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SuperTalent Hard Drives on Ubuntu

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So the third party SuperTalent SSD's that are marketed for net-book replacements are pretty poorly supported in Ubuntu.  People have had problems from Intrepid, through Jaunty, Karmic and now Lucid!

It exhibits roughly the following symptoms:

Bootup is slow, some gnome application fail to load properly, and there are large pauses now and then when the drive is being soft-reset.

The associated dmesg output looks like:

[ 2962.988208] ata2: lost interrupt (Status 0x58)
[ 2962.988297] ata2.00: exception Emask 0x0 SAct 0x0 SErr 0x0 action 0x6 frozen
[ 2962.988306] ata2.00: BMDMA stat 0x4
[ 2962.988323] ata2.00: cmd ca/00:08:40:e9:7d/00:00:00:00:00/e0 tag 0 dma 4096 out
[ 2962.988326] res 58/00:08:40:e9:7d/00:00:00:00:00/e0 Emask 0x2 (HSM violation)
[ 2962.988333] ata2.00: status: { DRDY DRQ }
[ 2962.988376] ata2: soft resetting link
[ 2963.196543] ata2.00: configured for UDMA/66
[ 2963.196581] ata2: EH complete

The error is a "HSM Violation" which I have no idea the deep seated nature of . . . but there is a quick and dirty work around:

Depending on your version of linux the file that needs alteration has a different name.  You can find it by running:

$cd /lib/udev/rules.d/

$grep smart *

This turned up some rules about photosmart printers, but we are looking for a line about libata.

Open the file of interest, typically named one of these two:



There are three instances of the following line:

KERNEL=="sd*[!0-9]", ATTR{removable}=="0", ENV{ID_BUS}=="ata", ENV{DEVTYPE}=="disk", IMPORT{program}="udisks-probe-ata-smart $tempnode"

Comment out (add a # before) the one associated with libata (as described in the comments above the line in question)  Reboot, and everything should work fine!

Here are the associated launchpad link, it sounds like a inline fix is in the pipes, but this can cause hard-drive damage!  So fix it yourself ASAP!

Last Updated on Monday, 14 June 2010 16:51

Interesting Visitors

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Gov / Mil / DOD -

Oak Ridge National Lab -,

The Navy - National Research Laboratory -

The Air Force - Air Force Inspection Agency -

Sandia National Labs -

DLR (German Aerospace Center) -

SAIC in San Diego -

The FDA -

Australian Bureau of Meteorology -


Aerospace -

Blue Coat Systems -


Schools / Universities -

US Schools:

Brown University -

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville -

Penn State -

U Chicago -

CSM - muon.Mines.EDU

U Colorado Boulder -,

UCLA -, Cs-96-243.CS.UCLA.EDU,

Louisiana Tech University -

Missouri University of Science and Technology -

Portland State University -

Cornell -


MIT ? -

Ringling College of Art and Design

University of Washington -



UT Austin -

U Massachusetts Amherst -

Purdue -



University of Cambridge -

Université catholique de Louvain -

Graz University of Technology -

University College London -

Institut polytechnique de Grenoble -

Universität Basel -

Ghent University -

Umeå universitet -

Centrale Paris -

Unicamp -

Aalborg Universitet -

Universität Bremen -

Universidad de Valladolid -

University of Warsaw -

Campus Furtwangen -

Amrita University -

Linen Intitute of Advanced Computer Sciences (Netherlands) -

The University of British Columbia -

The Australian National University -

Nihon University -

National Astronomical Observatory of Japan -

Max Planck Institute for Ornithology -

Technischen Universität Dortmund -


Corporate -

Power Related:

Exxon Mobile -

The Japanese Power Industry Central Research Institute -

Hess Energy -



Citizens Bank -

eSignal -

Verisign - -




VMware -

Amazon -


Cargill -

Boeing -

Rosen Inspection - -

Texas Instraments - -

Microsoft - -,

ITT Corporation -

The Macaulay Land Use Institute -

Deutsches Elektronen-SynchrotronDeutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron -

Kieback & Peter -

Last Updated on Saturday, 26 March 2011 17:48

Mini 9 and Mini 10 Wireless Fix

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The mini 9 and mini 10 have a wireless issue with Karmic.  I rounded up the necessary packages and a script that installs them available here:



Wow! Old Code!

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I came across code I wrote in 2002!  Its an OpenGL Fractal generator!

(fractal-code) (exe link)

Even better, the exectuable runs in wine! Hahahaha.  It doesn't redraw quite right, but for something that old, working at all is pretty much miraculous, much less under emulation!

Looking at the associated files, I think that I was using a pirate copy of MSDN, oh how times have changed!  In retrospect, the best thing that M$ could have done for it future, is give the compiler away like candy.  If it were free, at leats 10k kids like me might have been writing code for them today!

That aside, here is a screenshot!





Last Updated on Thursday, 11 February 2010 19:22

Solidification in Space

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Update!  The Arizona Daily Star featured an article about our experiment!

KVOA also had a news spot.

I was offered the opportunity to help coordinate of two solidification experiments onboard the International Space Station as part of my masters research.  (All photos courtesy NASA)

The experiments are a collaboration between American and European scientists (MICAST and CETSOL) and all experiments take place on the Materials Science Research Rack (MSRR) part of the Materials Science Lab (MSL)

The experiment itself consists of an aluminum alloy sample which is directionally solidified under carefully controlled conditions.  The focus of the research has nothing to do with developing fantastic materials for space age applications, it fact it is quite the opposite.  The alloy in study is an Aluminum 7% Silicon alloy, much more similar to the material you would find in your engine block than something on a space shuttle.  Density driven flow arises in hundreds of engineering situations, but in solidification it is extremely important.  Like in most materials, changes in temperature lead to changes in density.  Changes in density of a liquid lead to flow in the liquid commonly called convection, a gravity driven phenomenon.  In something simple like a pot of boiling water watching your maccaroni noodles swirl around, this is largely inconsequential, but in the solidification of metal, the movement of liquid carries heat and alloy components and can fundamentally change the solidification process.  These currents play a large, and poorly understood, role in the introduction of defects and resulting material properties of the solidified metal.  The absense of gravity that the ISS experiment allows us to develop metallic microstructures in the absense of this flow, better understand the forces and phenemenon at work, and ideally help improve materials processing right here on Earth.

Coming back to the experiment, the sample itself is about the size of a drinking straw (9x255mm), and is encased in a alumina and tantalum casing collectively referred to as the sample cartridge assembly (SCA).

This assembly is housed in a vacuum sealed stainless steel housing called the sample protection container (SPC),or as the astronauts call them "Toilet Plungers."

About a day before the sample is processed, it is removed from its container.

Then it is mounted in the low gradient furnace (LGF).

The cartridge is screwed into place, and the entire assembly is closed up.  The furnace chamber is the evacuated and held at a high vacuum for the majority of the day to insure that the sample and chamber are completely degassed and as a "leak check."

The next part is the segment that I spent roughly the last 1.5 years of my life planning, modeling, and generally stressing out about.  Progressive furnace heaters are slowly turned up to specified temperatures, and the sample is slowly inserted into the hot-zone of the furnace.  After the sample reached the deepest part of the furnace, it was held for some time while the PID controllers equilibrate the temperatures.  After that time passed, the sample was slowly withdrawn for a fraction of its length at a low speed (fractions of a millimeter per second) and near the middle the rate was increased dramatically and the remainder was extracted until solidification was completed.

Conceptually, this is pretty simple: heat, melt, solidify, and cool right?  There are a lot of finer details that I will spare you, but basically the objectives of our research were somewhat at odds with the design of the furnace, so I spent quite a bit of time staring at a glowing rectangle using modeling and simulation to give us the answers we needed regarding the physics of the experiment.

All in all, things went without a hitch or even a hiccup!  Our first sample began and successfully completed on Tuesday February 2nd, just before 9 in the evening.  I want to thank my PI's Dr. Erdmann and Dr. Poirier, the folks at NASA Frank Szofran, and the MSRR/MSL controllers John, Patrick, and Dave who made this all possible!


Full Photo Album:

292836main_MSL-CETSOL_and_MICAST1 292836main_MSL-CETSOL_and_MICAST1
292836main_MSL-CETSOL_and_MICAST1 292836main_MSL-CETSOL_and_MICAST1
vlcsnap-2010-02-05-09h19m42s45 vlcsnap-2010-02-05-09h19m42s45
183483main_MSRR-11 183483main_MSRR-11
408328main_MSL-CETSOL_and_MICAST2 408328main_MSL-CETSOL_and_MICAST2
DSCN1404 DSCN1404
vlcsnap-2010-02-05-09h19m47s99 vlcsnap-2010-02-05-09h19m47s99
183486main_MSRR-12 183486main_MSRR-12
vlcsnap-2010-02-05-09h22m03s175 vlcsnap-2010-02-05-09h22m03s175
397716main_MSRR-15 397716main_MSRR-15
408328main_MSL-CETSOL_and_MICAST2 408328main_MSL-CETSOL_and_MICAST2
vlcsnap-2010-02-05-09h23m51s235 vlcsnap-2010-02-05-09h23m51s235
_dsc0011 _dsc0011
vlcsnap-2010-02-05-09h27m12s196 vlcsnap-2010-02-05-09h27m12s196
_dsc0016 _dsc0016
vlcsnap-2010-02-05-09h27m32s134 vlcsnap-2010-02-05-09h27m32s134
_dsc0018 _dsc0018
vlcsnap-2010-02-05-09h27m39s201 vlcsnap-2010-02-05-09h27m39s201
_dsc0042 _dsc0042
vlcsnap-2010-02-05-09h28m05s210 vlcsnap-2010-02-05-09h28m05s210
_dsc0048 _dsc0048
vlcsnap-2010-02-05-09h28m40s44 vlcsnap-2010-02-05-09h28m40s44
SCA Schematic
SCA Schematic SCA Schematic

Last Updated on Saturday, 22 May 2010 20:31

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