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Various findings.

Two Lane Highway

20 May 2010 - Filed under Comic

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Comments Off  ¤  Permalink  ¤  2010-05-20

Install GNU/Linux without a CD or USB Flash Drive (just a spare computer)

15 May 2010 - Filed under Default

Most laptops that don’t have a CD drive can boot from USB but not all. This I found out with the Toshiba Portege 3500 Tablet that I recently was tasked to get up and running with a new operating system. I chose Fedora 12 after having seen some compelling footage of Fedora on a tablet. The problem was, I could not boot from CD and a flash drive prepared with fUSBi didn’t work.

What did? I used another laptop that had a built-in CD drive to install Fedora to the hard drive. Then I put the hard drive back into the Portege. When I attempted to boot, I was dropped to an administrative shell because the partition /dev/sda2 was dirty or needed to be fsck’d. I did that a couple of times and voila, I was up and running with F12 on the Toshiba.

After doing this, the maximum screen resolution I could get was 800×600 but adding a line to a newly created xorg.conf solved that.

Moral of the story: You can install GNU/Linux to a hard drive and move that hard drive to your target system.

If there’s any reason this should not work, please leave a comment. So far, I’ve not seen any adverse impact. Since mainstream distributions like Ubuntu and Fedora use a single generic kernel for many different hardward configurations, I would expect a hard drive swap of this sort to work in general.

One other thought I had is about the non-booting flash drive. I recently had an incident where a fUSBi-prepared flash drive wasn’t bootable and this was fixed by running the HP Drive Key Boot Utility.

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Comments Off  ¤  Permalink  ¤  2010-05-15

Error 2013 with Seagate FreeAgent backup

11 May 2010 - Filed under Default

I recently ran into a problem where the backup software that came with a 1TB Seagate FreeAgent external usb drive wasn’t working. When I looked at the backup logs I saw many files(possibly all) that the program tried to backup said Error 2013 next to them. After a bit of searching, I found the problem to be related to simple Windows file permissions.

To fix this, all you have to do is:

1. Open the Seagate drive from My Computer(or Computer for you Vista/7 users).

2. Right click on the backup folder(e.g. Seagate Backup) and go to properties.

3. Uncheck read only in the attributes and apply this change. Windows may ask you if you want to apply this to all subfolders and files and you definitely want to. It may take a few minutes to an hour to complete depending on how many files you have.

Once this is complete, your backup should proceed as normal. As always make sure you test any kind of backup periodically by retrieving and opening a file from it. Remember, you  might be doing backup but you really want RESTORE!

Update: After revisiting the backup on the same machine, Seagate backup is still saying backup filed and its icon is glowing red. Looking into the logs this time, I only see system and hidden files that it refuses to backup which is ok for my purposes. For the time being, this appears to be as good as it gets with this program. For a more reliable, yet less user friendly option, I have to recommend cwRsync (rsync bundled with necessary files from cygwin) scheduled using the Windows Task Scheduler.

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2 comments  ¤  Permalink  ¤  2010-05-11

What do you call a USB Flash Drive?

11 May 2010 - Filed under Default

Over the last few years, small form-factor solid state usb storage devices have become ubiquitous. They have replaced floppies, CDs and even larger usb hard drives with spinning disks for many backup, file transfer, and utility purposes. The question still remains though, what do we call them? To solve this problem, I turned to Google. For each name I had heard used, I got the number of results returned.

There you have it, the most popular term is clearly flash drive. Go forth and be confident when you ask someone to pass the flash drive!

Some other observations:

This kind of survey is only a cursory examination of the question. Further research could refine results by trying to weed out SSDs that don’t fit the flash drive form factor. I also didn’t use quotes in this examination.

One thing I find odd is that ‘thumb drive’ has so few hits when ‘flash drive’ has so many. Especially when you consider that ‘usb thumb drive’ is more popular than ‘usb flash drive’. This leads me to believe that thumb feels too ambiguous to let it be written without the usb.

If you’re looking for something interesting to do with a spare flash drive, why not try fUSBi to boot up your computer with gNewSense. Another interesting thing to do is try something like PenDriveLinux so you can save your operating system, prefernces, and files to a flash drive.

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1 comment  ¤  Permalink  ¤  2010-05-11

Deleting Facebook

9 May 2010 - Filed under Default

I deleted my Facebook account a few days ago. It’s not really an earth-shattering event for me: I spent less than 15 minutes a month on the site. What was really interesting about my account there was just how many of my friends and relatives were my “Friends” on the site. I never sought out a single one of them. Just having my name listed in their database meant that I got request after request. I accepted 29 requests by the end.

As I debated deleting the account, I was amazed by how much time it took to actually make the decision. For a site that I spent nearly no time on, I felt forced to weigh the social implications. In the end, I know my relations on facebook can always look me up. A simple google search will find me.

From a privacy standpoint, the picture was a whole lot clearer. Facebook doesn’t care about my privacy so long as I don’t delete my account. It might seem ironic that I’m concerned about privacy and yet I have a blog but of course privacy comes in many forms, the most important of which being my list of friends and relatives. Facebook had amassed the most such information of any system I’m aware of and no longer let me hide it easily. If it did let me limit it, I had no confidence that they wouldn’t flip a switch someday and expose every piece of information I had entrusted to them.

My account on Facebook is deleted. That’s not to say I’ve disappeared. I just disagree with their business model and furthermore, I am looking forward to a future where we can each run or choose a competitive host of our own Facebook-like web application. For now, this is my blog. You can comment on it to contact me or subscribe to the RSS feed to get updates in your feed reader.

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Comments Off  ¤  Permalink  ¤  2010-05-09

SteveSongs Animal Song Lyrics

24 April 2010 - Filed under Song Lyrics

I have a dog and his name his Art
He likes to answer questions and i have to say he’s pretty smart
I asked him, what do you call that thing on top of a house? he said
Roof roof roof
And the dog says roof roof roof all day

I have a cat named mrs. b a born and bred aristrocrat she’s always having friends to tea
Once she burner her tongue and she said to me
Me-ow me-ow
And the cat says meow meow meow
And the dog says roof roof roof
All day

I have a bird named Tweedle dee,
She likes to answer riddles like this one
Why did the chicken cross the kitchen? she said
To-eat tweet tweet ahhi get it

And the bird says tweet tweet tweet
And the cat says meow meow meow
And the dog says roof roof roof
All day

Now i have a goat named Geraldine
Ahe’s a music critic goat for a magazine
I asked her don’t you think this song is clever
She said naah naah naah
And the goat says naah naah naah
And the bird says tweet tweet tweet
And the cat says meow meow meow
And the dog says roof roof roof
All day

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Comments Off  ¤  Permalink  ¤  2010-04-24

Wubbzy Wiggle Lyrics

24 April 2010 - Filed under Song Lyrics

put your hands in the air
wiggle em around
shake your legs
make a crazy sound

wiggle your fingers
wiggle your nose
wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle your toes

wiggle over here
wiggle over there
wiggle wiggle wiggle in your underwear

do the wiggle
do the wubbzy wiggle
do the wiggle
do the wubbzy wiggle

it’ll make you smile
it’ll make you giggle
come on everybody
do the wubbzy wiggle

wiggle on your belly
wiggle on your back
wiggle in the bath
wiggle with a snack

wiggle like a worm
wiggle like a snake
wiggle like jelly
yeah shake shake shake

do the wiggle
do the wubbzy wiggle
do the wiggle
do the wubbzy wiggle

you can make it bounce
you can make it jiggle
come on everybody do the wubbzy wiggle

are you feeling tired and are you slowing down
don’t you stop
just wiggle all around

wiggle in the grass
wiggle in the pool
wiggle wiggle wiggle
no you’re looking cool

wiggle in the snow
wiggle in the sun
wiggle wiggle wiggle
now we’re having fun

do the wiggle
do the wubbzy wiggle
do the wiggle
do the wubbzy wiggle

try to make it squirm
try to make it squiggle
come on everybody do the wubbzy wiggle
come on everybody do the wubbzy wiggle

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Comments Off  ¤  Permalink  ¤  2010-04-24

Team Umizoomi Lyrics

24 April 2010 - Filed under Song Lyrics

Calling all Umis
Umizoomie!
1 2 3 4
Umi! Zoomi! Umi!
Umizoomi umizoomi
In a world that’s not so far away
Umi-city
You can count on us to save the day
Umizoomi Umizoomi
We can better
Build it together
You can help us your so clever
We’ve got mighty
Math powers
You can call us any hour

Lala lala lala
We are a tiny team
Lala lala lala
We go behind the scenes
Lala lala lala
There’s nothing we can’t do
Millie, Geo, Bot and you!

That’s it for the main theme…here’s their “Powers Theme”

I’m Millie
I can make any pattern with my dress
Patterns of butterflies
Pattern power!

I’m Geo
I can build anything,
with my shapes
Triangle! Oval! Super-shapes!

I’m Bot
I can show you anything
On my belly belly belly screen
Skyscraper! Taxi! Traffic light!

Umi-friend, that’s you.
You’ve got might math powers too
Countdown with me
Start with 5!
5 4 3 2 1
You’ve got mighty math powers
Mighty mighty math powers
You’ve got ‘em
You’ve got mighty math powers
Team Umizoomi, ready for action!

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Comments Off  ¤  Permalink  ¤  2010-04-24

Northern Sumatra Earthquake via Twitpic

6 April 2010 - Filed under Default

I just did a quick Twitter Search for ‘earthquake twitpic‘ and found the following early pictures of the earthquake that hit Northern Sumtra just a few hours ago.

Indonesia was rattled by a 7.8-magnitude earthquake Tuesday, ... on Twitpic Share photos on twitter with Twitpic
Focal mechanism for Sumatra Mw7.7 earthquake, 30 km depth, in... on Twitpic Indonesia earthquake possible Tsunami : april 6th 2010 http:/... on Twitpic
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Comments Off  ¤  Permalink  ¤  2010-04-06

iPad Tablet First Impressions

6 April 2010 - Filed under Default

I just went to the Apple Store and played with the iPad which was just released a few days ago. Here are some first impressions:

Compared to the iPhone, it has a large screen but not a particularly high resolution screen(1024×768). This affected the iBooks application where I tried both the upright single-page mode and the landscape page-turning mode. I found the experience to be less pleasing to the eye than typing in notepad or gedit or even reading most web pages on my laptop or desktop.

The device was light enough to imagine using for a while and felt pretty sturdy as so all Apple products. I then went to Pages to type out a little note. I wrote a sentence then sought to type in a web address. Http came out alright but hitting a colon and the slash required non-intuitive switches of the entire keyboard to the symbol layout.  In landscape mode, the keyboard is large enough to type on regularly but it removes some keys to stay within the screen’s confines. I also didn’t see how to save my document in the short time I played with it.

I tapped on a few different apps but noticed that they looked like iPhone apps had been enlarged rather than re-rendered at higher resolution. I think it’s a blunder to just blow up iPhone apps without increasing their resolution. It makes them look cheap. Like they’re being played on an NES emulator.

Next, I looked at the photos app and I can say that was the best thing on the device. It’s easy to navigate a large number of photos and the look good at 1024×768.

I was familiar with Safari on iPhone so didn’t see much need to go to any special websites with the iPad but I did go to the YouTube app. I was able to search and browse through many videos easily and the video I selected played well.

All in all, the best summary came from a 7 or 8 year old girl across the beech-veneered table from me: “I’d rather have a computer.” Why would YOU buy an iPad? My best guess is that you want a bigger screen for kids and the elderly, or that you want to share pictures. For the rest of us that can handle one, a computer will almost always be a better tool for the job.

Another major reservation I have with the iPad is that it doesn’t respect the user’s freedom. We users cannot load or modify our own applications without jail-breaking. I use Firefox and Thunderbird and with a device like this that is powerful enough to be a computer, I would prefer to be able to run these programs out-of-the-box.  So, I’ll probably wait until a gnu/linux-based iPad clone comes out. Or maybe I’ll forget about the tablet idea and get a laptop that runs 100% free software like the Lemote YeeLoong.

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Comments Off  ¤  Permalink  ¤  2010-04-06