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Archive for September, 2003

HD Follow-up

with 22 comments

Good news all around.

There is no discernible loss of battery-life when using the 7200rpm hard drive (based on a stopwatch test doing “light” work, e.g. Java development, running our server, reading email, browsing, playing iTunes). As an added bonus, I haven’t noticed any additional heat via the left palm-rest (or via TemperatureMonitor).

The fact that the faster drive performs on par (from a heat/load perspective) with the 4200rpm drive isn’t entirely unexpected. There was a working hypothesis that because of the better bearings and identical power consumption performing read/write (tho’ it does use more power during spinup) there wouldn’t be more heat or less battery-life. Thankfully that hypothesis has proven true for me…

Written by jthurber

September 29th, 2003 at 11:41 am

Posted in review-lite

7200rpm!

with 3 comments

I ordered one of these from Transintl.com yesterday. (In case you don’t want to follow the links it’s a 7200rpm notebook drive. Got it this morning, created a copy of my drive using Carbon Copy Cloner (an AWESOME program) and proceeded to rip apart my poor unsuspecting Powerbook 12.

The install went fairly smoothly (Apple could make these things a bit easier to work on) except for a bit of a sticking point removing the top of the latop. I followed the instructions here and would only suggest that when all the screws are out that you lift the top off the case from the front, not the back (thankfully aluminum is pretty forgiving).

Anyway, my laptop feels a TON faster! It’s also close to 40% faster according to XBench. I can run our server, Photoshop, iTunes, Mail, emacs and still switch between them (which causes paging, ’cause I don’t have enough ram… waiting for the 1gb dimms to get cheaper first) without the machine choking!

I would recommend this mod to anyone who wants to significantly improve the performance of their laptop…

Written by jthurber

September 26th, 2003 at 3:01 pm

Posted in review-lite

Quicksilver

without comments

I picked up Neal Stephenson’s new book “Quicksilver” yesterday. Only about 50 pages into it (how embarassing), but it reads like Cryptonomicon (perhaps my favorite book to date). Pick it up and support the franchise!

Written by jthurber

September 24th, 2003 at 8:59 pm

Posted in review-lite

(Timely) Matrix Reloaded Commentary

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Two great comics from MacHall:

  • Here (Humans)
  • And Here (Machines)
  • I really like the style of this comic… recommended by the fine “gentlemen” over at PA.

    Written by jthurber

    September 23rd, 2003 at 12:40 pm

    Posted in found-on-web

    So, you want to buy a car?

    with 20 comments

    Here is a great article about being a Car Salesman (entitled appropriately enough, “Confessions of a Car Salesman”). It is absolutely accurate (I sold cars over a Summer in Los Angeles at two different Ford/Lincoln/Mercury dealerships and everything he said was right in line with my experience).

    Written by jthurber

    September 22nd, 2003 at 1:16 pm

    Posted in found-on-web

    iPod install…

    with 25 comments

    I got the adapter installed in the Corolla. It worked pretty well, but I had to rip off the dash three times to detemine what tools I would need (entirely my bad). Consequently I have a smattering of pictures that would probably be worse than useless for a DIY guide.

    Written by jthurber

    September 19th, 2003 at 11:35 am

    Posted in review-lite

    iPod Planz

    without comments

    The house is coming along well (in that we haven’t had to do anything in a while, have all major appliances and nothing has blown up… yet… knock on wood). SBC even turned on my DSL on the day they promised (nevermind that my connection speed sucks (360kbps down versus 1.25mbps down at my old house), at least it works).
    I traded in the WRX last weekend and got a “Commuter Car” (an ’04 Toyota Corolla S). Nice car, quiet, goes 80mph no problem and I got 35mpg on my first tank of gas (versus 25 max from the WRX). Some things will need to change tho:

  • Needs some suspension tweaking. Granted, I’m a bit spoiled coming from the WRX which has an extremely well sorted suspension, but the Corolla has the typical “econobox” problem with tracking/stability at high speeds (e.g. 80). Not dangerous or anything, just a tendency to feel like it’s wandering in the lane, and following rain grooves like they’re railroad tracks. I’m planning to start with a TRD strut tower brace and see what that solves. It’s possible that the solution is going to be a combination of things including tires (probably the biggest factor in directional stability as far as I can tell), “stiffening accessories” such as the strut tower brace and possibly sway bars and (if it comes to it) TRD lowering springs. It would be great if the strut tower braces solve all my woes by tying the front-end together more completely, but I doubt that will solve the whole issue.
  • No cassette deck. This means that the iPod has had to play thru an FM transmitter while I get something else figured out. Thankfully I think salvation arrived this morning in the form of a Logjam Auxiliary Input Converter which (hopefully) plugs into the CD Changer control in the back of the head unit and supports two RCA plug connections. Assuming it works (and I have every reason to suspect it will, I’ll have a better iPod solution than I’ve had to date. I’m considering putting up a DIY section on my “home page” where I detail how to install this, as I think people may actually find it useful (image that, something useful on this site!).
  • The brakes are vague. Not weak necessarily, just soft feeling. I think I’ll start with a two phase fix. Part 1 – New brake pads. Part 2 – Stainless brake lines. Should solve the problem of brake feel. Given the car’s “performance envelope” (such as it is) I doubt I’ll need more than that.
  • I also started learning to Machine (as is metal-working) with Scott on Wed. So far, so good. I can still count to 10 without taking off my socks and we haven’t broken anything yet. Our first “real” project is to mill ourselves some shift knobs. I’ll post pics when I’m done… should be good for a laugh.

    Written by jthurber

    September 5th, 2003 at 8:28 am

    Posted in pointless