Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Western Digital My Book Pro Edition II Review

Bought My Book ProEdition II drive - 1 Terabyte model, from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.


1. Sleek looking.
2. 1 Terabyte
3. Raid 0 or 1 (Performance or redundancy).
4. Hard Drives are user serviceable and can be cold swapped; Western Digital provides official instructions on that.
5. Three year limited warranty.
6. USB 2.0 (Burst mode), FireWire 400 / 800 (IEEE 1394a / IEEE 1394b).
7. Outer rubber edge helps stability and reduces vibration.


1. No format with FAT32 option with RAID0 or 1
2. No JBOD option – RAID 0 doubles your failure chances and RAID 1 reduces total space to just 500 GB.
3. No eSATA interface – For a drive this capacity it’s very important, if overall throughput matters.
4. Power supply external.
5. Noise – After testing connecting both FireWire 400 (I don’t have FW 800) and USB 2.0 simultaneously and individually I can confirm that connecting via FireWire switches the drive’s fans to mini hair dryer mode, very annoying indeed. I was copying data via USB 2.0 from both my internal hard drives and two optical drives for the past two days and not once, did it switch to super turbine mode. Maybe they can tweak the firmware to run the fan at lower speeds than full blast. However I think this challenge can be overcome by just relocating the drive to maybe underneath the desk or even replacing the internal fan but voiding your 3 year warranty in the process.

Fan Noise reduction - Workaround

I got some really good advice from Amazon and newegg customer reviews. About flipping the internal fan around, looks like a design oversight, as the fan sucks in air, instead of out. After flipping the fan around the drives are running much cooler and its not kicking into leaf blower mode even with FireWire (400).

I even went further and took out the 'drive cage cover' yesterday, so now air will pass through both sides of the enclosure.

This mod will work without voiding your warranty with all  second edition drives i.e. My Book Pro Edition II, My Book Premium Edition II, or My Book World Edition II.

Even though I've been stress testing the drives in RAID 0 mode and had left it constantly copying 200 gigs of data and managed to fill it up last night and all that time it was in silent mode. I even tried to stress test it further by playing three MPEG 2 VOB files during the copy process.

WD Button Manager

The WD Button Manager, not only does it show free space on the drive, but also safely ejects the drive and shuts it down after ejection. On the down side it only works when the drive is connected via USB and was using 15, 044 K memory according to Windows task manager just sitting there.

Wish list

I hope WD would release a firmware update, to JBOD the drives into logical volumes and format with FAT32 in either RAID modes.

To be honest I’d love to have a (perfect) drive with eSata, USB 2.0, FireWire 400 / 800 and NAS capable Gigabit Ethernet connections, RAID with option to JBOD multiple drives, all in a quite case with an internal power supply but at the moment there aren’t any.


The only major con with this model would be its fan noise (Without modification) when used with FireWire. Thankfully noisy hair dryer hasn’t kicked in after modifications.

Considering my current usage pattern I’m satisfied at the moment, this unit serves my purpose for now, as a music and video jukebox.
Looking back I would've gone for the 'FreeAgent™ Pro 750-GB USB 2.0, eSATA, FireWire External Hard Drive'. Even though it doesn't support RAID, it’s a better overall package to cover future needs.

Useful Links

My Book side-by-side comparison chart
How to dismantle a My Book Pro Edition II, My Book Premium Edition II, or My Book World Edition II to replace a hard drive.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Opera, Stop being so stubborn!

Opera is a very well designed browser and Internet suite but its still missing some little and big things, such as:

1. Downloads acceleration - Metalinks, segmented downloads whatever it takes, Opera should be really fast on all fronts.

2. Middle clicking ‘JavaScript links’ opens them in new tabs.

3. Progress bar for uploads - Eg: To X-Drive, Yahoo! Briefcase etc.

4. Extensions / Plugins.

5. SOCKS proxy support.

Last two are biggies but goodies, history seems to be repeating itself, for years Opera wasn't free, when it went free it got great press and lots of people converted, but now its about extensions or addons issue. People at Opera are either just too stubborn or just too scared to adopt extensions and release an API, as it might make opera less secure. Even if its just to shutup Firefox fanboys.

Friday, May 18, 2007

How to record VoIP calls in Windows

I came upon this step by step explanation on how to record calls from VoIP, Skype, Yahoo! Messenger, Windows Live Messenger/MSN Messenger, and Google Talk or any other VoIP applications one might use like any of the Betamax services like Low rate VoIP or VoipStunt.

From my initial research currently there is only one free solution (for now) that lets you easily record VoIP calls without any duration restrictions, that application is Solicall (www.Solicall.com).

If you want to understand, why we have to do this then download this podcast:

Gear Media Tech 1: Mixer Basics

Systm - Episode 4 – Podcasting

Full credit goes to the guy who figured this out and here's his post:


I read a few instructions on the Net and experimented a little bit to figure out how you can record a Skype call in Windows without any fancy commercial plugins. The following instructions work fine for me when I'm using a headset (using loudspeakers would probably result in a feedback signal) - test it and feel free to write a comment if it works for you or not:

How to record Skype calls:

- download Audacity (open source audio editing software) from http://audacity.sourceforge.net and install it

- start Skype

- in Skype go to tools->options->sound devices and switch 'let Skype adjust my sound device settings' off

- start Audacity

- set recording setting to 'wave out mix' or ‘What U Hear’

- set wave output to 0.1

- set recording volume to 0.9 or 1.0

- go to Windows volume control (double click the speaker symbol in the notification area of your task bar)

- volume control:
- volume control: 100%
- wave: 10%
- microphone NOT mute
- mic volume up to 5th mark

- recording control:
- microphone: mic boost off, volume 100%
- make sure 'wave out mix' or ‘What U Hear’ is selected and volume is 90% to 100%

- in Skype go to tools->options->sound devices->'make a test call to Skype answering machine'

- record your test call by pressing the record button in Audacity

- play back your recording and adjust audio settings if necessary

- remember to get your conversational partner's approval before recording a call


Saturday, April 21, 2007

Official Opera User Survey

Give your input straight to Opera product developers, time to let them know whats good, bad and what needs to be improved.

read more | digg story

Secure Your Crypto Currencies First

Recently many people are suffering because of forgotten passwords or losing their 2FA (two factor) app like Google Auth. Or losing their ph...