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Category Archives: Hardware

WARNING: This blog post was posted at approximately 3 AM. As a result, it is not very well defined. Had I been thinking, I would have been more to the point. As it is, I may repost more info about the Seagate HD when it is successfully RMAd.

One of my hard drives is making sounds that indicate that it could fail at any time; In order to prevent any losses, I ordered a new drive. I spent a while copying all of my data from one drive to the next (I generally have 2 drives in my computer at a given time; the drive closer to failure contains data that is broadly available online, so losses should be minimal if anything happens, while my personal data is semiannually burned to disc and regularly synced to my brother’s computer). At any rate, I finished the migration, and started updating my install on the new drive.

The next morning I got up and found that my computer was making a horribly disturbing sound. The update process had blocked on a prompt for my acceptance of a license agreement. Read More »

My standpoint on Linux vs. Mac vs. Windows: strengths of various operating systems, with Linux being the standard of comparison.

A quote from Facebook:

“I highly recommend MAC – they are fabulous, and things of beauty. And personally, I would stay away from Linux – not the most enjoyable OS to work with. Then again, with all the updating of packages and stuff – that might really appeal to you:)”

Off the top of my head; posted in response

Read More »

I recently purchased 3 Noctua NF-S12 fans, two of the 1200 rpm variety, and one of the 800 rpm variety.  I very much like the reduction in volume.  If I put my ear within a foot of the 1200s, I can hear a slight clicking sound.  Any further away, and I hear a gentle whoosh of air passing through.

After listening to the NF-S12-1200s, I wondered how the NF-S12-800 compared.  The clicking is a little more quiet, but not by much.  The main difference is that the airflow is less audible, which is to be expected, considering that it pushes less air.

Also, if you add the Ultra Low Noise Adapter to the 1200s, they seem to be almost identical to the 800s, perhaps pushing a little less air.  If I were to make the purchase again, I would just buy the 1200s, and if necessary, use an ULNA to mimic the performance of an 800.

The NF-S12s are quiet enough that, if I had the option, I might buy an NF-S12 that ran at 1400 rpm, and use the UNLA if I wanted anything quieter.  I’m pretty sure that Noctua chose 1200 rpm for a reason, though.

From my last explorations, I summarize:

use cat /dev/input/device | hexdump, where device is the device listed if you do ls -l /dev/input/by-id/, to see exactly what data your usb input devices (mice, possibly keyboards) are sending.

To skip the formatting, you can use a nice feature of hexdump to format things for you. Try this:

# cat /dev/input/event3 | hexdump -e '12/2 "%04x "' -e '"\n"'

Formatting may not be perfect, but you should be able to get it to work. I much prefer the realtime display.

If you want to decipher the output, look at my overview in the previous post.

As an aside, /dev/input/mouse1 exists, but it seems to filter out keypresses, while the raw event file does not.

I don’t know that I will have time to continue this anytime in the near future.  Although I haven’t fixed my side-scrolling, I’m fine with things as they are for now.

If you compile your own kernel, be sensible and follow the suggestions in the help.  Especially in the general setup.  If you don’t you may be bitten by surprising bugs.

The other day I recompiled my kernel and then had some issue with my audio.  Firefox would play sound, but VLC wouldn’t work, and Amarok would report an error like “xine could not initialize audio drivers”, or some such thing.

Apparently I forgot to compile in the System V IPC, which is necessary for xine.  I have come to a decision to follow the recommendations found on the “General setup” page, unless I really know why not to.  Or I forget.  Again.

Warning: this contains a travelogue of my interesting, but perhaps tedious explorations while attempting to achieve full functionality with my mouse, and does not come to a solid conclusion.  If you have some useful information, feel free to drop a comment.

I recently began the quest to achieve full functionality with my mouse (as has been mentioned, an Intellimouse Explorer 4.0A).

This is my current config: Read More »

I use an Intellimouse Explorer 4.0A, which has always required modifications of xorg.conf for forward/back to work under linux.

With firefox 2.0, button mappings for forward and back required one of two things to make them work:

Option "Buttons" "5"
Option "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"
Option "ButtonMapping" "1 2 3 6 7"


xmodmap -e "pointer = 1 2 3 4 5 8 9 6 7 10 11"

In firefox 3.0 (at least beta4), button mappings have changed. To get my my buttons to work, I had to run:

xmodmap -e "pointer = 1 2 3 4 5 8 9 6 7 10 11"

which simply undid the change I had made to xorg.conf for firefox 2.0.

I have now removed my mouse-related modifications to xorg.conf.

How many times have I flashed a bios?  Probably less than 50, but enough that I can’t say.

However, today I had a very unique experience.

Consider the following factors:

  • This bios update must be installed from either windows or DOS.
  • This laptop has no windows or DOS installation
  • This laptop does not have a functioning CD-ROM drive or floppy drive.
  • This laptop does not support booting from USB. Read More »