Toshiba Chromebook 2 first impressions

Toshiba Chromebook 2

It’s been a very long time since a new Operating System got any kind of traction on the desktop market. Traditionally, it’s always been Windows, MacOS and Linux. But now there’s Chrome OS. Sure, it’s based on Linux, but it’s very different from distributions like Ubuntu. It’s easy, very very easy. Chrome OS boots in seconds, and allows you to use online services without worrying about things like drivers, updates and viruses.
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My new €70 music system may be the best I’ve ever owned

Ever since Bluetooth and streaming became popular, people have been replacing their old stereo equipment with soundbars, AirPlay-speakers and all sorts of other convenient new devices. But while many of those are very nice, this creates an opportunity for music lovers to get great sound on the cheap. Here’s what I did.

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Roy | March 21, 2016 | Gadgets | Comments (0)
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Windows 10 stuck at the lock screen? Try this.

windows10-logoLast saturday, I spent nearly four hours trying to revive a Windows 10 computer that seemed to crash at the lock screen. I tried everything, from BIOS settings to booting from an install disk and attempting repairs.

Nothing worked. The conversation turned to things like installing Linux or buying a new copy of Windows. There seemed to be no way to get this computer operational again. Just as I was about to give up I tried something really simple, and it worked.
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Roy | January 11, 2016 | English,Gadgets | Comments (16)
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Lenovo, three strikes – you’re out!

le-no-vo

I really wanted to like Lenovo. They had so much going for them. The iconic ThinkPad brand, their (often) top notch hardware and competitive pricing. All reasons why I bough a Lenovo laptop. But today, Lenovo was caught pre-installing malware on their computers. And it wasn’t the first time.
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Roy | September 25, 2015 | English,Gadgets | Comments (5)
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Traveling to Hungary? This is how I got online on the cheap

The last couple of weeks, my family and I have been vacationing in Hungary. We’d booked accomodations with wifi, and we hadn’t brought any travel info with us, confident that we’d be able to use Tripadvisor, Foursquare, etc to find nice places to visit. Unfortunately, the wifi at our first vacation home turned out to be broken. This meant we had to improvise, and after a bit of shopping, I got a killer deal on a mobile 4G hotspot. So I thought I’s post it here.

Meet the Alcatel W800

Alcatel W800

I’de never seen a mobile 4G router disguised as a USB stick before, but the Alcatel W800 isn’t simply a 4G modem dongle. It’s a complete router, and the USB connector is there mostly to supply power. There’s no need to plug it into a computer. Once powered up, it’ll connect to the 4G network, and broadcast a wifi network for up to ten devices. You can log into the W800 to modify the network name, password, etc, just like any other router.
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Roy | August 3, 2015 | Gadgets | Comments Off on Traveling to Hungary? This is how I got online on the cheap
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Philips BT4000 Bluetooth speaker review

Philips BT4000 bluetooth speaker

In our household, I do all the ironing. And the one thing that makes it bearable is putting on some good music. But my radio alarm clock wasn’t cutting it. It sounds tinny, and there’s no bass at all. That’s why I needed something decent for upstairs. Sonos would have been overkill, so I started looking at bluetooth speakers.

A compromise

Basically, there’s two types of bluetooth speakers, small, portable ones that come equiped with batteries, and stationary ones that don’t. Speakers in the former category are usually small, and small boxes tend to produce small sound. Plus I did not need a battery. Stationary bluetooth speakers are often large and expensive. Ideally, I’d need something that fell inbetween these two categories.
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Roy | July 6, 2015 | English,Gadgets | Comments Off on Philips BT4000 Bluetooth speaker review
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Replacing a healthy hard drive in a QNAP NAS

QNAP-TS-212P

Yesterday, one of my NAS devices emailed me, informing me that one of its drives had failed. I have two “entry level” 2-bay QNAP NASes, both with two disks in a redundant RAID1 setup. They’re set up to synchronise over the internet daily, so my files are stored safely in two physical locations. This way, all of my important data is stored on a total of four hard drives. Or rather – at the moment – three.

Both the drives in my TS-210 were getting old, so it wasn’t really a surprise that one of them acted up. After I got the email, I logged into the NAS’s admin interface and rebooted it. Sure enough, the second drive re-appeared, and seemed fine. But I wanted to replace it anyway. With the help of QNAP’s excellent support forum, I found the correct way to replace a “suspect” drive that appears to work properly. It involves just a couple of steps,and they’re all very easy to do.
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Roy | March 5, 2015 | English,Gadgets | Comments (12)
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Windows’ biggest problem may be its out-of-the-box experience

windows-crosshairs

Being the computing enthusiast that I am, I’ve always loved trying different operating systems. I think it’s essential to not “bury” yourself in a single ecosystem. I’ve owned and/or used computers running Apple II OS, AmigaOS, DOS, BeOS, MacOS, OSX, Windows (3.11 through 8) and various flavors of Linux. And while it’s easy to hate Windows, I find it to be quite stable nowadays, and certainly not the worst OS out there. What is incredibly bad about Microsoft’s offering though is its out-of-the-box experience.
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Lenovo Yoga 2 13 first impressions

lenovo-laptop-convertible-yoga-2-13-inch-black-back-side-14

Two weeks ago, I finally bought myself a new laptop. The Lenovo Yoga 2 was the first ultrabook to offer all the specs I wanted at a (very) reasonable price. It’s taken me a while to properly set it up, but the Yoga is now ready to replace my trusty old Asus UL30A. The Lenovo has some pros and cons, so I thought I’d write about them.
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Roy | September 16, 2014 | English,Gadgets | Comments (12)
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Stream internet radio to your Rocki wireless music player

rocki_deep_purpleA while ago, I backed the Rocki Kickstarter project. I think the idea of a “Chromecast for music” is great, and I love how it adds Sonos-like capabilities to – for example – your old 70’s receiver. But while the hardware is really nice (colorful, small, stable), support for many online music services is currently still in the works.

While browsing the Rocki forums, I found that playing internet radio streams – while not currently an option in the official Rocki app – is actually quite straightforward. That’s why I created a little web page that makes it easy to send the correct API call to the player. My office mate and I have been using it for a couple of weeks now, and it works.
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Roy | August 12, 2014 | English,Gadgets | Comments Off on Stream internet radio to your Rocki wireless music player
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