Sunday, November 30, 2008

Pondering RAID

As I think I've mentioned before, my first hard drive was 20 MB in size for what was then a small fortune for a kid, so every so often I like to check what the current prices are. I'm also looking at options to optimize Mabel's Mac Pro, which is running its eight cores at only about 50% efficiency while rendering in Final Cut Pro. It'd be fun to put together my first RAID.

Looking at the mainstream SATA drives today on

2.09 GB/USD - 2 TB
11.77 GB/USD - 1 TB
10.42 GB/USD - 1 TB with 32 MB buffer
12.30 GB/USD - 750 GB
11.72 GB/USD - 750 GB with 32 MB buffer
8.31 GB/USD - 640 GB
11.11 GB/USD - 500 GB
8.93 GB/USD - 500 GB with 32 MB buffer
9.30 GB/USD - 400 GB
5.73 GB/USD - 350 GB
8.00 GB/USD - 320 GB

Looks like the sweet spot is at the 750 MB to 1 TB area. A 1.5 TB or 2 TB RAID-0 set-up (for about US$200) could probably have served the entire University when I was a wee lad. Good times.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Public Service Message

A recent New York Times article makes an excellent point: in this economy, where many retailers are at risk of bankruptcy, it's prudent to spend any gift certificate or gift card you receive immediately. There is no standard procedure for handling gift certificates (which are essentially debts) if the retailer enters bankruptcy protection or just shuts down, so if you have friends like mine, you're not going to get a gift certificate worth going to court for.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Too Stupid to Fail?

It seems to me that it's easier if the government just make a list of companies that can be allowed to fail. It would be a shorter list.

The US automakers made their choices: they continued to build big SUVs and trucks, and the market is now punishing them for it. They then put even more eggs in the same basket by overestimating the demand for these trucks and SUVs when they were returned from lease agreements. Their entire business model hinged on continued demand for SUVs and trucks, which history has shown to be hugely vulnerable to a rise in gas prices, nevermind a recession.

Can somebody explain where we draw the line at which a company that made stupid decisions can fail? Now, don't get me wrong, I'm all for helping the common workers even of failed companies, but why should Circuit City be going into Chapter 11 while GM still hopes for rescue?

Can we at least legally require such a company's officers (say, vice president and above) to put on their business cards and résumés: "Partly responsible for failure of [company name]" in no less than a 16-point font for the next ten or 15 years?