Tag Archives: hardware

Moving to RAID

My computer is dead.  Windows refuse to restart.  The computer keep rebooting itself on the XP logo screen.  I was horrified, worrying losing all my data.  Hardware failure is not a big deal, you can always replace the broken parts.  However the data inside the computer is irreplaceable.  Luckily all my hard drives are intact, only the Windows itself is corrupted.  It will only take me a few days to re-install Windows and all my usual programs.  However, I feel a bit uneasy to format my C: drive.  I want to keep all the data in case there is something important.  So I have to buy an extra hard disk to copy over the data.

Since I am already buying more hard disk, why don’t I fix it once for all, so that I can have a peace of mind.  I upgraded the motherboard to one that support RAID and bought more hard disk space.  RAID stands for redundant arrays of inexpensive disks.  The idea is having two hard drive running in parallel mirroring each other.  In case of a disk failure, you still have a complete set of data.  It is a hardware solution, works much better than backup software.  Now I know my photos, my personal records and my mp3 collections of every Chinese CD released in the past 20 years are safe inside the hard disks, which have over 2TB capacity in total.

Dell Inspiron 6400 Laptop


My laptop (Inspiron 6400) ordered from Dell has arrived today. It is the first laptop I ever own, excluding the piece of junk PMC gave me when I started working. I am quite happy with the laptop, except it doesn’t have enough memory. I know it when I make the order to avoid buying over charged memory from Dell. I am going to order more memory online, so I will have to suffer the sluggish performance for a while. There are lots of work to do after getting a new computer. I have to install all my usual software. However before that, I have to uninstall the useless software come with the laptop. Why can’t Dell allow me choose a clean windows install without all those software cogging my registry? I am still not use to the smaller keyboard and the touch pad, that will take me a while to get use to. I will post some more review of my laptop after I have the chance to use it for a longer period.


Today continues the painful process of installing software. I get most of the software installed, and I realized I forgot to copy two very important pieces of information from my old hard drive, they are my firefox bookmark and palm desktop contact list. I wonder why can’t all the software save their data in one centralized location, so I only have drag one directory every time I update my system.

Computer Crash

Fortunately, I am able to recover the data from my harddisk after running fixboot, fixmbr, chkdsk /p and fdisk /mbr on the recovery console from the Windows XP CD. However, unfortunately, the OS is beyond repair, I can’t even start file explorer or even go online. To reinstall my computer, I have to find some disk space to host my data while I reformat the harddisk. So I end up buying a 200GB harddisk for backup, and since I am going to open up the case, I got myself extra 1GB of RAM. Now my system has 1.5GB RAM and 440GB harddisk space in total. I’m planning to use the new harddrive and the 512MB RAM in the MS cheap computer though. I still haven’t decide whether should I take advantage of that deal, but will see how it goes.
To save time, I’m going to install the essential software. I found I had installed way too many software that I had not even used once. It’s a painful and unproductive process that I want to go through as soon as possible.

On a side node, when I was messing inside the case, I accidentally pressed the stand-by button of the cable modem and I’m not aware of it. I called the support line to make myself look like a fool for asking why the internet doesn’t work when the cable modem in stand-by mode. While I was waiting for the tech support, the system always play meaningless messages. I find a very stupid one telling the customer who has problem with their internet access to visit their support website. Duh! If I can visit the support website, I won’t be calling this number, go figure.

Dual monitors

Finally I received my dual LCDs at work after waiting for almost two months since I had talked to Uncle Bob. Colleagues gathered around my cube today and check out the dual LCD setting. I am not sure how to measure the productivity increase using dual displays, but it definitely much more convenient to use. The moral of this story is that you will get what you want if you keep asking for it and ask it to the right person.

My windows machine is dead and it keep rebooting itself. I suspect some files of the OS is corrupted since it won’t even boot into safe mode. The only option I have is to re-install windows. I hope the windows recovery works so I won’t lost my data. Sigh.. I don’t have much time to re-install all the software.

cheap computer

I’m still struggling whether should I take the advantage of the computer bundle from Microsoft and AMD. The deal is part of the Tech Road Show package, with sell 64-bit AMD CPU, Asus mother board and 64-bit XP for US$250. The hardware alone already costs $500. The catch is that you have to attend the show in person to pick up the package. My linux box is running on an old P3 733MHz and it’s about time to upgrade. So on top of the MS/AMD bundle deal, I only need to shell out another $200-$300 for a case, RAM and harddrive. The whole new computer would cost less than $600. My only concern is that I don’t have much time to setup the new server.

Follow this link to register.

Apple and intel

The only big news for all the geeks around the world happened today is that Apple annouced it will ditch IBM/Freescale and switch to Intel processors in the future. That could means the Macintosh strike back after it lost the OS war to Microsoft. Every analyst said there will be a hugh risk for Apple to migrate its the software which is the major differentiating factor between a Mac and a Windows machine. Those guys defined lacks technical insight of how OSX works. OSX is just an UI layer sitting on top of the a FreeBSD kernel. It is not that complicate to port OSX to x86 machines, probably it only have recompiling all the libraries. I can already sense that Steve Jobs is trying to get even on Bill Gates. Here is my prediction, somehow the OSX for x86 will be hacked to work with non-Mac Intel machines. There will be a version someone leaked into all major peer-to-peer download sites. Once OSX for x86 had gathered enough momentum in the underground world, Apple will launch it as an alternative to replace Windows. The battle of OS is getting interesting once again. Windows, OSX or Linux, who can domain the desktop market?