computer

The ASUS Tinker Board is a compelling upgrade from a Raspberry Pi 3 B+

I've had a long history playing around with Raspberry Pis and other Single Board Computers (SBCs); from building a cluster of Raspberry Pis to run Drupal, to building a distributed home temperature monitoring system with Raspberry Pis, I've spent a good deal of time testing the limits of an SBC, and also finding ways to use their strengths to my advantage.

ASUS Tinker Board SBC

Review: ODROID-C2, compared to Raspberry Pi 3 and Orange Pi Plus

tl;dr: The ODROID-C2 is a very solid competitor to the Raspberry Pi model 3 B, and is anywhere from 2-10x faster than the Pi 3, depending on the operation. The software and community support is nowhere near what you get with the Raspberry Pi, but it's the best I've seen of all the Raspberry Pi clones I've tried.

Orange Pi Plus Setup, Benchmarks, and Initial Impressions

tl;dr: The Orange Pi Plus offers much better specs, and much better performance, than a similarly-priced Raspberry Pi. Unfortunately—and this is the case with most RPi competitors at this time—setup, hardware support, and the smaller repository of documentation and community knowledge narrow this board's appeal to enthusiasts willing to debug annoying setup and configuration issues on their own.

Orange Pi Plus - Front

Orange Pi Plus - Back

A few months ago, I bought an Orange Pi Plus from AliExpress. It's a single-board Linux computer very similar to the Raspberry Pi, with a few key differences:

Review: iPhone 5

Jeff's Rating: 5/5

tl;dr: Apple's steady, incremental improvements keep crushing any hope of a competing product with as much polish and panache.

The iPhone 5 is another hit in Apple's line of incrementally-improved iPhones. The iPhone 5 is noticably faster, lighter, and more seductive than the 4S that preceded it. It's aluminum (or 'aluminium' if you're from the UK) case is much more resilient and sleek than the 4/4S's glass back, and it looks much sleeker than the old plastic back on the iPhone 3G/3Gs.

Looks to Kill

iPhone 5 Back

Old Mac of the Month - Macintosh IIci (on 512 Pixels)

This month, my old Mac story about a IIci was featured on on the excellent Apple-related blog 512 Pixels, by Stephen Hackett: Old Mac of the Month: Macintosh IIci.

My old Mac IIci

I briefly mention the IIci in my (not-yet-complete) Computing History article here on Life is a Prayer.com. I really liked the IIci, and it's probably one of my favorite Macs of all time, especially considering I probably owned and used it the longest!

Special thanks to my brother and dad, who not only helped me get into electronics and computing, but also helped me edit the article.

Buzz or Hum in Computer Speakers

I recently spoke with an audio engineer (my Dad, who has worked in radio for many years) about something that's been bugging me for many years: Why do almost all computer speakers have some sort of annoying buzz or hum?

I know it has to do with voltage differences, power, RF emissions, etc... but I wanted to know more about what I could try to do to reduce the level of the noise. I've tried things like plugging everything into one outlet/power strip, using a filtered power adapter, using a ground loop reduction magnet, etc., with varying degrees of success.

Power/Amp-induced buzz

60hz buzz in a speaker is typically induced in the power lead. If that is the case, the buzz will be in the speakers even if the audio connections are removed.

If the buzz is there with audio input to speakers is disconnected, the problem is the AC adapter, the actual power supply (from your mains), or the amplifier for the speakers (usually, for computer speakers, these are in one of the speakers or inside the subwoofer).

My First Computer (386 PC running MSDOS 6.0)

[Update: I have posted an article about all the computers I've owned].

Pictured below (in the final year of its existence) is the first computer I ever called my own. Built out of scrap parts my Dad brought home from his office, I managed to build the computer as a 33 Mhz 386, with 2 MB of RAM and a 20 MB hard drive, eventually upgrading it (in stages) to a 66 Mhz 486 with 8 MB of RAM and a 512 MB hard drive!

My First PC - 386 DOS Computer
mmm... SCSI in a PC!

How, you may ask, could a diehard Mac/Apple fanboy start on a 386? Well, it was all about budget, you see. Free is good, especially when you're a little kid with absolutely zero dollars in the bank.

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