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 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 to

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.

The road ahead, part 2

After a couple of bumps it looks like there's a new home for That said I might have to pull the site down for a few days while transitioning hosts and exporting the content.

My plan is still to move towards a more community centered site, so expect a temporary splash page for about 15 days. My current hosting plan is up in 3 days which means I'll be moving fast.

The road ahead for

For the past couple of years I've been deliberating moving off Godaddy's shared hosting plan for Many of you have mentioned how slow the site is and despite cleaning up modules and trimming themes it remains fairly slow. I considered Linode VPS hosting, but having just bought several big purchases we're tightening our belts a little at home. The other issue I have with VPS hosting is I'd rather pay a yearly rate than a monthly one. A few of you mentioned digitalocean VPS which has a couple of plans a bit less costly than Linode.


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