Is it worth to keep a PC case open?

I got a new server for Dandandin and I kept it open from all sides while I was doing tests. Average disk temperature 23 ° C. When I saw that was stable, I closed, placing fans on the front and on the back, to have a positive airflow. Disk temperature lowered a couple of degrees, and the disk has much more activity than last week!

caso-chiusoSo, even if it might seem that an open case will have “more airflow”, you will have a better airflow with a closed case.

update: looks like smartctl is not reporting accurately the hdd temperature. I need to do more tests with hddtemp.

My brief adventure with m.2 SSDs

Some time ago I bought a motherboard with an m2 SSD connector. I only noticed this connector after purchasing it, so I did not bought a suitable drive, I just used a regular SSD.

Then I read a review, a comparison between a SATA 3 SSD and an NVMe SSD. Astonishing performances, up to 4 times faster! Whoa!

The review mentioned the Samsung 950 Pro but it has a problem for me: it’s 3 times more expensive than a regular SSD!

I found the Crucial MX300 m.2, for just 15 euro more than a regular SATA SSD. Yes! I Bought it immediately!
The installation was easy, just open the case, insert it into the slot and tighten the locking screw.

Windows starts but… I can’t see the drive anywhere! Where is it?
I go into the BIOS settings (ok, EFI) and it’s not shown! Did I install it wrongly? I take it apart and I install it again, but… nothing!

What happened? I assumed that m.2 (the form factor), also meant NVMe (the data protocol), but it’s not . The Crucial MX300 is an m2 SSD m.2 SATA, so it (should) seen by the system as SATA!
In my board it’s not compatible, so I have to return it.

Next time: if you want to buy an m.2 SSD, check that’s it’s NVMe, otherwise, at least in a desktop PC, it’s better to buy a regular drive.

The washable phone

On my first article wrote on Dandandin in the 2009, I talked about the “new” 3D phones fron Japan. We never got them, we got an autosteroscopic 3D screen 2 years later with the Nintendo 3DS and only one smartphone, the HTC Evo 3D, which I never saw in stores.

The 3D mania,let companies create products like the 3DeeShell for the iPhone, but were commercial failures.

Now, it’s trendy to make waterproof phones, but while Sony says that’s better to don’t get their waterproof phones wet, Kyocera in Japan launches the DIGNO rafre, the first smartphone washable with warm soap.

See the ad:

The official page doesn’t go in deep detail over the specs, but tells us more details: foam-resistant, scratch-resistant, and so on

Wow!!! In Florence I can line without actually stay in the line!!

Incredible! Today I went to the city hall to get a certificate. When I got in, I saw the waiting room… I had 30 people waiting before me… boring… I hate waiting in line. Then, I read a notice, using the Qurami app it’s possible to take a number and book the spot on the line. Cool!!! This is what I love about tech!!!

I always hated to waste my time waiting for hours for my turn! Now I can get on a virtual line and focus my time on something more important for example this:

Comune Pokemon

The real flick keyboard

As an April Fool’s Google Japan made a Flick physical keyboard.

usecase

Designed for those who, accustomed to a flick keyboard on Android / iOS, is no longer able to use one for traditional computers. The website introduces it very well, even though he exaggerates with the functionality, with a laser tracking system that would look unrealistic even in science fiction movies.

What’s really interesting thing is that they made available the source code: one could actually make this keyboard at home with Arduino, although it lacks a fundamental thing: the files for the 3D printer. Yes, I can recreate it at home, but the little box and cute keys? You have to design them yourself.

With the “recipe” that have published, what comes out is something like this:

device

Which it is quite different than the cool prototype shown in the video.

However, it works. With 12 analog nubs from a PS2 pad, they convert the 24 analog inputs to digital using three MCP3208 ICs, using only 5 digital inputs on the arduino nano, while the nub click is directly connected to the remaining 12 digital/analog inputs. After that, the program communicates via serial port with a card, and is seen as a bluetooth keyboard.

Despite the cool looking prototype, in my opinion it’s actually awkward to use. If each key is using a PS2 analog stick, the click is much harder than one key on a standard keyboard, ok, maybe you can write a sentence, but a longer text? Best wishes!

I got a Kobo GLO HD

I wanted to buy an ebook reader, from a long time, for two simple reasons:

  1. The battery lasts for weeks and weeks
  2. You can read the screen very well in the sunlight

When I saw that the basic Kindle was in promotion at 59 euro (now it sells for $79) I almost ordered one, but then I didn’t, for the following reasons:

  1. It shows ads, unless you pay an extra $20. I tried it in a store, and those ads on the home and the screensaver were really annoying
  2. I have to convert every single ebook in the Amazon proprietary format
  3. I have to convert every single manga in the Amazon proprietary format
  4. You can’t install apps
  5. The screen is unreadable in the dark

My ideal reader would be based on Android, so I could install Dropbox, Pocket, an epub reader (ebook) and a CBR reader (manga).

You can find them on the market, but they all suck, with exorbitant prices (the e-ink screens are very expensive at wholesale) and have poor performance.I saw that it was possible to hack the Nook Simple Touch Glowlight and install Android 2.1.But I didn’t really like this idea. First of all I would have paid $90 for a reader that was discontinued three years ago, and would have a low screen resolution, then surely customs would give me another 50 Euros of tax / duty / taxes “gift”, and then it the end all I got would be an obsolete “hybrid” tablet with Android 2.1, and all the apps would be discontinued also: how long could I continue to use Dropbox, Pocket and other apps before a change of API would kill them?

I eventually found the KOBO GLO HD, which in Italy is sold directly on Amazon for 10 euro less than the official price (119 euro).

Can you install apps on it? No, but its operating system based on Linux is very nicely done and I don’t need to hack it.

  1. It can read CBR and CBZ comics, without conversion, just copy the files via USB
  2. It can read EPUB and PDF ebooks without the need for conversion or special sync programs
  3. It natively integrates with Pocket and syncs everything for automatic offline reading.Instead of reading a webpage on the PC, I click on the Pocket icon in my browser, and boom, I get them on the Kobo. Awesome!
  4. The screen is very bright
  5. The screen resolution is incredibly high

It would have been much more perfect if it had physical buttons instead of being 100% touch, but you can’t have everything in life.

How to use a Resilio Sync code

Resilio Sync it’s a very good alternative to Dropbox or OneDrive, by allowing to share an unlimited amount of files, with any size.

It’s perfect for sharing photos of an event, because it allows you to choose a “read only mode”, so, there’s no risk that someone could delete public files or other.

How does it work? Who starts sharing sends a code like F1C85025ED5843DEA2B428B54A5B9992, which must be imported by who wants to gets the files.

I made a video to show where to insert the code:

Finally BB10 for the PlayBook!

bb10

Yes!!! It’s here!!! Finally, after one long year, BB10 for the PlayBook it’s here!!! Here are the new additions:

  • Runtime Android 4.2
  • USB Host and Dropbox/Box/Onedrive support
  • BB10 Keyboard
  • BBM
  • Cascades
  • + but still the same PlayBook design!!!

Quick, download it!!!

Update: this is an April’s fool. The BlackBerry PlayBook has been declared EOL and won’t get any more updates. Killed, will ever have this “half-baked” operating system. What a pity. 😢 But after more than 3 years, how we can pretend to get an update? Other brands stop giving updates after a few months…

Is Apple wrong with the iPhone 5c?

If today, wednesday 18th september 2013, we go on the Apple US page, we can see that we can preorder an iPhone 5c with home delivery for 20th september.

Every color, with every memory and carrier combination is still available. The possible combinations are 50, and only ten of them are delayed by a week.

It’s possible that Apple has imported from China so many iPhone 5c (millions?) in all possible variants to avoid preorder problems? And some reports are saying that production is low due to some problems with camera modules.

If you remember what happened with the iPhone 5, the waiting list was long, people had to wait until december! The new iPhone 5c has been announced last week and it’s not sold out yet? Usually Apple sells millions of units in preorders. Maybe there are too many colors and people want to see which one looks better in their hands? Or maybe because if you pay just $100 more you can get the 5s that has a much better quality?


Update 2017: Imho it was a failure, otherwise they would have made the 6c, 7c, and so on

What to do if a Laptop Key gets broken

Some time ago I lent my wonderful HP Core2Duo TC-4400 “Hybrid Tablet” to a friend.

“Just a few hours, really, I need it, don’t worry”

So I lent it, it was just an afternoon.

The night I got it back, I opened it and I started to type, everything looked ok… until I had to type “?”… the key falls in my hand!

“What the…?????” I shout, on the phone

“Oh, a key fall off? Really?”, they say.

I get to know that an ormament fell on the key from a shelf, breaking the retaining hooks on the key and on the lever.

“That’s so bad”, I was thinking… “this is a model I bought in the USA, it wasn’t on sale in Italy, I wonder where I can find the right replacement, and how much it will be!”

I used the keyboard without that key for a week, then I Googled for a fix.

I found laptopkey.com and replacementlaptopkeys.com that will send a replacement for less than 5 euro!

Finding the right key was hard, because my model is rare, and it wasn’t listed on the website. Moreover, every model has 3-4 different kinds of retaining hooks, so you have to carefully look at the pictures on those websites…

After a week I got an envelope with my key. Another little trouble: in order to protect it during shipping, they preassembled it, so you have to carefully separate the key and the lever to mount it.

Once mounted, it’s great!