You Can Stop Upgrading Your Computer Now

The current generation of chips aren’t that much better than the previous, and the pace of progress is now slowing dramatically. At least as far as computing is concerned, we’re starting to look at a mature technological base. It’s possible your children will grow up with computers that are not much faster than you yourself are used to today. But that doesn’t mean that the computing is going to look the same.

The beauty of a mature technological base is that we can finally take stock of what we’ve accomplished over the last fifty years and learn to use it well. The beauty of capable computing, computing that is good enough, and cheap enough, is that it can be used in ways that expensive computing can’t. Cheap, capable, computing will enable a host of uses that were never possible before. After all, if your computing is cheap enough to throw away, what is it that you will be able to do tomorrow that you couldn’t do yesterday?

Source: The End of Moore’s Law Might Not Be A Bad Thing

I used to upgrade my PC every few years. Each time I could see a big change in how it ran and what it was able to do. Last time I bought a new PC I noticed there wasn’t much change. Then, a couple of years later, when I would usually have upgraded… I didn’t see the point. The computer I have was already as good and better than the computers for sale. So, I’m at the end of my upgrading. Unless something goes wrong and I actually need to replace more than just a hardware part, I don’t see any need to upgrade my PC again. It’s nice to be on an affordable plateau. Of course, I’m still not buying into cell phones which I see as glorified email, nothing more.

Can’t Start Computer with USB Device Plugged In?

First, check for an update to your BIOS.

Go to your computer manufacturer’s site and look at the support section. Find your computer (for mine is an HP h8 1211 and I can find the update files on the HP site). An update to the BIOS may be available. Back up your data, if you haven’t already. The BIOS (Basic Input Output System) is pretty deep in the important software which runs your computer so it is a good plan to be cautious when updating it. While it updates and installs do not open anything else. Let it run, likely just 3 minutes and then it will want to restart. You won’t need to do much during this process, just wait for it to finish. My BIOS update went smoothly and I am back up and typing again right now.

If the BIOS update does not let you use your USB device then the next step is to go into the running of your computer and check the BIOS settings.

This is not a scary thing. Just take your time and only save the section you are fixing. Anything other than what I post below you should just get out of without saving. It may sound risky with the warnings but it is actually a simple process. The hard part is catching your computer at the right point while it boots up.

If you can, find the directions for this process on the site for your computer. They should have a write up geared to your PC specifically.

To check your BIOS settings:

  • Reboot your computer. This means shutting down and starting back up or just doing a restart.
  • Before Windows starts up click F10 (those keys in the top row, above the numbers). Some computers use F8,F11 or even the Enter key instead. So it does help to find out which your PC will work with.
  • Next up you will see a plain text page or one with simple graphics and not many colours. Look for System Configuration. Then Boot Order Select.

You should see the items ordered as follows:

  1. DVD/ CD Drive
  2. HDD
  3. Network
  4. USB Devices
  • Save those settings, change it to those settings if needed and then save. Now just back out of there with the escape key and reboot your computer.
  • If you are not feeling good about doing this ask for help rather than take it on yourself. I’m not a computer expert but I have been mucking around in the internal workings a few times. I do think I used to be braver than I am now though.

I just got a new external hard drive with the plan of using it as storage for all my urban exploration photos and assorted other stuff. I’ve been keeping the photos on CDs and DVDs. It’s great to have them burned as a back up copy and no hard drive can carry unlimited digital photographs. However, my plan changed when I had one of my back up CD’s break in half. I’m hoping I can still recover the photos and other stuff from it, but… I’ve yet to actually try.

The external hard drive seems a much smarter plan. It’s not likely to break and I’m usually able to fix software issues. I did have some trouble at the start because my computer doesn’t like me to have more than the monitor, keyboard and mouse plugged into the USB ports. Even then, each has to stick to it’s own section: back, front and top. Two in the same section and… the computer will power up but just show a blank screen.

I know this is due to the boot order. At least, I’m hoping that will be the fixer-upper. I could have looked into it before when I set up a scanner. But, I don’t use the scanner so often. It was simple enough to leave it unplugged. Of course, then I began using it even less often because it wasn’t all set up and ready to go.

Anyway, my only concern about the external hard drive is not being able to power it off. It is always on as long as the PC is on. I’m not likely to back up every day. I don’t save that much on my hard drive each day. So, the external hard drive doesn’t need to be running constantly. The idea is for it to not be connected to the main system in case of a crash or etc. So, keeping it connected works against that part of the plan. Still, it will free up space on my PC hard drive, even though it’s got loads of it unused. I like keeping it light rather than letting it get bogged down.

This is a basic safety feature on laptops and PCs. The idea is if Windows is corrupted or the hard drive fails the computer can still be booted from a recovery CD/DVD or USB drive. At switch on PCs run through a short self-diagnostic program called the BIOS (Basic Input Output System). One of its functions is to tell the computer where to look for boot files. Usually the CD/DVD or USB drive is first, and if no files are found it boots normally from the hard drive and loads Windows. The solution is to change the Boot Order so the hard drive is the first boot device.

Source: Why won’t my PC boot up with a USB device plugged in? – Telegraph

Distributed Computing

From PC World: 11 Uses for an Old PC

Distributed Computing.

Want to do a little good for humanity? How about dedicating your old PC to one of the various public distributed computing projects?

The best known is probably Folding@Home. Folding@Home uses computing resources from all over the world to help study protein folding, an essential element to understanding how many diseases operate. If your old PC has a fairly new graphics card, that hardware can often pitch in as well, and offer up even more computing resources. Other distributed computing ventures include:

Fat, Ugly or Slutty

Some players like to send creepy, disturbing, insulting, degrading and/or just plain rude messages to other online players, usually women.

We think this is funny.

Why do they send them? There are a few theories. But instead of getting offended, we offer a method for people to share these messages and laugh together.

If having these messages posted online makes someone think twice about writing and sending a detailed description of their genitals, great!

And if not? We’ll all have another submission to laugh at. Feel free to send us your own at While the site is currently very xbox message-heavy, we do accept all messages, no matter what the game! PS3 players, PC players, and Wii players, don’t feel left out, we want your messages, too!

Fat, Ugly or Slutty.

Microsoft Abandons Front End Web Development

Microsoft Abandons Expression Web and Front End Web Development – Design is Philosophy.

I’m not a web developer so I’m a bit behind on Windows software. I changed to Linux and was really happy with it, until I bought a new PC which will only run Windows. So I had to backtrack last year.

I began using my old MS FrontPage software. I know it is years outdated but, I like it. Isn’t Expression the updated/ new FrontPage? If so, I am sorry to see MS give up support to it. I was so proud the day I had enough money scraped together to buy my own copy of FrontPage.

Now, people don’t build sites so much as set up WordPress and use that instead of getting into the guts of HTML and CSS. I only have one site which isn’t run on WP and it’s just a simple few pages.

Anyway, my comments aren’t from someone “in the know” but I was surprised to read your post. I think Microsoft will regret moving away from actual web development and just looking at mobile apps – which is how I understood your post.

I don’t use a cell phone, I just hate answering the phone. So, for me the other side of things is more relevant than all the apps and such which keep popping up at me as options on sites and software.

Maybe at some point I will become a dinosaur for using the web without a mobile phone and etc. But, I find it simpler (and far less expensive).


You can now download Expression Web and Expression Design for free at Microsoft.  I searched for the link so I could get them tonight. I bet it will be a lot changed from FrontPage.

HP: Hewlett Packard is NOT Linux Friendly

HP: Hewlett Packard is NOT Linux Friendly
HP on Twitter
HP Open Source and Linux
HP Linux on Twitter


On Wed, Jun 20, 2012 at 3:34 PM, PAVILION_SUPPORT_EN@MAIL.SUPPORT.HP <> wrote:

Hello Laura,

Thank you for contacting HP Total Care.

From your email I understand that you are unable to install Ubuntu Linux in your HP Pavilion HPE h8-1211 Desktop PC.

I appreciate that you have forwarded the concern to us. I regret the inconveniences caused by this issue.

Laura, I would like to inform you that your HP Pavilion HPE h8-1211 Desktop PC is not compatible with Ubuntu Linux. Therefore, we at HP do not recommend you to install Ubuntu Linux. It might make your PC unstable and the software warranty of the PC would be void. Additionally, you would not be able to obtain required drivers for Ubuntu Linux from HP and thus the PC would not work properly even if you succeed to install the Ubuntu Linux.

I would like to inform you that, after analyzing the entire case and from your description of the issue, it is apparent that the issue needs a personal attention of an HP Case Manager.  Therefore, we will go ahead and escalate the case to the concerned department who in turn will get back to you accordingly.

In order to do so, I would request you to please provide us the following additional information:

  • Call back number
  • Alternate call back number (if any)
  • Two convenient call back dates and times.

Please reply with the requested information because it is important that I resolve the issue in a timely manner. If there is anything else we can do to make things easier for you, please let us know, we will be happy to assist you with all our resources.

For information on keeping your HP and Compaq products up and running, please visit our website at:



HP Total Care


> Dear Valued Customer,
> Thank you for communicating with us,
> We apologize for all the difficulties that this problem might have
> caused you at this time.
> Based on the information given in your e-mail inquiry, we are unable
> determine the
> product in question.  In order to provide an accurate, timely response
> to your inquiry,
> Please provide us with the following information:
> – HP/Compaq Product Name
> – Model Number
> – Serial Number
> – Problem Description
> Please also include this original message with your response.

RE: HP Pavilion HPE h8-1211 Desktop PC e-mail support

May 5

to me
Hello Laura, 

Thank you for contacting HP Total Care. 

We have understood that you want to install Linux operating system on 
your HP Pavilion HPE h8-1211 Desktop computer. 

I appreciate that you have forwarded your concern to us and given us a 
chance to assist you in regard to this matter. 

Laura, I regret to mention that HP does not recommend the change in 
operating system. However, you can go ahead and install Linux on your 
computer by using retaile version of discs. In that case, you will 
need to contact Linux support group for getting the required drivers 
compatible with the linux operating system. 

If there is anything else we can do to make things easier for you, 
please let us know and we will be happy to assist you with all our 
For information on keeping your HP and Compaq products up and running, 
please visit our website 



HP Total Care 

2012: The Unfulfilled Quest for Ubuntu Linux

My adventure with installing Ubuntu Linux.

I have installed Ubuntu on other computers and it was very trouble free. Not this time.

Update (May 16) – It looks like I have my solution for the Ubuntu installation problem. But, it’s going to mean wiping out MS Windows and maybe not bothering to go through the process of saving the recovery disks (4 of them to be burned) and then hoping MS doesn’t assume I’m trying something flaky and not allow me to reinstall Windows. I’ve heard you are only allowed ONE reinstall. Pretty bad when you pay for Windows as part of a new computer.

Netbook Needs a Better Name

Netbook Gamer
Facebook: Netbook Owners (Small group)
Netbook Users
Which Netbook

Netbook News
Netbook Files
Netbook Nomad

Netbook Network: 5 Tips for Netbook Owners
Gizmodo (2008): Why I Love Netbooks

This is the Netbook I bought. HP Mini 110 – 3744ca

The Unofficial HP Mini Blog
My HP Mini – User forum.
HP Mini Guide – User forum.
HP Mini Note PC 

Avatars from

These all came from, a game site. I don’t know when they started using avatars but it gave me a reason to go back to the site. I haven’t played any games there in years. If you are there and want to see me, my account is lauragrrlca. I may not play again for awhile. But some of the games there were worth a second look. I did try one which did not work well on my PC but chances are it’s a Linux thing. 

A New Old iMac

My sister has given me her old iMac. I’ve never used a Mac so it will be an adventure. I set it up tonight but didn’t do much beyond turning it on and then changing the clock and date. I want to look into what it may need for updates and how far I can update the system’s hardware with new software. I wrote down all the information and have found it on the Apple site. Turns out it is older than I thought, but that shouldn’t matter as much for a Mac as it does for  PC running Windows.

It’s an iMac G3 and I found a User Guide which I will read through tomorrow. It’s getting a bit late to do more tonight. I also found a New User Guide which might help a PC user adapt to a Mac.

Flickr: Vintage iMac

Flickr: iMac G3

Flickr: Apple iMacs

The Vintage Mac Museum