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I have been reading up about BTRFS, or butter-fs as it is pronounced, and having a little play with it on my laptop. It's looking good but is still a little new.
It has been touted as the Linux answer to ZFS which is probably true, it does share a lot of the same features but the implementation is quite different as far as I understand it. It is going to be the filesystem in Linux in a couple of years time and Linus is already using as root on one of his laptops. ( That Linus quote does not really mean that much, only that he wants to try it just like the rest of us and it's only one laptop not the box he develops the kernel on).
At a low level it uses b-trees and copy on write (COW) to store both the metadata about a file and the data in the files. It treats both types of data the same storing them both using the same functions and by doing so allows them to keep the code simpler and the data less fragmented. Reading large files with a lot of metadata on ext3 can be quite a disk seek intensive process but with btrfs this is reduced greatly.
Feature wise it is very interesting. Due to the different way it allocates metadata and file data on the disk it allows them to do some clever things. It supports Raid 0,1 and 10 for both the metatdata and the file data it checksums the data as it is written to disk allowing checks for corruption as data is read a written. Sub sectioning and snapshots. You can snapshot at the directory level allowing you to do things like take a quick snapshot before an upgrade or big set of changes and then roll back if things are not working the way you expect.
You can defrag a file or directory on the fly to keep important parts of the system ticking on nicely although if you have plenty of disk space then fragmentation should not be a problem.
There is a really neat function that allows you to convert a current ext3 filesystem to btrfs in place. It just converts all the metadata to the btrfs format on disk and makes it point to the file data that is already in place. Then it takes a snapshot so that you can go back at any time to the disk as it was before you converted. As this is just a normal snapshot you can also mount it up and examine it online just like any others.
BTRFS has only been in development for a few years so it is still taking shape and I am sure that the functionality will grow and stability improve as time goes on. Currently the website warns not to use it for any data that you want to keep and that is probably good advice.
The only other thing I found is that with 2.6.31-rc5 kernel the btrfs module dies when you try to suspend so it's not for me yet.
Bang up to date with ipv6 and all that.
You can now access this site using ipv6. Yippeee. Aren't I ahead of the game?
The main site now has an ipv6 address but if you want to test your ipv6 support then you can visit http://ipv6.choffee.co.uk/ ( Note if you get an host not found error then you probably don't have ipv6)
IPv6 by the way is the next generation internet protocol giving a metric shed load more network addresses and a lot of other benifits such as roaming and automated routeing and address configuration. It is only just now starting to be supported by some ISP's but the more people that use it the quicker it will become the norm and we will all be happier.
Why is the iPhone so expensive?
No really, it's not more complex than any other phone. In fact I would say that it's simpler. Really it should be less than a lot of the top end smart phones.
The components of the iPhone are pretty simple in phone terms. It has no keyboard so that is quite a big saving. It has a larger screen but the resolution is no greater so that should be cheaper to manufacturer. It has a touch screen but so do theP800, P900, and P1i. It has no 3G setup and all the RF electronics that have to go with that. The one difference it may have is that the video and CPU chipsets may be slightly beefier than some others but no by much I would wager. So why should people pay and extra £200 or so over the two years of the contract? ( This may be more as I think that data tariffs are going to drop pretty soon. 3 already do all you can eat data from your phone for a fiver a month)
What do you want from an camera phone
It's time for a phone upgrade or at least a change of tariff. To this end there has been much searching on the internet and visits to the fine houses of information know as mobile phone shops.
From some research it appears that Three are doing the best deal on tariffs and with their X-series deal they have Unlimited* * browsing and such. But they have a more limited range of phones available.
I currently have aK800i which is a pretty nice phone. The camera is okay at 3.2Mpix and the music player does it's job but can't be use it on three as they have very strict rules about it and will bar your sim if you use a non-three phone apparently. So this would seem to be a fine opportunity to get a new phone.
There are four main reasons for a phone in my view. To make calls; to take pictures, to use the internet and to listen to music. The first of these is covered by just about any phone on the market and so can be ignored for now.
Starting at the bottom and working up. Music playing this is covered in all but the most basic handsets but is worth mentioning as there are a couple of extras to be included. Playlist, currently only supported by the K800i if you use the Windows GUI to upload, not good the average Linux users so .pls or m3u support would be nice. A remote play/pause button is essential, either on the remote or on the phone but you should not have to get your phone out to pause your music or for that mater of, change the volume.
The third use, the internet, is quite vague but includes web browsing and email on the phone, access to the internet from things such as an N800 or laptop. Mind you while they still think that 1Gb is a lot of data laptop use will be fairly limited. (Note to self, a fairly restrictive firewall may be required to stop updates downloading etc. although it would be good if like the N800 the Linux desktop could notice it was on dialup and not do that sort of thing.)
The second reason for a modern phone is the reason for this post. Phone cameras are no replacement for a decent portable camera but you get used to having a camera with me at all times. Some times for simple things like photographing a poster or advert for looking at later or positing off. Other times for trying to capture a moment, a sunset, a group of people, an interesting landmark or a smiling face. But just how important is it to have the best camera?
The Nokia N95 is supposed to have a good camera but some of the shots look over processed and some people say that it is a little slow. The K800i has a reasonable camera but in comparison with the N95 it's a close thing and more a matter of taste than either being better. The Nokia 6120 only has a 2MPix non-autofocus camera but runs the same software as the N95 and some say it's quicker. Cost wise you can get the 6120 and the K800i for free while you have to pay approx £200 for an N95.
So now comes the question should I get another K800i, try a 6120 or go for broke with a N95. I do fancy a change as I have had SE phones for the last seven years. The N95 has loads of other features such as GPS, TV-out, VGA 30fps video, and more but it's also got a bit of a reputation for being sluggish and the battery life is poor to say the least.
Perhaps I will get the 6120 for now and if I find it lacking get the N95 upgrade via ebay or even the N82, which sounds a better phone, when it comes out.
Thanks for listening, any comments or suggestions gladly taken.
- Unlimited is of course limited to 1Gb but apparently a star makes that no problem for the ASA or trading standards. Note also that most providers will not include VoIP, skype, IM etc in their Unlimited tariffs even if you pay £30 a month extra for their full internet package.
Setting Cities in OMWeather
There is a neat app for the homepage of the n800 that shows you a weather forcast for selected cities called OMWeather. If you can't find your home in the list then just visit the Weather.com search page and find your location. Then when you reach the page grab the code from the url just after it says '/local/' so in the UK it would be something like UKXX0241. Then pop that into the manual settings section of the omweather setup and you are good to go.
At last a p990 upgrade that works!
I have been using thep990i as my regular phone now for a couple of weeks and I have to say that I am not happy with it. The menus are dog slow and everything keeps crashing or closing down due to lack of memory. I was just getting ready to sell it on ebay when SE announced a new firmware version. I read the forums and everybody said that it was a lot faster and that the multitasking was a lot better and that things did not crash as often so I took the plunge.
What a cuffufel. After I had waited for the upgrade program to upgrade, I was then able to upgrade my phone but then it told me that it would wipe the contents off my phone so I had better backup first. Off to the SE site to download their PC suite and after a 20min download we where backing up. ( You may have guessed that I am using one of the windows PC's at work now as there is no support for Linux!). Backups completed it was time for the upgrade and another cup of tea, for this takes some time. Now a reboot of the phone and it's up and running, snapper than before but I only tested it for a short while before restoring all my data.
Whoops, that confused it. Although it restored fine the phone was now slow and things where crashing, stopping and just not playing along all over the place. So I decided to backup the contacts to the memory stick and format the internal memeory again. Just for good measure I did the upgrade again. Restored the contacts only this time and all was fine.
What a difference, it's more like the machine that I expected now with things happening at a speed that you can tollerate, I would not call it fast, and most important most of the apps playing nicely together. The browser now hardly every shuts down, the email sync to my IMAP server with ease.
I now think that I am going to keep it. So if you have a p990 go and upgrade today.
Increasing the size of your home directory on the fly.
For a long time now I have used LVM to manage most of my disk space on my machines. It's simple once you have understood what it is talking about and it is quite flexible.
I have been running out of space in my home directory on my desktop at home. I have a load of random disks in the box and they are all under LVM. I have been putting off sorting this out for a while now as all the times before that I have wanted to resize drives it's a boot disk job. Not any more.
# lvextend -L +10Gb /dev/maindata_vg/home_lv # resize2fs /dev/maindata_vg/home_lv
That's it. I now have another 10Gb of disks space in my home directory. All online, all in about 30 seconds!
Note: I already had some spare space in the maindata_vg to play with so this was simple but if I had added a new drive I could have just added it to the group and done the same.
What is needed to make web and TV merge.
As we see more and more entertainment sites on the internet showing videos, podcasts, photos, movies, news clips and the like; what we are missing is the link that makes all these usable from your sofa.
Democracy player (leaving aside the cheesy name) is an interesting concept and combined with something like elisa, a full screen media center, you are getting there. Allowing people to sit back on the sofa and browse content that has been brought to them may at last change how we watch TV.
The player and application is only part of it. The ability to discover new content is a major factor. What would be nice is that if when browsing the web I find a site with some interesting TV type content I could added it to my TV player for watching later. If while watching a news download on my TV player they mention another site I would want to be able to visit that site or story. We need an option to pop up that says something like "Move to this story or download this for later" together with more options like "Subscribe to all stories from this site" or "Find me stuff like this". I think the technologies are all out there it just requires somebody to put it all together.
It needs to be done soon or else the big commercial interests will move in and lock it all down "to stop those troublesome pirates" oh and limit what and when you can view for maximum profit for the network. In the end most people will wait until SKY or Fox are ready to sell them a box that they think gives them greater choice but just allows them to be better targeted for advertising.
Installing firmware onto a wrt54g using tftp
I have been having some problems trying to reflash my old linksys router using tftp. I wanted to try out dd-wrt but could not get the firmare to load.
First off I was getting an error 4 "transfer canceled" which turned out to be that the image was too big so I tried a smaller one but then I kept getting the error 3 "code pattern incorrect" turns out that the bin image that I had downloaded was gzipped but with no .gz extension so after unzipping it I was off. Loaded in the small openwrt version which then let me load the dd-wrt that I wanted throught the web interface.
It's all in the name.
If you have been on the Internet at all over the last few days then you have probably read all about the new iPhone from Apple. They hype is stifling. The device is nothing really new. Yes it has a swanky large touch screen but other than that it is not a lot different in essence from the devices available from Nokia orso why is it getting all the fuss?
Apple has a reputation for cool stuff not a necessarily technically better but just cool enough to make you want it. They used to be exclusive and cool as they would be priced just above the average and so people desired them. When they released the iPod they hit a sweet spot. Now you could own a trendy Apple product for only a couple of hundred pounds. People rushed out and brought. They ignored the faults with the device concentrated on how cool the scroll wheel was and traded their freedom to do what they wanted with their music for a piece of Apple cools.
The hype continues to this day, Apple are still the brand to be seen with and they go out of their way to keep that mystique. Steve Jobs is working the customers with skill! Looks at the SE P990i and tell me what the iPhone will do that this does not (other than not have 3G), movies, music, camera, organiser, Wi-Fi, and phone it's all there. Look at the Nokia N93i again doing all that apple is promising tomorrow but doing it now. But they are not cool and so people who did not give them a second look will already be saving for the iPhone.
My only hope is that it will stimulate people into noticing that they don't need a phone, a camera and an ipod nano and can just get a SE K800i or Nokia N73 and do it all in one.
Me I am going to get me a FIC Neo1973 Phone or possibly a Nokia N800 and just stick with my K750 for now.
(Other phones are available but the Nokia and SE ones I know of now!)