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My Gmail stickers have arrived! How cool is that? The Gmail team even knew which one was my favorite (probably through some sort of magical keyword data calculation on my account) and sent it to me! I turned mine into magnets for reusable fun on the whiteboard. They go nicely with the motif don’t you think? Sadly, if you didn’t get your SASE in the mail by the 14th of February, you missed the deadline.

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HP DV7-1270 Review by William

dv71270_001I have recently purchased a DV7 1270. There are not many reviews on this item but the one on Newegg. I chatted with a friend of mine, who tests laptops for a living, to get some more info on this model. Looking over the choices that I had found, he said the 1270 was the best bang for the buck.



Some quick stats on this 17 inch wide screen laptop with full keyboard. Sports a Intel Core 2 duo 2.4 ghz processor, 4 gigs of ram, 300 gig SATA hard drive, 2.1 speaker system, a nice wireless card, Blu Ray CD/DVD RW drive and an NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT. Check all the info here on Newegg.com.


Everything is packed in quite nicely. I have never purchased a new laptop before, so this was a real treat for me to open this to see what kind of goodies it came with. One of the items was really surprising, a cleaning cloth. With as shiny as this bugger is, I guess it is a good addition to the package.


The standard full assortment of reading material, which most was useless and thrown back in the box, and I kept out the important stuff. The battery comes uncharged and it has a long power cord to get you started.


Lots of room for expansion on this laptop. 4 USB ports, one is an eSATA multi port.

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Some of these I would never use, but it is nice to know that they are there and available. A modem is included with this series, which was one of my other purchasing points. Sometimes you just have to have one and it is not a common feature now.


Time to plug it in and that did not go as well as I wanted. The power plug is on the right side up by the monitor hinge, right where you use your mouse! I have no idea why they put it there. It wouldn’t be a big hassle if I was left handed, but I am right handed, this bugger is in the way! They should have used a right angle style plug here, it would be less obtrusive, and save on some cable tension as you can see I have created just to plug it into my power block which is on the left side of my desk. I ended up having to set things up a bit different, but It will work.


Booting it up, you can see this thing just hogs up all the room on the desk compared to the L2000. I posted up a picture of the bios details for those who like to look at that. The bios is unfortunately very simple, to simple for me. I’ll deal with it though. Lots of good options regarding start up. You can set it to start from a Flash Drive, I am not sure if this includes the media card reader port or not. Handy for a quick boot version of Linux.


Now that we have read the directions on how to plug it in and put in the battery… Oh, whoops. I think I jumped the gun. While I was waiting on windows to load I actually looked at this. Shows you how to put in the battery and explains the different ports to you.


This might seem a bit silly to some, but pack up all the wrappers the items came in and put them in the box. I like to be able to resell products in their original packaging with as much material that came with the product, I would like all the used items I buy to come this way, so I make sure I do it. If you put all your books you received with the laptop in the box, then you will always know where they are at as well. When you got it all packed away, just throw the box in the box corner and forget about it till you need it again, like I did.


Nice product placement if you ask me.


When I first booted it up, I was slightly willing to try the home edition, but quickly said, nah, and just formatted and installed Vista Ultimate. Most of the drivers were on HP’s sight. I however have not found the correct sound drivers for this model yet. There is practically no support for this laptop yet. So, the 2.1 speaker system is only functioning as 2 speakers at the moment, which really is disappointing that HP wasn’t on top of this. I’ll for sure be on the look for a set of correct sound drivers instead of the default windows drivers that get installed. Speaking of speakers.


The sound quality on this laptop is good. Altec Lansing, SRS Premium Sound, speaker system that fires upwards in front of the keyboard. You can clearly hear the left and right speakers in games, which is a plus for gamers out there who buy this model, like me.


Besides the power jack issue of the laptop, there was one other thing that I did not really like like, but it is also slightly amusing. The stickers are not on strait. Yes, really. The product tags, for the info and such were all lined up, but the other stickers, as you can see, are not. I usually remove these stickers, but I think I will let them hang for a bit before I do that.

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This laptop also has IR feature for the media remote. I am hoping I can use this remote to do other things then just control the media center, such as control the cursors on the screen. The media remote, which was pictured earlier, works very well with the machine. The media remote will open a media center type screen to watch DVD’s and such, which would be cool, if I had DVD movies to watch. Or Blu Ray for that matter.

This laptop features a web cam as well, I tried to get it to work, but I have had no luck. It comes with cyber link drivers to run it, but the program itself doesn't recognize that the camera is enabled. I am not sure what is up with this. I rarely need a web cam on my laptop, so I am not very concerned with this feature, but I would like it to work. The camera also appears to be a button, to do.. well, I am not sure why. I noticed that I kept waking the computer up opening the lid, and found out I was hitting the camera button. I thought at first that it was just a poor design, so I went to standby, and left the lid open and pressed it and the computer woke right up. I suppose it is an on and off feature, but the software controlling it is not advanced enough apparently.


The media buttons at the base of the monitor are different, they are touch sensitive style buttons. It comes with some HP drivers to run them, but the volume button functions without it. The Smart Drivers give you a graphic on the screen when they are enabled that will exit you out of a full screen program to run, so I disabled them. I wish the graphic on the media bar reflected the volume selected. The mute button does not work on my media pad as well. I wish I would have tested these things before I installed Ultimate, but was to excited to do such things. I am not sure if the mute button not working is a defect, or just missing drivers. I’m betting it does not work, but with the lack of support for this laptop, I am not sure yet. There is not really any programs or drivers to control the buttons there. An interface to change the functions of them would be excellent, but I have not found one. The HP Smart Media drivers come with no setup menu, or interface to program anything, just drivers that run to make the media key on the left of the mute button bring up a menu on the screen.  The nice thing about the volume control is that you can drag your finger across it to change the volume.


I feel that this laptop has great potential. It travels well for its size. The battery life is not as much as a lot of newer laptops, but then a lot of laptops now days are not sporting the power this one has. The GeForce 9600 performs well, but the drivers for vista are still a bit to be desired, occasionally crashing, but has built in recovery. It will crash some games if the video drivers crash. Some have complained about the keyboard for the DV7 series, but I think it is great. It has very good action and types well. I like it much better then my L2000's keyboard. I am still getting used to having a touch pad again. The colors on the laptop were a bit deceiving from the pictures, but when you go back to Newegg's sight, you see that they are as advertised. It is a metallic type color, not the black it appears at first glance. It grew on me quickly, and looks sharp and sleek. The unit feels very solid and sturdy. I almost feel as if I could hammer in a nail with it. The screen hinge is a little wobbly, but all laptops seem that way. The thing I notice with it though, is that it wobbles on the hinges, not the actually panel itself wiggling, which means no stress on the lid. I have not found any burning programs that recognize the CD Burner yet, so if you like to burn CDs, you’ll be stuck without that power for the moment. If you want a solid performer with a large screen and are not really worried about battery life, this is a great choice of a laptop. It has done everything I have asked of it so far. I have not checked out any of the insides yet, so I have no reports on how easy it is to work on. I will post back again later with an inside inspection update.
I rate this product 4.5 out of 5 lost screws.


Just an update for those who check often and want to know some more information I missed on this beast of a machine. I did manage to get my sound drivers working properly using the DV5-1000 drivers. The hardware is the same, so they checked out. I never fully got the hot bar to work properly however. The volume keys work and the Bluetooth/WIFI button works, as well as the media key. I am unsure on the other keys working, as I do not use them, or have not found a way to program them either. I still have had no luck getting the mute key to work. The light for it works however. This could be due to the way the buttons are designed. Seeing as the way this laptop is designed, it is good to keep this area clean, and the bottom of the monitor rail clean as well. I now have a line accost the middle of the bar from dust and wearing, there is no rubber footies on the bottom, thus causing this problem. The keyboard on here has loosened up a bit and now moves a bit as a few have reported for this style of laptop. It is not a big deal, you will never notice it while typing. I notice it only when I’m cleaning the keyboard off.

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Fixing a ViewSonic VX924 (VS10162) by Brett

There is an update to this article: http://www.midnightmods.com/2010/08/fixing-viewsonic-lcd-monitors-vx924.html

Well, this one wouldn’t turn on… At all. The power LED wouldn’t light up. So, I opened it up and checked the voltage on the power supply with a multimeter: nothing.

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Well, as you can see, I’ve pointed out a few bad capacitors on both boards. Three on the power supply / inverter combination board are obviously bad (C661, C664: 470µF 25v and C662 330µF 25v) and it looks like there is one on the logic board too (330µF 16v next to the C6 label, probably unrelated, but it’s a time bomb waiting to go off. Why not take care of it while we are here?) There was another on the logic board too I replaced, (Another 330µF 16v next to the EC4 label, the bottom arrow) just for the heck of it since I had extra.

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There it is with the new capacitors installed and finally all assembled- it lives again!

If all else fails, there is always the ViewSonic parts store! http://store.viewsonic.com (Thanks for the info ‘E’!)

“For those still interested, I called ViewSonic and asked which power supply boards on their parts pieces website would work in the VX924. I was told parts B-00009622 or B-00003993 will work. They are the same part but made by different manufacturers. B-0002481 will NOT fit in the VX924.”  (Thanks legoman666)

There is an update to this article: http://www.midnightmods.com/2010/08/fixing-viewsonic-lcd-monitors-vx924.html

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How to fix a HP L1706 (PX849A, HSTND-2F02) by Brett


This LCD monitor came to me with the screen completely dark. A couple of days earlier it was working fine, but then it started to flicker; things only got worse from there, until finally the backlight wouldn’t turn on at all. That was all I needed to hear. Time to crack it open and take a look.

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There are four screws on the outside corners, plus if you have them installed, all four of the VESA mount screws in the middle will have to be removed. You’ll also need to remove the three screws that hold the stand on. Two should be visible, but one is hidden behind the top plastic cover- just grasp it by the sides and pull up on it to remove it and access the last screw. The stand should slide out now. Turn the monitor over and carefully peel away the silver bezel. I like to attack this from the inside of the monitor, rather than prying at the edges of the plastic. If you do this, be careful not to put too much pressure on the monitor, remember- we are trying to fix it here. Once removed, flip the monitor over, but hold onto the panel (don’t drop it!), it should fall out and the back should come off now.

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Well, now we are down to the inner shell. You’ll need to lift up on that shield thing there (technical term, I know) and carefully unplug the LCD panel cable. Don’t forget to unplug the inverter cables too (needle nose pliers help here so you can grab them by the connectors instead of tugging on the cable and possibly pulling it out of the connector- bad!)

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Carefully flip and remove the four screws, two on the left, two on the right, that hold the panel to the inner shell. The panel should lift out. Put it somewhere safe where it won’t get scratched or fall. We’ll need to get the board out to give it the once over, so unplug the cable from the button board for the front controls, then flip the shell up to remove the standoffs from the VGA connector and the screws from the power connector.

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Once you get the screws off that hold the QLIF-041 REV A (490421200100R, TCI-AjS, 79042120 _ _ _ _ R written on mine) AIO board (All in one: the power supply, logic, and inverter are all on the same board) in place, it should lift out. Flip it over and surprise! Bad capacitors.

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Time to dig around… and yes! I have some 25v 470µF replacements in stock. Time to warm up the irons and get to it. Maybe turn the 80’s music up a little… Perfect.

For my monitor, I needed to replace: C864, C862, and C855. From their position on the board, they look like they are part of the inverter circuitry. That would make sense given the symptoms. Clip the bent leads or bend them back up, your choice- I forgot which I did. Once they are straight, the desoldering iron makes quick work of the removal process.

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Pop the new caps in (mind your polarity and pardon the pun) and solder them all pretty like. Done? Good. Not too bad. Sure you haven’t done this before?


Hang your irons to cool and don’t forget your OSHA signage. Assemble your monitor, remember to plug in the cables and put the cover thingy in place, or else like me, you’ll be cursing as you take it apart the second time. Comments are always appreciated. Thanks for watching!

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Up and Coming by William


I have purchased a DV7-1270us from NewEgg.com. I’m putting it though some paces here with my everyday life style so I can bring the best review possible of the laptop. No, I will not be posting video benchmarks. If you want video bench marks, look up the video card, GeForce 9600M GT. I will however give you my thoughts on how well it performs for the games I play. There are currently 2 reviews of this device that I know of. Both on new egg. I bought this laptop purely on hope and dreams. I’m glad the other 2 reviews are good! Stay tuned for Feb 17th, when I will post my review!

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Rosewill R2-JBOD External Enclosure by William


Look at what we have here! NewEgg is just sending me all… Okay, they didn't send me anything, I had to purchase it. But it was for you, the viewers. Do we have those? Anyways. I needed an external hard drive and an enclosure. Lets open this baby up!


I picked up a Rosewill R2-JBOD Aluminum 3.5" USB 2.0 DUAL-BAY External Enclosure and a Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3500410AS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s hard drive. The other hard drive is a 160 gig Seagate I picked up, but I am returning it, I decided to do something different, stay tuned!

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This enclosure came packaged very well, and you can see all the goodies in here, and a close up of the brick. This device really amazed me in the fact that it came with a USB cord. Now why can't printers come with a cord? I unwrapped it all and quickly went to work.

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Four screws take this sleek looking box apart; they came out easily without much effort. Considering I did not feel like getting the proper sized Phillips, I used a flat head screw driver that fit.

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With the screws out, the carriage easily slid out from the enclosure, which might I add is very sturdy by itself. The tolerances between the carriage and the enclosure were very good. Not sloppy, so no worries about the hard drive banging around in there if you take it traveling.

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I grabbed the hard drive, plus four screws that came with the pack and installed the drive. It slid into place very easily, no brains involved. I really liked that. We have other things to think about other than the complexity of putting a drive in a carrier.

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Before I got to carried away, I grabbed the tape and the bag with the left over five screws. Yes. I said five, count them. I guess they wanted some redundancy just in case. I taped them to the carrier so they would always be available if I was to put in a second drive.  Now, lets find some space for this guy.


How about right here. Lets just clear all this crap out of the way first.


Oh, that looks great there! I needed to throw those plates away from breakfast anyway, so it was a good excuse. That black matches my old brick, I mean, laptop very well.

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You can see when you power it up, a green light turns on. I plugged it into the computer and formatted the drive using disk management, then created a new partition. A blue status light flashes when there is some sort of activity. Heavy activity will make it light up brighter.

I lost 5 screws out of 5 on this enclosure. It was easy to set up, simple to work with and was made very well. Rosewill does it again.

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