Monthly Archives: October 2009

iomega ix2 review

This is an evaluation follow-up my other two posts (this and this) about the iomega ix2.

Pros:

  • I found it easy to setup once the config software recognized it.  I used the Windows software as I will primarily be accessing it from a Windows machine
  • It has its own web server to host it’s control interface; nice
  • Many options for configuration including individual selection of turning on/off CIFS, FTP, SNMP, AFS
  • Ability to setup secure logins
  • 1TB of storage with RAID-1 makes me feel more secure than a single 1TB drive

Cons:

  • “Wake on LAN” would be nice given there is a shutdown ability in the UI
  • Power button is really small; need to put drive where it is easily accessible if there will be any regular powering off/on
  • Connecting to rear USB ports is awkward unless the drive is sitting conveniently on your desktop.
  • No power management, so the drives always spin.  It is unsuitable for being on constantly
  • Installing the software required patience, but it worked; I’m surprised they don’t set this up as a more discoverable device on the network so not software install would be required

Other Thoughts:

  • MozyHome is an interesting idea, but is a silly free offer:  2GB free for a 1TB (or 2TB) drive?  Also, there is no Linux client for it — Win and Mac only
  • It gets a little warm, but you have to expect that for a small case with two HDDs in it
  • It is louder than a laptop, but it’s two HDDs in a small enclosure with a 60mm fan to keep them ventilated.  I expect noise.
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HP 2509m Monitor Thoughts

A monitor is a monitor… for the most part to me.  There are a few things I notice, and that is about it.  I certainly do not spend the time some do fine tuning the colors.  However, with this one I might because I find the color is just a little washed out compared to my Samsung 204B.   Adjusting the contrast and bright did not fix it, so that might be a project for another day.

If I had to choose a key nit about this monitor, it would be the excessively large frame which is meant for mounting HP accessories all over it.  I would love having this 2″ narrower and 2″ shorter to be much cleaner in appearance.  The second nit might be height, but it is “short” so that is easily adjusted by putting things under it until it is the height I want.  And, since I have taken days to write this for a reason, a third nit would be the glossy screen reflecting so much; but I can control much of that based upon lighting in the room.

Two other nits were easily resolved:

  • I caused a fuzziness by selecting auto-adjust at the wrong time.  I have found that unless something with bright color is maximized on the scree, that feature doesn’t work “right” on any monitor.
  • The power button has an offensively bright LED.  But, best option ever, it can be turned off in the monitor’s menu.  It’s like they knew it would irritate people.  Smart.

The two games I’ve tried look good.  The web pages I have gone to look nice.  Having the monstrous width is awesome, and I don’t yet miss the 120 pixels of height I lost.  But how loudly can I really complain for $35?


krdc, Windows XP, and bb4win

I am retrying krdc.  There appears to have been a number of nice feature changes including the ability to grab all keys which means all of my keyboard shortcuts in bb4win now work.  However, I notice a few oddities that I need to follow-up with at some point.

  1. If I have my auto-hiding panel at the top of the screen in KDE, it interferes with the krdc icon-bar restoring when I move my cursor to the top of the screen
  2. My mouse cursors don’t appear normally
  3. bbLeanSkin’s feature of edge-snapping does not work
  4. AltKey (non-bb4win) does not work — so my alt-RMB and alt-LMB mouse functionality does not work and I miss it.
  5. GoToMeeting ends up interfering with a lot of the cursor events when I am remoted in — which could just be a krdc issue

I am attempting this setup to determine if this works or if maybe a 4-port KVM might be a better option than my previously thought up crazy scenario.


eSATA Issues

In general, I think eSATA is a good idea.  I even think it is funny because it reminds me of the old days when workstations and Macs were expanded with external devices like removable HDDs, CD drives, FDD units, etc.

However, there are three key issues I have with eSATA

  1. fat, inflexible cables make cable management — and the following issue — a substantial challenge
  2. weak connectors with no kind of meaningful retention clips — USB grips more firmly than eSATA does
  3. poor hot-mount support under Linux — it works nicely under MSFT Windows, but so poorly under Linux

I’d love to find a resolution to all three of those issues.


Monitor Arrival HP2509m

My new monitor arrived yesterday and I am very impressed at how smoothly Kubuntu handled recognizing the new resolution automatically.  Very nice indeed.  I have a few nits about the monitor, but I am going to wait so I can also state how I resolve them.  I do not believe any of them are critical to the point to make me get rid of it.  (Incidentally, that would probably be at a profit since I paid $35 for it — thanks to Verizon — and even selling it at a steal would put me ahead.  I am still tempted since I would ideally get into another 1600×1200 monitor and thus end up with a 3200 x 1200 desktop…  beats 1900×1080 by just a bit, eh?)

A nice thing I will say immediately is that my fonts seem a little crisper.  That’s very nice.

Anyway, my brain is now hatching a strange and lunatic plan to maybe use my old monitor and have something wild running.

1600×1200 . 1900×1080 . laptop screen
/ switch \ / switch (monitor) \ / |
fronk (vga) archon (vga) . archon (dvi) laptop (vga) . laptop (built-in)
. synergy

That madness needs a little explanation.

  • I have 3 machines:  fronk, archon, and my work laptop.
  • I have a KVM switch to toggle between fronk and archon; I can set that up to use the 1600×1200 monitor.
  • I can use the DVI connector on archon’s video card to feed into the new monitor.
  • I can connect the laptop to the new monitor using the VGA out.
  • I can use synergy to share my keyboard between archon and my laptop.

So what I could do it keep the 1600×1200 monitor between archon and fronk.  I can then share the 1900×1080 monitor between my laptop and archon.

The upshot is the following:

  • working hours:  archon on the 1600×1200, laptop on the 1900×1080 and built-in 1900×1200 — and I get to use a real keyboard and mouse, hopefully fostering better posture.  I should still be able to control things like my music player just by moving the mouse back over to the 1600×1200 monitor thus returning focus to archon.
  • personal hours:  archon gets both — and I get a HUGE amount of monitor real estate
  • working on fronk:  I am trying to turn fronk into nothing more than a file server.  However, sometimes I need to check the console to resolve boot issues (like accidentally bumping the eSATA cable and causing drive mount issues).

It’s a mad plan, but sounds like fun!


iomega ix2 arrival

My NAS arrived today.  It was much easier to setup than some of the Newegg reviews indicated.  After I own this for more than a week, I’ll write my own review on the ‘egg.

I did initially mistakenly call it an ix2-200, it is just simply an ix2.  I chose to use the Windows tools to set it up since this will primarily be for long-term storage of work-related material.  When I was done, I tried to access it directly using http://nas-device-name.local/ from my Linux machine, and *poof* it worked.  I thought the control console was all client-based running a mini-webserver, but not so!  Very nice!

I have enabled FTP and CIFS for file transfers.  It all seems to work pretty smoothly.  There are so many configuration options, and it will be fun to explore them.  This can be setup to be a print server, media server, torrent server… me thinks the kids over at EMC2 had a little too much fun with the embedded Linux server they put in this puppy.

Nice job, kids!

I have left the disks in their default RAID-1 (mirror) configuration for maximum data protection.  So with 2-1TB discs, I only get 1TB of storage… but it should be darn reliable.  I can also hook up external storage, but have read rumors that it is not possible to copy content from the external storage to the ix2 — I’ll have to investigate that as it does not make much sense.

I might let this run for a couple days to see what happens.  Some folks report issues with drive failure and other oddities.  Once I feel comfortable that this will run nicely, I’ll start a mass migration and then use my 500GB external drive for its intended purpose: backing up my work laptop with our backup software.  Right now it is sort of my backup disc in the sense that I keep my archive of VMs and important installers on it.  But we have software that can do a “bare metal” recovery if I have to.  I know two folks who have used this software and it has worked marvelously.

The one hack I might try to explore is getting ssh to work.  If I can do that, then I can remote into it and should be able to copy to and from devices connected by USB.  Plus, it would be fun to prowl around what they have setup.  But I suspect port 22 is closed to prowlers like me.  >:)


New Monitor HP 2509m

Thanks to signing up for Verizon, and their promotional offer, I am getting this monitor for a delightfully low price.  It isn’t the greatest out there, but it is better than what I have right now albeit I will be going from 1600×1200 to 1920×1080 — I will lose some height, but I have realized I see my desktop more horizontally than I do vertically.

Monitor type
25″ diagonal Widescreen Thin Film Transistor LCD active matrix
Native Resolution
1920 x 1080p @ 60 Hz (recommended)
1000:1 (typical) 60,000:1 (dynamic)
300 nits (typical)
Pixel pitch
0.288mm
Response rate
5 ms (on-off) (typical) 3 ms (GTG)
Sound
Integrated speakers, 2W per channel
ENERGY STAR Qualified
No
Signal Input Connector
VGA; DVI-D with HDCP ; HDMI with HDCP
Tilt
+25 to -5 degrees
Detachable base (for mounting)
No
24.32″(w) x 17.22″(h) x 7.91″(d)

I’ll admit to a compromise here — it isn’t Energy Star Qualified, but none of their monitors are.  That is annoying.  I was initially going to use the promotion on their netbook, but it paled in comparison to what I ended up getting.  After doing some shopping around, the thing I found that seemed the most useful was a new monitor.

This purchase is going to play into my new plan:  getting a new server built for portable use.  I was debating whether I should get a laptop and I went to buy what I wanted one day late and HP no longer offered the free upgrades that made it worth it.  So for about 60% of what that laptop would have cost me after the coupon I will configure a small-form-factor system that I will (a) keep in the living room as a media machine and (b) take with me when I go to my favorite remote location to do work.  This monitor purchase will allow me to retire my current monitor to be used at said favorite remote location.

Ultimately, I am pleased with this outcome.  I was reluctant to get into a laptop due to the high amount of hardware lock-in.  Since this machine was never intended for “laptop use” the outcome of it being a SFF machine is more ideal.  I will have more control over components and upgrade-ability.  I like that control.  I have my netbook as my portable device, and it serves it’s purpose very well.  I did harbor small hopes that I could get to some Ubuntu Bug Jams, but I seriously do not see that as plausible.  If I do, I can take my work laptop and run Ubuntu (or Kubuntu) in a VM if needed; that is the more likely scenario.