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Journal: Grr... Got a broken USB connector... 2

Journal by bhtooefr

My Kingston UFD died today, after the connector getting bent about a month ago..

I opened it up, and looked inside. This is a quick sketch in Paint of the connector now...

I tried using my soldering iron, but couldn't get it in the area, and couldn't get the broken wires hot enough to melt the solder... Any suggestions?

I can't find my old Lexar UFD to steal the connector from, or I'd remove the whole USB connector from the Kingston drive and solder down the Lexar's.


Journal: Need help finding a program

Journal by bhtooefr

I've googled like hell today, looking for a free OBEX file transfer program for Windows 95 (long, long story - it appears Nokia uses OBEX for IR file transfer, and the PC Suite is too big and requires Win98). Here are my requirements (quite simple, really):

It needs to fit on one floppy disk - I DON'T want to mess with ZIP spanning, and floppies are the only way to get data on and off of this computer (no CD drive).
It needs to be somewhat easy to use.
It needs to be able to list files on the device (I don't know how hard that is).
It needs to grab files from the device, but not necessarily send them to the device.

If anybody can think of a program that can meet my needs, PLEASE REPLY!

Data Storage

Journal: Kingston DataTraveler II 256MB Review

Journal by bhtooefr

Cost: $28.00 (, 2005-05-03)
Approx. $0.11/MB

Package: Drive only

Included software: SecureTraveler

Drive features: Minimal

Drive speed: USB 2.0
Read: Fast (11MB/s theoretical)
Write: Fast (7MB/s theoretical)

Cap retention:
New: Excellent

Physical durability: Very good

Electronic durability: Good, but read the update

Physical Size: Thick, but still fits in a dual-stack port.

Power consumption: 100mA according to Windows XP SP1, but my Belkin USB 1.1 hub (which I can't get WinXP to recognize as a powered hub - only as an unpowered) doesn't have enough power to drive it, even though it is rated as 100mA per port when in unpowered mode.

Upshot: This'll get updated, but here's what I have to say now. It seems like a VERY solid drive, with many good design characteristics. However, ZipZoomFly has an error on their product page for this drive - they say it includes a lanyard (which was one of the reasons I chose this particular drive - I'm never going back to storing the drive in my pocket), but it does not. Actually, I'm going to go on a limb and say that Kingston changed the product itself, because Kingston's page has the same description, except without the "with lanyard". FWIW, it's not like it'll cost a lot to get a lanyard for it...

Update 2005-06-04: The drive is broken :-( The USB connector got bent about a month ago (I HATE laptop USB ports...), and the connector finally broke on the inside. Read my latest JE for more... FWIW, I'm NOT attributing this one to poor engineering, but rather carelessness on my part. A friend who had a 512MB SanDisk Cruzer Mini did the same exact thing to hers. Mine lasted for a month after it happened, so not so bad...

Data Storage

Journal: SanDisk Cruzer Mini 256MB Review

Journal by bhtooefr

Cost: $34.99 - $10 MIR = $24.99 (Office Depot, 2004-12)
Approx. $0.10/MB

Package: Drive, lanyard, two extra caps

Included software: CruzerLock v1.1 (SanDisk is now offering a larger software bundle)

Drive features: Minimal

Drive speed: USB 2.0
Read: Fast
Write: Slow
No manufacturer theoretical speeds available

Cap retention:
New: Good
After 1 month: Poor
After 3 months: Very Poor

Physical durability: Good

Electronic durability: Good

Physical Size: Very slim - fits in a dual-stack port

Power consumption: >100mA (requires a powered port)

Upshot: I would buy another of these, but I would be much more careful with the caps. Those figures on cap retention are with load balancing all three caps, and they still wore down that quickly. Also, the power consumption worries me a bit. Durability testing didn't go long, because the drive got stolen.

Data Storage

Journal: Lexar JumpDrive Elite 128MB Review

Journal by bhtooefr

Cost: $34.88 (Wal-Mart, 2004-04)
Approx. $0.27/MB

Package: Drive only

Included software: None

Drive features: Minimal

Drive speed: USB 2.0
Read: Fast (8MB/s theoretical)
Write: Moderate (6MB/s theoretical)

Cap retention:
New: Good
After 1 month: Good
After 3 months: Good
After 6 months: Fair

Physical durability: Fair

Electronic durability: Very Poor

Physical Size: Very thick, will not fit in a dual-stack port, or some on-keyboard ports.

Power consumption: <100mA, can be used on a bus-powered hub.

Upshot: This one lasted eight months. The failure of this drive led me away from Lexar, but it wasn't exactly a BAD drive. The package could have been better, though, and the drive could have been smaller - when I tried to get it working again, I found lots of open space in the case.

Data Storage

Journal: Lexar JumpDrive Classic 64MB Review

Journal by bhtooefr

I never got around to reviewing my flash drives, so here goes the first of several... BTW, I'm using a different format. Descriptions of each field (if necessary) are in italics after the field.

Cost: $19.99 - $10 MIR = $9.99 (OfficeMax, 2003-09)
Approx. $0.16/MB

Package: Drive only
This field is used to describe what comes with the drive. Lanyards, driver CDs, and the like.

Included software: None
This category is used for both software preloaded on the drive and software on driver CDs.

Drive features: Write-protect switch
This field is NOT used for features provided by included software, i.e. encryption. It is used for things like write-protection, biometrics, etc., which are at least partially implemented in hardware.

Drive speed: USB 1.1
This field will be used to mention the USB version implemented by the drive, and will normally have Read and Write subfields. Subjective analyses (read: wicked fast, fast, moderate, slow, and molasses) of speeds, along with manufacturer-provided theoretical speeds will be listed. However, since it has been a while since this drive has been working, I don't remember the speeds of this one, and Lexar's site doesn't even have theoretical speeds for this model.

Cap retention:
New: Poor
After 1 month: Poor
After 3 months: What cap?
Cap retention is more important than it seems. Often, the caps wear out, exposing the USB connector to dirt and moisture. If the drive does not use a cap (i.e., a SanDisk Cruzer Titanium - no, I don't have one), I would use N/A here.

Physical durability: Good

Electronic durability: Very Poor
Note that this can be affected by the other items - a missing cap, or a broken case, could kill the drive much faster.

Physical Size: Very thin, can be used in a dual-stack port.

Power consumption: <100mA, can be used on a bus-powered hub.

Upshot: Don't touch it with a 10-foot pole. Within four months, mine was dead. If you DO get one, be VERY CAREFUL with the cap, as I think losing the cap was the cause of the failure.


Journal: Apache Troubles 1

Journal by bhtooefr

I'm trying to get Apache working right on an internal system. The system is running Windows 2000 Pro SP4, PHP 4.3.10, MySQL 4.0.23, Apache 2.0.53, phpMyAdmin 2.6.1, and WordPress 1.5.

When I view the site from the server, it works fine. However, the ONLY file loaded if I view it from another system is index.php - no CSS, no nothing. Attempting to view any other page (e.g., wp-admin/index.php) results in the browser not being able to find the server. What am I doing wrong?

The httpd.conf file is at: This is not the server it is running on - the server it is running on is an intranet server. I am using the IP address to connect -


Journal: NOOOOOOOOO! 5

Journal by bhtooefr

I got bit hard in the ass by Murphy's Law last night :-(

I went to fix a spyware-infested system, plugged in my trusty Lexar JumpDrive Elite 128MB (yes, calling out the exact model - it's not an ad - read on), and NOTHING. I then plugged it into my laptop (good thing I brought it with me - I ended up using it a LOT), and only got "USB Device not recognized" errors. DAMN IT!

So, here's my question: What, in your experience, is the best drive I can get? It has to be something Wal-Mart has in a physical store (because I've got $50 locked in a gift card), and it cannot be Lexar brand (I've been burned twice by dying Lexar drives). Their product page for USB drives is I'm looking hard at the SanDisk Cruzer Mini 256MB, but want to know other people's experiences.

EDIT: I ended up getting the SanDisk drive I had been looking at, but used other Christmas money to get it from Office Depot instead ($3 to enter a $10 prize lottery? I'll bite!)

Hardware Hacking

Journal: Switching a phone from Verizon to Sprint 2

Journal by bhtooefr

My Sprint phone was stolen. I have a friend who is offering up his old Verizon phone (it had gotten stolen, and he got it back, but had already gotten a replacement). He says that he's got a friend at the Verizon store who can unlock it. My question is: can I get Sprint to take this phone, and if so, what words do I use to socially engineer Sprint into taking it's IMEI number into it's database? I don't know the model yet, but I do know that it is an LG flip-phone with a monochrome screen (yeah, I know how much help that is). The Verizon phones should be capable of all of the frequencies of the Sprint network.


Journal: Good day for Pentium M lovers

Journal by bhtooefr

DFI's Pentium M motherboard, the 855GME-MGF, was released today. Estimates of cost, though, are $250-$275 (GamePC).

GamePC reviewed AOpen's Pentium M board, the i855GMEm-LFS, and will be selling them once they get stock. Yes, AOpen's releasing to the US market. They are also estimating that they'll sell for $250 to $275.


Journal: DFI P-M board announced, will be in NA on 8th

Journal by bhtooefr

Built-in OC capabilities (the P-M has an unlocked multiplier, as DFI found out - this board supports it), and (after a voltmod) x86-secret got it to 2.8GHz with a 2.1GHz part. It obliterated an a64 4000+ at that speed. Oh, and all of this was with a northbridge cooler as the heatsink (DFI didn't put a P4 heatsink bracket on, unlike Radisys and AOpen, because they didn't want to deal with AXP-esque core crushing incidents).

It'll the first P-M desktop board to hit the US, and the third (IIRC) P-M board that could be obtained in single quantities in the US (including Commell's board and Lippert's board). This board design appears to be based on their G5M100-N, a Mini-ITX board. Also, x86-Secret (the site that OC'd it), which appears to be The French Hardware Review Site(tm), participated in the design of the board (from what I understand... I've also heard that they participated in the design of the ill-fated PL-iPM (guesstimated name from other PowerLeap product names)). The somewhat official forum for this board is: The fact that the site that reviewed it might have partially designed it does mean that the benchmarks are somewhat tainted, though, so we need to see whether Anand, TR, and [H] get the same results.

This was rejected (no, I didn't write it like THAT, I was just typing quickly this time around), so it's going up here. I added a few^Wbunch of things I found out after submitting the article.


Journal: MaxiVista Review

Journal by bhtooefr

MaxiVista is a product that lets you use another computer (let's say, your laptop, or an old beat up desktop) as a second monitor via a network. Windows is actually totally unaware of the fact that it is software - it thinks that there's another graphics card in there. I tried the demo version, to see if it could help alleviate my dual-monitor woes (damn you, Microsoft, for making it say "(Multiple Monitors) on Intel(R) 82845G/GL/GE/PE/GV Graphics Controller", even though it doesn't support dual-monitors...) Here goes...

The Good: VERY fast. While I didn't try playing DVDs in a window moving between two laptops, neither of which are the host system (couldn't, even if I wanted to - the demo doesn't support it), I did do some light stretching of windows (ah, maybe a window, and a quick Moz-based VB app that I had whipped up before in between the two monitors), and played with it. The network was hardly optimal for this sort of thing, and it was almost as responsive on monitor 2 as on 1. The only thing more responsive that I had played with on that network was Remote Desktop Connection, and not by much (forget about non-Tight VNC without UltraVNC's video driver)... It didn't want to connect, but I'm not blaming that on it - the network was hardly friendly to that sort of thing. Setup was fairly easy. Also, if you have the full version, the viewer program is smaller than 300KB.

The Bad: It costs $50. Still, it's better than the other option for dual-headed laptops (the Telegnosis/MCT/Tritton/Sitecom/whoever can buy the boards from Telegnosis/and their brothers USB2 to VGA adaptor), which is $90. Granted, this thing DOES need more hardware (another computer), but it basically needs to be able to run Windows 98 (or a VERY minimalistic Linux with Wine - that is acknowledged by the company to work, but isn't supported), and be on a network. You can get something that does that for free.

The Ugly: What ugly? It seems to work just fine.


Journal: Playing with Ubuntu 4.1

Journal by bhtooefr

I'd heard of Ubuntu, so I'm going to play around with it some...

Now, since my laptop runs Windows (and needs to), and I don't want to shrink the partition, and my other box, well, sucks ass, I'm using Virtual PC for this review, giving Ubuntu 96MB RAM (any more, and it won't work).

From what I've seen so far (the packages are installing now), it's a VERY simple text-mode installer. The masses will still want GUI, but it's pretty nice as it is. Just word a couple of questions a little better, and the masses can understand it.

Another JE once Ubuntu's installed, and I've had time to play with it.

Update: Ubuntu installed fine, except for one tiny problem. It appears that it tried to push the emulated GPU into 24-bit mode... which isn't supported. I had to fix that...

We will have solar energy as soon as the utility companies solve one technical problem -- how to run a sunbeam through a meter.