If it moves, it breaks!

Having been in IT for the better part of 30 years, I still sometimes forget, so when the New 500GB disk in my new laptop threw an error, I thought it was my fault. It wasn’t, it was, what is often refered to as ‘Infant Mortality’ a physical failure of the disk. The ‘Smart Disk’ technology on the drive controller built into the diskdrive identified the drive as ‘Failing’ and the Mint OS marked the drive read-only.

This allowed me to backup most of the the stuff I’d put on the drive to an external drive, but then it was useless. The drive has been sent back to PC Specialists for a replacement. The only good thing about this was the ease of repair of my new Clevo Laptop The disk removal took less than 5 minutes, two screws to open and remove the disk.

I am now using the laptop, booted from a new Mint installation on a 16GB SanDisk Cruser thumb drive. There isn’t much space left, and I get an occasional I/O pause with this setup, but try this with Windows, or a Mac and see how far you get.

But remember: ‘If it moves, it breaks!‘ backup often and more often!

My new Clevo W240EUQ Laptop from PC Specialists


This is the Laptop I have moved to. No longer a Mac user, never more than a PC user and never a Windows fan. I’m now entirely into my custom built Clevo W244EUQ laptop, built to my configuration by PC Specialist in the UK. Having done a lot of research and agonizing over prices and parts, my system was constructed and sent to me in, call it 10 days including shipping and weekends. And yes I’m writing this post from it. and I’m doing it from Mint 13 with the Cinnamon interface. Everything works, with the single exception that the SD card reader is not picked up. It also has one ‘hot’ pixel which only shows up during boot time, and I can live with that. I was amused and gratified that the laptop was NOT an exact match to the photos on the PC Specialist site, but I don’t think it was their fault as the Clevo site have many different configurations of this model laptop. On the positive, the laptop is better looking, and has a better keyboard than shown in the Clevo or PC Specialist photos. Mine photos are included below, though the first one isn’t perfect, because the top cover is so black that the auto focus couldn’t lock in.

The Specs are not stunning, about the same as a MacBook Pro. A Intel i5-3210M processor, 8 GB of ram, a 500GB 7200rpm disk with 16MB cache, 14″ screen 1366/768 HDMI, 1000 base ethernet, A/G/N Wifi, 2 USB 3 and 1 USB 2 port and a (currently) non-working SD Cardreader.


CPU Blowfish	    4.070
CPU CryptoHash   343.235
CPU Fibonacci	   1.819
CPU N-Queens	   5.411
FPU FFT		   0.972
FPU Raytracing	  3.688

Sync Me Up

How do you keep your connected devices connected?
How many different services do you depend on to keep your ‘stuff’ safe and available from anywhere?
Could you imagine a better way?
I can, and I almost have it working with my ‘stuff’,
now I’m just working on a way to make it easy for everyone else to do the same.

Apple’s outrageous share of the mobile industry’s profits

That pretty much says it all, doesn’t it?

Pie chart: Apple’s outrageous share of the mobile industry’s profits

In any other businesses this would be called a RIP OFF! by Apple, but with the Apple-Fanboy base, They can do no wrong. I used to be a Apple Evanglista back in Apple’s dark days, and I still use a MacBook. But I use a Nokia N900, because I can do more, with less Apple regulation, and I pay a great deal less than any iPhone ball-and-chain.

Snow Leopard upgrade

Snow Leopard has been released for a while (like a year, dude) so I am taking the leap, and doing the upgrade of my MacBook 2.16GHz. I managed a bit of a backup to my old Maxstor drive, and was still amazed at the speed of firewire 400 over USB 2.0. No contest, with the 50G backup I did, it would still be at it.

What really made my decision for me, the upgrade that is, was my dersire to get dirty into programing with Xcode. And of course that required Snow Leopard to use the newest compilers and QT.

So now I’m counting down the next hour with the hope my old macbook will survive.

UPDATE1: I love this just when I get up to date Apple prepares an new Cat . However I don’t think this is likely as the version I how have after the DVD install, and updates only puts Snow Leopard at 10.6.3, quite a bit short of a 10.7.x update.

Another Reason to Love Nokia and Maemo

It’s not Google and it’s Deadly Power of Data I have always been leery of Power. I don’t buy Microsoft , and I’ve stopped playing into Apple fandom. The last computer I bought was a home-brew DIY Server built from parts I chose, powered by OpenSolaris So now it’s another validation of my still unshipped Nokia N900 and Maemo! Please let Amazon ship it soon :-)

Weather or worries

I’ve been in afoul mood, depressed, cranky and touchy. Just the thing for a Cranky Blogger. Between the recession, NAMA, Lousy Politicians, crummy weather I’m just about dun in. And to top it all off, no one seems to want to Twitter @querynet, contribute Ideas to ideaforcasting.com, or store thoughts at @fleetthoughts. When I have an Idea, why do the seem Poor. Hope the Cork Open Beer manages to improve my mood!

Is Apple Paranoid?

Paranoia is the only explanation for Apple Claiming iPhone Jailbreaking Could Crash Cellphone Towers. What is it with them, does AT&T have their thumb up their Apples? It more and more vindicates my decision to not buy into the Apple iPhone/iPod touch ecosystem. Android and Palm Pre are going to kick Apple’s AT&T! I guess that it’s true, Apple want’s to be the next Microsoft!

Webmin back door

NOTE: Do not accidently drop your own permissions to su to root.

{Unless you happen to remember to have Webmin running. }

This weekend while trying to get CUPS to print on my DYI-Server I managed to grant myself ‘CUPS management’ and lost all other permissions, including the ability to su to root. If you aren’t a sysadmin this is roughly the equivalent of locking your keys in your house. OpenSolaris, and most of the modern Linux distro’s don’t allow root login. So I thought I was thoughly screwed, until I calmed down, and realized that I had Webmin running, so permissions repaired. Yet another harrowing learning experience.

I’m learning too much that a classic, easy to administer desktop operating system might be beyond Linux and OpenSolaris. Windows and MacOSX have just managed to hide most of the pain involved from the average user. And believe me, there is a lot to hide. Unfortunately for Linux and OpenSolaris, the developers and discussion groups associated with these OS’s ARE NOT end users for the most part, and have little interest in the area of user experience. So if printers don’t print and webcams only work ‘sometimes’ that’s Ok, something of interest, just not a serious impact on their development or their perceptions of the impact to the end user experience.

I appreciate that OpenSolaris is reasonably stable, and features are abundant. I’d just like to snap a picture off the webcam, and play a DVD movie once in a while and not just marvel at ZFS time shifting and what not.

Now back to the books….;-)

Apple’s iPhone is closing the door on the future

After hearing about how the iPhone can phone home and kill apps? I knew that my choice to purchase a Palm T/X was the correct one. But this is even more a vindication of my choice of the Nokia 6300 to act as the modem for both my MacBook and Palm T/X when Apple pulls posted iPhone modem app Apple won’t even allow you to use all the abilities of something You Own! just because they made it. DRM be dammed, being slaved to Apple is even worse. And just when Apple was beginning to increase marketshare, Job’s paranoia is making Apple into another Microsoft.

Apple Ergonomics and Working from Home

While I worked away this past week in an unexpected working from home situation I was proud of the job my MacBook did providing a Parallel’s Windows XP environment to connect to my office in Dublin. But the Mac did not come away unharmed as shown in the following photo.

This is the result of my use of the keyboard to rest my ham handed fists on it while typing on it. It is not the only damage I have inflicted on my MacBook as there is another crack in an exact mirrored position on the opposite palm rest, a crack I believe I committed by squeezing it too hard while picking it up one time some months ago. But it is apparent that this is a weak area of the MacBook, and the plastic is clearly too thin to support my hands let alone my grip, a definite design issue.

While on that thought, I also determined that while typing, the actual design of the edge of the MacBook is also done poorly as it really does have a sharp edge on the lip of the palm area that cuts into my hand, making me wish for a external keyboard. I have gotten very used to the chicklet keyboard layout on the MacBook, but that edge has to go. That however, engaged my memory, the first iBooks that Job’s and company delivered were much more ‘organic’ rounder things than the current incarnations and it made me long for more of that old style design. Maybe in the new MacBooks soon to be released, probably not, so until then, I’m off to find a laptop stand and keyboard.

Twitter learning curve

I think I’m beginning to understand Twitter, and I managed to deplete my 250 Twits SMS’s. You really need the desktop client when on the internet. And only use the Mobile SMS when, Mobile. Doh!

What I have found are interesting conversations with people I know, what I don’t understand is people who are following me, who do not know me, and I have never meet. What value following me? The first thing that comes to mind are squirrels gathering nuts, (me being the nut in this scenario) but I’m sure I will find out my role here.

One other thing, picking a desktop Twitter client has been interesting as I use a PC in the office and a Mac at home, and a Palm T/X and Nokia 6300 as mobile. Choices…