believe, but PC hardware has improved considerably in recent years. This weekend, I sunk $30 into it to solve my single complaint, and now I can reasonably expect to get another three years out of it, if not longer.

The integrated video on my system tended to bluescreen once a year or so. The troubleshooting always pointed to the video driver, which hasn’t been updated since the previous decade and probably never will, since Nvidia has abandoned its Nforce desktop chipsets. That may be why I got a good deal on the board in the first place–it was an orphan. The solution? A $30 PCIe Geforce 210 card, which is about 6x faster than the built-in video anyway. It’s not a gamer card, but it’s fine for productivity use. I was satisfied with the built-in video except for that bluescreen issue, so I’ll be happy with this. Plus it gives me more outputs, so I can connect to a monitor via DVI, or a television via HDMI.

My Windows performance index score went from 3.9 for Aero and 3.2 for business/gaming graphics to 4.2 for Aero and 5.6 for business/gaming graphics.  But that’s secondary; what I really cared about was getting rid of those bluescreens; getting something no slower than what I already had and digital output was what finally convinced me to spend 30 bucks.

A lot of people regard desktops as passe, but this is why I still like them. I can build them for a couple hundred dollars, drop a $30-$40 upgrade into them periodically, and run them for nearly a decade. I’ll need to put a bigger SSD in this machine once the one I’m using now gets too crowded, but this has been a very low-maintenance machine, which is how I like them.

The Asus Memo Pad HD 7 review: It’s a nice inexpensive tablet

I’ve been messing with an Asus Memopad, the 7-inch version. I think it’s a well-built, good-performing tablet for $149, and when you can get it on sale for less than that–and this is the time of year for that–I think it’s a great tablet for the money.

It’s not a high-end tablet. It has a 1280×800 screen, a quad-core 1.2 GHz Mediatek processor, a middling GPU, and 1 GB of RAM, and importantly, it includes a micro SD slot so you can add up to 32 GB of storage to it. The specs are all reasonable, but not mind-blowing. Most of the complaints I’ve seen about it are that it’s not a Nexus 7, but it’s 2/3 the price of a Nexus 7, too. When you compare it to other tablets in its price range, the worst you can say about it is that it holds its own. Read more

“Computer Maintenance Department” called me again from India

So, “Peggy” from “Computer Maintenance Department” called me again last night. This time I decided to mess with him a bit more. This is the second time.

(No, “Peggy” wasn’t his real name, nor did he identify himself as “Peggy,” but that’s the name I’ll use, thanks to that old Discover commercial.)

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How the previous week’s headlines flow together

Here are some headlines I read this past week: Dell is trying to take itself private. Microsoft is investing in Dell. Intel is pulling out of the motherboard market. AMD is considering ARM CPUs. And the PC is dead.

It’s all related.
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