Posts tagged ‘computers’

About Printers

Please read the article first. Now then; I have an HP Laserjet MFP M28-M31. It’s a monochrome (black and white) laser printer. Color printers are much more complicated and thus much more prone to error. Unfortunately, inkjet printers still do tend to dry up their cartridges if under-used; at one time I used to have a backup color inkjet and there was a fundamental problem with the concept. This printer is fast (at printing), quiet, and holds a fairly good amount of paper, something like 50 sheets. That’s actually good, because the more paper can be stored for input, the more prone the paper is to ‘misbehave’, from any number of reasons. It’s a bit slow at scanning but has excellent output (which is, yes, color; it just can’t print color).

Never buy top-end and never buy bottom-end (speaking of pricing) computers or accessories. The top-end ones cost more than they’re worth. The bottom-end ones are worthless. Canon and HP in my experience are very reliable. Dell is a step below. Epson is of inconsistent quality.

PC Magazine is the best source I know of for hardware critiques (and software, for that matter).

And to the writer of that article I have one thing to say. “Idiot.”

August 16, 2020 at 5:08 pm Leave a comment

Dell Data Vault

Best practices for resolving DellDataVault issues

A clean and tidy computer is the key requirement for avoiding problems with DellDataVault. This means running a scan for malware, cleaning your hard drive using 1cleanmgr and 2sfc /scannow, 3uninstalling programs that you no longer need, checking for Autostart programs (using 4msconfig) and enabling Windows’ 5Automatic Update. Always remember to perform periodic backups, or at least to set restore points.

Should you experience an actual problem, try to recall the last thing you did, or the last thing you installed before the problem appeared for the first time. Use the 6resmon command to identify the processes that are causing your problem. Even for serious problems, rather than reinstalling Windows, you are better off repairing of your installation or, for Windows 8 and later versions, executing the 7DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth command. This allows you to repair the operating system without losing data.

To help you analyze the DellDataVault.exe process on your computer, the following programs have proven to be helpful: ASecurity Task Manager displays all running Windows tasks, including embedded hidden processes, such as keyboard and browser monitoring or Autostart entries. A unique security risk rating indicates the likelihood of the process being potential spyware, malware or a Trojan. BMalwarebytes Anti-Malware detects and removes sleeping spyware, adware, Trojans, keyloggers, malware and trackers from your hard drive.


That’s an excerpt from and I have noticed on one computer a definite oddity in performance lately.  I am NOT going to uninstall it, just disable it (Avira’s System Speedup Pro is good at solving problems without creating them.  I believe I had that problem on my Windows Insider machine (not using it for production makes my learning the latest update less than timely, but I simply had to stop using my production computer–Dell XPS 2720 One AIO [I had to reload Windows; I was also using it for beta testing; BAD idea, barely better than testing the old adage of never use more than one cleanup program at once, which somehow damaged the MBR beyond repair]–and I’m now using my ancient HP laptop which is still running nicely.  I added that last because I got this computer for less than a hundred dollars because of the prior owner’s inability to keep on trying through all the error codes.  One last note; if you’re having problems installing Windows 10 (it doesn’t like hard drive replacements and you have to buy another copy if you replace the motherboard or probably the PC CPU as well; while you can can almost undoubtedly fight through them it isn’t worth it; at the very least buy one of the disks from Amazon which is made for correcting Win 10 errors or upgrading to it, and the options are vastly easier to reach) buy a copy of Windows.  I’ve done both ways, and I will never fight with Windows again if it tells me I’m attempting to reuse a serial number.  Ten dollars is what that disk cost me. Going the other route (and having to use more than one option) on other computers has generally taken at least five hours, and the commonest error on installation has to do with firewalls and AV systems.  It will most likely demand (if doing this over the internet) that you shut down both; on 1 to 10 of dangerous that’s 10; at least burn an *.iso file onto thumb drive or disk and go from there if you get one of those errors, and Google [don’t use the encrypted version of that search app, even] any and all errors; don’t automatically use Microsoft solutions and make sure to research your computer (via Google) vis-a-vis known errors and problems. Luck

January 15, 2019 at 1:23 pm Leave a comment

About Our Beloved Cell Phones

‘OMG. Who really cares? They’re plastic pieces of crap that dominate our lives anyway. Now they’re dominating our virtual lives and conversation! Machines already rule the world, it’s just like pets; “Look what I just got MY human to do!!”‘


My part in a thread where people were arguing intensely about the utter perfection of either Android or Apple phones–cell phones, yes.  It is arguable that we’re seeing the birth of artificial intelligence precisely through the mass interaction with computers that also act in a cloud, just as it’s arguable to say that human intelligence is solely social because it’s maintained through the given language.


As for the malice–a bit over 40 years ago; “I hate computers and I hate programmers worse!”  It wasn’t true, but it was and is appropriate.  With the birth of the ‘C’ series, bear in mind that it is difficult to impossible to avoid premade short snippets of logic [truly intrinsic to the statement; see a textbook for an explanation that could be more understandable], one of the reasons for the progression.


…Dedicated to Felicity, my 16-year old cat, who…hates computers.  They take far too much attention from her!

September 17, 2017 at 6:02 pm 1 comment

Have You Ever Formatted A Nice Big Flash Drive To…

a horribly tiny one?  Have you then wondered what on Earth you could do, short of driving to the nearest computer service and either admitting your mistake or trying to stammer your way into “Well, Windows made me do it!” [which is somewhat reminiscent of something constantly recurring right now, just can’t manage to think of what (Trump) it might be that it’s reminding me of (Trump)], I wonder (Trump) why my fingers keep typing that… [Enough of “Trump made me do it!!” for today, lol…]


I did.  Or else when Windows was formatting the flash memory drive for a recovery drive (I had my mind turned firmly OFF, using anything too big for a recovery drive is asinine) it did turn most of it into a reserved–therefore unusable–partition.  However, as I recall, there was simply a default and I mindlessly accepted it.


What on Earth, you say, is the solution? THAT THIS IS NOT HTTPS.  Scan the download with the antivirus that I know you have before even dreaming of presuming to install it, as I know you do with every download.  Why, I even know you’re looking at VPN offers right now.


Rufus turned a 128 GB flash drive that had been turned into a 32 GB flash drive by formatting…right back into a 128 GB flash drive.  I was using Windows 10.  It was fast.  I also did the scan first, for damaged sectors.  At that point it showed only one unused partition.  So I aborted the process and tried to use it.  Windows told me it had to be formatted (! the thing I wanted !).  So I formatted it to 128 GB and it worked very smoothly.  [120 GB, actually, is usable; 8 GB overhead for tracking files, folders and dates for storage, modification and the lack.


Tomorrow I’ll turn a 32 GB external hard drive back into 3 TB (as I recall, could just possibly have been 2 TB) and make another entry as to the program I used.  I also need to give notes on recovery of the XPS 2720 Dell that took so bloody much time, the Dell 3020 that got hit by a virus among other things, the Alienware and the network that turned alien on it [to be precise, how I optimized something to see how much damage I could do and it was considerable], the NAS (Network Attached Storage, storage for the entire network through the router) that failed because of the RAID setting and appropriate RAID settings for such things, and at some point setting up the VPN on an ASUS RT-AC68U router (that’s what the RT stands for).  That’s not quite all that happened to me while I was virtually (virtuously? whatever) silent…but it may be all I tell.  Whatever.  It was indeed interesting.



July 31, 2017 at 8:44 pm Leave a comment

Artificial Intelligence and Its Threat

Its first blurry visions came in an age where computers existed by virtue of vacuum tubes.  Responses as I recall them were in terms of long seconds (long as in it might be more than one).

Observe that the primary threat has taken place and is enlarging.  As is, a person’s value is in terms of property, ‘real’ and social–money, stature (as in titles so you don’t have to work), wages, position on various social ladders especially as defined by work…and all of this except the money and stature are immediately threatened.  They were trying out replacing highly-paid surgeons with machines at John Hopkins about a decade ago.  There are robot workers on cars.  I’m not great at endless lists, so…

This means there is an increasingly large number of people whose identity is being displaced.  There almost has to be a growing population of actually unemployed who are actually sliding down that hopeless ladder I mentioned.  The stature that was job-acquired is gone.  I read an article last year that addressed the fact that someone who works at MacDonald’s lives with another wage-earner.  Does this add a perspective to people who stay in abusive relationships?  I’m not talking about palaces here.

With respect to available work there is a growing population of workers–even for jobs which don’t by themselves supply enough for survival.  I believe MacDonald’s managers do make enough to survive if they’re careful.

AI is displacing jobs and it will do so at an exponentially increasing rate.

Our society (the ‘Western’ world) doesn’t tolerate either shanty-towns or the homeless.  It frowns on communes.

Government benefits are being frowned upon by the same ones who will be frantic in a few years in the lower class–the poor–the ones who make less than $25K USD at least are poor.  It would take money now.

Final note, the historical solution to political unrest (like rioting in the streets over hunger or for that matter murder–multiplied each time it is covered) is war.  The one way we would present a real and present danger to the AIs would be if we set off a nuclear bomb or three and caused EMF events.  An electro magnetic frequency event would be the blast of multi-spectra emissions caused by such an explosion.  It would pale any voltage surge.  If it appeared that nuclear war were imminent right now, it would be very interesting to see what occurred.

What we are doing right now appears to be heading directly toward nuclear war.

September 13, 2015 at 3:06 pm Leave a comment


The one way in which “Web 2.0” is truly a valid concept to mind is this; we’re on the way for the first time to constructing a group artifact that we could call reality.  I don’t think we can capitalize it yet.  The next thing is to learn how to forget some things we don’t even remember learning–like (oddly enough) “the group is always right!”  At least, though, we did make it somewhere to where programmers were no longer the shrouded and coiffed keepers of The Holy Grail.  It even turned out they had dandruff.  Of course, it’s now that we’re trying to deal with our need for authority.  [That’s why we keep putting off the adaptability bit for another day.]


August 29, 2008 at 4:09 am Leave a comment

has truly annoying commercials, and truly worthwhile prices on computers and monitors (note that they carry absolutely no CRT-style monitors).  I’m sorry, but I can’t bring myself to link to them.


P.S.  No, I’m not getting paid a penny by anyone.  I just was doing some looking for my own purposes.

July 28, 2008 at 9:59 am 1 comment

want to improve your current computer’s performance?

get more RAM.  Tip of the day.  Kingston is among the top still.


–1.45 gig RAM vs .45 gig is a lot of difference (of free memory):  I had a gig.  Many starter computers are apparently still half a gig, 512 meg.  Order the RAM!

July 13, 2008 at 3:07 pm Leave a comment

Computers and users; definitions

Dealing with my wife’s old computer has made me realize again that there are points at which most people are relatively ignorant, most especially including (dare I say it) programmers.  Specifically, the average “end-user” is pretty well ignorant of most of the issues involved with computing except for the current catchwords.  The concepts that are associated with these cool words are generally relatively vague.  The programmer is entirely ignorant of the average home user, mostly because of insulation.  Most start out with some understanding.


“OEM” has come to mean one thing in the computer world, basically.  It’s an Operating System (OS) which only works on the computer it came with.  Dells, HPs and the like have OEMs.  There are also often OEM copies of things like Adobe=”trialware”=”shareware”=crapware, or something that’s limited in some way.  Usually it’s limited as to how many times you can use it, so you have to remove it from your system, and it leaves little bits and fragments along the way, from uninstall.exe programs to text files to dll’s/dynamic linked libraries.  The dll’s just contain various kinds of information.  …Libraries.


This means that if the motherboard or CPU in your Dell fail, you can’t just use your old copy of Windows.  It won’t work.  There’s a piece of hardware in there that has to stick up its little hand at the right time and say it’s Dell, or it just won’t work.  More or less. 


Now if it’s just the hard drive, and you still have your copy of Windows, because it’s on cd, you get a cd and install Windows.  If it’s a Northgate and the OS was on a partition of the hard drive (call a partition a virtual hard drive and you’ll more or less get the picture) things aren’t perfect.  I was just reflecting on the fact that I don’t actually know that the motherboard hasn’t eaten it, either.  But much less likely than the hard drive in the first place.


Most motherboards take up the functions of things like graphics cards and such that used to be separate entities in the old days five years ago.  You’ll generally have Ethernet; if you do get a separate graphics or audio card you actually bypass the existent functions on the motherboard (you also substantially improve performance by the nature of things, because you’re paring down CPU functions a bit).  Generally you can’t use the old Dell or whatever box (the thing the actual computer goes into) because a standard motherboard won’t fit somehow.  It also may be tricky figuring out actual wattages and things of the sort, important considerations when laying out a power supply for the interior functions.


Building your  own computer is much easier than you’d think.  This is where I want to go into user types briefly and then just stop.  This should be a bit different take than you’ve generally seen on this kind of stuff, so maybe it’s a little less intimidating.  Overdoing it isn’t particularly cool, either, though.


With users you have generally the standard user and the power user, with the latter being almost exclusively gamers.  Graphics uses a lot of computing power, but only when done in realtime.  Fractals are maybe the best demonstration.  Naturally, editing of videos and the like will eat a lot of resources and is entirely out of the realm of this discussion, because you’ve actually gone right to programs-for-pay with the price tag for “decent” starting at a couple of grand.  The ordinary user outside a company isn’t going to touch a computer’s capabilities–remember, watching a DVD is watching a DVD, no matter whether a computer or a “DVD player”. 


The point is that there isn’t any great merit in being a “power user” or a “gamer”.  A few things won’t run on standard equipment, and that’s all.  As far as word processors, editing photos, and that sort of thing standard equipment does just fine or the equipment is flawed.


The ordinary business user uses…about a tenth of what the ordinary home user does.  It’s inexecusable to have unnecessary input ports on a machine whose sole function is formatted data entry.  There should be communication with an authorized gateway, and nothing else.  For that matter, entry into the box should be physically keyed and there are several methods of doing it.  Keep in mind that physical, keyed connection to the gateway somehow can also prevent someone just unplugging the computer and walking away, which has been done.  (Random memory of actual places I’ve worked.  If you ask the obvious question, I actually don’t know why I never did.  Risk factor was somewhere near zero.)


Enough for now.



June 27, 2008 at 2:46 pm 4 comments

Rose’s Old Computer (steps toward further backup protection)

I bought it for her a couple of years; it’s a Northgate, now defunct.  Half a gig of RAM, never have looked at the processor speed.  It seemed decently fast when she first got it and slowed over time, although there was of course the crapware.  And of course she accepted it.  Just as I was once an obsessive downloader.  Her picture never appears because she won’t allow it.  Then again, I’m not all that fond of my own, so I can understand that easily.


I just installed SP3 on her old computer.  Seems like that fix has been out there for a while.  Mind you, I just fired it back up yesterday.  Because of space constraints, I had to have another keyboard, because non-USB keyboards just aren’t designed to be connected/disconnected while everything’s powered on.  Already had a USB “mouse” actually tablet.  Bear in mind that now–since I’ve gotten the software for the combination wireless keyboard/optical mouse installed on that computer–all I actually have to do is move one USB plug-in, from a hub to the Northgate computer.  Rose’s computer.  Whatever.  Defining reality nominatively is at best a dangerous thing, because names have so many assumptions inherent in them.


The main function of her old computer is simply a real backup.  I have an external hard drive; I now have an external computer where I can store stuff and that pretty well will be sans executables because I actually don’t expect to have to access the Internet from it.  That means it hides behind the router firewall (effectively anonymizing the IP among a small pool) and then behind the software firewall, first of all.  I want to get a bigger hard drive pretty soon and install it in her own computer.  It would in some ways be nice to just go ahead and Linux it; I’m nearly sure that Linux word processors can come up with documents with the necessary embedded codes for formatting.


June 24, 2008 at 2:22 pm Leave a comment

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