Falling for the Classic Blunder

Guess who rang in the new year by falling victim to one of the classic blunders, the eBay scam?

Okay, okay, technically, it was two weeks ago. We got a small bonus check at work, and I spent it on a 2TB SSD drive on eBay. I’m not hurting for storage — I have four drives connected to my computer (two internal, two external), for a total of 6TB of storage, of which I’m using about 1.5 — but I wanted to clone/duplicate one of the internal drives (the Linux drive) to SSD. Seems simple enough, and when it arrived in the mail yesterday afternoon I thought, “Welll, there’s my weekend sorted!”

An example of the eBay listing I used

Armed with instructions and a Manjaro live USB, with WAMU’s Big Band New Year’s streaming, I set to work yesterday evening. I could do this! Four hours later, after the partition table crashed the fifth time, I came to the firm conclusion that I’d been had, that whatever I’d bought was not a 2TB solid state drive.

So, I pried the thing apart to see what was inside. And while I’m not an IT technician, nor do I play one on television, I’m fairly confident that little board inside the plastic case does hot hold 2 terabytes of solid state memory chips. Frankly, I’d be surprised if it held 128 gigabytes.

Because, after some research, it appears that what the controller does is spoof the computer into seeing 2 terabytes of space when there’s actually only a fraction of that, and then when you try to write data to it the controller writes over your previous data once you’ve filled it up. So, it looks like it’s working… until the point it fails, which hopefully (for the scammer) isn’t immediate. But, in my case, duplicating a drive with 250 gigabytes of data, I reached a point where I was trying to write data into directories that no longer existed because the controller had already overwritten the partition and directory tables.

In retrospect, I should have spent ten dollars more and bought a 1TB SSD from Tiger Direct. Half the size, true, but again, I’m not hurting for space. I might do that. I might not.

I can say this, I need a longer SATA cable inside my tower. I might do that.

The point of the story is this: if you go looking for inexpensive solid state drives on eBay, do not buy what I bought. Look at what I bought. Do not buy it. eBay is flooded with listings for exactly this. Do not buy it. Let my wasted Christmas bonus be your example. Do not buy it.


As that’s how 2022 ended, what does 2023 hold in store?

I’m disappointed in how little writing I accomplished in 2022. I started nine… or maybe it was ten… short stories this year, and finished exactly none of them. One has a completed draft, but I hestitate to call it a draft. More like a slightly developed outline.

Hell, I even stopped blogging, but that’s mostly because Vivaldi and the Gutenberg editor aren’t playing nice and I can’t figure out why. I don’t want to have to reload the edit page multiple times for the editor to work.

The only thing I finished, frankly, was the 24-page manual I wrote for work about connecting to the work VPN from Linux.

I can make excuses. I can blame work and the writing I do there, which reaches 120k per month, but I had the time. I wrote scenes at baseball games in my notebook and plotted out stories. I did the pre-work. I didn’t do the work.

That’s on me.

So, in 2023, the year I reach an odometer number, what do I hope to accomplish?

Write more. Finish what I write. Don’t let work be the excuse. Finish some of those unfinished short stories. Write new stories.

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