For a few years, my direct supervisor was based in Manhattan to get the office up and running. He hired people, bought equipment, etc.
We had one particular manager in NYC that wasn't worth keeping around. This was in 2011. He was let go from our company, and his laptop was requested to be sent back to Buffalo for forensic work.
This is where I come in.
I do the forensics on several government systems ON REQUEST. So, if it's on the HDD hiding, I am going to find it. (Ask my ex-wife how good I am at finding "dirt")
The laptop in question was an HP/Compaq 6715b:
HP Compaq 6715B Notebook PC
Genuine Windows Vista Business 32/64
Genuine Windows Vista Home Basic
Genuine Windows XP Professional
Genuine Windows Vista Enterprise
SuSe Linux Enterprise Desktop 10
AMD Turion 64 X2 Dual-Core Mobile Technology (up to 2.2-GHz, 2x512-KB L2 cache)
AMD Turion 64 Mobile Technology (2.2-GHz, 512-KB L2 cache)
Mobile AMD Sempron Processor (up to 2.2-GHz, 256-KB L2 cache)
Mobile AMD Sempron Processor (up to 1.8-GHz, 512-KB L2 cache)
Chipset AMD M690T Chipset
Memory DDR2 SDRAM, 667-MHz, two SODIMM slots supporting dual channel memory, 512/1024/2048/4096-MB
SATA 80/120/160-GB 5400 rpm, 80-GB 7200 rpm, HP 3D DriveGuard
12.7-mm optical drives: DVD+/-RW SuperMulti DL LightScribe, DVD+/-RW SuperMulti DL, DVD/CD-RW Combo, DVD-ROM
15.4-inch diagonal WSXGA+WVA (1680 x 1050 and 16M colors), 15.4-inch diagonal WXGA (1280 x 800 and 16M colors),
15.4-inch diagonal WXGA BrightView (1280 x 800 and 16M colors)
ATI Radeon X1250, up to 512-MB shared system memory
High Definition Audio, stereo speakers, stereo headphone/line out, stereo microphone in, integrated mono microphone
HP ev2200 1xEV-DO Broadband Wireless Module (requires Verizon Wireless Service)
, HP hs2300 HSDPA Broadband Wireless
Module (requires mobile network operator service)
; Broadcom 802.11a/b/g/draft-n, 802.11a/b/g, 802.11b/g WiFi Adapter,
Bluetooth™ 2.0, HP Wireless Assistant
Communications Broadcom NetLink Gigabit
Ethernet PCI Controller:
(10/100/1000 NIC), 56K v.92 modem
1 Type I/II PC Card slot supports 32-bit CardBus and 16-bit cards, Media Card Reader
Ports and connectors:
4 USB 2.0 ports, VGA, stereo microphone in, stereo headphone/line out, 1394a, power connector, RJ-11/modem, RJ-45/ethernet, S-video TV out, docking connector, secondary battery connector
Full-sized keyboard, Touchpad with scroll zone
HP Backup and Recovery Manager, Roxio Creator 9, Microsoft Office 2007 Small Business or Professional- Optional
HP ProtectTools, TPM Embedded Security Chip 1.2, HP Fingerprint Sensor, Smart Card Reader (optional), Kensington lock, HP Privacy Filter (optional), Symantec Norton Internet Security
(h × w × d) 1.37 in (at front) x 14.05 in x 10.43 in / 34.9 mm (at front) x 357.0 mm x 265.0 mm
Starting at 5.7 lbs / 2.59kg (weight will vary by configuration)
6-cell (55 WHr) Lithium-Ion battery, 6-cell (47 WHr) Lithium-Ion battery, optional HP (52 WHr) Extended Life Battery, optional HP (95 WHr) Ultra-Capacity Battery, 90W HP Smart AC Adapter, HP Fast Charge
HP 3-in-1 NAS Docking Station, HP Advanced Docking Station, HP Docking Station, HP Monitor Stand, HP Adjustable Notebook Stand, HP External MultiBay II
Without question, it's a nice, corporate grade machine.
There was ONE BIG PROBLEM, though: our fired manager beat the hell out of it.
When I opened the FedEx box, I was greeted by the distinct odor of urine. The next thing I saw when I opened the screen...15 keys were missing! OK...so he physically damaged it, as well.
Well, at least I could do the forensic work to see what he'd been doing during his daily routine for the past 11 months or so.
NO hard drive.
Ray knew what he was doing. To this day, we never recovered the HDD from this machine. It's the ultimate "cover your ass" conspiracy...at least as far as my company is concerned.
The machine then sat in our upstairs office here in Buffalo for a few more months. Since the machine was damaged/destroyed, there was no reason the company needed it anymore. With permission, my supervisor allowed me to take it home to play with.
The keyboard was not only missing keys, but it also had destroyed key contacts underneath it. So, there was no way that I could even enter the BIOS to see what I was dealing with.
Enter the Belkin "USB-to-PS/2" adaptor:
The needed peripherals plug right in. No further explanation is really needed.
Next...need power. Ray sent the machine back without the power supply. A quick trip to Best Buy fixed that. I KNOW I could have gotten the power supply from Level 8 MUCH cheaper, but getting a receipt means I can expense the cost. It IS a company machine, after all.
Once power was added, and the keyboard was all set and recognized, I powered it up...miraculously it survived the beating it took at the hands of the disgruntled former employee. As I went through the BIOS settings, I came to realize that this laptop had been outfitted with the BEST of everything.
While powered up, I pressed the button on the DVD drive and popped the Ubuntu 12.10 disk in. The machine started right up in "Live Mode", and even let me surf the web a little.
I don't like Live Mode, though. I could have stopped right there and just used it as a "Real Time" computer, because I wasn't about to go through the paperwork necessary (material requisition) to get the hard drive. Small purchases are easily posted to company "petty cash".
Then, the beam of light shone down from the heavens: this thing has a MEDIA CARD SLOT...and the BIOS sees it in the boot order menu.
Another trip to Office Max for the advertised special: 8GB microSD with adaptor for $7!
With microSD in hand, I returned to West Falls determined to install an OS to it.
Once installed in the card reader on the HP, I entered the BIOS one last time to eliminate the HDD from the boot order. WHY? Because it's NOT THERE. Some machine BIOSs will stop dead because it's trying to find a ghost device, while others will toss out an error code, and make you figure it out. This HP allowed me to remove it completely. After the DVD's first to boot, the card reader slot is second.
And away it went!
It only took about 25 minutes or so to install Ubuntu 12.10 to the microSD, and it hardly feels like a compromise using the OS off of it.
The sheer quality of 12.10 can not be overstated. Canonical's Ubuntu 12.10 is THE OS, Linux or otherwise, that I have been patiently waiting for for YEARS. While I've never really been much of a fan of any form of Linux., Ubuntu 12.10 is what a computer OS SHOULD BE. It's smooth, it's pretty, and it has APPS that allow real work or play to get done.
My biggest pet-peave of old distros of Linux, which I've said in the past, are the over use of stupid nomenclature...seen mostly in KDE. You find HUNDREDS, if not THOUSANDS of apps with names that all start with "K", and are clunky, difficult to install, and sometimes difficult to use. 12.10 and the Unity desktop have gotten away from that mess. For the first time I can remember, there is REAL software in the OS. Gone (at least as far as I can tell) is the old "Synaptic Package Manager", and replaced with "Ubuntu Software". This is GREAT! In one "visit", I had Google Chrome (they call it Chromium in some forms of Linux/Unix), Xastir, fldigi, and WSJT all added. And the REALLY nice part...the OS adds the icon to the "taskbar" at the left vertical side of the screen.
After an evening of using 12.10, I could HARDLY remember that I was USING LINUX! And that is the holy grail to switching from Windows.
I'm not exactly a Windows hater. I like Windows. I like Windows 7. Hell, Vista Starter was cool, as well. And XP?! Think of XP as Iggy Pop, or Mick Jagger. Holy Christ they're old, but they STILL kick ass and get the job done. I installed Ubuntu because Windows, with its massive amount of HDD read/writes would destroy the microSD in short order.
I know what some computer "experts" are going to say: That SD/microSD will wear out pretty quickly.
Let me show you why this is pure BS:
Flash memory indeed has limited write cycles. However, by now it is unlikely that you'll encounter this within the normal lifetime of such a card. Usually this is in the order of 100,000 write cycles today and SD cards include circuitry to manage wear-leveling, that is, spread out writes over the storage media evenly to avoid "hot spots"—pages that are written too frequently and therefore failing early.
Said lifetime is commonly agreed upon as "10 years".
And...we have MANY voicemail systems installed that use SD cards AS the HDD, and they only fail when they are browned-out or spiked.
And if I really become worried, I can ALWAYS duplicate the microSD. One fails, and the other goes in. "HDD" replacement is 2 seconds.
This weekend is the CQ WPX RTTY Contest. I will be BACK in the transmit chair on 10m for the contest. And I will be putting the HP Beast to work with fldigi for the digital suite AS WELL as for logging. I'll add photos as the weekend progresses.