I have to confess I’m paying minimal attention to technology these last few days. I’ve been watching the goings-on in the Middle East. I saw the headlines that Intel’s newest chipset is buggy, but that won’t go down as the biggest news of 2011. A revolution in Egypt stands a chance. And it could have a domino effect.
Should this site go dark for a few days, know that it’s not entirely unexpected. There’s some nasty talk of thundersnow this week, and before that, anywhere from half an inch to an inch of ice, followed by gusts of wind. The last time we got that much ice was in late November/early December 2006, and similar conditions then caused widespread power outages.
We’ve taken appropriate safety precautions. We’ve dealt with this before, so we know what to do.
Spinrite 5 is an old friend. It got me out of some jams in the late ’90s, but as new versions of Windows that defaulted to NTFS came into my life, Spinrite 5 ceased being an option, since it only worked on FAT-formatted drives.
I’ve had occasion now to use Spinrite 6, its successor, which still runs under old-fashioned MS-DOS but now understands a multitude of filesystems. Other than that, it hasn’t changed much: It’s an obsessively thorough repair and maintenance tool for hard drives.
SSDs will eventually make Spinrite unnecessary, but there are still a lot more conventional hard drives being shipped each year than SSDs. Continue reading Spinrite 6: An overdue review
Dvorak was in rare form this week, as he writes something that reads more like an e-mail virus alert chain letter. http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2376702,00.asp
Read on for the money quote.
I was working in a data center, where we had a couple of Cisco VOIP phones. I don’t know who put them in or when–it’s possible they predated me. We never got them working, but nobody ever really tried, either.
The idea was that two guys working on servers in different datacenters across the WAN might need to talk. The reality was that we didn’t do that very often and usually had other ways to do it–a cellphone being the most obvious option. Our networking guys always had much more pressing issues than getting the VOIP phones working, so the phones just sat there and looked pretty. Until the wrong guy noticed them one day, that is.
I’m noticing a trend with my spam comments lately (you never see them because I have a plugin that catches them, and lets me delete the day’s batch with one click). Begging and desperation.
Let me elaborate.
Continue reading Spam, spam, spam, spam!
Something today made me think of Johnston Electric, a legendary, long-gone train store in St. Louis’ Dutchtown neighborhood that sold Lionel, American Flyer, and HO scale trains.
I was in the old Marty’s Model Railroads store in Affton one afternoon several years ago while Marty was going through a box of trains he had bought earlier in the day. He found some manuals, catalogs, and other paperwork, which he set aside. Then he pulled out an old newspaper page. “I wonder why he saved that?” he asked. He set the paper down, then something caught his eye. “Oh, that’s why,” he said, and pointed at an ad on the page.
“Johnston’s,” it read at the bottom. “3118 Chippewa Street.”
“I spent many, many hours at that place when I was younger,” Marty said.
Continue reading E.R. Johnston, the train dealer, the myth, the legend
To a newcomer, and even many people with years of experience, the phrase “On30” is confusing. Basically, it’s O scale models (1:48) of narrow-gauge (30 inches in this case) railroads.
And that probably raises a few more questions, so I’ll try to answer them.
Continue reading What is On30?
If you still use ICQ for some reason, there’s fake antivirus malware being distributed through it. The story is making its way through various news sources.
You basically have two options, beyond not clicking on anything that claims to be an antivirus warning while ICQ is running. Stop using ICQ, or do the malware domains hosts file hack.
I saw a question for the millionth time on a forum about what glues to use on plastic models and buildings. So I’ll cover the topic here, where it won’t get purged after 8 months.
Ask the question at a hobby shop, and the answer comes down roughly 50/50 whether to use some type of super glue (cyanoacrylate, often abbreviated CyA or CA), or some type of MEK-based plastic weld, such as Tenax 7R. Every once in a while, someone pipes up about the tube cement I used as a kid. You don’t want to use that stuff. If you’ve ever tried, you know why–it’s messy, dries slowly, and the bond isn’t as strong as it could be. Read on and I’ll give you the advantages and disadvantages of both alternatives, plus some secrets.