Github user Mustafa Al-Bassam has compiled a list of 10,000 domains, some affected by the OpenSSL heartbleed exploit, some not. The list was compiled on April 8th and another is in progress. Some of the sites may be patched, but for safety you should probably change your password for any of the domains listed as vulnerable.
Packt Publishing is celebrating the release of their 2000th title. For a limited time you can buy my ebook and get one of equal value or less for free. If the other ebook is more expensive the cost is the cost for the more expensive book. It’s a heck of a deal if you need a couple of titles inexpensively.
#1 – 386 motherboard and CPU
I have especially fond memories of the 386 CPU and motherboard because my first computer that I built from the motherboard up was a 386-based unit. This particular model is missing the math co-processor, used for advanced floating point operations. After the 386 most math co-processors got built-in to the CPU. The motherboard had a 5 din large connector for a keyboard and the nickel cadmium battery was soldered right on to the motherboard. This motherboard has 6 EISA slots and 2 ISA slots. How many motherboards these days come with 8 expansion slots? This model took 30-pin RAM.
There’s a funny story around my build. At the time I ran a bulletin board system and was attending Ryerson Polytechnical Institute (it wasn’t Ryerson University then). I didn’t have extra cash to buy RAM (1MB was around $100). A fellow bulletin board operator (Sysop – system operator) gave me 2MB of RAM. We met in the Toronto subway. He had the RAM all rolled up in paper towel – it looked like a shady deal.
The 386 was the first system I considered to run a multi-line BBS system. Multi-line didn’t work out so well because the 2MB of RAM wasn’t quite enough for multi-tasking. I used Desqview software to do task switching. What would happen was one person would be online on one phone line and when another person tried calling in on the other line Desqview would croak a bit and kick the person off the first line.
#2 – Atari Portfolio
Until someone donated this to Computer Recycling I had never seen an Atari Portfolio. Released in June of 1989 the Portfolio had a CPU that was almost 5MHz. The XT IBM-compatible I had was about double the processing power at 10MHz. According to Wikipedia the Portfolio ran DIP Operating System 2.11, a MS-DOS 2.xx-compatible operating system (minus a few features).
What makes the Portfolio really neat is that it can run on 3 AA alkaline batteries. We powered this unit on and it works!
The next time you’re watching Terminator 2: Judgement Day look for the Atari Portfolio in the scene where John Connor tries to bypass an ATM with a ribbon cable and Portfolio.
The Portfolio was the first palm-top computer to be mass-marketed, a pretty neat Atari first!
#3 – External ZIP Drive
The Iomega ZIP drive was a wildly popular alternative to the floppy drive until the advent of CD-RW drives. The ZIP drive stored up to 100MB (early versions) on a larger than floppy-size disk. The ZIP drive wasn’t compatible with regular floppy disks. Around the same time Matsushita came out with a floppy-compatible LS-120 drive. I bought one of the LS-120 drives and wished I’d bought a ZIP drive. In my experience the LS-120 drives, also known as SuperDisks, were largely defective. I bought 2, both of which failed within 3 months.
We still see ZIP disks and the odd ZIP drive come in. We see the odd 250MB ZIP disk come in from time to time. There were a few larger capacity ZIP disks, but CD-R media was so inexpensive compared to ZIP disks that there was no great reason to keep buying the ZIP disks.
This particular model pictured is a parallel (slow) version of the external ZIP drive. We’ve seen parallel, SCSI and USB external ZIP drives as well as internal PATA ZIP drives come in. Our USB and SCSI versions are long gone, but we still get requests for them for people looking to remove files off their ancient media.
#4 – RDRAM, sometimes known as RIMM RAM or RAMBUS RAM
We see RDRAM and RDRAM-based systems from time to time. These memory modules were incredibly costly compared to DDR and there was a big fiasco around licensing of RDRAM and DDR. By 2001 RDRAM had lost the memory war to DDR, which was a lot more economical and had caught up speed wise. RDRAM was designed to operate in sets of 2 (or more) which made it even more expensive to buy. If you had a motherboard with 4 slots all 4 needed to have something in the slot (usually 2 continuity modules – we used to call them blanks and 2 matched RDRAM modules, or 4 matched RDRAM modules).
We still see the odd system come in with RDRAM and very occasionally we get someone looking for RDRAM modules. We no longer test RDRAM, but we’re happy to help out anyone who needs RDRAM provided we have some on hand.
The two modules I’m holding up in the photograph are 128MB each, marketed as 800 (400MHz modules). One of the defining differences between RDRAM and DDR is the placement of the two notches on the RAM, both are close together near the centre of the memory module. Every RDRAM stick we’ve seen, other than blanks/continuity modules has had a heat spreader on it (adding to the cost of the modules). Most commonly we see these in servers, though we’ve worked on a few desktop systems that used RDRAM.
#5 – Commodore 64
It seems that everyone from my generation either had a Commodore 64 or knew what one was. The Commodore 64 was a wildly popular computer from the early eighties (we bought one late 1982). The computer portion of the C64 was built right below the keyboard. Peripherals such as an external floppy disk drive (1541), printer, and joysticks could all be purchased separately. You could either connect the C64 to your television (using an adapter) or connect it to a Commodore branded squarish monitor, the 1702 if memory serves me correctly (a lot of which were used for other purposes).
The C64 was really a gaming machine with a keyboard. It could be used for tasks such as desktop publishing (on a dot-matrix printer), but with thousands of games, gaming was the most popular use. I wrote a couple of games for the C64 – a Pole Position like game called All-Night-Road Race (it was never commercial, just passed along our local computer user group – BUG), and the beginning of a Ghostbusters-inspired game in Assembler.
The C64 sold over 10 million units, a record number of units at the time. No other gaming system had sold so much. Games ranged in title from Attack of the Mutant Camels to Zaxxon. Role Playing Games included Epyx’s Temple of Apashai, and the famous “Lord British” Ultima series.
The Commodore 64 ran at around 1MHz and had 64k of onboard RAM. It ran Commodore BASIC as an OS. People tend to think of the C64 as an ancient beast long dead, but consider that most software loaded in less than 5 seconds. Today we have multi-gigahertz CPUs, enormous storage and RAM and we complain about how slow our systems are. There’s something to be said for old tech.
#6 – Apple Newton eMate 300
What was probably one of the shortest-lived Apple products, the Apple Newton eMate 300 was introduced in 1997 and discontinued in February 1998. It inspired early iBook designs (remember the clam-shell iBooks?). It was really a notebook-ish personal digital assistant (PDA) designed to run the Newton operating system. Despite sporting a 25MHz ARM processor it had less RAM than some of the Newtons around at the time. The screen was 480×320 grayscale.
Thanks again for all your donations. Technology like the equipment I’ve listed above makes reuse and recycling a lot more interesting.
#1. Red Headphones
People frequently come in asking for headphones, at least a few times a week and we end up referring them to the dollar store around the corner most of the time. One of the great donations you gave us in the past month were these cool red headphones. They might not be an audiophile’s dream, but they work just great here for testing the sound on computer builds and we’ve loaned them out to several parts of The Working Centre over the past couple of weeks.
While we do get headphones from time to time they’re often broken or missing the ear covers. We’re happy to recycle broken headphones, but it’s always nice when we get some headphones that are in good condition. Powered speakers are also in high demand here, but we tend to get speakers with a bit more frequency than cool headphones like these – thanks!
#2 – 2003 PC Upgrade and Maintenance Guide
Although a little on the old side, 2003, A+ and hardware upgrade books are always appreciated. I like to give these out or loan them to volunteers looking to better round their skills or gain more knowledge and skills. I prefer hands on work, but I know having sound theory behind the work is just as important. You can have the experience of knowing how to fix a problem without really knowing why the fix works, which is where books like this help round out knowledge.
Most of what we work with are top end Pentium 4 (socket 775) to mid-range dual core systems, so the newer the hardware/upgrading books the better. We also have almost no books with recent information on Mac OS X or upgrading Macintosh equipment – so those kinds of books are especially valuable.
If you drop by you’ll see we have loads of books that are extremely out of date on specialized software: Corel Draw, Visual Basic., etc., so any books relevant to hardware repair, Windows 7 or 8, Mac OS X, and Linux are especially appreciated – thanks!
#3 – Speedstream 4200 DSL modem
We don’t see a lot of demand for DSL modems, but it is nice to be able to help someone with very little money save $100 on the purchase of a modem. I’ve snapped a photograph of the Speedstream 4200 modem we still have lying around because the Speedstream 516 modem that was donated already went to help someone.
ISP’s like Teksavvy no longer list modems like the Speedstream 516 on their web site, but I’ve been using a 516 with Teksavvy for the past 3 years without any trouble. Newer DSL and cable modems, ones supporting ADSL 2+ and VDSL would be nice to have too, but often we’re working with people who are looking for the most economical option (not always though, so it’s nice to have a few better modems around for those of you who come in looking for geek tech).
Of course we accept cable modems too though most people who go the Rogers route usually end up leasing one from Rogers. They’re still quite handy for those who get cable Internet service from other providers.
DSL modems, cable modems, routers, switches and even hubs. You’ve donated some pretty cool devices in the past like VPN boxes, hackable wireless routers, and VOIP boxes. These are all really neat devices – thanks for the donations!
#4 – Macintosh mighty mouse
Although we’re not a Mac shop we are starting to carry more Macintosh items and have even sold the odd Macintosh computer. Macintosh computers are a bit of a predicament for us since in order to resell a Macintosh computer we either need the original restore discs (as per Apple licensing) or we have to wipe them and install a flavour of Linux on them. Installing Linux is simpler with the Intel Macs, but we tend to see more PowerPC-based macs.
From the little we’ve dug around the mighty mouse seems to be one of the more favoured mice in the Mac world. The mighty mouse’s bluetooth capabilities are apparently better than other Macintosh bluetooth mice. I haven’t verified this since we don’t run Macintosh workstations at Computer Recycling, but the Multicultural Cinema Club across the street uses a number of Macintosh workstations for their video editing, so any modern Macintosh equipment is especially appreciated.
This mouse will in all likelihood end up finding a good home with a fan of Macintosh computers. Because we’re known for PC parts people don’t always think of us as providing Macintosh equipment, but your donations keep us helping those with Macintoshes. In the past we’ve seen several donations of PowerPC-based iBooks (we have none at the moment sorry), parts of Intel-based Macbooks, Apple eMacs (up to 1.42GHz), and a few of those nice Intel all-in-one 19″ Macintosh systems.
Official Macintosh software is also really appreciated since we just end up giving the software to people with Macs. (Especially kids games)
#5 – Nortel 7316 Phones
Nortel might not be like it was, but we LOVE and use their 7316e in many places at The Working Centre. You recently donated several of these 7316e phones to us in fantastic condition. About the only other thing we love more are HP Laserjet 2300 printers and that’s just because we have a lot of toners and use the 2300′s in a lot of spaces around TWC.
Nortel equipment works for us. The very odd time we get in donations of Nortel KSU and DSU equipment. Almost always we end up using this equipment at one of the many projects at The Working Centre. Thanks for your donations of Nortel equipment – it’s really helped us grow.
This is it for the 5 cool things donated to Computer Recycling in February 2014. It seems like a novel thing to show everyone the kind of cool stuff that gets donated here. Sometimes we use donations internally, but often we make your donations available for anyone to use. Thanks again for all your donations!
A couple of weeks ago I broke down and finally bought the 2012 release of The Hobbit an Unexpected Journey. The 2013 The Hobbit the Desolation of Smaug is out on Blueray, but won’t be out on DVD until April 8th. While looking at imdb.com I noticed that there’s a 1977 TV movie by Warner Brothers. I own the (WB) Ralph Bakshi 1978 Lord of the Rings DVD, so this The Hobbit movie would make a perfect addition to the rather largish Lord of the Rings collection (I have all 3 in their multi-disc set, the cheaper DVD set and Blueray set).
The contact form is temporarily out of order. I’m hoping to have it back in order soon.
The Working Centre’s Computer Recycling project has been working furiously to get more Windows 7-compatible systems built. We have a large number of systems (HP dc7100′s) that have a PCIe video card slot, but the onboard video isn’t compatible with Windows 7. The rest of the dc7100 works fine with a little bit of extra RAM provided we add a decent video card. In the picture left we added an AMD ATI Radeon X1650. Not only did Windows 7 pick up the driver automatically, but it improved the Windows index several points.
But cards like the Radeon X1650 are in short supply. We have a few higher-end cards that require additional power, and these are great, but a bit overkill for the HP dc7100 model (which doesn’t have the 6 pin power connector needed to run these cards).
Thanks to everyone who has supported The Working Centre’s Computer Recycling Project with hardware donations this past year – you’ve enabled us to make lots of improvements. And thanks to those who continue to support us on a regular basis. Drop offs can be taken to 66 Queen Street South (Kitchener). We have a side door on Charles Steet (66 Queen Street S is the corner of Queen and Charles Street). We’re open Tuesday to Friday from 10am to 5pm. Please feel free to email me here for other drop off times.
One of the jobs I’ve been meaning to do is to figure out the disparity between the movies I’ve ripped and those still sitting on my shelves. This is the first step in my master plan to better organize all the videos on our XBMC media center.
Part of the inspiration for this comes from the fact that now that I have a more powerful desktop computer ripping and re-encoding video at higher quality settings becomes more possible.
The very first step was to catalog the videos I already had stored on XBMC. To do this I just redirected a listing of the movie folder to a file:
ls > mymovies.txt
Next I needed a way to organize and categorize all my physical DVDs and Blueray discs. In the past I used Tellico. This round I used GCStar collection manager, a collection manager with plugins to do books, movies, tv shows and other types of collections. For each movie I entered part of the name and clicked the Fetch/Lookup button to fetch the meta-data from third party sites. The default meta-data site wasn’t working so I switched it to Film-Affinity and lookups worked fine. Film-affinity was able to find most movies, but couldn’t find a handful of movies: Fred Williamson movie Joshua, the Sam Elliott (not Sharon Stone) version of The Quick and the Dead, and some Telly Savalas movies. I might try switching up the meta-data source in order to grab the other titles. At the moment the collection manager is sitting with approximately 292 titles in it with about 20 not in the collection.
I haven’t figured out what I’ll use to determine the properties of movies on XBMC, but it’ll likely be ffmpeg combined with some switches in a shell script to tell me things like each movie’s dimensions, bit rate and size. Part of the problem is that I encoded some movies using Handbrake, others using Acidrip, and still others using other software. I’ve determined that I want to use Acidrip to do most of the ripping and encoding. I’ll still need MakeMKV for Blueray discs, it’s about the only thing that works under Linux, but or most of my DVD rips I’m going to stick with Acidrip – I’ve just gotten used to it.
This is mostly what I’ve been up to lately. I spent about 40 minutes last night physically cleaning our XBMC PC. I shut it down, unplugged, removed the CPU fan from the top of the heat sink, cleaned both the fan and heat sink, then cleaned the rest of the PC internals. It’s amazing how quickly it accumulates dust. I didn’t use compressed air, just an old toothbrush (not on any electronics of course). The CPU fan makes less noise, though at some point I’d like to replace it completely with a water cooling block to eliminate as much noise as possible.
Last night I was working for only the second time on my newly built desktop system and I managed to kill my Linux Mint 16 Cinnamon desktop. I didn’t know until 4:30am this morning when I got up and switched on my system that I’d killed my desktop environment. 4:30am is a little early for me to get up, I’m normally groggy around 5:30 and get up around 6:30am, so when I saw Ubuntu 13.10 loading it felt strange (because I knew the Mint logo normally loads on boot). I didn’t think too much about it until the desktop didn’t load at all.
Then I started tracing my last steps. Just before shutting down I was ripping CDs using Banshee. That couldn’t be the cause of Linux Mint not booting. I had shut down correctly, so there really shouldn’t have been a problem. I thought harder (difficult to do at 4:30am) and it dawned on me that I’d installed the Virtualbox:i386 package just before that. To fix the problem I switched to a virtual terminal (CTRL+ALT+F1) and started installing Cinnamon packages. I also installed the lightdm greeter. This got me to a graphical login (not the one from before) but when I tried logging in I got an error that the Cinnamon desktop couldn’t load (with the packages installed). Installing the package mint-meta-cinnamon fixed this problem, but there are still several customizations I had before installing the Virtualbox:I386 package corrupted everything.
What surprises me is that there was no warning, “hey idiot, this will uninstall your Cinnamon desktop.” I installed through the Mint installer, maybe if I installed through a terminal I would have noticed what the package was removing.
Your top 5 favourite computer-related movies as chosen by viewers of this site are:
5. Swordfish – 5 votes
4. Tron – 6 votes
3. Hackers – 8 votes
2. The Matrix – 10 votes
1. Wargames – 12 votes
Tied for sixth place 4 movies all with 4 votes: Pirates of Silicon Valley, Sneakers, Anti-Trust, and We Are Legion: The Story of Hacktivists. Each person who voted got to choose up to 5 movies they liked. Voting didn’t take into account each person’s favourite movie, just 5 movies each person liked.
Personally my choice would have been something like:
5. Pirates of Silicon Valley
Anti-trust might seem like a strange movie choice – it has a terribly cheesy plot that seems to follow the Microsoft Anti-trust days – Tim Robbins is even made to look like Bill Gates. The acting is well… and the premise of killing off hackers (code monkeys) is way overblown, but I enjoyed spotting a standard Gnome desktop in the movie. If it wasn’t for the “leader is killing hackers” premise it might have been a much better movie. Still I like it.
Last weekend I plunked down $60CDN+tax for a Logitech G105 “gaming” keyboard. The keyboard features 6 gaming keys and 3 macro-programmable keys, plus back lighting and what I thought was the most exciting feature: a gaming mode that prevents you from triggering “Windows” event keys while gaming. Sadly for me the gaming mode key didn’t work at all, it doesn’t seem to prevent Windows seven from closing your game if you press Alt+F4. I use the Alt key and various function keys for a number of games so this failure is quite disappointing. I tried the gaming button a couple of times to make sure it wasn’t just off, nope.
The back lit blue on black keyboard isn’t that impressive either. Don’t be fooled by the right side of the box, the keyboard looks like the left side. Also the feet feel a bit fragile, like they’d break if any pressure was applied to the keyboard.
What do I like about the G105? Lots. The keys feel good and well spaced out, though I occasionally hit a key I don’t mean to. The Backspace and Enter keys are both large, some keyboard annoyingly cut these important keys down in size. I also like the greyed out wasd and arrow keys though I’m not sure it’s ever going to make a difference to game play. I haven’t used the macro or G-keys but I’m still getting used to the keyboard. It seems odd but I also like the weight of the keyboard, it feels like some quality construction went into it – even if it is plastic.
The keyboard is actually 2 tone, black on top and red on the bottom (with the exception of the previously noted grey keys). It’s kind of a nice look but I was left wondering if it really was any better than some of the Dell keyboards we have in Computer Recycling with the volume knob on them. Because the gaming key didn’t work as expected I felt like I overpaid.
I have never understood why some people are such die-hard fans of anything Apple makes. I’ve never been overly impressed with Apple and after trying out the new iPad Air I still feel this way. Order one from a store like Chapters and the 16GB version will run you a bit more than $520 after taxes.
Right off the bat I noticed Apple has chosen to use yet-another-proprietary cable, one that you can’t use with your older iPad 2. The cable is also very short. I was able to put the Air on my nightstand with the wall plug less than 2 feet below, but just barely.
Booting feels faster than the iPad 2 – the first plus for the Air. It also comes out of sleep quicker when you hit the power button.
Then there’s the whole Apple account thing. We have an iPad 2 which we create an Apple ID without needing to use a credit card. The Air doesn’t seem to let you create an Apple ID without entering credit card information. It appears you can create an Apple ID via Apple’s web site without needing credit card information: https://appleid.apple.com/cgi-bin/WebObjects/MyAppleId.woa/wa/createAppleId? but it seems kind of sleazy to not give people the option to create an account without credit information on the iPad. Even “FREE” apps cannot be downloaded from the store until you have an Apple ID.
On the iPad 2 and on my Acer Iconia B1 tablet I play a game called Blood Brothers. I found certain send buttons which worked well on the iPad 2 and on the Iconia B1 don’t work as well on the Air, the touch for that particular screen just doesn’t seem to be as sensitive on the Air, but this is probably an app problem – I haven’t had an issue with most of the other apps I use.
The iPad Air is quite heavy and it feels solid on the bottom, but looking at the shiny screen I feel like if I ever drop it the Air will break into lots of little pieces.
At approximately $520+taxes the Air seems way overpriced and over-hyped. The screen is nice, but it really doesn’t feel that much better than the screen on the iPad 2, even if it is a much better screen.
The last little issue I had is that the Air seems to go into a dim mode and when you try pulling it out by tapping the screen it stays dim until you hit the power button.
Check out the icons to the left. These icons were in the top right of my Xubuntu panel. I was a bit confused when I saw the battery power icon because the computer I’m on is my newly built desktop computer (more on that in a second). Normally this icon would appear for a notebook as the notebook battery is starting to discharge. There’s no discharging that occurs on the desktop (well actually the internal CMOS battery does discharge over time, but that’s another story). Then I noticed the keyboard icon was very close to the battery and it dawned on me that Xubuntu actually can tell that the batteries in my Logitech K400r wireless keyboard are discharging – pretty freaking cool!
This post is actually the second time I’ve been using my newly built desktop computer (mentioned a few posts earlier). All I can say is WOW! Now I know there are lots who own a Core i7 and that Core i7′s kick the llama’s … but I’m loving this AMD A8-5600k based system. GIMP loaded like never before, I was shocked how fast it loaded. It’s going to be really sweet using this system. Tonight I’m archiving a few more DVDs for XBMC. I’m using Acidrip for this batch and going to experiment a bit now that I have a faster processor.
Good Morning America reported on a story this morning where a Reddit user discovered that her secret santa was philanthropist and Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates. Bill had sent her items from her Reddit list and made a donation of a REAL cow in her name using heifer.org. According to The Globe and Mail Bill did this to help raise awareness of heifer.org, but of course you have to wonder if it isn’t part of a publicity stunt to remind people of Microsoft.
Ironically one of the items on the Reddit user’s web list was an Apple device.
To be fair Microsoft often gets slagged over any kind of move they make, even if there’s some interest in it for consumers. Take it when Microsoft tried introducing anti-virus in DOS, anti-virus companies became enraged and fought back citing it was an extremely anti-competitive move. Imagine for a moment if MS actually had anti-virus built in since early DOS days, Windows might have actually ended up a bit more secure than it is now. Security Essentials isn’t a bad program, it’s certainly better than nothing, but it doesn’t find a lot of malware and doesn’t seem to provide any protection (if it does it’s terrible).