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Comment: Re:How does Microsoft feel about this? (Score 1) 343

Sometimes the problem with doing market analysis(armchair or otherwise) is that you may miss what people could do by focusing too much on what people have done.

3 or 4 years ago, IT dorks using Hulu and ditching their DishNetwork/DirectTV/Cable were an anomaly, today they are on the fringe, in a few years it may be the norm. Currently I have 9 functional computers in the house(FreeNAS, AppleTV, 3 Laptops and a Mac Mini, 2 iPhones, 1 DSi). On any given day, compared to the rest of my family I'm fringe in terms of numbers, anomaly in terms of interconnectedness and setup. Any time we have a family gathering at mom and dads, suddenly I'm mainstream in terms of numbers(2 Parent computers, avg 2 ipads, 5 iPhones, 2 android phones), but still anomaly in terms of interconnectedness and setup.

What's the point? The point is that home users don't care because "domain/realm authentication" (as a generalized term) isn't worth it because it's hard, not because there is nothing to be gained from it. And by hard I mean harder than a toaster. So, as far as I'm concerned, the computer market as a whole doesn't care NOW, but a robust, unencumbered implementation of a domain/realm authentication framework that supports/integrates with an industry standard and eventually makes it's way onto every $200 shared storage devices sold at your local grocery store . . . matters quite a bit.

Comment: What for? (Score 1) 361

by homesteader (#41942979) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Which Virtual Machine Software For a Beginner?

There are 2 primary reasons to be thinking about virtualization: 1. To experiment with multiple OS, or use multiple OS and not need multiple desktops. 2. To learn about virtualization as it applies to systems management/administration.

If you are looking for tools to save you from building multiple desktops, start with VirtualBox. It's free and decent. VMWare workstation is still the industry standard, they've been doing this since 1999.

If you are looking for tools to learn about how modern server environments are operated, then go get VMWare ESXi, install BSD and play with jails, or whatever strikes your fancy. For SMB's, it's about VMWare ESXi and MS HyperV(for the poor). The hard thing about learning about virtualization is that without virtualized storage(iscsi/fc SAN) you are only getting part of the picture. If vmotion had to copy all of a system's data every time you needed to do maintenance on a server, it wouldn't be so impressive. So build out a freenas server with a few hundred gigs of drive space and iscsi configured, and then pick a hypervisor to play with!

Comment: Re:If you're crazy enough to try the freezer trick (Score 2) 504

by homesteader (#40803667) Attached to: Can a Regular Person Repair a Damaged Hard Drive?

2. Wrap the drive *before* you put it in the freezer. Heat a towel in the oven to make sure it's dry, then wrap the drive in the towel. Now stick it in a plastic baggie, along with some silica gel packs to suck up more moisture. Try to close the mouth of the baggie around the cables as much as possible. Use duct tape if necessary.

Now that your house has burned down from the towel that caught on fire, that dead HD doesn't seem like such a big deal!

Comment: Yes, but only for specific cases of "Regular" (Score 1) 504

by homesteader (#40803529) Attached to: Can a Regular Person Repair a Damaged Hard Drive?

First off, you have to define "Regular Person"

Regular Non-Tech-Interested, Non-Tinkering Person: No.

Regular Tech-Interested, Tinkering Person: Maybe. Could possibly recover from basic platter damage(1 to a few thousand bad blocks), possibly from PCB failure of the overheating type. Not likely to recover from total pcb failure, motor failure, head failure, etc.

Regular IT Person: Yes. Can definitely recover from basic platter damage, possibly from PCB failure of the overheating type(if patient enough). Still not likely to recover from total pcb failure, motor failure, head failure, etc.

There may be better software out there, but all of my successful recoveries have used 3 or more the following 6 components:

1. Non-Windows OS for recovery platform. As far as I can tell, you need an OS with /dev. I've yet to figure out on Windows how to hit the block level device directly. Maybe the drive recovery apps do it, but I haven't had much luck. For marginal drives, it seems like Windows mounts the drive and starts trying to muscle it's way through reading it, which either locks up the UI or makes the drive worse by repeatedly trying to access the same damaged regions of the drive.

2. ddrescue (not dd_rescue). ddrescue is IMO a great example of "the culture of unix-like development(?)", which is to say it is simple, does one thing, but does that one thing really well in a refined manner. ddrescue basically does block level copying of a disk to a file, avoiding error areas on it's initial pass by randomly skipping ahead when read errors are encountered. Error areas are logged to a simple text file, and when the full disk has been read it uses the log file to go back and narrow down the error areas. Nearly every successful drive recovery I've handled used ddrescue. I've had disks that would not mount in Windows, and actually clicked rhythmically like they had head/pcb failure, that boiled down to a single bad block. The clicking was from the drive repeatedly trying to read the same location early in the mounting process.

3. testdisk/photorec. After using ddrescue, if the error areas affected the partition map, testdisk can often help recover the partition info. It's not particularly user friendly and not something I would risk telling a non-tech to use, but does what it does well. Photorec is an undelete program.

4. rsync. (sometimes used with #5). Basically a file sync utility. Could just as well be robocopy in Windows, although I think rsync may be a bit more intelligent in terms of doing an incremental update with repeated interruptions.

5. Cold. PCB/component failures that are heat related will obviously respond to the freezer trick. I had a drive that when warm, wouldn't mount at all. When chilled to freezer temps it would mount and be fully accessible for about 2 minutes. I was able to identify the overheating chip with a human digital instrument of the index sort. I took a small flat copper plate, about 1/16 thick and 1" long, applied thermal paste to it, wedged it on top of the chip while ensuring it wouldn't short anything else(chip was on drive side of PCB), then re-did the freezer test. With this make-shift heat sink I was able to get about 20 minutes of uptime on the drive, which was long enough to use rsync to do a full recovery.

6. Patience. None of the above methods is quick. A simple ddrescue recovery will take several hours at the least, and can take much longer if there are tons of error areas.

As for the non-recoverable scenarios, platter/head replacement supposedly requires a clean room, clean box. PCB replacement supposedly requires the ability to read custom firmware parameters from the dead drive and write said parameters to the donor PCB, or requires de-soldering/re-soldering of firmware/eeprom chips from the dead board to the new board. I haven't had success with PCB swaps since the days of 540MB hard drives.

Comment: Re:Jobs is happy with it? (Score 1) 303

by homesteader (#30557616) Attached to: Jobs Finally "Happy" With Unannounced Apple Tablet

I didn't say MS didn't develop an OS for 5 years, just that it wasn't worth much. Say what you will, but Vista is a turd. I regularly work on Vista PC's that are up to date and still dog slow on decent hardware. Win7 appears to perform OK.

30 mothers agree, Windows Vista is today's Windows ME.

Comment: Re:Jobs is happy with it? (Score 1) 303

by homesteader (#30554540) Attached to: Jobs Finally "Happy" With Unannounced Apple Tablet

MS gets away with pretty much 95% of their software only working on the Windows platform. And the whole "PCs and Macs can get viruses" thing is really quite funny. Sure it's technically true, but it's kind of like the whole "room full of monkeys . . . works of shakespeare" thing, it doesn't have much practical application. Meanwhile, I need to go run MalwareBytes on my mom's machine to deal with "Why is my computer so slow now?"

What torques me off, is that MS can get away with being stagnant for 5 years in OS development. So far, Win7 looks pretty good, and folks in IT are breathing a sigh of relief that they might not have to deal with Vista en masse, but that means we waited about 8 years to get a good upgrade to XP, which is f'ing sad in my opinion.

"Falling in love makes smoking pot all day look like the ultimate in restraint." -- Dave Sim, author of Cerebrus.

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