Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

The heat is on

  • I think I may have found out the key to getting the hard drive in my laptop to work – keeping it warm. If the machine is cold, after being off for several hours, then it doesn’t work, but if it’s warm it’ll run first time. I found this out after using Mandriva One (via a live CD) for a couple of hours, and then rebooting. As proof, this blog entry is currently being composed on my laptop. Still, it’s far from an ideal situation and that heat can’t be doing the rest of the computer good either, so I’m still looking for a new machine.
  • This was, incidentally, the second time I’d spent any time in Mandriva, and though it has impressed me the most out of all of the distros I’ve tried so far I was still relieved to be back in Windows afterwards. Things like installing VLC (which required typing four long commands as root in the terminal) and getting Flash to work required far too much effort, when compared to how Windows and Mac OS X handles them. I know all the cool people are switching from Mac OS X to Ubuntu but don’t count me in.
  • Those of you using Firefox may be interested to know that Firefox is out (and should be available as an update to you over the next couple of days). A big regression (bug which wasn’t there before) appeared in, so has been released to fix it. Incidentally it comes almost two years after 0.9.3 was released – don’t know if that’s particularly interesting to anyone but I’ve just found it out.


  1. Why are you judging Ubuntu based on your experience with Mandriva? Ubuntu is considerably easier to set up and use than any version of Mandriva I’ve ever used. That’s why people are switching to it instead of the other distros.

  2. I’ve used Ubuntu before (not the latest but the one before it) and found it lacking. Mandriva includes more of the important stuff out-of-the-box which Ubuntu tends to eschew – MP3 playback and support for various video codecs, for example – so I actually prefer Mandriva over Ubuntu. Ubuntu, in my experience, is fine if you’re either:
    * already au fait with Linux and the terminal
    * prepared to spend lots of time reading various web guides for getting things working
    * don’t use any proprietary data formats
    Unfortunately I’m none of those – I like things to ‘just work’ most of the time and avoid the terminal where possible.

  3. At the moment, I’m composing this comment in Mandriva 2006, after following the simple instructions at Linux USB to get my SpeedTouch 330 ADSL modem working. It did need me to type long commands at a terminal, and that was a bit of a put-off. SpeedTouchConf didn’t cut it for me, so I’m considering writing an automated script that follows the above instructions and contributing it back to the Mandriva tree.
    The modem now works a treat, and that has opened the pathway for me to download 600MB(!) of updates, and useful proggies like KTorrent. I’m still not happy that Firefox 1.5 is in Cooker and hasn’t been distributed to the Mandriva users via the update system – I like its improvements and find the old version annoying(!).

  4. You may be having the age old issue of platter expansion. That’s a really well known issue with hard drives; as you use your pc it warms up. As it warms up the discs expand. So when you format your disk you’re not writing to the same exact position that you’d be writing to if it is cool. It used to happen a lot, and was thought to be ‘normal’.
    I’ve not heard of someone actually experiencing from this for a good five years… perhaps just buy a new hard disk? I guess they’re quite pricey… and hey a nice new sexy MacBook would be nice 😉