Category Archives: Computing

Note: Installing Firefox on a Fresh Windows Install without using IE

It’s no big secret that Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and it’s closely related cousin, Edge, are not the world’s favourite browsers. They’re not even my favourite and for a number of good reasons. In the battle for market share, Microsoft has … Continue reading

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Project: RasPBX (FreePBX/Asterisk) for the Home

In the early days of VoIP, most users were still using analog phones through ATAs and early softphones with services like Free World Dialup (later, FWD) which offered users free SIP accounts that could call within the FWD network for … Continue reading

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Tested: VLANs in the Home Through “Dumb” Switches

Being someone who has used consumer gear for a long time, I’ve always been rather frustrated at their inconsistent or general lack of support for VLANs. Long used in corporate networks, the VLAN concept can be extremely useful for realising … Continue reading

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Tested: EDUP 11AC 1900M Dual-Band USB 3.0 Wireless Adapter (EP-AC1621)

In my quest for more wireless throughput, my hAP ac with three-stream 802.11ac wireless seemed to be the right choice. The problem was that I had absolutely no three-stream capable equipment to use with it – so I wasn’t seeing … Continue reading

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Teardown: D-Link DGS-1005A 5-Port & TP-Link TL-SG1008D 8-Port Gigabit Ethernet Switch

After bathing in nostalgia looking over my old switch and hub, it’s time to come clean – there’s a place for Fast Ethernet and that was a number of years ago. While some of the old equipment might still be … Continue reading

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Teardown: Iomega Zip 250 USB Drive, ATAPI Benchmarks & Defect Analysis

In the last post, I documented the haul of gear donated by a generous reader. In this post, I take the time to see if I can make things better, do some experiments on the Zip ecosystem and report on … Continue reading

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Tech Donation: Iomega Zip 250 USB Drive & Assorted Disks

Blogging seems to be like playing a game of catch-up … I’m always behind on posts. Around a month ago, a very generous reader happened to have some Zip 250 equipment that they were done with and wanted to send … Continue reading

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Teardown: Mikrotik hAP ac & hAP mini Routerboards

After my house move earlier this year, I was in a bit of a networking dilemma. As every self-confessed nerd knows – internet access is critical. I recently upgraded to a TP-Link Archer C7 AC1750 access point at the other … Continue reading

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Tech Flashback: Ethernet Hubs & Switches (Netgear DS104 & Skymaster 8320-030)

Ethernet has been around for so many years that we hardly ever take the time to stop and think about it. We take it for granted that most desktop PCs come with Ethernet ports integrated on-board, Ethernet switches are cheap … Continue reading

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Investigating: Vodafone & Kogan Mobile Data Connection Issues

Access to the internet is so important nowadays that we rarely stop and think of the consequences of not having access to the internet until it stops working. Because of my recent relocation, getting access to the internet was an … Continue reading

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Mega Review: Fingbox Network Security and Troubleshooting Device

Earlier this year, I visited CeBIT where I stopped by the Fing stand and had a chat about their app and Fingbox device. The Fingbox was pitched as a network security and troubleshooting device which worked with the Fing app, … Continue reading

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Project: Record a K56flex Dial-Up Modem Connection

Inspired by my previous post made merely an hour ago, I set to work seeing if I could acquire a recording of a K56flex dial-up modem connection before it is too late. After all, both X2 and K56flex are more … Continue reading

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Project: Record a US Robotics “X2” Dial-Up Modem Connection

Throughout the long history of dial-up modems, higher connection speeds were always desired, but limitations in signal processing techniques and the phone lines themselves meant that achievable rates were always going to be limited. At various stages in time, the … Continue reading

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Note: Choosing 5Ghz Wi-Fi Channels for 802.11ac in AU

As society has moved towards ever smaller and more mobile devices, Wi-Fi has become an essential connectivity standard which we rely upon in our daily lives. It was initially made popular in the home by the availability of affordable, standardised … Continue reading

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Analysis: DVB-T2 Australian Television Networks Test Transmission

As I’ve been quite busy lately with work and job hunting, I really haven’t had much time to watch TV or look at the signals on the air. In fact, I’ve not had enough time even to look at Twitter, … Continue reading

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Challenge: Send a Fax Without a Landline or Fixed-Line Internet

A week ago, a friend approached me about sending off a fax. Despite the march of technology, this particular form had to either be mailed back (taking a few days and costing a decent amount of money) or faxed. My … Continue reading

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Review, Teardown: TBS 5220SE Universal TV Tuner USB Box

Recently, I embarked on an adventure to scan the C-band satellites in the sky. Unfortunately for me, my TBS 6925 tuners are both rather unwell and my Prof Revolution S2 8000’s are not doing much better by showing similar “bursts” … Continue reading

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Review: SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive m3.0 128Gb USB Flash Drive

It doesn’t happen very often, but once in a while, I need a new USB flash drive. This time around, I was looking for something cheap, of reputable make and 128Gb capacity. Interestingly, looking around my local computer shop, the … Continue reading

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Teardown: Generic Wall-Mountable Passive PoE Midspan Injector

For a lot of modern networked devices, Power over Ethernet (PoE) is a big convenience, allowing the one cable to power a remote device (be it an access point, camera, etc.) and supply the data connectivity to it. While there … Continue reading

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Review, Teardown: TP-Link Archer T2UHP AC600 High Power USB Adapter

I had looked at a relatively cheap dual-band 802.11ac dual-stream USB Wi-Fi adapter recently and it seemed that the pain of single-band Wi-Fi solutions may be soon coming to an end. Unfortunately, that adapter did have some design quirks and … Continue reading

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Review, Teardown: Unbranded 4-port USB 3.0 Type-C Hub (T-511C/K-UH301)

There comes a time when, if you’re like me, you run out of USB ports on your main computer. Like it or not, almost everything connects via USB – for example, I have a webcam, keyboard, mouse, printer (or two), … Continue reading

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Failed Repair: Samsung U28D590D 27″ UHD 4K LCD Monitor

It’s amazing how busy I’ve been lately, to the point that things are just piling up without a chance to get posted. Luckily, it’s now Easter break and I have a little time I can spend catching up. On Thursday, … Continue reading

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Review, Teardown: Unbranded AC1200 Dual-Band USB 3.0 Wi-Fi Adapter

In the short span of about two decades, Wi-Fi went from being a luxury that you would consider a limited alternative to a cabled Ethernet connection, useful for mobile devices only, to something resembling a near-replacement for the cabled Ethernet … Continue reading

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Failed: Okuma CNC Lathe Control IPL 3.5″ Floppy Data Recovery

In mid-January this year, a reader contacted me regarding their set of control floppies for an Okuma CNC lathe. Owing to the age of the equipment, the control program is loaded into volatile SRAM, backed-up by a battery. Every five … Continue reading

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Tech Flashback: Western Digital Raptor/Velociraptor Hard Drives

When it comes to computer memory, the tiers of storage always end in mass storage as being the system bottleneck. Hard drives, colloquially referred to as spinning rust, were the dominant technology for the vast majority of computers from the … Continue reading

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Tech Flashback: BenQ DW1640 DVD±RW Drive Specialties

The final part of a series of postings about the BenQ DW1640 DVD±RW drive looks at some of its other special features and explains why I’m so fond of this particular drive. Quality Testing When users burn recordable discs, they … Continue reading

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Tech Flashback: BenQ QSuite v2.1

One thing that made owning a late-model BenQ DVD recorder worthwhile was the decent writing quality it had out of the box, along with the amount of tweakability the unit had. Knowing what I know now, an earlier Plextor drive … Continue reading

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Repair: BenQ DW1640 DVD±RW Drive Tray with Chinese Belts

In an era where IDE and DVDs have been left behind in preference for SATA and Bluray, it might seem strange that I’m choosing to repair my retail BenQ DW1640 DVD±RW Drive. Like many optical drives of any vintage, the … Continue reading

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Review: Weekend with the Asus Tinker Board

I’m not the person to have a lot of desires around Christmas time, as most of the time, Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales are only exercises in leading the less-scrupulous to part with their money through “false markdowns”. However, … Continue reading

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Moments to Disaster: Hard Drive Failure & SMART Data

While I was away on holiday, blissfully enjoying my time outdoors, I wasn’t aware that a disaster was brewing at home. I got a message from my brother that his machine had started making a clicking noise, and it was … Continue reading

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