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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Semi-regular web-link clearance – May 2010

Save a Failed Hard Drive in Your Freezer, Redux

Years ago we suggested sticking a borked hard drive in your freezer for a chance at recovering your data before the drive goes completely kaput. Developer site Server Zone highlights the same tip, with more detailed instructions for saving your freezer drive.

Windows 7 / Windows Server 2008 R2: Print Driver Isolation

So what is Print Driver Isolation?  As the name implies, this feature allows some of the print driver components to be executed in a process (or processes) separate from the print spooler.  By doing this, any problems associated with faulty drivers are isolated from the print spooler service and will not cause it to fail.  For those of you that have been around since the Windows NT days, I’m sure you remember how a bad print driver could bugcheck the system.  Back then it was because print drivers were kernel-mode (Version 2) drivers.  With the move to user-mode (Version 3) drivers, bad print drivers only affected the spooler, and didn’t bring down the whole system.  With PDI, we’re taking this a step further – the isolated print drivers that are faulty affect … well, themselves.

Photo Magician

Photo Magician Converter If you’re not about to manually convert that pile of images in front of you but you’ve found the batch converters you’ve tried to be lacking, free and portable Photo Magician offers both fine tweaking and drag and drop simplicity. (via LifeHacker)

Chris Jackson: It’s Not Your To-Do List: Using Application Compatibility Tools to Diagnose Problems, Not Surface Them

No app compat tool is going to provide you with a to-do list of all the things you must fix in order to make your application compatible.

This is true for a couple of reasons. On one hand, it’s going to be impossible to find every possible bug, so this list is necessarily incomplete (Type II errors). On the other hand, not all of the tests we do can say definitively if the behavior we observed will create an application compatibility bug for you or not (Type I errors). In some cases, the behavior is actually wrong, but the application has handled the error gracefully. In other cases, the “test” has to use heuristics, so a negative outcome on the test doesn’t necessarily mean that the application is negatively impacted (even if it doesn’t handle errors), just that it might be.

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USB to ISA adapter board

ARS USB2ISA Adapter board Got an old PC which you cannot replace because it’s got a specialised ISA Adapter board in it?

ISA, dear reader, was introduced in 1981, with the original IBM PC.  By 2000, ISA was a dead standard.

I remember one of my customers had a stack of 80386 systems piled in a corner.  “What are those for?”, I queried.
’Those are for the CashTally system.  It won’t work with later hardware.’, was the customer reply.
Yes, the CashTally system used specialised hardware.

So what do you do, if you have ISA adapter cards, which you must keep using?

Well one solution, is to drop over to ARS Technologies and buy yourself a USB2ISA adapter.

Sure, it’s not cheap at $149USD.  But if you had to re-develop a custom system to do what your current ISA adapter is doing, how much would you be looking at?

(The bigger argument is, what the heck are you doing stuck on hardware which requires an ISA adapter?  If that ISA adapter you’re using is that CRITICAL, I wouldn’t be relying on a $149USD adapter to dodge the “I have not updated my application/system because I’m a cheap arse” bullet.)

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“Beware of Integrated eSATA ports”

I don’t like quoting whole slabs of another blogs posts, but this is worth spreading to a wider audience:

… If you only use a single drive attached to an eSATA port, you can quit reading, but if you are like me and want the best performance possible, you have probably invested in a 2.5” or 3.5” external portable cabinet that can take two or more drives.

These cabinets from makers like StarTech and AMS, have built in hardware RAID functionality that allow you to configure the dual drives in a RAID configuration without requiring a RAID card in your machine. Typically RAID 1 (mirroring) and RAID 0 (striping) are the two most common approaches in a dual drive case.

BUT, these external cases rely on a technology called Port Multiplication to see all the drives. You can go read the detailed description at your favorite web site, but basically port multiplication allows you to have multiple drives accessible through a single eSATA port. The catch is that the eSATA interface must support Port Multiplication.

This is where the issue is with integrated eSATA ports in laptops and desktop motherboards.  They do not all support port multiplication…actually very few do. …

Robert Larson on Beware of Integrated eSATA ports

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“My screen has waves on it.”

ShieldBoxCloseup Back in 2001, the users were complaining that their computer screens had waves on them.

The cause of these “waves” were the HUGE electromagnetic fields being generated by the power distribution cable snaking though their ceiling.

The electromagnetic fields were so strong, it was creating the “waves” the end user users were reporting to me.

The brief from management:

The users cannot have LCD display screens, as they are too expensive at $1000 each.*

So I hunted around a bit, and found the “MagShield”.

The MagShield is a magnetic shield for computer CRT monitors.  A bargain at $400 each.

And the users were happy.

Nowadays, LCD display screens are the only display monitors you can buy cheaply, so that would be the solution today.  I expect the solution tomorrow might be e ink based.

* Management had had the experts in, who reported the amount of radiation being generated was less than the national standard.

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