Wednesday, December 31, 2008

NewBCamp 2009

The NewBCamp conference (or unconference) 2009 is a one day event that brings  people together to learn about technology. It will be held Feb. 8, 2009 at:

Pepsi Forum
8 Abbott Place Park
Johnson & Wales University
Providence, RI 02903

Map picture

Subjects to be covered this year are:

  • Social Media/Web Development
  • Graphic Design/Art
  • Hardware/Assembling
  • Software/Security

Admission is $10 you sign up here. You pay ahead of time or pay at the door. I’ve already signed up and I can’t wait to get involved. It’ll be exciting to learn new things and to meet new people.

This event is hosted by:

Free Geek of Providence – Helping the needy get nerdy

SofT ICE – School of Technology Industry Career Explorers Techie students from Johnson and Wales University

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What to do with old cell phones

Be honest you have a few old ones in a junk drawer somewhere around your place. I know we do. I don’t think there is enough awareness about how to recycle your old cell phones. Like computers they do contain precious metals like gold and silver that can be extracted.

Free Geek of Providence is making the call out for your old cell phones as a fundraiser. It is to benefit Free Geek of Providence and also to benefit our environment by recycling responsibly.  Starting January 1 they will setting up collection points. You can check out more info here at the Free Geek Website or drop off here:

 

Malachi's Fair Trade Coffee Shop
134 Ives Street
Providence, RI 02906

Gold struck in old computers

So you think that old PC collecting dust in your basement or closet is worthless. You might think again after seeing this video. I wouldn’t advise anyone trying this stuff at home.

 

Source: Free Geek Providence

Monday, December 29, 2008

How to build a PC to be continued

I was looking through some of my old posts and realized I had begun a series on building a PC. For whatever reason I didn’t get back to it. I am going to continue on with the series very shortly. For now I’d like to bring  us up to date to where we are. These are where we left off:

The next in the series I will cover the  motherboard. This is probably the most important piece you’ll put in your PC. It effects many other choices along the line so it makes sense to cover this first. Thanks for coming by and stay tuned….

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A new focus for the new year

I’ve decided for the new year I’m going to have a new focus on the year 2009 andj0408922 beyond. Recently I’ve been reading more and more about recycling and reusing computer and electronic waste. I’ve also signed up to get involved with the local chapter of Free Geek in Providence. I also think it goes along more with my blog title and overall theme.

What my goal here is to share what I learn about computer recycling and ways to get more out of your old hardware.Some of the subjects I hope to cover are:

  • Recycling your computers and electronics responsibly.
  • Free and low-cost software (freeware,Linux, etc..)
  • More performance out of your existing hardware.
  • How-to’s for building, maintaining  and using your PC.

It won’t be limited to these but they will be the focus. Like I said my goal is to share what I learn and help others get more out of there computers. If you have any suggestions for subjects or have any questions feel free to ask.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Puppy Linux in Microsoft Virtual PC 2007

Here I do a couple of videos installing and using Puppy Linux in Microsoft’s Virtual PC 2007. At first I kind run into a snag but I worked out a few bugs and learned more about using the virtual software. It was fun doing it and I’m still learning about it. I hope your all having a great holiday!

Technorati Tags: ,,,

Have a Merry Christmas Everyone!

 

Please come home for Christmas - Eagles

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

What is Free Geek?

You may have noticed in some of my past posts mentioning “Free Geek” . I’ll j0437246attempt explain a little further. In a short and simple explanation they “Help the needy get nerdy” .  Here is the official mission statement from Free Geek of Providence "Free Geek Providence is a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to addressing the digital divide by providing computer training, redistributing computer technology and providing volunteer opportunities to our community while maintaining relationships with responsible recycling partners."

They are a non-profit group that helps those who perhaps can’t either afford or uninitiated get acquainted with computers. The goal is to provide both training in both building and using a PC. They use free Linux operating system that is both free and relatively simple to use. On top of that they can walk away with a PC they build themselves or earn by volunteering  for the group for certain amount of time.

They do this using donated equipment. Computer stuff that is donated is gone through and tested. If obsolete is it is sent to a local responsible recycler rather than just sent over seas or dumped in the local landfill. Here is a video of what can happen to your old stuff from 60 Minutes. If it is reusable it is used for building units either for the volunteers(to earn) or for sale in a thrift store or online.

This is just a small snippet of what they do for the community. If your in the Rhode Island area and are interested in donating unused computer equipment click here to see more. The Free Geek that started it all can be seen here. Thanks for coming by and have a geeky day. What do you do with your old computer stuff?

Christmas Lights

This video has been around for a few years now but I still love it. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Mac vs PC - Transformers Edition

This takes the MAC vs. PC debate to the next level.


Source: Geeks are Sexy

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ubuntu Guide from PC World


Here is an excellent guide from PC World on how to install the latest release of Ubuntu Linux. It can still be a little intimidating for the uninitiated to install a Linux software. They have made it a bit simpler. A guide is nice to have.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Welcome to Free Geek

I just volunteered for this. I can't wait to start. Here is the website for Free Geek Providence which is just starting up. They don't even have a actual location yet. They are looking for donations and volunteers. I'm looking forward to helping out.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Powerpoint - Fly in

This is about using Powerpoint animations. This one in particular is called "Fly in". If you have any suggestions for how to clips using this and other programs please let me know. I'm open to suggestions.

Windows 95 in Virtual PC

This is me using Microsoft Virtual PC Version 6. This is actually a pretty cool program which I installed Windows 95. The video is pretty self explanatory. Enjoy and see a glimpse into the past.

Befriend a geek this holiday season

As a sat watching this I wondered is that how I look like in my basement typing away on the PC late at night. How sad. I am a geek.


Befriend a Geek from White October on Vimeo.

Windows History

This is a screencast of a presentation I did for my computer class. I actually did a shorter version for the actual class so this is more of a "directors cut" version. It was an interesting project. I have been using Windows since the "95" version but knew very little of the earlier versions.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Silly Saturday


I saw this over at Scotts Thoughts blog and I had to share.
Be sure and check out the rest of Scotts blog. He's a computer tutor with handy tips and advice and a sense of humor.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

PCMech Giveaway - Ultra Products Case

One of my favorite sites on the web is PCMech.com and they are giving away a nice PC case. Check out the video for more details!

Re: Computer Show


I went to a computer show on Sunday at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick,Rhode Island. I felt like a kid in a candy shop. I met a friend of mine there before they even opened. They had just about everything you could ask for regarding computers and technology. New computers,old computers,motherboards,video cards,hard drives, cd/dvd drives and many gadgets in between.





The only thing holding me back was my wallet. I did end up purchasing a Compaq Evo D510 PC tower, 80GB Western Digital HD(Refurbished) and a small tripod for my digital camera. I have thing for old computer stuff. The Compaq tower is a good size with a Pentium 4,motherboard, cd drive. It's missing hard drive,RAM and OS. Gives me a project to work on.


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Computer Show today

This morning I’m hitting a local computer show with a j0314180 friend. This put on by Cogan Fairs. It’s being held at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick,RI and starts at 10AM.  I’m meeting a friend of mine. I’ll be bringing my camera so I’ll post some photo’s here afterward. Right now I’m getting some coffee in me first then I’m heading out soon.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Recycling day in Rhode Island

Today was the day I recycled some of my old stuff that didn't work anymore. It was time to part with four tired and non-working CRT monitors. I went down to the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corp in Johnston. A company called CRT Recycling accepts the computers and other electronics. Like I said before it's actually quite simple. You drive up and they empty your vehicle for you. Now I gained some space in my garage again. I wish I could have taken some of those PC's home with me. Oh well. Here are some pictures I took on my adventure.


Adolf Hitler - Vista Problems!

Some adult language in subtitles. Otherwise it's hilarious.

Sounds of a dying Hard Drive



I'm sure many of us have heard that clunking or weird noises a hard drive makes before crashing. The people at Data Cent put together sounds of different hard drives. Like they mention on their website, if your drive is making any of those sounds back up your stuff because your hard drive is ready to crash and burn. They do offer a service to recover your data if need be. Actually is quite useful tool in diagnosing a problem. Yes I was geeky enough to listen to most of them.

Via: Jason Faulkner at PCMech

Friday, December 5, 2008

Ebay items for sale

I just posted some items up on Ebay. If your interested or have any questions leave a comment or email me.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

What to do with old PC's


You can give them to me of course. All kidding aside I do seem to collect old worn out equipment over time and it begins to clutter my work area and garage. What do you do with old stuff. More than likely your local laws and programs may differ. For the most part you can't just throw out PC's with the garbage. They contain some hazardous materials that should be recycled or disposed of properly.

Here in Rhode Island the local recycling facility(aka:The Johnston landfill) which services most of the state hosts a local drop off about once a month. Officially known as Rhode Island Resource Recovery has just posted a new schedule for 2009 with one last drop off this coming Saturday Dec 6. . They are usually held on Saturdays 8am-Noon. It's a fairly simple process. You drive up and they unload your vehicle for you. No need to get out. I'm going this Saturday to clean out some old monitors and some other miscellaneous items. What do you do with your old and tired equipment?

Re: Egg Saver


I come home hoping my RAM for my PC has arrived. Nope. I should have known it was going to take awhile. Here are the latest stats:

Distance from my house to DHL facility in Walpole/MA : Trip distance: 28.52 miles Time: 36 mins (Yahoo Maps) Miles Per Day(MPD) so far: 7.13. So far my package has traveled .297 MPH to arrive since Saturday. I could walk faster.

Tracking Information:

11/29/2008 8:10 AM ET WALPOLE, MA, US TENDERED TO USPS
11/29/2008 2:39 AM ET WALPOLE, MA, US ARRIVAL DESTINATION DHL GLOBAL MAIL FACILITY
11/28/2008 9:05 AM ET RUTHERFORD, NJ, US DEPARTURE ORIGIN DHL GLOBAL MAIL FACILITY
11/26/2008 9:09 PM ET RUTHERFORD, NJ, US PROCESSED
11/26/2008 5:06 PM ET RUTHERFORD, NJ, US ARRIVAL ORIGIN DHL GLOBAL MAIL FACILITY
11/26/2008 5:00 PM ET EDISON, NJ, US PICK UP
Grant you I should have known better. I doubt I'll be using "Egg Saver" shipping option again from NewEgg.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Egg Saver worth it?


When ordering stuff for computers I generally turn to Newegg.com. For the most part they have great service reasonable prices. Recently I came across a great deal for RAM and I couldn't resist. So I ordered it the day before Thanksgiving. One of the great things about it was that it had "Free Shipping". When you place your order it's called the "Egg Saver". It seems to be a new thing with them but I thought I'd try it. As usual NewEgg processed and shipped my order same day. I was emailed with a tracking # . They shipped DHL Global from there New Jersey facility. Now I'm in Rhode Island. In the past I've noticed with shipping from NJ to RI takes a day or so. I grant you there was a holiday and a weekend sandwiched in this. So I tracked it until it got to Walpole,MA. Not exactly far away probably about a 30 minute drive from my house. What got me was that DHL passed it off to USPS at that point. So the tracking system stops there. That was Saturday. Now come Wednesday I'm still waiting. I would think that postal system would be able to deliver in two days what essentially is a stones throw away. I don't like the fact that DHL passed off the package now I have no way to track this item. I am hoping that it comes today. I'll be a little hesitant to use "Egg Saver" in the future though.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The website is a suspected fake

Over the weekend I had the bright idea to apply at ReviewMe and I got this reply:

We are sorry but the website you have suggested http://pcrestoration.blogspot.com/ has been declined at this time. The main reasons a website is declined are:

- The website is a suspected fake.
- The website does not have enough link popularity.
- The website does not have enough traffic.

*Please note that our algorithm that accepts or rejects inventory submissions can make mistakes and if you feel the above criteria does not accurately describe your website, please reply to this email asking for further review by our editorial staff.
What caught my eye was "The website is a suspected fake." comment. The other two I can understand and is something I can actually work on. You know it's what they call constructive criticism. What exactly is a fake website? I'm not sure if I should be insulted or be laughing my head off. I think I'm real and I'm not impersonating someone else. I realize this was a automated response but they've got to have some explanation for at least the first line. If anyone can explain this one to me please feel free to do so. Either me or my "fake" counterpart will appreciate the information.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Dad, did you have Playstation's when you were a kid?

This is the question my 6 year old son asked me recently. He was quite surprised when I told him we didn't. Instantly I felt a bit old but it also got me to wonder what kind of gaming and technology will be around when he's an adult. What was around when I was a kid? Being a kid growing up in the 70's there was slim pickings. I knew nothing of computers or video games.



My first introduction was to Pong. I remember my grandfather(the old man was on the tech savvy side in the 70's) setting up Pong on an old black and white TV he had lying around. My Aunt(who was a year younger than I was) and I played for hours.



My second introduction to was when we finally got an Atari 2600 game console. We had Space Invaders, Asteroids, Pacman, Defender and many others. My sister and I would play for hours until our thumbs wore out. I remember wearing out the controllers that we'd need new ones soon. Reminds me of my son wearing out the the rubber cover on Playstation analog controllers. I actually still have the console in my basement though I'm not sure if it's the same one we used. It's missing the power cord I believe. I can't bring myself to sell or trash it. Maybe someday I'll make a project out of it.

Today although were a bit behind as far as gaming consoles still chugging along with our Playstation 2. There are a wide variety of gaming consoles Xbox360, Nintendo Wii, Playstation 3 and not to to forget PC gaming. What will we be playing twenty years from now?

House cleaning


Recently my brother-in-law came across some old computers from a house he was cleaning out with a friend. He came across and eMachines W3107 PC. He didn't do too bad for a freebie. It came with Windows XP Pro with Office 2007(which I recently paid $$ for...grrr) . It's upgradeable and a decent machine. He told me of other computers that were at the same location and thought I'd be interested. I said sure being a sucker for old computer stuff. Heres a quick list of stuff....



HP Pavilion 6635 with Windows XP Professional freshly installed. It has a 533mhz Celeron CPU and a 10 GB hard drive. Not too bad for a beginner or someone just to do Internet surfing or email.


Sony Vaio PCV-RS320. This one was a mixed bag. upon picking it up I heard and felt something moving around inside....

The processor fan/heatsink had come loose and was rattling around inside. Not good. The green hold down lever was broken and another heatsick to another chip was floating around too. It was also missing the hard drive which was also dissapointing. Also the hook for the second heatsink had been ripped off the motherboard. That probably more than anything renders the motherboard useless. With a new motherboard/RAM/Hard drive it's rebuildable.


If you thought the previous units were on the old side how about this one? This is a Pentium MMX class AOpen PC(possibly a home or business server). What made this interesting is the pull-out bays they had. It does have a hard drive inside but unfortunately it's not the boot drive which I believe went inside one of the pullout bays.


It does power up but won't boot. It's too old for much use but is an interesting unit.



Also included was a Sony Trinitron CRT monitor(17" I believe). This one isn't too bad and works well. I like the built in speakers and the flat screen. Not a bad catch in exchange for some computer work.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I must be a computer geek when...






I start taking pictures of the computers they have at the hospital where my new son was born. They had these mobile workstations in the hallways. I didn't get to see actual model numbers but the couple I looked at were either HP's or Dell's. Of course the hospital had Ethernet jacks everywhere. I liked the workstations themselves which were your basic laptop with a standard keyboard and mouse attached. They all ran Windows XP as far as I could see. Pretty neat to see them used in action.

Also Born on Nov. 20 was...


My son Samuel so forgive me for not being around much. I'll be back soon.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Happy Birthday Windows!


On this day in 1985 Microsoft released Windows 1.0(officially 1.01) . The world would never be the same.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Ultimate Steal

My 60-day trial of Microsoft Office was about to run out. I was able to save enough and buy the Ultimate Office 2007 for only $59.95. Being a part-time student productivity software is a must. This is a great deal for college students. You basically need a student email(example: yourname@yourschool.edu) and you should be all set. It has all the essentials like Word, Excel, PowerPoint and more. It does take a short while to download and install. You can find out more about it here.

Google brings us LIFE

Buzz Aldrin on the Moon.


Marylin Monroe looking over a script.


A tattered flag from the Civil War.


Google working with LIFE magazine has begun publishing LIFE's picture archive. These are photo's and images from 1700's to the present and many have never been published before . You can read more about it here on Google's official blog or can go here to access the archive. Published above are just a sampling of what I found. I'm a history buff so I found this addicting and cool.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Upgrade: Ubuntu 8.04 to 8.10


This one is for those Linux fans out there. I made the plunge and decided to upgrade my Linux PC from Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron) to 8.10(Intrepid Ibex, where they get these names I'm not sure). I run my Ubuntu on an older Pentium III Compaq for the sake of trying out Linux. In truth I don't use it a whole lot but it is useful and it kills time some days. I'm not going to get super detailed step by step instruction but, maybe just share my thoughts and experience with it.

My first recommendation is to visit the Ubuntu website which has instructions on getting you started. One of the first things they recommend is to make sure your current version 8.04 is up to date. So you go to the Update Manager by going to the System->Administration->Update Manager.


I click Check button and find out I have 85 updates to do. Like I said I haven't used this in awhile so I got behind a bit. Yours may actually vary. So I click Install Updates and begin the process.

They aren't kidding when they say "Please wait, this can take some time".

This is what it should look like when your done updating. It does take some time so don't be in a rush.


Now you have to tell Ubuntu what type of upgrade to look for. You go to System, then Administration and then to Software Sources. When the window comes up go to the Updates tab. Where it says Release upgrade select Normal releases.


Now you go back to the Update Manager and now it will say New Distribution release "8.10" is available. Click on Check and the process will start.


You'll get a window with some release notes. You'll then click on Upgrade.


Now you'll be downloading the upgrade tool.



Now this seems like a silly question. Do you want to start the upgrade? Of course I do. Be for warned though put aside a great chunk of time before you start. Put an addition on the house or write that novel that you've always wanted to do. I am exaggerating but, don't expect do much on your computer for a few hours.




The process now begins. The download is an estimated 764mb so it will take awhile depending on your connection. If your on dial-up your in trouble. I'd get the CD somewhere before attempting this as it probably take days instead of hours I would imagine.





Of course you don't think this went without any glitches. I clicked ok and then got this message....



To be honest I don't even know what Samba Server does.I made note of this for troubleshooting later and the upgrade continued...



On to the next step...



Not sure why we'd want to keep them. Perhaps as a backup in case something went awry. I decided to live dangerously and removed them.







Now we see that I'm running Ubuntu 8.10.At some point the system reboots. I can't remember if it was automatic or I had to do it manually. It seems I have a graphics card or screen resolution problem. I'll troubleshoot that when I have some time. It went successfully though. I don't notice much difference. My text in the System Monitor comes in discolored though. It seems to some type of graphics problem. This is an older machine and may be struggling to keep up. Figuring out the problem will give me something to do when I have some free time (haha yeah right who am I kidding). Anyway like I hinted at before this does take a considerable amount of time. I believe it took me close 6 hours or so on broadband (cable) connection. It's not for the faint of heart. Good luck and I hope this is of some use to someone. Thanks and have a great day!