March 12, 2010


Ker-plink! That was the sound of the hard drive in my Hackintosh that died. While normally I've been a stand up guy about archiving (not to be confused with backups) of data. In this case the blood drained from my face as I walked into the study and heard the noise that everyone dreads to hear. So I jumped into action, tried to find which drive was making the racket (there were 3) verified that indeed it was no longer responding, console was spitting out streams of errors, and all the folders came up empty. I shutdown the Mac, took it out, weighted a few seconds for the platter to spindown (it makes a thunk when it comes to a complete stop). reconnected and restarted.

BIOS reports no drive 3. Hmm. Take it out again, slowly rotate the drive listening closely for grinding noises, nothing. Well this is slightly better than terrible. You see Watson, this disk has fallen for the Sector 0 error, commonly known as the "click of death". The read head tries to find Sector 0, and slides right past it, slamming the head into the spindle. So technically my data is still on the drive, I just have no possible way of getting it off.

Using my years of expertise, I know I can hopefully calibrate Sector 0 by freezing the drive and reading the data before the platter gets too warm. Into the freezer she goes. This hard drive has been sitting there while I order another hard drive and a NAS. I'm taking this opportunity to do something I know I should have done from a long time and formulate a real backup plan.

You see, the Free people came by and installed fibre to the apartment building. They assured me the units would be lit after the new year. Well that was 3 months ago and no fibre yet. My backup scheme sort of hinges on it, because pushing 60GB of data over 800kbit/s (that's 100KB/s) aDSL is mindfuckingly slow.

So the scheme is use the ReadyNAS Duo duo_reflect2.jpg as the local NAS. And have it push my backups to an offsite point. In my case, Amazon S3. That way I can use the NAS as a local storage pool, torrentclient, and DLNA server. My energy sucking workstation Q6600/HD3870 doesn't have to be running continuously. And if the hard drives die in the next year or 2 (the dead drive lasted 3 years) I can restore the data using 100Mbit/s fibre.

If it sounds good to you, it sounds good to me.

Posted by yardie at 8:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 1, 2010

Media Browser is out

For the Media Center enthusiasts, like me, I'd like to point out a new version of Media Browser has been released for the public. Except for the pictures and music, Media Browser is how I view most of my videos and podcasts on my PC. While the standard video library on WMC is fine for viewing videos, this plugin improves the interface by a factor of 10 if not 100. Some of the things I take advantage of is the screen previews for TV shows and movies, banners and background.


One of the things I especially like it about it that it automatically downloads all the show data, images, and season artwork. There is very little you have to do. Once Media Browser finds it it scans the filename to retrieve the internet data. This is great for those that don't like the overhead of having to manage your files, like mymovies. And it definitely is more informative than the default mediacenter browser. I've been looking into replacing my PC with a cheaper device, like PS3 or popcorn hour. The thing that keeps me staying is the interface of mediabrowser. Nothing else, I've seen, compares

Don't take my word for it download it yourself and give it a try.

Posted by yardie at 4:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack