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M.Badger "BinDit" (In my sett)

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Samsung F4 EcoGreen 2TB 32MB 5400RPM 3.5 Inch SATA-II Internal Hard Drive - 3 Year Warranty - OEM (discontinued by manufacturer)
Samsung F4 EcoGreen 2TB 32MB 5400RPM 3.5 Inch SATA-II Internal Hard Drive - 3 Year Warranty - OEM (discontinued by manufacturer)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Adequate. Good performance, but some issues., 16 July 2011
I didn't buy my drives from Amazon due to worries about packaging, plus A.N.Other supplier, who I know packs well had a pair offer on. A quick call to their support line allayed any fears I'd got about firmware updates. These drives were purchased to perform a storage and OS update on my venerable, but usually reliable machine. I'd searched for information/warnings about using hardware RAID with advanced format 'green' drives. I really don't like manufacturers tagging green to everything as a marketing tool for a product. So, thus ordered, they arrived packed in their clamshells and wound in approx 2" bubble wrap. As they should be.

I decided to see what the fuss was about with 'green' drives and hardware RAID. My motherboard supports RAID 0 or 1 on the SATA channels, so with an idle afternoon, before I migrated the data from the old drives across, I tried. This is totally Linux based btw, so feel free to move along.

The horror stories rang true. Even with all power savings turned off in the BIOS, the array corrupted both in 0 and 1 during the install of SuSE. The drives were recoverable. Write timeouts in mode 0, array degraded, then fail in mode 1. Seems the drives like to snooze. Bear in mind my motherboard is quite old and supports SATA1 only. The RAID function is OS independent.
So, independent drives and software RAID it is then. I did turn off the SMART monitoring, just in case the 'corrupt if SMART probed during an extended write' bug arose. The POST performs a SMART scan and has a delay before booting so you can read the output. Both drives come up clean.

After installing SuSE, I ran bonnie++ in /home which is /dev/md1 ( /dev/md0 is / ) and forced it to create 1TB.
Sustained 80MB/S writes, sustained 100MB/S reads, with bursts up to 145MB/S ( rounded ) during reads. My on-board SATA is SATA1, tied to the PCI bus, so those speeds are the limit of the bus. Quite pleased with that.
Mdadm shows the array(s) in good order

Partitioning is easy using gparted, just ensure the start is on a sector divisible by 8 and all is well, so for Linux at least, advanced format drives are not an issue if a little care is taken during partitioning.

In general use, the drives have proven to be as fast as the bus they are connected to. With software RAID1, I have had no timeout issues, no write errors and they are very quiet in operation. They run cool to the touch, and unless you are doing a heck of a lot of file seeks, you cannot hear the head motor at all. Programs seem to load a heck of a lot quicker than they did on the previous 250GB 7200RPM drives. Seems the bit density is as important if not more so than the rotational speed. Overall then, as a single drive, no worries. As a software RAID pair, no worries. Due to the age of my computer, I'm not surprised or disappointed the onboard hardware RAID baulked as when it was built, drives like these just weren't around.

I understand some Windows users may have issues with older versions of Windows. Modern Linux distros don't share those issues. Older ones may. If you want to use them in a NAS as a mirrored pair, then some folk have reported success, some failure. Maybe this advanced format stuff is just a little too bleeding edge for cheaper NAS boxen?

Price: 8.98

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There are Gorilla tubs, and there are copies., 12 July 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Mixed mortar in it?, let it dry?, kick the sides and it comes off. Carrying it full of soil or rubble?, the handles don't come off. Accidentally loaded a pallet of bricks on top of it?, no worries, it springs back to shape. Accept no substitute.

Dry Stone Walling: A Practical Handbook
Dry Stone Walling: A Practical Handbook
by Alan Brooks
Edition: Spiral-bound

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good insight, 12 July 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Not a bad book overall. It outlines the techniques of building and different wall types quite nicely as well as giving guidelines for group working. It doesn't cover hammer and chisel work adequately, but then again, there is no substitute for experience and hands on guidance for cutting running snecks as the techniques vary from stone type to stone type.

Draper 22266 3-Piece Scutch Set
Draper 22266 3-Piece Scutch Set
Offered by HomeAndGardenDeals
Price: 2.20

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars They fit the chisel and last well., 12 July 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Really, see the review title. Scutch combs are pretty much of a muchness. If you use a scutch, and need more combs, nothing wrong with these. I've been using them for removing gobbo and also for roughing up the mating surfaces of cut stone to give the mortar something to grip. Yet to wear one out. Note:- mine came with two serrated and one plain. Quite why I'd use a plain comb I've yet to discover.

Silverline 263598 Tool Bag Hard Base 600 x 280 x 260mm
Silverline 263598 Tool Bag Hard Base 600 x 280 x 260mm
Price: 15.73

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Does its job, 12 July 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Perhaps not the best made bag in the world. The stitching hasn't let go, but looks like it may where the base is attached. I carry a lump hammer, a 2.5lb walling hammer, a 1lb geologists hammer, three chisels, a pitcher, a bolster, line bands, levels, flask, butties and waterproofs. Weight wise, I wouldn't like to carry more.
The zip is a little awkward, most of the advertised pockets are of little use and it leaks when it rains. The problem with the base is it fills with water duh! and retains it, but then it isn't advertised as waterproof.
The handles are well attached, the shoulder strap is not uncomfy. Access to the contents is easy when open. For the cash strapped jobbing waller/builder, what more could you ask for?

EDIT:- I've upped my rating as it really does represent good value. A squirt of silicone spray or similar eases the zip and that base stitching hasn't let go yet, so fair's fair to up the rating.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 6, 2011 8:30 AM GMT

Best Connectivity 3.5" USB IDE Hard Drive Enclosure With LAN Network Connection NAS
Best Connectivity 3.5" USB IDE Hard Drive Enclosure With LAN Network Connection NAS

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for Windows, OK for FTP for Linux, 11 July 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Stuck an old IDE drive in following the fairly clear guide given in the instruction manual and powered up connected to the USB port. Did a couple of read/write tests using the Linux program bonnie++ and all came back well with a good USB transfer speed. Powered down, hooked the network cable up and allowed it to get an IP address from my DHCP server, then in to the web interface. The interface is sparse to say the least, but looks quite nice and is functional. Set a static IP, reboot, format the drive and set up some samba shares.
I cannot get Linux to authenticate on the SMB/CIFS shares, but Windows had no problems whatsoever. The unit is running the latest available firmware, and I'm running SuSE 11.4 with Windows XP running in VirtualBox with a bridged NIC. I have another NAS on the network and have no issues authenticating to that, or to an actual Windows share, which may point to a firmware issue on the NAS itself.
Network performance is OK, but bear in mind it is a 10/100 NIC. This isn't an issue on a 100M network, but if you have, or are used to anything faster, it will seem slow. It is faster than 85M Powerline or 54M wireless though!
Drawbacks are the use of the FAT32 filesystem, so DVD images in excess of 4GB are a no-no. I'm looking for a hacking community who have managed to get the disc formatted in ext2/3 to overcome the filesize limitations.
Overall then, for the Windows user, it really is quite good. For the Linux user, curates egg. It'd be nice to use CIFS in place of FTP, but it isn't a major issue. A cheap, and fairly good looking way of getting a NAS and using up an old IDE drive. For the home user who wants to backup, perfect. For a small office?, maybe better off looking elsewhere. Not a purchase I regret.

EDIT: If you buy one of these and wish to use CIFS under Linux, it is possible. I found it quite by accident. From the command line, smbclient \\\\\sharename logs in, then Voila!, I could connect normally from Linux. Quite why, I have no idea. You'll have to substitute your allocated IP and sharename of course. I suspect, but can't prove that it is a clear text/encrypted password issue.

No Title Available

3.0 out of 5 stars Is it rubbish or is it good, you decide., 9 July 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The basic specifications of this item are 2xSATA drives, 10/100Mb network interface + some built in software to give you easy access to and a way to store your data. There is a USB port on the rear for attaching printers. You can attach additional drives, but you get in to the realms of hacking the box in order to do so.
It doesn't quite work as advertised, or as people interpret the specifications. There is a small, and not particularly active, but very useful group of people who have hacked the box to make it better/more stable/do different things. A little search engine work will yield results. Look for mrt-communications nas dual sata if you wish you go down that route.
The vendor despatched the item promptly, and by the time it arrived, I was clued up.
Firstly, it would not recognise both drives. I'd jumpered them down to 1.5G, ie, SATA1, but it wouldn't see the pair. Individually yes, as a pair, no. That doesn't worry me too much.
The pair of drives I wanted to use are an old pair that came from my Linux computer following a storage upgrade on that. Identical Maxtor Maxline III, so close in serial numbers that they must have been produced within minutes of each other. Substituting either of them with a Seagate Barracuda brought forth both drives, but my plans for the Seagate don't include being stashed in a NAS drive.
I suspect one issue may be the start current delivered by the power supply being insufficient, but it remains a suspicion only. Other users have reported issues with advanced format drives, Samsung drives, 'Green' drives. It seems if, like me, you are hoping to extend the working life of older drives, it may be pot luck if a pair works. I'm running a single drive, and it works for me.
Setup is easy with a caveat or two. You cannot set this unit up via the USB port, so you need a network. The instructions counsel against using a crossover cable, but me being me, I tried it and it worked.
So, you have a drive or two in it, you've connected it to your network/router/hub/switch/WAP/whatever and powered on. The unit now searches for an IP address. This isn't an issue if you have a DHCP server. Your broadband router may already act as one, or can easily be configured to act as one.
If it doesn't get assigned an IP address, it assumes This may be an issue if that is your routers IP address!. Within a minute, it had picked up an address from my router and so in to the setup. The browser based setup page isn't very pretty, but it does work. Because it wouldn't recognise both my Maxtors, I couldn't set up RAID 1, but it uses Linux software RAID internally, which I've been using on my desktop computer for over a decade without issue, so if your drive pair is recognised, get them RAIDed!.
I assigned a static IP address and started playing. The Samba ( Windows connectivity ) side of things is easy to set up and supports users, groups and quotas. Once you've set that up, connectivity to both Windows and Linux is easy. Very easy in Windows case.
NFS was easy to set up, but I only did that as an exercise. File transfer performance was similar between them, but, if you have a Windows client using Samba and a Linux client using NFS, performance drops alarmingly. One or the other but not both. This is not an issue.
The FTP side of things was easy to set up, but it doesn't work very well. Very hit and miss if the file transfer completes. Again, switch off other services and it seems OK.
I haven't played with iTunes, so can't comment on that aspect.
So, single service and all is well. Samba is really quite good, so I'm sticking with that. Performance wise, these units come in for a bit of stick, and that isn't fair. They have a 10/100Mb network interface. That works out very roughly as a maximum transfer speed of 8.5MB/S on a good day with the wind in the right direction. My USB drive can run to over 25MB/S. We have been spoiled by the speeds of USB2 and so feel 10/100 NAS units are slow. They aren't, they are limited by the interface. If you use 85Mb/S PowerLine, or 54Mb/S wireless, the drive is more than adequate, and anyway, why rush a backup job?. If you use rsync or Windows backup for a differential backup, the first backup job may well run overnight, but subsequent backups are much faster. I've found it will backup and verify at 4.5MB/S, which may seem slow, but it is faster than spanning a backup over multiple DVD-R and for most users far simpler. Bit of a win then really.
Streaming MP3 from it in a network jukebox application ( NOT SUPPLIED, ROLL YOUR OWN! ) gives stutter free playback. Playback of .avi files is OK too provided you don't exceed the bandwidth available. So, for a filestore or MP3 jukebox source for home or a small network, it is more than adequate. Stream High Def stuff?, no. 10/100 can't cope.
Once you've hacked in to it, if you are that way inclined, you'll discover an ARM based SOC driving everything, and it runs Linux. You can telnet to it, install a different O/S if you wish, add SSH, do what you want. Different firmwares are available if you search.
Printing. Yes. Hmm. The USB port is a 1.1 specification port. The instructions state that GDI printers won't work. I can confirm that neither our Samsung laser or HP Photosmart work. Both require a USB2.0 port, yet if I attach a 1.1 hub to my USB2.0 on my desktop, they work, so it isn't the port speed that is at issue here. If I export them from Samba on my desktop machine, they work, so it isn't that either. Maybe a later firmware will fix it, maybe not.
In short ( at last ), it seems to struggle with certain drives in pair mode, doesn't like running too many services and baulks at certain printers but does give you a central backup repository that performs at a reasonable speed. If you have one or two SATA drives left over after an upgrade, don't let them rot on a shelf, or landfill them, put them in one of these and back your data up.
Keep your expectations in check and you won't be disappointed. If you want the moon on a stick, look elsewhere and spend a heck of a lot more.

Offered by Digiflex
Price: 4.19

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Does the job., 5 July 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
When that job is data transfer from one set of discs to another when you upgrade. You may need to throttle your drive down to 1.5G as that is all the card supports, and I had lockups before I jumpered the drives.
The jumpers on the board seem to determine whether it's the internal or external front port which is active. As mine came, it was the external one. Worked straight away under Linux. Note, it isn't bootable, the drives are not visible until the O/S starts. Good throughput rate.

EDIT: It has now gone to a good home in another Linux box. This one boots from a CF-IDE adaptor for /boot and runs one SATA disc and one SATA DVD-RW from this card. The new owner is delighted with the performance. System stability is excellent. Bit of a bargain for breathing new life into old systems.

Nokia 1800 Vodafone Pay As You Go
Nokia 1800 Vodafone Pay As You Go

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Basic, cheap and not very nice. Basic, cheap and damn handy., 5 July 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It looks ok, and the call quality is very good. It feels horrid though. Nasty, cheap, clicky plastic. Feels very flimsy. It is actually quite sturdy. Holds a charge well, easy to navigate menus, but the layout of the menus is the product of a deranged mind. As a cheap phone for sticking in your pocket when going camping or to festivals; as something to listen to a bit of music on, it isn't that bad.
I bought one for a technophobe, and she can make calls on it. That vouches for its simplicity for basic functions.


I've upped the star rating because I've put my sim in and used it as a phone. I still think it is cheap and clicky and I still think the menus are not all they should be, but for 15, for what it does, it is a marvel. The call quality is excellent. Not just excellent for a cheap phone, but genuinely excellent. Perhaps a little susceptible to wind noise and sibilance, but equal to my usual phone which cost ten times as much and lets be honest here, I rarely use the Internet capabilities of my phone apart from when I'm camping. I only use the GPS capabilities when I drive, which isn't that often, so for a daily phone, I would seriously consider this. Too many of us get suckered in to buying flashy phones when one of these would do the job just as well.

Faithfull - Hardwood Pick Handle - 36"
Faithfull - Hardwood Pick Handle - 36"
Offered by AHC (Camberley) Ltd
Price: 8.86

4.0 out of 5 stars Bought to fit the mattock head., 5 Jun 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Which it does. Comfy in use, the head hasn't flown off and the shaft hasn't snapped. Not a perfect fit, but nothing a little shimming won't cure.

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