GEEK! has been placed on an indefinite hold for the foreseeable future as I've ran out of time to keep it up to date. For the mean time it will remain alive at this address in archive form. You can reach me via @geekonthepc. Thanks to everyone who read and got involved with the site! Who knows - when I get the chance I might start posting again! Wish me luck at Oxford Brookes University studying Mobile Computing! :)
Just a very quick Christmas post. If you’ve got an iPad and you’re wondering why it won’t charge over your desktop or laptop’s USB ports – it’s because by default desktop USB ports only provide 1A of current to connected devices. Any iPad actually needs more than this to charge, hence why Apple give you a special charging plug to charge it.
However, hope is not lost. You can actually get an app for your PC which manually increases the amount of current that your PC’s USB ports provide. It’s called AI Charger and it’s by Asus. Don’t be fooled though – it will actually work with any computer and not just computers with Asus motherboards.
All you need to do is download the app from the page, install it and give your computer a reboot. When you turn it back on, you should notice that your computer will now charge your iPad (albeit slowly).
This should actually work on any desktop or laptop. Bear in mind, though, that use of this app while using your laptop’s battery may cause excessive wear to your battery. A useful app though, nonetheless.
As you may have noticed, I’ve recently moved GEEK! to a brand new VPS – which, hopefully, will massively improve the uptime and performance of the site in the long run. It’s a little too early to tell, but now most of the trial bugs are ironed out, improvements should start to be seen soon.
However, by moving my site (and all other sites I run) to a VPS, I have had to make some sacrifices. The key sacrifice on my end has been cPanel – which I’ve used ever since I started working with web servers. I love cPanel – it’s generally very reliable and controls most of the functions I would ever want. But now, as I’m slowly getting more experienced with the way web servers work, I thought it would be a good time to move on to something a little more advanced (and, as a result, cheaper). I was recommended to ISPConfig – a free and open source control panel for web servers running on Linux. And after a slow start, I seem to be getting the hang of it.
The one thing that really did get to me for a while was the poor performance of the spam filter built into ISPConfig. ISPConfig relies on SpamAssassin – which is, when configured correctly, a very powerful spam filter. But for some reason, it just wasn’t working on my installation of ISPConfig. Spam would get through and it can get seriously frustrating!
Thankfully I now have it cracked – and wanted to share the configuration I chose for ISPConfig and SpamAssassin. I think the correct settings vary from person to person – but if you want general spam filtering, this should show you how to get it.
You may well have got yourself a brand new phone this Christmas, which is always a nice present now-a-days. I, myself, got a brand new HTC Sensation XE for Christmas (technically it was an early Christmas present – or at least part of it was!) – which I adore.
But it does beg the question, what happens to the old phone? Mine always seem to end up sitting in boxes until they’re no use to anyone at all. This time I thought I’d sent it off to a recycling company. There’s method in the madness – people will pay you to recycle your old phone, but you have to be careful when you do so. So here are some top tips for recycling your old phone:
Shop around – find the best price. You’d normally see that phrase when buying a gadget, but it does also applying to selling gadgets too. Just because a phone recycling company advertises on TV, doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll give you the best price. In fact, there’s actually quite a lot of mobile phone recycling companies around – so you’re more than likely to find a better price if you do some hunting. Take a look at sellmymobile.com - just type in your make/model and it’ll do the rest for you.
Check the price you’re getting is consistent. Make sure you read the terms & conditions carefully when you’re selling the phone. Some buyers will only offer you a certain payment within a number of days – after which point they can lower that offer by a substantial amount. Also make sure that you’re not under any contractual obligation – it’s your phone, you can change your mind if you want.
Make sure you’ve backed up anything you want to keep… If you want to keep anything (like camera shots, contacts or messages), make sure you’ve got a copy safely stored on your computer or on another phone. Once you’ve sent off your phone, you may not get it back (and if you do, it may well have been flashed to remove all content). Most recent phones include software to back up content on your phone – so make use of it!
…and deleted anything you don’t want to keep. Make sure to ‘restore factory settings’ on the phone before handing it over. You don’t want any of your personal details (or friends’ personal details) to end up in someone else’s hands. Restoring factory settings will put the phone back to how it was when you first got it, and should delete any content that was once there.
Remove any accessories that you aren’t required to hand over. As already mentioned, you may not get your phone back – even if you request it. So make sure you remove any accessories you don’t have to hand over (perhaps accessories that you bought yourself) like memory cards, cases and spare batteries. Memory cards may well come in handy on new phones, and if not they’re a handy portable storage medium.
There you have it. Five tips to make the most of phone recycling companies. It’s debatable as to whether you’re better off auctioning your phones on sites like eBay – but if you just can’t be bothered with the hassle, you’re quickest way to get some cash is to hand it over to one of these companies. Just make sure you’re not being ripped off!
Ever since I bought my Samsung N145 (which I love), I’ve always been annoyed with the problem that the built in wireless adapter rarely picks up Wireless N (802.11n) at 150Mbit/s. Instead, it usually picks it up at 65Mbit/s, which can often be annoying when transferring large files over a network.
However, Microsoft released a driver update (via Windows Update) in late August 2011 which seems to have resolved the problem.
It’ll be listed as an optional update in Windows Update. Unfortunately, Microsoft have provided no direct link to download manually. However, I can tell you that the driver ID is 20442151.
Download the update, install, and with any luck the problem should be solved immediately.
I’d heard about QR codes in the past – otherwise known as quick reference codes – but only recently have I realised how useful they are. Basically, they’re the next step forward from bar codes.
A square image holds many pixels, which a programmed reader can recognise and decode. A simple idea – but very handy.
You may have started noticing them in advertisements and on posters. The idea is that you scan it with your smartphone or other reader, and your device will instantly decode it and provide you with whatever information you requested.
Any one QR code can hold a whole host of information such as URLs, contact cards, texts, wi-fi network details, geo-locations – the list goes on!
I’ve now trimmed up the twitter feed with a QR code for this site – seems like a no-brainer to me. There are loads of online QR code generators – such as this one - so why not stick one on your site?