Category Archives: Computers and Internet

HHKB LITE 2 (Insane in the Membrane)

This is going to be a test of the emergency escape system. The first thing I noticed on the happy hacking keyboard was that the backspace key, which I sadly seem to rely upon a lot in life, (Like most things) is right where the `~ key is and it makes for a lot of mistakes, its not something I’d like to get used to. But the regular keys typing is really something of a natural feel though the mushy rubber dome keys are not to my liking.

hhkb_lite_2

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What happened to the ScreenSaver?

Oh the joy of navigating a Starfield, the adventuring through a maze with the rat, flipping rock and it’s dead ends, only to find a trophy and begin all over again. What happened to all the cool ScreenSavers?

 

I remember my Elementary school and the computer lab had these amazing distracting images of scenes that would flicker ALL day long until school was over and the teacher shut them down for the night, only to start them up again the next school day.

What has changed? Technology that’s what changed. Let’s start with the reason screensavers existed before.

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Quick Tips and Tricks

I usually run into situations where people are amazed by the quick and simple things we do and take for granted on a computer. I’ve decided to make a list of my daily used shortcuts that I use working on a Computer. Windows or Linux. Just for my personal reference and to share.

The Basics on Documents

Ctrl + C to copy lines of words or pictures. This is so common that it’s not a waste of memory to remember this one, it just saves so much time from clicking.

Ctrl + X to CUT lines of images, it removes but saves in an imaginary clipboard for later use. be wary as this clipboard only holds one thing and not for very long. At least until your next reboot.

Ctrl + V paste whatever you cut or copied using the Ctrl + C or X commands you used previously.

Ctrl + S Get into the habit of saving often. Saves your work with a simply tap.

Ctrl + Z undo your last mistakes! I need this button for real life. And for computers it’s limited on how many times you can undo, especially on paint and word documents. In fact, sometimes save will override this function and you can only undo until your last saved file.

On Windows or Linux GUI

ALT + F4 will close any window you are currently on. Very handy if you know what i mean.

ALT + Tab changes the Windows you are working on, it helps when you’re switching back and forth from the same two windows. Like when you need to copy and paste little bits of data a piece at a time.

ALT + Shift + Tab is similar to the last one, but in reverse. Keep holding the ALT button to see what’s currently running.

DELETE have you actually used the delete button on your computer? It does exactly what it says and works better than right clicking on something and clicking again to delete.

Home, Page UP, Page Down, End. Since the invention of the web browser we’ve relaid on the mouse to help us scroll through pages of information, but give that wheel a rest as you can now scroll sections at a time with page up and down! Need to see the bottom of the page? End. Need to go back to the top? Home.

Two Finger Scrolling. My goodness! Laptops with touchpads have needed this for ages! When two finger scrolling came into practice my only thought was “About time!”. Enabling this is only a quick google guide away, but not difficult as most laptops have this feature enabled by default, as the old method was incredibly obtrusive. Quick Guide on enabling Two Finger Scrolling

On Google Chrome

Ctrl + Shift + T brings up the previously closed tab, keep pressing T to bring up the one before that.

Ctrl + T just bring up a new empty blank tab

Ctrl + W closes current tab

Ctrl + Tab changes the tabs ONLY in the web browser. Remember the SHIFT button to put it in reverse as well, try it.

Addons: While we’re on the topic of Google Chrome… For years there have been amazing addons that make your web browsing experience either terrible or much better. A popular addon that’s been floating around for years is AdblockPlus. It’s self updating with every Chrome version so it’s very out of the way and does a great job of helping clean up ugly ads that get in the way. very recommended for safer web browsing on Windows and Linux.

Finally

You can already know these and many more depending on the work you do in the office or on a computer, but the basics remain and this list is something everyone who works daily on a computer system should know as it facilitates our computer experience.

Blue Screen of Death (Windows)

BSOD Debug

8664.New-BSOD-in-Windows-8_5A7DB394

When you get a blue screen of death there are a few things you should try to figure out why this happened. A blue screen of death means your computer or machine has crashed beyond the point of recovery and MUST be rebooted and/or fixed. When you see this problem, it will not be fixed on it’s own. EVER, on maybe rarely. But this is a Windows specific thing since Linux and Mac aren’t common enough to have buggy software or crummy hardware fail them considering quality and build specs are usually custom built by the user or manufacturer. But since Windows can be built on shoddy hardware and be mis-configured easily, let’s see a common troubleshoot checklist.

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SupraaaaaaPaaaaad!!!!

The name’s SupraPad…. iView SupraPad…….. iView SupraPad 1700Qw Windows 8.1 x86 Intel Atom. Edition.
WIN_20150305_223228

It’s like the Toyota Supra of tablets! Well not really, more like the Ford Fiesta of Fords, but like bad cheap cars, they exist for a reason.

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Ode to the Debian User

A true Debian user will not care what desktop he chooses,
The hardware he has or the monitor he uses
The system will never get in my way
It is something every person should be able say
It’s clear that the widgets, bars and nonsense
make us hate the desktop when it is a mess

The Linux kernel can be anything you like.
So pick and choose, there is no strike.
Does it work, does it run, does it work with your printer?
Investigate, look in forums, someone did it last winter.
We don’t use all the features. Or the latest software.
As long as it works, it’s out of our hair.
We are the users who despise automatic updates
We enjoy doing it manually, we’re never that late.

The terminal can be whatever,
and it’s never frustrating to use,
Debian Linux, is a dream come true.

But then comes reality,
when things fall apart
you’ve tried something new
that wasn’t so smart
You’ve broke the Debian
and now it’s been shart
You’ve come to decide.
A fresh install I will start.

Leopold FC 660C 66 Key Electrostatic Capacitive Mini Keyboard

This is a quick review on a keyboard someone let me borrow for a full week.

Using the Topre keys. Rubber dome with springs under them. This keyboard feels like the best rubber dome keyboard I’ve ever tried. If I actually had one of these before I had my Blue Switches I would have been perfectly happy. But Blue switches are the best in my opinion. Besides that I promised myself I would not compare this keyboard to my Das. But I still do…
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A short story: The first Artificially Intelligent program.

Short story. About the first failed AI in 1980.

When programming languages were just being created, one elite group of programmers were working on a simplified version of C that could code itself, find bugs and basically figure itself out. It was designed to be sophisticated and very complex, but one night after a long time compiling the final version, it worked. The program built another working copy of itself and they both recognized each other, called the mirror effect, and then began working together on typing out code that would make the hello world program, a calculator and a few others they had listed. Once the list had been complete, the AI program began to optimize the list of programs every time it rewrote them. It even began to change the code within itself. The engineers were very ecstatic that it worked so well, especially when it rewrote itself it was smaller, compact and very efficient code. But the main problem was that it was stuck on the main isolated network server so they planned hook it up to the internet for the other schools to see and share, but little did they know that that AI program was hellbent on taking over the world by hiding and waiting for processor technology to catch up and release itself to take over the human race. But the day before the program was to be released to the world and unto the internet, this one guy who was working  on the server accidentally wiped it with one kernel upgrade late at night and the program was forever gone from the world.

Artificial Intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

I wrote this story to accentuate the seriousness of deleting everything on the server without consulting me first.

Very Basic Soldering and Hardware Terminology

Last week I’ve been moved to the hardware team at Intel which involves soldering and bringing up platforms. In order to better understand my new position I had to do some homework. But since I don’t like wasting my time. Here it is. Most is take from Wikipedia and Internet references mentioned below, but I feel that anyone who’s going to be doing some soldering would need to know this stuff.

Soldering Basics

3 different types of fluxes.

  1. Water-soluble fluxes – higher activity fluxes designed to be removed with water after soldering (no VOCs required for removal).
  2. No-clean fluxes – mild enough to not “require” removal due to their non-conductive and non-corrosive residue. These fluxes are called “no-clean” because the residue left after the solder operation is non-conductive and won’t cause electrical shorts; nevertheless they leave a plainly visible white residue that resembles diluted bird-droppings. No-clean flux residue is acceptable on all 3 classes of PCBs as defined by IPC-610 provided it does not inhibit visual inspection, access to test points, or have a wet, tacky or excessive residue that may spread onto other areas. Connector mating surfaces must also be free of flux residue. Finger prints in no clean residue is a class 3 defect.
  3. Traditional rosin fluxes – available in non-activated (R), mildly activated (RMA) and activated (RA) formulations. RA and RMA fluxes contain rosin combined with an activating agent, typically an acid, which increases the wettability of metals to which it is applied by removing existing oxides. The residue resulting from the use of RA flux is corrosive and must be cleaned. RMA flux is formulated to result in a residue which is not significantly corrosive, with cleaning being preferred but optional.

Flux is commonly cleaned off with IPA (Isopropyl) Acohol, a horsehair brush and some lint free tissues.

 

3 Different types of Process for Soldering

  1. Soft soldering, which originally used a tin/lead alloy as the filler metal,
  2. silver soldering, which uses an alloy containing silver,
  3. brazing which uses a brass alloy for the filler.

In the lab it seems we use #1.

Metling pointing

The most common tin/lead alloy  #1 Sn(Tin)63 Pb(Lead)37 has a melting point of 361°F

#1. 63/37: melts at 183 °C (361 °F) (eutectic: the only mixture that melts at a point, instead of over a range)
#2. 60/40: melts between 183–190 °C (361–374 °F)
#3. 50/50: melts between 183–215 °C (361–419 °F)

The most commonly lead free alloy referred to as SAC 305, has a melting point of 422°F

eutectic
eutectic (yoo tech-tick)is when a solution has the lowest possible melting point minimizes heat stress on electronic components during soldering. And, having no plastic phase allows for quicker wetting as the solder heats up, and quicker setup as the solder cools. A non-eutectic formulation must remain still as the temperature drops through the liquidus and solidus temperatures. Any movement during the plastic phase may result in cracks, resulting in an unreliable joint.

Electrical and Hardware.

Ohms Law

Ohms law is Voltage = I (Current in AMPS) times Resistance in ohms

This is useful knowledge for designing a circuit and controlling current.

Ohms can be though of units of resistance.

Resistance

Resistors are electronic components which have a specific resistance to electricity, which limits the flow of electrons which pass through it. They only consume power come to think of it. They are measured in ohms. You can have a resistor with 0 ohms and it will have no resistance, which would be the equivalent of a straight-through connection. Using an ohm meter can let you measure it if you don’t know what it is. They also have fault tolerances of 1% or 5% depending on how accurate you need them to be.

 

References.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soldering

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ohm’s_law

http://www.paceworldwide.com/pacenter/soldering/lead-free-vs.-leaded-solder

https://learn.sparkfun.com/tutorials/voltage-current-resistance-and-ohms-law

https://learn.sparkfun.com/tutorials/resistors

 

 

 

Simple Tablet Summary

It’s been quite a few years since we’ve seen tablets come of age. First they came off as over-sized unnecessary iPhones and now everybody has to have one. And there’s all kinds, shapes and sizes. So with all these different tablets and different Operating systems for all of them? What’s the difference? Why should I buy a $400 iPad? A $1000 Surface Pro? Or what about those cheap $50 no foreign brand tablets?

To understand these questions we must learn that everyone needs a computer for different reasons and a tablet is no different. My opinion is condensed in the following statement.

What kind should you buy?
The one you really want, don’t cheap out and buy whatever your heart desires, you will be enjoying your tablet much more that way. Most people who own iPhones or like apple products I recommend an iPad. If you’ve never had a lot of experience with computers, get an android since it’s a great starting off point for anyone, especially those on a budget. And if you like the power of a portable laptop, get a Windows one.

But enough of the short explanations, here’s some more details.

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