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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Diapers & Disks

You wouldn’t believe how difficult it is to nurture a newborn baby and re-install a computer at the same time. May I also add that the capacity of disposable diapers is hugely overrated? After three days it just pours out. Luckily adding some newspapers did the trick.


When I bought my 80 gigabyte hard disk, I thought it was a bit over the top capacity-wise. Eighty gig, I’d never be able to use all that up, would I? Well yes, all it takes is a digital camera and a lack of time to check and throw away useless pictures. After two years of shooting, my hard drive started to bulge. I’ve been fearing a terminal disk crash for the last couple of weeks, expecting every moment that there wouldn’t be enough room for the swap file.

But finally I got my summer holiday check, so off to the computer store for some goodies. Since my wife always claims that bigger is better, I bought a 500Gb Western Digital SATA-II with 16Mb of cache memory and a top speed of 7200 rpm. Five hundred gig! I’ll never have to buy a hard drive ever again! Ever!

It took me a while to get the damn thing installed. Every manual I could find said that the whole SATA-I/SATA-II thing is just a gimmick and that a SATA-II disk would work just fine on a SATA-I connector. Well, it doesn’t necessarily. I had to add a jumper to get my motherboard to find it in the first place. Then update the BIOS and find the necessary drivers for Windows XP.

While I was at it, I also – and finally – bought me a DVD writer. To get rid of the broad PATA cables, I chose the Samsung SH-S183A Writemaster SATA-I drive. It can handle anything, including DVD-RAM. Which means I can make back-ups again, which was a bit tedious with my old trusty Plextor CD-RW drive. So tedious that my last back-up dates from… oh, I don’t know… the Middle Ages or something. So now you understand why I was getting nervous.

In between diaper changes I re-installed Windows (two times, because the USB photo-card reader messed up the drive sequence and my system disk got drive letter ‘H’). Then I proceeded with the software, using the opportunity to switch from MS Office to OpenOffice.org http://www.openoffice.org/ because Office 2003 is getting old and boring and because the new interface of Office 2007 looks like absolute rubbish to power users such as moi. Oh, and OpenOffice is just slightly less expensive: it is absolutely free, to be exact, and for a couple of hundreds of Euros difference I can live without blinking text or other gimmicks, thank you very much. I switched to Mozilla Thunderbird too, which handles my mail very nicely. I kicked out Explorer in favor of Firefox last year.

So after five evenings of cramming diapers into the DVD drive and changing my son’s installation CDs, I’m all ready to roar again.

Posted by Bart at 6:58 PM
Categories: ICT - Inevitable Computer Troubles

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