Saturday, May 14, 2011

Dead Computer Troubleshooting

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Dead Computer Troubleshooting

One of the most difficult computer problems for a home user is troubleshooting a dead computer. When we mean “dead” we mean no signs of life at all. Where do you even begin? The average user doesn’t know the internal workings of their computer–and they shouldn’t have to. So when things go wrong, they do not know where to begin to diagnose and either fix the problem or make arrangements to have the problem corrected. The following steps will help give you some general knowledge of what could be wrong with your PC and give you some ideas on how to fix it or provide you with enough knowledge to prevent you getting ripped off at the computer repair shop.
For starters, if the computer is still under warranty, do not open the case, as this will void your warranty. HP, Dell and any other major manufacturer will respond quickly to your problems and arrange for you to send the computer in, or they might opt to send a technician out to work on the computer. If you bought the PC at a shop around the corner, send emails and begin a paper trail on the issue.
With that said, a completely dead computer will usually have either a bad motherboard, bad power supply, or a faulty case. The following steps will help you find out which is the culprit. Well start with the easiest and work our way down to the hardest. One of the first things you’ll want to do is unplug the computer and take it to a table where you can lay it flat. Open the case and check the connections to see if you notice anything blatantly wrong, then proceed with the steps below.

Diagnosing A Bad Power Supply

Power supplies can fail without warning. The worse part is, they can partially fail. This means you might be getting power to the motherboard, the fans and other components, but you do not have the correct voltages to start the motherboard.The power supply is located at the back of the case, and is where the power cable plugs into the PC.
  1. Your first step should be to plug the computer directly into the wall and bypass any power strips. You should also confirm the outlet is working properly.
  2. Make sure the red voltage regulator switch on the back is set to 115 if you reside in the United States, people in some countries will need to set theirs to 230. With the power off and unplugged, try toggling the switch to 230, then back to 115 to make sure it is seated in the right position.
  3. Next, buy a power supply tester. Computer techs will use a multimeter to test for proper voltages. Normal users can just buy a power supply tester. These are cheap and easy to use.
  4. If your power supply is bad, buy one of equal or greater power. If your current power supply is 350WT, be sure to get one that’s 350WT or higher. Shop for a power supply.
  5. If you have an HP computer, read these HP power Supply troubleshooting tips.
A power supply will tend to fail before anything else, as they take the most abuse. They are the front line when a power surge or brown out occurs. The good news is, they are extremely easy to replace should you find this is the problem.

Diagnosing A Bad Computer Case

While a dead PC will either normally be a bad power supply or bad motherboard, the next easiest thing to troubleshoot is the case. How can a case go bad? A case has minimal smarts, but it does have wires leading from the power button to the motherboard that can go bad, and some even have advanced I/O panels that can fail.
  1. You can try bypassing the case switch. This means you are initiating the power-on sequence without using the button on the front of the case. For this, you will need a good set of eyes and a small, flat-head screw driver. The idea is to find the wire leading from the power button to the motherboard that’s marked something like POWER SW or POWER ON. It will cover two pins on the motherboard. Carefully, with the computer plugged in, touch tip of the flat head screwdriver to both of those pins at the same time, thus “shorting” them. You will not get shocked by doing this, but you need to be careful not to scratch the motherboard. Read more on bypassing the case switch here.
  2. If you have a Dell computer, read how to test a Dell I/O panel here.

Diagnosing A Bad Motherboard

The motherboard is the hardest thing to diagnose and replace. If your motherboard is proven to be bad, it must be removed from the case and replaced. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of stuff plugged into the motherboard, such as the CPU, RAM, PCI cards, Video Cards, hard drives, CD / DVD drives, power supply and fans. There are also tricky connections that must be made to the case’s power and reset switches. So replacing a bad motherboard is a long process. A bad motherboard will be determined by the following:
  1. If all of the above are not the problem, the motherboard is the problem by default.
  2. A bad motherboard might have visual signs of damage, such as bulging or leaking capacitors. See below.
  3. With the computer unplugged, try holding in on the power button for twenty seconds. This will drain the capacitors of any excess power. The computer might start up and work fine forever. If the computer starts, then fails again after doing this, then the motherboard is bad.
  4. Try removing any non-essential cards and drives in the computer. You do not need modems, sound cards, hard drives, CD / DVD drives, or floppy drives connected to boot. Our goal is to get a clean power-up situation, not boot into windows. If you remove non-essential parts and you still have no power, then the motherboard is bad.
In Conclusion, technicians will have more advanced tools and diagnostic equipment to quickly find the problem with your PC. But it will usually be one of the above that is causing the problem in a no power scenario.

Via (PCTech)
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Monday, January 31, 2011

Speck CandyShell Wrap iPad case folks, serves as stand

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Speck's new CandyShell Wrap iPad case doesn't just protect an iPad: the removable front cover folks to serve as a stand.

Speck just got back from showing off iPhone cases and covers at CES, and now the company has debuted its CandyShell Wrap case for the Apple iPad, just in time for this week’s Macworld Expo in San Francisco. In addition to protecting an iPad from bumps, scratches, and dirt, the CandyShell Wrap case features a removable cover that can fold up to serve as a viewing and/or typing stand.

“Our goal was to narrow the function of the CandyShell Wrap case for iPad to the most useful: viewing and typing,” said Speck’s director of design Bryan Hynecek, in a statement. “CandyShell Wrap is the first of our new generation of functional iPad case designs for mobile devices to hit the market.”

The CandyShell Wrap features a glossy, hard-shell exterior with a rubberized interior designed to protect the iPad from everyday bumps, knocks, and scrapes. The case’s front cover flips open and closed, and can be folded back to serve as a stand for viewing or typing, and the case has a flip-back panel that enables users to dock their iPads without removing th case.

The CandyShell Wrap case for iPad is available now in black for a suggested price of $59.99.

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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Despite an army of challengers drawing back their bows, Apple’s iPad may ride out the year without a single arrow piercing its armor. Here’s why.

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Despite an army of challengers drawing back their bows, Apple’s iPad may ride out the year without a single arrow piercing its armor. Here’s why.

I was at an Intel sales event this week with a bunch of analysts, and several of us got to talking about Apple, and how confident the company was in the iPad. Despite an army of competitors emerging this year, Apple remains assured that they’ll all look second-rate compared to the iPad and iPad 2. Apparently there is method to their madness, and a number of us have been hearing other OEMs complain that they just can’t get a comparable product to market for anywhere near the same price. They do plan to have smaller products to market at a lower price, but we are working from a rumor that says Apple has a strategy to deal with that problem as well. In addition, a number of us have heard of yet another enhancement the iPad 2 is likely to get.

Let’s talk iPads today!

Apple owns the 10-inch market

Apparently, at the core of Apple’s confidence is the belief that they have virtually locked up the vast majority of 10-inch touchscreen capacity through this year. Only Apple thought that tablets would be successful early on, and apparently no one (who is talking) did the same. As a result, you have a lot of vendors bidding for a constrained resource, and that has caused the price of the remaining capacity to skyrocket. This means that no one can get close to Apple’s price, even if they forego profit. Apple has effectively locked them out of the market.

A lot of screen manufactures did build 10-inch displays for netbooks, but they stopped selling in high volumes, and because theses displays are in the wide-screen format, they don’t lend themselves to much of anything else that is selling in high volume. If someone gets a smartbook right, that could lead to a good opportunity, because these screen manufactures are almost giving the non-touch screens away. I’m not holding my breath.

The 7-inch counter strategy

The counter strategy from a number of OEMs has been to build a 7-inch tablet and sell it at a lower price to compete with the iPad. We saw the beginning of this when Samsung reduced the price of the Galaxy Tab sharply, and started to sell them in higher volumes as a result. Still, at best the Galaxy may have sold 10 percent of what the iPad did, and even that number is likely way overstated. In effect, the Galaxy became what the Zune was to the iPod: a nicely built, but largely uncompetitive offering in a market Apple literally owns.

Countering the counter strategy

Even this small advantage may go away when the iPad 2 ships. Apparently, Apple is considering dropping the price of the entry level iPad to equal the price of many of these 7-inch tablets. That would once again give folks a choice between something big from Apple, and something small from Samsung, for the same price. I expect most will continue to choose the Apple.

HP’s wild card

HP is expected to launch the new Palm Tablet in a few days (February 9). HP has historically been just as aggressive as Apple is in terms of locking up supply for a new product well in advance, and because HP sells far more PCs, it actually has more bidding power than Apple does. There is a chance that HP already tied up screen capacity to make a real run at Apple’s iPad dominance, but it would appear to be the only one, and even that possible advantage is just speculation. The company co

ld just as easily be SOL like every other competitor.

A Retina iPad?

Several of my peers are convinced that Apple will launch a new, high-end iPad that will have a very high-resolution Retina Display sometime this year. Apple likes premium offerings, and because no one can seem to create a product anything like the iPad for a similar price, Apple actually has the value product this round. That would mean Apple is inclined to create a better premium product and drive people to it, while the lower-end offering with the less-attractive display is used for volume, and to assure Apple continues to dominate this segment. If Apple does this, much as it did with the iPhone 4, it will likely double the resolution over the base model with this display. On the other hand, Apple doesn’t like a complex line, which means that if it does a high-end display, it may drop it into the entire iPad 2 line of products.

Wrapping up: Apple has every reason to be optimistic

In the first half of the year, only HP and possibly Research in Motion (RIM) have the positioning to take a bite out of Apple, and few (as in none) believe that RIM has the chops to do this. HP likely is anticipating Apple’s move and should be able to provide a surprise, but “could” and “does” are two very different words. HP, to my knowledge, has never upset Apple’s apple cart before. With the iPad expected to come out before June and possibly as early as March, we’ll know on Feb. 9 whether HP even has a shot. I think HP has a long shot, but my peers don’t even give them that much.

In the end, Apple appears to have a good reason to be confident.
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Friday, January 28, 2011

Lets plays music easy from phone, laptop with Weezy Bluetooth Music Receiver plays tunes

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Weezy lets you stream music from your phone or laptop to your stereo system without hassle, and looks pretty cool while doing it.

This shiny, alien-like object will make using your home speaker system with your laptop and smartphone a snap thanks to the wonders of Bluetooth. The device plugs into your stereo system and pairs with up to nine different devices via Bluetooth. Weezy ($91) is always ready for a connection, so turning on your stereo from your phone or laptop is quick and painless. Change tracks from your phone while in a different room, or instantly send a new playlist from your laptop to your stereo. It works with Apple products as well as BlackBerry, Android, Palm, Linux and Windows. As an added bonus, when using Weezy through your phone, the device will automatically mute as you receive incoming calls. Considerate, right?

Via: [Digital T]
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