Easily replaceable tablets
Easily replaceable tablets

A few weeks ago I was at the Oakland WCAB when a Judge asked me if I could help find the owner of a lost tablet computer. 1  I was handed the tablet… but was unable to turn it on.  It turned out that the computer had been turned on and the battery drained down to nothing.  There was no charge cable, no standard USB charging port, no way to power the device, and nothing about it that apparently indicated the identity of its owner.

Here’s what I tried:

  • I looked all over the tablet and inside the case.  Any mobile PC you own should have something identifying it.
  • I looked all over the tablet for a way to possibly charge the device.  Even had I been able to do this, I probably wouldn’t be able to get past the unlock/password screen.
  • The vast majority of 3G/4G mobile broadband computers will have a little tiny “SIM” card in it.  It is a tiny chip about a quarter of the size of a standard SD card.  In some devices you have to open the battery compartment to get to it.  If you can remove the chip you can find out who the broadband carrier is.  In this case the chip had the Verizon name and logo as well as a 10 digit number printed right on it.  It’s that number that lets the tablet PC’s user connect their computer to their Verizon account.  I then called Verizon, spoke to one of their representatives, told them the 10 digit code, gave them my cell number, and about fifteen minutes later the owner of the PC (a friend of mine as it turned out!) called me up!

So, the moral of the story is to make sure you put something on your mobile PC to indicate your ownership so that if someone finds it, they can let you.

  1. Photo courtesy of Helzer []

Youd have to know the theme song to really get it...
You'd have to know the theme song to really get it...

You’ll understand the title in just a moment…

For the last few months my laptop has been in bad shape.  Such bad shape I’ve been using a backup laptop. 1  Something on my laptop’s motherboard went bad and killed the battery. 23  I could still use it – but I had to keep it plugged in all the time.  If I needed to move it, I had to shut it down all the way, move it, then boot it up – since it had no battery life at all.

Well, Dell’s kick ass incredible customer service took care of me – once again.  I can’t thank these guys enough for going above and beyond.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, my next laptop is going to be a Dell. Thanks to Lionel my laptop is sporting a totally brand-spanking new motherboard and power cord.  I’ve also just slapped in a totally new battery as well.

Anyhow, I’m beyond happy. 4

  1. Trust me, the back up laptop is nothing to brag about. []
  2. You see, the motherboard – it went bad.  It was one bad mother…  Oh, forget it. []
  3. The photo does not belong to me and is probably the property of MGM. []
  4. Yes, yes, I’m a nerd – whatever. []

Ye olde cell fone
Ye olde cell fone

Here’s some trivia for you.  I have the world’s crappiest cell phone.  I get a lot of flack for my cell phone.  It’s beat to hell, got a cracked screen, dented, scratched, and it’s ridiculously old.

How old?  Well, March 15 will be the six year anniversary of the FCC’s acceptance.  My cell carrier has been sending me ever more frantic flyers for the latest cell phones for about four years now.  It’s gotten pretty pathetic, really.

Unfortunately my trusty phone is now taking it’s last gasps and I need to find a replacement.  :(

Antivirus Pro 2010 SCAM
Antivirus Pro 2010 SCAM

My father in law’s laptop is infected with a very nasty program called “Antivirus Pro 2010.”  It disables a bunch of core Windows functions, messes with other programs, shuts down the computer randomly, tells you the computer has a virus (which is technically true), and then offers to help you out for $40.00.  In reality, this program is itself malware/spyware etc.

The problem is that it really looks like its an official MicroSoft or Windows program! 1

After several attempts and trying to use numerous different programs, I’ve been unsuccessful in deleting it.  It installs pieces of itself all over the computer – and if you don’t delete each piece it will install the entire thing all over again.  The various recommendations I’ve seen on the internet have been ineffectual.

If When I finally remove it, I’ll post the information here.

  1. Photo courtesy of bleepingcomputer.com []