Archive for May, 2007

RAID 0 and Repairing Windows XP.

May 29, 2007

I can be impatient with computers.  When they don’t shut down quickly enough, I’ve been known to hold down the on/off switch causing them to shut down prematurely.  Or I just unplug them.  What the heck, right?  If it causes a .dll problem or some other windows problem, just copy the file to the hard drive and you’re back in business right?

Not if you have your boot drive set up in RAID 0.

I get impatient, right?  I like a machine that boots fast because I don’t like to leave my computers on when I’m not around.  People like to try to hack my boxes.  Or put spyware on them or whatever.  So I turn my computers off when I’m not using them.

Well if you get two Raptor hard drives and you set them up in a RAID 0 format, your machine will boot really fast.  Great for me, since I’m, well, you know, impatient.

Unfortunately, if you corrupt these drives like I did last week by forcing an early shutdown, you’re screwed.  I couldn’t get XP to recognize the partition because it was corrupted.  I lost everything.  Which is to say that I didn’t lose much.  I keep most of my important stuff on a non-Raptor drive.  I just use the Raptors for XP.

But it was still a giant pain.

eSata Drive, No eSata Cable.

May 16, 2007

I’ve written before about how awesome the Scientific Atlanta Explorer 8300HD is.  Tonight I impulse-bought a 500 GB eSATA external hard drive for it.  The hard drive it comes with is tiny and I figured this would help.  Sascha Segan inspired me to try this with an article he wrote.  Although it looks like he has since quit using it.  At Best Buy, I had the presence of mind to ask someone if they sold the cable.  According to this fine young gentleman, it’s not out yet.  I thought perhaps I had one at home as I remembered having numerous SATA cables.  Of course I found out later that SATA cables are not the same as eSATA cables.

So now I have this nifty new drive and no cable.  You have to remember, Cleveland Ohio is not exactly the tech capital of the world.  Most of the CompUSA stores have closed.  There is a Microcenter about 40 minutes away, but it’s too late tonight.  I’ll call them tomorrow.  There’s always Newegg, but I don’t want to wait.

Birthday Steak

May 13, 2007

I’m 41 today. For dinner this was my special treat. 1 ½ lbs. of meat. To my vegetarian friends, I apologize. But it was pretty darn good. 41 is not a special birthday. Having it on Mother’s day is even less special. But aside from a morning headache, it turned out to be a nice day.

Online gaming means spending more money.

May 6, 2007

Sometimes I think companies that sell games and consoles would like the consumer cost of gaming to move from its present cost to more like the cost model of a movie. One of the main reasons computer and video games are so popular is because even at $50 a game, you get more entertainment time per dollar than you do at the movies. Say Spiderman 3 costs you $10 for two and a half hours. A good video game might give you 50 hours of entertainment time or more for $50.

But the video game model is shifting. Let’s look at Xbox Live. It is a really cool service, but it’s not an inexpensive one. Most things cost points. I submit to you that if you started downloading stuff every time you sat down to play, you would end up spending more per month than if you just bought games from the game store. Plus, Xbox Live’s premium version itself costs money.

Look at World of Warcraft. You’re paying a monthly fee. Maybe it’s worth it, but the point is you’re getting closer to the movie model in terms of cost per gaming hour than if you just bought a game from a game store.

The more money consumers spend in gaming, the more profits the various companies involved make. I’m all for capitalism, but I’m also for being a smart consumer. The companies have the advantage. I want to look for bargains and I certainly don’t want to pay for bad content. A smart gamer should look carefully at new content and set a budget. It would be easy to start spending hundreds of dollars per month on games, just like we already do on cable.

Book Review: The Happiness Myth by Jennifer Michael Hecht.

May 5, 2007

I have a fixation on the concept of happiness. When I read about The Happiness Myth: The Historical Antidote to What Isn't Working Today, I immediately bought it and read it. It does not disappoint. Hecht takes an historical approach to happiness. She breaks this down into categories: Wisdom, Drugs, Money, Bodies and Celebration. She discusses each topic as humans have behaved over time in an engaging and through provoking way.

I learned a bit of history on Celebration. It seems that if a people are oppressed in one way, they can develop elaborate and in some ways shocking ways of cutting loose through carnivals and festivals.

It goes too far to say that Hecht advocates drug use. However, the reader gets the feeling that she has no problem with using legal drugs to get through rough spots. She has a great deal of historical backing on this point. Of course there’s also a lot of historical data about how bad drugs can be. The message seems to be: if are not the type of person who gets addicted, don’t feel bad about using legal drugs to get by. She argues this point well, yet there are an awful lot of people who struggle with addiction. I’m not sure how I feel about this, but it is thought provoking.

Hecht writes very well. In fact, this book seems to be classified as a self-help book and this does not do it justice. She is a writer of the caliber of Steven Pinker or Steven Levitt & Stephen Dubner The book does discuss self-help and distills that literature down to: “Know yourself. Control your desires. Take what’s yours. Remember death.” Taking these topics in turn, Hecht seems to say that happiness is found in open-minded moderation. She also identifies virtually all areas of human endeavor that can make one happy. Yet she goes beyond this in her clinical discussion of happiness and how humans have tried to find happiness over time.

This is easily one of the best books I’ve read this year. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in happiness as a concept.