End of July…already?! (Updates and work-still-in-progress)

So another week passes and still little or no progress for this small add-on. Seems this clock function is just getting more and more annoying as I work on it. At least for now I learned that “<eof>” stands of “end of function”. Helps a lot now since I can go back and add in that end statement to everything. I’m likely not going to be close by mid-August at this rate, but I’m not just going to give up on this little programming project. If anything, I hope to learn something out of it and maybe apply to what I have in my macros now.

However I have managed to cook up a little something for anyone who wants to keep track of their earnings during a raid or even on a hunt. Handy if you want to know how much you’re making and how much more to your goal. It’s available on Google Docs in a form of a spreadsheet, you guys can download to the favoured format you desire. It has 2 sheets; one for a whole loot run of up to 20 items and another to allow you to track your earnings on a monthly basic (or 31 runs if you want to use up the whole sheet). Just follow the instructions on the side to get started. The link is at http://goo.gl/FBWJn (Yeah, Google has it’s own link shortener…check it out!). I hope it helps some of you so you know you’re really rolling in some dough. I don’t plan on updating it, but if there’s problems with the functions in there. Send me a comment below and I’ll check into it. Also I don’t think I will make anymore spreadsheets; if I did, it would be something my mind wandered into and I made something out of it. Side quest complete!

Lastly, I got over the final hurdle on getting Ubuntu on a USB drive. Thought I would share my experience since many would have the same problem as I did. I done all this in Windows XP so it may be applicable to other versions as well. I tried reformatting it the first time when I received a “No DEFAULT or UI configuration file!”. No effect since it would display after that. Next I tried renamed the “isolinux” folder to “syslinux” as well as a .cfg file of the same name. According to some users, this work; boy, it did not. After that I tried another program. First I used Universal USB Installer from www.pendrivelinux.com, then tried unetbootin from http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/. Both came up with the same results, “No DEFAULT or UI configuration file!” I double checked and my P5N-D motherboard was capable for USB boots as well as my BIOS. What could be wrong you ask? Well lets go back to the beginning. On new USB drives now, they format to FAT32. What you need to do before the installation is to reformat to FAT16. To do this on Windows XP, you need to go to the command console. Then, “Start –> Run –> type “cmd” –> type “format F: /fs:FAT”, where F: is where your drive is located (could be drive E and so on, so make sure you got that before you accidently wipe your hard drive. You can check where your USB drive is by going to “My Computer”). Also if you wanted to (though I think unetbootin and Universal USB would just change it), you can change the name while your in there by typing “/V:” then the name of your USB you want to call it. Be sure to leave a space between the “/V:” and “/fs:FAT” commands so your computer won’t freak out over a small mistake. So after I formatted and installed for the last time, it worked. Now to compare it, I have it on a CD and a 3rd generation Data Traveler by Kingston (note: Ubuntu 11.04 on both). My basic specifications for my rig is:

  • ASUS P5N-D Motherboard
  • LG x16 DVD-RW refurbished
  • Kingston 4GB memory
  • Zotac 430GT Graphics Card
  • 0.5TB hard drive
  • Belkin Travel USB HUB

First on the CD, I inserted it. Load time was quite slow and at times, the drive became unresponsive. Clear indication that my drive is dying or begging for retirement. No matter, I pushed on and tried some tests on the CD. It wasn’t so bad though most of the time, there was a 2-3 second delay when I chose an application. Of course as I’m trying it and not allocating space for it, I couldn’t save.

Now onto the USB, I’ve allocated 2GB of my 4GB DataTraveler to storage. It worked out well at the start with minimal delay. The boot time was about half from a cold drive. On warm, it was kind of slower but not very significant. I tried out the LibreOffice (an offshoot of OpenOffice), load time was short. Came loaded with Firefox so I gave that a whirl, nothing interesting to report. Though the load up on Firefox was much faster than in XP in my opinion. However after a few minutes, my drive started to heat up and I began receiving these error messages and started to see some slow down. Maybe it was time for me to stop. I went on another 6 minutes before I got worried and shut it all down. I enjoyed the crisp interface and the very simple yet open option approach like Windows XP. It’s user-friendly, but provided much customization when needed and more so in certain places than Windows XP. Though Linux still has it’s inherent downfalls due to support issues, safe to say my fallback plan when Windows XP is off life support is to jump to Ubuntu with or without my games. Though I am weary that the USB drive may overheat in such a fashion I hope someone has gotten around such a problem. If there is an electronics engineer or hobbyist who’s familiar with the Arduino project, I wonder if it’s possible to build one or even a custom USB drive with some sort of small cooling system (liquid, passive or air). There might be some goodness if someone could just make one that can undersell some performance USB drives. Seriously, it might be a crap idea, but considering it could be an extension of a netbook for onboard storage and handling for Linux…it’s worth a shot? I don’t know, ever since I found out, the Arduino thing is pretty neat and I always wanted to find some practical use so I can learn to do stuff like that. Unfortunately all I do is read about and never pull through it.

Upcoming projects I have are to get a SD card and USB card reader or maybe another hard drive. If I get another one, I would get a SATA to USB converter or SATA enclosure. Though according to Eagle Tech (the company that manufactured my IDE enclosure), I can order the SATA converter chip for 10 bucks + shipping and handling. According to the total which I just checked, it’s about $20-30 Canadian. Looks like even the environmentally friendly thing is still expensive. So I might as well be better off buying a SATA to USB from them anyways (…sigh…). Besides from that, I have some other projects as well but currently in no financial state to really get rolling on that. For now, hope for the best.


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