The OS Quest Trail Log #36: Year End Edition

This site has been silent for a couple of weeks so I figured I’d end the year with a Trail Log. I’ve been considering an expansion of the OS Quest data center and finally pulled the trigger with Newegg’s Year End Sale and placed an order on Saturday. I’ll wait for the stuff to arrive before I get into the details since it should be fodder for a few posts. Included are parts for two system builds and some network upgrades. Between the holiday and the fact that I like to pay as little as possible for shipping I probably won’t have anything in time for next weekend.

Software Updates

There’s been the usual flow of software updates. I’ve no idea everything that I’ve updated and haven’t already mentioned, but I do recall a few. Apple released OS X 10.5.6 and it went smoothly for me even though I used Software Update which caused problems for others. I picked up the habit of rebooting before applying OS patches so that may have helped me. All three of my Macs updated without a hitch. While my iMac (my workhorse computer) doesn’t crash a lot it’s not the solid OS I remember when I first got a Mac. The latest 10.5.6 doesn’t appear any more stable to me. Just today it wouldn’t shut down or log off . I hadn’t experienced any problem but needed to shut down to switch a power cable and ended up having to hold in the power button to force it off.

The one update I’ve really benefited from is Handbrake 0.9.3. While the version increment is minor there’s a bunch of new features. While I haven’t used any of the new capabilities I’ve benefited from the enhancements to existing features. It’s stability is rock solid. Over the holiday, while I was away two days, it churned through the encodes I had queued up. The previous version wouldn’t have allowed me to open that many files as the file open dialog would cause a crash if I used it that many times. So far every file it’s encoded has been valid. Another nice feature is that it caches the queue. My iMac crashed (there’s that instability again) while running Handbrake. After the restart the queue for Handbrake was still there.

WordPress 2.7 has also been released. Hopefully by the time you read this I’ll have upgraded but as I write this I’m still behind.

I’ve kind of lost track of all of Microsoft’s Internet file sharing options. FolderShare has been retired and folded into Windows Live Share which I use for one thing. The one thing I use it for is syncing Windows Live Writer drafts between my Windows VMs. I started with FolderShare and the upgrade to Windows Live Share doesn’t seemed to have caused any problems. Live Mesh has also received some updates and a Mac client.  And let’s not forget that SkyDrive has been up’d to 25GB of storage. Still, despite these options I’ve gravitated to Dropbox and use that for my file sharing and have stayed there, it just works.

Seagate 1.5TB Firmware

I still haven’t updated the firmware on this drive. I’ve downloaded it and created the bootable CD but still haven’t had the drive and DVD with me when a PC was available. I’ll probably end up doing the upgrade when the Newegg order arrives and I start the builds, so it’ll still be a couple of weeks.

Drobo

I figured I’d update the Drobo saga with the end of the year. It’s been a solid backup device since the firmware upgrade and repartitioning. It’s still not a speed demon, but solid. I’ve been tempted to try other drives in there to see if performance improves. While the speed doesn’t seem to approach the limits for the WD drives I use they aren’t fast drives and I wonder if the power saving benefits are affecting performance. I’m thinking about trying some of the faster drives I’m getting in for the builds to see if they’ll make a difference. I’m just not sure the time required to do the testing will be worth it to me. Especially since I’m considering moving the Drobo to my Airport Extreme so it can be easily shared on the network. If I do this it will have a USB connection and faster drives aren’t going to benefit me.

Network Printing (2nd Try)

I moved my Canon IP3500 printer to my Airport Extreme to free up a USB port on my iMac and to more easily share the printer. I haven’t used it enough to call it a success (and move the printer to where I want it) but so far I haven’t experienced any of the problems I had with my Epson printer.

Wrapping Up

This will wrap up the year as I’m unlikely to post anything in the next couple of days. This will be the 154th post of the year, and 502nd overall. If my stats program is to be trusted there’s been 41,475 unique visitors so far this year. January saw 2,164 unique visitors during the month and by September the monthly count had more than doubled to 4,449 unique visitors. December is on track to have the highest count of the year which will probably exceed 4,800.

The 5 most popular posts this year were WD My Book Button Manager Removed and Some Frustrations with 5,326 views in 2008 (still popular even though it was written mid-2007), Fedora 8 on VMware Fusion with 4,107 views, Centrally Managed iTunes Library on Windows Home Server with 2,554 views, Data Rescue II – File Recovery For The Mac with 2,449 views in 2008, and finally Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) on VMware Fusion with 1,831 views.

I’m not sure what any of that means exactly, but I like stats so figured I’d end the year with some.

Best wishes for the new year and good luck beating those computers into submission.