Category Archives: Hardware

Nokia 2320, CA-50 (download drivers here!!), and lack of PC sync capabilities

Just looking for the driver? Click here.

So…  In the not-so-distant past, my smart-ish phone, a Palm Treo 650, kicked the bucket.  Not having the budget or desire to pick up a newer smartphone, I ran off to eBay and picked up an unlocked Nokia 2320.  I plopped in my SIM card and I was back in business.

Now, the Nokia 2320 doesn’t really have any connectivity options.  It has no Bluetooth, no infrared, or anything like that.  Nonetheless, I am still interested in being able to transfer data to and from the phone (without using MMS).  Then, maybe I’d be able to do things like transfer photos to assign to the contacts in my address book, back up my address book in case the phone breaks or gets lost, add a custom ringtone, and so on.  The phone does have a data port, which seems like it would be an option, if only I had the right cable.

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6 GB of RAM in the Inspiron 1720

So, I have a nearly 3-year-old Inspiron 1720 laptop from Dell that serves as my main PC. This machine still has a couple of years of service left in it.

I run VMware at work all day and of course I would want to have plenty of system memory to avoid hard disk paging activity under this high memory load. According to Dell, the maximum memory capacity of this machine is 4 GB (2 GB in each of two slots). However, others have discovered that 6 GB works fine in the machine, so there is no problem installing a 4 GB module along with a 2 GB module. However, installing two 4 GB modules for a total of 8 GB does not work, as there is a bug in the BIOS that will keep the machine from booting.

I decided that 4 GB is not enough for my workload so I went for the upgrade to 6 GB. It worked fine. However, I wonder, to you lose any performance by going to 6 GB? Of course, in this configuration you have a mismatched pair of RAM modules. Does stuff like dual-channel access still work?

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Dell Inspiron 1520/1521/1720/1721 headphone static background noise – FIX

So, my main laptop is a Dell Inspiron 1720.  I’ve had it for about a year and a half, and the whole time, I’ve noticed a little static noise in the background when using headphones.  It’s not constant, but kind of a little whiny morse code sound.  Bugged me, but I never was able to find a fix.  Because the problem is much less pronounced when running Linux than it is when running Windows, I figured it had something to do with crappy audio drivers for Windows.

I managed to fix it yesterday.  Because of the nature of the fix, I don’t think the audio drivers have anything to do with the problem.  I don’t know why the problem is so much worse under Windows… I’m going to guess it has to do with the graphics card being more active when Windows is running.  But who knows?

Yesterday, I came across this page on Yahoo! Answers which hints at a fix, but doesn’t really tell you what it is.  Then I found these forums with a bunch of people complaining about the problem.  Inspiron 1520, 1521, and 1721 (and maybe 1525?) users also seem to have the problem.  More machines may have a similar problem as well.  Lots of threads seem to indicate that there is no solution, but finally, this one points out exactly what it is.  So, I went ahead and tried it myself, and it worked wonderfully.

Anyway, I decided to document the fix, so here it is with pictures.  Again, I have an Inspiron 1720, so these pictures are for that machine.  I believe the Vostro 1700 is pretty much the same.  Inspiron 15xx machines can be fixed in a similar manner, but there will be differences as to where the screws are and so forth.  To perform this fix, you’ll need a small Phillips screwdriver, a flat-head screwdriver or small knife, and some electrical tape.  Be warned, you have to pretty much take the computer all the way apart to get to the headphone jack on the inside, which is where we need to get.  The whole thing (disassembly, fix, and reassembly) took me a little less than an hour.  Note that I am not responsible if you somehow manage to break your computer or anything else while following these instructions.

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Nintendo DSi – Stuck Pixel, Part 2: What’d they do to my screen?

Follow-up to Nintendo DSi – Stuck Pixel, Part 1 (August 3rd, 2009)

Well… my Nintendo DSi arrived back yesterday.  I unboxed it and turned it on, and upon first inspection, I was quite pleased.  Both screens seem devoid of any pixel troubles.  Also, they fixed another problem I had, which I believe a lot of the launch DSi’s had, where you can see a bit of light shining through off to the left of the left edge of the bottom screen.  According to the little slip of paper that I got back with my system, the repair was valued at $75.00.

I quickly noticed, though, that my bottom screen seemed very blue.  It seems that they replaced the bottom screen with one that is either not calibrated properly or just plain bad.  It has a blueish tint to it that is very noticeable, especially if whatever being displayed is bright.

Continue reading Nintendo DSi – Stuck Pixel, Part 2: What’d they do to my screen?

Nintendo DSi – Stuck Pixel, Part 1

So, my Nintendo DSi has developed a stuck pixel in the upper-right corner of the bottom screen.  This sort of thing really irks me, so I set about searching for a way to fix it.  Of course, I’ve bumped into stuck/dead pixels before, and in my experience, once they appear, they’re about impossible to get rid of without replacing the screen altogether.  And, manufacturers are usually not happy to do this for free for just one bad pixel, even if the device is under warranty.

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Kill Palm T|X screen whine

I just bought a used Palm T|X (or Palm TX) to replace my old Palm Tungsten E2. The E2’s speaker had developed a short or something, so that I often had to tap on the device to get the speaker to start working. I rely on my PDA to wake me up every morning, and if the speaker is not working, then it can’t do it. Sounds like an excuse for an upgrade, to me. The T|X also has 802.11b and you can get WPA and 802.1x support from Palm for $6, not a bad deal. I also enjoy the larger screen and the ability to rotate it to a landscape view.

My Tungsten E2 had a little whine problem. That is, if it was on and I held it up to my ear, I could hear a little high-pitched whiny noise. Turns out that the screen is causing this. It wasn’t a big deal, because I have to hold it right up to my ear to hear it and I noticed it only by chance. In 10 years, I probably won’t be able to hear that high-pitched a noise anymore.

Anyway, while being mostly very pleased with the T|X, I was dismayed to find that it came with a huge whine problem. The whiny noise is probably 10 times louder, or more, than the noise coming from the E2. It was enough that I could clearly hear it when the PDA was on and over an arms length away from me.

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HP f1703 LCD Monitor Repair

Today’s post is about repairing a broken LCD monitor.

The HP f1703 LCD monitor has some kind of design flaw that will probably kick in after you have had it for a while. It causes the backlight to cease functioning. Your screen may appear to be on (power button is lit up) with a completely black display, but if you look closely, the display is working, it is just not lit.

This is the second time I’ve repaired one of these and I thought this time I’d document the process. There are other similar explanations available around the Internet, but the one I followed was kind of brief and vague. Hopefully, Google will find this and then it will help some other people who are having similar problems with their HP monitor.

To conduct this repair, you’ll just need a screwdriver, a pair of pliers (or something to remove the VGA screw locks), and a soldering iron.

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