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Archive for the category “Short Work”

RAID0 and Short-Stroking vs. standard Hard Drive Setup

I had some surprising results with this test. Let me start by saying that this wasn’t a scientifically rigorous test because there were far too many variables, but the results were still surprising.

I compared a Windows 7 installation on a single Western Digital WD1001FALS 7200 RPM 32MB cache 3.0 Gb/s max 1TB drive ( which WD has replaced with a faster model that I don’t yet own) to a Windows Vista SP2 installation on a hardware RAID 0 (striped) set of WD 160GB 7200 drives manufactured in 2005 and pulled out of some old iMac G5s. SiSoft reported these drives as running at 5400RPM, which would make these results more shocking. To reduce the distance the hard drive’s head has to move to transfer data, which is what makes magnetic storage media so slow, I created a 100GB partition out of the 320 available. That partition sits on the outermost edge of the drive platter, keeping the head ‘stroke’ distance very short. SiSoftware’s SANDRA 2014 reported this for each :
Windows 7 on single drive : 46.6IOPS, 44MB/s
Windows Vista on RAID 0 short-stroked drives : 242IOPS, 96.6MB/s

This has proven for me that downloading every game I own on Steam and Origin and storing them on a massive drive is making my powerful hardware a waste of money.


Booting a Macintosh from a USB Thumbdrive

Elements tested:
– 2.4GHz mid 2007 Macbook Pro 15″ (model #1226) running OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.3
– 32GB Corsair Survivor GTR USB Thumbdrive running “The Ultimate Bootable Flashdrive Tool.”
rEFIt boot manager installed from a mac disk image.

Goal: To boot from the Corsair thumbdrive.

Results: Unable to boot from Corsair thumbdrive.

Reason for Result: The rEFIt website clearly states that the Apple firmware has poor support for booting from external devices under their troubleshooting section.

Time a Compilation in Linux

Time is a part of the bash shell and is a very useful program. With it you can easily determine the time it takes your machine to complete any shell task. The syntax depends on the bash command.

for a simple command like cd, the syntax is:
time cd

for a series of commands separated by &&, the syntax is:
time { cd && ls; }

Timing the amount of time it takes to configure and build an application is probably the best example of this feature. For example:
time { ./configure && make depend && make; }

Another great example is using time with Locate to determine seek time. For example:
time locate manual.pdf

Create an .iso from a CD or DVD using Disk Utility

This is a really useful feature of Disk Utility. Insert your CD or DVD and wait for it to spool up. Launch the Disk Utility and you should see your recently inserted disk in the left column. Click on the disk, then select New Image from the program menu. This will bring up a “save as” menu. At the bottom of this menu are two drop-down menus. Select DVD/CD Master from the one labeled “Image Format:.” Select Save. Rename the saved file from *.cdr to *.iso.

The subsequent ISO can be burned or read on any platform.

Rip a Streaming File with Firefox

Download or launch Firefox 3.5 or newer and download Video DownloadHelper 4.6.4 or newer and follow the instructions.

Navigate to your favorite streaming site such as youtube.com and click the dropdown menu arrow to the right of the linked red, yellow and blue orbs. It will list what files are available on this site for download.

If the site is more ornery and causes the colored orbs to grey out and go inactive, consider this: load the page with the file in question but begin the download while the video is in the early stages of caching. This may trick the server into allowing the transfer.

Display Processor Usage in the Dock

I rarely use 3rd party applications when an alternative in already available bundled with the operating system. Launch the Activity Monitor application located in the directory /Applications/Utilities, which is most easily obtained by launching Spotlight (press and hold the command key directly to the left of the spacebar while simultaneously depressing the spacebar) and type in the words Activity Monitor, then press the enter key once you’ve highlighted the program.

Once the application is launched, right click on the application icon in the Dock, go to Options and select Keep in Dock. Right click on the dock icon again, select Dock Icon and Show CPU Usage.

From this menu you can monitor CPU history, network usage, disk activity or memory directly in the dock.

Using Spotlight to Increase Productivity

Apple hit the nail on the head when they introduced Spotlight to OS X. Only it isn’t just a search utility, oh no. Hold down the command key (the key to the left of your spacebar) and tap the spacebar, launching Spotlight in the top righthand corner.

Use it to open an application quickly and without a single mouse click by launching Spotlight and typing the name of the program. You may need to navigate up or down in the Spotlight menu to the actual program the first time around, but Spotlight learns quickly.

Use it to look up definitions. Launch Spotlight and type in a word. The Dictionary application will look it up and, provided you wish for further clarification, you can navigate to the definition and hit the enter key to launch the Dictionary application. If you use any dictionary plug-ins, such as a German thesaurus, it will provide a translate right in the Spotlight window for your word.

Spotlight does simple arithmetic. Type in 5 / 2 or 4 * 3 and Spotlight will provide the answer without the Spotlight window.

You can use it to quickly find and listen to a song in iTunes as well. Just type in the name of the song and hit enter. Or, type in the artist’s name and navigate through a list of their songs. If iTunes is minimized, it’ll play the song without calling iTunes over your other windows. if it’s closed, iTunes will automatically launch.

So the next time you want to watch a movie, just type the name of the film into Spotlight and hit enter. Leave the mouse for precision work.

Transferring Large Files between Vista and XP over an Ornery Network Using the Mac OS X Finder

Assuming your Vista and XP machines are communicating happily enough to see each other and you own an Apple on the same network, go to Finder and hit command + k. Type in the name of the Vista server as smb:// followed by the name of the computer as it appears on the network. Note that this is the same name as you would use in Explorer; i.e. \\ComputerName. Do the same for the XP machine. Now transfer the file between your Windows computers through Finder on your Apple.

Printing Labels on an Incomplete Label Sheet

I’m going to assume that you’re using Microsoft Word 2007 and have downloaded a template for the Avery 5366. If you don’t need to print all 30 labels at once but valuable pre-formatted text already exists for each label on the form, consider this:

Edit the label text for the labels you wish to print. Save the document as something other than the original template. Now select all of the text in the cells (labels) that you don’t want to print, select the Home tab at the top left, then select the Font Color button under the Font section to change the font to white.

Remember to place the labels upside down (with the print surface facing towards the center of the earth) and correctly oriented. If you are unsure of how your printer feed handles paper, place an X at the bottom left corner of the topmost paper in your paper feed, then print something. This will give you a reference for the orientation of your labels.

Restore a Damaged GUID Partition Table Startup Disk on OS 10.6

If you’ve ever stuck the live CD of your favorite Linux flavor into your MacBook Pro, you’ve probably also booted to a lovely flashing folder icon afterwards and panicked. Fret not, the solution is simple!

Hold down the option key during boot. Select the Startup volume (the one farthest left) and boot. Go to System Preferences, Select Startup Disk. Select the hard disk farthest to the left again, or the disk which you wish to boot to, then select Restart.

You’ve just repaired the Header of the GPT and fixed your problem!

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