Somewhere out in the internet, bloggers have a twin…

Who is your blogging doppleganger?

Doppleganger, a German word is described as someone as having a twin or someone else with the same name.

A while ago, I found this chap who not only has the same first and second name as me, from the US, who is interested the bible and IT stuff.

Check out his site at:

Only I am in Israel, where the old testament was written in Hebrew, and Christos Jonathan Hayward studies Greek Orthodox Christianity, Greek being the language of the New Testament.

My name; Jonathan Peter is a Hebrew name and a Greek name.  Christos Jonathan, has a Greek then Hebrew name.   See the originals of the name Jonathan here

I wonder how many bloggers and writers have similar sounding counterparts with some paradoxes?

If you have discovered someone with unusually similar interests feel free to comment.

Yad Vashem uses Google to document the holocaust

I have always been a big admirer of Google, they always have exciting projects on the go, I like the fact they are the most innovative company on the planet, driven by creativity, leveraging a vast number of talented people to make all kinds of large records accessible to everyone previously not possible.

One of the ugly sides of the internet is hate groups.  Quite a significant amount of this is antisemitism, and quite a significant portion of antisemitism is holocaust denial.

Google are now inviting those who had family lost or survived the holocaust to submit pictures and data to this site as a big collaborative project, to stop history from being forgotten or revised, especially as the number of people survived this ordeal are getting few.   Google use a fair bit of their own OCR software to turn scanned text into searchable data.

How to fix a laptop with overheating issues, like this Dell Inspiron 1150

IT repair stuff.   Skip to next articles if you just want to read about my visits to bible locations.

One of my colleagues asked me to look at old (about 2004) Dell Inspiron laptop, it needs to have the files moved over to her new Win7 based HP Pavillion laptop.   The Dell is being retired as it has some problems freezing upon booting up.    I suspect this is an overheating issue, so I decided to pull it to bits and clean and repair it.

This particular laptop like a lot of Dells is one of the easiest laptops to take apart and work upon.   Rather in the common tradition of throw something away I wanted to see if I can make it usable.   To get this machine apart it just needed a plastic strip and keyboard removed.   To do my housemate’s Toshiba Satellite and my old Compaq to fix clogged fan/overheating issues required the whole machine to be completely dismantled, ie: remove screen hinges and separate both halves of the base, which is fiddly and needs about three dozen screws removed.

Overheating issues are a common issue with laptops, Toshibas often get dust stuck in the fans causing the bottom to get very hot, causing a fault or shortening the life of the motherboard and processor chip.  HP were also plagued with problems with their Pavillion line.   Here I will show you the techniques I used to fix this Dell:-

Brief legal spiel: Warning, do this at your own risk. Additional, before taking computer apart, disconnect all cables and remove battery.  Work somewhere clear and put the screws in such a way where they wont get lost or get put back in the wrong places.  But hey, if you computer is too expensive to get done by a shop and otherwise useless, and you have not fixed a laptop before, you might as well try this for the first time. 🙂

You need:  Small (flat and philips) screwdriver set, patience, spray canned air, small tube of Arctic silver thermal grease.

Almost all Dells can be dismantled by taking out the plastic strip above the keyboard.  Left: Gently use a screwdriver to prise the small slot to the right of the plastic strip, one you lift it up, you might need to also prise a small gap above F12 key, then just jiggle it a bit around the screen hinges and the panel will gently come off.   Right: remove the four screws with the rings I have shown.

Left: I have flipped the keyboard over, detach the keyboard cable, it just needs a gentle wiggle to detatch.  Then, remove the screw marked and this metal panel can be lifted out. Right: there are four screws that hold the heatsink and fan assembly on.   These screws have numbers on as they should be removed and refitted in that sequence, as to avoid any weight of the heatsink putting too much pressure on one corner of the CPU chip.

Left: I have cleaned off the old dried up grease with a some kitchen roll and a small bottle of alcohol (CD player cleaning fluid or nail varnish remover) from the surface of the processor chip and the copper surface of the heatsink, so its nice and shiny.  The heatsink is sitting upside down ontop of the battery. Once the grease dries up, it loses its ability to properly dissipate heat from the processor chip. 

Right: I have put a layer of new thermal grease on the processor, I use this stuff called Artic Silver 5, which is one of the best thermal grease on the market for its thermal conductivity.  You need to adequately cover the surface of the chip, not too much or too little.  The empty space where the heatsink and fan goes can be sprayed with canned air to remove dust and dirt.

This the fan.   Another four screws were removed to get the motor out.   Towards my fingers you can see lots of fluff has collected inside fouling the vents of the copper heatsink stopping air from escaping.   Zoom in and you can see where the yellow arrow is and spray some canned air to clean all of this out.   Spray more air to get all the dust from the fan blades.

Reassembly is the reverse of disassembly.   Make sure the CPU fan is mounted on nice and tight but evenly.  When refitting the plastic strip, align the left hand side first, and work your fingers in snapping back in place towards the right hand side a bit at a time.   One thing I have not done is clean and replace the grease under the other heatsink where the graphics processor chip is.   This is worth doing at the same time though, as they can give heat problems, especially on HP laptops.

Enjoy your cooler running computer!

(shakes jam jar)   I am looking for funds to raise money for flights and insurance for my return to Israel in January, if you find this useful, or would like some advice, please consider donating me something, so I can continue to service equipment and resources for a Christian charity in the middle east.  If you would like your computer professionally repaired in UK or Israel please get in touch, I can do screen replacments or something minor like missing keys and software problems, I would be happy to do work in exchange for donations.   Thankyou.

IT work in Jerusalem in August

This week work has been busy.

Fans.  Cooling fans in PCs in hot countries wear out a lot.  I changed one on my manager’s PC, the blades simply get stuck and won’t turn.  It seems the oil in the motor bearings gets gunged up and simply won’t turn any more.   I must of changed 15+ fans on PCs in the last year, on the CPU, power supply, chassis, video cards and one laptop as well.  Most of the time this is a off the shelf part and cheap and easy to replace bit.  In one case a fan on a motherboard chipset was a weird one and the only place I could get one (£7) was off ebay.  Well it seemed a shame to throw away an otherwise working motherboard, this fan came all the way from China and took 2 weeks to get here.  I swapped over the user with another PC straight away, so when this part arrived the PC was sitting on a bench to be fixed and then could be put back into a service for a new member of staff a month later.   Now the fan on my own office PC has packed in, so I will need to get another.  Normally they start making grinding noises, but this one has just stopped altogether.

I am making plans to virtualise a server used for our finance applications, as it seems quite awkward to manage it, and I have a feeling one of the hard disks in the RAID array is failing, so this will be done as an out of hours job, hopefully if everything goes to plan I only need 30 minutes in the office, the rest I can do by remote software from a coffee shop with laptop and wireless, the real pain with this kind of upgrade is waiting,  a trial run of this type of upgrade took 6 hours to copy files using Norton Ghost from the server to an extra hard disk.   Strip out all the hanging around and the job shouldn’t take more than one hour.

I got to go out and hand over one of the older computers I wrote on not long ago to a local family just a mile or so from our headquarters.

The girls seem to be pleased with their new acquisition.  After this, I got to spend the rest of the afternoon helping our Korean colleague Jey with his deliveries to the poor from the food bank.   Driving to various apartments of needy families with food was interesting as this took us over the north part of Jerusalem through a nice forest and places I have not seen before. Jey walks quite fast between the van and the apartments as he has to do a lot of drops and time is quite tight.

At least 3 of the people we visited were elderly holocaust survivors, a few having some full time carers staying with them who usually of Thai or Filipino origin who I see quite a lot in caring and nursing roles here.   One of the older gents who was 82 and originally from Poland invited us in and offered orange juice and cake and told us jokes and told us stories about he used to sing in his synagogue when he was younger.  This was a nice afternoon out of the office.

At work, the Talpiyot food bank team, replacing LCD screen on Acer Travelmate laptop

Work has been busy this week, actually I am not often not busy, but had some trouble with a PC that sits in the Talpiyot food bank that is supposed to back up everything off servers, this essential running box was showed as off on my Spiceworks console, and after I went over and replaced the power supply, the next day it did it again.  The PC had to be replaced and took good few hours to get it running the same.

Talking of such, its been very very hot in Jerusalem, temperatures have been up to 37c (thats 100F)  so cycling 4 miles to the office in scorching heat is pretty tiring!

Other things I had to do with to set up new members of staff, get a Russian speaking colleague who is based in Karmiel access to a database, he works with immigrants from Russia and ex-Soviet states who live in the north.

But as well as this I managed to put a new screen in a friend’s (ie: not one my work’s assets) laptop.  This Acer Travelmate laptop had liquid that got in the LCD from an accident with some olive oil, great for your health but not for laptops, the screen works just has some weird blobs in between the layers of thin plastic inside the screen, this would eventually cause the LCD to fail altogether as they are fragile.   When I went back to the UK I ordered a new LCD display and carried it in a box on the plane, so I was a little nervous that this part was all right, it cost me UK£70 ($100) from a specialist laptop spares company in the UK….

Out come the little rubber pads on the screen fascia.  Then take out all four screws.  Gently prise and flex the screen fascia out, the old LCD is freed from taking out 4 tiny screws from the long steel hinges that give the top section rigidity and also double up as antennae for the wireless card, then the screen can put flat down has the ribbon cable disconnected and two little wires from the inverter that supplies voltage to the screen.  The new screen is put in its place and I put the screws in loosely and tighten them up one at a time, as it needs to be jiggled a bit into place….

Hooray it works!!!  The volunteer who asked me to fix this gave me a bit of extra money which paid for my Dead Sea trip before I went away, so it was a blessing I could get this fixed for her, and she could provide me with means to do some exploring I did with friends at a weekend a month ago.

The IT workshop has three desks and half a dozen PCs as this room has our database expert (Gilad) sat here, we also had Shirley our American-Chinese IT specialist who took care of a lot of problems at this site, but she has left now (we miss you, come back soon!!) and there is a bench with lot of stuff in pieces to be rebuilt and put back into service.  At my main desk in headquarters I just have one PC and few spare parts and a server room I look after…

There is another Acer on the pile of PCs in the background, this has a full hard disk and need some software tweaking to fix it. (change data around the two partitions on it)   I am going to order a new power supply for this as the one the volunteer as its a bit unreliable and held together with tape.

The food bank floor team are having a bit of cake and ice cream after lunch (why I look forward to site visits there)  but don’t let this deceive you, this team work very hard hauling food onto pallets, several tons a day that are shipped to some of the most poorest and needy Jewish people in Jerusalem.  People do come and go fairly often, as people come to the end of their commitment is always sad.   Here you can see these pictures shows staff ranges from the US, South Africa, Japan and Finland.   We have had people here from every continent.

Overall this week has been extra busy, but got most things done I needed to do and it has been fun.

laptop – to replace or upgrade?

My friend Ed is looking for a solution for a laptop for doing mobile audio and video recording work.

My thinking if his current laptop appears slow, this is more likely to be software problems that the actual hardware struggling. I think Ed’s Acer laptop is of good spec and not that old and with a software overhaul and maybe a few small hardware upgrades it could be given a new lease of life.

If a new laptop which of course only come with Vista these days was bought, Vista’s overheads are much more demanding than XP so you may not really gain anything when using a faster computer.

I would first of all back up all work and reinstall the operating system and drivers and I am sure it will run hugely better.

For best performance and security, once Windows XP has been reinstalled, I would put on Service Pack 3 (very recent released improvement to XP – does also fine tune settings to boost performance) and Free AVG 8 antivirus before putting a live internet connection on to keep security safe.

I would check out installing newer drivers, finding newer drivers for the graphics card (most likely to be an ATI or Nvidia card) would improve graphics performance, as well as the wireless card as old drivers used to have compatibility issues with certain routers. If the wireless card is say, an Intel or a Broadcom type its worth checking the makers websites as there maybe some newer and better drivers than on Acer’s web site.

For doing video work, 1gb maybe 2gb would be strongly recommended. Fitting is usually as easy as removing a trapdoor on the bottom of the machine and snapping in a new stick of memory.

40Gb hard disks are too small these days, 80 or 160 is normally considered the minimum, if you want to run 2 or more operating systems this would definitely be a must, as would if you were utilising now popular virtualisation applications like Microsoft’s Virtual PC, VMware or (my preference) Virtual Box (free and supports Linux) which lets run another operating system embedded inside the regular operating system on your computer. (a hard disk that us at least 5400rpm would also be an improvement)

Software application I would avoid that eat into the performance of your machine, are things like Google/Yahoo toolbar (all these sort of toolbars are unwanted things that come bundled with other apps in my opinion), and Real player (never seems to work properly at steaming audio/video)

I would also recommend to Ed, once the system had been set up to the desired way, before any data has been committed to it, that the whole hard disk is imaged and copied onto DVDR so a quick and easy restore can be done.

You may find you need a Fireware (also known at 1394) port on your laptop to do video work, if the laptop doesnt have this port, you could always use a PCMCIA card for this, ok these cards stick out rather awkwardly but the chances are you only need to use this card in a studio environment are not going to need to use this card when you are out and about.

Lastly I did some service on a similar Acer laptop for a contact of mine, I quite like the fact the main CPU fan is quite easy to get to from an easy to remove trapdoor from the bottom, I had to replace a noisy fan and there was a huge amount of dirt inside one of the ventilation ducts inside. Heat is a common cause of non accidental breakdowns with laptops so being able to service this part yourself is definitely a plus on this model computer.

One item off your list, Camera – I know very little about photography but I am using a Kodak Easyshare 4mb model which I bought two years ago, it uses normal SD cards and is easy to use, I tend to just use the normal method of copying files of a card reader rather than Kodaks special software though. Mine was only £65 and I have seen them for less now. Kodak made a name for themselves making cameras affordable to the market by making the easy cheap and simple, and its good they have kept up this tradition, if you a non-professional like me looking for something that does very good results for just casual work, I would definitely recommend Kodak.