Computer upgrade

A failed powersupply was my excuse to upgrade most of the other internals of the desktop computer too. Some notes on adding a disk to LVM, following Suji's notes from 2007 (all of these require sudo):

  • (create a primary partition, type "8E" Linux LVM, exit with "w")

  • (this will create the file-system. option "-c" which checks for bad sectors is recommended by some, but takes ages to complete) (see comments)

  • (this will create a physical volume)

  • will now list all the physical volumes and the newly created one should be visible.

  • will list the volume groups. On my machine there's one named "datadisk"

  • (this will extend the volume group with the new disk)

  • will now display info on the volume group. The new disk should show up in the list of physical volumes.

  • (this will extend the logical volume so that the new size is 100% of available space in the volume-group)

  • (this will resize the logical volume. takes a long time to complete with big disks and there is no progress bar/display)
  • finally you can check that the mounted volume group is actually re-sized to the new size and has lots of free space:

There is more info in the LVM-HOWTO.

View of hard disk with windirstat

Where does all that hard drive space disappear? Windirstat will draw you a picture ( or on Linux

This is the 78G windows-partition on my laptop. The size of pagefile.sys and hiberfil.sys probably scale with the amount of RAM (I have 4G). Matlab is just huge (and bloated?). I wonder if an 18G windows-folder is about normal for win-7 users, or if I have a lot of temporary stuff and installer-files etc. hiding in there?

40 Mbps broadband

Probably triggered by Sonera laying down optical fiber and offering 10 Mbps for 10eur/month initially (a 24 month contract, rising to 20eur/month for the second year) the local cable-TV company Welho was forced to rethink their products and pricing. I've upgraded to the M-option which is 40 Mbps for around 36eur/month.

At some point Finland was pretty cheap when it came to broadband and cell-phone contracts. Anyone want to comment how these speeds/prices compare to other parts of the world?

Lenovo T400s

I eventually chose a "best of both worlds" T400s for my new laptop. It's a lot lighter than my old T60: 1.77kg vs. 2.5kg (the T60 has a 9-cell battery).

IMG_0776-1 IMG_0777-1

Upgrading from the T60, most things on this computer immediately feel right. The tightly-spaced keyboard has a slightly different/soft feel, but is very similar in size and layout. The bigger ESC and Delete keys are spot on. I'm not exactly thrilled about the wide-screen display since going from 1400x1050 on the T60 to this one which is 1440x900 is actually a slight reduction in pixel-count. The display doesn't feel small though, and Windows 7's new-style taskbar saves a bit of space compared to XP. The wide-screen format means there's room for speakers on both sides of the keyboard. I'll be using a 24" Samsung screen via the Series 3 Mini Dock at the office 🙂


The red stripes are back! Yay! The touch pad is textured, but doesn't feel very different in use. Right of the volume controls there's a new microphone-mute button (useful?). Compared to the T60 which had a row of lights below the screen the T400s puts the lights in slightly different places: the central on/off button is illuminated, the caps-lock key has a light of its own, the num-lock light is gone, and the battery as well as the sleep-symbol are only visible on the outside of the machine.

Here are a few pics of the sides of the machine showing the ports:

IMG_0778-1 IMG_0779-1 IMG_0780-1 IMG_0781-1

The front has only the clasp for the screen, which now is on the keyboard side and doesn't lift up like on the T60. Seems to work just fine this way too. The top edge of the screen curves inward to match the rounded wrist-rest on the front of the machine. On the top edge the ThinkLight is now accompanied by a webcam. On the right there's a small WiFi switch and the optical drive. I had a bay-battery for the T60, but although the form of the CD/Bay is the same, the connectors on the back have changed and the T60 battery can't be used on the T400s. There are no USB ports on the right of the machine. On the back there's power-input (Lenovo didn't change the connector or spec, so old powersupplies still work), VGA-out, Ethernet, one normal USB-port, one combined eSATA/USB port, and a DisplayPort. On the left side there's one more USB port for a total of three, an audio jack, and a card-reader.

It's too early to say, but I have a feeling that I will miss the two USB-ports on the right side of the T60. They're now at the back where it's a lot harder to reach to connect a memory-stick or a mouse. Optical drives are probably going the way of the DoDo. The only use I find for the DVD-drive is when installing the Operating System. I've used the drive twice, once when installing Windows 7 and once for Ubuntu 9.10. Better put a battery in the bay to boost the mobile-hours. The card-reader is great! As I've now moved to a Canon 500D camera it uses SD-cards which fit this card reader and there's no need to use Compact Flash anymore. Like the Canon, this card reader operates like a ball-point pen: press once to insert the card, press another time to remove it. Smart and easy, no buttons or levers.

I'm glad the modem is gone!(who has used a modem in the last 5 years anyway?). For roaming the interwebs the machine provides RJ45 Ethernet, WiFi, and a built-in 3G mobile phone. The 3G card also comes with GPS which I have yet to test. No doubt a three-way C405x vs. N95 vs. T400s GPS-shootout is called for!

The hard-drive is a 128GB SSD. Highly recommended although I will have to keep a 500GB usb hard-drive in the bag for larger archives and backups.

After three days of use I'm pretty sure I'll be happy using this laptop for the about next three years. That's how long the Lenovo warranty is, and also how long I stuck around with the T60.

Software install list

Windows doesn't have a nice package manager with software repositories all over the world like some other operating systems...

So with the new laptop and Windows 7 it's an all-day/night manual install job to get it up to speed:

Lenovo T400s drivers:

Thunderbird 3.0 The official 0.9 Lightning release doesn't work with the latest Thunderbird, so I have to use the latest development version. Also remember English (or UK) , Swedish, and Finnish dictionaries.


Firefox including the essential Tab Mix Plus and DownThemAll.

Adobe Flash player get's installed once you visit youtube or a similar site and click install.

Adobe Reader

VLC Player

Avira Antivirus The University provides F-Secure also, but it can slow even the fastest machine down to a crawl. Looking at the Avira add once per day isn't too bad.

VirtualCloneDrive I used Daemon-Tools on my old machine but now I hear that it comes with spyware and other bad stuff(?)




Google Earth


TrueCrypt let's keep the 500 Gig USB-harddrive at least a little private...

iTunes Not so much for the music, I never buy anything, but iTunes University is great!




Garmin Connect connects the 405CX GPS-watch for data-transfer.


Nokia PC-Suite


Then there's a bunch of commercial software my University provides:
Office 2007

Still on the ToDo list: DIVX/XVID codec pack (any suggestions?), eDrawings, an IRC-client (mIRC??).

What's your must-have software? Any essentials I've missed? Comment below!

which Lenovo?


Trying to decide on a new laptop. It's going to be black. The X200s would be small (too small?), the X301 is nice but has no good docking solution, so today I'm leaning towards the T400s. Tomorrow I might change my mind again. The T400s has the most cpu-power, still a manageable size, but sadly less pixels on the screen than my current T60.
Anyone have good or bad experiences with the Samsung 128 Gb SSD drives?

ThinkPad T-series Trio

Left: T40, Middle: T60, Right T500. We have a T61 in the lab also but it didn't show up for the family photo. The T60 is mine. Compared to the T40, the only things I miss are the red and blue stripes on the mouse-keys 🙂 On the T500 there are lots of things that would be nice: Built-in webcam, built-in 3G, FireWire, and a HDMI-port. But there's also a lot of keyboard flex on the T500 compared to the older models.

The T400 would still be a sensible choice if I decide to upgrade (althougn I'm not thrilled by going from a 1400x1050 screen to 1440x900). If I win on the lottery any time soon I'll go with an X301.

Cool image re-sizing video

I wonder when this technology is coming to a WordPress/FireFox near you? I'm always frustrated by having to re-size photos to a specific column width (450 pixels in my blog right now), and then manually linking the pictures to larger versions (usually 1024 pixels wide). This cool technology should allow me to just upload an image, attach it to the post, and then it re-sizes depending on the theme or the browser used.