Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Fixing a Rotary Phone

It just goes to show you can't rely on others to do things for you. I couldn't find any antique refurbish shops in my area, and I really wanted my rotary phones fixed. When I want something done, and there is no one around to do it, it means it is time to work on it myself. Plus, I learn a little something every time I do a project. My project this time was on a Western Electric 554 rotary phone (Seen above).

Here is the breakdown. The phone I had had all the parts in tact and the wire running out of it was cut. So this leaves me one option: rewire. This phone is on an older system and uses RJ11/RJ14 cables. These cables are composed of Red, Yellow, Green, and Black wires. To get the system working again, I simply had to connect the wires together by twisting them around each other. It took a little while because the newer wire that I bought from RadioShack was very thin so it was hard to grip it. If you needed to crimp the wire with a new head, which luckily I didn't, it would be easy to just google the proper wiring alignment. Now I only have one rotary phone left to rewire and get it working, that one is 20 years older, so it may be a bit more challenging.


PS: Due to my life getting very busy I will be doing updates less frequently until things calm down.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Windows 8 Developer Preview is Out

With the recent release of Lion, the tech world now turns its head to Microsoft. They are expecting something just as good/bad depending on how they liked Lion. Microsoft was quick to unveil Windows 8. Windows 8 is actually like Lion in a huge way, it combines the mobile aspect of the Windows Phone, and the desktop aspect of Windows OS. This is the same thing Apple did with Lion, but combining the mobile and desktop aspects of the Mac and iOS. The Windows 8 Developer Preview dropped this week for people and developers alike to try out.
The new start menu in Windows 8

The Lock Screen that is used for Windows 8
What makes Windows 8 so different is that Microsoft is really gearing it toward mobile users, which in my opinion will anger the PC community greatly. Even though you are not required to upgrade, there are many improvements that make it worth doing so. Things like hardware accelerated applications, and a build in firewall/antivirus system are use a few. If you have some time and want to try it out, you can make a 30-40 GB partition on your drive and install it. See if you like it before it comes out.


Monday, September 12, 2011

The Unfortunate Bottleneck.

I believe this is it, then to a long drawn out battle between my laptop and me. I didn't want to accept it at first, I didn't want to believe that the problem was the drive, but it was. Ever since I made the disk drive upgrade to my Macbook, I was having consistent freezing, disk i/o errors, as well as data underrun error being reported in the console. I would really like to thank Scott and Mike at iFixit for trying their best to help me. They sent me a new caddy, even a new drive adapter. And even though that did not fix the problem, the fact that they made the attempt to fix it really is amazing. They are the best customer service I have ever dealt with in a long time. I had never dealt/bought from iFixit prior to this, but that didn't matter.  No matter what, they were determined to aid me with my issue.

So what was the problem in the end? The problem is that the Caviar Black 7200 RPM I bought was too fast. Simply put, when the data had to be converted from SATA to ATA, the disk would be moving to fast for the computer to handle. This would cause the data to "bottleneck" in the conversion area, thus slowing down my computer. How am I so sure this was the issue? To find out, I took an old 5400 RPM drive that I had, which is failing but still works, and popped it in the bay. I am writing to it, reading from it, and not seeing as many disk i/o errors in my console. There are still a few showing up in the console, but they are not enough to slow the computer down. Because of this, I now have to make another transaction. I will now have to go to Amazon and request an exchange for a slower Caviar Black drive, as well as pay the difference for the drive. This just goes to show that you can't rule out the most obvious option right away.


Monday, September 5, 2011

Problems Persist

Since my second hard drive was installed, I have been issues backing up to time capsule. I shouldn't get any issue, but for some reason problems are arising. I attempted a backup last night and after about 6 GB of backed up information time machine stops, says there is a problem, and then says if the problem persists to repair the disk. At the moment I am repairing my time capsule sparse bundle in hopes that it will fix the issue. This isn't the first time I have this issue, it happened last week after I installed the hard drive originally. I am guessing it has something to do with the second hard drive being in the computer. I am not very good when it comes to time capsule, and since I don't want to not be able to backup I think I will call Apple on this one.


Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Second Hard Drive Dilemma

As some of you may remember, I purchased a second hard drive bay from iFixit a while back. Well, unfortunately I have been having some issues. The bay was causing my computer to lock up constantly. Finder would become unresponsive. It would even force me to turn the computer off manually. Even worse, that would cause my hard drive to go into "read only mode". Read only mode meant that my hard drive had to be formatted to be writable again. After this happened three times I made a point to call iFixit to try and solve the issue. The representative told me it was most likely the bay causing the problem, but just to be sure I should remove the drive and test it else where. So I disassembled my Macbook, removed the drive, and proceeded to test it on my desktop computer via a USB to SATA adapter. There was absolutely no issue with the drive at all. At this point I called iFixit it back.

I was told that since it must be the bay at this point, they would send me a replacement bay and that I would send back the old bay. After waiting 3-4 days, the new bay finally came. As a side note: I made sure to leave the laptop disassembled so I could clean it, and to save me the time installing the new bay. With the new bay finally here, I put it back together. As far as I can tell it is working fine. I noticed that the drive still makes programs open slower then I would like, but at this point I believe it is an issue between the drive SATA- ATA adapter which is slowing it down. I haven't sent back the old bay yet as I am waiting to see if this new bay gives me any problems. In the event it does give problems, I have to give iFixit a call back and go from there.