VLC startup Audio CD fix

These instructions are for Linux, specifically Xubuntu 12.04.

Our computer refurbishing project was running into an issue on our Xubuntu machines where when someone put in an audio CD VLC would load with the following error:

Your input can't be opened:

VLC is unable to open the MRL 'dvd:///dev/sr0'. Check the log for details.

The first 64bit operating system(s)

This afternoon I spent some time reading part of the 20th edition of Scott Mueller's Upgrading and Repairing PCs. It might seem crazy but I've enjoyed reading the book since a lot of the historical technology is technology that I "grew up" with. Some of the technology mentioned I owned, some I didn't own, and some is missing (I owned a 10MHz 8086-compatible NEC V20 chip). I'm barely into Processor Specifications, Chapter 3. On page 37 Scott writes:

...it wasn't until the release of Windows Vista x64 in 2007 that 64-bit computing would begin to go mainstream.

Refurbishing an ASRock-based Pentium 4 PC with Xubuntu Linux

Recently a computer with a nice looking black case came in to the Working Centre's Computer Refurbishing Project. When we received the case we could smell the distinct smell of cigarette smoke on the case. The case looked in pretty good shape and when we opened up the case we found that the motherboard was in good shape (no bad capacitors) and it had both Serial ATA (SATA) and a PCI Express slot (decent video). The system had a fair amount of tar and dirt inside. Rather than trying to clean each individual component we replaced:


Notice a speed difference? I mentioned a few posts back about how I switched the site from shared hosting to a VPS. I also switched content management systems from Wordpress to Drupal (Wordpress is great, but I've always loved the modularity of Drupal). But the real speed difference is due to the excellent server provisioning and tuning by our good friends at 2bits.com. Thanks Khalid!

Quick and easy way to mount an SSD in an Antec Sonata II case

Last weekend I picked up a Samsung 120GB Solid State Drive (SSD) to put in Maria's (my wife) computer. Maria has an AMD-based Phenom quad core CPU, 4GB of RAM, and a 1GB AMD Radeon-based video card. Despite these specifications the system felt a little slow so I figured an SSD would give her another year or so before upgrading. Moments after buying the SSD I realized that I needed a mounting bracket, but the store was closing up and I didn't have the chance to go back and get one.

Added Amazon author page

Want to know a bit more about me and my book InstantXBMC? I've added an author page https://www.amazon.com/author/charlesmccolm to Amazon.com.

Site Update, July 10, 2014

Work continues on massaging the content and structure. Some of today's changes include:

Site Update, July 9, 2014

We have made several updates over the past few days to Charles' Tech Talk:

  • Content from the old Godaddy Wordpress site has been imported into Drupal

All the images from the old web site broke and a lot of the formatting has been lost, but the textual content is still there. We are working on massaging the pages before the articles/blog posts. Some of the pages will be re-located so the site is more linear and logical. We love search, but we also love knowing exactly where things are.

What you need to know before buying a USB KVM switch

Keyboard, Video, Mouse (KVM) switches let you use one keyboard, mouse, and screen for multiple computers. Switches generally come in 2, 4, 8 or 16 port variants. KVM switches aren't without thier problems. Here's what you need to know about USB KVM switches based on our experience:


Welcome back

If you've been following Charles' Tech Talk (CTT) for awhile you've probably noticed the sudden disappearance of all the content here. Part of the reason for the disappearance is that here isn't here anymore. What do I mean by that? Up until a few days ago Charles' Tech Talk was hosted on the popular shared hosting mogul Godaddy. When I started Charles' Tech Talk more than 6 years ago I really never imagined it would grow to over 250 posts and almost 9,000 page views a month. When I first signed up with Godaddy CTT ran relatively smoothly.


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