Archive for the ‘ Techology ’ Category

Old chips

I don’t know why, but for a couple years, I would remove the memory and processors from the machines we scrapped.I collected them all thinking about grouting them together to make nice floor tiles.

Last time I counted, there were 130 processors. Mostly Sun Sparc and Pentium.

And here is 1.2 GB of RAM spread across over 300 memory modules. Mainly 30 and 72 pin SIMMs.

And this is what they look like when spread all over Matt deChav’s desk. You can’t see the keyboard and mouse which are buried under them all. I don’t want to take them to Cambridge, so hopefully he will be able to find a good home for them.

Two DIMMs from ebuyer

I ordered two Kingston DDR3 DIMMs from ebuyer for a dual channel machine. This is what I received.

Identical numbers and identical specs, but very different sized PCBs.

They worked fine together passing a complete memtest86 pass, but somehow I am still afraid it will screw up.


A few days ago, I noticed the characteristic smell of popped capacitors. I took the side off my case and noticed a couple of the caps were bulging. Because I am leaving in a couple months anyway, I thought “meh” as it should survive till I leave. I took the side off to keep an eye on the caps to see if more will pop.

Yesterday I came into the office and noticed the computer was off. Confused, I turned it on and walked away to hang up me fleece turned around to find blooms of smoke spewing from the machine. I ran over to find flames inside the machine. Panicking, I unplugged it and started blowing out the flames. Luckily that worked and I didn’t have to email the emergency services.

It all seems to be concentrated around an inductor, although I suspect one of the caps popped its bottom cover and started spewing hydrogen.

So the first task of the day was to do through the purchase order process to get a replacement motherboard, although the case is also somewhat smoke damaged too. The office also smells really bad of caustic fumes.

3M MPro150 Pocket Projector

Andrew decided to buy himself a tiny 3M MPro150 projector.

It isn’t just a projector as it can directly display several media types. We tried PDF, Powerpoint, JPEGs and even an XVID video and all worked fine. The rendering of the PDFs was a little slow at points and it can overflow its memory if you supply something very heavy. The video worked fine and even played the audio on its speakers.

The tech specs are quite nice. Uses micro SD cards, although it also has 1GB on board. It can be connected to the PC using a mini USB socket and looks like two media storage drives (one on board and one for the mico SD), so no drivers needed. Only 640×480 but that’s fine for video and presentations. The 150 model can also be driven directly from over VGA or component cables (the 120 model is cheaper but can’t do this). And the on board battery apparently lasts about two hours which is enough to give a presentation or watch a movie.

It does have its ugly side though. At 15 lumens, it really isn’t very bright. In a normal room, you will be able to watch videos, but editing text is a lot more difficult. I’m not sure there are many situations where you want a tiny projector, yet have full control over the lights. Secondly it has a fan. It’s not that noisy, but I have an epic hatred of moving parts. And finally there is the price-tag of £350.

So, yeah it is pricey and probably not that practical, but it is just a bit of fun.