Wowie Zowie. An SSD really kicks it

Every once in a while I treat myself to a new toy.  This time it was a Solid State Drive, SSD, or a computer disk with no moving parts based on flash memory technology.  I replaced the existing 120 GB regular drive in my 5-year-old Toshiba laptop with the SSD, created a partition on it, more »

Speeding Things Up – Multiple Cores

In a prior article I talked about what manufacturers can do when they improve their processing.  One thing they can do is to replicate the processors on a single chip.  You have a good design for the processor and essentially you just cookie cutter the thing across the chip.  “Joe, how does this speed things more »

Bad Caps

A few years ago a number of sub-standard electrolytic capacitors got into the supply chain.  These capacitors or caps for short are used on circuit boards like motherboards to smooth out ripples in power leads to on-board chips.  They look like a can turned on end and have two wires coming out the bottom which more »

RAM needs

RAM stands for Random Access Memory.  The RAM in your computer is where everything happens.  Programs reside on disk but, in the computer architecture proposed by John von Neumann and universally used in computers since, programs must be read into memory and can only be executed there.  The data also resides in RAM memory.  There more »


CMOS in an acronym for Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (usually Silicon).  You can look at the Wikipedia article for more detail but the most important aspect of CMOS for this article is that if it is in the off state or in the on state it uses essentially zero energy and therefore produces much less more »

Laptop Lockups

Bless the little laptops.  Their tiny brains sometimes get so confused.  If your laptop is unresponsive to the power on/off button, perform this simple procedure and most of the time you will be back on the air in a minute or so. First, unplug the  AC adapter from your laptop. Second,close the top, if opened, more »

Hardware is a Commodity

These days hardware is a commodity and a bargain at that. Except for the Apple world which is vertically integrated, just about anybody’s hardware is as good as anyone else’s. There are some manufacturers where what you find in the box is whatever the purchasing manager got cheap that week. Most desktop computers are made more »