atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#4373: "You need the ball!"

Before I woke up this morning I spent an inordinate amount of time wandering around a gaming convention at about 3 AM trying to find "the Ball" while my character got chewed on by skeletons.

There was this diorama, see, and my character was a figurine which I placed in it, and--

No, you know what? It's too confusing, even to me. The point is, my character was just standing there, doing nothing, and while combat hadn't started yet it was going to do so soon, and the owner of the diorama told me that I needed the ball to control my character, and he didn't know where it was. So I began running around trying to find the ball, and of course no one that I talked to had seen it recently, and it was a big convention.

I'd never heard of it before, of course, but when he mentioned it I immediately knew what he was talking about: a black stress ball, about 2" in diameter, like the one on my desk. If I had that, my character would then unleash the fury and flatten all the skeletons that were about to chew on him, but I didn't have much time.


No, I don't get it. File it under "chronic anxiety" and walk away, that's my plan.

* * *

I had a moderate stack of tabs open, but I closed them, because it was SSDD.

And then in the "this is the first I've heard of this shit" department:

Western Digital fills hard drives with helium and they can store more data.

It's very, very hard to seal helium into anything. The problem is that as a noble gas the helium molecule consists of a single, very small atom. It's the size of a hydrogen atom--one electron shell, two protons, two neutrons--and on that scale just about everything is porous.

It's why a rubber balloon, filled with helium, goes flat overnight. The instant you fill the thing, helium begins escaping through nanoscopic pores in the latex.

You can keep helium in a gas bottle pretty much indefinitely because metal doesn't have pores like that, but even then you must take steps to keep it from escaping past the valve body. Anywhere you have two parts joined together they must be sealed very well. Until now, apparently, it wasn't possible to seal a hard drive enclosure helium-tight.

The entire principle that lets hard drives work requires an atmosphere: the drive heads float over the disk, which is why they can spin at 7,200 RPM and not burn the heads up or grind the magnetic coating right off the metal. (Or glass, in some cases.) This means you cannot simply evacuate the housing; there must be some kind of atmosphere in it.

Apparently using helium instead of air lets them cram more platters into the same space.


Here's an interesting statistic from that link: hard drive data densities are at about 625 gigabits per square inch, which is roughly 78 gigabytes per square inch.


This article takes the trouble to explain why helium leads to higher platter density and it's clearly written by someone who knows what he's talking about. (The other link was written by a journalism major and "borrows" heavily from Western Digital's press release.)

Anyway, this is a thing for data centers, not really for the average person. These drives are going to be spendy.

Still--a 10 TB drive, used once a month for making a total image backup of one's computer--that might be worth something, no?

* * *

As stated previously I got all the grass cut last night, though it was at the point that I was debating the utility of turning on the tractor lights. Every other lap around the east 40--having cut the front and back first--I tried the lights and saw no real improvement over ambient light. This didn't really change before I was finished.

I've never had to cut the grass with the lights on. Usually I schedule myself better than I did yesterday, but it was still fairly light out when I was finished. It takes perhaps an hour to cut the grass and I started around 6:30, and with dusk coming around 7:30 I had to move my butt. I wouldn't have made it if I hadn't been able to cut the east 40 with the tractor in 4th gear (3rd is normal cutting speed) but I figure that 4th gear moves the thing about as fast as a "mexican jet ski", and it does get the grass cut. The east 40 does not need to look like a golf course, anyway; it's a vacant lot, so WTF? As long as it's kept up, who cares?

Yesterday was "out and about" day for Mrs. Fungus and I, but we got just about everything done that we wanted to do...and we have no plans at all for today beyond "sleep in and eat goulash". I ought to get off the computer and get the goulash going in the crock pot.

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