Poor Man’s Storage Data Wipe On Windows 10/11

The usual person in the tech industry will inevitably have a storage medium you “must” secure before letting it out of your possession. This could mean something as simple as a personal drive with financial records, personal projects, and embarrassing photos that made their way to Facebook anyway.

First, these opinions are my own, and I am not a data destruction expert. Take this as you will, but do your due diligence for your needs or wants. Do not use my advice if you are representing the government, a financial service, a publicly held company, or a health care organization. There are legal penalties for failure to sanitize data using specific methods for your entity.

See “Tutorial on Disk Drive Data Sanitization” by Gordon Huges, UCSD CMMR and Tom Coughlin for great in-depth information from UC San Diego.

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#clean, #hard-drive, #hdd, #sanitize, #ssd, #storage, #wipe

HP 27er Display Random Black Screen

hp27erI recently replacing my aging monitor setup at the office with a few HP 27er monitor displays. I run these on a MSI Gaming 3 motherboard running Windows 10 Pro. They look amazing, but unless they are functional they are worthless right?

I noticed what seemed to be random flickering to a black screen for a second. After a process of elimination it seemed it was a specific power brick, likely not supplying enough voltage/amps. I even got HP to send me a new power brick (that was a nightmare).

However today broke that theory. I then was able to reproduce the issue by scrolling through Facebook quickly using the scroll wheel on my mouse. I then installed the specific drivers from the HP site, which still didn’t fix the issue.

After some further research I found the issue lied in Google Chrome’s Hardware Acceleration feature. This appears to happen to a number of HP displays such as the 27xw as well.

To resolve my issue I took these steps:

  1. Open Google Chrome
  2. Click the three circle dots in the upper-right
  3. Click settings
  4. Click “Show advanced settings”
  5. Turn off System > “Use hardware acceleration when available”

Now while scrolling through Facebook quickly the issue is no longer reproducible.

Not sure if this is a Chrome issue, video card issue or monitor issue, but I wish HP would figure out a fix with Google.

#27er, #chrome, #google, #hp, #windows-10

Cortana and Headphone Noise

I recently bought a pair of Bose SoundLink around-ear wireless headphones II. After a number of hours troubleshooting what I call “monitor effect”. Basically I could hear my headset mic through the headphone speakers when no other sounds were playing on the computer. I would also hear the “dead air static” that you hear when you increase the gain on a microphone.

When I’m at my desk I have my headphones on much of the day. I use them for phone calls, Skype, Internet sound and some music. That monitor sound just wouldn’t do.

What we ended up finding, just by a slim recollection that the tech remembered was that the Windows 10 “Hey Cortana” feature may be causing this. Sure enough, I turned that feature off and the issue was gone. Continue reading

#cortana, #headphones, #sound, #static

Tearing Apart a $250,000 Hard Drive

I found this gem. Appears to be a 1.89GB or 3.78GB Hard Drive from 1991.

This guy tears it apart bit-by-bit and explains each piece. Pretty amazing.  His voice-over says it’s a 10MB, but the model number shows different.

Coding Assets – Monitors

Coding for CF Webtools has been a privilege. Owner Mark Kruger, aka ColdFusion Muse, has recognized that an equipped developer is a happy developer.

Along with the infamous “office with a window” that everyone seems to long for in their career, I have items that equip me as a developer:

  • Large Desk : The real estate of a desk is a great thing. Enough room to comfortably rest your arms on while still allowing for a monitor in front of you along with more room to place documents or other electronics on is a considerable advantage.
  • Computer : It just couldn’t be done without it. Speedy processor and large RAM availability will also make your day.
  • Logitech Wave Keyboard : the “wave” design conforms nicely to the natural curve of my hand using the asdf-jkl;-space grounded typing method. It has a few fancy quick buttons I never use and take up a bit of space I could get back, but it’s a good trade-off.
  • Microsoft Comfort Optical Mouse : This mouse has seen its days and could use a bit of an upgrade for cleanliness reasons, but it’s been a true trooper. Its optical sensor prevents any jumping or sticking those ball-mice do. It also has a programmable button that I use for zooming, along with a 4-way scroll wheel. But after the optical sensor, the grip conforms with my hand pretty well and is comfortable to use all day.
  • Mouse Pad : This cushioned mouse pad prevents those hurtful desk impressions left on ones hand after a long day of work.
  • Headphones : A developer needs his/her inspirational music to develop to. Invest in a good pair that sound good and feel comfortable all day long.

But on to what I really created this post for…

Where the action really happens is on the screen. Over my programming career of about 14 years I have seen about this kind of monitor hardware timeline:

14″ CRT -> 15″ CRT -> 17″ CRT -> 21″ CRT -> 15″ LCD -> 17″ LCD -> 19″ LCD -> 20″ LCDs

Except for the past few years, I have used a single monitor to do all my programming with. In the earlier years it was all okay because you just didn’t have the complexity of today’s programs nor the visual experience to compliment it. However as time went on the need for large screen real-estate grew. But all my prior employers, except one on-site contract, just didn’t see the need to spend that extra $200-$300 on another monitor. That was their mistake.

When I was hired with CF Webtools I was provided with two 20″ LCD wide-screen monitors and a heavy-duty adjustable dual monitor stand.  Immediately I recognized the benefit of the extra real-estate. I’m pretty positive that my productivity increased tremendously. I might say 50%, but then I might be held to that standard 😉 .

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Drop Test of the iPhone 4S and Galaxy S II

My opinion of the iPhone, while I’ve never owned one, was that the glass was not prone to much breakage due to their impact resistant glass. In the iPhone 4S Apple is stating it is aluminosilicate glass; stuff they use in the windshield of high-speed trains and helicopters. Unlike the older iPhone models, the iPhone 4 has both the front and back made of this kind of glass, which Apple says is chemically strengthened to be “20 times stiffer and 30 times harder than plastic.”

Acording to  “iFix your i” , the glass covering the display on the older iPhones was recessed and protected by a chrome bezel, while on the iPhone 4, the glass sits on top of the steel frame, which exposes it more to damage.

For reference I’ve never been a fan of the Galaxy S models because I’ve seen a lot of breakage in their screens as well. But check out this video:

So basically if you drop it from the height of your ear down to a solid surface after some prior abuse (which you could fully expect from any user), there’s a good chance your iPhone will be no longer usable without glass shards getting stuck in your ear.

Here’s another video to back that test up:

I personally own an HTC Incredible and have never broken my screen even after a number of drops. I remember going into Verizon’s store one day and the sales associate dropped the Samsung phones about 6″ and then the HTC phones 6″. You could hear how more solid the HTC’s where compared to the Samsung, also stating that the Incredible’s where using Gorilla Glass for the screen. So I’m glad I made that choice.

None of these drop tests where scientific, but it appears Apple really dropped the ball on durability with the iPhone 4. But I’m sure iFixYouri appreciates the business.

My New Xbox Kinect 360

Today I made an impulse purchase. I bought a Xbox 360 with Kinect package for $300. I was pretty impressed about the Kinect in their promotional videos and was looking for something a little better than my Wii I had before.

First mistake was not looking more closely at the box. I bought a controller for a whopping $45 thinking one wasn’t included.

The first issue I have is not enough space with the current arrangement of my apartment. It says I need 6ft of space, which I have, but apparently that’s like the bare minimum – even with the thing temporarily rigged all the way back on the wall.

Now, not only did I not have enough forward-backward space, but I was dumb enough to not push my coffee table all the way out of the way. So now I have a nice bruise on my thumb from smacking it on the table. Ouch!

Setup and use is pretty easy, though there seems to be a bit of “crapware” included.

The Kinect motions where pretty slick, though a little artificial. I can’t say I’ve seen anything like it before.

The sensor moves up and down to track you better on its own, recognizes your face, picks up your hand position, and enables voice recognition. Pretty smart if you ask me.

The game “Adventures” that came with it was pretty neat. But the rafting game wanted me to jump up on down to clear the raft of the logs. Well, that’s a bad deal because I live in an apartment on the second floor with only wood and drywall between my feet and the downstairs apartment. I’m sure they would love rattling lights.

I look forward to playing with the console more, but I’m done for the night and now watching Aguilera screw up the National Anthem.

Me and My Droid

It’s been about 8 months since I picked up my HTC Droid Incredible Smartphone.

At the time I had a BlackBerry Storm. I picked it up because my boss and manager both owned one and I thought it would be both cool and useful. But what I found with the Storm was just a mobile, yet expensive way to read my email and attempt to browse the Internet. Its tactile response screen was a good idea, but was cumbersome trying to use the on-screen keyboard. Its typing suggestions and corrections where pretty awful as well. The apps I downloaded where basically used to try and make it run better. The worst part is I had to physically remove the battery each day to make it run correctly. The techs over at Verizon made some tweaks to help, but told me this was the norm. At the time though, this was about the best fully touch-screen Smart Phone on the market. Android was just some awful  alternative that I don’t think Verizon even offered at the time. But that soon changed.

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Getting Rocketfish Keyboard to Work on Windows 7

I tried adding my bluetooth Rocketfish Keyboard to my new Windows 7 laptop this weekend using the Rocketfish USB dongle. My Rocketfish Bluetooth mouse added just fine. When adding via the Bluetooth dialog, I could see the keyboard – however when you add it it just tries to connect. Thanks to Technet’s social board I found the solution. When you go to add the device, right click on the keyboard icon and click on properties. In the servies tab, check the box that says Drivers for keyboard, mice, etc (HID). It now works great!

Project Natal – Milo

As a total “geek”, many people assume that I sit at home after work and play X-Box or Playstation all night. But the truth is, those game consoles are just to complicated for my taste. In fact, rarely do I play video games. What I do enjoy in the arena however, is my Nintendo Wii. I enjoy the simple, yet interactive and challenging games such as the Wii Fit, Disney Trivia, Tetris, Wii Sports, Mario and others. However – I do wish the graphics where a little more modernized and the AI pieces just quite aren’t there. Another thing you should know about me, is I’m not really a big Microsoft fan – yet I use their products everyday such as Windows and Office. Along comes Microsoft’s Project Natal and its creation Milo. WOW! Project Natal is a new way to play the XBox. There is no controller to stick in your pocket as you run down the track. No lights to turn down so they don’t interfere with the IR signal. Just a cameara looking at you, interperting you and the other player’s motions. Not to mention the AI! Check out Milo in the demo below. Granted, Milo may bore me quickly from what I’ve seen from the demo – however I can envision so many other possibilities that would grab my attention party night after party night. Voice Recognition, movies, and more… I think I know my next new toy!