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March 20, 2006

TiVo Hard Drive Upgrade

TiVo Renewed
Originally uploaded by Mike A..
I upgraded the hard drive in my tivo this past weekend. The old 40GB drive made a constant, high-pitched whining noise that has been bugging me for a long time. I had to go to Fry's to pick up an external hard drive for my wife, so upon seeing a $40 160GB internal drive, I decided to take action and relieve tivo of its misery.

I followed the step-by-step directions at Interactive TiVo Upgrade Instructions. It was a fairly simple procedure: remove the hard drive, attach both drives to my old PC, boot the PC with a special linux boot CD, run one command to initate the data transfer, and attach the new drive to the tivo.

I also changed the fan, since that was also pretty loud.

The results:

The whining noise is gone and I've quadrupled the storage space. Now that the whine is gone, I can hear the actual drive access clicks and whirs, which is a little distracting. The new fan also didn't make a difference and may even be louder than the old one. It's hard to tell, since the old fan noise was drowned out by the loud hard drive.

I've uploaded a few more photos to a Flickr photset.

March 15, 2006

Curious Vaio Behavior

We just got a Sony Vaio SZ140. It's pretty cool: lightweight, great screen, nice performance, and all that. There's one thing that bugs the heck out of my wife, though. When she's browsing the web on battery power, some not-insignificant number of the pages take a long time to load, in both Internet Explorer and Firefox. These hanging page loads are on major sites like Google and Amazon, so it's probably not a problem on their end. Also, the problem seems to go away as soon as the notebook is plugged in. Even stranger (to me, at least) is that when the browser is just waiting there for the page to start loading, a second click on the same link will invariably load the page very quickly.

I've never noticed this behavior on my PowerBook, so I'm not really sure what's up. Unless the battery vs. plugged-in behavior is a red herring, I'd guess that it has something to do with the power management stuff that happens in those situations. It seems like a strange symptom of that, though, especially noting the second-click quick page loads.

Any ideas?

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March 05, 2006

Spring Flowers

Spring Flowers
Originally uploaded by Mike A..
An abadoned flowerpot left in our driveway by the previous homeowners is blooming. Looks like spring is coming!

March 02, 2006

How to sell a car

I've been browsing craigslist car listings, tossing around an idea to buy a cheap car and convert it to an electric vehicle. While it's still a fairly low probability that I'll actually get around to doing that, it's still fun to look through car listings. My favorite so far had the following:

And here's the kicker, 4 reasons you will never hear from a used car salesperson of why you should buy my car:

1. You will make new friends. My volvo is rather distinct, and I've been driving it for a while now, so anyone who sees it on the road will think its me driving, they will give you a super friendly wave, and then have a moment of realization, have an akward laugh, thus, giving the two of you an icebreaker. My friends will soon be your friends.

2. She has character. It may be hard to believe, but the character vibe that surrounds the volvo, it's not just me. It is the car itself. Thats all I can say really, you just need to be near it to understand. Have a good lean against her, you'll be sold.

3. She is the perfect place to hang out. Thats right, you don't need to find somehwere to go with friends, just somewhere to park. You can chillax in the back, on the hood, or my personal favorite, in the trunk. Not when the trunk is closed of course.

4. You will be cooler. Yeah, I'll go there. Driving this car will actually make you cooler. It will change you, for the better. You won't even need to feel embarassed to sing in the car with people watching. You will make the people who don't sing ashamed. Yeah, you and the volvo will put others to shame.

Unfortunately, it's an automatic and therefore not a great candidate for conversion.