Patriot XPorter XT Boost 32Gb Benchmark

During the last Dell’s “Days of Deals” I’ve bought myself a new USB flash drive. My old but good Patriod 8Gb started to fall apart and there was a need for a more rugged flash disk. Also needed some more storage to move all the files I have for home and work. Even though it claims amazing 200x (what is their 1x?) speed my benchmarks are as follows.

Read speeds:
hdparm -tT /dev/sdf
Timing cached reads: 5326 MB in 2.00 seconds = 2663.99 MB/sec
Timing buffered disk reads: 68 MB in 3.02 seconds = 22.53 MB/sec

Write speeds (for ~512Mb):

dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdf bs=1024 count=500000
512000000 bytes (512 MB) copied, 11.5051 s, 44.5 MB/s

dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdf bs=2048 count=250000
512000000 bytes (512 MB) copied, 14.6622 s, 34.9 MB/s

dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdf bs=4096 count=125000
512000000 bytes (512 MB) copied, 27.8725 s, 18.4 MB/s

dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdf bs=8192 count=65000
532480000 bytes (532 MB) copied, 13.6919 s, 38.9 MB/s

So format your disk either 1Kb or 8Kb blocks to achieve maximum speed of about 40MBytes/s write speed and read speed around 50Mbps.

Benchmarks were performed on Kubuntu 9.04 AMD64 edition. Note: benchmarks are not really accurate (as OS caching might be involved here and there) but give clear guidance about which block sizes I should avoid with this drive.

Electronic Rust Protection?

Finally we bought a beautiful new 2009 Nissan Altima 2.5S. I’m not a big car reviewer, but if anyone even considers buying Camry – they MUST test drive Altima on the same day right after they test drive Camry.
You will understand that Camry is a couch for elderly with a steering wheel. Anyway, today I’m here not to write a review – I have a question. With only one car garage it means one of my beloved cars will stand outside in the awful weather offered by Southern Ontario. For the four years I had X-Trail I did not want to protect it with something like Krown spray or similar – what a mess. I find this solution way too antique. For the longest time I was looking, but delaying installation of an Electronic module that would protect my car all around.
Google search being my right hand tool uncovered a few choices that I can find in Canada, though I’m still looking for the actual place that will install them.

One is Final Coat with a Canadian office located in the neck of the woods – in Concord.

Another device is sold at Canadian TireCounterAct.

The third is a device I would have to order online, but which has some limited “trust level” is RustStop. Low trust level is mostly due to this informative article.

Unfortunately, I can’t find real independent source of information, like Consumer Reports that independently tested these “gadgets”… so I’m asking you – my dear visitor to contribute your thoughts. I really want to know which one is better? Did I miss one that is worth checking out?

Qt 4.5 by Nokia will be under LGPL

The happiest news of this year so far is the announcement by Nokia today that the upcoming version of Qt 4.5, my favourite C++ cross-platform toolkit will be release under LGPL!

What does it mean? It means that all of a sudden you can create commercial application using this toolkit without the need to pay for each developer’s tools licence. The price was quite high and in current economics conditions hard to justify by many managers (most of them don’t really care about increased productivity when Qt is used). Now a software developer’s recommendation to use Qt as a foundation for new application might go further along. This is a fantastic news that will result in many beautiful cross-platform applications further down the road.

Remember, as long as you use dynamic linking to Qt – it is free for you! (Which is not a huge limitation).
Qt 4.5 will be available for:
– Linux/X11
– Linux/Framebuffer
– Apple OS X
– Microsoft Windows
– Microsoft Windows CE
– Symbian S60 OS
(probably others like VXworks which were never widely publicized).

But the best part is that you don’t need to develop in C++ if you are not able or unwilling to do so. Qt has bindings for many languages:
– Java (official Nokia bindings called Jambi)
Python (PyQt)
– Ruby
(probably others like Perl, but who cares about Perl 😉 ? )

The other thought is that it might finally force GTK+ toolkit to compete a bit and introduce new features more frequently than once every 10 years….

Update: There is also the FAQ on licensing.

Nicaragua Trip

Our first excursion during Costa Rica vacation was to go abroad. We went to Nicaragua. Nicaragua is a poor country that has to buy its energy from Costa Rica, a big friend of Venezuela and has two old colonial towns: Granada and León. León unfortunately is way far north, so we did not go there, but we did go to Granada. However, before exploring human history we went to see natural one – Masaya Volcano.


Masaya Volcano is active, where by active I mean it still breathes. Sulfur dioxide fumes are coming out non-stop right from the depth of the crater. To see it in all its beauty you have to climb 107 steps that will lead you to the cross.


There at the top fumes are quite noticeable and some people feel they need to urgently run down, but I felt quite fine..

The second stop was a small town of Masaya. Otherwise boring place is famous by having a big souvenirs market, where people in blue attack you by offering their service to lead you to lowest price shop… we have escaped them and bought all the stuff we wanted at bargain prices.


Granada city was the last stop of the trip. A home style lunch at one of the hotels was followed by a forty minute carriage ride with frequent stops to see most interesting sights.


Right from the start of our trip we have asked to stay in Granada City longer than required by the schedule (thanks for the tip Irina and Dan) and after the carriage ride we walked quiet streets surrounding the main square.


Soon thereafter we were back on the bus heading into unknown – drive back to Costa Rica with lazy Costa Rican customs officers on our way. But just before we left we had a chance to see real WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction).


You can see the rest of the pictures from the trip on my Nicaragua Flickr Set. More photos from our Costa Rica vacations are coming shortly. It took a me whole week to process these photos and a bit of hacking of Gpisync that I use to geotag my photos to allow saving Unicode names.

The Pinnacle of Evolution

Yes, we are having a baby – Baby Boy!

Until today we were waiting for the confirmation of the successful initialization of a new thread in our family line. Now that we know, we want to share the news with everyone.

It took a bit of precise planning and we now believe that he will be born at the beginning of May 2009. Our beautiful boy will be our best third anniversary gift to each other. My wife and me are eagerly waiting for him to take a breath of fresh spring air into his tiny lungs and start enjoying his life from day one.

Back from Costa Rica vacation

What an amazing time away from the hectic life of the city.

Blue sky, parrots on the trees, monkeys on the branches, coati and different lizards on the ground – all this in Costa Rica right in front of our room. Did I mention all that fish in the Pacific Pond? We are finally back from this amazing trip, though not without a small hick-up of Skyservice plane first being delayed and then flight being canceled all together due to a bird getting into the engine.

All in all just one day later we are at home. I will need to sort through tons of e-mails I’ve got during the last months (even though vacation was only 15 days a week or so before preparations for the trip took over my normal computer oriented life) and will start answering them, so please have patience and your e-mail will get my attention.

I will slowly start processing my RAW CR2 files and posting them on Flickr (I will post an update once some are there). Unfortunately Bibble 5 is not yet release, what a long wait of almost two years.

Latest Adobe Flash ( player on Ubuntu 8.04 AMD64

Tired of having jerky YouTube video playback on your AMD64 version of Ubuntu Linux 8.04? Want Flash release that promises to be hardware accelerated? Wait no more, you can get latest beta from the Adobe Labs website, currently version is dated from August 11, 2008.

How are we going to do it? Let’s tee-off from Adobe Labs Flash download page. And download latest version for Linux in TAR.GZ format. (I assume that you had previously installed Ubuntu’s flash-nonfree package which contained version 9 of the flash player).

tar zxvf flashplayer10_install_linux_081108.tar.gz
sudo cp install_flash_player_10_linux/ /usr/lib/flashplugin-nonfree/
sudo nspluginwrapper -i /usr/lib/flashplugin-nonfree/

This should work in the perfect world, however we are not there yet, so you will be greeted with this helpful message:

*** NSPlugin Viewer *** ERROR: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory
nspluginwrapper: no appropriate viewer found for /usr/lib/flashplugin-nonfree/

Yeah, that essential library is missing… but why? Because this is a new dependency on the Flash side which is a 32bit library and needs corresponding lib32 versions of already present AMD64 versions. Unfortunately, libcurl and other Flash 10 required 32 bit libraries are not bundled by Ubuntu AMD64 team. But that’s easy to solve.

Download latest i386 versions of the following libraries (download them to a clean folder which you can delete later):

Now you have to extract the files by performing the following operations:

ar x ./libcurl3_7.18.0-1ubuntu2_i386.deb
tar zxvf data.tar.gz
ar x ./libssl0.9.8_0.9.8g-4ubuntu3.3_i386.deb
tar zxvf data.tar.gz
ar x ./libnss3-1d_3.12.0~beta3-0ubuntu1_i386.deb
tar zxvf data.tar.gz
ar x ./libnspr4-0d_4.7.1~beta2-0ubuntu1_i386.deb
tar zxvf data.tar.gz

We will have to copy all these libraries to your lib32 storage location and create required symlinks.

sudo cp -a usr/lib/ /usr/lib32/
cd /usr/lib32
sudo ln -sf
sudo ln -sf
sudo ln -sf
sudo ln -sf
sudo ldconfig

Yahoo… we are almost done. Just a final command to make Linux browsers find our plugin.
sudo nspluginwrapper -i /usr/lib/flashplugin-nonfree/

Now restart your browser and enjoy crappy YouTube video quality :); real man download .MP4 H264 versions of YouTube videos (but that’s another story).

Best Flickr photo Uploader for Gnome/Linux

I was struggling to find an application that would be as simple as Flickr native Uploadr but would provide me with an option to change permissions before pictures are uploaded. Finally I’ve found Ross Burton‘s Postr – GNOME Flickr Uploader.

Ubuntu 8.04 already comes with package called “postr“, however it is a very outdated version 0.9 from more then a year ago and did not have the features I wanted. Current version is 12.2 and it has a much improved feature set. It definitely belongs to Ubuntu backports, but as always with Ubuntu you will have to wait until the next stable release Ubuntu 8.10 (codename Intrepid Ibex).

For now you will unfortunately have to install it manually from console

tar zxvf postr-0.12.2.tar.gz
cd postr-0.12.2/
sudo python install

A bonus is that this program is written in my favorite Python.

PS3 Firmware Upgrade 2.42

Again, just after finishing watching another Blu-ray disk – “Road Warrior” I was greeted with a message that a new update is available, this time it was 2.42. No details available, though I really hope that it will resolve choppy MP4/AVI file playback issue that plagued my Playstation ever since I’ve installed long awaited 2.41.

Other than that I still have to inform the great Internet why I was out of blogging for so long…

PS3 Firmware 2.35

I remember the days when I was waiting for new iRiver firmware for my SlimX and Rio Volt hacked to be iRiver iMP-100 before that, it was fun – new features were coming every month. Now SONY is providing me with as much fun bun but now for my Playstation 3 and all of a sudden after finishing watching a DVD I get a notification that Firmware 2.35 is available. Though there is not a word about it on SONY Playstation Network website that I’ve just checked… SURPRISE is in the box – Installing NOW 🙂

Update: After installation it did not let me know what new features I can try, thus I assume it was a bug-fix release, still Bravo SONY… PS3 is the best piece of hardware I own 🙂