In return for my assistance installing Ubuntu 8.04 on my friend’s Asus W3J, I was given permission to peruse a 500Gb external drive of DVD rips, for future viewing enjoyment. It was rather like being given the chance to borrow an entire movie library.
The only downside though is that the drive uses a USB connection. And the Pavilion is on loan to a neighbor, which means transferring one 700Mb file can take 20 minutes across the Inspiron‘s 1.1 connections. Egads.
But wait! The XO-1 has 2.0 ports! But … it’s certainly got no space for files, least of all at that size. And it’s offline until that weird Arch wireless glitch can be isolated and exterminated. What’s to be done?
Ah, now this is sneaky.
First, boot up Sugar. Wait while it gets itself ready for the party (which can take a while, believe you me). Then jump to the command line, and to the superuser account.
Add nfs-utils and midnight commander. Pop the USB-to-Ethernet adapter into an open USB port, and wire it straight into the router. Tell Sugar to ignore the wireless connection, and focus on the wired route.
Add the Inspiron’s nfs server mount to the OLPC’s fstab, start the client daemons and mount up. Add the external drive on another USB port, add the way-cute Joe Power USB mouse (because the XO’s touchpad in Sugar drives me bonkers), and start transferring: From external to USB to USB to ethernet to router to Inspiron to modular drive.
Ta-da! Easy as pie, with the only hiccup coming when I failed to tell mc not to reapply the original attributes to the copied files. Crux’s nfs police didn’t like that idea.
And so there you have it: If you have an XO-1 and you don’t have high-speed USB ports, you can still borrow DVD rips from a friend without having to wait 20 minutes to transfer a single file. All you need is a sublaptop, a USB wired adapter, a decent router and nfs to get the job done.
Or … maybe there’s an easier way. Well, at least Rube Goldberg would be proud of me.