Random Tech Questions you want answered.

As an HP Stream owner, while it is decent enough, the 32gb ssd is a real problem. Just trying to get Windows updates installed on it briefly left me with an unbootable machine until I finally managed to just wipe out the original install on the computer. If the Stream still has only 32gb hard drive space for the system drive, I would be wary of recommending it to a non-technical person, as Windows really does not play nice with that setup.

I think a Chromebook is the perfect device for her but while conceptually it is not too different for one of us or too much of an adjustment and learning curve, it would be for her. I think anything outside of the normal windows experience (version upgrades, i.e., 10 is fine) with a normal laptop device is too disruptive and will not be well received.

The Stream provides a lot of that but the 32GB does seem like a problem. An external HD substitute seems too far out of the norm for her.

My box-of-cracker-jack smartphone has predictably decided to start being stupid and, like clockwork, I'm looking for a new one. Ideally, I want one that's light on the bloatware but not on power. I'm on Verizon and not planning on leaving anytime soon, so I need one that works on CDMA. I'm thinking either the Google Pixel 2 or this Essential phone, which seems like a Pixel wannabe. Pricewise, they're similar, except I can't get the Pixel through Amazon AFAIK, which makes a bit of a difference to me (I have some gift moneys on Amazon that can defray the cost of anything I get there). Anyone that can help me in my quest to find a phone that will actually last me longer than like 1.5 years?

I have a colleague whose laptop appears to have a geographical glitch. When he is at his home, the laptop will not detect wifi at all, will not show any wireless access points or anything until he plugs it into the router using an ethernet cable. Once he does, he can unplug it and it then acts normally and can connect to the wifi. At work, there is no such issue.

I don't understand how this could be happening, does anyone have any ideas? Obviously, it would be best if I were to accompany him to his home and see it for myself... non-techy people often describe their challenges incompletely, but this isn't really an option.

Anyone have any ideas?

Dakuna wrote:

I have a colleague whose laptop appears to have a geographical glitch. When he is at his home, the laptop will not detect wifi at all, will not show any wireless access points or anything until he plugs it into the router using an ethernet cable. Once he does, he can unplug it and it then acts normally and can connect to the wifi. At work, there is no such issue.

I don't understand how this could be happening, does anyone have any ideas? Obviously, it would be best if I were to accompany him to his home and see it for myself... non-techy people often describe their challenges incompletely, but this isn't really an option.

Anyone have any ideas?

Some wireless hardware just plain doesn't like other hardware or certain noisy environments. Have seen this plenty of times on different devices. Have tested plugged in vs. not. Have updated firmware, drivers, and BIOS. All of it to no avail (usually). When I find hardware that doesn't get along in a particular place, I most often have to put up with its eccentricities until I change out the system or router.

Some examples....

Over the past few years, every laptop I've had with an Intel wifi chip in it has the occasional fit when it's at home. In my case I have to run the network troubleshooter in Windows. It'll reset or re-enable the adapter and we're good until the next time it happens. I place the blame on the chipset in combination with my router (a WiFi Ranger - which I pretty much guarantee nobody has here as it's made for full time RVers). This happens enough that I keep my work laptop hardwired to avoid it.

My Nvidia shield tablet (Android) also doesn't like this router - but ONLY when the router is using our Verizon MiFi as an internet source and the router has 802.11n turned on (it's cool with just g, and also cool when we're using Sprint as an internet source). When it encounters the conditions it doesn't like, it repeatedly disconnects and reconnects every couple of seconds.

My wife's laptop disables its own wifi adapter when we're at a friend's house in Raleigh, but only there (she doesn't have Intel wifi so at home it's fine). Once more we run the troubleshooter in Windows, and it re-enables the thing. It never does this anywhere else.

Dakuna wrote:

I have a colleague whose laptop appears to have a geographical glitch. When he is at his home, the laptop will not detect wifi at all, will not show any wireless access points or anything until he plugs it into the router using an ethernet cable. Once he does, he can unplug it and it then acts normally and can connect to the wifi. At work, there is no such issue.

I don't understand how this could be happening, does anyone have any ideas? Obviously, it would be best if I were to accompany him to his home and see it for myself... non-techy people often describe their challenges incompletely, but this isn't really an option.

Anyone have any ideas?

Some laptops have a really dumb switch that turns off wifi. Checking that would be my first guess.

I really appreciate the feedback but... this only started happening to him recently, after his battery exploded (laptop bulging on the bottom). Prior to that, he had no issues at his house whatsoever, and the thing connects everywhere else without any issues.

LouZiffer's wife's laptop issue sounds like the exact same thing! The only difference being, it sounds like most of the issues you're describing are consistent. Granted something may have happened with his hardware at home, but his laptop won't see ANY connections, and the wireless connection screen won't even come up at all until he plugs in a cable.

They switched out the battery, and literally everything else works well. I can't help but think something was damaged by the battery, but how can it be geo-centric??

Delbin, if it was the switch, it would be happening everywhere, no?

Dakuna wrote:

Delbin, if it was the switch, it would be happening everywhere, no?

Yep! For some reason I was thinking he docked it at work and didn't still use wifi.

bigred wrote:

Doesn't deserve its own thread but any recommendations for a cheap laptop (screen size 13-15") for someone who only checks email and browses internet? Wife wants to get something for my mother-in-law whose current laptop is 10+ years old. She doesn't need anything fancy but is biased against netbooks and dells. Wants a "regular" laptop. No bells or whistles needed.

Figured some of you who follow the market might know of any good deals out there.

I would look at the wirecutter's recommendations for Chromebooks. If all she does is in the browser, why not just give her 100% of that and not worry about the other crap that comes with the other stuff.

Are there any major competitors to the Dragon Naturally Speaking family in the speech recognition software space?

My 90-some-year-old grandfather, who is a minister, just decided to fully retire from preaching after roughly 70 years. (He theoretically had retired a couple decades ago but kept taking interim positions to help out churches that were in the process of looking for new full-time ministers, etc.) He made the decision because he felt he couldn't write and memorize his sermons quite up to the same standard he had always held himself to, but his mind is still sharp and his children (my dad and aunt) want him to have some sort of creative and intellectual outlet. They set him up with a Wordpress blog so he can share his thoughts on current events, books he's reading, and so forth for friends and former parishioners.

The problem is he's about as good with a computer as, well, as you'd expect a man in his 90's to be. Typing on modern keyboards especially was a real struggle for him. My dad and my aunt turned to me and asked if there was anything he could use that was more like a typewriter, so I introduced them to the world of modern mechanical keyboards. They got grandpa one with knockoff Cherry Blues and he found that a big improvement in being able to type accurately, but my aunt says that he still gets frustrated because he'll somehow end up deleting or "losing" large parts of what he writes.

So for the moment he's dictating his blog "columns" into some sort of voice recorder device my aunt dug out (it might even use a cassette tape, I shudder to think) and she's typing them up for him. However, it would save them both some hassle if he could just dictate and let software do the work. We had Dragon at an old job of mine and used it to transcribe video interviews, and $75 for the personal use edition right now is certainly not too much to take a flyer on, but is there anything better/comparable we should check out first?

Windows 10 and MacOS have built-in dictation/voice recognition you can try, but Dragon is the best out there in terms of accuracy and ease of use. There is no decent competition that I've found.

You can also look for sales on dragon. I picked it up recently on sale for $20 at the BoingBoing store.

There are also Dragon mobile apps which may be more affordable. You'd still have to provide the mobile device though.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/drag...

https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...

ElectricPi wrote:

You can also look for sales on dragon. I picked it up recently on sale for $20 at the BoingBoing store.

I thought it was in a Humble Bundle in the last year or so. Someone here may have bought it with some other things and are not using the key.

-BEP

I saw some conversation in the building a PC thread about overclocking an I7 4770K.
I'd like to do this as I think it's a bit of a bottleneck in my build right now.

Anyone have any safe settings for overclocking this? I've never done it so there's that. I see lots of guides and posts on Reddit/ Tom's but I only trust you guys

Any thoughts or I guess, links you trust? I didn't see an Overclock post so I'm putting this here.

I see this video that seems pretty straight forward to get it to 4.5

Depends on the chipset of your motherboard, I believe. I had to replace the motherboard I had a 3570K in to get one that I could overclock on.

This is what I have

https://www.asus.com/ca-en/Motherboa...

I also have the Corsair something liquid cooler on my cpu

Alright, with a Z97, you're good to go. With an H97 it might have been a different story.

So you figure I can just follow that video?

I'm going to try the Asus software.

I'll follow this guide.
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/id...

goes through bios instead and uses stress testing software after to ensure stability.

ya, that didnt work. my pc started spitting out bluescreens and a different error each time it rebooted restored defaults on the bios. sigh

My SSD has started spitting out bad block errors, though the monitoring software still claims the Drive Condition is "Good."
Overprovisioning has apparently bought me some time, but I'd rather get this resolved before I need to test the resilience of my backups.

I'm looking at 1TB drives with at least a 5 year warranty (current one was 3 and is now a little under 2 years out of warranty. )
Just a quick perusal of Amazon search results shows me the Crucial MX500 and the Samsung 860 EVO fit those criteria.

Is there another manufacturer that should be on my radar? Any particular preference between those two SSD providers?

Dragging my heels on making a decision on an expensive purchase I wasn't planning on just after spending too much money updating my router.

Edit: Samsung decided to bribe me with suddenly dropping the price $10 and throwing in FarCry 5.

The Samsung EVO series has an excellent reputation; I had one as the main HD in my old Mac Pro for many years and never had any trouble with it. I can't recall hearing anything one way or the other about Crucial.

I've had a Crucial m500 as the main OS/some games drive in my PC for the past 4 years. This Win10 machine runs 24/7 as our Plex/file server as well as a gaming rig and my daily driver. Monitoring software estimates it's at 18% lifetime used.

Whether it's Samsung or Crucial, I think you're getting a great SSD either way.

I booted up my decade-old, screen-busted MacBook today and I ran into the most basic problem: I forgot the main account's password. Luckily I had auto-login on startup enabled, but other stuff (updates, etc) require a password.

How can I recover/reset the password to my Snow Leopard-equipped MacBook?

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/caHgzIl.jpg)

T-Prime wrote:

I booted up my decade-old, screen-busted MacBook today and I ran into the most basic problem: I forgot the main account's password. Luckily I had auto-login on startup enabled, but other stuff (updates, etc) require a password.

How can I recover/reset the password to my Snow Leopard-equipped MacBook?

If you still have your original OS install CD, try this. If you don't have the CD, or that doesn't work, try this (scroll down a little to "Reset Mac Password – without a CD or Boot Drive").

Rezzy SSD Questions part two.
As a sort of sanity check and as a balm for the burn of sticker-shock I decided to look for ways to verify the decline of my SSD and it is surprisingly hard to get any kind of clear information about that. Three different programs tell me that the drive is fine 99% Healthy. Good Condition.
But going into my event viewer I see 4 more instances of The device, \Device\Harddisk0\DR0, has a bad block added today.
84 of those since the end of January. They seem to pop in groups of 3-5 whenever they trigger.

Am I crazy to be concerned? Could it be the same blocks triggering the message again and again?

Edit:
CrystalDiskInfo lets me copy paste a summary.

Spoiler:

OS : Windows 10 [10.0 Build 16299] (x64)
Date : 2018/03/07 15:06:14

-- Controller Map ----------------------------------------------------------
+ Intel(R) C600 Series Chipset SATA AHCI Controller [ATA]
- Samsung SSD 840 EVO 1TB
- ST4000NM0033-9ZM170
- Microsoft Storage Spaces Controller [SCSI]
- Asmedia 106x SATA Controller [SCSI]
- Asmedia 106x SATA Controller [SCSI]
- Asmedia 106x SATA Controller [SCSI]

-- Disk List ---------------------------------------------------------------
(1) Samsung SSD 840 EVO 1TB : 1000.2 GB [0/0/0, pd1] - sg
(2) ST4000NM0033-9ZM170 : 4000.7 GB [1/0/0, pd1] - st

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
(1) Samsung SSD 840 EVO 1TB
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Model : Samsung SSD 840 EVO 1TB
Firmware : EXT0DB6Q
Serial Number :*redacted*
Disk Size : 1000.2 GB (8.4/137.4/1000.2/1000.2)
Buffer Size : Unknown
Queue Depth : 32
# of Sectors : 1953525168
Rotation Rate : ---- (SSD)
Interface : Serial ATA
Major Version : ACS-2
Minor Version : ATA8-ACS version 4c
Transfer Mode : SATA/600 | SATA/600
Power On Hours : 30835 hours
Power On Count : 57 count
Host Writes : 27743 GB
Wear Level Count : 23
Temperature : 30 C (86 F)
Health Status : Good (99 %)
Features : S.M.A.R.T., 48bit LBA, NCQ, TRIM
APM Level : ----
AAM Level : ----
Drive Letter : C:

-- S.M.A.R.T. --------------------------------------------------------------
ID Cur Wor Thr RawValues(6) Attribute Name
05 _99 _99 _10 000000000001 Reallocated Sector Count
09 _93 _93 __0 000000007873 Power-on Hours
0C _99 _99 __0 000000000039 Power-on Count
B1 _98 _98 __0 000000000017 Wear Leveling Count
B3 _99 _99 _10 000000000001 Used Reserved Block Count (Total)
B5 100 100 _10 000000000000 Program Fail Count (Total)
B6 100 100 _10 000000000000 Erase Fail Count (Total)
B7 _99 _99 _10 000000000001 Runtime Bad Block (Total)
BB _99 _99 __0 00000000005F Uncorrectable Error Count
BE _70 _53 __0 00000000001E Airflow Temperature
C3 199 199 __0 00000000005F ECC Error Rate
C7 100 100 __0 000000000000 CRC Error Count
EB _99 _99 __0 00000000001B POR Recovery Count
F1 _99 _99 __0 000D8BEB7797 Total LBAs Written

On the Samsung Magician SMART report the Uncorrectable Error Count and ECC Error Rate show a FAIL status, but apparently that doesn't affect Drive Health in any meaningful way. On a spinning platter I would already be re-imaging to the replacement. On an SSD am I over-reacting since these drives are built with eventual failure in mind?

Edit 2: At the advice of the Internet I decided to run a Chkdsk /R.
Still rolling through the event log but I'm now seeing a few of these beauties: A corruption was discovered in the file system structure on volume C:.

A corruption was found in a file system index structure. The file reference number is 0x9000000000009. The name of the file is "BRACKETunable to determine file nameBRACKET". The corrupted index attribute is ":$SII:$INDEX_ALLOCATION".

Siiiigh.

Editing from phone. Blue screen crash. Startup repair. Repairing disk errors.

Does anyone know of any good resources for troubleshooting home appliances?

I've got a refrigerator with water and ice dispenser problems. I think I can fix it with either the $35 or the $75 part, but I'm not sure. Getting a technician to make a house call is going to run several hundred dollars. Is there some place I could describe the issues and get some advice on which part to buy? Google and Youtube have shown me some good general-purpose info, but nothing that gives me enough to deal with my specific type of fridge.

Vargen - try the "This Old #%&@*$ House" thread.

Otherwise, you might get enough information from those "relevant, but not exactly mine" tips to sleuth out which part you might need.

Hoping someone here could possibly answer a Dolphin emulator question for me, maybe this belongs in the games forum but there isn't an obvious thread for it there.

Will Dolphin's virtual memory cards eventually get "full"? I notice that the virtual memory card file is 16mb in size by default. If I put enough saves on it, will it "fill up" and force me to create a new "card" and swap the files back and forth depending what game I want to play?

Is there a way I configure it to at least create a 64mb "card" instead of a 16mb one? I am guessing there is some limitation where the software can't go beyond the maximum size the Gamecube ever expected a memory card to be.

I feel like there is definitely a setting in Dolphin or documentation on their site for this someplace but damned if I can find it.

watching netflix in one window while playing diablo 3 in an adjacent one I seem to keep accidentally hitting some hotkey combination which causes rapid flickering between the two and/or bringing thenetflix window to foreground and then back where it was... not exactly ideal when playing hardcore diablo, any idea what the heck key combo I'm hitting and how to disable it? (not alt-tab nor alt-esc)