Technology

Computers, Consumer Electronics, Game Consoles, Mobile Phones, Electronics, etc...

This Old Computer: Upgrade or Replace?

Computing

I get a lot of questions from people who are trying to decide what specific hardware to put into their computers. More often than not, they are trying to take a very old computer and make it usable again. The problem with very old computers trying to run current operating systems and applications is that it requires almost an entire new computer worth of upgrades to bring it up to speed. On the other hand, I've used several computers now that are a few years old and only need a very simple upgrade to keep them usable for another year or two. The problem is that most people simply don't know when it's worth it to upgrade and when it's time to just replace it all. Fortunately for them, we can answer most of the questions here.

How to Add a Cheap Aux Input to Pioneer P-series Stereos

Cars

If you have a Pioneer or Premier CD/MP3/Radio in your car and you don't have an auxiliary input already, it's really not too difficult to add it, provided you have a compatible head unit. Models starting with a "P" after the dash such as the Pioneer DEH-P2900 are compatible. The aux input connects through the blue IP-Bus connector on the back of the unit. Pioneer sells an adapter that comes in the form of a little metal converter box but you can get just a cable adapter for much cheaper. I've done this in 2 cars now for about $10 each total and it has worked perfectly each time.

Drupal Taxonomy - How to add a list of clickable sub-categories

Drupal

Drupal is a very powerful Content Management System (CMS) that has a well-designed taxonomy module. Taxonomy is the system of categorization and classification of things. In Drupal's taxonomy, you can define multiple vocabularies and the terms in those vocabularies can have multiple sub-terms. This site is set up that way with the high-level terms being general concepts such as "Programming" and "Technology." The one thing I wanted that it did not do out of the box was to show sub-categories as an additional navigation menu when you clicked on a parent category. It's not to hard to implement if you know how. Read on for the code snippets.

Qwest DSL: Cheap, Quick and Easy wireless upgrade

Computing

If you're fortunate (or unfortunate as the case sometimes is) to be a Qwest DSL user with an M1000 DSL modem and you don't currently have Wi-Fi in your home, there is an excellent upgrade option for around $30 that works very well and is one of the few upgrades I've ever seen that quite literally takes a few seconds to do.

How To Improve Digital TV (DTV) Reception

Technology
Many of us are still using OTA (Over The Air) Digital TV to get our local channels in High Definition.  I use a $10 rabbit ear w/loop antenna that I bought from Radio Shack and for the most part it's able to pick up all of the broadcast stations.  I have been having problems with reception from time to time when people walk around in front of the TV.  I've already relocated the antenna away from other electronics up in the highest spot available, which helped but didn't make for a fully stable HD picture.  I was sure that the only way to fix it was to put an antenna up on the roof, until today.

Vista Business 64 in the Workplace

Vista
After reading about the numerous problems with Vista, I was quite hesitant to try it in the workplace.  I work off a laptop at a client site as a software engineer for a major consulting company.  My job demands that I have 100% uptime with all applications and software development tools.  I can not afford to have stability issues or any kind of OS incompatibilities.  To make matters worse, we use 2 VPN clients, 4 different large software development tools and a suite of other smaller applications.  After installing Vista Business 64 on a new Lenovo T61p laptop, I was pleasantly surprised with the results.

5 Ways To Get The Most Out Of Vista

Vista
After having run Windows Vista (Business 64) for over a month now, I can say that with a few tweaks, I believe it is ready for full-time use.  I'm a full time consultant so I work off of a laptop in the field running a full suite of software about 10 hours per day.  This means that if my OS is misbehaving, I'm in big trouble because if I can't work, I can't bill my hours and if I can't bill my hours, I'm getting a serious call from the guys above. 

Despite all of the dogging of Vista from XP and 2000 users, I've found that I'm faster in my day-to-day activities than I was in Windows XP.  Here's my list of Vista must-knows:

Product Review: Roku Netflix Instant Movie Player

Netflix
Following and complimenting the Netflix instant streaming video service for the PC, Roku has produced a Set-Top Box offering instant streaming of Netflix video to your home television set.  This concept sounds simple:  Just play the netflix movies over the internet to your television.  Unfortunately, this concept just hasn't been implemented well in the past.  Even the movies-by-mail business hasn't gone over for others as well as it has for the online rental king and that seemed rather straightforward.  Fortunately for us and in the Netflix tradition, the new service was implemented with a simple and straightforward interface which does one thing - plays video over the internet to your TV.

How to upgrade the ram in a T60, T60p, T61 or T61p

Computing

I've had to do this for several of these laptops now so I thought I'd just make a picture tutorial to explain. It's been pretty much the same for all models T60 and greater. What we've been doing is upgrading machines with either 1 or 2GB up to 4GB. The memory is located under the touchpad on the front panel, which is removable via long screws on the bottom. All you need is a philips head precision screwdriver and your new ram, which must be compatible with the machine.

I Propose Online Movie Rentals 2.0

Computing
After having read the article about a new USPS surcharge that could cut into Netflix's profits I got to thinking about the future of movie rentals.  If you're a Netflix customer and haven't tried their streaming video service, I recommend you give it a shot.  I've noticed the weak selection of titles available on it and can only imagine that it must be a licensing issue with the MPAA or specific rights-holder.  While I enjoy their online video-watching service, I don't enjoy watching movies on my laptop as much as on my TV and I also don't enjoy having to plug my laptop into my TV.  There is a feasible solution for all of this covering concerns like licensing agreements (giving consumers better selection) to proper television integration (no more laptops plugged into the TV.)  Read on to find out how I see a successful movie rental business operating in the near future.
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