Archive for the ‘Hardware’ Category

My Dell Inspiron 6000 Review

December 14th, 2005 ^Lestat 8 comments

After a long wait it finally arrived. My first laptop. I couldn’t pass up the $500 discount at Dell. That was the current deal of the day. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve configured a machine and added to my wish list.
I ordered this one with just about NO accessories. Not only to keep the price down, but because the accessories at Dell seem to be marked up a bit much.


Lets start with the specs:

  • Inspiron 6oo0
  • Intel Pentium M 1.73GHz/2MB Cache/533MHz FSB
  • 15.4″ Ultrasharp WUXGA LCD
  • 1GB Shared DDR2 SDRAM(2 – 512’s)
  • 128MB DDR Radeon PCI Express
  • 60GB 7200rpm HD
  • XP Professional With backup media
  • 8x CD/DVD+/-RW
  • Intel Pro 2915 AND Bluetooth Internal Wireless NIC

Off the start, I like the look, weight and feel. I really dig the pocket mouse. It has a compartment to hold the usb connector. The batteries set under the hood, much like a Volkswagon Beetle. The laptop itself has some spiffy looking buttons on the front of it for controlling media. Volume, play pause etc.


It’s got all kinds of connection options.

Now here’s where some of the cons come in. Look ma, bundled junk from the startup…


… Including Wild Tangent!

Immediately I tried to use the nifty integrated wireless card, but no such luck…

Later in the evening I was able to pick up a nearby signal, but not strong enough. Now and then a network will show up, but it’s encrypted. I installed a 108mbps G wirless router that screams. Next I tried a DVD. The screen, though WUXGA, is not as smooth as I like for viewing movies. But I can’t see myself using that too often. The 128MB vid card, and the 1GB of RAM helped it along quite nicely. I could resize and move the screen while the movie was playing and it didn’t even hiccup.

I was able to log on to my current favorite online game Project Entropia, and the system not only handled the connection well, but the graphics ability are quite ample.

In General I am quite pleased with the system. It has most all the ability of my desktop, yet nice and portable.

Dell, Inspiron, Review

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LCD ghost remedy

November 16th, 2005 ^Lestat 36 comments

I recently ran into an issue I had with an acer AL1714. At first I thought it was what they call ‘dead pixels’.

I was seeing a burned in image of my email client. It looks similar to the problem that used to occur in CRT’s. I found that to be odd, as I understood LCD’s don’t have this problem.

I first contacted Acer about the problem. This monitor has a 3 year waranty, and I only had it for 3 months. The good news is that they could repair it in 7-10 days. Cool. The bad news is that they wouldn’t send out aImage Persist Cleaner replacement in the mean time. Not even with a credit card to secure it. I asked them how they proposed I continued to do any work. I’m paraphrasing their response as, “that’s for you to figure out”. Nice warranty….. so much for support.

At this point I decided to investigate further. After much googling, I discovered that my problem was not uncommon. Hmmm. It’s called Image Persistence.

It turns out that pixels in an LCD have a memory. If an image is on the pixels for an extended amount of time, the pixels will remember the image. The amount of time is unknown to me. I’m suspecting that it hase something to do with response time? As you can see in the upper portion of the screen, you can make out the ‘box’ of my outlook email client.

Image Persistence

The good news is that it’s not permanent. Here are a few steps you can take to remove it (suggested by an article at;

  1. Create a 1200 x 1600 100% white .gif to use as a screen saver. (In windows you can add it to “My Pictures Slideshow”). You can just download this one if you like. (Right click->save as)
  2. Set that to run after 2 minutes of non-use.
  3. Set the monitor to power off in a short amount of non-use. Say 15 minutes.

In a few days your monitor shouldn’t remember those open application borders anymore. Then you can return the settings to a more tolerable time setting, and set your old favorite screensaver etc.

Rinse, and repeat as needed.

Update 1/05/2006:You can do the same with apple LCD’s as described here.

Have you had something similar happen to you? If you have any other suggested comments or educational tips on image persistence, please leave a comment.

, , burn-in, Image Persistence

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Malware turns PSP’s into a useless brick

October 13th, 2005 ^Lestat No comments


Apparently this malware gets in your machine, and asks you to reboot to fix a problem. It’s pretty usless after that point…

“The device basically becomes a brick,” says Richard Archdeacon, director of technical services at Symantec. “You might as well use it to build a house.”

psp, sony, malware, brick, gaming, symantec

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Printers & Cable Conversion

September 8th, 2005 ^Lestat No comments

*Update: 09/20/05*
This was a poor idea. After finally getting the cable I thought would do the job, I discovered this doesn’t work. There is no way to get the parallel print server to ’speak USB’

I recently have had to buy a new inkjet printer. My old printer was connected via an HP print server. The old printer was an HP as well. The problem I had was that the new printer is USB, and the print server has a parallel connection. Print servers can start in the price range of $250+. So I went looking for a solution to coble the 2 together.

Print Server
print server
DB25 Male Parallel Cable
    DB25 Male

While looking for some converting cables, I made the mistake of buying the wrong ones several times. The connection world can become overwelming in connection types and names. I ran across this page at, that made things so much easier. This page includes pictures, drawings, and the technical names for all different types of connections. It definatly sped up the research process!

The closest cable I could find was a DB25-male (Parallel connection to the print server) to a USB A. However, most larger periphials require a USB B connection. I was able to find a USB A female to USB B male adapter. So for roughly $30 plus freight, I was able to save a few hundred bucks by not having to buy a new print server.

USB A – Male
USB A - Male
USB B – Male
  USB B Male
USB A-B Adapter
USB A to USB B Adapter

One would think that somebody out there would have a backward-compatable cable out there in which all you need to do is plug it in without monkeying around- without buying adapters and such!

Cables, USB, Parallel, Hardware

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