Archive for October 25th, 2008



It was time again for a clean up of one of my two terrariums. Some plants didn’t look that fresh anymore and had to be replaced. As after this the terrarium looked much better, I took some pictures which you can see as a slide show here.

One things that is a particular concern of mine is to show that (a) a terrarium with many real plants looks great and (b) that the “organic” terrarium – without sterile decoration, poison against vermins, and insects from the feeding dish – actually works.

You can read more about my terrariums and about my Balkan Green Lizards (Lacerta trilineata) that are very similar to the normal Green Lizard (Lacerta bilineata / viridis) here on my personal homepage. But now have fun with the pictures:


Created with flickr slideshow.

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A few days ago I bought two network adaptors manufactured by Netgear, model XETB1001 from the Powerline series. I payed 79,- € at “Promarkt” here in Germany. What are these:

The idea is to establish a network connection between two or more computers via the powerline of your house, instead of using long ethernet cables or wireless LAN. In other words, the adaptor is plugged into a main outlet socket, and a short ethernet cable from your computer is plugged into the adaptor. The distance to other computers in other rooms or on other floors is bridged with the powerline. It is a great idea, no long cables through your house, no electric fields from a WLAN, but does it really work?

My answer: I returned these the next day…

What was the problem? Generally the installation was foolproof, simply plugging in, that’s it. Unfortunately the adaptors (one in the basement, the other in the living room, one floor higher) didn’t find each other, they couldn’t establish a permanent connection. The setup guide said something about not using an extension lead (what do they think how many free outlet sockets people have near a COMPUTER ??!!), so I tried without, a bit better, sometimes working, then with an other socket, and finally I managed to establish a connection.

But after some time the connection was lost again, it reconnected again, but random connection loss was always a problem. The speed was also not what it was supposed to be (85 MBit, of course on the package it said “up to 85 MBit”…), I got a speed between 20 and 40 MBit what is more than my old WLAN (11 MBit) but far below the 100 Mbits you get with an ethernet cable.

And what about the reduced electric emission when not using WLAN anymore? Bummer, after googling a bit I found that a high-frequency signal is added to the normal powerline wave, and as the powerline cables are not shielded, your whole house turn into a huge antenna that emits this high-frequency radiation. Of course this emission is said to be below the threshold that is defined by law, but we all know how silly these values often are. In Switzerland for example a field study on internet via powerline resulted in somewhat epidemic cases of meningitis…

Alright, I will stick to WLAN in the future, at least this is stable and works.

Conclusion: a flop!

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(this is a translation of the article in my German blog)

A few days ago I replaced the 60GB hard-disk drive in my good old Toshiba notebook with a new 250 GB HD. The old one has been filled with data almost completely for some time now, and so I have been looking for obsolete files and deleting them or copying files to external USB disks all the time lately. But the free disk space was often filled up again when my son Tim wanted to install his newest computer game…

Well, a modern big HD does not cost much, but I really had no nerves to reinstall the complete system plus address books, prgrams, and everything. Unlike with the desktop PC, a notebook has only one internal HD drive, so leaving the system HD and just adding a second one is no option.

The solution was easy: the software tool Acronis True Image allows you to clone the old drive, and it even stretches all existing partitions to the new bigger drive if you want (well, I had only one). So all I had to do was buying the drive (250 GB, EIDE, about 80 €) plus an external USB drive case (15 €). I first installed the new drive into the USB case (took me 3 mins), then cloning the old drive to the new one (took about one hour, thanks to the comfortable wizard you only have to press ‘next’ a couple of times, leaving all default settings as they were). Next was removing the old drive which means removing only one screw, the drive was behind a special lid so you don’t even have to open the notebook itself. Old drive oput, pushing the new one in, no jumpers, no nothing, switching on again, and…

… it was running!! Windows booted flawlessly, no error messages, no new hardware found, nothing!! 🙂

Of course the old drive was installed into the USB case.

If I had knewn before how easy this is, I surely would have done so a long time ago. But now it’s time to think about how to fill the new drive, so many GB’s want to be filled 🙂

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