Binary Lesson 2 – Place Value

August 25, 2014

lesson02Because binary is the language of computers and digital devices, such as watches and calculators, it is beneficial to understand. As an example, how does a specific pattern of zeros and ones, such as 11000000, represent the decimal number 192 in the real world?

To understand this concept in binary, let us first examine how we express values in the decimal number system that we are familiar with.

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Binary Lesson 1 – Introduction to Binary and Number Systems

August 22, 2014

Number Systems and Binary

binary_headerIn everyday number usage, we use the Hindu-Arabic number system, which is also called the decimal or base 10 number system because it uses ten digits to express values.

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Beginning with zero, we count in consecutive whole numbers up to nine to specify ten digits. Values greater than 9 are represented using a combination of the existing ten digits. We can create different number systems following the same pattern. For example, a base 5 number system has five digits.

0 1 2 3 4

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The Satechi Aluminum Mouse Pad

August 8, 2014

pad2The keyboard, monitor, and mouse are the most important components of a typical computer system because they are the devices we interact with directly. Any discomfort with any of these devices can damage ourselves over time and even make us grumpy from discontent.

For example, a blurry monitor strains the eyes. A cheap-quality keyboard can harm the wrists and annoy others with its sound. And a mouse…well, that is a device that can make or break the whole computer experience for the computer connoisseur.

Since things often need things, even the lowly mouse needs love. For those who have invested in a high-quality mouse, such as the Mad Catz M.M.O.7 or the R.A.T.7, then the right mouse pad will show the mouse how much it is loved.

Seeking a better home for the M.M.O.7, I had the chance to examine the Satechi aluminum mouse pad. Is aluminum as noisy as reviews claim? Is mouse tracking reliable? Do the metal edges feel like razor blades? Is it compatible with Linux? (Okay, the last question is irrelevant, but yes, the pad works with Linux.)

Here are my thoughts…

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The Plugable USB 3.0 Multi-Card Reader and Linux

August 6, 2014
cd03Do you need a way to read external memory cards, such as SD and Memory Stick Duo, from Linux? How about a faster card reading method than using an external device, such as a camera?

If so, then here is an inexpensive, fast performer that is 100% plug-and-play compatible with Linux: The Plugable USB 3.0 Multi-Card Reader!

Yes, the name sounds plain, but I have found this to live up to its packaging boasts with impressive reliability. Read the rest of this entry »

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Using the Ableconn USB 3 Gigabit Ethernet Adapter with Linux

July 17, 2014
ue1Ultrabooks are slim and sleek, but they often lack Ethernet ports that allow them to connect to faster gigabit LANs.

There are also times when it would be convenient to set up a “quickie” Gigabit Ethernet port in Linux without having to power down the computer and install a network card.

And yet another scenario involves a limited 10/100 Ethernet-equipped netbook. Is there are way to connect devices to a wired gigabit LAN and enjoy faster transfer rates? Does such a device exist that is Linux-compatible?

Yes, there is, and one such device is the Ableconn Gigabit USB 3 Ethernet Adapter. This is a small adapter that plugs into any USB 2 or USB 3 port which then connects to a wired Ethernet LAN via a network cable. It operates exactly like a network interface card, and it is 100% plug-and-play compatible with Linux.

After playing with this device for a while, I have found it to be an indispensable addition to the networking arsenal.

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Enjoy Fast Transfers with the Mach Xtreme MX-ES SLC USB 3 Stick

July 16, 2014
mxes1It appears to be a USB stick like any other. The plastic cap. The elongated case. The USB 3 label.

But to think “it’s just another USB device” and pass it by would be a terrible mistake because the Mach Xtreme MX-ES SLC USB 3.0 Flash Drive is anything but regular.

Appearances are deceiving, for I am using what is undoubtedly the fastest USB stick I have ever encountered. While other high-end USB 3 sticks are available, this particular device is a champion performer among champions at a low cost, and it is the first USB stick I have used where the write speed equals or exceeds the read speed!

How fast? When plugged into a USB 3.0 port, this device typically reads at a consistent ~160 MB/s and writes at a consistent 170 MB/s. Sometimes it hits 180 MB/s when reading and writing. And it works with Linux.

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Speed Up Your Home Network With Link Aggregation in Linux Mint 17 and Xubuntu 14.04

July 12, 2014
net028Would you like to have a faster home network? Do you have any spare network interface cards (NICs) lying around unused? Do you run Linux?

If yes, then you can put your spare hardware to good use to increase the speed of your LAN and increase its fault tolerance. Link aggregation, also known as port trunking or bonding, lets you pair a group of network cards together so they operate as a single, faster logical network card.

Despite the intimidating name, link aggregation in Linux is inexpensive, simple to set up, and supported natively. No need for special vendor drivers or program recompilation. Once set up and running, operation is transparent to programs. Just use the network like you normally would.

This article shows how to set up link aggregation in Linux Mint 17 and Xubuntu 14.04 using everyday, consumer-grade gigabit networking hardware. Stuff you might already have. Nothing fancy, complex, or exotic. Throughput boosts from 1 Gb/s to 2 Gb/s or 3 Gb/s depending upon the number of network cards and ports used.

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