Month: March 2010

What happens when your hard drive gets full?

In today’s world of 500GB drives for under $100, most of us don’t need to worry about maxing out the hard drives on our personal laptops unless we have tens of thousands of mp3s and photos, or hundreds of movies.  The average user is storing a few photos, some music, emails, and some work documents, and probably won’t make a dent in that big hard disk that came on their shiny new laptop. Those of us using 2004’s laptop for 2010’s storage demands may find themselves in a much stickier situation.  I recently came across a client whose computer was taking 10 or more minutes to boot, his files had […]

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Pro Tips: Use a Hot Air Gun to Reflow Solder

Why A good hot air solder rework station costs well upwards of $100. If you have just a few parts you need to reflow, you can use a common heat gun available at most hardware stores for around $30. These guns have all kinds of uses and are commonly used in construction to strip paint. They are usually around 1000W and some have temperature control. I use a Wagner HT1000, which has selectable 750F and 1000F modes. How Common solder melts around 500 degrees F, no problem for most of these guns. These guns push a lot of air and can blow away smaller components if they aren’t held down, […]

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Online Business Owners: Beware of SURBLs!

About this Post We recently found ourselves in a fight with SURBL.org to get a client’s domain off of one of their blacklists. This is a little bit of information about SURBLs and some resources to help others who have been wrongfully blacklisted.

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Drive an RC Servo from Analog Voltage

ABOUT: This is a circuit I designed to generate a PWM signal for an RC servo given an analog voltage or high frequency PWM.  It has no microcontroller and can be built with one quad op-amp and passive components. The op-amp I used in my implementation is a NJU7034D-ND, available from digikey, but any rail-to-rail quad op-amp will do. Since the input stage has a low pass filter built in this circuit will accept a high frequency (>~5kHz) PWM as an input in addition to analog voltages.

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BIOS Password: Don’t Set it and Forget it

We recently had a computer in the shop that had a Hard Disk password and a BIOS password set on it. The Hard Disk password is stored not only on the logic controller, but also on the disk itself, and make the drive unusable without entering the password. Under normal circumstances, people will password protect their windows logon, but their data is easily obtainable just by removing the hard drive and accessing it from another computer.  If you set the Hard Disk Password, this is not the case.

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Performing a “Clean Install”

A clean install is a reinstallation of your operating system “from scratch”.  Under most circumstances, this is a last resort when the operating system is so badly damaged, corrupted, or otherwise uncooperative, that other options won’t work. Some other reasons to do a clean install are: When transferring a computer from one owner to another.  This is to delete any personal data and make the computer “new again”.  This is a great option for parents who want to “hand-me-down” their computers to kids. When buying a new computer.  It’s a stretch, but some new computers are so bogged down with crapware from the manufacturer that customers just want a clean […]

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