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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Thing of Rare Computer Beauty

Experts in aesthetics might disagree, but I don't think of computer hardware as being into much when it comes to their appearance. But every once in a while something of real beauty appears on the market. Certain case and mouse designs come easiest to mind.

The other day I saw a good buy on Directron, for a LaCie external 1 terabyte drive that was touted as having been specially designed by someone named Neil Poulton. So I went for it, in spite of it being recertified.

And it turned out to be a real art object that looks great wherever it sits. It is bigger and heavier than the usual external drive, being a little over 1 inch high, a little over four inches wide, and a little over seven inches long, and it weighs a relatively hefty two pounds. But all you will see sitting on your desk or on top of your computer case will be a glossy, jet black, and very solid-looking rectangular block, for which the designer must've had in mind that mysterious, black, and perfectly smooth oblong that the prehominids find in their midst in the opening scenes of Stanley Kubrick's classic, "2001." (What a terrible mismatch that turned to be! That year was inferior to the movie in every conceivable way. But how was Kubrick to know? That's the chance you take when you throw your fiction for any distance into the future.)

The only things interrupting the perfect smoothness of this drive are a tiny receptacle for the power supply, a tiny receptacle for a USB cable, and a tiny on-off switch. But they are all on the end of the drive that you keep turned away from you anyway, because the other end, the front end, has a small strip on its underside that throws a non-obtrusive blue light to indicate when the drive is turned on, and the power switch is easy to find just by feel.

I got this drive because, going along with my philosophy that we should always have two of everything, I wanted a second external hard drive, to go with the Cirago 80-gig external drive that I already had, and to serve as a backup to that, which I use all the time stashing all my writing stuff over my several computers so that I won't lose anything. I also liked the idea of having all that storage space, though there's no chance that I will ever come close to using it all. I really wasn't even there with the Cirago.

I was taken through some real changes, though, after the UPS man brought it here. A hole bigger than a silver dollar had been punched in one side of the box, which also contained a new DVD drive, and the hole looked as if the box had been hit so hard that just the shock must've damaged one of those two drives, even if there wasn't any damage to be seen inside the main box.
I mounted the DVD drive first, and it worked great. Then I installed the biggie, the LaCie, and the computer found it just fine, so that was something. But the instructions said that it wouldn't work without first using a formatting utility that had been included on the drive. I found that utility but got an error message preventing me from doing anything else. But I "scratched around" and eventually got the drive working, and now I have, not 1 terabyte, but 931 gigabytes, which is plenty close enough.

I think the disparity in capacities must have something to do with the fact that, no matter what Windows XP might prefer, I don't have anything but FAT32 files, instead of the recommended and more efficient, newer NTFS files. A lot of my favorite programs -- mostly word processors and games - date from the now ancient Windows 95 and 98 days, and maybe even from Windows 3.1 or even the Atari 800 days, and I'm trying hard to keep my lines of communications open to those, and never mind about Microsoft's bottom lines.


Blogger Marta Clavero said...


6:39 AM  

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