Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Old-School Telecomm Cable Jacket Stripper

This is a classic telecommunications cable jacket stripper. It works perfectly on quad cable, Cat3-6 cable, and 16-pair. I've oened it since 1993. The 312 area code of the manufacturer tells me they were based in Chicago. #OldSchoolTools

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Myt Coffee Life - The Percolator Story

Percolators were the norm prior to drip coffee makers being introduced in the early 70's. I was a pre-teen when that happened.

When I first started drinking coffee it was from drip pots with paper filters becsuse that's what everyone did.

Then we spent a weekend at my wife's cousin's beach house. There was an antique stove-top percolator exactly like my grandmother had when I was a little kid.

Antique Percolator

It had a clear knob on the lid, and the water would bubble up in there so you could see the color. When it got a nice deep brown, you took it off the stove. I used to watch it all the time.

I had time on my hands that day at the beach house. I made coffee the old-school way. The whole house smelled wonderfully of coffee. My wife came down the stairs saying how good it smelled. The coffee was strong snd flavorful.

I threw out my drip coffee pot as soon as we got home and went to the antique store online.

Then we saw a 12-cup Farberware Millennium coffee pot for sale in the kitchen department at Carson's. Electric, automatic, dropped from brewing to warming temp all by itself when the coffee was done. Won't burn the coffee unless it sits at least ten hours. All stainless steel. (The antique stove-top is aluminum)

Farberware Millenium Electric Percolator

I've never looked back.

They sold people on drips in the 70's because the paper filters would "filter out all the coffee impurities." It filtered out most of the flavor, too, and made the paper companies money. What did I know at the time? I was 10 and didn't drink coffee.

Well, I learned back in 1999 when I tried that percolator.


Does 5G Plus IPV6 Plus Nanotechnology Equal Net Dust?

5G is the pending "next big thing" in mobile connectivity. The speeds of 5G communications are expected to be incredibly fast. It's expected to be so important that CNET was openly speculating in an article that Trump blocked a possible merger between Broadcomm (Singapore) and Qualcomm (US) before the two companies had actually agreed to a deal. National security concerns were the cited reason.

IP Version 6 was developed because IP Version 4 (currently used) is running out of IP addresses. IPV6 is reputed to have so many IP addresses that you could assign one to every atom on the surface of the Earth and have enough addresses left for another hundred planets.

Nanotech is composed of machines so small that they're measured in number of atoms.

Net dust is my term for nano-scale routers that would allow the entire surface of the Earth to become an IP network.

Imagine there being literally nowhere that had no access to the internet. Simply scatter net dust from planes, drones, and every other vehicle imaginable. The wind would carry it everywhere.

Net dust would be inhaled and ingested constantly by every creature on the planet.


Sunday, March 4, 2018

Learning Linux...

So I have finally bit the bullet and starting learning another operating system other than Windows. I have been working in Microsoft operating systems almost exclusively (not counting smartphones) since 1995.

I have an older slim tower PC set up with Ubuntu 16.04.4 LTS 64-bit Linux.

It is taking quite a bit of getting used to, but wow, does it boot up fast!

I'm focusing mostly on learning terminal commands right now, but I do have the firewall enabled, and I've been playing a bit with some of the GUI software and applications as well. I have ClamAV with ClamTK installed and working. (Antivirus) So at least I have basic secirity on the device. (** Note: In ClamTK, once you open it, go into the setting at the farthest upper left corner of the GUI window, and un-check the "double click buttons to operate")

I also have it playing music and I have Audacity installed on it as well, so I can record audio. (For podcasting later)

I can't put a lot of time into it, as I'm in school full time to become a Microsoft-certified Systems Administrator by early next year.

However, the first certification in the series is CompTIA A+ and Amazon TestOut PC Pro - and I'm getting hammered on some of the MAC & Linux command questions. Luckily that's about 3-4% of the material, but still, it could make the difference between passing the cert exams and failing.

So, wish me luck, but Ubuntu is on my extra box. I'm also posting this blog from it tonight.


Thursday, March 1, 2018

Getting Around Windows 10 Graphics Controller Incompatibility In Older PC’s

This is primarily a desktop PC solution, but may be implemented in some notebook / laptop PC's as well. This depends on the laptop make & model. Very few laptops have an expansion slot for improved graphics cards, which is required for this fix.

If all the rest of the hardware on a PC checks out as Windows 10 compatible via a reading of the Windows 10 system requirements, and the hardware check tool from Microsoft, but your video controller is incompatible with Windows 10, you may be able to do this.

Background: Windows 10 has a boatload of new code in it so that it can adapt to the screen size of the device it is running on. This operating system may be implemented on smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops, all-in-one PC's, or even smart TV's. It needs to be able to work on all sizes of screens.

Because of this, the graphics controller chip or card must be able to support the new code. Some graphics controllers are too old to support the software, at a hardware level. They simply can't run the necessary DirectX version. Devices that run Windows 10 for desktop editions must include a GPU that supports DirectX 9 or later, per Microsoft specifications for desktop operating system versions. Even with an updated driver, they just aren't capable of running it. Others are no longer supported by the manufacturer, so the necessary driver software will never be written.

Microsoft doesn't appear include graphics controller testing in their hardware check tool. You must manually investigate the compatibility of your Graphics Controller yourself. You'll need to look up what make and model of graphics controller your system has. Usually these can be found online. CNET.com is usually pretty good for PC specifications for many makes and models. The manufacturer website may also be a good resource.

Once you know what graphics controller your machine is using, you'll need to research online whether it is supported for Windows 10. Even if all the rest of your PC hardware meets all the Windows 10 system requirements, if your graphics controller is incompatible, upgrading is likely to cause you a lot of grief with hangs, freezes, and the dreaded blue screen of death. This is because instructions your graphics controller can't execute are coming in due to all that new code. This is also a big reason why early reviews of Windows 10 were so mixed. People loved it or hated it. That was probably a direct result of not knowing that they needed to check this manually before updating...

Once you have determined that the rest of your PC is able to run Windows 10, but your GC will not, what you can do is purchase an expansion card GC that is known to support Windows 10 and install it to a PCIe x16 slot or AGP slot on your machine. (Few laptops have these expansion slots available) AGP slots are pretty old, so it's unlikely, but never rule anything out.

This will replace the integrated GC on the CPU chip, or replace an existing incompatible expansion card GC. (Once you have the new graphics card thast you are certain supports Windows 10 installed and running, you should boot into the system BIOS/UEFI and disable the integrated graphics controller if it's present. It will be using up system RAM memory for nothing. That will slow your machine down a bit.

It takes a bit of research, but it's likely cheaper than a new PC.

I just did this myself by making one good Win 10 dektop out of two old ones that I am donating to my Civil Air Patrol squadron.

One PC had a compatible GC expansion card, the other had an incompatible integrated GC.


Dan Stafford
Temecool Computer Repair
Temecula, CA