Archive for November, 2010

Apple MacBook A1181

2010-11-30

Apple MacBook represents one of the products that have been manufactured by Apple specialists and which have become more and more familiar to us in the last few years due to many of their features and to many innovations that were considered at the time of its release. Many users have been interested in becoming more familiar with various aspects related to Apple MacBook A1181 and in this way in becoming able to decide what are the purposes in which Apple MacBooks might be very practical and efficient to be used.

There are numerous specifications which can be considered at this stage. When it comes to the ones related to the system it can be said that Apple MacBook A1181 presents DDR2 SODIMM 200 pin type of memory with PC2-5300 memory speed and with 512 MB of removable standard memory. It includes 2 memory slots and the maximum memory per system has been estimated at 4096 MB whereas the maximum memory per slots is somewhere around 2048 MB. What might be useful to be mentioned as well is the fact that it does not include dual channel memory support nor tri-channel type of memory support.

Other interesting and useful aspects that need to be considered when analyzing Apple MacBook A1181 refer to the system being capable of recognizing 4 GB of memory but only 3.25 GN of memory are actually used by the operating system in its case and this is due to the fact that it presents a 32-bit limitation of MS Win dows/MAC operating system. Many users have considered that it might have been better for 64-bits to be provided because in this way the limitation would not have been made possible anymore and the entire memory could have been used by the operating system improving the performance of the computer system this way.

The white 2 GB Apple MacBook A1181 which was estimated to cost about $999 has been considered to present numerous innovations or better said improved features which make it better that its predecessors and than numerous other similar systems that might be discovered on the market. It has been considered to present about the same features as its predecessor externally and we re referring here to its peripheral connections and to the fact that their number is the same as in the case of its predecessor and to its mini DVI port which is the same as before.

It can be said this way that it presents two USB 2.0 ports as well as a FireWire 400 type of ports which we could notice when analyzing its predecessor as well. It also presents a glossy type of display with 1280 x 800 pixels resolution and 120 GB Serial Ata hard drive. Other important features that need to be presented in the case of by 2 GB Apple MacBook A1181 is the nVidia GeForce 9400M graphics system and the front side bus which is considered to be much faster in its case.

All in all, Apple MacBook A1181 can prove to be useful to be analyzed by those who might be interested in learning more about this kind of laptops because there are certainly certain features that will attract their attention.

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Home Media Center

2010-11-28


 

Home Theater PC (HTPC) or Media Center is a convergence device that combines some or all the capabilities of a personal computer with a software application that supports video, photo, and music playback, and sometimes video recorder playback, and sometimes digital video recorder functionality. Are you considering building your own Media Center PC, or buying a pre-assembled computer HTPC case? If you’re going to have a HTPC capable of playing 1080p HD video, you’ll surely want to backup DVDs Blu-ray movie collections and videos to the HTPC Media Library. This article will tell you how to put movies to HTPC Media Library by ripping DVDs, Blu-ray discs to HTPC Media Library and converting videos (MKV, M2TS, TS, TP, TiVo, MP4, AVI, WMV) to formats that are supported by your Media Center software, such as Windows Media Center, XBMC Media Center, Boxee, Media Portal, MythTV, etc.

Required hardware: PC with BD drive; source DVDs and Blu-ray Discs.
Required software: Pavtube Blu-Ray Video to HTPC Converter Ultimate
(The software is able to rip Blu-ray movies, commercial DVDs, and convert HD contents and recordings to 1080p/ 720p AVI, WMV, MKV, MP4, DivX, MOV, TS video clips for HTPC Media Center at fastest speed and perfect sync. Download from here a trial version of HTPC Blu-Ray Video Converter Ultimate to try the software out.)

How to put your DVD and Blu-ray movies to HTPC media libraryStep 1. Load movies (videos) to the Blu-ray/DVD/Video to HTPC Converter software.
Place source Blu-ray disc in BD drive, or DVD in optical drive. Install and run the Pavtube Blu-Ray Video to HTPC Converter Ultimate on your computer. When the below interface pops up, click “Add Video” to import MKV, MTS, M2TS, MP4, MOV, TS, TiVo, etc videos; click “Load BD/DVD” to import Blu-ray or DVD movie. By default the files are listed in Title Mode, and all the chapters are in numerical sequence. Check the chapters you’d like to rip and leave others unchecked.

Step 2. Select desired output format for Blu-ray/DVD movie to HTPC conversion.
Now you should decide a format to rip Blu-ray to HTPC Media Library according to the Media Center software on the HTPC. Generally, 1080p DivX AVI and WMV are proffered when ripping Blu-ray DVD movies and videos to HTPC. You may click the “Format” bar and choose “HD Video -> DivX HD (*.avi)” or “HD Video -> WMV HD (*.wmv)”. The DivX HD and WMV HD format generate video of 1920*1080, 8000kbps, 30fps with 5.1 surround sound, which plays great on 48’ HDTV. For regular DVD, you can select “Common Video -> DivX AVI” or “Common Video -> WMV3” There are also alternative formats like HD MKV, MPG, TS, MP4, MOV, etc.

Step 3. Start converting Blu-ray/DVD/Videos to 1080p HD videos for HTPC.
Once the above mentioned steps are finished, you can click the big button “Convert” button to rip Blu-ray to 1080p videos with Blu-ray to HTPC Converter. When the conversion task is completed, you are able to get the final output files by clicking “Open” button with ease. Now you have backed up the protected commercial Blu-ray movies to 1080p videos, just feel free to copy the movies to HTC Media Library and enjoy the movies on HDTV through your HTPC.

Tip 1: Due to the huge file size of Blu-ray movie, it usually takes hours to rip a Blu-ray movie to 1080p video. You may check “Shutdown computer after conversion” in the conversion progress window and leave it be.Tip 2: If you would like to combine all the chapters into one file, please check “Merge into one file”.Tip 3: To get lossless Blu-ray M2TS streams and retain Blu-ray structure and menu, you may make full copy of blu-ray disc.Tip 4: To watch DVDs on 16:9 screen at correct aspect ratio, you may also have to crop out the black bars of DVD movie.
more about Blu-rays
more about blu-ray movies

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Prime-8 Action Gorilla from I Love Robots

2010-11-28

I had a chance to try out the Prime-8 Action Gorilla toy from I Love Robots, and I can honestly say that I like this one.

I’m not going to say love, as it is too strong of a word. I think I am a little too old to appreciate this toy, but adults will find it enjoyable. The Prime-8 is a toy robot that is shaped like a ball-shaped ape, and travels by way of arms on its sides. It can also stand up by means of retractable legs.

The remote control for this guy has a lot more buttons than most remote control toys. Besides sending the Prime-8 in the right or left direction, the user can shoot plastic rockets thanks to its detachable launchers. He or she can also make it Go Bananas, growl, and play games.

The games include Dodge Ball, where you try and hit the blue centerpiece with a ball. There is also racing, as well as shooting targets with the plastic rockets. The user can even play a Laser Tag game with another Prime-8 toy.

In addition to the games, the Prime-8 can be programmed for all sorts of complex activities, for those smarter kids.

In fact, I would recommend Prime-8 for older kids, perhaps older than 10. There are times when he can go pretty wild, and a young kid could possibly get hurt trying to pick up the Prime-8 while the wheeled arms are swinging.

You should be able to get the Prime-8 on the Radio Shack website for about $59.99.

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RIM to launch Blackpad next week to challenge iPad

2010-11-26

If you are a gadget freak you might already know that RIM is working on a tablet to compete with Apple iPad. Wall Street Journal published a story on Blackpad suggesting that RIM may launch the device as early as next week at the company’s developer conference.
According to the WSJ story the Blackpad won’t come with the BlackBerry OS, but it uses a new OS from QNX, RIM acquired QNX earlier. Citing people familiar with RIM’s strategy journal writes that the new OS will also make its way in to BlackBerry phones.

The supposed Blackpad is a 7 inch touch screen tablet with one or two built-in cameras. It will have bluetooth and broadband connections but will only be able to connect to networks through BlackBerry smartphone.

Next week is the RIM developer conference, Blackpad will be launched at the event, and the availability of Blackpad is in November.

Via Wall Street Journal

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How to Find the Right Windows Driver

2010-11-25

How to Find the Right Windows Driver

When setting up a new Windows machine, whether it’s Windows 2000 all the way up through Windows 7, you’ll occasionally run into an issue where you need drivers for a system or PCI device that you just can’t seem to find. To make matters worse, you don’t know which company made the device, so you don’t even know where to start looking for drivers. Should you go to Dell’s site? The motherboard manufacturer? Persistent “Unknown device” entries in the Windows Device Manager are a plague upon even the most seasoned techs. Here’s a tip to get your driver hunt moving in the right direction.

Find out who made the device
Figuring out which company made the device(s) in question is the first step towards getting it working. Start by opening the Windows Device Manager. My preferred quick way of doing this is clicking Start -> Run -> type “devmgmt.msc” -> press Enter. Once there, choose the device in question and right click it, and select Properties. Select the Details tab to see something like the view below:

Windows Device Manager

Note the PCI “VEN” and “DEV” 4-character identifiers. PCI, USB, and many other system devices have Vendor and Device IDs. The Vendor ID is specific to the manufacturer, like Broadcom or nVIDIA. The Device ID is specific to the particular make or model of device you have. These are expressed in hexadecimal (0 through 9 plus A through F), so don’t be surprised to see letters there, as well. Some common Vendor IDs are 8080 and 8086 for Intel, 0A5C for Broadcom, 10DE for nVIDIA, 1002 for ATI, and many more.

Google it
A common way to express both the Vendor and Device IDs in a single string is 1022:2000, Vendor ID first. Combine your Vendor and Device IDs in this manner, and wrap it with quotes: “1022:2000″. Google that, and you should quickly figure out who made your “Unknown device” and what model it is. With this knowledge, you can either find the appropriate driver on your computer manufacturer’s website (Dell makes a good note of which manufacturer’s devices they use for a particular system), or you can visit the device manufacturer’s website directly.

I hope this information can help those looking to simply get their hardware working under Windows.

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'The Daily' <b>News</b> Service for iPad Set for December Media Event <b>…</b>

2010-11-25

Yesterday, we noted that Apple and News Corp appear to be in the final stages of preparing a new tablet-focused news service known as The Daily that would offer high-quality video content and interact.

Spy Gear Lie Detector Kit, we go fingers-on

2010-11-23

I have always wondered how accurate lie detectors really are. I mean, if they worked all the time, it would certainly solve a lot of legal cases in a hurry.

I can honestly say that I was not able to get the Spy Gear Lie Detector Kit to work perfectly, but it isn’t really designed to work 100 percent of the time, because it is a toy.

Apparently, it is designed to “Ask tough questions to really make ‘em squirm. The indicator lights light up when your suspect isn’t telling the truth. Busted!” Yes, this is the toy that can prevent your kids from torturing one another the next time they are playing Jack Bauer on 24. Now they can pretend they are Jack Byrnes (Robert De Niro’s character from Meet The Parents).

I had a chance to try it out for myself, and when my son and I were playing with it, he just couldn’t break me. Of course, my son is six years old, and the deliberate lies that we were telling were only sometimes getting a positive reading.

Apparently, the number of lights on this thing signifies the chance that your last statement was a lie. Four bright ones means that you are busted! There is even a paper chart thing so you can write on it like the real lie detectors use.

Speaking of pens, the Lie Detector Kit came with an invisible ink pen that showed up under its battery-powered ultraviolet light. It is a nice bonus.

In case you want something to match the Spy Gear Security Scanner for those young ones on your Christmas list, the Lie Detector Kit is probably it. It is available on the Spy Gear website for $24.95.

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How to Test your Memory with Memtest86+

2010-11-22

Although the computer looks like a single entity, it is in fact a mixture of components. Some components are concerned with the processing of information. Some components are concerned with on-screen display. Other components are concerned with your PC’s ability to communicate with other machines.
One of the most important components within a computer is its RAM (random access memory). What exactly is random access memory, or RAM? It is basically a little electronic chip whose goal is to provide short-term, high-speed access to data. Without it, your machine would grind to a halt as it tried to continually access data from its slower cousin, the hard drive.

Unfortunately, RAM, like any computer component is prone to failure (although the ability for RAM to live a long, stable life has been improving throughout the years). And when a stick of your RAM dies all sorts of oddities can arise. Your computer may suddenly begin freezing, blue-screening, or even restarting.

So when you do begin noticing that your PC has become “flaky”, how can you test your RAM and make sure that it, rather than some other internal component, is the culprit? The answer is: Memtest86+. Memtest86+, based upon Memtest86, is a well known free application designed to test the memory within your system. Basically what it does is write a bunch of seemingly random information to different parts of your RAM. It then proceeds to read these values back. If the written and read values are the same then everything is good to go. If, however, the written and read values differ then a defect has been detected.

Memtest86+ Screen

Here is how to use Memtest86+ to test your memory.

1) Head over to the Memtest86+ site.
2) Download the latest Pre-Compiled Bootable ISO.
3) Burn the ISO file onto a CD or DVD.
4) Boot your computer off of this CD or DVD (at which point Memtest86+ should automatically begin its testing procedure).
5) Wait for at least 1 Pass to complete (The pass row at the top should reach 100%). This means that Memtest86+ has tested all of your memory one time. For the average user, allowing a single pass should be good enough.
6) Look for any error messages.

If no error messages are displayed then it is likely that your RAM is ok. If, however, you find at least one error message then there might be an issue with your memory. The only way to be certain is to take the RAM out of your computer and test it in a working machine. If the working machine continues to work, after its RAM has been replaced, then your RAM is likely not the problem. If, however, the formerly working machine begins to exhibit problems when its RAM is replaced then your RAM is likely malfunctioning.

Author Bio

Keith works in the technical support field and hosts Computer Repair Calgary where he discusses a range of topics including how to repair malfunctioning RAM.

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What Are The Odds Of Corrupting Your Hard Drive During Dual-boot Setup (ubuntu & Win 7)?

2010-11-21

I have a Toshiba laptop with Windows 7 on it. It’s about a year and a half old, and it’s my baby at the moment. I have to treat it like gold because it’s my laptop for college, which I’ll be headed off to next year, and if it breaks, quite frankly, I can’t afford another one.
What I really want to do is partition my hard drive and install Ubuntu on one partition so it dual-boots. Seems easy enough. I have experience with this. My brother’s Win 7 netbook died after he got a nasty virus, so I installed Ubuntu on that and I’ve loved it so far (although he’s hated it because he can’t use some of his favorite software). I’d rather use Ubuntu as my main operating system and Windows 7 as my gaming and Windows-7-only-software-using system.
The thing is, my mom’s not quite so computer-savvy and thinks that I’ll destroy my laptop if I attempt anything like this. I do have a big external hard drive which I could easily backup my system on just in case (I’m not an idiot). I’d prefer doing a real dual-boot instead of using Wubi.
What I want to know is, what are the chances of corrupting my hard drive in the process? Does this happen often? What’s the cause of it?
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iMac Computer

2010-11-19

The iMac is developed, produced and marketed by Apple Inc. and represents the company’s range of all in one desktop computers. Since its release in 1998, the Apple iMac has always been the primary product of consumer offerings. The device currently reached its fifth form. The first and original iMac, the iMac G3, had an egg shaped look.

The device had a CRT monitor and was enclosed by a plastic and translucent case. It was refreshed with a sleeker design notable for its slot-loaded optical drive. The second installment of the Apple iMac family was the iMac G4. It was also the first major revision of the device since the original model. The look of the second model iMac was very different from the original model, as the egg shaped look was replaced with a hemispherical bottom that contained all the computer’s components and a LCD screen. The two elements were connected through a free moving arm. The third and fourth generations of the Apple iMac (iMac G4 and Intel iMac respectively) placed all their components right behind the LCD screen, so the free moving arm was removed.

These two models are held by a rigid neck that can only tilt up or down. The current iMac model shares the looks of the previous one, but has all the front covered in a glass panel and it is based on anodized aluminum. It is also much thinner than the previous iMac and has a SDXC slot right under the Slot-Loading SuperDrive. On July 27, 2010, Apple upgraded its iMac desktop computer line to feature Intel’s new Core processing units. The high and low end of the 21.5 inch model of the iMac, as well as the 27 inch low end model, feature Intel’s Core i3, but can be upgradable to Core i5, while the high end 27 inch model currently hold a Quad-Core i5 and can be upgraded to Quad-Core i7. With this refreshing upgrade, Apple also modified the back of the device, so the black back was replaced by a seamless aluminum back.

Apple also did some tapering with the pedestal and modified the speakers to be clearer and louder and reproduce better bass. Most wonder what does the “i” in iMac stand for, and why don’t call it just “Mac”, or “Mac-Something”. Apple stated that the “i” in “iMac” stands for “Internet”, as it was very easy to set up a connection, but also represented the device’s focus of being personal device, intended for the consumer market (“i” for “individual” ). Regarding the internet connection on the iMac, it only requires two steps. Apple launched a TV commercial presented by actor Jeff Goldblum in which the catch phrase was “There’s no step 3!”.

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