Friday, February 16, 2007

No disk

Yesterday I went to Digitalstar and purchased a 4GB USB thumbdrive for $69.

My first impression of my new flash drive was that it is slow. I guess I was assuming normal disk speeds, or something akin to it, give or take; it's solid state baby! In practice the file transfer speed to the thumbdrive is about a 10th that of the hard disk speed. This is bearing in mind that the USB2 interface speed is something like 12MBps, as compared to the hard disk's PATA speed of 100MBps. When using the thumbdrive for transferring backup files to another PC, the result is about the same as using a 100Mbps network connection (pickup@~1MBps, putdown@~10MBps, compared to a copy speed@~5MBps) and definitely nothing mind blowing.

Also yesterday, I installed Ubuntu Linux on the thumbdrive, removed applications that I do not use (OpenOffice and others), and applied all the updates. Today finished installing other bits, like VLC, Skype, Audacity, Avidemux, Abiword, Gnumeric, and Flash. Seems to be working fine. The speed of the desktop is about the same; some things seem slower and some seem quicker, but nothing jaw dropping.

A diskless PC running Ubuntu is no longer a pipe dream. I will be more convinced when I see it work in the longer term. And, Yes, I am concerned about the write wearing of the flash memory, so am running without a swap file (sudo swapoff -a), which I can get away with having 512MB of RAM albeit in 2 hot memory modules but that's another issue.

Now if I could only make it run fanless and not heat up the way it does. The warm and toasty spots are, RAM (I have 2x256 modules that I am not paying good money to replace with a single module even if it would probably be more power efficient), cardbus WIFI, and of course the relatively large CPU and heatsink assembly. There is just no way to underclock my 1.5GHz Celeron because the BIOS does not present the option.

[Revision 20070219]
I figured out how to disable swap from mounting during Ubuntu startup.
  1. open Terminal
  2. sudo gedit /etc/fstab
  3. go to line that has the word swap and put # in front of it
  4. save and reboot

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Google account is disabled

My Google account has been disabled since the weekend, allegedly for being in breach of terms and conditions. This is affecting me and 3 other accounts so far as I know; what we have in common is we are in the same chain of invites to gmail, where at least one other account that I know is not in the same chain and was unaffected. We just got access back now. Prior to this incident Google was infallible in my book, but now my confidence in The Goo is severely shaken by this incident.

Now that I got burned I hesitate to leave any identifying or substantial information about myself on a public profile. My concern is that I could be locked out again and not be able to delete it or edit it.

I deleted my picasa photos, my docs, and my blogger profile. Several days ago, when this bomb hit, I deleted my youtube videos, minimized my profile there to just a dated message, and opted to delete my profile completely. It is still visible but locked out from logging in, so just as well that I deleted all other information from it.

The blogger blog I will leave for now. This is some kind of a hopeless situation. I think that I should sleep on it.

My other options include having no online profile whatsoever, or run my own LAMP server again from my laptop like before. The server is only accessible when I am online from my home connection, and with limited bandwidth. A LAMP server if very flexible, has no upload need, disk space restriction, or control issues, and can run a wordpress blog and gallery2 for photos among other applications.

This is a hairy predicament. All because of some unexplained dubious outage. If I had a sensible explanation from Google then maybe my concerns would be laid to rest more easily, but the way it happened leaves too much to unacceptable uncertainty.

[Revision 20070215]

This is a support page if you have a disabled Google account:

This is a form that is linked to from the above where you can report your problem:

This is a Google search for disabled google accounts, where I found some interesting stories about other people who had similar problems:

In retrospect it appears that Google is having some issues. Whether it is technical or related to an spam attack or some upgrade, I will never know. I could have saved myself a lot of bother and time if I just did not worry about it for a few days, especially knowing that this time frame included a weekend when support is likely to be scant. Instead I freaked out and started to question a whole bunch of my policies, online activities, my online content, email, my future online storage practices and whether or not should be committed to Google any more like I was up to now. I, maybe needlessly, set up another google account, another youtube account, and took some rash deletion measures. The experience left a foul aftertaste for sure.