Atempo Time Navigator 4.2 Archive Media Selection Tunable

Just a quick post here to share a non-obvious tunable for Atempo’s Time Navigator 4.2 regarding archiving and media selection.

Before upgrading from 4.1 to 4.2 Time Navigator’s media selection for archive jobs with standalone drives behaved as expected: If existing partly filled and open cartridges in the associated media pool existed, Time Navigator would request those media be placed in the drives upon the start a new archive operation, effectively only asking for new, unlabeled media to be inserted once the existing media was full.

However, with the upgrade to 4.2 we found that Time Navigator was no longer requesting the existing, partly filled, open cartridges and was instead requesting new, unlabeled media to be inserted into the drives instead! The result of this new behavior was that Time Navigator would use new tapes for every new archive operation, no matter if existing, partly filled and open media was available in the media pool. Basically 4.2’s default behavior was preventing us from filling any archive media unless the particular archive job would happen to be larger than a single tape.

While I don’t know why the functionality changed, I do know what tunable to modify in order to make 4.2 behave like 4.1. The tunable is “check_external_cart_when_recycling“. Setting this tunable to “Yes” has restored the 4.1 behavior, allowing us to make full use of all archive media capacity by only requesting new media when all the existing media in the media pool has been filled.

I believe we only faced this problem because we use standalone archive tape drives that do not have an autoloader or robot nor an “inventory” of online tape. Each tape must be manually loaded. I suspect that if we had an autoloader for our tape drives, that 4.2 would have made the correct/expected selection of media.

I doubt that anyone else is going to face this problem but it took about 3 weeks with Atempo’s R&D department to figure out the problem so I figure if posting here can save anyone that amount of time, then I’ll have done my part!

iPod Touch Woes – Part Deux

The problems with my iPod Touch haven’t gone away just yet.

I was able to replace the headphone jack without too much trouble, in fact I would say it was a pretty easy fix. The old ribbon cable stub left from the snapping of the old ribbon cable came off the PCB without too much trouble at all. Just applied a bit of heat and up she came. Soldering the new ribbon cable+headphone jack assembly was very straight forward as well. I just made sure to clean the four pads off nicely, add a tiny bit of solder to each pad then put the ribbon cable down on top and apply some heat. From there I added a bit more solder to the top because the ribbon cable pads have little holes in them to allow the solder to flow through from the back to the front. All said and done, I think I did a really good job.

But, and here’s the kicker, I think ruined ANOTHER battery! Arg! These things must be ultra sensitive to shorting out or otherwise because I can’t figure out what else might have caused my THIRD battery to die on me. Yes, I’ve accidentally shorted it momentarily while fixing the headphone jack AGAIN.

Alas, perhaps it was not meant to be. First battery died because I tore the casing by accident, second battery because I got the damn thing wet. And now the third battery because I appearently cannot keep the red and black leads apart at all times…

At this point I’m not sure what to do. Give another battery a short? These things are cheap, so why not?

iPod Touch Woes

That’s right, my 1st generation iPod touch has been troublesome lately.

First, I took it snowboarding and it decides to get wet and short the battery somehow, killing it. Bad iPod! I told you not to get wet but you wouldn’t listen! At first I wasn’t sure if the battery really was dead or if the iPod itself had died. I quickly found out the battery was at fault when plugging it into my Macbook and seeing it come alive… too bad it was demanding that I restore it.

So, I tried to restore it. Turns out you can’t restore an iPod touch that doesn’t have a working battery. Part way through the restore, the iPod would die, presumably because it would disconnect from the USB power momentarily. Fine, I bought a new battery and soldered the three tiny little wires in and tried to restore it… and BAM! same problem! Ok, my fault, I didn’t let the battery charge enough. Once charged, I was able to perform the restore.

Now after waiting quite some time for the iPod backup to restore and my music to sync, I try plugging in my headphones to listen to some music. Nothing. The software volume slider is there and I can turn up the volume all the way but nothing. Some jiggling of the jack allows for one channel to come through all muddled. Open the iPod back up and I notice how I destroyed the ribbon cable going from the board to the jack during the battery replacement! Noooooooo.

I actually spent time trying to run four cables to jump the broken ribbon cable, but I didn’t heed my friend’s advice: There was no space for four wires in that tight case. Absolutely no way I could put the back on with those four “jumper” wires crudely soldered in. I also ended up shorting out at least two of the four leads, making my iPod think some kind of remote volume control was plugged in and preventing the display of the software volume controls! I decided to remove my failed attempt at fixing the headphone jack ribbon cable.

I’ve now ordered a replacement jack and I’m going to learn about the joys of soldering a ribbon cable to a tiny PCB.¬†Wish me luck for when it arrives!