[EN] Lenovo M30-70: the drivers partition

16/02/2015

Lenovo_drivers_partition_01

Lenovo_drivers_partition_02

As I was writing some days ago, I recently bought a Lenovo M30-70. I used Lenovo enterprise laptops for years at work, but this is the first time I own one. Once booted, I’ve been really positively impressed by one thing on the software-side. Lenovo provides to you an extra partition with all the drivers inside. I dreamed about something like this for ages in my fifteen+ years of experience as IT technician for private customers. Everytime I had to prepare a machine, I had to deal with the manufacturers’ crappy websites in order to dowload the drivers, copy them on an external drive, install them on the target machine, how frustrating! Lot of time wasted for such a simple thing, expecially in the pre-DSL era. Now finally big computer brands have started to address this issue! Thumb up for Lenovo!


[EN] Lenovo M30-70 Unboxing (and first boot)

06/02/2015

Quick specs: Intel Celeron 2957U, RAM 4GB DDR3L (max 8Gb), Harddisk 500GB, Intel® HD Graphic, 1,8 kg, 1mpxl camera, 5h battery, 13,3″ 1366×768 LED, Windows 8.1

Quick opinion: Lenovo M30-70 (Scandinavian version). Cheapest ultrabook (and cheapest 13.3′ laptop) on the market when I bought it (under 300$, end of January 2015). The laptop ships with Windows 8.1, but Lenovo is very nice and provides the drivers for Windows 7 as well, it’s the only brand that does that for a consumer computer. Excellent support for Linux. The two power plugs that you see in the videos are the german plug and the danish plug (three poles). The plastics feel a bit cheap, but ok for the price. The screen is matte (yay!). It feels very light and compact (price apart, it’s the main reason to buy it for). First boot takes appr. 3 minutes (I edited the video).


[EN] Toshiba Satellite M30-304 (2002) shutdowns automatically after that Windows XP has loaded the desktop

12/01/2015

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Some years ago my fully working Toshiba Satellite M30-304 laptop (2002) suddenly started to behave abnormally. It used to start normally, to load Windows XP desktop and then shutdown by itself after a couple of minutes, without any kind of intervention by me. This happened after every single attempt to start it up, no exceptions. My setups are usually quite clean (retail OS installations or lite versions of them made by me, no bloatware, nearly zero applications running in background and/or in the traybar at startup etc), so I excluded any kind of software reason straight away. In that short period of time before the automatic shutdown, I have been able to run CPU-z and I discovered that the temperature inside the case was terribly high, over 120 °C, so I guessed that the problem was the thermal paste on the cpu, that after more ten years of usage didn’t do its job anymore and needed to be replaced. Every cpu automatically shutdowns when it reaches a certain temperature, in order to preserve the integrity of the machine it belongs to, and probably this was one of those cases.

After a couple of years since that discovery, I finally found the time to go thru the problem and try to solve it, disassembling the laptop following this wonderful Irisvista.com guide (offline, printable version in .docx format), cleaning the dried out thermal paste with some rubbing alcohol, putting some new thermal paste on the cpu and assembling everything back.

I have to admit that the solution worked extremely well and now my dear Toshiba is kicking ass again! I documented the main part of the process with a couple of pictures that I’m glad to share with you, just in case you’ll encounter a similar issue and you’ll wonder how to solve it. Of course we are talking about a really old laptop (13 years ago at the moment of writing!), but I’m not the kind of guy who trashes things that can still serve for a purpose, expecially such a cute computer. Many old computers can still work quite fine, so, in my modest opinion, is really a pity to trash them.

A quick advice: when you disassemble this laptop, please be extra careful when you de-attach the keyboard ribbon cable from the motherboard. I’ve been careful, but probably not enough, since the keyboard doesn’t work anymore after my intervention, but it worked fine before. Nothing that cannot be fixed with a cheap USB keyboard, but please learn from my experience and try to avoid to stumble upon the same issue 🙂

Pictures of the intervention after the break.

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[EN] Unboxing Asus F200MA-KX384B + Asus Eos carrybag

10/01/2015

Some weeks ago I bought and configured for my brother his first laptop. He needed a quite portable machine able to handle basic tasks, such as Facebook, Youtube, writing stuff for school in Word, music listening, movie watching and internet browsing in general. He needed also a machine with a decent battery life, to use during his frequent bus trips, so I thought that buying a netbook would have been an excellent solution. I went for an Asus F200MA-KX384B (quick specs: Intel Celeron Dual-Core N2830 a 2.16Ghz, 4 GB RAM PC3-6400 1.600 MHz, 11,6′ HD 1366×768, 500 GB HDD, Windows 8.1 with Bing, 30,2 cm x 20 cm x 2,56 cm, 1,24 kg, link on Monclick.it), because it had very balanced specs for its price (sub 300 euro), and I bought an adeguate carrybag with slim form factor as well, called Asus Eos carrybag (link on Monclick.it). Asus has always been very good into designing low-cost, compact machines (they are the ones who invented the netbooks after all!) and this F200MA-KX384B follows the tradition. It feels very robust and quite nice when you touch it, and the keyboard and the trackpad are ok for the price. The only problem is Windows 8.1, that is a very crappy operating system (IMHO), and very annoying to configure (ex. it needs a LiveID in order to work). With Windows 7 this netbook would have been perfect! The bag is very nice as well, and the laptop fits just perfect in it. There is also space for a standard size mouse and for the power adapter, so you are fully served!

Anyway, I will post after the break some quick unboxing pictures of both the laptop and the bag, in the case you are also thinking to buy them 🙂 Sharing is caring!

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[IT] Samsung Galaxy S3: come risolvere il problema del jack audio che si sente in mono

11/05/2014

Il Samsung Galaxy S3 è davvero un ottimo smartphone: schermo grande, buona risoluzione (1280×720), enorme potenza computazionale (quadcore), slot microSD, batteria sostituibile dall’utente (con disponibilità in commercio di batterie di ricambio originali Samsung sia normali che estese, una rarità ormai!), memoria interna non eccessivamente intasata da bloatware (al contrario dell’S4), assenza di interfacce / servizi / personalizzazioni estremamente invasive (al contrario di HTC, Sony e Huawei), supporto micro-SIM (e non il più esotico nano-SIM), ottima ricezione. Ma purtroppo scopro solo ora, dopo un anno di uso intenso ed amore incondizionato, che il Samsung Galaxy S3 ha un difetto congenito che parecchie persone hanno riscontrato: il jack audio, dopo qualche mese di utilizzo, inizia a malfunzionare, riproducendo il suono in mono e non più in stereo. Ne parlano innumerevoli threads in inglese, tra cui questo, questo e questo.

In sintesi, ogni x minuti bisogna giochicchiare parecchio con il jack delle cuffiette per riavere il suono in stereo (e non solo da sinistra), il che è abbastanza frustrante per chi come me lo adopera principalmente per musica, film, video-lezioni e internet. Ho provato, come suggerisce qualcuno sui forum, a fare una pulizia dell’interno del connettore audio adoperando una bomboletta d’aria compressa, ma nessun miglioramento, sono proprio i contatti ad essersi consumati o dissaldati. Non ritenendo il massimo della vita acquistare un nuovo smartphone top di gamma (o ex-top di gamma) soltanto per un jack del cazzo, mi si presentavano le seguenti opzioni:

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[EN] The easiest way ever to download and read manga on the Kindle

01/08/2013

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As I wrote here, I recently bought a Kindle 5 mostly to read manga on it (and some literature books of course, but that’s off topic).

It’s an awesome device, but because of the small screen size, you have to somewhat “adapt” your manga before copying them to your Kindle, in order to maximize the usage of the available screen area and the whole reading experience. Not so long time ago, you had to use tools such as Mangle to remove the extra-borders and the white spaces from the manga after the download, and it was really a painfull and long process to go thru. But nowadays things are better and a lot faster with the fantastic and ultra-easy method I will describe to you 🙂

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[IT] Gameboy Pocket vs Gameboy Color

25/07/2013

Gameboy_Pocket_vs_Gameboy_Color

Vi avevo raccontato mesi fa di aver acquistato un Gameboy Pocket, ricordate? Ecco, successivamente ho acquistato anche un Gameboy Color, altro tassello mancante nella mia infanzia e nel mio curriculum vitae da retrogamer.

Ho speso un po’ di ore giocando con entrambi, specialmente all’ottimo shooter “Solar Striker” reperibile su eBay a pochi spicci, e devo ammettere che il Pocket è leggermente superiore al Color. In primis, per l’ergonomia: il Pocket è più compatto e squadrato, mentre il vano batterie del Color è più bombato, rendendo meno piacevole impugnarlo. In secundis, il tasto on/off del Pocket è situato dove qualunque appassionato di Gameboys si aspetterebbe di trovarlo, ovvero in alto a sinistra, mentre nel Color è stato spostato sul lato destro, una decisione alquanto fastidiosa.
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