Hardware

This category contains 122 posts

How-to: Understand GSM and CDMA (phones) II

Last time, we started looking at the various phone standards, trying to avoide ending up in acronym hell. We got as far as GSM, CDMA, Edo, HSPA+ and roaming. This time we move on to 4G, LTE and into the future. While GSM and CDMA work using radio waves in a ‘traditional’ fashion; 4G works … Continue reading

How-to: Understand GSM and CDMA (phones)

You would think, by now, we’d have one global standard for mobile telecoms. But no. Depending on your country of residence, you may have a bewildering choice of cellphone standards. You want to buy a piece of technology to make your life better and easier: instead you end up in acronym hell. In the UAE, … Continue reading

How-to: Prevent Drive Failures with Gsmart [Guest Post]

Article originally appeared as SMART Tools: Preventing Drive Failures (Linux Lab by Charles McColm, Full Circle Magazine issue 82, Feb 2014) At our local computer refurbishing project, the top sources of hardware failure that we see are power supplies, CMOS batteries, RAM, and hard drives. The first three failures can cause systems not to POST … Continue reading

How-to: Choose FAT, exFAT or NTFS file systems

No, it’s not the latest diet fad. The story goes like this; I started to migrate a Windows Vista machine to Windows 7 (not for myself, I should add). When I plugged in an external drive for ‘Easy Transfer’ (this is Vista, so ‘easy’ is a relative term), the program decided it couldn’t cope with … Continue reading

How-to: Diagnose an SD Card that’s stopped working

It never ceases to amaze me how resilient is the humble SD card. They take heat, cold, damp, weight, an infeasible amount of weight, bending and mistreatment. And, unlike most of your other electronic gadgets, magnets and magnetism don’t affect SD cards; the amount of electro-magnetism it takes to corrupt the bits on EPROM flash … Continue reading

Review: Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 Tablet

Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 $380 A thin, light tablet that looks like a stretched out Galaxy S4 with a 1280×800, 8.0-inch screen that is good for a TFT, but not even close to a Nexus 7. Which makes $380 a hefty price tag for a device that’s so very 1998: calling all  stylus-lovers, you too … Continue reading

Review: Sony Xperia Z

Sony Xperia Z Tablet $500 If you want a 10-inch tablet that’s light, waterproof (up to a point) and performs almost as well as an iPad, Sony’s Xperia Z may be it. The 1920×1200 display may not be as good as the iPad’s Retina but it knocks spots off the competition. With  a Qualcomm Snapdragon … Continue reading

Review: Microsoft Surface RT

Microsoft Surface RT $350 Remember the first Surface RT a few months back: ads full of clicky covers and no description of what the heck it was? For $500? Now with a prices cut of $150 down to $350, this may be worth another look – but take note – this is NOT the Surface … Continue reading

Review: Apple iPad Mini

Apple iPad Mini $330 We’ve been looking at the tablet market and all anyone’s commented so far is ‘what about the iPad?’ Well, here it is. Apple more or less defines the tablet market – despite Bill Gates’ ahead-of-its’ time tablet in the ’90’s. Yes, Microsoft was there first, and we’ll look at the fight … Continue reading

Review: Google Nexus 7 Autumn 2013 Tablet

Google Nexus 7 (2013) $230 If you’re looking for a cheap, small, performance tablet, look no further than the Nexus 7. This is a step up from the 2012 model. Thinner and lighter than last year’s model, the new Nexus 7 features a swift 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor and 2 GB of RAM … Continue reading

Review: Lenovo IdeaTab A1000

Lenovo IdeaTab A1000 $130 If you can get it at the most affordable price of $130, Lenovo’s IdeaTab A1000 is very much the entry level. Sold under the tag-line “optimised for music” you know the screen and performance won’t be great… With a 7-inch, 1024×600 screen, a  the 1.2GHz MediaTek MT8317 dual-core processor, 1 GB … Continue reading

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