Archive for the ‘hardware’ Category

All revved up, not sure where to go…

June 22, 2007

I spotted a good deal on a 500GB external USB 2.0 drive, and decided to pick one up this morning. It’s an IOMagic drive and cost me $170 CAD (plus taxes of course). While I know kind of what I plan to do with it, I’m still mulling over the finer points. If you’ve got suggestions I’d love to hear them. Here’s what I’m thinking:

My machine has been a mess ever since I set it up as dual boot XP/Linux box. I’ve never been fully pleased with the performance of linux on this box and I think part of the reason is that the boot drive is a SATA drive, which caused weird problems with early versions of Ubuntu. I could never really get the dual boot setup working right, and performance on the machine is quite spotty.

Since upgrading to Feisty, things have been much better, but still at times it feels like it’s got a P3-800 chip on it and not the P4-3Ghz chip that’s actually on there. Processing operations are sometimes slow and other times rebooting seems to cure the problem – something that should NOT be a problem on a Linux box.

Anyway, I plan to use the new drive to back up all of my data that resides on my XP and Ubuntu partitions and wipe everything clean, starting from scratch. I’m going to install a fresh copy of Feisty on it, and then run XP in a virtual machine – yes, there are still a couple of things I need XP for… 😦

So here’s where my questions begin – pardon any stupidity:

1. Do I have to format this 500 GB drive? I’m assuming that I do. Should I do it in multiple partitions? And what type. I was going to do the whole thing in ext3. I can see all my XP data from within Linux now, so I’m assuming that’s the best route.

2. Once the backup is done, is there a definitive ‘best’ partition setup to use for the fresh Ubuntu Feisty install on my internal drives? I’ve got 2 – 160GB internal hard drives. One is SATA the other is IDE. I can let Ubuntu do it’s thing automatically. Is this the best way? Anybody got any pointers on this?

3. Is there any point in trying to preserve the various app settings and configurations that I have? I was just going to really start fresh. And that means reinstalling and configuring a lot of things from scratch. I’m a bit worried that if I try to migrate system settings that my past performance problems might follow me.

4. Is there anything I definitely need to save before wiping out my existing system? I’ve got all my ISP info on paper, and I generally don’t use saved passwords and logon info from my browser so that’s likely not a problem. But should I grab device info (like hard drive info) before starting the install? Is there a way to easily get this data? (maybe the dmesg logs?)

Those are my main questions right now. I will be taking the plunge this weekend whether or not I get any suggestions or advice. I’m far too impatient, especially when it comes to geeky stuff like my pc, to wait ;).

Ever seen one of these in a store?

May 12, 2007

I can now bid goodbye to burning CD-RW’s for podcast listening in the car. For some strange reason I thought the USB input on my new car’s stereo was for some special connection to a dedicated mp3 player (a la iPod). Turns out you can plug any USB key into it and play the mp3 files that it contains! Kia supplies a short black cord for this connection. I’ve tried it and it works flawlessly with the 1GB key I keep in my briefcase.

The stereo’s face has a female ‘mini’ usb jack on it, and the supplied cord has a male mini-usb on one end and a female usb type-A connector on the other end. The type-A connector is the ‘normal’ thin and wide jack type that is used on virtually all usb keys and devices. So you can plug the usb key right into the female end of the cable.

And while the cable is not too unsightly, the geek in me is now in search of a direct ‘female type A to male mini-usb’ adapter to eliminate the cord completely. Effectively I want to plug the USB key right into the face of the stereo, eliminating the cord.

I’ve done some online searches at BestBuy and TheSource (aka RadioShack up here), but the best I can seem to find is a female to female version.

This is exactly what I want. Anybody seen it available in good old brick and mortar electronic shops?