Dell XPS 600 Motherboard Burned

I got this great machine (Dell XPS 600) in 2005 and have been very happy with it except VT option in BIOS.  I have had it turned on all the time since it was running a VM for serving some web content.  However, a few weeks ago, I heard a small explosion from the inside of the computer and a little bit of smell.  And then it would not boot indicating some POST error from BIOS.

I opened up the case and it was very obviously that its motherboard was burned.  It has been constantly used since it ran as a server and stuff; however, it was never heavily used – I do not play games and did not overclock it (they kind of go together I guess).  I guess it may be affected by Capacitor Plague

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Recommended Apps for Motorola Droid from Verizon – General Apps

I had used Blackberry 8830 World Edition for a couple of years and it had served me very well in terms of emails and voice calls; however, it was quite difficult to say it was a smartphone since the basic functionality, accessing web, was even often very limited and slow.  At the beginning of this year, I was lucky enough to get Motorola Droid from Verizon as a replacement phone and it opened up a whole new lifestyle for me and I have been in love with my Droid now.

Droid almost replaced my laptop and the following is a list of apps that I use the most.  You can download these apps from the Market.

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RAID 0 Array Performance Test on nForce4 (XPS 600)

On XPS 600, I have always felt that Maxtor 250GB harddrive that came with my Dell XPS 600 was the bottleneck.  Whenever I do any resouce intensive tasks, the harddrive keeps running even if CPU and memory ultilization is very low.  I looked up some specification for the Maxtor and noticed that it was an older generation.  It looked like upgrading the harddrive will be the biggest improvement that I could make the system faster; however, there were a couple of options.  I could purchase a brand new drive with higher capacity, or I could purchase the same capacity drive and configure a RAID 0 stripping array.  I decided to go with RAID route since I have been doing daily backup to another older harddrive – I considered only performance factor.

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D-Link WBR-1310 Rev A Intermittent Wireless Connection

When I signed up for Comcast High Speed Internet a couple years ago, I received a free cable modem and a free router, WBR-1310 after mail-in rebate.  I have been using this router since then but somehow I have been constantly getting this wireless connection drops.  

Sometimes it is good for days, sometimes it drops many times in a day.  I tried to flash it many times with many different firmware, and even I tried a firmware for WBR-2310 since some others hacked the firmware to be installable on WBR-1310 since they use similar hardware.  Also looked up many open WRT solutions including dd-wrt but since this router has a very small memory, there was not option to go that route either.

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How to replace LCD backlight for laptops

My sister bought a Compaq laptop a couple years ago and its LCD has gone bad.  When external monitor was plugged in, it works fine so it was something related to LCD.  I found some articles online describing the same issue and determined that I have 2 options.  Option 1. buy a new LCD for about $150.  Option 2. identify a bad part and replace it under $20.  Since I like experimental stuff I decided to try Option 2!!

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Improved D-Link WUA-2340 USB Wireless Driver

I purchased this small USB wireless adapter about a year ago, and this has been the worst product that I have ever bought.  At least up until they released a new driver for the device which really works!!

This adapter used to drop its connection frequently so it was almost unusable.  I have never been able to transfer a 300MB file using this wireless connection because it dropped connection while the file was being copied.  I have tried it in 4 different machines and 5 different OSes including Windows XP, Vista, Server 2003, 2008, and Ubuntu, but same result.  It dropped its connection in a random interval – sometimes 20mins somtimes days.

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