Category Archives: Computers

Dollars Saved With Computer Repair.

Rainy Day – Might As Well Fix The Computer

Rain and clouds over a parking lot.
Parking Lot Of The Computer Store

My Summarized History With Computer Repair

I found the utility of computers about 1995. I loved with they could do. I bought one. It was a piece of shit and my history with computer repair began.

In 1995 computers were expensive and they broke frequently. I couldn’t afford a repairman. Me and a few helpful friends were it.

Over the years, actually fixing them devolved to finding bad hardware and replacing or just reinstalling the entire operating system. That soon gave way to just replacing the computer if a reinstall didn’t work.

Now, nearly 20 years later, it seems we may be going back to fixing them. After researching new computers to replace this system I bought 5 years ago, I found that computers really haven’t improved. The expected large jumps of performance in a short time didn’t happen this time.

I bought a Solid State hard drive and 16gb of DDR3 ram. Now I can manage running the Adobe products I use for some time. $400 later, my system is good compared to $800 for a better computer. The improvements are an extraordinary difference in performance.

Conclusion Of Yesterday’s Repair

The repairs were easy and information plentiful. The HP Envy I keep upgrading now has more money in replacements and additions than I paid for it. It’s a close call if buying a 1000+ computer would have been the more economic choice instead of the $600, + $200(power supply and memory), +$400 later to keep the computer going.  I must consider the fact that I don’t enjoy repairing them too.

Time to start saving for a replacement computer.

Chromebook “Fanboy”.

Why I’m A Chromebook “Fanboy”.

Why A Chromebook

I hate these modern terms that come about, but I am considered a Chromebook “Fanboy”. I’ve written about Chromebooks 2 years ago or so, but I just do not get any takers when I’m asked for advice.

The main reason for rejecting the idea of a Chromebook is that they are less than a PC. They can’t do everything a PC Does. Most do not need these extra things that PC’s do. They spend much more for extra functionality and many don’t have the extra funds to spend in this manner.

Who Can Use Them?

If you do not download and install programs to your computer a Chromebook is all you need. It’s that simple. Do you use a web browser for the important things that you do on a computer? If so a Chromebook will work.

It goes a little further than that. If you just do simple things in Microsoft Office, Chromebook has similar alternatives. There may be a short learning curve with the programs, but they are free.

Also, they are great travel and backup computers.  An Internet connection is often needed. In today’s world, connectivity is everywhere. Wifi is in so many places.

Who Cannot Use Them?

Most who can’t use a Chromebook, already know. If you download games and programs that are Windows specific, you can’t. For me, Adobe Programs and work programs don’t allow for a connection. I still use the Chromebook for convenience in many situations though. This blog is often completed on a Chromebook.

How Much Cheaper Are They?

The initial cost is lower. A small Chromebook is $200-$500. Powerful Pixel Chromebooks are a little more expensive. That is just the initial cost though.

No anti-virus software required. Far few hardware and software breakdowns occur. The cost of these add up if problems arise. Computer diagnosis can be expensive. With a Chromebook, you just reset to factory settings. Your work remains available on the cloud.

These repair costs can leave a person stranded without a computer to pay their bills and perform other important computing tasks. If you’re on a low or fixed income, this can be a tragic inconvenience for a while. It’s a high price to pay for Windows functionality that you may not even need.

Way Beyond Traditional.

To tech folks, these Chromebooks will not be surprising. Linux based, small form factor computers have been around for a long time. They just haven’t been available to the average user in a formats that are easy to use. Google Chromebooks have fixed that.

Here are a few that go beyond the standard Notebook computer layout. I don’t recommend these for everyone as they are not portable options. If portability isn’t an issue, these are great solutions.


This small box combined with a keyboard, monitor, and mouse will work as a desktop computer.


The Chromebit just plugs into an HDMI port in any modern monitor or TV and works as a computer. Adding this wireless keyboard and touchpad combo makes this an inexpensive computer solution.


This all-in-one solution is a nice alternative too.

What If It Doesn’t Do What I Need?

The worst that could happen if a Chromebook doesn’t do all that you need is that you have a very functional backup computer to perform at least the basics. If the power goes out, you have a small computer that can run for 6-8 hours on battery and it’s portable.

Facebook Angst

I hate Facebook, but it’s a popular communication tool. I’m stuck with it.

So I wanted to clean it up. I removed:

  • People that I rarely talk to.
  • People I suspect of only watching for things to use against me.
  • People who post what I would consider to be abhorrent content.
  • People that I don’t know or know well enough.
  • People who’s linkage to me on Facebook proves to be no benefit to either of us.

That covers most of them that I removed. The bad part is that some of those people will think I don’t like them. That may be very true in some cases, not at all in others.

I know that I could just hide posts and they wouldn’t know I didn’t care to see them, but in some cases, that leaves me with an association to people that I just don’t want.

Most of what I post that’s worth reading is on markspearman.com anyhow. Anyone who ever really wants to contact me can do it there without the entire world giving our communication a look and a nod(or not).

Notice I said Facebook was a popular communication tool, not a good one. I hate the way it works. It’s a hassle.

Computer Diagnosis – Sometimes It’s Just Dirt

A can of air can be the solution to increasing your computer’s life, improving it’s performance, and stopping the fans from running all of the time. Amazon has can of air cheaper than any place I’ve found and it get’s delivered to your door.

I have been putting up with my computer sounding like a jet taking off every few minutes for a few weeks now. I know better. I know that a dirty computer isn’t a good thing. I just didn’t want to accept the fact that I needed to buy a can of air and clean it out. The last time I bought a can, $7 or so was pretty steep. I even went so far as to start trying to diagnose if my computer maintenance software was making the fan kick on with a faulty setting. That wasn’t it. I tried telling myself that it shouldn’t be dirty as I’d cleaned it not long ago. It was dirty.

Once I took the cover off, there was dirt that I’d never seen before in there. I think it might be something with the new processor or processor fans that just draws the dirt to it, but it was like a gritty sand mixture stuck to the processor and fan. I even got a cloth to dig some of it out.

I have an air compressor, but I wouldn’t use it on the computer. The problem is that air compressors pick up moisture and that can lead to water being sprayed into the computer. They also can provide enough force harm the delicate computer internals.  Play it safe and spend the money on canned air.

This fixed the constant overheating and fan start-ups and the computer is running much faster. It’s an easy fix and at $4/can it’s about $2 a cleaning. Just pop the cover off and start cleaning.

HP h8-1414 PC Video Card Replacement

The HP h8-1414 PC from the HP Envy series of computers has been a decent budget PC for photo editing. I finally hit a snag with it’s video card though and I needed to replace it.

The computer started humming like an old air conditioner. I actually thought there was something wrong with the air conditioner until a found the sound coming from the computer. I removed the cover to find that it was a small fan on the video card. I looked up the problem and it’s common for HP Envy series computers and it’s not that easily solved by just replacing the video card.

The specs showed that the HP H8-1414 sports a AMD Radeon 7450 from the factory. It’s anemic for Photoshop, but does barely work. When I searched for a replacement, I found that anything better requires a bigger power supply as the stock 300 watt PSU just isn’t enough for 2gb  or more video cards.

The noise was outrageous and I wanted to remedy this as soon as possible. There may be better replacements, but the parts I could find were as follows –

The Insignia 400w PC Power Supply had exactly the same dimensions as the stock power supply.

The Zotac NVIDIA GEFORCE GT 740 low profile 2GB video card fit perfectly and ran without any conflicts.

The combination worked flawlessly. Video and Photoshop performance have greatly improved.

I’m not a computer repairman. I’m an amateur photographer and a computer programmer. I hate fixing computers, I just want my computer to run well and refuse to pay enormous repair charges. I post these fixes when I run into them.  I hope you’ve found this to be a help, but I will only refer you to Google should you need more information.

Still Love My Chromebook Because It Always Works.

Photo Of My Chromebook
Chromebook. My Computer That Always Works.

I’ve become a fan of tech that works without hassles. I work with tech all of the time and most of it is constantly plagued with problems that slow you down and interrupt the creative process. I can see why creative types enjoy Apple products more, they just work more often without interruption.

Today is a Saturday morning and I love to wake up on the weekends and edit photos. It’s my time and I like to use it for this hobby that I enjoy. No can do though. I tried to start at 8 am and it’s now noon. The PC is still trying to get it’s updates and it’s doing it on a fast connection! I tried my laptop, it needed updates too. Sure I could bypass the updates or space them out, but I just want to get it done. Normally, that would leave me without a computer, but I’ve got a Chromebook.

While all of this has been going on, I skip to my other creative endeavor of writing. The Chromebook is great for writing. If it’s not connected to the Internet, that’s actually all that it’s really good for. It’s even better when it’s not connected because it eliminates distractions.

Sure, Chromebooks are horrible at things that PC’s do better, but what good is that when you can’t get a PC to run reliably? If you get off the Microsoft products and switch to Google’s cloud products, they work great with your PC and everything is available to you no matter where you are.

It’s a $250 computer that works more often than an more expensive PC. It goes anywhere and has a long battery life. You could want more, but much of the time, you don’t need more. I wish more people that request me to fix their computers would consider this option.