Friday, June 15, 2007

Lazy defined

1. averse or disinclined to work, activity, or exertion; indolent.
2. causing idleness or indolence: a hot, lazy afternoon.
3. slow-moving; sluggish: a lazy stream.

I took three days off this week, Mon, Tues, and today. I've been good for a while, working six days a week, but this week things fell apart. I needed to run some errands today, and my civilian car is dead (as in, deceased, finis, kaput). I'm going to donate it to a charity and take the tax write-off. With the sad state of automotive affairs, and I'm feeling too lazy to jump on the motorcycle, I needed the taxi for personal use today.

Cab related stuff on the day off:

1. Pick up a 90-degree adapter for the headphone jack on the laptop. The new LT has the jack in front, which makes for a mess running the wire to the jack on the car stereo. A 90-degree bend reduces stress on the wire, and it's cleaner.

2. Found a 4GB flash drive for $35 at Radio Shack. I'm using it right now with Vista's ReadyBoost and SuperFetch. Tom's Hardware says it speeds up a system a bit. Microsoft is somewhat more upbeat, naturally. I'm trying it mostly because it's just absolutely cool that I can insert a 4GB flashdrive into a USB slot and Vista will use it as a data cache. Science fiction writers were fantasizing about stuff like this just 15 years ago. I may start calling the laptop Hal. Note that I'd never run these things on my desktop because they interfere with games.

Chances are the $35 sale price for the drive is nationwide. If anyone wants one, get to Radio Shack while the sale lasts.

Tom's Hardware on SuperFetch and ReadyBoost:

    Simply spoke, SuperFetch tries to relocate application data from the slow hard drive into all available memory. It utilizes the available capacity to create a so-called warm memory state for the single purpose of making applications available almost instantaneously. However, SuperFetch needs a certain amount of main memory. At only 512 MB RAM size, the feature won't be very efficient, as Windows plus 2-3 applications will already eat up the total memory capacity. There won't be main memory space left to pre-cache application data. If you don't work with multiple applications at a time, 1 GB should be enough to see a positive impact of SuperFetch when compared to Windows XP. However, we experienced the best results at a main memory capacity of 2 GB - more won't hurt either.


    The results are impressive: Using both features, Windows Vista shows off how it can effectively reduce application launch times to provide a better performance experience with your everyday software. At only 512 MB RAM, application launch times decrease from 9 seconds (OpenOffice Writer 2.1) and 10 seconds (Outlook 2007) to 2-4 seconds only. Adding our 1 GB USB 2.0 Flash stick helped to shorten launch times for these applications to 2-3 seconds only. The next conclusion is that Windows Vista with only 512 MB RAM is no fun at all, because applications start much faster only by having 1 GB of RAM. In fact, both Outlook 2007 and OpenOffice Writer 2.1 start even faster on a fresh Windows Vista installation than on our SuperFetch-trained and ReadyBoost-enabled system at only 512 MB.

Here's some test data at Tom's. Note that they analyzed with up to 2GB flash memory; I have 4GB.

3. Fixed a problem with the new laptop's remote control. It stopped working after less than one week. That's a bad sign. I found other people with the same problem in some tech forums, and their solution worked: flash the bios. For non-computer folks, the BIOS is a software layer that boots prior to the operating system. Most people don't mess with a BIOS, but overclockers and tweakers (as opposed to tweekers) occasionally delve into it.

4. I rented the first few discs of Deadwood, Season Three. What a great show. That'll help for the slow times on the streets.

5. Got some plastic sheeting, cut to size, to make the new laptop fit the old mount in the car. Instead of making an elaborate cradle, and then velcroing the cradle to the platform between the front seats, I'm going to put velcro on the bottom of the new laptop. Naturally, that's about as hard as making a fusion reactor. Mustn't cover the cooling vents, and the surface is porous, so the sticky back of the velcro won't adhere. Plus, the rubber feet make the bottom recessed about four mm. My idea is to epoxy some 1" x 1" squares of plastic to the bottom of the laptop, which fixes the recess problem and the porous problem at once. Once the epoxy sets, I can stick the velcro to the plastic pieces. What a pain in the ass. It should be fine once it's finished, though.

I also picked up some coin wrappers and a little plastic thing for helping roll them. I want to deposit my loose change (a couple hundred bucks in dimes, nickels, and pennies), but my bank won't take it unless everything is rolled. See my change post for more info.


Paradise Driver said...

Do you go DC-DC for your power or do you run through an ac/dc inverter?

Ted Martin said...

I use an inverter. It was cheaper than buying a car-cord, and I can run other things with it, if need be -- like my cell phone AC charger, etc. I'd sure like an espresso maker in the car, too! Or maybe a blender for mixed drinks (kidding...).