Category Archives: Tech

Drobo: Thin Provisioning

If you know me, you know that I’m a huge proponent of Drobo.  As of late, the frustration level with Drobo is increasing and it may have edged away at this enthusiasm.

My most recent frustration came when I upgraded a drive in my Drobo to increase the usable space to more then 2TB.  After the Drobo finished updating all of its partitions, I was left with a partition that was labeled ‘unallocated’ in the Drobo dashboard.  After searching the interwebs (which yielded absolutely nothing on Drobo’s site for ‘unallocated’) and posting on a couple of forums, I was led to this:

http://support.datarobotics.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/23/session/L3NpZC9LZFU0M3JWag%3D%3D/sno/0

This is telling me that I’m stuck with adding partitions to my Drobo of maximum size 2TB because of a decision I made when I originally set it up, at which time I was not told how this setting would affect me as I add disk space.  Further, I think that Drobo’s claims of being both “simple” and “scalable” are misleading as this limitation is not spelled out up-front and if you don’t understand this, the affects of scaling can be considerably different then what is expected.

Now that I have have realized this, the only way to have 1 single partition again is to (in Drobo’s own words) “migrate the data onto another Drobo or storage device, reformat the original Drobo device to the volume size of your choice, and then move the data back.”  With 2TBs of data, not only is this a huge pain in the ass, I need to buy another drive in order to fit the entirety of my Drobo on a disk before reformatting.

I think this a huge failure on Drobo’s part that could be fixed one of 2 ways:

  1. Be explicit about how setting this soft limit is actually a hard limit on the amount of space that can be allocated to a volume.
  2. Drobo creates a tool to resize partitions to change storage space on a partition.

A tool in this situation would prove extremely handy and would prevent any confusion or problems when going over this thinly provisioned partition cap.

Any help here, Drobo?

Safari: Open all links in new tabs

In trying to migrate from Firefox to Safari on all of my Macs, one thing that has bothered me is the inability to do 1-window browsing (i.e. opening all links in new tabs instead of new windows).  After scouring the interwebs, I am still unable to accomplish this in Safari v4.0.4 and Mac OS v10.6.2.  Even though there are multiple blog posts out there explaining a simple solution, it doesn’t seem to work on any of my machines.  Lastly, I know that SafariStand exists, but it seems both hacky and overkill for what I’m trying to accomplish.

Does anyone have a simple solution for this or know why the solution mentioned all over the web doesn’t work?

UPDATE

Pie in my face…  Under “Safari->Preferences->General” there is an option “Open links from applications” and setting that to “in a new tab in the current window” is the exactly what I was looking for (reference).  D’oh!

XBox Live NAT problems on BE

For quite a while I’ve struggled with a ‘strict’ NAT when connecting to XBox Live.  I’ve finally fixed this problem.  Apparently, BE locks down their Speedtouch routers which creates this problem.  The fix is simple:

http://www.beusergroup.co.uk/technotes/index.php/Xbox_Live

On top of this, you may need to forward some ports on your router:

http://portforward.com/english/routers/port_forwarding/Thomson-Alcatel/SpeedTouch585/Xbox_Live_360.htm

When I get some time, I will try to confirm the need for mapping ports…

O2 Data Frequently Drops

I know that much has been made of data and connectivity problems on AT&T in the States, but I’ve found O2 to be just as bad, if not worse.  About once per day, even though I have full bars and am connected to 3G, my iPhone is unable to receive any data.  Loading webpages doesn’t work, refreshing mail doesn’t work, connecting to the App Store doesn’t work, etc.  This occurs for about 5 to 10 minutes at a time and can sometimes occur multiple times per day.

During the latest outage (today at around 1 PM GMT), I asked 2 co-workers, 1 with a 3G Blackberry and 1 with an iPhone, to try to access a webpage.  They were also unable to do so, even though both had 3G access and full bars.  I understand that this could be a problem with the cell tower, but this happens almost every single day, and not always at work.

Why are cell providers so incredibly awful?