Posts in Don’t Panik

Entire server migration starting soon.

I’ll be moving off, onto a brand new server this coming week. As the move will entail not just the website and databases, email delivery will also be temporarily disrupted up to 24 hours for the DNS to cut-over. I’ll post another announcement when the migration is going to start. Tentative date is 1:00AM GMT on September 19th.

The road…

For the choir director: A psalm of David.

In times of trouble, may the Lord answer your cry.
May the name of the God of Jacob keep you safe from all harm.
May he send you help from his sanctuary and strengthen you from Jerusalem.
May he remember all your gifts and look favorably on your burnt offerings.
May he grant your heart’s desires and make all your plans succeed.
May we shout for joy when we hear of your victory and raise a victory banner in the name of our God.
May the Lord answer all your prayers.
Now I know that the Lord rescues his anointed king.
He will answer him from his holy heaven and rescue him by his great power.
Some nations boast of their chariots and horses, but we boast in the name of the Lord our God.
Those nations will fall down and collapse, but we will rise up and stand firm.
Give victory to our king, O Lord! Answer our cry for help.

Site & Blog migration planned

The current hardware and platform running Don’t Panik has been around for two years now. It’s getting a bit overdue for a refresh. New stuff is planned and an upgrade is in the works. Unbelievably, Don’t Panik has been around since 2004. That’s 7 years of non-stop blogging and availability. Migration and upgrade is scheduled for mid-September.

We’re also moving off the Serendipity platform that runs this blog since 2004 to WordPress. No big reason why other than a couple of new projects coming up will be based on WordPress and as a result, I might as well put everything on a common platform.

Moving to a Mac

Oh great, this is another PC to Mac convert writing … NOT.

I’m still a PC guy. For the desktop anyways. Windows works well for me and I’ve not had any malware, virus, crash, blue-screen, you name it in the past ten years – okay, I admit once due to nVidia’s vista 64-bit driver. That was when 64-bit was new anyways. Of course I’ve hardware failures such as hard drives but nothing extraordinary.

Recently, I acquired a MacBook Pro and have been loving the mobile experience. I’ve no challenges using both a Mac and Windows system and I use my PC desktop frequently. For laptops however, I find overall a MacBook Pro provides better experience and usability. Let me define those two in specific areas.

When going mobile, you need to pay attention to details. Things like power cords, connectors and the like. I love the fact the MacBook power cords have two plugs – one long and one that turns the brick into a wall wart. Simple and practical. Another plus, the cable is usually extra long and easily coiled if you don’t need more length. Just simple. Screen brightness and keyboard back light brightness are also another. Good screen laptops are hard to find and my only gripe here is that I can’t get a 13″ matte screen MacBook. Otherwise, I like that I can adjust both brightness easily and quickly. Heat vents are my new pet peeve. Don’t you hate sitting in tropical weather with the airconditioner at full power and to have sweaty hands? That’s because that silly laptop has to vent heat to the right (or left). I’m right handed and I don’t have that problem with a MacBook.

Battery life is amazing on the 2.7Ghz 13″ MacBook Pro. I went 6 hours without problems. No extra batteries, slices or bulkier add-ons. I could have gotten seven hours if I was spending less time in Lightroom though but I think any portable device needs to have at least 6-hours of usage life. Don’t quote idle life – that’s utter crap. Finally, the touch-pad was glorious to use. Responsive and just lovely. I’m so used to inaccurate PC laptop touchpads so this is just bliss. Good enough that I actually could do most things without a mouse.

Would I swap my desktop to a Mac? Probably not at this time but if I need another portable computer, it’ll definitely be a MacBook Pro.

The SSD Swap

A while back, my wife’s PC decided to throw up a couple of ATA errors. ATA errors are usually associated with disk issues so I took them very seriously. A series of disk checks reveal a couple of bad sectors. For me, a bad sector is a indicator to replace the disk ASAP. As this was the boot drive, my first priority is to update the backup image. I use Acronis TruImage to create backup images of my boot drives. Data drives are backed up to my NAS (1st level backup) which automatically replicates to my Storage Server that houses 6x2TB of disks.

After updating the image, and had chkdsk mark up the bad sectors, the problem went a away. Now this is a temporary solution as a bad sector usually indicates something is wrong or is going to go wrong on the disk. It usually never goes away. It’s like a tumor that even though you’ve beaten it into remission, it can always potentially rear its ugly head. Of course, if you cut the tumor out, it’s a different story. So, the analogy was to swap the drive.

I contemplated swapping with Seagate’s hybrid drive but decided to try out Corsair’s F60 SSD instead. It’s a Sandforce powered drive that’s been reviewed to be among the quickest at the time of writing. I went with 60Gb as it was an affordable size. SSDs are faster in larger sizes but any SSD will beat most mechanical disks anyway so…

The result, well, cold boot to usable desktop (i.e. I can launch Firefox or Photoshop) went down from about 119 seconds to about 31. This is Vista 64 by the way. Application launches went from 21 seconds down to 4 seconds for Photoshop CS4, Firefox takes about a second to pop out. Outlook took about 6 seconds (not too bad considering all the offline and email folders are on a mechanical disk).

Overall, definitely very, very snappy which is the main point about SSDs. It makes my other systems boot time feel like forever. Even shutdown times are under the five second mark.

Well, my next SSD upgrade will probably be a Sandforce 2 powered drive. I can’t wait!

Happy New Year 2011

Nothing much to see or write 🙂 but hope everyone has had a fantastic 2010. I know I did and I’m looking forward to 2011. It may be a great year or it may be a challenging year, but with my darling with me, it’ll turn out fine.