Tuesday, August 9, 2016

An Online MS Viso Alternative LucidChart.com

It has always been a wish that I would find a cross platform alternative program that can do at least as much as MS Viso. I think that I found one. LucidChart.com. While it is cloud based (with an "offline" version via Chrome) it does meet and exceed all that I need to do when I need to draw MS Viso diagrams. While the "free" basic version will get you started you will find that having the premium version will unlock much more potential like importing your own stencils. In fact, I tend to go back and forth on the premium version and the basic version depending on the work that I am doing and the length of contract that I am working on.

So next time you are looking for a MS Viso like alternative, take a look at LucidChart.com. I think you will find value like I have.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Thank You Acer -- Aspire E 15 RAM and HDD Easy to Upgrade

I recently acquired an Acer Aspire E 15 (model # E5-575-52JF, http://goo.gl/meOXYm) from Best Buy from their "Cyber Monday in July" sale. Saving a $100 and free shipping to the store for in store pickup. I wanted a new laptop for consulting and also wanted a project laptop. And, this fit the bill. More on my built out in future posts.

Reading the reviews, one of the complaints with this model is that it comes with only 4 GB of RAM. While, I do agree that is low for Windows 10, further research on this model shows that it has 2 RAM slots for DDR4 RAM with a max upgrade to 32 GB. More then enough for my project.

Popping on Crucial.com, I bought some compatible RAM even before I turned on the laptop. It was a pleasant surprise to see when I flipped over the Acer Aspire E 15 to find that it was a flash from the past. Only 3 screws will remove the panel that will allow for RAM upgrade and HDD upgrade. Five minutes later more RAM was installed and ready for use. This was refreshing not having to remove the entire bezel or more. I wish more vendors would do this for all their models from low to mid to high. When you have to remove of 100 screws to change out anything in a laptop.... I am talking about you Apple and the MacBook Air, it introduces many, many errors even for the seasoned tech.

Anyway, below are pictures and step of upgrading my RAM. I will upgrade the hard drive to a SSD soon, just deciding on what I want/need. Until then, I will stay with the stock 1 TB 5400 RPM HDD. Slow, I know, but I always tell people to upgrade RAM 1st then HDD. So, I need to follow my own advice.

Step 1:
Turn off the computer, unplug from the power supply and flip over to remove 3 screws with a Phillips screw driver.

Step 2:
Carefully pry open the Hard Drive/RAM compartment

Step 3:
From here you can replace either the RAM or Hard Drive very easily. If you are in an area where there is a lot of static charge, be careful and take precautions to reduce that risk.

Step 4:
After replacement of RAM and/or Hard Drive replace the compartment cover and replace the screws. I found it is easier to start putting the compartment back from the bottom (away from the screws) up.

Step 5:
Flip back over, plug in power supply and give it a go. It is always a good idea to run a memory test for good measure.