Breaking a RAID 1 Mirror

December 13, 2005

I recently needed to upgrade a machine that had a mirrored pair of 150Gb Serial ATA (SATA) drives. This was a small form factor (SFF) machine, a Shuttle SB51G XPC, with the drives mirrored via the on-board SATA RAID controller that’s part of the Intel 865G chipset.

What I wanted to do was remove the mirror, leave one of the drives (with its content intact) as the boot drive, and add a 300Gb SATA drive as a (non-mirrored) second drive. In the end, this turned out to be fairly simple to do, but it took me a while to figure it all out.
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HD PVRs – Rock and Hard Place

May 19, 2005

Thomas Hawk has some comments on my Dish 942 article.

Thomas writes:

These type of HDTV PVRs will be the competition for TiVo and Media Center going forward. It will be important that TiVo and Media Center are able to distinguish themselves in the HDTV PVR space in order to convince people that it is worth spending the money over what you can get for free (kinda free anyway) from your cable or satellite provider.

Absolutely — and there’s the rub.
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Dr. Hunter S. Thompson (1937 – 2005)

February 21, 2005

Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, dead at 67.

Hunter’s writing has been a constant source of personal inspiration and madness for 30+ years.

Gonzo PosterHunter S. Thompson

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Tivo — Dying young, but leaving a great-looking corpse

December 8, 2004

If there’s a tougher user interface to get right than an interface for an intelligent TV device, I don’t wanna meet it.  I was involved with a project trying to do content management on TVs back in ‘97, and the problems involved in coming up with something powerful that looks good and is as easy to use 10 feet from the TV as the TV itself are immense.  The project died (several times—there must have been a shortage of wooden stakes) for other reasons, but we never came up with anything half as good as the Tivo interface has been since day one.

Matt Haughey has a great interview with Tivo’s Margret Schmidt, the person responsible for making their interface happen.  If you’ve ever thought great interfaces “just happen”, you really need to read this to appreciate how much work and thought goes into making an experience that is truely intuitive and easy to use.

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Insufficiently Advanced

April 10, 2003

Arthur Clarke stated that “Any technology that is sufficiently advanced is indistinguishable from magic”.  This of course implies the corollary – “Any technology that IS distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced”.

I love being able to post to a blog from a desktop app.  I’m currently using w.bloggar, which is nice, but leaves a few things to be desired.  My hit list includes:

1) WYSIWYG editing.  It’s not like I don’t know HTML, or like I can’t hit the preview window, but sometimes I find it distracting to have to look at markup when I’m writing.  An embedded WYSIWYG editor with a “code view” option would be very nice.

2) Spellcheck.  I’m not the greatest speller; spellcheck often keeps me from looking any stupider than absolutely necessary. w.bloggar includes a spellchecker, but its dictionary seems woefully short, and when I can’t spell it and the spellcheck can’t spell it, we’re definitely off in the weeds… Other products seem to sniff around and find Word’s dictionary; that would be very nice.

3) Smarter support of the target layout.  Posting to Movable Type, it’d be nice to be able to have an entry body and extended entry.  If we had excerpt and keyword, so much the better… Perhaps these aren’t exposed in XMLRPC?  Similarly, I post to a lot of PostNuke sites, and the ability to separate “hometext” and “bodytext” (analogous to entry body and extended entry in MT) would be nice.

Is there a product out there that I’m missing that has all of this stuff?  Ideally, along with the ability to post to PostNuke, although I’m afraid w.bloggar might be the only one to support that at the time being. 

Although it doesn’t support PostNuke, I’ve played a bit with Kung Log on OS X; it looks very nice indeed, but I’ve not gotten around the problem that it doesn’t like MT hosted on IIS rather than Apache (something broken in soap:lite apparently, although it doesn’t seem to bother w.bloggar.  If it wasn’t for that, I’d certainly be considering Kung Log for my MT posts at least.

Have I missed any good ones? Suggestions would certainly be welcome…