Sunday, April 22, 2007

Defragmentation ... thats for ancient OS's right?

Thanks to Carlton to get me thinking about disk performance again. He just put together a nifty 1TB NAS system so I was benchmarking some basic disk copy on my Hot-Shite RAID=0 system ... expecting to blow him out of the water ...
when I tried to copy a 1.4G file ...
First I copied it from internal to external firewire ... that went prety fast, 57 seconds. So I tried from internal disk array to itself (C: to C:) and WHAT ? 2 minutes 30 seconds !!! ... no way ....

So I spent a long time looking at various things like BIOS RAID settings, "write cache" disabled, even gave DELL a chat ... (funny, they just said "We just test that the drives 'work' thats all). And to pour salt into my open wounds ... my friend Carlton has an identical disk drive ("raptor") but not in a RAID-0 (no raid) and his was copying the same file size in 48 sec ! ARGGG ... it cant be SO !!! RAID-0 is supposed to be faster then no raid ! not 3x slower !

My brain was racking ... why so slow ? I even dusted off some benchmark programs I had run when the system was new, and it came up with the same hard drive speeds as before ... ARG ...

In the "old days" a fragmented drive could cause problems like this .. but I thought that NTFS was beyond that. Furthermore, I was just trying to copy 1 file to 1 file, not create a bunch of small files. There as 30% free space on the drive and windows defrag showd lots of free contigous space so it should be efficient ..

I downloaded the pro version of Diskkeeper, set it to auto-defrag and let it run overnight. Next day, I tried the same test on the same file ... and the copy took only 45 seconds !! YES !!! Defragmentation to the rescue. I'm sold. I'm going to buy the pro version and just let it run to its hearts content.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

"Trailer Trash"

I've lived in Southern Indiana for 5 years now and have gotten used to the distinction between "Trailer Dwellers" and "Trailer Trash". It still amazes me when I see it. Now bear in mind I used to live in a "double-wide" myself (Sunnyvale, CA era 1991). I understand not having enough money for a "real house", in fact back then I could barely pay RENT on my trailer ... so people who have managed to actually buy land and a trailer and live on it, I respect that.

But what I saw yesterday just blows my mind. I was driving around southern Indiana checking out "Horse Campgrounds" (places you can camp and ride horses) and drove through some of the most amazing areas. Places where the term "Trailer Trash" just pops to mind. Imagine a 'major' county road (by 'major' I mean paved and 1 lane each way with a real yellow line down the middle). Along the highway, Hundreds , ney, THOUSANDS, of small plots of land with modest dwellings, largely of the trailer ("mobile home") variety. But ... here and there, and in some areas I drove through, mostly EVERYWHERE, was the "Trailer Trash" ... How literal a word that is. I always thought it was a stereotype ... but I've come to learn its a real-type. Front yards literally full of trash. Rusted car wheels with worn out tires half off, weeds growing threw them. Beer cans, bleach bottles, black plastic bags strewn all over. 30 year old rusted out cars with the hood open as if they were just working on it today (but weeds growing under the car prove otherwise).

In several (and I mean MORE THEN ONE) place I saw totally destroyed mobile homes just sorta pushed out of the way and newer ones installed behind them, leaving a corpse of a home in the front yard (along with multiple dead cars). Even a few cases of the stereotypical engine block ... but for the most part, just total trash with no obvious intent to reuse, fix or dispose of. Oven there are hills where dead cars were just pushed over the edge but didn't get very far ...

I've been scratching my brain for a day now trying to figure out why people do this ?

MP3 Player for outdoor use

Well I finally got an MP3 player which satisfies my constraints.
I wasnt asking for much ... just some decent output power ...

a bit over $100 from amazon ... 2GB and 60mw output power ! (about 4x most players).
Too many features but hey, I can ignore the 1" video screen ! geeze ... who's going to watch videos on something the size of a lighter ?
but its got enough room to display full title information, and the EQ feature is actually quite good.
I thought it would be useless but at full volume the bass was clipping so I got to cut the bass and preserve good volume.

Added to my Etymotic ER-6 earplugs and I'm styling.
The ER-6's are prety amazing. While I can hear the lawnmower ... its extremely subdued ... Add 60mw and I can actually hear the music !

so now I have about the same output power as my PPC in a more portable device (can use a neck lanyard)
I think the sound quality of the U3 is slightly worse then the PPC but still very good.