Tuesday, December 08, 2009

New social network item: gdgt gadget list in the sidebar

You can see a new element in this blog's sidebar: my gadget list in gdgt. This is an awesome social web site specialized in gadgets. Get there and try it :-)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Solid State Disks: An important improvement for a computer system

I have just replaced the original Seagate Momentus 7200.2 320 GB of a Dell Studio XPS 1340 laptop with a Kingston SNV 225-S2/128GB from the SSDNow V+ Series.

The new SSD disk allowed me to install Windows 7 64-bit in 15 minutes. This time includes the accumulated time spent in the final installation screen of the Windows 7 Install CD (from the "Copying Windows files" step to the "Installing updates" step, which was 10 minutes and 05 seconds), in the "Completing install" (3 minutes) and the final "Preparing computer for first use" (which took less than one minute). The total accumulated time also includes two computer reboots needed in the process: unluckily, the BIOS is quite slow in the boot process so each reboot takes about 30 seconds, withouth the disk being the one to blame.

Some other interesting times:
  • Visual Studio 2008 Professional ISO (3,47 GB) copied from a USB external disk: 4m34s
  • Complete installation process of VS 2008 Pro: 9m47s
  • Complete installation process of VS 2008 Pro: 14m48
It is important to note some things about those times: I included the time to copy the ISO from a USB 2.0 external disk to the SSD in order to note how significant the copy from a external device is related to the actual installation process; and it is also important to take into account that the MSDN install process takes a lot of CPU as file processing by the processor is done in a heavy way (so disk is not the bottleneck).

I also copied an ISO file of Office 2007 Professional (571 MB) from the USB 2.0 external disk in 25 seconds and the install process was performed in 3m22 seconds.

Someday I will review these times by comapring them to the times caused by using the original eSATA hard disk. Ah, all those tasks were made before I installed nVIDIA chipset drivers so times might be even slightly better (my fault! O:-) )

The tests strengthen my idea that it is very important to spend less money on the best CPU or memory chips when the operating system is accessing files or swap space more than often.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Installing a proper Win32 developing environment on Windows 7

I am playing a bit with Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. So far, the experience has been awesome and I absolutely recommend changing to this wonderful OS if you are a Windows user. I have tried to install Visual Studio 2008 this morning and also the Windows 7 SDK. In order to be able to use the latter making use of the former, VS 2008 needs to be updated with its Service Pack 1.

After downloading the installer for the VS 2008 SP1 (please note that the download link leads to the Spanish version), all I got were installation errors. In order to have it properly installed, all you have to do is execute the installer in Windows Vista SP2 compatibility mode.

About the Windows 7 SDK, you have to be aware of the two alternatives for a proper installation process: visit the link for the Web Installer (a small program that reads information about your Windows 7 system and downloads the files which it needs) or visit the page for the download of an image.

Also take into account that there are three ISOs for the three possible target CPU architectures (x86 for 32-bit CPUs, IA-64 for Intel Itanium chips and AMD64, which is the proper one for the Core 2 Duo in the laptop that I am using). If no comments show up in this post, it means that no install problems were found -I am still leeching the 1.5 GB of the SDK). Ah, I forgot one important thing: this is only for the underlying CPU architecture in your computer. Visual Studio allows you to generate code for all the three architectures, no matter which CPU you have.

I do not play with the SDK for pleasure. I want to test if I can compile both the Helix Server and Player for Windows 7 for the work of my PhD Thesis. If not, I guess I will need to install a new partition with Windows Vista or, more likely, Windows XP (where I have already done it in the past). Everytime that a new SDK comes up, headaches reach the Helix Community.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Google Latitude badge

Activated! You can check it on the left (this makes no sense if you read it via RSS... go to my blog) ;-)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Accessing an ext3fs filesystem from Windows Vista

I was a happy user of the kernel driver for Windows XP made available from fsdriver.org (the so called IFS driver). It allowed me to mount an ext2fs/ext3fs partition as a drive letter in Windows and treat it as any other disk.

After moving recently to Vista (not my fault, it was preinstalled in the new machine), IFS -which was supposedly meant to suppor the latest flavour of the Microsoft OS so far- asked me to reformat the drive in order to be able to use it. Gasp!

Googlin' here and there I managed to find the ext2fsd project in Sourceforge. I am trying it and so far it works fine. I only dared to mount the ext3fs partition in read-only mode by now and it is very likely that it will stay this way. I do not want to play with very serious things and most of my work is in that driver.

Friday, March 06, 2009

New Eee PC 901 in my hands

I recently bought an Asus Eee PC 901 in Redcoon. Great offer which made me buy it: 195 € plus 2 € and something (as I shared delivery fee with my colleague David).

If you follow my blog, you know that I played with the Acer Aspire One A150 that I gave to my wife last summer. I find the AAOne keyboard much more comfortable but I am getting used to the tinier keyboard of the Eee little by little. On the other hand, the new machine already has a 6-cell battery (I had to give a 6-cell battery to my wife for her AAOne as it barely lasted 1 hour and a half under Linpus Lite) and it lasts for over 6 hours in power saving mode while making use of WiFi and web browsing from time to time. I was at work so I could not make an intensive use of it.

The next test will be making the CPU suffer in High Performance Mode and see how autonomy decreases. Just for the sake of testing, as autonomy is a priority for me and Power Saving mode seems to be enough for browsing and editing simple docs.

One thing that I do not like is that the disk is divided and system partition goes easily full. For instance, I updated BIOS via Asus Updater and keyboard layout was lost. I launched kcontrol and changed keyboard layour from en-UK to es-ES and the keyboard model to A4Tech KBS-8. The terminal windows from which I launched kcontrol was indicating an error when changing keyboard layout. The reason was /dev/sda2 full so I gained some space by launching a sudo aptitude clean to remove cached .deb files.

I feel pretty comfortable with the default Xandros OS but partition layout might lead me to try other options as Easy Peasy, Windows or both O:-)

The Xandros OS is a bit better than AAOne's Linpus lite (at least for my taste). This machine also has a larger (16 GB vs 8 GB, plus the 4 GB internal flash) and a bit faster SSD disc, double amount of RAM (1 GB vs 512 MB), twice as much cells in the battery (plus a better energy management that leads to longer autonomy), same quality 1.3 Mpx web cam, Bluetooth support (gained in the AAOne thanks to a super tiny BT Dongle), and less size (with the inherent keyboard problems) but some more weight (due to the different size of the battery... they seem to equal when chaging AAOne's battery).

I'll keep reporting about my experiences with this machine.
So far I have fallen in love with it.

Friday, February 20, 2009

A new lesson of Real Sporting supporters

Another weekend for Spanish Leaghe BBVA and Real Sporting supporters, "the big red-and-white tide" will be in big number in Villarreal to support their team.

In these hard moments, "nunca irás solo".

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Playing with the G1

In the 2008 W3C Plennary Week, Adam from Google was very kind letting me play with his HTC G1. It was my first experience with Android. The UI was pretty simple and easy to use although it lacked some interesting features like offering the on-screen keyboard when in landscape orientation.

This post is pending since october 2008 and it is now the moment after just receiving both pics from Jonathan Jeon (ETRI-Korea). Thanks a lot, Jonathan and Adam!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

M.I.T. OpenCourseWare

By chance, I discovered this site where the people from the MIT leave for free some material of courses of different disciplines.

I reached the site after googling and finding the initial course on Classical Mechanics by the Department of Physics. There are lots of video material (and no excuse if you are not experienced in the English language, because there is a transcription for the voice in them -so you can use an automated translator or your fave English-speaking friend-).

Why not start from the first lecture about units, dimensions, measurements and associated uncertainties, dimensional analysis, and scaling arguments.

If you want Computer Sciences, they are also there.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Aren't AMOLED foldable displays lovely?

And promising, in the field of mobility. Few to say, just watch the prototype in the CES in Las Vegas these last days.