Feb 022010
 

Once upon a time I actually LIKED my little NAS… I bought an MvixBOX some time ago, and almost immediately after unboxing the thing sucked… hard…

For starters, the status LED (used to tell when it’s safe to turn the device off or to tell you when it’s operating) was dead… no light, just dead. so I called Mvix for support… guess what? I had none… that’s right, I was informed by Mvix that my BRAND NEW NAS was out of warranty once I opened the box… what can I do? they aren’t a US based company so I’m screwed!

Next, the installation REQUIRED a windows machine… now most people out there wouldn’t see the problem… but those who know me know I USE LINUX!!! I bought the thing specifically because Mvix advertised UNIVERSAL COMPATIBILITY. they claimed it was compatible with Windows, Mac, and LINUX… yeah… they lied. the Problem is the initial setup, in order to literally set the device up for operation you have to install a program through a windows machine. This program is absolutely necessary because the NAS OS is located ON the hard drives provided by the end user and as stated, the app is windows-centric.

But the problems don’t end there! oh no, this crap-fest of defication just STARTS there… next off you have to deal with substandard manufacturing practices… I wish I had a camera right now… because after 6 months of usage, the NAS housing has literally fallen apart!

The problem is one of heat… the Drive housing provides a millimeter gap between the two drive bays, the problem with this is that a millimeter is not enough room for proper airflow to allow the drives to cool evenly… over short usage intervals this is not a problem, but that leads to another design flaw I’ll get to in a minute… you see after 6 months of constant operation the plastics have become brittle from heat stress… and this morning the MvixBOX literally fell apart… what was I doing you may ask? well I was sleeping when I heard a “pop” followed by a “thunk” as one side of the Mvix LITERALLY fell off!!!

Now I tried to fix my little NAS but things got worse and worse, the USB link on the front got bent to heck when I tried to reattach the side… I’m still not sure how it just FELL off when I can’t get it back on without breaking it. and on top of that when the side fell off, the power and “disable” buttons also just fell apart… and they aren’t regular momentary switches so replacing them is impossible…

and this brings me to the last–and greatest–failings of the MvixBOX. with so much weak design you would assume the NAS is designed to operate in intervals, with cool down periods… and therein lies the flaw. to power off the MvixBOX, you are supposed to press and hold the “Disable” button on the front until it beeps at you, then wait for the “status” LED to go out, THEN you can power the device off… yeah… my status LED was dead out of the box. so I had to GUESS when it was safe to turn the thing off… normally most “Integrated” OS devices, such as WRAPS, or SAN, or NAS devices the OS is stored in read only on some kind of flash rom… not the Mvix, for the Mvix it resides ON THE FRIKEN STORAGE MEDIA!!!

This has to be the worst design flaw I have EVER seen… by putting the OS on the storage medium you create an inherent point of failure… think about a PC, if you power off the computer improperly you can destroy the boot record or the partition record. loose these and the PC is useless… in a NAS this is data suicide! ALL other “Portable” NAS devices (I am specifically referring to stand alone NAS devices designed to be portable) have the OS on a separate storage medium additionally they utilize an external cache device. most have a battery powered ram disk that manages the partition table so that in the case of power failure there is NEVER data loss. In the case of Mvix thought, there is no safeguard for improper shutdown and in MY case there is a greater LIKELIHOOD of improper shutdown AND DATA LOSS!!!

I cant wait until I get my Tax return… I am SO getting a Netgear ReadyNAS Pro.

Jan 272010
 

I have been eagerly anticipating getting a touchbook from Allways Innovating. Well, they failed me because it was supposed to be out June of ’09. Instead I was just notified via email that my preorder was not going to be honored because my cc info wasn’t correct. At this point I just decided it was a moot point because I had already purchased a Gateway Netbook, so other than the touch and the various options I had in mind for the device I didn’t need it.
There have been rumors flying around for several years about Apple putting out a tablet themselves, as of today it has become official. The iPad from Apple was announced and displayed for the press today. I am rather impressed with it, but not particularly by the software options. You have to use iTunes to sync it to your computer and the fact that it does not have flash expandable memory makes it’s usefullness very limited. From what I could see there are no usb ports so there is no possibility of adding adtl hdd space with an external drive. There is wifi and bluetooth but no expandability and I find that a deal breaker.
This thing starts out costing $499 with 16gb storage with no 3G. If you want 3G add $130. At this point they are only offering up to a full laptop price of $829 with 3G.
Although this is an amazing advance and I would like to have a Star Trek “pad”, there is still no way I will ever pay the price or be stupid enough to use the iTunes software on my computer.
The sources links will provide more info and pics.

Sources: [IGN] [apple] [allwaysinnovating]

Jan 262010
 

I was checking out Anything But iPod when I found this. Because Nic wants one I thought I’d post this for his consideration:

“Archos 5 Android Gets Android Version 1.6 (Donut)
Archos
December 24th last year, firmware version 1.6.08 appeared on Archos’ firmware site and included a full OS update to Android version 1.6. A couple of hours later it was removed, and Archos stated there were “issues with the browser” and that a new version would be out “in a few days”. As I was planning on doing the Archos 5 review during the Christmas holidays I thought I should wait until the OS was updated before starting it. A few days isn’t much, after all. Today, 4 days short of a month later, they actually released it. I know, I know, I should have known better than to trust a company that sends a products as unfinished as the Archos 5 Android on the market, but optimism got the best of me.

Anyways, the firmware is finally here. No changes that really matter that much, and still no Android markeplace (though a hack will probably be out before too long). It’s also managed to turn itself off randomly in the 5 minutes I’ve used it post-upgrade as well as refuse to find my WiFi network after it started back up, not managing to fetch time data from the net, not loading emails like it should and go into a power saving screen shutoff that required the reset button to get it out of. As the review isn’t up yet most of you won’t know this, but to put it simple; of all the buggy devices that has ever existed this has got to be the most unstable piece of…plastic…of them all. Half a year in and it’s still so unstable it hardly qualifies as an Alpha release. Stay tuned for a review in the coming, if it manages to stay on long enough that is. I have serious doubts. ”

Sep 292009
 

Those of you who know me–who am I kidding, the only people who read this site are my personal friends so OF COURSE you know, I have been trying to find the least sucky operating system for years… and I have YET to find one that meets my basic criteria of “non-sucky”.

Most (if not all) of you have asked, what is my criteria, and I have tried to define it from time to time. but frankly, there is not enough room on the interwebs to fully pull that answer from my ever-expanding butt. So in a nutshell here it is:

Every OS has three points that must be considered:

Point 1> The good.

Anything that the OS does or has that is good is placed in this category these items typically have a value I like to give them numerical values of 1 to 3.

  1. Linux Mint integrates the desktop effects menu into the same applet as the wallpaper, themes, and  such. This is a gee-wiz feature that LOOKS good but doesn’t really DO anything to make the OS run better. (+1pt)
  2. In Debian the Network Manager applet connects to wireless networks in 1/3 the time it takes in Fedora, Mint, and OpenSUSE. This is a functionality IMPROVEMENT.(+2pts)
  3. Debian and OpenSUSE have an additional applet that assists in package installation, for instance, in Debian, I can run “aptitude” instead of “apt-get”, aptitude will check the install package and its dependencies for conflicts and RESOLVE them, while apt-get does not do this. This is a functionality ADDITION.(+3pts)

Point 2> The Bad.

Any item or function found in an OS that functions badly, or in some cases, functionality that is plain MISSING is placed here. like the good, I like to place numerical values to each item like thus:

  1. “What the–where’d THAT go?!? A perfect example here is the same as the good, Linux Mint has the desktop effects in a place that makes sense… so much so that now every OS that DOESN’T have a similar setup gets a bad mark here. This is an example of MISSING features.(-1pt)
  2. In Fedora, OpenSuse, and Arch Linux, the network manager takes a full 15 to 20 seconds to find and connect to a wireless access point, this is an example of functionality degradation over Debian.(-2pts)
  3. In Arch Linux, it is possible to install and use Pulseaudio, but pulse in arch is so broken that it is basically unusable. Seeing as how Arch is one of the few Linux Distributions that has poor–no, I should say, NO implementation of Pulseaudio, this is an example functionality loss.(-3pts)

Poinf 3> The Unforgivable.

These points have skewed values compared to the last two points because these are the points that are so damaging that they make the distro almost (if not fully) unusable.

  1. I have mentioned this one already, but it is ALSO an unforgivable… In Arch Linux, it is possible to install and use Pulseaudio, but pulse in arch is so broken that it is basically unusable. Seeing as how Arch is one of the few Linus Distributions that has poor–no, I should say, NO implementation of Pulseaudio. Under normal circumstances one can sidestep Pulse and just use Alsa… unfortunately in linux applications use multiple sound systems, for instance; rythmbox (a music player) uses gstreamer, while vlc (a multimedia video player) uses Alsa, and the gnome sounds use esd (a sound daemon). with all these variations on sound systems it’s easy to loose one sound output over another… IE: you can be listening to music and open a video and NOT hear the video sound, nor hear the system sounds and such. Pulse addresses this by pulling all the linux sound systems under one roof. with the lack of pulse in arch, some audiophiles (such as myself) Will have a problem with this. This is UNFORGIVABLE excusion. (-10pts)
  2. If you happen to have an nVidia video card, in Debian you have the unfortunate need to make a choice of how you can use you card, you can use the open source driver built for the card, which will cost you 3d support rendering the card useless for any 3d application including CAD and 3d gaming. You can Use the nvidia installer to install the video driver, which will break your desktop forcing you to reload your OS the next time X is updated). OR you can install the nvidia driver “the debian way” which will require you to use multiple “unstable” repositories, generating the possible–nay, PROBABLE system failure due to conflicting packages as they migrate from “unstable” to “testing” generating the SAME result as installing the “nvidia way”. either way, you’re screwed. This is an unforgivable FUNCTIONALITY loss (-20pts)
  3. Some distributions have the dubious position of being backed by bigoted politics. while this is NOT a slight on the OS itself, it IS a slight on the maker and thus reflects on the OS. Linux Mint has the audacity to hijack the search engines of all web browsers installed on the OS to FORCE you to use a page muddled down with advertisements geared to line the developers pockets with advertising monies. While this in no way limits the functionality of the OS, nor does it cost me money, NOR do I have a problem with a good programmer making money on good programming. This is a tactic that coerces me to do something against my will. Normally I would be able to overlook it, IF I were given the option to use my own search engine, OR theirs. Heck! If they gave me the option, I’d be one of those people kind enough to actually USE their search engine because Mint is just so darn good otherwise! but the Mint developers take it to the unforgivable by FORCING their hijacked search engine on me. And they take it one step further by implementing their hijacked search engine in every update! I fix it, they update it, I’m back in “coercion mode”. This is an example of UNFORGIVABLE DEVELOPER POLITICS.(-30pts)

Now these are my basic criteria for deciding what OS doesn’t suck… Thus far, no OS has rated above Zero. The one that does will get the privileged of permanently residing on my Hard Drives.

Until then, NUKE ‘N PAVE BABY!!!

Please note, that in ALL my criteria, I have not made an example of Microsoft, Mac, nor BSD. this is because I don’t use either… If I did, I’m sure my criteria could be made to include them.

Aug 232009
 

I remember the spam days of “enlarge your pen1s” or “free cial1s”… that was when spam made sense, they are trying to sell you something. Usually just junk–but at least they had SOME method of extracting cash from you! Like professor Mumbai from Zimbabwe, or the rich prince from South Africa! They had a story to sell! it usually cost you the contents of your bank account, but hey! That’s spam!

These new spam bots… I don’t know… It’s like they just stopped caring, and just spam for the sake of spamming! DailyDFFR.net has had its host of Spam-bots, like flirtygirl420, and Littlevannessalikesboys. We had some good times with them! Remember when flirtygirl and littlevannessa got shoved into a chat room together? We all laughed when they repeatedly exchanged popup-riddled pron links… over and over… and over…

Remember the fun we had with Freeonlinegambler? he was a blast. I remember this one time; I set an auto filter to bounce his spam mail back at him. It was so funny to see him auto-reply to my auto-replies… it took 4 hours before the e-mail stopped… I guess those 3MB hotmail accounts get full pretty quick.

*sigh*

But these new Spambots… like xuji<phlem>hgt… yeah… I guess those Indian spam-bot builders have trouble spelling “bill”. And it’s no fun when they never reply to your e-mails… like the sweet old lady in Iraq with the fortune for me… she didn’t reply… after the twentieth response… I guess these scammers just aren’t as persistent as they used to be! Well, flirtygirl and Littlevannessa stopped spamming each other, the professor got shot in a mugging gone wrong, and the sweet little old lady in Iraq installed Norton antivirus and discovered she was actually a pimply faced teen boy in the UK… and freeonlinegambler apparently died of consumption. So I guess we’re stuck with the NEXT generation of spamming engines…

I miss the logic-less spambots… you know the ones… THEY could formulate a FUNCTIONAL popup-riddled spam link… what’s this “gogole.com” crap, and since when is “http://%;/casinoaddress…” a legitimate link?!? These spammers now a days have no idea how to gank someone’s credit accounts, nor how to PROPERLY infiltrate a bank account! I guess they just aren’t in it for the money anymore… but if that’s the case, what ARE they in it for?!? Have they managed to epically enlarge their pen1s’s to the point they cant reach the keyboard?!? Are they too doped out on cial1s they can’t type coherent sentences?!?

Boy, I miss the good old days.

*sigh*

Oh well.

 Posted by at 12:30 PM
Jan 012009
 
Linux, Windows, Mac OS... It sparks a fierce debate which is better... and
one must ask one's self which one IS better?

Our answer? none.

Silly Humans. We laugh at your misfortune. Having no proper enducation in
simple seperation of species and phylum you lack the ability to distinguish
that these animals have seperate and distinct sub groups that MUST be taken
into every arguement reguardless of intent!

You see we can not argue that Windows is better without first taking into
account that there are currently 4 seperate and distinct subversions of
Windows. For instance, there is windows Xp, Windows Vista, Server 2003, and
Server 2007. We can't argue that "Windows" Is better without first
acknowledging that any ONE version may be "teh suk" in any particular task
we try to perform!

Allow us to make this point more clear.

TASK: John wished to watch a video that is stored on a computer. he wishes
to watch this video on his TV in another room. He has the following hardware
to work with:
1 PC (with a standard 4 head NON-RAID sata controller)
1 TV
1 Xbox 360
How may this task be acomplished?

Now If he is running ether Windows XP or Vista on his computer he may simply
install windows Media player 10 or 11 and then he can stream the video use
UPnP! simple task complete! Windows wins!

But let's add some complexity! lets say that John is also a Download Fiend!
He spends his days downloading mass videos from the web and he wants to
store them ALL on his PC for streaming later on! to do this he must have a
mass storage... for now he is safe with his 1.5 Terrabyte hard drive, but he
realizes he will eventually run out of space! what to do?!

Well John could then look into his storage options! Eventually he will look
into building a large storage solution called RAID. in RAID John can
configure a GROUP of hard drives to store his precious videos! but then John
realizes that to safely sore his data he must use something called RAID
level 5. this can't be done in Windows XP NOR Vista! so he installs Server
2003... which DOES handle RAID 5. count another win for Windows right?
WRONG!

You see No windows Server OS will allow you to install the needed UPnP
software to stream to his xbox! so he is now given a choice; stream a few
movies OR store a massive collection of movies... NOT BOTH!

Now we know that John could have simply purchased a mass storage controller
with HARDWARE RAID instead of SOFTWARE raid but we are making an arguement
in the real world. If John wishes to spend his money on hard drives, he
probably will have very little left over to get that $900 raid controller!

Now many will read this arguement and assume We are a Linux zealot... we are
... but we recognize that linux isn't always the best OS for a task! for
instance, lets say John has the same setup and he installs ANY flavor of
Linux... now lets say he has a MASSIVE collection of MP3s. Now Lets say John
wishes to listen to his music using a pair of Bluetooth head phones... the
average PC user will NOT be able to do this out of the box. in fact, dare we
say it no experianced user could to it either! 

You see Undoubtedly John will want FULL use of his Bluetooth headphones!
this means he want to use the a2dp sound profile AND he wants to use the
buttons on his headset to controll the medial player... thus far there are
flavors of Linux that can use the buttons and there are flavors that have
a2dp support... NOT BOTH! But Windows can do this OUT OF THE BOX!

The moral here? Well the dead trolls said it best; Every OS Sucks!