Using a portable HDD under Linux

I needed something to backup my thesis and collected reference papers (just in case something happens to them during the move back to Perth). I considered getting a DVD writer, a flash-based MP3 player, or a portable HDD.

I wanted something that I could use to move stuff from place to play, so a DVD writer wasn’t really convenient. I didn’t think that I would use (any of) the extra features of the flash-based MP3 player and storage was fairly limited. So it was down to the Seagate 5GB Pocket Drive and a 20GB Pocket Drive from Dick Smith. Since the 20GB was only AU$20 more (at AU$197) I decided that it was much better “bang for buck”.

Here are some photos of the unit with size comparison to standard (issue if you were in the US Airforce in the 80s) items:

Anyhow, after I got the 20GB portable HDD I connected it to my machine (running Ubuntu) and expected it to “just work”… nothing happened. It wasn’t formatted, so I found the where plugdev connected the device:

ls -la /dev/* | grep plugdev

I created a few partitions (one for Linux-only and one for Windows-also) using fdisk. The partition table now looks like this:

Disk /dev/sdb: 20.0 GB, 20000268288 bytes
64 heads, 32 sectors/track, 19073 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 2048 * 512 = 1048576 bytes

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sdb1               1        4769     4883440   83  Linux
/dev/sdb2            4770       19073    14647296    c  W95 FAT32 (LBA)

Finally I formatted the partitions to make them usable:

sudo mkfs.ext3 /dev/sdb1
sudo mkdosfs -F32 /dev/sdb2

Updated: fixed mkdosfs command (thanks Steve!)

Yet another DS redesign

I’m beginning to think creating DS redesigns is my only real form of relaxation.

I’ve been thinking of different ways to hide the controls. The flip-out and slider ideas were pretty obvious, but I wanted to try a rotation-based design. Based on the small amount of other consumer goods that use rotation (I can only think of a Motorola mobile phone) I figure that it’s fairly difficult to come up with something that would work.

Aside from the rotation, the rest of the design is clearly iPod inspired. I like how the screens on the new iPods are pretty much invisible when not illuminated and thought that something similar could make be used to “hide” one of the DS screens when not in use.

A few more notes. The stylus, power, volume, headphone jack, and DS game card (/SD card) slot are at the top of the unit. Recharge port is at the bottom (so that a charging cradle could be used). Since DS has wifi, this could be used as a streaming media viewer.

Continue reading “Yet another DS redesign”

Racial violence in Cronulla

I’m ashamed to be called Australian sometimes.


“New South Wales Police say several people of Middle Eastern appearance were attacked by a mob at Sydney’s Cronulla Beach today.”

Another blurb. This one’s a little weird; it almost reads as though attacking these people (who aren’t really Middle Eastern) is worse:

“In terms of crowd swells against some people of Arabic extraction … some of those people that have been targeted have been Australian-born people that attend this beach in a quiet and relaxing manner,” he said.

Another followup story here.

Christian game developer in Perth

I found this in a round-about way while reading about AGDC. White Knight Games is a Perth-based games developer. From their website:

“At WKG, our goal is to create high quality Christian computer games that enrich and engage players by incorporating Christian virtues and actions into fun gameplay, great graphics and by reinforcing Bible scripture.”

Personally, I would’ve avoided a company name that could be interpreted as racially supremist or reminiscient of The Crusades… but that’s just me! 😛