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OS Quest Trail Log

The OS Quest Trail Log #34: Week in Review

It’s been a couple of weeks since the last trail log so I figured I’d take this time to update some recent posts. My Windows Home Server fiasco is over. I did lose a couple of old movie files. They were old files that I had originally done for testing and pre-dated my backup regimen so they probably vanished long ago. The Windows Home Server is running fine with the external USB enclosure for two of it’s drives. I’ll have to send the eSATA enclosure back soon but I’m actually considering eating the restocking fee and just keep the USB drives. I’ll probably come to my senses and not waste the money that would be lost to the restocking fee.

The latest Drobo firmware has dramatically improved my Drobo performance. It’s not a speed demon but the performance has been acceptable for how I want to use it. I haven’t done any specific performance testing but I’ve been copying files to and from the Drobo as I sit at the computer. Since I’m using the computer while the copy is running this isn’t intended as a benchmark, but it does give me a good idea what to expect day-to-day. I’ve been getting read speeds of 27MB/s and and write speeds of 23MB/s. This is while copying 320GB of files of mixed sizes. There’s 33,500 files. More importantly, copying many small files doesn’t bring the entire drive to it’s knees. It’s not among the fastest drives around but it’s within my expectations. [Update: I’ve since experienced a drastic drop in speed, especially in read speeds. There’s no apparent reason for the drop and I’ll post more info in the future.]

Apples recent software updates were mostly painless for me despite the quantity and recent history. The only problem I’m still having is that the iTunes video window no longer stays on top of all other windows. The problem with Parallels seemed to be a one-time thing. iTunes doesn’t appear to have any additional bloat although I still have the Genius feature turned off. I’m still have to hunt for some of the settings that have been moved but I like some of the changes such as the ability to manage podcasts individually and the ability to do bulk changes on more metadata fields.

Microsoft released updates to their Windows Live applications. They’re calling the latest beta version Wave 3. I’m using the Live Writer beta now. I’ve also installed Mail and Photo Gallery but don’t use them. I like Live Writer enough, even before the update, to fire up Windows in order to use it.

This week will probably be slow on the quest as the day job will take up most of my time. But it’ll be worth since I’ll be on vacation the following week. I’m looking forward to some quality computer time.

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OS Quest Trail Log

The OS Quest Trail Log #33: Potpourri

It’s been a pretty dry couple of month for blog posts so far. But there’s still a few things worth mentioning and rather than a couple small posts I decided to put them all here to make them easier to ignore.

WordPress 2.6.2 was released and I upgraded this site. It’s a security release so considered required although the developer blog indicates it’s mainly a concern if open registration is allowed. I decided to upgrade anyway. I have to admit, I’m getting a a bit lazy with these minor upgrades. I just check that the latest backups were done and do the upgrade. No installation in a test environment or other testing. Eventually I’ll get burned and mend my lazy ways.

There’s been some web site updates on some of the static pages. I’ve updated the hardware list on the What I Use page and also updated it to include more information about the software I use from Wakoopa. I’ve used the widgets Wakoopa provides to pull the information in real-time (well, as real-time as they want it to be). I’ve also updated the Mac Software page – removed software that I no longer use and added some new software.

New & Updated Software

There’s been some new software joining the quest. DropBox went public and no longer requires an invite code. It’s still in beta, but it’s no longer a private beta. I’ve been using it a couple of days and found it easy to use and set up. It integrates better with OS X than SugarSync did, in my opinion. A 2 GB DropBox account is free while 50GB accounts are $10/mth or $100/yr. Unfortunately there’s nothing between 2GB and 50GB. The good news is it already supports Windows, OS X and Linux. So far I’ve only used it on OS X. Syncing between two macs was quick and clean.

IZarc became my new file archiving software of choice for Windows due to it’s ISO support. Of course, being Windows it doesn’t get much use, but IZarc2Go has now found a home on my utility flash drive.

While not exactly new, I’m back to using Jungle Disk. It’s been dormant for awhile so it seems new. I installed the latest version and have been archiving some files off to Amazon S3.

Google Chrome is also out. I’ve used it briefly and it felt fast. But since it’s Windows only I’m not going to be using it a lot or dive into the features.

I still haven’t installed iTunes 8 or the associated Quicktime update. I haven’t wanted to deal with the problems that seem to accompany every software update these days. The new features haven’t excited me either so I’m in no rush. I like iTunes but it seems to be entering the realm of bloatware.

Drobo

I’m still using the Drobo, performance hasn’t been great but it’s acceptable. In short, performance seems to suffer greatly if there’s a lot of file opens/closes in a short period of time. Total disk I/O drops if I copy a lot of small files. ChronoSync also seems abnormally slow when using the drive. I haven’t done much testing since writing about it. Once commentor recommended rolling the software back to the earlier version but I haven’t done that. There’s supposed to be a firmware update just around the corner so I’ve decided to wait for that.

Odds & Ends

Other things that have been occupying my Quest time is my continued education and testing to get WordPress running on my own server. It’s up and running but I’m still working on security and trying out different things.