2007-10-10

Because I like to give links and props to things that pull my ass out of the fire, part 3 in an ongoing series.

One of the problems that I've had with my current server is that it's a laptop. This, generally is a good thing, but I have 2 problems with my current unit:
1. There's no battery, so when the power flickers, I lose power to the machine. This wouldn't be such a problem if...
2. There's no "power on after power fail" setting available on the BIOS of the machine.

So what happens is that the power hiccups at my apartment, and I have no access to the machine until I get home.

Umm... No. Not really a nice thing, especially when I store some notes and stuff on said machine so I can access them from anywhere, as well as have a 3rd box from which to test connectivity items.

Skip ahead, my boss brings back an old iMac G4 from a customer. It has a dead hard drive, and the machine is old enough that it's not really worth fixing to the customer. He says "I want it out of my office". No one else says anything, so I grab it and throw it into my car.

I get it home and take it apart... a procedure that has a 2 week delay because they used torx screws to hold all the guts inside the base, and I don't have the right bits to take it apart.

After wrestling with it for an hour or so, I managed to get a 120GB drive in the case. I downloaded a Ubinto 7.04 iso for powerpc and go to town. To my surprise, everything works. It even sees the wireless card.

However, I still don't have a machine that will deal with a power failure gracefully, and I still don't have a battery to get me through the brownouts. Damn.

Google to the rescue! This post discusses how to turn the G5 Mac Mini's "server mode" setting on, which tells the machine to automatically reboot after a power failure. I know from experience that the firmware on the G4 and G5 are similar, so I try what is described in the article. It works great! Thanks to Raam (the post owner), mwnovak (from who Raam got the information), and Rich Johnson, maintainer of AutoBoot for pointing mwnovak in the right direction.

5 comments:

Shawn said...

Rock on wit your bad self! Now, if you could just try out Mac OS-X... a completely stable BSD build with probably the most user-friendly interface in existance.

BTW... Have you seen the iPhone yet!?!?? I'm GASing for one really bad.

CaptSlaq said...

I'm too cheap to spend the $130 on the software, when what I have already works well enough.

Yes, I've seen the IPhone... It's great at a lot of things... except being a phone.

Shawn said...

Since I have to own a phone anyway, I may as well own one that lets me view real web pages, check my e-mail, and play my music, all while looking damn cool. ;)

CaptSlaq said...

I think the difference we have is that I have to use my phone as a phone for work, while yours is merely a convenient chain to be yanked. :)

There's no one hand dialing on the iphone. That alone is a deal breaker for me, with my current situation.

The fact that it feels like a piece that wouldn't survive a fall is worrisome as well. I've skipped every phone I've been issued off of the asphalt at least a few times, (accidently, mostly. Usually digging it out of a pocket while trying to do 3 other things at the same time.) and I haven't had a problem with any of them. I don't get that impression with the iphone.

No user replaceable battery (tho I'm shure that ipodjuice or someone like that will develop a procedure) and the sheer mass of the thing sucks too. It's heavy for its size.

Plus itunes. Yuk. I'd much rather be able to slop a bunch of files from one drive to another, rather than have to sync with a 3rd part program, even it it wasn't itunes. Ephpod isn't as tentacle-like with the machine as itunes, but it's still another step that has to happen to get music on/off the device.

Don't get me wrong, it's an interesting piece. Ultimately, however, I still feel that it fails at what it is marketed to be: A smart phone. It's more of a music player that happens to be able to make phone calls and browse the web. If you fixed the problems above correctly, it'd probably cost more than it does now, be half again as big, and not be as "sexy", and therefore not sell in the droves that it has.

Shawn said...

Yes, therein lies the difference between us... I think of a phone as a blessed convenience, and whatever can be added to make it sleeker and infinitely more functional (as more than a phone) I'm all for...

I have an iPod for my music right now... iTunes in and of itself (as an application) doesn't bother me. It's no different than using activesync or something to sync your contacts. I've never had a player that was "drag and drop", so I'm not missing out on anything.

One hand dialing is *so* last year... ;) VOICE dialing using your bluetooth headset is the wave of the future. Hell, you won't even have to take the damned phone out of your pocket except to surf the web on that sexy glass screen. In the next geteration of iPhone, when they add GPS funcitonality, bluetooth stereo headphones, and espanded applications, it will be the device of the future.

It's *not* a "smartphone" like a blackberry, etc. device, no matter *what* spin Apple's marketing guys try to put on it. It's not designed to interconnect with any corporate e-mail or messaging system. It's a personal communication device for people who use phones because they *like* them, and want them to look pretty, not for people who think of a phone as a tether to work. I don't have a work issued phone. Also, no pager. Never have. What I *do* have is a personal cell phone on which I burn ~1000 minutes a month on personal calls. Also, several hundred text messages each month to many of my friends all over the country. Right now, I have a Motorola V557, which is possibly the crappiest phone I've ever had, and it was an "upgrade" over my V551 (also crap) which was an upgrade to my V400 (a *much* better piece until it went through the washing machine...).

If I can have something that lets me send my texts, take my calls, surf the web and play my music all in one device, and look right sexy doing it, then I'm all for it. I don't think that the lack of tactile buttons would mean much to me. I look at my phone when I dial, because the only time I manually dial a number is if I haven't got it programmed in yet, and I have 90%+ of all numbers I call stored already.

I guess the bottom line is, I don't *want* a phone that makes me think of work. I want a phone that is designed strictly with my entertainment value in mind.