Archive for May, 2009

VirtualBox eats excessive CPU, up to 100% usage

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

If your VirtualBox guest operating system is eating excessive CPU on the host, perhaps causing your laptop fan to spin up and excessive heat to be generated, you may try this list of ways this can possibly be fixed.

Steps to test silver bullion coins for fakes/counterfeits

Monday, May 11th, 2009

There are currently a lot of fake silver coins making the rounds on Craigslist and Ebay. Most risky buys are uncirculated U.S. silver dollars (circulated are OK) and 1 oz silver bullion rounds. If buying used, it is best to buy from a seller with uniformly positive feedback and to pay with a credit card so that the transaction can be reversed directly. If buying new, there is no reason not to go straight to APMEX or a similar mint and purchase silver rounds from them. If you join their mailing list and wait for specials, you can get rounds for as cheap as $0.99 over the spot price of silver.

If you have bought something that you are suspicious of, here are all the tests I know of that you can use to make up your mind to send it back or not.

Why does my Antec case not support high speed front USB operation?

Saturday, May 2nd, 2009

On a 2004 vintage Antec SX series case, I was surprised to find out that while the rear ports on the motherboard supported high speed USB 2.0 operation, the front ports limited the USB device (iPod) to USB 1.1 speed (“full speed”). I checked and rechecked the wiring.

I came across the following posts which described a similar problem, USB 2.0 devices are unable to connect to the front ports or simply don’t work. This is due to a no-connect pin being connected to the front USB panel. The solution is to remove the header pin or cut the wire going to that pin.

Then I found the solution to my precise problem: USB 2.0 devices only work in slow speed on the Antec cases. The solution is to remove and bypass the filter circuit on the small board containing the front USB and firewire ports! It looks like Antec may even offer a free upgrade of the front USB board to one that operates correctly with USB 2.0 devices, so it doesn’t hurt to ask at Antec’s tech support site.