Category Archives: Computers

Synology 412+ NAS

A couple weeks ago I purchased a Synology 412+ with two 2 TB Western Digital Red drives. I’ve been using it as an additional backup location for my computer as well as a media center. I added a CyberPower CP1000PFCLCD 600W UPS in case the power goes out temporarily. It has been working perfectly. It is running Synology Hybrid Raid, which, with only two drives, is equivalent to a RAID1. I have yet to add an additional drive (waiting until prices drop), at which point it will be a RAID5 NAS. I don’t know if it is the NAS or the drives, which are designed for NAS use, but this thing is super quiet; I can’t even tell that it is running even when it is being fully used.

Rather than recap what many people have already written, I’ll just link to a few reviews of the 412+ that I found:

Ars Technica: A fast NAS with class: 5 months with the Synology DS-412+
X-bit labs: 4-Bay NAS from Synology: Three Models Reviewed
CNET: Synology Disk Station DS412+ review

Super expensive hard drives & some cool price trackers

I was searching Amazon for reviews of the Synology 4-bay Network Attached Storage devices and noticed that hard drive prices were very high. Remembering that floods in Thailand in October may have contributed to this, I found this article, Hard drive prices showing rapid decline, on Google. This article stated that “the floods in central Thailand in October wiped out more than 25 percent of worldwide hard drive production.” Here’s what that site had to say:

An example: The Camelegg chart, which tracks prices at Newegg, shows the Western Digital 2TB Caviar Green Western Digital20EARS hit a low of $69.99 just before the flood. A month later, on Nov. 10, it had soared to $249.99 — an increase of 250 percent. Today the drive sells at Newegg for $162.99, which is 35 percent less than it cost a month ago. The pricing trend is clearly down — although how far down and how fast are points of conjecture.

Wow, a huge price increase! This chart on Camelegg shows a graphical representation of its price since January 11th, 2011. It looks like I will be waiting awhile until I buy a NAS or get new hard drives! But, I did find same really sweet sites to track prices at Amazon, Backcountry, Newegg, and Best Buy.

You can even sign up to receive email alerts when products go on sale.

Amazon –
Backcountry –
Best Buy –
Newegg –

Experience with 1Password

Around Thanksgiving we bought a family license for 1Password when there was a special discount. I had previously kept track of my passwords on a password protected iPhone app and had an encrypted text file on my computer for backup. I probably had about 5 or 6 passwords that I used for everything. Most online places considered them “strong” in quality due to my use of numbers and symbols. However, I reused all of them at multiple places and used the password manager app to really only remind me which one I had chosen.

I think it was at the beginning of the summer that I had introduced my brother to 1Password and other similar types of apps. Before I knew it, he kept telling me how great it was. He said that other than maybe his email password and the 1Password master password, he had absolutely no clue what any of his other passwords were! At least at first, this seemed like it would complicate things and be slower. I was so wrong.
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Atrix 4G Phone

Can the Atrix 4G really become your next PC?

You know that advertisement where you see the guy trying to explain to airport security if his phone is a computer or a phone or both? Visit the above link to read a review of it. Seems kind of like a cool idea until you learn some of the details: Turns out you’re not actually running the computer from your phone. The computer portion is running its own version of Linux. A quote from a Slashdot article, Can the Atrix 4G Really Become Your Next PC?, explains it the best:

So I was reading the article and thinking “$400 for the laptop module? $200 + peripherals for the dock? Those are the equivalent of a cheap laptop/PC” Then I got to this tidbit:

“When you dock the Atrix, the Firefox browser and other dock-provided services aren’t running from the Atrix but instead from a stripped-down Linux PC inside the dock. A real post-PC device would run everything from the smartphone or tablet, and it would use the dock to add more processing or take advantage of peripherals.”

What? Why the heck am I buying this thing? All you’re selling is an ultra-underpowered, crippled Linux computer that only works when a weird phone is plugged in for no particular reason. Syncing open tabs in FireFox is nice, but that’s not enough. A simple app could do that. At home, I can keep a computer no problem. On the go, I still have to keep your laptop dock thing, so no space savings there.

Then there are other downsides. I’m guessing it drains the battery faster to use the laptop dock thing. The pictures of the laptop dock make it look really easy to snap the phone off the back accidentally and break the phone/dock. It’s nice to know the reviewer doesn’t think the thing feels secure in the dock.

This seems to be where computers will go for most people, but this first implementation clearly sounds more like a beta product than a first generation.

Prank Research Papers

Sometimes jargon really is gibberish.

Take the “scientific” papers generated by a computer program and submitted by three MIT computer science students to a scientific conference. One of the papers, “Rooter: A Methodology for the Typical Unification of Access Points and Redundancy,” was accepted by World Multi-Conference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics 2005 as a non-reviewed paper. “The Influence of Probabilistic Methodologies on Networking” was rejected.

Graduate students Jeremy Stribling, Max Krohn and Dan Aguayo had doubts about the standards of some conference organizers, who they say “spam people with e-mail.”

“We were tired of getting these e-mails from these conference people, so we thought it would be fun to write software that generates meaningless research papers and submit them,” said Stribling. All three of the students are doing research in the Parallel and Distributed Operating Systems Group at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab at MIT.

The paper’s acceptance proves their point, Stribling said. Their computer program generates research papers using “context-free grammar” and includes graphs, figures and citations. The program takes real words and places them correctly in sentences, but the words used don’t make sense together…

Source: Prank research paper makes the grade

Here’s the group’s website:, including links to the two papers that they submitted to the WMSCI 2005. Their first computer-generated paper, Rooter: A Methodology for the Typical Unification of Access Points and Redundancy, was actually accepted. Their second submission, The Influence of Probabilistic Methodologies on Networking, was rejected for some reason. I don’t understand a lot of the titles of the real papers that are presented at these computer science conferences so these seemed to fit right in.

The grad students raised enough money to attend and present their paper at the conference. They were actually going to have their program generate a Powerpoint presentation for their talk. Unfortunately, the conference heard about this plan and rejected the paper. So, they decided to hold their own “technical” session in the very same hotel that the WMSCI used for its conference. The (randomly-generated) title of the session was The 6th Annual North American Symposium on Methodologies, Theory, and Information. The grad students presented three randomly-generated computer science papers using randomly-generated Powerpoint presentations that they had not seen prior to standing up and presenting it. The resulting talks were pretty hilarious and are available to watch as a video called Near Science. The website is a little old, but the first high quality AVI still works.

Here’s a SCIgen created computer science paper that my brother and I “wrote”: NAWL: A Methodology for the Visualization of Consistent Hashing

Shoe Circus Microsoft Video

Here is Microsoft’s attempt to compete with Apple in advertising. It is kind of funny in the sense of a what-the-heck-is-going-on thing. It is hard to tell if anything is actually advertised. The trick is to wait until the end and look for the symbol that Microsoft uses for Windows Vista.

Comments by Cooper…

jerryleecooper, that is. Mr. Cooper is a frequent poster and proponent of Microsoft Vista on the ZDNet forums. He has quite a cult following for his often hilarious comments regarding Linux. I’ll be posting some of these ZDNet forum comments below. They for personal, noncommercial use and are used with permission from CNET Networks, Inc., Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

Other jerryleecooper sites: The Return of JerryLeeCooper, JerryLeeCooper Fan Site


On the topic of “Why Linux will not displace Windows

that wont work without THEFT of intellectual property

Linux looks very interesting, even if some of the screen colours and menu options appear to be a little out of the ordinary.

But you are missing a vital point, a point which takes some experience and depth of knowledge in the field of computers. You see, when a computer boots up, it needs to load various drivers and then load various services. This happens long before the operating system and other applications are available.

Linux is a marvellous operating system in its own right, and even comes in several different flavours. However, as good as these flavours are, they first need Microsoft Windows to load the services prior to use.

In Linux, the open office might be the default for editing your wordfiles, and you might prefer ubuntu brown over the grassy knoll of the windows desktop, but mark my words young man – without the windows drivers sitting below the visible surface, allowing the linus to talk to the hardware, it is without worth.

And so, by choosing your linux as an alternative to windows on the desktop, you still need a windows licence to run this operating system through the windows drivers to talk to the hardware. Linux is only a code, it cannot perform the low level function.

My point being, young man, that unless you intend to pirate and steal the Windows drivers and services, how is using the linux going to save money ? Well ? It seems that no linux fan can ever provide a straight answer to that question !

May as well just stay legal, run the Windows drivers, and run Office on the desktop instead of the linus.

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Upgrading from Vista to XP

I have finally decided to take the plunge. Last night I upgraded my Vista desktop machine to Windows XP, and this afternoon I will be doing the same to my laptop.

Follow the link to read more of the very funny satirical review of the latest Microsoft Windows operating system, Windows XP.

Why Microsoft must abandon Vista to save itself

While Vista was originally touted by Microsoft as the operating system savior we’ve all been waiting for, it has turned out to be one of the biggest blunders in technology. With a host of issues that are inexcusable and features that are taken from the Mac OS X and Linux playbook, Microsoft has once again lost sight of what we really want.

As we’re more than aware, Vista Ultimate comes at a premium. For an additional $160 over the Premium SKU price, Ultimate gives you a complete backup and restore option, BitLocker Drive encryption, the ever so popular Windows Fax & Scan, and the “Ultimate Extras.” But what started with a promise of “Extras” by summer, quickly turned into an apology from Microsoft and the eventual release of DreamScene and Windows Hold ‘Em (among others) today. And while each of the “Extras” runs just fine, Microsoft’s “Extras” blunder is just another reason why the company must abandon Vista before it’s too late. …

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A interesting take on Microsoft’s new operating system. I haven’t used Vista yet so I can’t comment too much, but what I’ve heard from classmates that got it with their new computer is that they are not too happy. For all its graphical appeal, they’ve said that much of the current software doesn’t work, has bugs, drivers are missing, complicates things rather than keeping it simple and efficient, and requires a top-of-the-line computer in order to begin to take advantage of all the “features.” These comments are coming from people that are familiar with computers and those that are novices.

All I can say is that Microsoft better watch out when Apple’s Leopard gets released in about a month. Tiger already does much of what Vista does and more and Leopard is going to be a step above Tiger.