There’s something about having enough disk… for a while

I had a bit of a screwdriver couple of days this weekend, building (or, in modern flat-pack parlance) assembling a bed, and also replacing the hard drive in my Archos 340 (AV300 series) audio/video jukebox. This latter task had been a while coming, as my music collection alone now takes up 48GB – the straw that broke the camel’s back was inheriting a collection of classical CD’s from a good friend. These are now digitised and the originals stowed, leaving me the listening pleasure but also causing difficulty in knowing what to store, where.

So, I finally succumbed and purchased a 160GB hard drive. There’s quite a lot of information on the Web about upgrading an Archos AV300 series – thanks guys – the one thing I didn’t know was whether it could take a 160GB, though I had read reports of success with the 120GB drives. Answer: no it can’t – I now have a 125GB partition for stuff the Archos can play, and a 35GB partition for various videos it cannot. Live and, through a number of attempts at reformatting, learn (second answer: accept the first partition size the Archos proposes, around 128GB I think).

Having then spent a slow and boring time transferring files from the RAID box to the Archos, I now have a bunch of films recorded from the TV, the aforementioned 48Gb of music and our entire digital collection of family photos. I don’t know if I am now in that gadget honeymoon period (you know, when anything new seems really, really useful) but it is quite remarkable what a difference it can make to have everything in one place. There are some films, for example, that I have been meaning to watch ever since they were recorded – but now I might actually do so, given the fact they are conveniently placed on the jukebox, rather than stuck away somewhere on the server. Right now I’m listening to a bit of Dvorak on a long-haul flight, you can guarantee I couldn’t have done without the new drive.

It takes me back to my IT manager days, when we seemed to be forever struggling against a tide of data. The answer would invariably be the same – to adopt coping strategies for as long as possible before planning in some downtime and going through a consolidation exercise. Things would be great for a while, before eventually our best-laid plans would give way to the pressures referred to by my previous boss Rob Hailstone as “the wardrobe principle.”

Perhaps the worst example of this was caused quite ironically from having too much storage. Sun Microsystems, in their infinite generosity supplied a batch of 40 SS10 workstations with an equal number of – if my memory serves me correctly – external 400 MB drives. At first we were daunted and gleeful in equal measure – this was free stuff, after all – but over time the discs became incorporated into the IT environment. Oracle was a hungry beast, not just because of the database sizes but the number of test instances we needed to run.

For a period there was no problem that couldn’t be solved without throwing extra disk space at it. After a while however, the disks that had held so much promise became a burden of their own, and we had to consolidate things down again.

Still, and no doubt like things will turn out for my newly rejuvenated Archos, it was nice while it lasted.

P.S. Incidentally, a note for Archos lovers – the trick with bending back (carefully) the battery contacts, as remarked upon in a number of places on the Web, really does work to restore battery life. Thanks again!

There’s something about having enough disk… for a while

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