For most people, an MP3 player serves a pretty narrow purpose: it plays music, maybe a video here or there if you’ve got a newer model, and might have a handful of applications. All in all, though, MP3 players are rarely treated as anything more than tiny, portable jukeboxes, which is a shame, because as gadgets they’ve got the potential for so much more. That’s why, in this article, we’re going to show you how to install custom Rockbox firmware and breathe new life into your trusty old MP3 player.
Rockbox is an open source replacement firmware for MP3 players. It supports a wide range of MP3 players, including many (but not all) players from Apple, Archos, Cowon, iriver, Olympus, SanDisk and Toshiba. Before reading any further, check out the chart at the top of the Rockbox homepage to see whether your specific model is supported or not.
Good news for Gigabyte fans who like to tweak their systems but fear one bad move (or BIOS flash) could ruin the whole experience. The motherboard maker has begun offering its DualBIOS technology on its entire lineup of motherboards and not just the high-end boards.
Gigabyte refers to its DualBIOS as a "hot spare" for your system, and that's essentially what is. DualBIOS boards contain two BIOS chips. Should the primary chip fail for any reason -- say a power outage during a BIOS update, or a particularly nasty virus infection -- the secondary BIOS automatically kicks in the next time you boot your system.
Gigabyte initially only offered its DualBIOS technology on premium boards, but look to see it on both entry- and mid-level mobos going forward as the company tries to increase its market share.
We've been following closely ever since some Seagate hard drive owners started complaining late last week that their hard drives were failing "at an alarming rate." Following a flood of complaints on Seagate's support forum and plenty of media coverage, Seagate responded with a firmware update that was supposed to solve the issue and prevent future lockups from occurring for owners who hadn't yet been affected. Turns out the new firmware wasn't quite ready for prime time, and Seagate had to pull the update after learning it was bricking users' hard drives. Oops!
The latest straight from Seagate is that the company has now released yet another firmware update that both will prevent future problems and undo the damage inflicted by installing the original firmware 'fix.'
As it turns out, both Seagate and Maxtor-brand SATA drives can be affected by firmware problems. So, how can you find out exactly which models may be on the naughty list and when Seagate has a firmware fix that's ready for prime time? Join us after the jump for details.
Last week an unusual number of Seagate 1TB Barracuda hard drive owners came forward complaining of lock ups and other related hard drive failures. The problem appeared to affect Barracuda 7200.11 drives made in Thailand (ST3100034AS), to which Seagate ultimately determined was the result of faulty firmware. But now users are complaining that the updated firmware Seagate posted has only made matters worse.
According to Tomshardware, "100 percent of users who attempted the update have bricked their drives with the new firmware" after updating to version SD1A. The update is now "temporarily taken offline as of Jan 19, 2008 8PM CST for validation," but users who managed to attempt the update before it was taken offline say they are getting read errors preventing them from accessing the data.
While the knowledgebase article makes no mention of manufacture date, one user who contacted Seagate customer support claims he was told only drives manufactured in December need to be updated, and his drive, which was built in October, failed because of this. Whether or not that's the case, we'll have to wait until hearing an official word from Seagate. In the meantime, if you're an affected owner, you'd do well to keep an eye on this thread.
I purchased a 37-inch Westinghouse LVM-37W3SE LCD 1080p HDTV monitor in June 2007. A few months later, I found out that this particular model has faulty firmware that prevents it from working properly with many devices. For example, the Nvidia driver recognizes it as a different model Westinghouse 1080i monitor and refuses to set it in 1080p mode. I contacted customer support and received permission to return it. The monitor was returned in November, and it was received by Westinghouse two days later. I hadn’t heard anything from them until about a month ago, when I finally made a call to find out about the RMA status. (I’ve been out of the country on a business trip.)
I was promised a follow-up by several people, but no one would commit to when the monitor would be sent. They basically asked me to wait until I received my product. It has now been more than seven months, and I believe I have waited long enough! Thank God my trusty 15-inch LCD is still working fine.
If solid state drives (SSDs) ultimately fail to curry favor among enthusiasts, it won't be from lack of effort in OCZ's headquarters. OCZ, who once sold only DRAM products and now offers everything from DIY notebooks to mind-controlled input devices, has been one of SSDs most aggressive pushers, first with its Core Series SSDs, and now with a second revision dubbed V2.
Whereas the original Core Series come in 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB flavors, the new V2 will be available in 30GB, 60GB, 120GB, and 250GB. By offering a 250GB model, a case could be made for going HDD-less in that new build.
Storage space isn't the only feature getting a boost and the V2 series will offer read and write speeds up to 170 MB/s and 98 MB/s respectively. By comparison, the previous Core Series top out at 143 MB/s and 93 MB/s respective read and write speeds. The V2 also touts improved seek times of less than 0.2-0.3ms as part of the new architecture.
One of the more interesting features OCZ brings to the table with the V2 is the ability to update the SSDs' firmware.The drives will come equipped with a mini-USB port, which paves the way for consumers to cash in on speed bumps and other future enhancements simply by installing new firmware.
Of course, the big concern with all SSDs continues to be the long term reliability, and OCZ rates its 2-year warrantied V2 series with a 1.5 million hour mean time before failure (MTBF). No word yet on pricing or availability.