Tag Archives: hardware

Hardware upgrade failure

You’ve this great game you wanna play with but, when you try it, your graphics card says “no way, I’m just too old”. So, what do you do? Sure, you could just give up and do something else, but c’mon you really love that game, so you buy a new card. But things are not that easy… are they?

That’s what happened to a friend of mine. He bought a new nVidia and two 2GB DDR2 memory modules. He phoned me cause his computer was doing “weird” things, like starting up in three minutes showing all BIOS messages letter by letter… I mean it, you could see how letter were actually be printed on the screen.

There was a reason for that strange behavior to happen… he forgot to check the manual of his motherboard. The graphics card requires a PCI Express x16 while his motherboard built-in PCI Express is only an x8 one. Honestly I didn’t know that plugging in a x16 on a x8 could cause that kind of behavior :S

Unfortunately downgrading just the graphics card was just not enough. The sound card (and it was an integrated one) was missing. Windows 7 x64 didn’t find any sound devices at all… where was it then?

Apparently it was a memory limit. Windows was detecting 4GB of RAM, but only 2,98GB of those where actually usable and it was causing some issues. Removing one of those modules did the trick.

Yes… he has an extremely powerful graphics card on its box cause his motherboard is incompatible and one 2GB module also in its box for the same reason. What can we learn from that? Always check the motherboard’s manual before buying anything!

18 buttons mouse, is it too much?

Have you heard anything about the OpenOffice Mouse? Basically it’s a mouse with 18 button and they say it’ll be the most useful mouse ever.

OpenOffice Mouse

OpenOffice Mouse

I’ve a keyboard (surprised? :P), but it’s not a plain keyboard, it’s a multimedia one, which means that it has a few extra keys to control a media player, and some other things. I’ve to admit that its 13 extra buttons are useful but they’re always pissing me off. My keyboard is not the only one I’ve to use, I’ve a laptop and I’ve to use computers on campus and so on. The problem is that normally those keyboards also have multimedia keys… but in different places.

As a result I have to look to the keyboard and look for the appropriate key. In other words, I’m losing the advantage of having a fast access.

I’m just wondering, are this fancy mice really useful? Can they simplify our interaction, or are they just another well intentioned tool with a poor design? According to their web site the buttons will do different things depending on the application. As an engineer I can see why, as a user I’ll throw it away when the “Copy” button (in OpenOffice) will try to do something else on my desktop.

Apple has a very different approach, Magic Mouse. It has no buttons at all. All its surface is a multi-touchpad.

Apple Magic Mouse

Apple Magic Mouse

Honestly, which one would you prefer?