Archive for Hardware

Nested chaos

This morning I told someone I’d find a document and send it to them by tomorrow. Tonight I got around to looking for it.

First hurdle: it’s not on my laptop. Okay, not a problem; it’s a few years since I last saw it, so it’s probably on my… old laptop. The hard drive of which I wiped and put in a housing to use as portable storage.

Not to worry, before I wiped that drive I copied its contents to… the server that I’m not using anymore because I replaced it with a fit-PC2. (Did I mention? I got a fit-PC2. It’s awesome. Barely ever goes above 10W.)

But that’s okay, because I copied the contents of the old server to the new one. Except a few things that I didn’t copy because the hard drive is smaller in the new one, which wasn’t a problem at the time because I was going to start a new backup system involving removable drives. Which I haven’t gotten around to yet. But I would have remembered to copy this, because it’s important, and not very big, and…


Never mind, the old server is still here, I’ll just crawl around under the desk, shuffle a few plugs around, and start it up.

Huh. Doesn’t want to power up. Maybe I unplugged it to make room in the power board.

Nope, plugged in. Maybe there’s something up with the power cord.

And also with this spare power cord.

So I’ve now resorted to transplanting the drive into another box (not the first time this particular drive has had this treatment) so that I can boot a server that I’ve replaced to get a file that I’ve copied several times but not to anywhere that I could immediately get at it, all so that… well okay I really did need that file, but boy did it make me work for it.

This weekend I’m setting up a backup system.

No, seriously. I will.


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Vye Mini-v S37

So my Vye S37 just arrived. It came with Vista on it; I booted it once (actually about three times, after it did all its setup-reboot-repeat shenanigans… sheesh) to check that it worked, then booted Ubuntu 9.10 Netbook Remix from a USB drive.

Here’s a list of what works in UNR out of the box:

  • Everything.

Okay, technically I don’t know that everything works – I haven’t tried Bluetooth or the card reader or most of the buttons on the display (in fact I suspect that at least the screen rotation button will need some custom fiddling), but the two main things that other people seemed to have trouble with in older versions of Ubuntu – WiFi and the touchscreen – work beautifully. Well, I haven’t tried to use WiFi yet, ’cause all the routers around me are locked, but it can see them.

I am well pleased. I’ll post some thoughts on UNR after I’ve played with it for a while.

Ah… Just noticed that the touchscreen doesn’t quite go to the edge of the screen. I can live with that. If that’s what everyone else is complaining about then, frankly, what a bunch of whingers.

Edit: Oh, I see, menus and whatnot are at the edge of the screen, which makes the touchscreen thing important. Well, I found the touchscreen maker’s site the other day and they seemed to have well-maintained Linux drivers (there’s an installer for the last several Ubuntu versions, including 9.10), so I’ll see what can be done about it later.

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iPad Substitute

I seem to have developed a pattern of buying alternatives to Apple’s flagship products.

Instead of getting an iPod, I bought an iriver. Part of the rationale was that it supported Ogg Vorbis. It also turned out to be chunky and awful and churn through AA batteries, but meh.

I deliberated for a while about getting an iPhone, but on the verge of making the decision there was some controversy or other about the app store, which pushed me over the line to go for the Android-powered HTC Hero instead. The idea of an open platform for app development appealed to me enormously. So far I haven’t actually done any of said development, but it’s nice to know that I could in theory.

I don’t actually have a problem with Apple, and in fact I think their focus on a simple, seamless UI is something that should be imitated far more often. But being a geek, I actually like something with a few visible seams, because they can be picked apart. Like Shamus, I’m not really their target market.

Anyway, less than a week after the iPad announcement, I find myself having bought a Vye Mini-v S37 at auction. Notionally the idea is to have something small and light to travel with, especially on our honeymoon in May – an argument supported by its the fact that it has a CF card reader, will let me dump photos onto it. But really I just thought it was cool. Obviously I’m planning to put Linux on it (probably Xubuntu)… although I can’t find anywhere that explicitly says that someone’s tried that and everything works, which means that it could be… interesting. It’ll be disappointing if I’m stuck with Vista.

So the relevance of this to a blog about software and stuff (other than the fact that I’ve been otherwise occupied with work and wedding plans and the box set of Buffy and am struggling a bit to find something to write to break the silence) is that I’ll be posting some updates on how Linux holds up in the tablet-netbook-thing niche.

Update: Apparently the Vye S37 is also sold as the Kohjinsha SH8. That link is to a blog describing an attempt to get Ubuntu 7.10 working on said Kohjinsha (and I thought this blog was too topic-specific :) ). So it looks like the problems, if I have them, will be WiFi and the touch screen… although I’m also quite optimistic about Ubuntu’s progress over the intervening two years.

Update 2: The Ralink RT73 WiFi adapter allegedly works out of the box in 9.10. Should be okay on that front.

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