Mobile and Tablet Devices Review

Cyber Living posts the specifications or details of the latest mobile phones and tablets with some thought comments on the device You can find them by clicking the MOBILE?TSBLET DEV on the menu bar above. Or you can click this link Mobile and Tablet Devices

Computer Problems Solutions

For personal computer/notebook problems and tips, refer to PC PROB from the menu or click this link Personal Computer Problem Solutions.

What's in the world with Philippine ISPs

Discussions about Philippine Internet Service Providers (ISPs) particularly problems users are encountering but are not getting any solutions.

  • Tips or work around to these problems to improve browsing experience.
  • Do you have any problems too? Give your comments below each of the posts to be heard.
  • Or better yet, send me a message on our contact form if you want a dedicated article to your problem on this site.
  • Bloggers and Webmasters tips/tricks

    Looking for something to implement to your site? Our Bloggers' tips/tricks have what you need. If you do not find it there, notify us through our contact form.

    SEO Tips

    Tips to improve your rankings on Search Engine Resuts Pages (SERPs).

    Sunday, February 23, 2014

    Your computer will eventually die

    Whether it is the moving parts nor electronics components that will be the cause, your computer (actually, any electronic item in your possession) will eventually die.

    Yes folks, whether we like it or not, this is the reality.

    I am writing this piece because while I was looking up about hard drives, I came across an article detailing that hard drives and other parts of the computer with mechanical parts are the ones that will kill your computer. He is even very much sure of it by stating that the electronic components like the integrated circuits (IC) will never degrade over a period of time which of course this writer totally disagree.

    This is the reason for this article. To correct any misinformation of such an article and I will be using integrated circuits (ICs) to illustrate my point.

    Let me start by describing in general what a typical IC's inner workings. An IC has the outer packaging or encapsulantion which now a days made of hard, thermoset plastic, that encloses everything to protect the very sensitive "things" inside an IC.

    Inside, you will find the chip (in the semiconductor industry it is called a die) where all the digital magic happens. An IC is made up of silicon doped with other materials to create very tiny transistors. There could be several hundreds of thousands or several millions of transistors packed into a 1cm square area. This is why the outer protective covering offered by the plastic packaging described above is very important.

    Then there is the substrate (or leadframe) that provides electrical connection from the outside of the package to the inside of the IC. Lastly, there needs to be a wire that will connect the chip and the substrate. The material used is a very thin wire (less than or equal to 0.001 of an inch or 0.0254 of a millimeter in diameter) of 99.9% gold. There are other material used like aluminum and copper but mostly gold. If gold wire is not used, a tiny ball of Tin/Lead alloy (called bumps) is used to provide connection of the chip to the substrate.

    The above mentioned is the basic components of an IC. There are other things to complicate its assembly but let's do away with them to make this article simple.

    With that said, each material has what we call interfaces. An example is the chip to encapsulant interface. There are also the chip to gold wire or bump to chip interconnect as well as gold wire or bump to substrate interconnect.

    Now all these interface/interconnects also degrade over time either through temperature changes from its constant use or from the application of electricity to it. Or it can simply be due to its environment.

    To explain this further, when an IC is located in a very humid environment, it could absorb moisture from the air and this is not good for the encapsulant. The result could be increased stress inside the IC that will eventually lead to delamination of the encapsulation to the chip or the substrate. To delaminate means that two materials that were joined has separated. This may lead to broken wire as any movement of the encapsulation will pull the wire until it breaks. It could also crack the chip. In either case, the IC is made defective.

    Another case is that with the constant application of electricity to an IC, migration of materials happen. This is because of the constant movement of electrons, due to the application of electricity, migration is not uncommon to happen. Take for example the gold wire to chip interconnect. With the right condition, like high temperature at powered state, some of the gold wire my migrate into the chip causing void in the gold wire making the connection weak or even brittle that may eventually crack where even a microscopic crack would make the IC defective.

    A substrate/leadframe may also develop growth on the leads and when it grows long enough, it could touch adjacent leads causing electrical short circuit that will damage other part of the circuit board due to high current caused by the short. But the short on the leads, whether there is additional damage on the board or not, will already make a computer or any electronic gadget/appliance to malfunction or will not work at all.

    There are still countless things that can happen but which I can not describe here or this post will become a book. But the above example is enough to demonstrate that just because there are no moving parts an electronic component 5 years ago will be as good as it is today.

    Don't worry though, even if what I have described is true. ICs in the field almost always last within their expected life. This is done by a group within the company that tests the reliability of each product and they are very good at predicting an ICs life.

    To give more insight on the matter, industry standard today expects an IC to live for 10 years on non-automotive parts. If after 10 years it is still working, that's already a bonus.

    Back to CyberLiving home page

    Other Posts
    Back to home page

    Wednesday, January 22, 2014

    How to check a Hard Disk Drive's health?

    You start up your computer then suddenly you hear strange noises coming that seems to come from one of your hard drive. Naturally you start to worry. What if your hard drive is starting to fail? There is a way to check all  your hard disk's health using only what Windows offers.

    Yes, like any other device, a hard drive also has its own "life expectancy". Same thing with other parts of your computer, actually more so for it because a hard drive consist of a moving (rotating) part.

    So how would you determine if your hard drive is already dying? One indication that your hard drive is dying is when you start to see delayed right fail errors. Although a healthy hard drive may also encounter this error, it is more common on a drive that is starting to deteriorate.

    But if you wish to see all your drive's health there are many third party software that you can install which will do such a specific task, that is to monitor your hard disk's status. Be aware though that installing such third party software will contribute to your overall load and may even slow it down a bit or a lot depending on your hardware.

    But that is not what this is about, this is about using what you already have. This is Windows' Disk Management tool. Here is how:

    1. Go to control panel and click on Administrative Tools.
    2. On the Administrative Tools window, click on Computer Management.
    3. Under Computer Management, you will see several items listed on the left of the window. Look for Storage and expand it to reveal another set of list. Locate Disk Management and click it. Wait for several seconds while it propagates all hard drives connected to your computer. When it finally shows all the drives, it will also show each drives' status. In the example image below of my drive, all are healthy.

    Hard Disks Health Status
    List of hard drives with their health status shown under Disk Management of the Computer Management window

    Lastly, it a good practice to always make a back-up of the content of your hard drive. Do not wait until you see signs of failure before you start backing up your data since by that time some of your data may already get corrupted beyond recovery.

    Back to CyberLiving home page

    Other Posts
    How I made my blog in blogger get a page rank?