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Showing posts from September, 2012

Dealing with bad purchases

There is something emotional tied to every purchase we make. We spend time deciding which option is best, maybe check out review sites, and, at some point, cross our fingers and hope that the purchase decision is correct. Of course, a percentage of the stuff we purchase will end up, for all intents and purposes, be total duds. There is a threshold of expense that determines how far we will go to make a dud somewhat tolerable to work with. When it comes to computer technology that tends to be expensive, we are willing to waste hours on the phone with technical support just so we can get back to our lives. So, where is this post coming from? Well, back a couple years when netbooks were all the rage, I saw an opportunity to pick up a cheap Linux box via a Dell Mini 9 pre-installed with Ubuntu. It was $200 and I had plans for it and it has come in quite handy a few times for purposes I never really intended for it. It would have been a worthwhile purchase except for one little te

How to Correctly Flash a BIOS

Every computer comes with what is known as a BIOS (Basic Input/Output System). The BIOS contains startup and basic execution code that runs code before the CPU is handed control. In essence, it is the key piece of software on the computer that makes a computer start up in the first place. Occasionally, motherboard manufacturers will release new versions of a BIOS, usually to correct manufacturing defects. Flashing the BIOS is a rather dangerous, but sometimes necessary operation. Doing this is also usually much more complex than it needs to be, which not only acts as a deterrent but also vastly increases the possibility of something going horribly wrong. Before you go any further, heed this warning: Flashing a BIOS can brick your motherboard no matter how careful you are! Read everything two or three times and have a plan of action and a backup plan if flashing the BIOS fails spectacularly. There is a right way and a wrong way to flash a BIOS. The wrong way is to do it fro