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This is just a listing of all the documents, posts, and I guess you would call it a blog for the NOC. Feel free to browse the contents here, but if you are looking for something specific we recommend using the search feature.
Last Updated: 01/18/2009 11:03 AM
Posted by Robert Hall on 08/29/2009 04:08 AM
What makes a netbook different from a laptop, they are cheaper, and smaller so why not get one? Well it all depends what you want to do with your laptop.
Lets start with the key features and the differences with netbooks and laptops.
Lets start with the netbooks first
Key Advantages of Netbooks:
Extremely light weight often only around 2 pounds
Very small - Screen sizes such as 8 and 10 inches are common
Long battery life - Lasting 5 or more hours easily, some are up to 9 hours now from Asus
More are showing up on the market now with built-in air cards for use on cell phone networks such as Sprint, Verizon, and AT&...
Posted by Robert Hall on 08/26/2009 01:52 PM
If you don't know already TechCrunch has reported that Microsoft has had a quite the epic photoshop fail on their polish site.
For some odd reason the art/graphics guy decided to modify the original picture and put in a picture of a white guy instead of an african american. The artist failed hard as he forgot to correct the hand on the picture.
Now it could be possible that the art guy did that at the direction of someone in marketing, or some other sort of thing.
However the point is this is, why not take another picture, and second if your going to put someone else's head in the picture at least get the head at a proper angle.
The replacement head is at such a strange angle you have to wonder if his neck...
Posted by Robert Hall on 08/06/2009 10:27 PM
The denial of service attack that Twitter was under today caused the site to be inaccessible for several hours. It is now being reported that the same botnet that was attacking Twitter was also attacking YouTube, Livejournal, and Facebook profile sites of blogger "Cyxymu". Reports claim that "Cyxymu" is a name of a town in the Republic of Georgia. It has yet to be determined if Russia has anything to do with the attack or not.
However I do know one thing, so an attack to have taken Twitter offline, caused facebook to run significantly slower at times, and still have room to try and take a bit out of Google's imense resources is huge. Without a doubt several thousand computers had to be compromised for this att...
Posted by Robert Hall on 08/03/2009 03:39 PM
One thing people don't realize is that just how fragile of a device a hard drive is, and how easily they can stop working. Fortunately most of those failures are caused by mechanical issues that can be reduced such as ventilation. However I've noticed a growing trend of software issues causing hard drives to fail. Most notibly I have seen several Seagate drives fail for firmware glitches and bugs. In a recent case I have seen drive heads become damaged in the 1TB barracuda models due to a firmware glitch. Another very common issue is overflows of firmware data in the system area of the hard drives, causing them to not be accessed at all.
Now that SSD (Solid State Drives) is starting to become more popular I was hoping to see more...
Posted by Robert Hall on 08/01/2009 06:06 AM
I've gone through and had to service a couple systems now that have come with Liquid cooling to keep the CPU and other components cool. While without a doubt Liquid cooling does provide superior cooling capabilities, it should be taken into account the required maintenance.
These systems were sold to average people, with the fact that the Liquid cooling is better. The customers were not told about the maintenance they need to perform on them, and in several cases would'nt be able to perform maintenance if they wanted. With a Liquid cooling system, you need to periodically check for leaks, and low coolant. Many home users do not know how to do this, or what to look for. As a result the system begins to run low on coolant, an...
Posted by Robert Hall on 07/31/2009 04:47 PM
Talk to anyone that runs a computer repair shop and they can tell you more horror stories about Bestbuy's Geek Squad than anyone.
I constantly hear complaints about service and prices from their former customers. Technicians doing more harm than good, not fixing the issue, pushing purchasing new systems, and incorrectly diagnosing issues. I've learned to accept that as the norm from them.
However now I've seen something new. A customer told me about how they sent their laptop in for a broken display and had their hard drive replaced. Bestbuy did'nt tell the customer this was going to happen, they just did it without approval. Not only that, but they had the guts to try and sell her a data recovery service to get the files...
Posted by Robert Hall on 07/30/2009 01:35 PM
No surprise that it was a bug on Facebook that was the cause of thousands of unwanted Twitter posts appearing on facebook just the other day.
As a programmer myself, as well as a hardware repair guy. I can say I have only seen a few programs that have as many cross application integration issues as Facebook has.
When I initially setup my Facebook account I had issue after issue, and now after using it for awhile I have found that almost all those issues were caused by either the strange interface, or poorly written applications.
So it comes to me as no surprise that a bug on facebook caused a complete ignore of user preferences in terms of how updates will be handled from an a...
Posted by Robert Hall on 07/30/2009 11:54 AM
Ever since the mid 90's or at least that's when I started noticing. Almost every PDA, Phone, and now SmartPhone vendor tries to make a push for all digital business cards. Toting how much time, paper, and storage it will save you. I've even seen products that will take paper cards and turn them into digital ones (Nothing more than over priced scanners).
So why is it that these digital cards never get a foot hold?
In one word, compatibility. Think about it, if you and someone else has the same phone, and software on it, sharing contact information is straight forward. Just open your phone, launch the program, hit the send button, wait for the phones to find each other, and that's it.
Now if you don't have matching ...
Posted by Robert Hall on 07/29/2009 01:16 PM
The ultimate challenge for any computer technician is to diagnose an intermitent issue. The reason this is so hard is the technician only has a short time with your system, and that problem might not even show up while he is working on it.
However you can be the biggest help to your technician by doing just a few small things.
Make a note of when the error or issue happens, this includes the day and time
Write down what you were doing at the time
Make a note of the EXACT error message if there is one
Note any strange sounds that might have happened at the same time
Finally be sure to note any programs you have open at the time of the error
Posted by Robert Hall on 07/28/2009 04:01 PM
Looking for a chance to win a Free T-Shirt this weekend?
It's easy first subscribe to our YouTube Channel, and then make a comment on THIS page here. You can post anything, but be sure to list your YouTube channel/user name here so you can win, and perferably something useful like what you would like to see from me in the future.
I've been meaning to do this contest for awhile, I had alot of stuff going on that was keeping me down. However I am back and ready to rock and/or roll as required =) .
The comments must be made by Saturday at 9pm EST, and you must also be subscribed to the YouTube channel b...
Posted by Robert Hall on 07/28/2009 12:23 PM
If you have a computer running a celeron or sempron processor you might be noticing that your computer seems a bit slow, or laggy when opening programs, saving files, and in general anything that makes heavy usage of the processor.
This is because the celeron and sempron processors are scaled back versions of their bigger brothers the pentium and athlon series chips.
The biggest difference is that these lower end chips have less on chip cache, and usually by half or more.
The processor cache is like ram, but just for the processor. So as you use programs the processor actually remembers some of the code it ran before and does'nt have to send requests to the motherboard to get additional instruction...
Posted by Robert Hall on 07/26/2009 05:47 PM
Ever worry about one day going to turn your computer on, and it just does'nt turn on. It can happen, but there is a way to help prevent it or reduce the chance of it happening!
Most of the time when a computer is shut down, and then someone goes to turn it back on in the morning, or several days later and nothing happens... No lights... no fans... no video... It is for one common cause. A power surge, or a rapid series of power fluctuations through the building, or just to the one outlet the system is on.
This can effect laptops and desktops alike. Although usually laptops are more resilent to power fluctuations, they are still susceptible to power spikes and surges. The quality of power supplies and ac adapters have been...
Posted by Robert Hall on 07/25/2009 04:04 AM
I have finally gotten a chance to add several new features to the website! If you visted here frequently you might already notice a few, a couple might not be so obvious. Because I am sooo stoked about this you get each feature numbered, named, AND in bold... fancy...
#1 RSS Feeds!
Yes, I have finally added an RSS feed for the site, so you don't have to come here every day and look for updates, you can just add the RSS feed to your browser or RSS client. The link for it is on every page of the NOC, and I added code so browsers like firefox and Internet explorer 8 will see there is an RSS feed available.
#2 Page views!
Now the almighty question as to how many vie...
Posted by Robert Hall on 07/24/2009 11:55 AM
If your not aware Google is working on YET another beta product called "Wave", and this time it's targeted at improving how email works. At least that is what I am getting from the 1:20:12 long presentation. I don't know how much time they were supposed to have at that demo but an hour and a half is an odd time to be given. As usual with Google beta products it is by invitation only to participate or get your hands on it until they allow the chosen ones to hand out more invitations, and finally open it to the public fully.
Wave is described as a "collaboration tool", meaning it's alot like Microsoft Outlook in that you schedule appointments, handle email, contacts, and in this case documents and "any othe...
Posted by Robert Hall on 07/20/2009 04:35 AM
If you have'nt purchased a new computer in the last 5 years then you might not be aware of a nasty trend that is starting up again with system builders such as HP/Compaq. Many system builders are shipping and selling you computers with no restore disks, only a built in restore image on your hard drive.
While many of you are probably going to say "Well they are trying to save money...", I want to remind you that this has been catching on for the last 5 years it seems. This was also tried in the mid 90's for a very short time before Microsoft got on the PC builders and said "You need to provide media with these systems!". If anything now these companies are wasting money, and ruining their customer service reput...
Posted by Robert Hall on 07/20/2009 01:15 AM
Microsoft might be learning the good things from Apple, but Apple seems to be only learning only the bad things from Microsoft. Think about it, Microsoft might not admit it but they did take some ideas from Apple in the design of Windows Vista and Windows 7. However has Apple taken anything from Microsoft in their new products and software? Well yeah. they did, and unfortunately it is from the Microsoft of the early 90's.
Lets take a look at their #1 most well known piece of software, iTunes. You may not know it but Apple often issues updates to iTunes to prevent third parties they don't like integrating with it or working around their copy protection systems.
This is the old school thinking that limited Microsoft back in...
Posted by Robert Hall on 07/15/2009 07:39 PM
If you suddenly got a message on your screen saying that your computer was infected, would you know if it was a fake or the real deal? Don't feel bad if you said no_ alot of people have trouble with this and it's one of the major causes of systems getting infected.
So here is a couple of tips to help you tell fake from real.
Fake alerts will often say "Windows has found...".
Beware of vague names like "Antivirus 2009", "system defender", and "protector"
Be weary when something pops up and says it has found hundreds of viruses.
Be weary of anything saying you can fix it for only X amount of money.
Posted by Robert Hall on 07/15/2009 03:45 PM
It is a good question, can your screen resolution impact the performance of your computer? Does running a higher resolution make the system slower or faster?
Well lets first start with the operating system here, and focus on windows. Keep in mind while I am talking about windows this should in general apply to all other operating systems. We will also be focusing on modern computers and not mid 90's here as well.
For those of you who don't know the screen resolution is what sets how much area your screen has. This is dependent on your monitor and graphics card on what it can be. Too weak of a monitor and you can't use the full power of your graphics card. Too weak of a motherboard and you can't make the best of your graph...
Posted by Robert Hall on 07/14/2009 12:56 PM
It's not too uncommon that someone brings me a computer and they say "I think I have a virus! It was running fine yesterday, but it is so slow now."
It is a good possibility that they might have a virus, however it could be a much worse problem. You might have a failing hard drive. If your a bit lucky it could be that you just don't have enough ram.
In most cases a hard drive fails slowly over time, and you generally don't notice until you get an error message or your system stops booting.
So how can you tell if your performance problem is a virus or hardware issue?
Lets start with the obvious things:
Does your system make a grinding noise?
Posted by Robert Hall on 07/13/2009 10:49 AM
Unless you sell the Windows operating system, or know the market and products well you probably have no idea that there are 6 different editions of Windows Vista. Compared to the originally two editions of XP, that some how expanded to 4 near the end of it's shelf life.
In the past Microsoft sold 2 editions of it's desktop software. One intended for home use, and one intended for business use. This is fine and I can understand the marketing, and financial benefits to it. Businesses need more features such as joining domains, database technologies, etc. than a home user will. So Microsoft should be able to charge a little bit more for a business or "Professional" edition. Adobe has done this for years with Adobe Acrobat,...
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