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.
I know this card has been out for some time now – but I don’t really ever need state-of-the-art graphics cards for my gaming needs. To be honest, most of the games I play are at least a year old and aren’t stupidly power hungry. However, my ATI Radeon HD4550 was really starting to show its age a bit, so I decided to fork out a bit and move up the scale.
So I found this card. It looked good to me – it’s the Asus model which has a 900Mhz processor clock with 1GB GDDR5 memory, which seemed like a huge step up from my previous card. I found it for around £85 from the good people at CCL (I’ve used these guys frequently before – very good company), so I went for it!
I’m pretty impressed with it, to be honest. It’s no rocket launcher, but it can do ~30fps in GTA IV on full settings at 1440×900, which is plenty for my needs. It also seems to be quite happy with Test Drive Unlimited 2 at full settings – which is another game I do play when I get the chance.
Generally, I’d say it’s a mid range card – it’s not capable of today’s games at full settings but it’ll certainly achieve good mid-range settings and it does have good specs to play with. If you’re looking to build a mid-range machine that needs to play high quality, full HD video then this won’t bat an eyelid. My only real issue with it is space consumption – my micro ATX case is now full to the brim, and the card has also covered one of my PCI-E x1 slots up, which is a nuisance. Think I’m going to find myself buying a new computer case soon!
If you’ve been keeping up with tech news over the last few months, you’ll remember the Thai floods that wreaked havoc for hard drive production last year. The floods did a lot of damage to major hard drive brands as their factories in Thailand were badly damaged.
Ever since the floods, hard drive prices have skyrocketed. It seems you can’t get a 1TB hard drive for much short of £100 any more, and for anything smaller prices aren’t much cheaper!
Analysts are now saying they expect high prices to continue through 2012 as recovery slowly starts to take place. iSuppli is predicting that supply will be back to normal levels towards the end of 2012, but until then prices will remain reasonably high.
What’s annoying is that, when I look on Amazon, it seems to be cheaper to buy an external hard drive and rip the drive out of it than too buy an internal drive on it’s own. What sense is there in that?!
In the old versions of Nokia PC Suite, I used to love the fact that you could back up old text messages stored on your phone to a CSV file for future reference. As sad as that might be, it can be extremely useful.
However, in the new Ovi Suite, Nokia seemed to remove that functionality – which I happen to think is a real shame. They just seemed to totally remove the function – so it now seems impossible to back up texts to anything other than Nokia’s own (useless) backup file.
Luckily, I have an old version of Nokia PC Suite stored on my network server, which has helped me back up texts from my Nokia 5230. I’ve got a download link below – but please read the following before use:
Whilst I’ve taken every precaution to make sure nothing harmful is in the file (virus/malware scanned – 100% clean), I can accept no responsibility for damage to your computer or your mobile. You use old versions of software at your own risk.
This won’t work with newer phones (or at least I don’t think I will). I know this version supports phones such the Nokia 5230 and 5800, but I’m not sure if it supports phones newer than that. My guess is that it will work with any phone pre mid-2009.
If you find a phone that does work with the software, please post a comment for the benefit of others. Thanks
It is not recommended that you install this alongside any version of Ovi Suite. I would recommend installing this in a virtual machine, or on a clean(ish) copy of Windows.
To grab the download, click the link below. It’s provided by FileServe – simply click Free Download.
How many times have you been on your computer and then had the phone ring? You go out of the room to answer it, and when you come back you’ve left the computer and monitor on pointlessly for half an hour.
PecoBoo, developed by VeryPC, is an attempt to try and solve that problem. It utilises your webcam and uses face recognition to work out whether you are sitting at your computer. If it can’t find a person for a predetermined amount of time, it will automatically turn off your monitor. However the webcam and software stays on – so as soon as it notices that you have got back to your PC, it switches your monitor back on.
I downloaded the 30 day trial and gave the software a spin. I’m relatively impressed – it takes a bit of fiddling to stop it turning off your monitor when you are still at the system. I found that if you set the idle time to less than about 20 seconds you end up switching your monitor off if you hold your head still – and if you turn your monitor on and off too much you’ll not only end up using more energy than just using it normally, but you’ll also considerably shorten it’s life. It’s also extremely irritating!
Nevertheless, the software did a good job and I do think the face recognition technique is very clever.
To be honest though, the fact that it isn’t free puts me off. To earn back the £9.99 I’d spent in buying the software from turning my monitor off, I’d have to use it for months – which defeats the point a bit. It also poses the question of how much energy does your webcam use if you’re having that on whenever your PC is on.
Overall, if you’re a green geek – buy it and it will save valuable energy utilising extended breaks from the PC. However, for the average user, this will be of little interest.