Never buy a Western Digital

my dead hard driveOr at least never buy a Western Digital FireWire/USB 2.0 Combo hard drive. Poking around I’m not ever sure they sell them any more but I don’t even know if I trust Western Digital any more. Reviews by anyone who has had it for any amount of time have not been glowing since its average lifespan is 6months or so. It certainly was the life span of mine.

6 months in it started to make a small sparking noise and you could tell the drive was not spinning up when plugged in. Not to mention the crazy lights that flashed on the front. The drive had no on/off switch, which at the time I did not give much thought, but looking back it might be a sign of flimsy manufacturing. I sent it back only to have it die on me again about 6 months later after the same sparking and flashing.

I tried to save the Hard Drive in the case but after connecting it to my computers power source it started to smoke. I wanted to take a picture but didn’t want to fry my computer.

The Western Digital customer service staff seems very convinced that the slightly over the 1 year service warranty is a good life for a FireWire drive. I seem to feel that 2 six-month hard drives would not have been as much of a problem if I were renting them instead of owning them.

So I’ll just fear technology for a while and hope my shiny new 256 USB Flash drive does not give me any problems.

Where’s Dunstan?

Memes really don’t seem to spread through the web design communities very much. Where’s Dunstan might be an exception to the rule only because it originated in the community and was encouraged. Not to be left out like I was for sxsw here’s my contribution, which is following the trend of a bit more abstract, as lead by Derek.

Eris hits it on the nose

It was Mike who best talked about how, “The web community gets along remarkably well in person.” And really sold me on going to sxsw and even made Matt start planning his flights and hotel reservations. Mike hit it out of the park making sxsw sound like the most exiting place on earth and didn’t really think anyone could make it sound any better.

Not surprisingly Eris brought another dimension to it, something that was mentioned everywhere but never said flat out. It’s the camaraderie is evident everywhere and I seems best summed up in an exchange between Eris and Ben Brown that ended with, “Well here, hold on…..[as he pulls out two books and hands them to me] ….enjoy.”

It seem that sxsw is really the place where you realize that these blogs are people. You can just give away books because Eris is at and she’s not going anywhere. If she never mails the book back you know exactly where to find her and ask for the book back.

This is more then a web design community but more of a small town mentality reminiscent of my current obsession, Gilmore Girls, though I still making my way through the season one dvd. Every one knows everyone’s name, word travels fast about anything, and people feel fine lending things out.

M.I.A. — Maya Arulpragasam

M.I.A. -- Maya ArulpragasamI think the best thing about the M.I.A. buzz is this MeFi thread where she has lit a great flame war between the ones that love it and hate it. A mix somewhere between hip-hop, electronica, Nintendo cartridges, and reggae a lot of people feel it’s supposed to be retro while others, including my self, really see it as an ultra-current hip hop type music. Another interesting argument is if the group her father was involved in actually was a terrorist group. Tamil Tigers have also been called freedom fighters for a part of northeast Sri Lanka. I can’t say with much authority which is closer to the truth but through interviews Maya seems like a really cool girl with a really unique perspective on the world. I’ve been wanting to try and get my self in to more music from south Asia ever since the wonderful Deborah Hutton showed me the magic of the sub-continent.

You can see the Galang video here, it’s Quicktime, and her website has a version of sunshowers in Real Player format.

Why I hate Firefox

Okay, so I like Firefox but I feel like I’ve had what was definitely a bad user experience. If I wasn’t as computer literate as I am I might even have run back to IE. I’ve always had a problem with pop ups and trying to let certain ones through while keeping the block pop option on. I’ve also had problems with slow performance while using the options menu. Recently I also noticed a large memory leak that kept the Firefox process very bloated. The thing that finally put me over the edge was how JavaScript was not opening the new windows it was supposed to.

Finally I decided to reinstall Firefox in hope it would fix whatever had broken. I uninstalled 1.0.1 and reinstalled the only version I had on hand which was 1.0PR. Rule number 1: don’t install old Firefox versions. The problem was now it worked even worse then before. The window opened and did nothing, acted like it was frozen, but said it was running in the task manager.

Looking on the Firefox knowledge base I found the browser will not start article. Not exactly what I want but close enough. That’s where I learned about the profile folder that holds all the options for different profiles that use Firefox. I’m the only one who uses my computer and just had it set as the default user. It turns out this is also where your extensions are saved. I had an idea that it might have been an extension but could not figure out which extension was which, so I just deleted all of them; downloaded 1.0.1 with IE and it ran perfectly.

Going back and reinstalling extensions some would not download due to incompatibility. It’s nice that they keep them from being installed but there needs to be more flexibility once the extension is installed. We’re never going to get people to use Firefox and keep it updated if it ends up messing up the browser.