Drive cleaning.

I spent a few hours this past weekend going through a pile of old hard drives that had been languishing in various Rubbermaid containers and cardboard boxes downstairs. I knew that some of the drives were still functional, but I really needed to do a proper inventory and purge. Most of the drives came out of old computers and external cases, probably due to upgrades. However, a couple were brand new, bought in anticipation of getting slapped into a machine down the road. I just couldn't recall what the capacity or specs were. I cracked open a couple empty external drive cases to use as test jigs and purchased an update for my long in the tooth Hard Disk Toolkit utility. Anything that showed up in HDT got low-level formatting, new drivers and a single partition initialization before being tagged and filed back on the shelf.

Of the dozen and a half drives I evaluated, I ended up with eleven working devices - mostly 50-pin SCSI-2, a couple 68-pin fast wide disks, and one lonely old school laptop IDE drive. None of the drives were larger than 9GB, but that doesn't make them useless. Heck, the boot drive on this server is only 4GB and it seems to do the job. Of course, not every chunk of metal on the bench cut the mustard. Those poor souls that refused to spin up or continually burped due to media errors ended up as candidates for salvage: platters, spacers, sealed bearings, configuration jumpers, termination resistors, small gauge screws... all that good stuff. Bonus points were awarded for any rare earth head-control magnets that could be pried out of the housing in one piece. You can practically hang the dog up on the fridge door with those suckers.

There's still an assortment of small (less than 40MB capacity) drives to take a peek at, although I'm not expecting any survivors out of that bunch at this point in the competition. Those units came out of a series of circa 1990 Macintosh IIs from the original Image Club offices and they were yanked for a reason. I'm just a little bit stumped as to why I kept them all this time, but that's another story. I also pulled a set of three 68-pin fast SCSI drives out of the cupboard in the office. I think they're all 18GB disks, but I won't know for sure until they're up and running.

One of the next projects on the to do list is deciding what to do with a sagging box full of 3.5 and 5.25 floppy drives originally from an industrial disk duplicator.

Posted Grant Hutchinson   Timestamp Monday, November 29, 2004

Long time, no? See!

First of all, I'd like to apologize to my faithful reader for being so obviously thin in the update department. It's not that new stuff hasn't been piling up in the hallways around here. It has. And it's not that I haven't had the wherewithal to post some news. Something. Anything. I honestly have. The point is... there's really no excuse for not mentioning even a tidbit on this site since the middle of June. None whatsoever. I won't waste the effort on attempting to explain my absence. Suffice it to say that other things have been occupying my waking hours and the unfortunate reality is, this site draws the short straw. However, expect to see a few posts over the next day or so as I play compunabular catch up.

Posted Grant Hutchinson   Timestamp Wednesday, November 17, 2004