Archive for the ‘Hardware’ Category

The perils of fake phone chargers

June 30, 2014 Leave a comment

Mobile phone users should take note of the death of a 28-year-old Australian woman, electrocuted while using her laptop and mobile phone.


Sheryl Anne Aldeguer was killed on 23 April and suffered extensive burns to her chest and ears from her laptop and earphones, while using a counterfeit mobile phone charger.

It is believed the phone charger sent a high voltage electrical charge into her phone, which she was using at the time, and this was conducted to the earphones connected to her laptop.

The case is being investigated by Australian police, and has prompted warnings about the dangers of using fake USB adaptors. The incident echoes the death last year of Ma Ailun, a 23-year-old Chinese flight attendant, who died in similar circumstances while taking a call on an iPhone 5 that was plugged into a non-apple USB charger.

Last year a New York woman claimed her iPhone 4S spontaneously melted, oozing acid that destroyed the handset and a UK man was burned and thrown across the room by an electric shock, when an iPad charger exploded in his hand.

In February last year, a house fire in Oregon was blamed on an overheated MacBook battery and in 2011, an iPhone 4 caught fire on an airplane flying over Australia.

It’s highly likely these, and many other anecdotal incidents, are all the fault of poorly made counterfeit chargers. Whilst there is a clear temptation to save money on buying fake chargers for a fraction of the cost of the genuine item, it’s a saving that could prove very costly in the long run.

Unlike a fake Rolex watch or Louis Vuitton handbag, these fakes can kill you!

The counterfeit chargers are usually made with cheap and inferior components and leave out much of the protective insulation, resulting in a risk of electrocution or fire. They also have less power than the genuine chargers, so take much longer to charge your device, putting additional strain on the battery and can cause overcharging.

There are, however, over 600 million Apple devices in use around the world with only a few reported incidents. The use of genuine Apple products is very safe, but cheap counterfeit chargers are likely to add a very significant risk.

Extract from my original article on


Chromebooks coming to new locations

This week, Google used poetic license to announce that Chromebook computers are to go on sale in 9 more countries around the world.


“Chromebooks are coming to nine more nations; to improve computing for all generations,” said David Shapiro, Google marketing executive and ‘occasional versifier’, in his poetic blog.

Further verses announced the arrival of Chromebooks in Norway, Denmark, Chile, Mexico, Spain, Italy, Belgium, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

“When Chromebooks in these countries alight,” rhymed Shapiro, “We hope our new global friends find some computing delight.”

The new additions will bring the number of countries in which Chromebooks are sold, to 25.

Google launched the first Chromebook in 2010 to challenge the Microsoft Windows operating system. Chrome reverses the traditional model of running software on local hardware, instead the Chrome device connects to software hosted on Internet based servers.

Many new Chromebooks are powered by the latest generation of Intel chips that deliver improved performance and battery life, whilst prices are kept well below traditional PCs, due to the lower hardware requirements and software license costs.

Extract from my original article on

Categories: Hardware Tags: ,

A theory of relativity

Most days, I’m perfectly happy with the career choices I have made in my life. IT has always seemed like a good bet to me. Today was not one of those days.

We’ve recently committed to quite a considerable investment in upgrading our head office data storage with a new and improved, all singing, all dancing SAN. Today was the day the kit was delivered.

The van arrived an hour early, in the middle of a torrential rain storm (nothing unusual there!) However the kit was all well boxed and sealed, so it wasn’t going to be too much of a problem if the outsides got a bit wet as they were unloaded. That was, until the last box came off the van and turned out to be too big to fit through the door.

By some miracle, however, at that exact moment, the clouds parted, and we had a brief widow of opportunity to unpack the box in the car park and extricate the kit. What we found inside, however, was a fiendish puzzle, the like of which, Rubik himself, could have barely conceived!

The equipment was mounted inside a solid metal rack, with riveted joints, mounted on a double palette arrangement, thus leaving no access to the securing bolts from underneath. Once fitted into the cage, it’s contents prevented access to the bolts from above. The rack plus palettes were still too large to fit through the door!


OK, that’s easy, I hear you say, simply remove the equipment from the rack, and there is no need to detach it from the palette!

One small problem there, however… that theory assumes the person who fitted the equipment into the rack had not been a former McLaren wheel gun mechanic who had stripped the thread of one on the retaining screws in his eagerness to please his new machiavellian masters!

There then followed a period of much panic and running about trying to find a suitable tool to remove the offending screw, as ominously dark clouds once again to gathered overhead!

A variety of Poundland pliers, wrenches and hacksaws were soon assembled but none proved man enough for the job. Even after a full hour of effort, the finest hardware that 99p can buy, had barely made a scratch.

Then, just as all hope seemed lost, by some divine intervention and a call to fix a light switch, our local electrician arrived on site with a van laden with proper tools! The day was saved, just as the heavens opened, again!


So who were the evil geniuses behind this devilish plot to bring down thousands of pounds worth of computer equipment with nothing more than a 5p cross-headed screw?

No names, but Einstein would have been proud!

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