New Network Attached Storage: Synology DiskStation DS220+

Another tech item I purchased this year during Black Friday sales is a network attached storage (NAS). I want to setup a personal cloud where I can back up data over the internet and share photos and music, but don’t want to store my data with an online cloud provider like AWS or Google Cloud. I ended up getting a Synology DS220+, and here are my impressions unboxing and setting up my new NAS.

No fancy packaging for the DS220+
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New WiFi Router: TP-Link Deco X55 Mesh System

I bought a bunch of stuff for myself this Black Friday. One of these is a new wireless router system. I’ve been using a Netgear Wireless N150 router from more grad school days, and I get spotty connections from my bedroom and bathroom in a small 620 sqft apartment, so it’s time to upgrade. I decided to get the TP-Link Deco X55 Mesh WiFi two unit kit, and here are my first impressions.

Deco X55 two unit mesh Wi-Fi kit
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New Monitor: HP Pavilion 32″ Display (4WH45AA)

Black Friday was the biggest shopping day of the year in the US, and this year I bought a few things for myself. One of my purchases was a new 32-inch LCD Monitor to replace the 24-inch one that I currently have at home. My old Dell 24″ monitor still works fine, but I got used to having two 30″ monitors at work so I wanted a larger monitor at home as well. I ended up getting a 32″ unit from HP (model no. 4WH45AA). Here are my first impressions of my big new monitor.

the box
Big box for a big monitor

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New Laptop: Dell Latitude E7270

The Thanksgiving weekend has come and gone. I did a bit of everything: went to some dinners, traveled a little, and some Black Friday shopping this year as well. This was the probably the most I’ve spent on a Black Friday, because I picked up a new laptop. The Lenovo ThinkPad T410 I got when I started grad school is now over 6 years old and getting a little long in the tooth. I ended up getting a refurbished Dell Latitude E7270 from Dell Outlet, and this post is some first impressions of my new laptop… or should I say “ultrabook”.

new laptop Dell Latitude E7270
My new laptop

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Thanksgiving and Black Friday Ramblings and My New Monitor

I hope everybody had a great Thanksgiving. I sure enjoyed my four-day Thanksgiving break. I didn’t travel anywhere, but I didn’t do any work on Thanksgiving and Black Friday and I enjoyed that a lot. Like previous years, I went to my aunt’s place for Thanksgiving dinner, and as always there was a mountain of delicious food that cannot be finished even though there were a lot of people. It was also nice to catch up with relative and acquaintances at the dinner. Unlike previous years though, I didn’t make the midnight trip to the clothing outlets. I didn’t have any clothing items I wanted to buy, and I find extra sleep very valuable these days. Instead, I spent mostly on electronic items these days, both for myself and for my parents. I bought most of the items online, but I did go out both on Thanksgiving night and Black Friday to shop.

The so-called Black Friday sales seem to start earlier every single year, and this year a bunch of the big name retailer opened their doors at 6 PM on Thanksgiving… the exact time when people usually start eating turkey. The online sales were even earlier and some started at midnight on Black Friday. I think they might as well call the whole thing the Thanksgiving sale from now on. Most of the really popular doorbuster items, like the iPads, were quickly sold out online or in store. I visited a Best Buy after Thanksgiving dinner at around 9:30 PM. The store was crowded, but there wasn’t a line up to get in because most of the really sought-after items were long gone. Luckily for me, there were still a couple of those $100 24″ Dell LCD monitors, so I quickly bought one. LCDs have really fallen in price over the years. I remember when I was in high school, my family bought a 17″ no-name LCD for $500 and it was considered cheap at the time. That LCD monitor actually broke and I had to fix it myself. Now 24″ 1080p screens from reputable brands can be found near $100 which I find amazing. It also makes me feel old :wink: . Anyways, below is a mini first-impressions on my new monitor.

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New Speakers: Corsair SP2500

One thing that I lugged back from home on my journey back to school was a set of new speakers. The model is a set of Corsair’s Gaming Audio Series SP2500 2.1 speakers. From what I’ve read online, these are very nice as far as 2.1 computer speaker sets go, and with a price tag of around $200, they’d better be. Luckily for me, I didn’t pay for the speakers; I won these speakers from a contest, which is of course awesome. My parents had no use for it, so I decided to lug it all the way from Vancouver to my rented apartment… to connect them to the TV and use them as “home theater” speakers instead. I have a laptop and I don’t really play games these days, so the speakers are only probably going to be used for watching movies, and I like to watch movies with the larger screen of the TV. This is not the SP2500’s intended purpose, but you make do with what you have.

Anyways, this is a post just to show some photos of my new speakers and write some initial thoughts. I don’t think I’m qualified to write a actual review for these speakers or any sort of audio equipment. As always, please excuse my crummy photos. I only have a not very new cellphone as my camera.

corsair sp2500 box
The SP2500 came in quite a large box.

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My Experience: Repairing a Video Card

First post of 2011! I hope all of you had a happy new year. For this year’s first post, here is another article documenting my attempt to repair electronics, and this time it’s for the video card of the six year old Athlon XP PC that I built myself. Similar to my last repair article about LCD monitors, the video card was also afflicted by the capacitor plague, and thus I had to get out my soldering iron once again and replace some capacitors. I’m no expert at repairing electronics, so this just goes to show what you can do with a little bit of research, some inexpensive equipment, and the courage to try.

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New Laptop: Lenovo ThinkPad T410

Since I left home to study abroad, I no longer had access to my old Athlon XP desktop and had to buy a new computer. I decided I would get a laptop since it just more sense to have something smaller and portable. In the end, I shelled out for a ThinkPad, which are all-business, rock solid machines with good build quality, and this post is just for showing some photos and thoughts on my new computer.

T410 open
The T410 opened and ready to work.

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My Experience: Repairing a LCD Monitor’s Back Light

Yesterday I fixed an old broken LCD monitor and I thought I’d share the experience. Specifically, I replaced a bad capacitor on the LCD’s inverter board to fix the problem of the back light not lighting up. Repairing a LCD… sounds impressive right? Yeah, I’m proud of myself right now :lol: , but it’s actually a really easy job if you have a soldering iron. I have really shaky hands and if I can do this, then so can most of you. This article is part guide and part personal experience. You’ll have to excuse my blurry photos though. Read on if you are interesting or if your monitor is afflicted with a similar problem.

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