“… concerned about the heating of external drives …”

“I’m concerned about the heating of external drives because many of these little enclosures provide no active air flow across the drive.”, opines Steve Gibson.

And in the field of hard disk maintenance, he would have to be the expert.  SpinRite is the result of his knowledge in the field.

freeagent_goMy Seagate FreeAgent Classic drive is an example of this heating issue.

The case was getting far too hot for my comfort, so I drilled holes in it.

But I haven’t done this for my other two external drives, as they run cooler.

“Why do they?”, you ask.

Two likely reasons:

  1. The drives turn themselves off when not being used.  This is known as an Idle Sleep.  All three of my external drives do that.
  2. I suspect the drives have heat detection built-in, and they slow themselves down as they get hotter.
    This would explain why my WD Passport drive slows down during heavy prolonged use.

2. isn’t so bad. But 1., the drive shutting itself down, can play havoc with instant-on applications.  Such as satellite TV recording.  The work-around is to find drives which don’t shutdown, such as the LaCie range of external drives.

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“Beware of Integrated eSATA ports”

I don’t like quoting whole slabs of another blogs posts, but this is worth spreading to a wider audience:

… If you only use a single drive attached to an eSATA port, you can quit reading, but if you are like me and want the best performance possible, you have probably invested in a 2.5” or 3.5” external portable cabinet that can take two or more drives.

These cabinets from makers like StarTech and AMS, have built in hardware RAID functionality that allow you to configure the dual drives in a RAID configuration without requiring a RAID card in your machine. Typically RAID 1 (mirroring) and RAID 0 (striping) are the two most common approaches in a dual drive case.

BUT, these external cases rely on a technology called Port Multiplication to see all the drives. You can go read the detailed description at your favorite web site, but basically port multiplication allows you to have multiple drives accessible through a single eSATA port. The catch is that the eSATA interface must support Port Multiplication.

This is where the issue is with integrated eSATA ports in laptops and desktop motherboards.  They do not all support port multiplication…actually very few do. …

Robert Larson on Beware of Integrated eSATA ports

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Dilbert talking about Microsoft licensing & pricing?

I saw Ed Bott’s “Microsoft’s Grinch kills Windows 7 Family Pack”, and then saw today’s Dilbert:


It kinda fits.  Ed talks about Microsoft removing the Windows 7 Family Pack offering.  From my past experience, Microsoft pricing is hard to understand, with it’s multiple ways to buy and license a product.

But don’t you worry, you can become a Microsoft Certified Professional for Licensing Solutions!

Acquiring and managing software licences can be complex and daunting. That’s where your expertise can help. Providing licensing solutions and services to businesses opens opportunities for you to attract customers, develop continuing revenue streams and expand your services business. Learn how attaining the Licensing Solutions competency can help grow your business.

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So THAT’S where the Little Black Dress comes from!

halterruchedkeyholedressv1No lady’s wardrobe is quite complete without the little black dress that has been around forever.

A little black dress is an evening or cocktail dress, cut simply and often with a short skirt. Since Chanel introduced the “little black dress” in 1926, it has become the epitome of chic. Her first LBD was a slash-necked, short silk dress with only diagonal pin-tucks as decoration. Chanel believed fashion should be functional as well as chic. Radically simple, her LBD was designed not to show stains and to fit every woman. It was meant as the fashion ideal: a perfectly simple, yet sexy object. The most famous visual of this style is Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffanys.


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Are you looking for a piece of software like product X, and you want to know what alternatives there are?

Well you can always try AlternativeTo, a search engine for alternative software choices.  Wish I’d thought of it.

In the screenshot below, I searched for Camtasia Studio, which is a good piece of screen recording software.  AlternativeTo found 12 alternatives.


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Seen @ blogs.technet.com: W2K3 to W2K8 Active Directory Upgrade Considerations

W2K3 to W2K8 Active Directory Upgrade Considerations

I have collected some upgrade considerations from a couple colleagues of mine and have been sharing them on our internal technical DLs as the question comes up.  I have gotten positive feedback on the notes and have been encouraged to post them.  So, here they are.  Though, the real thanks go out to my colleages Tom and Arren.

Here are some of the problems customers run into when upgrading W2K3 DCs to W2K8

A very comprehensive list of solutions to problems people run into when upgrading from a Windows 2003 domain to a Windows 2008 domain.  Thank you Glenn LeCheminant.

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“100 fatals per compile is NOT excessive!”

Clint Edmonson, over at notsotrivial.net, has a great post about how to assess your developer team skills.

The short version, is characterised like this:

  • Novice – “Just tell me what you want me to do.”
  • Advanced Beginner – “I’m ready for my next task.”
  • Competent – “I’ll have it done by the end of the day.”
  • Proficient – “The XYZ pattern can solve that problem perfectly.”
  • Expert (aka Master or Wizard) – “Did you need anything else?”

If you want to know where your developer’s skill level are at, I heartily recommend reading it.

And, since this is a Friday, it reminded me of this chart, back when I was working as a Computer Operator.

A concise guide to basic traits of Data Processing personnel

(click on the picture for a larger version)

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Stop Digging

So good it’s worth quoting:

… Within 1/2 an hour the “rocking” VSTS team had resolved the problem, leaving me stranded on a vertical cliff, wondering how I ever got up there and why I bothered in the first place. Yes I am delirious from lack of sleep and yes, I am angry … not because I could not solve the puzzle, but because I ignored one of my fundamental rules which is mentioned not once, but many times in the third book “Software Engineers on their Way to Pluto”.

Note to self: Memorise this Rule –> If you are battling with something and you cannot solve it, STOP … find a whiteboard, find a colleague and discuss the problem. An additional pair of eyes and in the case of our VM a sprinkle of SharePoint magic, works wonders.
Note to self: Read my own books and learn from my own mistakes (Willy-Peter Schaub, MSDN Blog)

Or the simpler version:
When you’re in a hole, STOP DIGGING.  And ask for help.

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Post borrowed from The Old New Thing

With multiple screens on my work PC, sometimes a program window disappears off screen.  Until now, I didn’t know how to fix it.

And it wasn’t annoying enough for me to find the answer.  Not when I had other things on my plate. 

One of Raymond Chen’s recent posts provides the solution:

Commenter Aggravated notes that some programs remember their location when the window is closed and restore to that location when the window is reopened, even if that position is off the screen. These programs clearly were using screen coordinates instead of workspace coordinates to save and restore the window.

Okay, so you’ve got a program that restored its window position incorrectly and ended up putting it off the screen. Now what do you do?

The keyboard interface comes to the rescue.

Switch to the application, say by clicking on its taskbar button or by Alt+Tab’ing to it. Then type Alt+Space to call up the System menu: You should get a window floating at the edge of the screen. Type M to select Move, then press an arrow key to enter Move mode. (Doesn’t matter which.)

At this point, you could stick with the keyboard motif and hold down the appropriate arrow key to move the window back onto the screen. Or you can pull a little magic trick: Wave the mouse around. Boom, the window leaps to the mouse like one of those cheapo magic tricks where something leaps into your hand.

I’m like 95% sure they use string. But it could be magic. No, I’m going with the string.

This isn’t a spam ping-bot, honest!, Raymond.  Thanks for sharing.

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