Thursday, May 20, 2010

Acer Revo AR3610-E9032 Review

The Acer Nettop computer system with an Atom 330 (Dual Core) processor, 160G HDD, Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit and 2G of RAM.

This was the first HTPC configured for a client.

The Acer set-up was as painful as ever - all the "trialware", toolbars and subsequent constant barking to register was the same as it was for the Aspire One Netbook - Apart from it taking an age to complete.

The plan is to swap out the HDD for 500G and do a clean install of Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit. This should then result in 490G of usable disc space (the Acer install on the 160G drive only gives you 131G before you add any programs of your own!) [Actually a 640G hard drive was installed]

The access to the hard drive and memory is not as straight-forward as its Netbook brothers but there is a You Tube video that shows you how to open the case (a pity about the comments on it though - it really does highlight the marginal value of "social media" - allow comments and you get input from those that have nothing to add about the subject and use the opportunity to post about the iPad and ask questions about Netbooks)

If you need instructions on how to upgrade this computer and/or how to perform a clean install of Windows 7 please drop me a line.

The Revo is now being used to access the BBC iPlayer and other Office uses.
revo ar3610 hulu San Jose 4 July 2010
acer revo vt-x bios - 7 Aug 2010 - The Intel Atom 330 does not feature VT-x - so there is no point in looking for a BIOS option to turn it on!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Social Engineering

The use of Social Media and psychological methods to fool computer users into an action.

This can take many forms from phishing emails to bogus webpages. Increasingly the Social Networks are being used to achieve these goals, some of which is in the guise of legitimate 3rd party apps.

This topic is in the process of being expanded. There is a page from my website entitled "Physhing"

In general, Social Engineering is the use of what appears to be legitimate information and using that to get the reader to do something that may not even be related to the original information. Most commonly the form that this takes is an email that tells you that your account has been compromised and that you need to click on a link to go to the appropriate website so that you can fix the problem. In most cases this is exactly what you shouldn't do.

This is not exclusive to email and the same techniques are used in other areas of the Internet. Websites can be complete fabrications and now Social Media such as Facebook and Twitter are falling victims of Social Engineering. In some cases Facebook could be seen a one gigantic example of Social Engineering.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Hardware requirements for a Hackintosh

...... setting your SATA type

The exact requirements for what is needed to configure a Hackintosh are subject to much debate.

I am of the opinion that is more than a hardware requirement in as far of what the specs and settings are, rather the ability to be able to configure the hardware that you have to allow the installation and operation of the Apple operating system.

Many websites and forums will give you a list of requirements but sadly there are other agendas at play here.

A list of the requirements for a Hackintosh (LifeHacker):
  1. Robust Graphics Booster → Auto
  2. CPU Reference → Auto
  3. DRAM Channel B Reference → Auto
  4. The Date and Time -------- ???????? Duh!
  5. HDD Boot Priority → USB Flash Drive ---- This is kind of fundamental, you want to boot from an external drive. This applies to the installation of ANY operating system.
  7. ACPI Suspend Type → S3(STR)
  8. Reset Open Case Status → Disabled
  9. PCI IRQ Assignment → Auto (actually this was shown in error on the BIOS screen as PC11 - the default PCI IRQ assignment for PCI Video adapters.

DMI (Desktop Management Interface)

The DMI utility allows you to manage serial numbers etc for inventory purposes - stored in BIOS it is not a way to control the processor features such as vt-x, SATA settings (Native - Non-Native enable disable) and overclocking parameters.

When you purchase a PC, particularly HP notebooks, the manufacturer can "finger-print" the hardware in System BIOS so that if you change something the BIOS can detect this and prompt you to contact customer service.

The DMI table stores custom information relating to the computer. The name of the particular table will be vendor specific. Some BIOS vendors will provide toolkits to allow you to enter inventory data into your DMI table. Phoenix and AMI have toolkits but they only provide details on their pre-boots to manufacturers.

This post needs graphics to be uploaded from my website

Code Purple

If has been reported that HP has a "Code Purple" that is thrown when you make an attempt to install Windows XP on a computer that was shipped with Vista or Windows 7. This may be due to the fact that the system BIOS has been altered to enable/disable a particular feature (such as SATA support) or that you have changed the hardware, possibly and including  changing the motherboard.

It is also possible to view the contents of the DMI table if you have a computer that is dual booted with Linux:

Norton on-line backup

I am suspicious of Norton Online Backup as it was supplied as Bloatware on an Acer Notebook.