Browse Month: January 2009

Postmaster General Suggest Cutting Mail Days

As you already know, I have no love for US Postal Service. In fact, I almost expected something like this to happen soon. Crisis makes all kinds of shady deals get more shady.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Massive deficits could force the post office to cut out one day of mail delivery, the postmaster general told Congress on Wednesday, in asking lawmakers to lift the requirement that the agency deliver mail six days a week.

If the change happens, that doesn’t necessarily mean an end to Saturday mail delivery. Previous post office studies have looked at the possibility of skipping some other day when mail flow is light, such as Tuesday.

So if you were wondering – what does it take for a commercial entity to make money, now you have a clear answer. You have to do less work. Less work – more money. Got it?

5 Reasons NOT To Own A Smartphone

5 reasons not to own a smartphone - old phone pictureTo keep a balanced approach along with the previous article here’s five reasons why you shouldn’t own a smartphone.

1. Too complicated, wasting too much time

A lot of people are avoiding smart phones (and other complicated pieces of technology) simply because they’re afraid they will not be able to figure them out. They are certainly right, these phones are complicated, requiring time and patience to understand and get used to the process. This could be time consuming and some people just aren’t comfortable with this.

2. You look too busy when typing away, people don’t think you’re paying attention

We’re all part of our social environment. If you spend most of your time looking at your Blackberry than you are making an eye contact, people would stop any kind of contacts with you at all. Knowing that some avoid using smartphones to prevent loosing other people’s attention.

3. You prefer your smartphone to real world face-to-face contact

This is somewhat similar with the previous reason, but in fact – just the opposite. Why would you waste time on sending e-mails back and forth if you could just meet for 15 minutes and solve all the issues. In fact, from my own experience, a 30 minute meeting can resolve enough issues to save you about 6 – 8 hours of writing e-mails.

5 reasons not to own a smartphone - old phone picture4. Battery life makes you go crazy

Smartphones are hungry beasts. If you used to recharging your phone once a week (light use) or once every three-four days (heavy use) – forget it. Almost every smartphone even with moderate use requires recharging every night. It could hold its juice for over 24 hours, of course, but would you want to be stuck in the boring meeting next day and don’t have enough power to check your e-mail while you’re at it?

5. Your data gets lost with your phone

That’s the most dreaded thing of all. We tend to sidestep required security locks in the names of efficiency and easiness of use. Just imagine if all the data you have on your phone is in some dirty sticky hands. To avoid that altogether is alone a good reason not to have a smart phone at all.

Two Birds With One Stone

Having worked as desktop support technician for quite some time I’ve seen my share of dead hardware. But what happened yesterday just blows my mind. My workhorse laptop had decided to have a sabbatical for the few days, so its main hard drive got that notorious “click of death” sound. What was even worse is that the secondary hard drive (where all the data stored – exactly in expectation that two drives can’t die at the same time) was dead too. Lost about a month worth of work (since last backups) and about three months worth of e-mails (no biggie, everything important is saved in three Gmail accounts).

While definitely not having a best evening of my life I’ve called Lenovo and asked for a replacement hard drive. However, the second hard drive would still need to be ordered separately, as it wasn’t in the original configuration. Since I also own a very small X61s, I have decided to treat myself to a little better option. I ordered 30GB MLC solid state hard drive for X61s, while the hard drive that’s in there now will become a secondary in my main laptop.

Of course, it isn’t the fastest nor the best drive out there, but I am just not ready to spend $600 for a hard drive. Going with a cheaper drive would not yield an ultimate speed boost, but should help with productivity.

So far I am running fine after half a dozen tweaks and adjustments for Windows XP to get more “solid-state friendly”. There’s usually plenty of resources available, depending on the make and model of the SSD. However, the following have been observed:

  • reading is lightning fast. Ditch paging file – and system boots and shuts down in less then 30 seconds.
  • writing is slow. Get rid of writing, set up a RAM drive or secondary HDD for browser/system caching or page file.
  • no more worry about shaking. I used to be worried about opening laptop on the bus – no more!
  • extended battery life. Depending on your usage and initial battery state you may get some boost in battery life. My X61s reports an extra hour on 9-cell battery.
  • less heat, less noise. There are no moving parts, so there’s not much to get the noise from. Might get a little hot, but I hear fan starting a lot less now.

Overall, I can state that I am very happy with the replacement. Recently I’ve added more memory to my laptop (so that I am running 3GB under Windows XP SP3 32-bit), then gave up 1 gig for RAM drive for paging and cache.

Using cheap SSD in servers, desktops or general purpose laptops isn’t, probably, worth a hassle, but for my “on-the-run” checking e-mails/logs/sites it is more then adequate.