Linux-The OS Free For All

In order to write about Linux with any authority at all I am going to need a good deal more time to get to know it’s ins and outs. So, I will be posting articles here from time to time, concentrating primarily on hardware issues in very simple terms, as they relate to architecture.

What Is Linux? Linux is a free Unix-like operating system originally created back in 1991 by Linus Torvalds. With the assistance of programmers and developers around the world, Linux has become an independent POSIX (Portable Operating System Interface for Unix) implementation which includes true multitasking, virtual memory, shared libraries, demand loading, memory management, TCP/IP networking, and numerous other features that are consistent with Unix-like systems. Developed under the GNU General Public License, the source code for Linux is freely available to everyone.

To the uninitiated, the “Unix-like” tag may sound suspiciously like a complicated. drab, business networking monster, offering little more than screen after screen of indecipherable code. Linux, while probably not for the faint of heart, can offer a… Continue reading

Installing Red Hat Linux

While Linux is a powerful and versatile operating system, it is purportedly a major undertaking to install and configure. When I began to delve into the possibility of dealing with super7 hardware issues and Linux, I followed a few Linux newsgroups for a few weeks and was not at all suprised to observe that seven out of ten postings were pleas for assistance either with installing the OS or configuring hardware to work correctly with the system. After perusing several of the postings I was nearly ready to bag the idea, concluding that it would just be too time consuming and difficult to contend with, but I reluctantly forged ahead, posting to a few of the newsgroups as a total incompetent in need of assistance determining which of the many distributions of Linux I should obtain to meet my needs.

Many distributions can be freely downloaded from the web or picked up at a very reasonable price on CD. Because of the GNU General Public License under which Linux is distributed, no one is allowed… Continue reading

Why You Should Choose Linux Dedicated Server Hosting

Having a functional website is important for every business to succeed in today’s highly competitive business world. If you have decided to have a website for your business, then you have already taken that crucial first step. Next, you should find a highly professional hosting service for your site. You definitely have so many options here as there are hundreds of hosting companies offering various packages, including dedicated server hosting. However, you should choose Linux dedicated server hosting as it offers multiple benefits. Let’s have a close look at few of them.

* With millions of worms and viruses out there online, you can be totally safe with Linux dedicated server hosting. More than 76 percent of viruses and worms are directed towards Windows platform. Moreover, worms that affect Linux platform mostly do little more than loading the system memory till the time server is rebooted. Therefore, your site will be more secure if it is hosted on a Linux server than it would be on a Windows server.

* The cost involved in… Continue reading

Are You Prepared For A Digital Disaster?

As the saying goes, it is not whether things will go wrong, but rather a question of when. A disaster recovery plan constitutes an essential part of any business, particularly now that so much of the daily operations of all businesses take place digitally. Creating a backup plan can save significant money and time in the long run, because when disaster strikes, there’s no such thing as too much preparation or planning.

Disaster Recovery as a Service (known as DRaaS) is a third-party solution offered to businesses in order to help them develop adequate plans for any type of digital disaster scenario. Often times, businesses find that paying for a third-party DRaaS service provides significantly greater benefits than trying to devise a plan in-house. A DRaaS company allows business owners to focus on running their businesses, while providing them with an up-to-date and comprehensive contingency plan. These plans frequently focus on creating routine backups of all of the important data vital to the day-to-day functioning of businesses. In the event of a computer or… Continue reading

Understand The Difference Between Linux and Windows

picDifferences Between Linux and Windows VPS.

Once you have decided to use a VPS services for your business online, the next thing you need to choose is the server. Should you go for a Linux server or a Windows server? Both of these servers have their own advantages and disadvantages. The choice depends on customer’s requirements. The customer’s need is the only criterion of choosing a best VPS service for your system. Let’s discuss both the choices and leave the decision up to you.

Microsoft is the backbone of windows server. The compatibility of windows VPS server with other Microsoft applications makes it favourite among users. Some of the applications like ASP work only in if your work requires using applications like this windows is a better option. It is said that the control panel of windows VPS is much more user friendly than Linux. This however depends upon user’s comfort. Also windows VPS servers do not use open source applications; there is little opportunity for unauthorized manipulation of resources. But if you are… Continue reading

Linux Supports C#

Linux supports C#Comparison Between Programming in Linux and Windows Platforms.

Windows operating system hosts multitudes of programming languages. The most notable include Java, C, C++, COBOL, MySQL and PHP. These platforms can also run Linux. Programming languages are vital in software development. Many Open Source systems such as Ubuntu enable ardent fans to contribute to the development of software applications. Both windows and open source systems enable development of mono and multi-user platforms.

The following is a comparison of programming in both windows and the Spen Source systems:

Stability of the operating systems

It is a fact that windows platforms can become fickle. They are, thus, susceptible to constant malfunctions especially over time. Users developing service oriented architecture and web applications using languages like Java have additional security issues due to malfunctions and bugs as well as Microsoft pushing.Net instead of Java after their very public battle with Sun. Windows also suffers from malicious software applications and viruses. Windows has problems with the cryptographic functions and thus it can be insecure when developing mono web applications. On… Continue reading

Label Your Own Cloud

private label hostingWhat Is White Labelled Hosting And Support?

If you’re in the business of servicing your customers within several e-commerce areas, you might think about becoming a reseller for Private Label Hosting and support (as well as other) services. By doing this, you could grow your business and the profit earned from each of your clients.

What are white label services?

Selling these kind of services typically means that you sell something that someone else provides. That something is branded with your name on it. In the case of white label hosting, you’d sell hosting services to someone under your name but in reality you’re reselling someone else’s services. White labelling means that the true supplier has agreed to do this for you at a bulk rate so that you can profit.

Some of the benefits of selling these services such as hosting and support include:

• New streams of income for your company. A service you don’t currently provide could be added to your portfolio, increasing profits.

• Perception. Your white label support services take… Continue reading

Linux cPanel In The Cloud

cpanelWhy Choose cPanel/Linux Web Hosting?

Nowadays demand of cPanel hosting is going up. cPanel/Linux hosting is a great solution with intuitive and powerful tools to perform essential tasks quickly. cPanel hosting is a great interface that has come up with lots of features that easily simplify the tasks such as uploading and managing web pages. cPanel provides quick and easy installation of web-based applications such as blog, shopping carts and forums. Using cPanel/Linux hosting has brought a very great advantage for website owners that they can easily protect their site’s content and bandwidth from abuse. Through this great service of web hosting, it has become very easy to review error logs in order to locate broken links and other issues. cPanel Linux web hosting use traditional file transfer methods that include FTP, SFTP, and FTPS and also creates traditional FTP accounts for employees. cPanel web hosting is being considered an outstanding solution to all web based issues and is more preferable over other web hosting techniques.

By using cPanel hosting, you can get proper grip… Continue reading

How Can Linux Help Me

linux2Linux Operating System – Pros and Cons.

Is it worth changing to a Linux operating system for your computer? Computers have advanced tremendously over the last 10 years. Advancements in video and audio have settled into a great area of good pricing and amazing capabilities. Graphics has jumped into the future with HD/TV adapters and monitors are starting to replace televisions!

However, all this is a waste if your operating system can’t keep up or is plagued with problems and controversy. Up until recent years Windows has been the dominant player in this field. Always in the background though, has been Linux. Growing and advancing and becoming user friendly. Some major companies and governments have taken notice of the stability and the cost effectiveness of Linux and so should we. Lets look at some Pros and Cons.


1. Its free. Download it from the internet.
2. Its powerful. Performs and out performs Windows in many ways.
3. Its stable. Doesn’t freeze or crash.
4. Tons of free software. There are over 20,000 free downloads… Continue reading

Reselling My Cloud

cloud3How to Succeed in Selling the Cloud.

One of my pet peeves is a sales person that hasn’t mastered their topic. Most of the time, when a sales person tries to pitch to me for on a product or service, as a potential customer (I guess in the eyes of the sales person at least), I always try to take them off-the-beaten track.

What I have noticed is that some sales people have only been shown the brochure and then been sent on a mission to try to convince people to buy the product or service. Have you ever been under this impression? I’m pretty certain you will have been. Not only are some of them shameless, they’re wasting my time and when you think about it, their time too.

To be a success reselling in the cloud you need an experienced cloud partner.

Now, when it comes to the IT world, I’ve seen nuts and bolts – and gems too. From the guy who just comes with a set of technical specifications and… Continue reading

Understanding Cisco Routers

ciscoroutersCisco Certification – Basics of Cisco Routers.

Cisco has a number of different routers, amongst them are the popular 1600 series, 2500 series and 2600 series. The ranges start from the 600 series and go up to the 12000 series (now we are talking about a lot of money). All the above equipment runs special software called the Cisco Internetwork Operating System or IOS. This is the kernel of their routers and most switches. Cisco has created what they call Cisco Fusion, which is supposed to make all these devices run the same operating system.

We are going to begin with the basic components which make up a Cisco router (and switches) and I will be explaining what they are used for, so grab that tea or coffee and let’s get going !

Understand Cisco routers easily with the expert training from

The basic components of any Cisco router are

2.The Processor (CPU)
3.Internetwork Operating System (IOS)
4.RXBoot Image
8.Flash memory
9.Configuration Register

Now I just hope you haven’t… Continue reading

Buy Your Own Cloud

cloud2Embrace The Cloud (Where It Suits You).

Are you ready to embrace “The Cloud”. There are some super opportunities for most of you. But there are some pitfalls of which you should be aware.

When talking about your IT infrastructure, what is The Cloud?

Ask 100 people and you will probably get 100 different answers. I think of it as utilising your own or another business’ facilities to address your needs over the Internet. Commentators refer to private (your own) and public (someone else’s) Clouds, but I don’t want you to get hung up on semantics at this early stage.

Learn more about private cloud hosting at

What Opportunities Exist?

It is simpler to provide you with some specific names to investigate,so I will break with my normal practice of avoiding application names so you can do some research on your own to build your knowledge about just what you might find to suit your needs.

Managed Sales Departments. has been around for many years now and is used by all sorts… Continue reading

The Impact Of Linux

linuxDiscover the Advantages of Linux Server.

Linux is a low-cost operating system designed on the platform of Unix to provide a more convenient, affordable, and friendly operating system to all personal computer users. The newly designed system holds the power to support a variety of hardware and offer massive benefits to computer users.

Listed below are some of the key advantages of Linux server:

• Linux is open-source software that does not need high fees and charges for licensing.

• Anyone can download the operating system free of cost. The only cost to bear is the cost of distribution by the host or owner.

• There is no worry or tension about the expiry of trial version.

• The website with this server can easily be converted to a Windows website as per the requirement of the user.

• The server is an economical and reliable solution to handle heavy load of scripting languages like PHP and Perl.

Web hosting on a Linux server offers high level of security to any important data or… Continue reading

SQL And Server Development

sqlCan’t Wrap Your Head Around SQL Server 2012? Think Burrito.

Wondering how a company can benefit from implementing Microsoft SQL Server 2012 development? Imagine that business as a burrito. No, really. Do it.

Think of all the inner contents of the burrito (rice, beans, meat, cheese, lettuce, salsa) as the data that make that company run – sales contacts, market research, financial statistics, order history, employee records, etc. All are necessary components for that burrito to exist.

But what if there’s no tortilla? Without the presence of a tortilla, well, there’s simply no burrito. Suddenly, there’s rice on a plate drowning in an ocean of salsa and trying to stay afloat on top of the beans and meat. It’d be impossible to scoop up all of the sour cream and guacamole off that plate. Catastrophe!

learn everything you need about SQL and server development at

Businesses need a shell to house all of that mission-critical data – that’s what SQL Server 2012 offers. Strong data warehouse development holds everything together and makes sure… Continue reading

Cloud Based Linux Web Hosting

cloudLinux Cloud Computing Benefits.

For business, Linux cloud computing applies high-performance computing power to perform trillions of computations per second in business-oriented applications. To do this, cloud networks large groups of servers, with specialized connections to spread data-processing functions across the servers. Large pools of systems are linked together and virtualization techniques are employed to maximize the power of cloud computing.

Combining cloud hosting with Linux is beneficial for a company that shares a large quantity of data. The business will have faster processing of information and it can be accessed from anywhere there is a computer and internet access. In this Linux cloud virtual environment, users can develop, deploy, manage applications, and scale up or down as needed. It is a very cost-efficient technology because you will only pay for the resources that you use. In a virtual environment where bandwidth, computing capacity, reliability, security, and storage are not concerns, cloud computing provides an effective way to develop applications. As well, you have the ability to update the system easily and effectively manage security.… Continue reading

System Architecture

Looking At The PC From The System Level

Aside from the processor, mainboard and graphics card there are other parts of your PC’s system that it will be of help to learn about.  While some of the information found here will be true of all computing platforms we will try to limit it’s focus to how it pertains. Some basic knowledge of how a computer works can be extremely helpful in resolving hardware conflicts that do unfortunately pop up from time to time in this new architecture.  Above, as I can get to it, you will find helpful articles on the  inner workings of the system architecture.  Please take advantage of them and feel free to point out my errors.  New computer architecture technology changes rapidly, even on a daily basis and it is hard to track down all of the latest changes but I will make the attempt.

Bus Mastering

Bus Mastering

On the high-bandwidth buses, a great deal of data is flowing through the circuitry. In the past… Continue reading

Fixing Lost File Associations

If you accidentally associate a particular file extension with the wrong application, don’t try to fix it from within the Windows Explorer File types dialog box-there’s no way to remove a single extension from a registered file type without deleting the entire entry and starting over. Instead, use the Windows 95 version of the Windows 3.x File Manager, which you can launch from the Run dialog box by typing winfile and pressing [Enter]. Once File Manager opens, pull down the File menu and select the Associate… command. When the Associate dialog box appears, type the extension that you want to get rid of in the Files with Extension text box. When you do, you’ll see the errant file association appear in the Associate With text box. To remove the file association, scroll to the top of the list of file types, select (None), and then click OK.

How to tell your Applications where to look for and save files to:

Here’s how to tell any application where to look for documents and where to save… Continue reading

Troubleshooting the PC Power Supply

Troubleshooting the PC Power Supply

Troubleshooting the your PC’s power supply is actually quite easy if you are fortunate enough to have a system board equipped with hardware monitoring.  If this is the case for you you simply need to find the voltage readouts that come from the hardware monitoring chip.  While a number of system boards provide specific software for using the hardware monitoring functions within Windows, they more often provide access to these readings within the “Chipset Features” screen of the BIOS’ CMOS setup.

One thing you’ll probably note is that the voltage readings are rarely exactly what the rated voltages should be.  This is little cause for concern unless the readings are a full volt or more either above or below the rated setting.  If they are there is a good chance that your power supply is not performing properly and should be replaced.

A Properly Connected Power Supply
is essential for the PC to run.  ATX and AT- style power supplies each connect to your system… Continue reading

Choosing the “Right” PC


[Editor: Falling prices & and increasing processor speeds required that I update the system configurations suggested in this article.]

I am often asked by friends and family to recommend computers for their homes or offices.

Their reasoning goes something like this: “Bill lives, eats, and breathes computers… he works as a systems analyst, runs a computer hardware web site, he MUST know what I need!”

Generally, I am expected to rattle off the model number and cheapest price for the perfect, cheap, off-the shelf computer.

I wish it was that simple.

Unfortunately for me, I can’t in good conscience just recommend a computer without knowing what they they want it for and what they need it for; which are often two completely different things.

The Inquisition

For some strange reason people get upset when I turn around and ask a few simple questions:

  1. What do you want to use it for?
  2. What do you actually need it to run?
  3. How much can you afford to spend on it?

Once I manage to extract the… Continue reading

PC100 Explained

Does It Comply with Intel’s Specification???

Had I any comprehension of the difficulty I would encounter when setting down genuinely relevant information regarding PC100, I think I would have hung it up. Searching the web for PC100 documentation led to an unbelievable volume of conflicting and often outdated data. Therefore I would like to state in advance that what follows is true to the best of my knowledge but, if there are mistakes I would most certainly like to hear about them.    I have searched many sites to compile the information and would like to give them mention  Intel , AnandTech , The High-Performance PC Guide , System Optimization PC Hardware and Performance Guide , The PC Guide System Optimization PC Hardware and Performance Guide , The PC Guide , and I would like to thank some of the memory manufacturers and vendors such as NEC , Corsair , Samsung , and Viking for providing assistance in the form of documentation and components .

The main focus of this article will, hopefully,… Continue reading

Emerging Technologies in Memory Architecture

With recent developments in PC multimedia applications, emphasis is shifting from size to speed when it comes to system memory. While many new technologies dedicated to increasing memory performance (DDRAM, ESDRAM, RAMBUS, DLDRAM, etc), this article will take a look at recent developments in NEC’s “Virtual Channel Memory Architecture“.

This new architecture, realizes flexible and high-efficiency data transfer by incorporating channel buffers configured by high-speed registers. Virtual Channel Memory will be employed in large-capacity SDRAM and brought to market as a new standard that supports a wide range of applications, including multimedia PCs, workstations, and Internet servers.  This technology, while capable of outstanding data transfer speed, also maintains a very high compatibility with existing SDRAM architecture, allowing for easy system upgrades without the necessity of having to make many design changes.

The key feature of this new memory core technology, the “Virtual Channel Memory Architecture”, is the incorporation of channel buffers configured by high-speed registers in the memory. Virtual Channel SDRAM performs read/write operations to and from these channel buffers from… Continue reading

DDR-SDRAM: Twice As Nice

Short for Double Data Rate-Synchronous DRAM, a type of SDRAM that supports data transfers on both edges of each clock cycle, effectively doubling the memory chip’s data throughput. DDR-SDRAM is also called SDRAM II

Theoretically limited to a maximum frequency of 125MHz, current PC100 SDRAM may, though technological advances be enhanced to enable 133MHz operation. However, bus speeds will need to increase beyond that mark in order for memory bandwidth to keep up with even the next generation of core logic memory controllers and processors. And, while there are several new standards and designs just around the corner,  most of them require new sockets, smaller bus widths, or other design considerations. In the short term,  DDR SDRAM is of great interest because it can function in the same DIMM socket structure presently in use.

DDR SDRAM, by design, activates output operations on the chip to occur on both the rising and falling edge of a clock cycle,  (at present it is only the rising edge signals an event to occur),  effectively… Continue reading

Beyond The Basics

System bus speeds will likely shoot past 200MHz within the next two years if Intel has its way, and this opens the door for new technology to replace the current memory design. DRAM is here to stay (at least for the foreseeable future), but the way the CPU and memory controller access it is about to change. Fortunately the Super7 mainboards which are supported by the MVP3 chipset can take advantage of some of these emerging technologies. DDR SDRAM (Double Data Rate SDRAM, a type of SDRAM that supports data transfers on both edges of each clock cycle, effectively doubling the memory chip’s data throughput), Virtual Channel SDRAM, and Enhanced SDRAM can all find support with the VIA chipset. And while Intel has licensed, and is pushing Rambus (RDRAM), the ultimate goal is still improving system performance. As these new memory types become available, users will need to make their own choices. In order to avoid making costly mistakes, it is important to understand the real performance balance between… Continue reading

L2 Cache

Just What’s the Cache?

The purpose of cache memory is to enable the processor to run in a constant state of flux. Whenever the processor is made to wait on data or instructions it is that much slower. Memory caching is effective because most programs access the same data or instructions over and over. By keeping as much of this information as possible in cache, the computer avoids accessing the slower system memory.

Cache memory is made up of much faster SRAM or static random access memory. Since the memory stored in SRAM is static it does not need to undergo the constant refreshment required by DRAM. This constant refreshment is time consuming making DRAM unsuitable for the immediate needs of the processor.

While DRAM SIMMs supports access times of about 60 nanoseconds, SRAM can give access times as low as 05 nanoseconds. In addition, its cycle time is much shorter than that of DRAM because it does not need to pause between accesses. Unfortunately, it is also much more expensive to produce than DRAM.… Continue reading

Memory Basics

Jus’ the facts ma’am

On these next few pages we will discuss how the system memory works, how memory is accessed, and how it relates to system timing. The speed of the system memory is of major importance to overall performance and there are many different factors that influence the “real-world” speed of memory.

The Memory Controller and Access Times

The memory controller, a hardware logic circuit found in every modern PC chipset, generates the necessary signals to control the reading and writing of information from and to the memory, and interfaces the memory with the other major parts of the system.

When memory is read or written, a specific process is used to control each access to memory. This consists of having the memory controller generate the correct data signature to specify which memory location needs to be accessed. It is then made available to the data bus to be read by the processor or whatever other devices request it.

Memory, unlike a hard or floppy disk, which is laid out as a long… Continue reading

Tired of long boot sequences??? Here are a few little tweaks to try…

  1. Disable Floppy drive Seek. When your computer turns on, the BIOS automatically accesses the floppy drive, even when there isn’t a disk in it. Disabling this feature may speed up the process by a few seconds.
  2. Remove the Boot Delay. Many (especially proprietary) PC’s have the option to delay booting for set period. This is done to give the hard drive time to spin-up before the BIOS needs it. You can remove it to speed things up, but depending on your hard drive you may discover that you need it after all.
  3. Enable “Quickboot” option in BIOS. Many new computers come with a BIOS feature called Quickboot or Quick POST. Enabling this option causes the system to bypass some of the tests it would normally perform during the POST (power on self test). Although it makes booting faster, it increases the likelihood of a hardware problem going undetected because the system doesn’t catch it at the start.
  4. If you use Win 95 clean up the registry. Over time installing and un-installing software your Windows 95… Continue reading

SCSI Interface

As we have seen the performance of CPUs increase over the last year or so, we begin to notice that the possibility of I/O bottlenecks become more and more a reality. Faster system buses, larger, faster caches, increased memory bandwidths, and AGP graphics adapters with greater and greater onboard framebuffers ease the situation somewhat, but if you really want to future-proof your existing super7 system, it may be time to take a look at SCSI (Small Computer System Interface).



SCSI is an !/O bus for connecting peripherals to your computer via a standard hardware interface, which uses standard SCSI commands. This standard can be divided into SCSI (SCSI1) and SCSI2 (SCSI wide and SCSI wide and fast). The newest incarnation of SCSI, known as Ultra2 SCSI, offers twice the bandwidth of the current UltraSCSI (Fast-20) standard, up to 80MB/s, to address the need for greater I/O throughput. ( Note : While there currently isn’t a harddrive available that can push data at anywhere near that speed, the use of multiple drives, properly managed,… Continue reading

Power Supplies

The PC Power Supply

Problems with your PC’s power should not be overlooked as a potential source of virtually any hardware-related PC troubles.  While most of us tend to never give our Power Supply a second thought, it is good to have at least a basic understanding of the computer’s Power Supply and power requirements.  There can also be problems with your power external to the PC itself which should also bear some consideration.

Between the Wall and Your PC
The raw power sent to your home or office by your local electric company while susceptible to spikes, surges, line noise, brown or black-outs is for the most part is just fine provided you use a good quality surge protector or UPS (uninterruptible power supply) but you should be aware that problems can occur between the wall socket and the PC power supply.  The first place to look for a power problem is in the black power cord supplied with your PC case.  Most of these are equal to the task… Continue reading

Power On Self Test

The POST or Power On Self Test is the first thing your PC does whenever you turn it on, and it is your first line of defense when it comes to hardware conflicts or problems. Before your PC can even attempt to load your operating system it must first make sure that all of its components are functioning properly. If the POST detects a problem with your memory, display, keyboard or any of the basic component that make up your PC, it displays an error message if possible or signals you with a decipherable series of beeps. Because the POST is a very basic diagnostic program it rarely is specific as to what the problem may be but rather simply lets you know that a problem exists. Even when your system POSTs correctly and continues to boot, that doesn’t mean that everything is hunky-dory as the POST is only capable of detecting the most basic of troubles where the PC is concerned. Under usual circumstances you would hardly even take notice of the POST because,… Continue reading

Cool – CMOS devices

Most of us are aware that new, high performance CMOS devices (CPUs, graphics chips, etc.) generate significantly more heat. This is a consequence of Moore’s Law, named after Intel founder Dr. Gordon Moore. Moore’s Law states that semiconductor transistor density, and hence performance, doubles roughly every 18 months. Dr. Moore made this bold prediction in the 1970s and history has proven him to be correct.

These hot chips continue to push the limits of traditional forced-air cooling. More advanced cooling techniques are needed. This is where KryoTech, Inc., a privately held spin-off from NCR Corporation, comes in. Founded in April 1996 by former executives and research engineers from NCR, the company’s primary focus is thermal management, currently through a technology called vapor phase refrigeration.Vapor phase refrigeration provides a low cost, highly reliable means of cooling even the hottest CMOS devices.

Vapor phase refrigeration removes heat up to 50 times as effectively as traditional forced air and 5 times better than forced liquid cooling. This is because the refrigerant removes heat when it changes phase… Continue reading

Hard Drive Basics

Part I

The Evolution of The Hard Disk Drive

In 1957 the first hard drive was introduced as a component of IBM’s RAMAC 350. It required 50 24-inch disks to store 5MB of data and cost roughly $35,000 a year to lease – or $7,000 per MB per year.  For years the use of  hard disk drives was confined to mainframe and minicomputer installations.
Often several rooms or whole floors of buildings were used in housing giant 14 and 8 inch drives costing tens of thousands of dollars each. The PC revolution of the early 1980’s changed all that, bringing forth the introduction of the first small hard disk drives.   The first 5.25-inch hard disk drives packed 5 to 10 MB of storage – also at a price of upwards of $10,000.00 – into an external device the size of a small shoe box. At that time, 10 MB was considered too large for a so-called “personal” computer.

The first PCs almost always used removable floppy disks for storage but with… Continue reading

The Graphics Section

From basic information on the way video works to a look into the future of PC graphics development and ratings of the latest video cards and accelerators available.  We want to provide you with the knowledge you need to make the decisions regarding which products to buy; to stay up to date in this fast moving techno-arena.  If you’re thinking about a upgrading your current graphics card make sure that you read it  see which cards and you can expect the best performance from the market.


What Are 3D Graphics?

Simply put it is the field of computer graphics concerned with generating and displaying three-dimensional objects in a two-dimensional space (e.g., the monitor screen). Whereas pixels in a 2-dimensional graphic have the properties of position, color, and brightness, a 3-D pixels adds a depth property that indicates where the point lies on an imaginary Z-axis. When many 3-D pixels are combined, each with its own depth value, the result is a three-dimensional surface, called a texture. In addition to textures, 3-D… Continue reading

The Art Of Overclocking

No doubt, if you’ve spent any time surfin’ the web or reading any newsgroups related to hardware, that you’ve run across the term ‘Overclocking’. And, whether you’re a babe in the woods, or a hardcore machine freak, we at MediaTek have put together the “Super 7 Guide to Overclocking” just for you. There is also limited coverage of Athlon, Celeron and Pentium III overclocking and devices designed for the Overclocker, so look around and please stop by the “Overclocker’s Corner” and let us know how you’re progressing…


Simply put, overclocking is the procedure for making your processor operate at a clock multiplier and/or bus speed higher than the CPU manufacturer’s specification. ” Now why would I want to do that? ” you ask. Well, if you are truly happy with your systems performance, you wouldn’t. After all, the idea behind overclocking is to increase system performance at little or no cost. At least that is the first reason we (overclockers) all give ourselves. But, I for one, have peered into the depths of my… Continue reading

BIOS Updates & FAQ

BIOS (basic input output system):


We hope that the following list of frequently asked questions will be of use to you.   If there are any I didn’t cover specifically pertaining to BIOS please drop me a note.  Thanks –

The following table has links to the most recent BIOS updates for many motherboards.

The Latest BIOS Updates for the following
motherboards are available here
AOpen EPoX FIC Iwill
ASUS Chaintech SolTek GigaByte
EFA DFI PCChips Gainward
Microstar Cal. Graphics


  1. What is a Flash BIOS?
  2. How can I tell if my system has a Flash Bios chip?
  3. Do I really need a Flash BIOS upgrade?
  4. Where can I download Flash BIOSs?
  5. How do I flash my BIOS?
  6. Is it Foolproof?
  7. What to do when the Award flasher says: Insufficient memory?
  8. Can I recover a corrupt BIOS?
  9. What can I do if my BIOS has no update available?
  10. What about the Award or AMI websites?
  11. Where do I have to look for technical support?
  12. What do PROM,… Continue reading


Whether you call it a motherboard or mainboard it is, by far, the most important component in your computer. While the CPU tends to get the focus of attention as the brains of the computer, the mainboard and its components provides the skeletal framework for your entire system. Your mainboard’s chipset (core logic) provides the means for virtually all of the components to communicate and interact with one another, providing a sort of bridgework through which data is passed from your keyboard, mouse and hard drive to the memory, CPU, and graphics display. Your mainboard’s BIOS ROM holds the basic program information to get the computer started and your peripherals talking to one another. The mainboard also handles the task of controlling the amount of voltage the other components rely on to perform their specific tasks. The type of mass storage your system can use, your video card,  the amount and speed of your system memory and processor speed, and even your overall upgradeability are all determined by your mainboard.

Mainboards come in a… Continue reading

Information Super Highway: Removing The Red Lights


The Internet has become a gigantic web of fiber-optic cables connecting major cities together. With current switching technology, however, the optical signal must be converted to an electrical signal to be run through the switches, and then changed back to optical to be sent to the next location. Because of the sheer volume of traffic passing over the Information Super Highway every second, this change to and from electrical signals can cause significant delays. With this in mind a number of projects were started to develop optical switches, which could leave the signal as a beam of light. This would reduce delays and cause an overall increase in Internet speeds.

In the mid-90’s, Agilent Labs, then part of Hewlett-Packard Labs, began research into the development of an optical switch. On March 6, 2000, Agilent Labs introduced the Agilent Photonic Switching Platform at the Optical Fiber Communications Conference in Baltimore (it was right in my own backyard and I didn’t even know about it).

There hasn’t been much buzz about this product, however.… Continue reading

Cookies from Hell

These little morsels of privacy divulge information about your Internet habits.

They’re not my favorite cookies. They don’t have chocolate chips in them, you can’t crumble the on top of frozen yogurt, and these cookies don’t go well with milk. In fact, they probably taste lousy. Certainly not home-made, these commercial cookies are an invasion of privacy!

A cookie is an information device that some Web sites use to share information between their servers and your Internet browser. A file (the cookie) then remains in your own computer’s hard drive. Each time you visit the same Web site, more information will be “shared”, thanks to a cookie.

Although not all Web browsers support cookies, if you’re using Netscape (1.1 & higher) or Microsoft Internet Explorer, you’re subject to these cookies from hell.

In my opinion, sites which use cookies to gather information on their “guests” should be avoided. In fact, please join me in writing letters to the webmasters of these sites expressing your unhappiness with this blatant, commercial exploit.

We use Netscape 3.0… Continue reading

Kids, Trouble and the Internet

Would you let your kids play in the middle of a busy highway? Didn’t think so. What if that highway was the Information Superhighway? Both examples could be risky.

Can you keep your kids out of trouble on the Internet? With some parental supervision, it shouldn’t be a problem. Without any supervision, the Internet could be a Pandora’s Box of trouble for kids of any age. I wouldn’t fork over the keys to my shiny black Corvette to my teenager, for example, unless I knew my kid was responsible enough to handle the power. Yeah, right. In the same light, by letting your kids roam through the Information Superhighway, you are turning over your keys. Just where the kids travel is anyone’s guess.

Sure, you’ve heard and read the stories about pornography on the Internet, how you never know who you’re really talking to in chat rooms, and that you and the kids should never give out your names, home addresses and phone numbers, let alone credit card numbers, online. But, have you ever thought… Continue reading

The ABCs of Buying Kids Software

Do you know what to look for when you go software shopping? If you’re like most parents, the experience can be overwhelming. I’ve received stacks of mail from my readers wanting to know what to look for before buying family edutainment software.

Judging software by its box is like judging a book by its cover. You just can’t make a good software decision judged solely by its packaging. As a consumer, your job is to arm yourself with as much information as you can get your hands on. A good place to start is by using the World Wide Web.

By using Yahoo (or another comprehensive search engine), you can find software reviews on the Web. Here’s where I shamelessly plug my own site, The REVIEW ZONE, at

If you’re looking for challenging, educational software which is fun to play for hours, you’ve come to the right place. The REVIEW ZONE prides itself as being an in-depth and informative web site which features my software reviews on the best edutainment CD-ROMs for kids and… Continue reading

PC Maintenance Tip: Keyboard and Mouse

I will try to give the reader a weekly tip regarding the upkeep of his or her personal computer.

This will be a weekly series and will start with the cleaning of the keyboard and the mouse: the two most used peripherals of the personal computer.

The keyboard is as interactive as the mouse for communicating with your computer. In fact, there is a keyboard command for everything you can do with your mouse.  So, it is important to keep this peripheral working properly.

To properly clean the keyboard you will need to:

  • Remove the four screws on the underside with a Phillips-head screwdriver.
  • Once the screws are removed you can turn the keyboard over and shake out the dust, paperclips, coins, hair, etc. Then get a can of compressed air and spray the internals and inside and outside cover pieces.
  • Next look for the stubborn pieces of YUK/GUNK and with a non-static brush or probe gently pry it out.
  • For the grimy keys and keyboard case, apply a lint-free cloth with a dab… Continue reading

PC Maintenance Tip: CD Burners

CD Burners

CD burners or CD read write disk drives are becoming popular upgrades to many computer owners. The idea that a CD burner can be added to an existing computers working system is great. Additionally, the 650 MB of recordable disk space is awesome: remember not to long ago that was the size of some hard drives! Just 350MB short of 1 gig is nothing to chuckle about. Backup systems are becoming more  and more important and as a result the CD burner is becoming a viable option in relation to ZIP drives, Ditto drives, and the like. The majority of computer owners already have a CD-ROM and so are familiar with CDs. The CD burner uses the same media which offers the user the ability to take and transfer data between computers in a relatively painless manner; i.e. as long as the other computer has a CD-reader then that computer can read the data on the disk!

CD Burners can read and write to blank recordable CD-R (compact disc- recordable) as well… Continue reading

PC Maintenance Tip: Floppy Disk Drive

The Floppy Disk Drive

The floppy disk drive is the foundation data tool for the majority of personal computers and laptops. There are a few steps that will make the floppy drive last longer and perform well.

1. DO NOT put a floppy disk into the floppy drive if the metal disk slide has been damaged in any possible way. If you do, it is only a matter of time before the disk will stay in the drive and not eject.

2. Buy a floppy drive cleaning kit; it is similar to the kit one gets for their VCR. The sole purpose being to clean the read/write heads of the floppy drive.

3. Make sure that you see the green light come on when it is reading a disk. This indicator light is designed to let you know that the floppy drive is receiving power. If the light stays on even when the drive is not reading a disk, then the cables are probably hooked up backwards to the system board.

4. If you happened… Continue reading

PC Maintenance Tip: Monitor and Case

Computer Monitor
The maintenance of the monitor is pretty basic but very important. Dust seems to always accumulate where ever there is a concentrated  charge of ions: the monitor screen and the top of the monitor. To remove this dust one must:

Turn off the monitor and wait a few minutes. The capacitors in the monitor are enough to light your world; for this reason don’t remove the monitor cover unless you know what you are doing: but, don’t say I did not warn you- ZAP Crackle POP! Oh, if you are a techie like me, remember to not wear your ESD strap!

For the monitor case use isopropyl alcohol on a lint-free cloth.
For the monitor screen use use an antistatic cleaner and lint-free cloth

Finally, plug the monitor back in and connect to the system and turn the power back on.

Computer Case (mini-tower, tower case)

The care of the computer case is also pretty straight forward with the key place being the opening of the power supply fan.

To begin,… Continue reading

Laptop Care Lesson 1

I. Care- General

Handle with care.  I can’t even begin to tell you all the things that have been spilled into these units. Coffee is expensive if you spill a cup of it into the unit.  Don’t turn the unit on if it gets wet. If you do, then the unit will be fried.  ALL liquid drinks spilled onto a unit are pretty bad on the working internals of a computer: laptop or PC.

II. Made of plastic- Remember

Most units are made of hi-impact plastic but the fact still remains that plastic breaks.  In 50% of the units we service, we notice some sort of plastic breakage.  The number one place where plastic seems to break is at the hinges where the LCD screen is flipped up and down.  In several cases the plastic doors and door buttons are broken off. Some laptops have plastic breaks at stress points, for example where plastic is used as covering strips to house the unit around the palm rest (inside top… Continue reading