East of the Sun, West of the Moon


Solutions for a non-problem

Filed under: Technology — Erwin @ 3:07 am

DualHead2GoI bought a 19 inch flat-panel monitor this afternoon. Well, two actually, but only one is for me, the other is one is for M. Both our current (CRT, 19 inch also) monitors are showing signs of age, the colour/brightness is fading, occasional hiccups, so we felt it was time to replace them.

Now of course I couldn’t help myself and started daydreaming about having a dual-monitor setup with the old and the new monitor side-by-side. Unfortunately with only one DVI connector on the machine, that is not directly possible.

I thought I saw a solution in something called a DVI splitter, but that’s not quite what I need. These things duplicate the signal while I want it distributed over the outputs. Just for completeness I’ll list a few:

Aside from the possible price obstacle and not being what I wanted anyway, you’ll need DVI-VGA adapters if you have non-DVI monitors in your mix, as I do.

Belkin SOHO $KVM$Two actual solutions now:

  1. Matrox has a dualhead2go (and a triplehead2go if you have even more spare monitors). This can get you a 2560×1024 pseudo-display (the OS only sees one monitor). Matrox puts the price-tag at $250 but I’ve seen it for sale at $156.
  2. Belkin has the OmniView SOHO Series 2-Port KVM. that claims to support up to 2048×1536 @ 85Hz. Belkin’s website puts the price-tag at $245 but I see it for sale for $130. Downside seems to be that you need to buy some cables to actually hook up your monitors.

I’d love to hear about alternative/better/cheaper solutions, of course.

Linkage on 2006-08-19

Filed under: Linkage — Erwin @ 2:00 am

Schneier on Security: Gel-Filled Bras
(tags: politics bush humour)

IDE, ATA, SATA, … huh?

Filed under: OS X,Software,Technology — Erwin @ 1:16 am

Slim Who?A week ago I ordered an adapter gadget to hook up ATA/SATA of both 2.5 and 3.5 inches as USB storage devices. Today I received it, so I started to take apart the broken laptop and try it on the harddisk and CD/DVD-drive in there, to find out how salvagable those two would be.

To my surprise the CD/DVD-drive greeted me with a connector I had not previously encountered. At least not that I’m aware of.

Digging through search-results for a while, I learn that this kind of interface is called “Slim IDE” and that there are various adapters from that to ATA or SATA available as well. I’d be tempted to immediately order one of these, except that it’s a bit silly to order a $5 item when the cheapest and slowest shipping is $7. So I’ll either find out if a local store has it, or see if there’s anything else I might want to pick up from any of the stores that offer it. Drat.

The adapter seems to work at least, although I couldn’t use it with OS X because that didn’t know how to handle ext2/ext3 partitions and even when I installed an (experimental) package to handle it, it didn’t work. Perhaps because of the PC style partitions, I don’t know. I hooked it up to one of the headless Linux servers and was able to mount the (emulated as SCSI) partitions and check things out.

It looks like the root filesystem was thoroughly unhappy, fsck made me jump through a lot of hoops on that one. Next step is to reformat and run a thorough badblock check. If it survives that, I’ll blame the filesystem damage on the laptop. If it turns out the harddisk is bad, I might pick up a replacement and see if the laptop will work with that.

Why I bother? Because I can, I guess!

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