The strange case of the HP Presario CQ61 laptop

CQ61-135TUThe user reported,

When I use Microsoft Word, the keyboard randomly selected all text and deletes it.  This doesn’t happen when I use an external keyboard.

I’ve seen this behaviour myself.

The Presario CQ61-135TU is using Microsoft Windows Vista.

A number of IT folks have looked at the problem and not been able to fix it.  One chap managed to break a key off the keyboard.

There doesn’t seem to be any virus infections on the laptop.  The BIOS version is F.03, and the latest version on the HP website is F.23.  The problem does occur with a (Windows 7) WinPE boot disk.

So if it was my laptop I’d upgrade the BIOS version to F.23 and if that didn’t work, upgrade the laptop to Windows 7.

I’ll have to get back to the user and see what they want to do.

HTC Desire breaks Microsoft Wireless keyboard

Or, in other words, your keyboard will no longer work.

This                                      too close to this
HTC Charger

breaks these:

The cause, which I only found out by chance, AFTER I changed the batteries in my wireless keyboard.  When I say close, I mean arm length.  The HTC Desire power charger throws out enough electrical interference, to cause the keyboard to drop characters.

Now I know the answer, I can search Google and find this helpful Microsoft article:
Troubleshoot response failures in wireless keyboard or mouse

Logitech Marble Mouse

Logitech Trackman MarbleI’ve been using Logitech Marble Mouses (mice?) for years.  There are two reasons why:

  1. The quality of the Logitech products is very high.
  2. Marble mouses are very easy to use, once you get used to them.

Logitech T-CL13 TrackMan Marble WheelThe latest marble mouse was purchased to replace an 11 year old Logitech TrackMan Marble Wheel Mouse.  11 years old!  You wouldn’t get that sort of life out of a Microsoft mouse.

11 years ago, I paid $120 for the mouse on the left.  For the Marble Mouse on the right?  $50.  And I could have gotten it cheaper by shopping around.

So does your HP 8000 Elite PC not burn DVDs?

HP 8000 Elite PCIn the “things I saw ten years ago and never thought I’d see again” category, we recently had the case of the HP 8000 Elite PC which refused to burn DVDs.  I offered a couple of “these are really clutching at straws” type suggestions, and behold, the “try a different DVD brand” suggestion actually worked.

The customer purchased a good brand of DVD Media, and all was well.  (Alas, there is no DVD firmware update from HP which fixes the issue).

One charger to charge them all.

I love the Apple iPod charger.  Apple call it the iPod charger, but this is the same charger you get with the iPhone.

It supplies 5 volts @ 1 Amp.  Just what you want when you need to charge your non-Apple USB devices.  Pictured below are the iPhone 4 & BlackBerry 9000 Bold.  There’s three cables in the photo.  The missing device is the HTC Desire PDA, which I used to take the photo.

one chargerAnd the other thing I like about having one charger?  In my travel kit, I can take the one charger with me as a backup to using the laptop as a USB charger.

DiskDigger says “Excuse me while I nag you to death.”

I liked the DiskDigger un-delete program.  Out of the four un-deletion programs I recommended here, DiskDigger was my first choice.

Fast forward to now.

I stupidly deleted a temp file on a USB memory disk, and needed it back.  So I downloaded a copy of DiskDigger.

Not very happy now.

DiskDiggerWithout a license key, DiskDigger will pop up an annoying message box that gently reminds you to purchase a key. It does, of course, allow you to continue without a key, and even proceeds to recover your files.  However, it will keep popping up the message box for every file you’re trying to recover.  So just buy a license key already!  It’s a lot less expensive than comparable utilities out there.
DiskDigger FAQ

Hey, I’ve got no problems in buying a license key, even if the program is “free” for personal use.  I do have a problem with a program which introduces a five second delay “nag” screen for every file it wants to recover.

There is no way in heck I’d ever recommend DiskDigger now.

As alternatives:

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More keyboard & dishwasher fun

Was my first attempt at successfully cleaning a keyboard in a dishwasher a fluke?  Well no, as it turns out.

Today’s candidate? A 2 year old HP branded keyboard.  As the photo below shows, it was one grotty keyboard.  This time around, I used the “FAST” dishwasher setting.  When I took the keyboard out of the dishwasher, about a cupful (250ml) of water drained out.  3 days later, the keyboard was ready to use.

Before aka Furry Keys
Furry keys

After aka Clean Keys.
Clean keys

A note about the “FAST” mode
1 wash cycle (at 122ºF / 50ºC)
1 post rinse
1 final rinse (at 122ºF / 50ºC)

And I used 75% less dishwasher powder than I did with the first attempt.

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Cleaning a keyboard in the dishwasher.

keyboard - dirty Keyboards get very dirty.  Everything seems to drop into them, such as hair, skin flakes, and food.  When I learnt how to clean keyboards, cigarette ash was common enough as well. 


There are two ways to clean a keyboard, disassemble and wash by hand; or dishwasher.  This post will cover using a dishwasher.

Why?  Well doing this:
Keyboard - disassembled
takes me about 4 hours.

I did this on a keyboard I can afford to replace if it didn’t work.
You might want to think about that.

1. Preparation
Tie up the keyboard lead
1 - tie up keyboard lead 

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My, hasn’t storage capacity changed over the years.

IBM 3380 vs MicroSD card

I’ve talked about working with IBM Mainframes before.  I saw this picture over at Alfred Thompson’s blog, and it brought back some memories.

  • Westpac Bank losing a whole data centre floor of these 3380 DASDs in the late 1980’s when the water-based fire sprinklers went off.
  • That ASIO, instead of trading in their old 3380’s, had the disks ground up.  Information security was the reason given.
  • A computer operator, during a mainframe shutdown procedure, thinking that because the 3380 was taking too long to power off, flicked the emergency power off switch.
    Resetting the switch required a visit from an IBM Customer Service Engineer.
  • Disks shattering at (high rotational) speed, and exploding out the side of the cabinet.  Urban myth, or not?  Heard it happening from a number of mainframe operators over the years.  So there might be a grain of truth there.
  • Vacant data centre floors caused by the 3380 & 3390’s being replaced by the much smaller IBM 9394 RAMAC units.

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