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Archive for the ‘hardware’ Category

Old Notebook, Upgrade or not?

My girlfriend has a Sony Vaio VGN-C2S/P notebook from 2007 and it is getting old and slow. So her question was, upgrade or buy a new one? Well, the Vaio was build with 4 years old tech, a Intel Core 2 Duo 1,6 GHz Dual core processor, 2GB of RAM, a 80 GB hard disk and only 2 USB ports. You can get a notebook like hers for €300 these days, but for a true performance enhancement, one would at least need an Core i3-2 or i5-2 processor with 4 GB RAM and 500GB hard disk, meaning at least €500. That’s not very cost-effective considering her old notebook still works perfectly, so I decided to upgrade it instead. Like with her Samsung Galaxy S, the only condition is that no changes should be visible.
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Samsung Galaxy S Wireless Inductive Charging Mod

Well, after my Motorola Milestone 2 was sent in for repairs for 3 times in a row now and I decided to not use any Motorola devices anymore, so when Mediamarkt offered the Samsung Galaxy S Plus for €269, it was an instant buy. I mean, how can Motorola send me a defective unit back from repair not only once, but twice? I haven’t received it back yet from their third try, but oh well, let’s hope somebody on eBay will be happy with it. Okay, no more Motorola, all Samsung now, the Galaxy S Plus works way better anyway. In fact, everything is perfect, except for one little thing. The USB connector of the Galaxy S Plus is on the top. How do you dock a phone in portrait mode with the USB connector on top? eBay suggested a rather ugly method with plugging a cable on top. So I remembered the Palm’s inductive charging feature and wanted it on my new phone. But all guides on the internet are either ugly or voided the warranty, but I wanted the best of both worlds, so my mod has to be invisible on first view and don’t void the warranty of my all new phone. (As the Galaxy S is build identically as the Galaxy S Plus, this mod should work flawlessly with the Galaxy S, too.)

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I bought an Apple product!

My friends know that I like to make fun of Apple fanboys, but now I’ve bought a Apple product myself. I was struggling really hard at “Media Markt”, oscillating between the cash desk and the shelves, but I did it! I bought an iPad from Apple. The iPad has everything, big screen, long battery life, (too) easy to use interface, chinese hand-writing input, WiFi and simple games unlimited… It has everything my Mom needs! That and the unbeatable price of € 499 for an actually solid looking tablet, I have to admit there is no better and cheaper solution for my Mom to surf the internet and playing easy games without having to worry about viruses or where the next power outlet is.
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The Perfect Home Server

Perfect? Is that even possible? I guess not, but my newest server is pretty close in my opinion. The Focus was to get power consumption and price as low as possible while maintaining performance and safety. My current home server is an averages PC with an AMD64 and 2 GB of RAM while having a RAID 5 with 6 hard disk. As you can imagine, my power bill is incredibly high, so I definitely want a more energy efficient solution this time.

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Notebook and other small devices’ power supply efficiency

Green IT is a big topic, that’s why more and more computer power supplies get a 80 PLUS label for showing off their superior efficiency. But if you every decide to run a Intel Atom based PC, use a PicoPSU, just power your notebook or charge your phone, you won’t really find out how efficient the power supply is. I came across this problem while searching for an efficient power supply for my new Atom-based home server. First, I wanted to use an 80 PLUS 350W power supply, but after reading some reviews, I found out that they are totally inefficient (<50%) on low load (<50W), which the targeted power consumption of my new home server is supposed to be. So I googled and found the PicoPSU, advertising >93% efficiency. Wow great, but wait, it needs to be powered by 12V DC. How efficient is the converter from 110/220V AC to 12V DC? No word on the manufacture site. I tried to google for efficient converter, but had no luck, so I gave up… until the case of my new home server arrived, a Gigabyte MIB T5140. Read more »

Back online!

T-Home WTF?!A few weeks ago, my T-Home Entertain VDSL 50 stopped working, for no reason at all. My VDSL modem, the “Speedport 300HS” suddenly couldn’t sync anymore. I thought T-Com is probably doing maintenance, so I waited for a day, but it still wouldn’t sync. So I called the T-Com, asking what the problem would is. They told me everything should be fine, but I can order a technician, who can come to my place to check the line. The only condition is, if my line isn’t broken, I’d have to pay €100 for the technician.
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Things about Li-Ion batteries

Li-Ion batteries are practically everywhere. They are used for mobile phones, notebooks, even cars. But most people don’t really know about them and give out wrong hints on how to use and charge them. So here are two important facts about Li-Ion batteries you should know:
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Logitech, Logitech…

Logitech diNovo Media Desktop Laster KeyboardSome of you have probably read my article complaining about the Logitech product quality. Well, after my third diNovo Keyboard ended up looking like crap after short usage, I decided to get myself a different keyboard. Just like the one before, the rubber from the palm rest started peeling off. Take a look at the picture, does that look like a € 200 keyboard to you? This wouldn’t happen to a cheap € 2 keyboard after 1 week of usage, but on a € 200 one? Paying 100x and getting 100th life time? WTF? Logitech Service worked, unlike the products, flawless (again) and replaced it within 3 days. So after I received my fourth (!) replacement, I decided to sell it on eBay and get myself something different.

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Entering the Dual-Monitor world

Dual Screen DesktopThe first time I used 2 display on one computer was around 1997, with Windows 95. At that time, one of two computers at my home broke, so there was one monitor more than computers. As I was trying to fix the broken computer, I wanted to test whether the graphic card was broken, but as I was too lazy too remove the old one in the working computer, I simply plugged them both into one computer (they were all PCI at that time). Once plugged in, I played around with the settings and then suddenly realised that I had just doubled the working space of the computer. This is quite a lot at that time, where we only had tiny 14″ CRT screens. As I was playing around with Winsock at that time and was creating something like VNC at that time, it was really helpful having two instances of a IDE running, one on each screen, to test the communication. But as monitors were incredibly expensive at that time and as I couldn’t convince my dad to buy a new monitor for the next computer, I never used a dual-monitor setup again until a few days ago.

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Lowcost desktop PC – quiet and fast

I have the Intel U2500 (2x 1,2 Ghz) in my notebook (Toshiba R400), which is simply to slow for developing heavy Javascript applications (like my WordPress plugin qTranslate). Most of the time I was sitting in front of my computer and waiting for it to react. this made me realize that I need a faster computer. But what to do if I don’t have much money left? Luckily, I still had a case and 2 harddisk left from somwhere, so I only needed a CPU, Mainboard, Power Supply, RAM and a CPU Cooler. So I started looking for pieces to put together for a really cheap computer, yet really silent and fast.

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