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.
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!
Just spend the last two evenings running around the nearby park and more. Looks like I’ll need to ramp it up if I’m going to be fit enough for the Yellow mountain in April. Anyways, just managed to upgrade Serendipity to 1.5.2. I’ve been slacking on this and DP was running on a 1.3.x build for quite a while. Anyways, it upgraded in like 10 minutes so everything looks fine.
I’ve also just posted photos of the Tras OA children hostel on our ministry blog over here.
Canon has released a firmware update for the EOS 5D Mark II that enables manual control of ISO, aperture and shutter speed while the camera is set to capture video. Firmware v1.1.0 also disables the depth of field preview button when playing back photos or accessing the on-screen menus and corrects various bugs.
More information on firmware v1.10, as well as links to download it, are here. Two PDFs describe how to use the new features: English/French/Spanish or Japanese/English/Chinese.
Well, the year is coming to an end and I cannot wait to get out of my box and move into a real home…
Well, yesterday I headed down to LY Plaza to my favorite IT retailer for a bunch of parts. I was aiming to wait till end September to get this upgrade but an unexpected disaster happened. Anyways, so, here goes upgrade phase one. Phase two is smaller and is not so obvious. If you noticed I have two Intel Core 2 CPU boxes in the photo. The one below is a Quad-core CPU which will be going into my main workstation but not exactly so soon. Why wait? I’ve two weddings to process so that takes priority and I need to stabilize the other workstation first. Choice of parts is nothing extraordinary. Just reliable parts to get the job done. After all, tech refresh is every 18 months anyway 🙂
Bunch of new parts ready to be assembled!
New architectural marvel or just a simple heat sink?
64-bit Vista install…