Sunday, 27 February 2011

Attaching old hard drives

I have a draw full of old HD's ranging from 4-80GB. All from old PC and repairs over the last few years. I was thinking of getting a caddy so I could plug them in to check what was on them, but found an even better bit of kit. It's simply a USB cable with an adapter on the end that plugs in to SATA, 2.5 IDE or 3.5 IDE drives, plus a power supply. So I can plug the two cables in to the bare drive, plug in to the USB on the PC - Linux auto mounts, and hey presto, I can get all the old data off, and shred as necessary.

A very well spent £10, from Ebuyer IIRC.

Friday, 25 February 2011

HandBrake and DVD::Rip

Up to now I've been using DVD::Rip to rip DVD's for playback on my media streamer. It's worked fine, but have had various sound sync issues, and for the life of me cannot get H264 encoding to work.

Now I'm using Handbrake, which is pretty good. Not quite as friendly as DVD:Rip (or maybe I'm just not used to it), but have been able to encode to H264 (via x264) which means that's the way I'm going for the moment.

LibreOffice vs OpenOffice

Just installed LibreOffice on my Ubuntu box, and have been very pleased so far. Certainly starts up very quickly when compared to OpenOffice. Did it via a PPA rather than a package install, all worked well. Used the instructions here Ubuntu Wiki

Not seen any issues yet, but I'm not a heavy user. The better MS compatibility should be a boon, and the further away from Oracle's grubby mitts the better!

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Getting old Inventel Wireless adapter to work on Ubuntu Linux

I've had an old Inventel USB adapter (UR054g)hanging around for a while, and previous attempts have failed at getting it to work in Ubuntu. I think this was supplied when we first had a LiveBox from Freeserve (bought by Orange - may be wrong was a while ago)

However, latest effort has gone very well! I'm using Ubuntu 10.10, and the following process seems to have got it working. The device is auto loaded by Ubuntu when you plug it in, but the important step is to make sure you have the correct firmware that is loaded to the stick when it is plugged in.

I used the instructions from here...

which basically boil down to download the right firmware, in my case the chip inside is a isl3887usb, so I downloaded from, rename the file to isl3887usb and copied it to /libs/firmware (you need to do this as root).

You can find out the chip used in the device by using lsusb in a terminal, and one line shows something like :

Bus 002 Device 008: ID 1435:0427 Wistron NeWeb

I then used the device ID 1435:0427 in Google and found out it was the isl3887usb.

Restart the driver by

modprobe -r p54pci
modprobe p54pci

Add hey presto, it all starts working.