Archive for the ‘computer stuff’ category

SPAM

February 12, 2010

At the bottom of this blog page, in the right column, is a banner identifying itself as SPAM claming 251 spam blocked.

It has been claiming that same score ever since it showed up after the last upgrade. I have no idea where it came from or why. I do suspect it is spam itself and completely worthless.

As soon as I figgure out how to delete it and any software that belongs to it, it will be gone.

I use a different program to get rid of spam. A program that does not waste space displaying worthless banners.

Thermaltake TR2 430w power supply

February 12, 2010

Some time ago my son-in-law experienced a major failure in his external hard drive storage system. He pulled the whole thing and replaced it with a new system. He boxed up the old system and let me have it. One of the external hard drive cases was a Thermaltake. I was impressed with that Thermaltake product and wondered why I had not heard of it before.

I have several desk top computers. Some of them are Dells. The other two are generic clones. All of them have had power supply problems. One Dell and both of the ATX cones have had their power supplies replaced. Unfortunately I chose to replace them with the same cheap trash that caused the failures in the first place. So when one of the ATX clones had another power supply failure I decided to upgrade to a decent power supply.

I found a Thermaltake ATX power supply priced at $33.50. It was new and the shipping was another $7.

The Thermaltake looks like it will do the job. It is about twice the weight of any of the cheap supplies, sports two temperature controlled fans and has all the multitude of cables individually laced with neatly installed cable harnessing.

Any new systems I decide to build will have a Thermaltake power supply.

No more cheap supplies. No more cases with built-in power supplies. No more bare bones kits where quality is sacrificed for price. No more Dells.

Actually, now that I have discovered Apple notebooks there will probably not be anymore cludgey clones.

Ad-Aware and AVG

January 19, 2010

Both of these programs used to be useful but recently they have become less useful and make the user a target for scammers.

We were recently hit with a virus. First time in over 30 years.

Unfortunately we could no longer use the infected computer and I became involved in getting rid of the virus.

It was a simple matter of running Malwarebytes Anti-Malware scanner, the free version.

Malwarebytes is a very nice, professional bit of software that also has a ‘pay to play’ commercial version. It is reminiscent of the way Ad-Aware and AVG used to work when they were first introduced.

After the virus was removed and added security was installed, I revisited AVG and Ad-Aware to see what they had to offer. The first indication that all was not well occurred when both these vendors offered their premium versions for free. Free as long as you signed up for some really worthless services that no one needs. So it really was not free. Just a waste of time.

Still, I downloaded the free versions and tried them. I got rid of AVG because I did not want to suffer the overhead of having their stuff rifling through my files. Besides, after the ‘free’ scam they tried, I did not trust them anymore.

I also got rid of Ad-Aware because of their incessant nag screens. This program is supposed to eliminate unwanted advertising, not add advertising of their own.

Too bad. Both of these vendors have been removed from my approved list. Replaced with Malwarebytes.

Computer acting up

January 15, 2010

I use one small system running XP to support the magic jack telephone. This afternoon its speaker was making a funny sound. I rebooted the computer to see if that would solve the problem. That was when things really went wrong. The built-in computer speaker began to squawk.

Turns out the a microphone cord was pushed under the area where the keyboard rests in hiding. The cord was holding one of the keyboard keys down making the computer complain.

The cord was moved and the computer is now working just fine. No more anoying noise.

Calendar Widget

November 19, 2009

I just noticed that the calendar widget on the lower left of this blog has some days in bold numbers and a greyed-out background.

It appears that those days are ones on which new posts were added to this blog.

Yeah, I know, is that really useful?

Useful or not, it think it is cool.

Computer Problem Solved

November 15, 2009

It is solved at least for now. This entire mess is occuring on a Dell Dimension E521. Overall this is a good computer. A decent machine. Like most newer computers this thing has built-in Ethernet, video, and sound. Currently all three of these features are disabled. Six months ago we disabled the sound. It quit working. We replaced it with a common PCI sound card.

It worked for about six months.

This computer is used primarily as a PVR. We record shows off cable, off air, and off anywhere we can get sound and video information of interest including surveilance cameras. For the most part this thing runs quiet. No sound even though it is equipped with an excellent pair of amplified speakers.

When we replaced the on board sound with an external card we noticed a slight reduction in sound quality. The reduction was not pronounced but it did have a different ring to it.

Five months later we noticed that the picture on the capture card was no longer ‘real time’. It never was real ‘real time’ but now it looked like it was way past time. Picture was several minutes behind the real video action.

The recodings were still good so we did not investigate the new problem. As time passed we began to suspect that we were once again getting screwed by windows again.

This week we needed to use the sound feature of the effected machine. No sound. Dead. Not breathing not moving not a peep.

Getting down to basics we replaced the sound card with the last SB live card we had for PCI. Turns out that windows XP is pretty good at installing new hardware on the fly. Five seconds after installation we were back up and running with full sound. Good sound too. The funny scratchy sound with the old card was gone now.

Also gone was the lagging video display. The Hauppaque video capture card was now performing as it should once more.

I just hope we are not doing something that is shelling out sound cards. Those cards do interface with the outside world in a most direct way. Plug in the wrong device into the right socket or vice-versa and you may be looking for another sound card.

Atahualpa

November 8, 2009

Sounds like a rare disease but Atahualpa is much more the cure than the malady. It is the name of the theme being used in this blog.

After I started this blog with Kubrick it took me a while to figure out how to make the rotating header graphics work. I soon discovered that everything that is difficult to do is not always worth doing. Everytime someone got a brain fart and came up with a WordPress update the header graphics would quit working after the update.

This last time I updated the graphics again quit working and this time I left them busted. Got better things to do than play with pictures or try to learn real programming. It would be different if it was earning me a living but this was just wasting my time.

Today I discovered Atahualpa. The configuration software for this theme is written in english, not some cryptic and insane programming language. Better yet, you don’t have to search for what section of code needs fooling with. Everything is plainly identified, gives instruction as to use, and even provided examples of what to do AND how to do it.

Software with a built-in ‘How-TO’. Now here is a real improvement over code with self documenting jiberish!