Monday, April 27, 2009

Connection to LCD TV and CRT TV

In my earlier posts, I have written about connecting the S10 to an external PC monitor and there was no problem at all. My actual experience was connecting to an LCD monitor, Acer model, X173W and the S10 automatically switched to the maximum resolution of the Acer, which was a modest 1440 x 900. I believe it would be the same if you were to connect the S10 to an external CRT monitor.

Now what about connecting to an LCD TV as oppose to the LCD monitor? More and more of us are switching to LCD TV and most of these TV comes ready with an RGB terminal or also called the PC input terminal. Can you just connect your S10 to this terminal? Since I have just got myself an LCD TV, the Sharp LC-19A35M (a modest 19 inch, you can read more about this in my other Blog here) I was able to put it to the test.

For connecting to an LCD monitor, you do not need any external cable since the connecting cable is usually already fixed internally to the LCD monitor itself at one end and you just need to connect the loose end to the S10 RGB terminal (Lenovo calls this the VGA port). However to connect to an LCD TV, you would first need to have the right connecting cable and the one for this job is a RGB to RGB cable, with male to male connectors. An example from Amazon is shown here below.

The important point to note here is that the connectors at the cable must be male to male and not male to female as this type is also available. An easy way to remember the difference between male and female is to remember that male has pins while female has holes. Isn't this simple enough? So in this case we need a cable with pins at both ends to fit into the holes at the S10 and at the LCD TV. Now with the anatomy lesson out of the way, let's move on to see how the S10 performed. (Another point to note is the length of the cable required so that it can reach the LCD TV comfortably.)

Just like in the case of connecting to an external LCD monitor, there was no problem. The S10 switched automatically to 1024 x 768 resolution (in my case) to match the most suitable resolution of the LCD TV. The Sharp LCD TV has a resolution of 1366 x 768 so the one used by the S10 was the closest usable resolution. This has an aspect ration of 4:3 and since the S10 display also emulate this resolution (when both the displays are on), you need to scroll the S10 screen to see the whole display. Remember you need to press Fn+F3 to select one or both the S10 display and the external LCD TV.

What about connecting the S10 to a normal CRT TV (not LCD TV), will it work? Yes and No. If you just connect with the VGA to RCA video cable like this one below, it will not work. This cable is meant for PC/laptop with a TV out video card and S10 does not have this so it will not work. So DO NOT BUY THIS for the S10.

To connect your S10 to a normal TV (non-LCD), you will need a VGA to Video converter like this one below. This is just an example and there are other models available. Since I have never use one before I cannot comment on the quality so users who have used this may want to comment.

For those of you already owning an LCD TV and you want to have your S10 connected to the big display, all you need is to get the RGB to RGB cable detailed above. But first check that the LCD TV has the RGB or PC input terminal. This terminal is only for the video and if you want to have the audio, you will need to have a cable to connect the earphone output on the S10 to the audio input terminal of the LCD TV. The type of cable needed will depend on the audio terminals provided by the LCD TV. For my Sharp LCD TV, the audio connection for the PC is the stereo jack so I just need a direct male to male stereo jack for this purpose. Some LCD TV may provide only the RCA audio input terminals and and to connect these you will need a cable with the stereo jack at one end and two RCA plugs at the other end. An example is shown below.

Happy big screen viewing!

Ronald Kwok

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Webcam (Bison) firmware update issue - hotfix

Here is the latest solution provided by Lenovo for those of you who are having problem with the webcam on the S10 or S10e after the firmware upgrade. You can download the latest firmware that solves the problem here but please read the release notes carefully before you take any action. I have reproduced the main points below and the most important point to note is not to do any firmware upgrade if you are not having any problem with your webcam.

After installing the Bison Camera Firmware Upgrade, the S10 camera will stop working and display only grey or black background.
Ideapad S10 can be equipped with two different camera sensors. The firmware upgrade available on the website, (version 1404) would damage the existing firmware of one of the cameras and cause the problem described above.
Important Note: This hotfix must ONLY be installed on the machines affected by the symptoms described above. If the camera is working properly, do not install this hotfix. Otherwise, the camera firmware will be destroyed permanently.
A new Firmware upgrade, version 1405, has been released and is available on the website in order to prevent the issue from happening."

Good luck.

Ronald Kwok

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Miscellaneous items about S10 to be aware

Here's a variety of miscellaneous items about the S10 that users should be aware. Some of them are culled from the Lenovo's forums.

1. If there's pressure on the cover (the LCD screen) when it is closed, it may leave imprints of the keyboard on the screen over time. Ensure heavy items are not placed on the cover or carried in a very cramped bag and you can put a piece of cloth or plastic between screen and keyboard to prevent this.

2. The Lenovo logo comes out quite easily, especially the letter 'e' when caught in a cleaning cloth, maybe because of the sharp edges. So be careful when cleaning around the Lenovo logo or you may want to use a stronger glue for the logo if you are handy for this.

3. If the mouse pad jams, i.e. the cursor no longer moves with your finger movement, plug in a normal USB mouse and move around; it will usually release the jam without having to restart Windows.

4. The front ends of the cover and the palm rests seem to be magnetic (to ease the closing and hold them together) so be gentle when you close the cover or there may be a loud thud. It may not break anything but it may break your heart or shock the Hard Disk a little!

5. It was reported by user TarveN that his Nokia E71 cellphone has caused his S10 to reboot when he placed in on the keyboard. So be aware that this could also happen with other cellphones but why would anyone want to leave his cellphone on the keyboard?

6. This has been reported by some users so it may or may not work if you encounter the same problem. If the S10 cannot turn on, disconnect the battery and AC, press and hold down power on button for 10 seconds. Reconnect with AC or battery, press power on button again and it'll be OK. Hopefully!

7. There has been plenty of new Bios upgrade on the Lenovo site in attempts to solve the noisy fan problem, the latest one being version 59. If you do not have the noisy fan, do not upgrade your Bios as the feedbacks have been mixed and some are negative. It is better to wait for a final version before you do the upgrade since testing is still going on.

8. Many users have reported that upgrading the webcam using the latest Bison firmware has killed the webcam so do not use this firmware. As long as you are not having any issues with your components, there is no need to upgrade to the latest drivers since some have caused more harm then good. So it is a case of "don't fix it till it's broke".

That's all folks. I am distracted by the aroma of the Easter feast that my wife is cooking up in the kitchen. And a Happy Easter to all.

Ronald Kwok