Monthly Archives: December 2009

Defraggler for Daily Defrags

After spending almost an entire weekend getting my Windows HDD defragged I learned a few good lessons.

1. The Windows “Disk Defragmenter” tool is inherently broken when compared to other options that actually defrag the drive.

2. Due to limitations of windows, if your files exceed ~1.7GB, they will stay fragmented in at least two parts and there is nothing you can do about it.

3. Daily execution of defrag is necessary for good system health.

I found a nice tool called Defraggler.  Though I expected miniature muppets to start singing something about a rock, I was not disappointed to instead find a defrag tool that actually works.  At first, I thought it wasn’t quite good enough, but after some reading I learned that excessively large files have to stay fragmented due to FAT32 limitations.

One of the great things about Defraggler is that the developers seemed to understand the need for a daily defrag.  The tool can be run with a “shutdown after defrag” option.  That is brilliant.

Another great thing is the ability to defragment files individually.  This was necessary for me due to the extended amount of time I went without running any kind of defragementation tool.

The visual defragmentation is nice too.  It takes me back to the early days of Norton System Tools.  I almost want to grab the popcorn and watch the little blocks change color.

Blackbox For Windows (bb4win) makes Windows Livable for Me

I actually kind of like the Windows paradigm, especially Windows XP.  Thank you, Xerox!

What I don’t like is the complete lack of ability to customize the appearance without getting something bloated like Windowblinds.  Even then, it’s more like skinning, not customizing.  I have been spoiled by the incredible flexibility of KDE (thanks folks!), and upon finding bb4win, my life got happier.

I find it amusing that I tried fluxbox on my ‘buntu machine, and didn’t fall in love with it in the same way.  I think that’s because I am happy with KDE.  I need to get some screenshots up, but the two best places for reference are…

1) Lost in the Box

2) Boxshots

FWIW, I run bbLean1.17.  There are some very talented people at Boxshots who make bb4win look darn sexy.  I don’t do anything incredibly fancy, but it works for me.

The number one feature I like about bb4win is bbkeys — being able to map key combinations to my heart’s content.  New message, minimize all, maximize, move to a new workspace, change workspace, etc.  The two I miss the most (broke a few revisions ago) are “maximize horizontally” and “maximize vertically”.  For some reason they haven’t been able to work those back in.

AltDrag also helps Window be more tolerable and bring ‘box functionality into Windows.  Alt+left-mouse lets you move a window around without having to grab the title bare; Alt+right-mouse let’s you resize.  Just like KDE, or fluxbox.  How nice.

Launchy makes Windows rock a bit more

While I’m not a big MS Windows fan, I do have to use it on a daily basis.  There are a couple of things that make it a much nicer place to be.  One of those things is Launchy.  I adore the new krunner in KDE4, and Launcy is a bit more like that.  No more crappy “Start > Run” dialog; if I want to type the name of an executable in my %PATH%, I’ll start a command prompt.

With Launchy I can type the name of the application and see options appear.  It’s like a search for the “Start > Programs” menu.

Very nice.

Blog name change

I find that lately “enthralled by” may be the wrong word.  If that is going to be a mood, than I figure “about” is more accurate.  These are still ramblings, I’m still a madman, and I’ll still talk about technology.  However, I am going to leave being enthralled (or not) to be the mood of individual posts.

get UUID of a drive

Linux (*buntu) now seems to be mounting all drives by their UUID so they can move around in the system and not be bound do their controller location (e.g., sda1).

So how do you get the UUID of a drive?

a) sudo tune2fs /dev/aaa# | grep UUID (e.g., sudo tune2fs /dev/sdb1 | grep UUID)
b) ls -l /dev/disk/by-uuid>/code>

Very cool. That UUID can then be used to edit the /etc/fstab to enter a drive by UUID just like the installer does.

I found both of these over here. I'm not quite that smort on my own... ;^)

dual head, twinview, and xorg.conf

In the latest installment of my dual monitor saga, I will share my xorg.conf.  I have an nvidia card (boo and hiss all you want), and I learned that their neat configuration tool will not, under any coaxing, update my system configuration.  I had to save it to a separate file, consult my Dick Tracy Decoder Ring, and then hand edit my xorg.conf.  The following is what I ended up with and successfully have dual-head working, on boot, with compositing, and no GPU fan running like a turbo jet.

Section "ServerLayout"
    Identifier     "Default Layout"
    Screen      0  "Screen0" 0 0
    InputDevice    "Keyboard0" "CoreKeyboard"
    InputDevice    "Mouse0" "CorePointer"

Section "Module"
    Load           "glx"

Section "ServerFlags"
    Option         "Xinerama" "0"

Section "InputDevice"
    # generated from default
    Identifier     "Keyboard0"
    Driver         "kbd"

Section "InputDevice"
    # generated from default
    Identifier     "Mouse0"
    Driver         "mouse"
    Option         "Protocol" "auto"
    Option         "Device" "/dev/psaux"
    Option         "Emulate3Buttons" "no"
    Option         "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"

Section "Monitor"
    Identifier     "Configured Monitor"

Section "Monitor"
    Identifier     "Monitor0"
    VendorName     "Unknown"
    ModelName      "HP 2509"
    HorizSync       24.0 - 94.0
    VertRefresh     50.0 - 76.0

Section "Device"
    Identifier     "Configured Video Device"
    Driver         "nvidia"

Section "Device"
    Identifier     "Device0"
    Driver         "nvidia"
    VendorName     "NVIDIA Corporation"
    BoardName      "GeForce 7900 GS"

Section "Screen"
    Identifier     "Default Screen"
    Device         "Configured Video Device"
    Monitor        "Configured Monitor"
    DefaultDepth    24

Section "Screen"
    Identifier     "Screen0"
    Device         "Device0"
    Monitor        "Monitor0"
    DefaultDepth    24
    Option         "TwinView" "1"
    Option         "TwinViewXineramaInfoOrder" "CRT-0"
    Option         "metamodes" "CRT-0: nvidia-auto-select +0+0, CRT-1: nvidia-auto-select +1920+0"
    SubSection     "Display"
        Depth       24

I also found a neat tool called nvclock which turned out invaluable for  being able to monitor my card as well as overclock anything I want to on it. Very neat!

notebook drive adapter for a desktop

Due to esoteric circumstances, I was left holding a 500 GB notbook drive.  Things could be worse, but for the same price I could have ended up with a lot more storage.  That, however, is an entirely different story.

After a quick search on my favorite gizmo site I found an 2.5″ to 3.5″ adapter that would let me mount this in my desktop.  Very nice.  I now have this drive being happily used in my primary machine instead of neglected on a shelf; or depleting my wallet more with a restocking fee.

My one nit of this adapter is that it did not come with rubber washers or grommets.  They would have been invaluable in securing the drive to the bracket.  However, a quick trip to my hardware store remedied that quickly and cheaply.