Easyauto-mount vhd in Windows 7 (via postie)

November 11th, 2010

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With my nice new shiny shiny laptop, because I wanted to multiboot it I’d partitoned the drive with the OSX disk utility. However, while Windows7 will indeed recognise a (secondary) GPT partitoned disk, it appears to require a hybrid MBR/GPT for installing, which means in Windows-land you’re pretty-much limited to the 4 primary partitions for OS installs – although I have read of a special version ofgptsync that allows you to select any 4 GPT partitions for your MBR. Previously on my Toshiba tablet I’d kept separate MBR extended partitons for my DJ/VJ data & extra storage. On the new Vaio the easiest partitoning scheme has turned out to be have a really big Windows partiton, with OSX before it and Linux after (partition #1 is the hidden EFI that disk utility creates). The first thing I tried was the old DOS command of subst, to mount a directory as a drive, to keep the disk tidy and also ease the transfer of the video/audio apps which expect the VJ files on D:, music on E: & storage on F:. However this could result in a big live recording filling up the system drive so I decided to use vhd’s to keep my VJ, DJ & other data contiguous and separate. Then I discovered that creating the virtual disks doesn’t keep the mounting of them persistent over reboots. A quick google found a couple of methods for auto-mounting them, but these required the use of powershell scripts and an old-school batch file to call that. But there should be a way that doesn’t require writing anytghing! (Is what I thought to myself) and there is. The ‘gizmo’ utilities allow the mounting of a wide range of virtual disks, including our friend the Microsoft VHD file. What is more, there’s a checkbox on the mounting dialog that says ‘remount at boot’. Job done! 😉 It does indeed do what it says, although it does take a few more seconds aftger booting for the Virtual drives to show up.

Why I was right all along… (via postie)

June 21st, 2010

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Over the last couple of weeks I’ve had a couple of job-search results that have looked rather familiar. These being with a particular spec from a particular agency who were the only agency to deal with this particular company, which is the same as one I interviewed for a few weeks ago, yet didn’t get due to a disagreement in methodology between myself and their Polish ‘Technical Lead’. Now, over the last weekend, I was having a chat with a couple of the tech guys I know who just happen to work at the hosting centre (‘The Bunker’) at which this company that I’ve ended up not working for have their servers hosted. Now with these guys being proper techies who know what they’re doing, they agreed with my points of why the Eastern european ‘Technical Lead’ was in fact mistaken, with one of them mentioning that the TL is somewhat difficult to deal with and the other suggesting that while our friend from the former eastern bloc may have adequate unix skillz, their methods (like one changing firewall policies without notification because he didn’t like them) may leave something to be desired. So, what were these disagreements? and why were they mistaken? * “CentOS is the only operating system of choice because it has a 6-year support life€?. You see, I’d been asked which linux distro I preferred and I said I preferred (personally) Debian, for the way it is engineered. For me, the RedHat-based distros, although they no longer suffer from ‘dependency hell’ with the addition of yum and their own repositories, still feel somewhat clunky to me. Also that RedHat encourage the use of their own command-line tools for systems management, whereas the Debian-based distros encourage you to edit config files yourself, thereby giving you the experience of how components are configured and where you should check for errors if some service or component is misbehaving (as opposed to turning something on or off with a curses-based interface). Also, given that the service life on most new hardware is 3 years, does having an operating system that may be supported for twice that really make that much difference? Ubuntu has 4 years LTS which for me is fine enough. Now, although personally I may prefer Debian/Ubuntu, professionally I would have to say I prefer Solaris, mainly for ZFS and Zones/Containers. I like that it’s solid, proven and well supported. Which brings me on to point 2.

* “Every system should always have the latest updatesâ€?. Well yes, in theory that may sound like a perfectly fine statement, yet in reality, for servers you may not want do that. So during the second hour-long technical test for this job-that-I-didn’t-get I wanted to look up an ssh config parameter, so I logged into a machine that I have which happens to still be running Debian Sarge. Now, some of you may recoil in horror at this, with it being 2 iterations behind current and being relegated to the Debian archive. Yet some of you will understand how sometimes there are situations that preclude the updating of what may be a legacy system due to any number of factors including needing particular versions of libraries, usage of the system which makes it difficult to find a time to upgrade it (say if 4 different teams are required to agree on a time but never can), or needing to plan a migration strategy as upgrading remotely is too much of a risk). In fact the Sun IPX’s that I rescued from my last employer (wanted them for a project), were still running Solaris 2.4 at time of their redundancy, which was only around Spring 2009. So the age of a system is not necessarily related to its effectiveness or validity of usage. So from my conversation of last weekend (as long as I remembered this right!) the guys at ‘The Bunker’ have a policy where you only update a system if it has been shown to resolve a known vulnerability and gets signed off (which I’m taking to mean had already been tested elsewhere!). Which for me, being someone who prefers a system to be as stable as possible, makes perfect sense – “If it’s a live system and ain’t broke, then don’t risk f*cking it up!â€?, unless you can justify the update. Which leaves me with one other point:

* “Every machine should have its own firewallâ€? Now in isolation, this may seem a perfectly acceptable statement. Which it can be, as long as you have only (eg) 6 machines. Once you get to 60 or 600, then this idea collapses, as do you really want to have to do that much management of a system?.. For me, the correct statement would be “Any network or sufficient size should have its firewalls (as in a failover pair) at the edge of the network where they should beâ€?, accompanied by “Treat any small network as if it were larger, that way you’ve already prepared for it to be scalableâ€?. So what this shows me, is that our ‘friendly’ Technical Lead has obviously never managed a larger system. Otherwise he would think differently.

What I find most depressing is that these people who might be very good at what they do (within a very restrictive set of parameters) get to be in positions of influence because they are able to shout loudly that you should listen to them because they’re the best ever whatever and they believe themselves to be right as they’ve never been wrong. Yet those above are happy to leave them to it because of that self-belief and ability to justify their decisions, however ‘wrong’ they may be in the bigger picture. For someone like me who has, well, more years of experience than I would sometimes like to be reminded of, I know I have the knowledge and wisdom to know not just when to use a particular operating system of service for a particular application, but when NOT to. Which is experience that our friends from the east (be that Europe or especially India) generally don’t have… So while I’m sitting there in some recent interviews being told some complete nonsense, it is somewhat difficult to not speak up and tell this other person, “Hold on, if you stop and look at whatever-this-is from a slightly wider perspective (that you’d only get from more experience), you’d understand how you are in fact talking complete bollocksâ€?, when this other person is the one making the decision…

HTC’s (my) Hero (via postie)

March 22nd, 2010

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So this morning arrived my ‘free’ upgrade’ from Orange of a HTC Hero. Of the phones they had, that weren’t an iPhone, this seemed the best bet as it’s running Android. What made the decision for me was that it’s possible to root it and use it as wf-fi/bluetooth to 3G access point. Which it now does. The firmware flashing process wasn’t that difficult, as I’d prepared for it over the weekend. There were 2 methods suggested and the one that worked was installing an earlier Orange firmware, a package from the SD card, then installing then custom loader then the custom ‘rom’ (which appears to be a custom android install + uncrippled bluetooth stack.

What is best of all is that even though it has a wierd shaped usb connector, it does actually take a standard mini-usb cable and will charge from that, so *not* requiring a custom cable or charger, which is great! 😉 The interface is actually really nice (the HTC flow(?) on top of standard android) and sync’ed easily with my google contacts. My previous device is a Palm Centro, although I was waiting for the n900 as that can run the Garnet PalmOS emulator, then again the Hero was free and gtives me a 3G capable sim for nowt. Getting the contacts from the Centro to the Hero (can you hear me say ‘o’!? ;o) ) was actually remarkably easy. Open the contact list on the Palm device, send group (which means send all) to another bluetooth device (which was my HacBook Mini9) as a vcf file, then import those into google mail (‘My Contacts’, not ‘all’) and lo and behold, they all sync’ed!

What is taking some getting used to is the on-screen typing, as the Centro and my n810 both have physical keyboards. Turning on the haptic response has helped somewhat, but I can still see some really bad drunken texting appearing at some point in the future! 😉 However, in its favour it does have auto-rotate input screens, so typing in landscape mode is possible and a bit easier. So far I’ve downloaded Opera and a video player from the ‘Android Market’ (free apps) and of course with the custom firmware I can install them to the card too. All in all, it’s actually a rather nice device and I look forward to finding out what it can do. Oh, it also has a ‘standard’ headphone jack so doesn’t require silly adaptors unlike that other popular smartphone from the fruit company. So, so far all pluses!

More to come soon!

Burn After Reading (via postie)

March 22nd, 2010

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I’d forgotten that this was actually a Coen brothers film, until about 10 minutes in when it became obvious that it was. A tale of confusion, adultery and the dream of a better body. John Malkovich has turned into a Great English Actor, who happens to have the misfortune of actually being American. George Clooney plays a paranoid, womanising agent, with eyeliner. Brad Pitt plays a rather funny stoner-type who’s just a little bit vacant. Tilda Swinton plays the very very English wife with an extra-crisp accent and Frances McDormand seems like she could have just stepped out of Fargo.

Darkly funny, with just a touch of “WTF is going on” (in the story that is). Must see!

The User Profile Service failed the logon. User profile cannot be loaded. (via postie)

January 4th, 2010

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After 6-odd months of running Win7 on my main laptop without incident, I tried starting it up a few days ago and had the above error. Having fixed it quite easily, i thought it was worth breaking the blogging silence with it…

How it started was that neither of the windows installs (XP Tablet or 7) would start up, in fact BSOD with some stop error, so I booted into Ubuntu and ran ntfsfix on the appropriate partitions. That got the XP install running, yet the Win7 install then gave me the above error. Now this is my ‘going out’ machine, so it doesn’t have that much installed in the performance install and there’s only me that uses it. It’s also set to auto-login on the 7 install. There’s quite a bit of info about fixing this error on Vista & &, yet this is what got mine working.

Restart into safe mode. Disabled UAC (might not be needed). ran regedit. Clicked through to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NT CurrentVersionProfileList Found my profile (the only non-system one with a long SID) Amended values: State to 0 (from 100h) RefCount to 0 (from 1h) (both zeroes) Rebooted and back into normal usage. Reset UAC to what it was. Ran backup with system image just in case!

So what might be a good plan would be to find out what those values actually mean…

The final non-solution

May 1st, 2009

Just had a chat with the union rep about the bullying stuff that went
on at work.
It would appear that me actually leaving the premises, for whatever
reason, wasn’t such a good idea.
According to somewhere in the staff handbook, there are procedures in
place, such as contacting higher management or going to see occupational
health, that are in place to deal with such occurences of bullying,
victimisation and generally being very upset.
So me feeling like that walking out was the only option, would be
countered by the organisation saying that there are procedures in place
to deal with all this but that I didn’t use them.
It does seem in-a-way reasonable, yet practically, this is a lot like
“Beware of the Jaguar” (Cabinet, Basement, Hitchhikers) – or not knowing
the procedures when they’re available to you in the staff handbook is no
excuse for “leaving the building without permission”, whatever the
To be honest, there are still nights when I have trouble sleeping
because of this and it does still occasionally affect my work, so I
should find out what other options for help there may be.
In general though, the situation is better and there’s only been one
time when “Mr Angry” has reared his head and tried to be intimidating
and make me guess what he actually wants or is in fact talking about.
The up side of that is he’s going to be replaced with the impending
outsourcing – come 1st June…

I however, am exploring other options. Assuming I can find someone who has a clue.

More updates soon…

April 26th, 2009

Obviously there hasn’t been much activity on here of late.
Even though I have had a lot to write about – my Palm Centro is full of things that I have listed out to make entries for…

Make it stop!

September 19th, 2008

I’ve had ABBA Gold on rotation in my head for almost two weeks now…
Either there’s something going on that I need to know from the music or I may be going a bit loopy.
What I have discovered is that if you actually *listen* to the tunes, they are actually quite depressing. Songs about ending/ended relationships or young women that shouldn’t be out dancing.
So maybe it’s that there is still hope for my ‘pop’ tunes about lost love and things that  didn’t quite work out.
Which is in itself quite heartening. :o)

My Christmas

February 21st, 2008

..wasn’t too eventful but also had a few non-xmas related good points. Sunday my dad informs me that my aunt is coming for the festivities, not really enough time to order a present and I’m certainly not braving the hideousness of christmas shopping IRL. Was working xmas eve although we got sent home early (there was an issue with part of the system but that got sorted by about 3). Christmas day woke up late morning, pottered around. Rest of the day a little hazy, mostly a bit of clearing up and film watching. Ah yes, watched ‘Southland Tales’ the new Richard Kelly film – review to follow – and some more ST – TNG episodes. Half-way through season 7 and some I hadn’t seen before! Received a two-part present from father. The smaller part looked and felt like a memory card blister pack and turned out to be exactly that. Even worse, it was a Fuji xD card, incompatible with pretty much everything else I have (except possibly the card reader in my laptop). I do actually have 3 working digital cameras (alright, one is off to be fixed and I can’t find the confirmation letter for getting it back) so having another one didn’t really appeal… So I open the box and its a Fuji finepix 5200 (?) semi-slr-style: 7Mp, max 1600asa, ~40mm lens, 4AA batteries. Approx £170 from Argos… Being in a position where I am able to buy most things I need and being a tech geek make buying presents for me quite difficult, although now the question my dad asked about photographing his air rifles for insurance purposes now makes more sense. If I was going to buy another digital camera, it would be a pro one with interchangable lenses, not one that cost less than my “fine for snapshots as long as you’re not too far away if it’s dark” Sony DSC-T7 with waterproof (and beer-proof!) case. So I was quite disappointed and frustrated (hasnt he learnt yet???) and went down to express this. It may be perfectly good to have an answer of “Well you didn’t say what you wanted”, yet a better plan would be to actually ask me and give me a budget! (price range, you get the idea). No present from my aunt, although can give her the same idea and then get something useful. I’m thinking an SE Reflexion filter and a new pair of overhead mic’s… So that was the disappointment that was my Christmas day. Boxing day however went a bit better. Although I did spend most of the norning in bed, I did manage to sort out some recording with my new Variax300 steel string guitar (my present to myself) before I packed it up to be replaced because when it arrived it had quite a few unsightly dents and I had to reseat the pickup as the low-E was quieter than the others. So then I fire up Nuendo and a song I’d started working on a few months ago, add an instance of EZ Drummer and change the bass to use a local Trilogy sound instead of a slaved GigaStudio one, record a bit with the variax and it all sits together rather well, even without EQ or additional processing! Also added a simple guitar line using my electric and Guitar Rig 2 then a vocal melody after putting the (deja vu moment while writing this!) bow-tie shaped auralex foam thing behind the mic, leaving me with a very clean, very dry vocal sound with no hint of room colouration! Oh how long it has been that I have wanted to hear it like that! :o) Then all of a sudden I got this smell of burning and rushed down to the kitchen to turn off whatever my dad had set fire to now… Couldn’t see anything burning there but the hallway was still filling with smoke! Then what makes itself known is a wad of burning paper behind the cordless phone that my dear father has just relaced in its holder. He thinks it’s the phone that has caught fire (don’t be silly!) yet I think it was probably the end of his cigarette that looks like it had just fallen out… After that was the end of recording as it’d got me quite wound up. So, onto other things. After nearly a couple of hours of heqd scratching and finding various pieces of outdated software, I finally managed to reload my T1 keyboard with its factory sounds after last changing the battery when it went flat and initialised. It has been a few months for that so I was rather happy to say the least. Now if I could find a floppy disk with my sound banks on that’d be even better! :o) Oh, oaid my overdue council tax, have to wait to get a pair of 24″ flatscreens , which is now possible with having the free space from getting the new 12u equipment rack installed last weekend. Maybe the late-night coffee wasn’t such a good idea after all, as I had trouble sleeping, although I did wake up from a dream about a dried-up swimming pool with a fantastic idea for a live action video game. But that is an ifea yet to occur… 😉

Thanks for the memory…

February 21st, 2008

So last night when I got home I had a couple of packages waiting for me. One contained a 128Mb gamecube memory card, essentially for my Wii. So now there’s somewhere for those N64 saves of Mario64 to go. The other was another order from mobymemory.com which contained a 1Gb SD card, also for the Wii (now there are extra channel and save spaces), a ‘real’ 8Gb MS Pro Duo for my PSP (after the palaver that has been me trying other methods, ending up with a fake card off of ebay and more recently the 8Gb MicroSD with adaptor that none of my Sony devices recognise) that I should just have got in the first place. Then last but hopefully not least, a standard size SD adaptor for the fore-mentioned MicroSD card, which hopefully will be supported by my Treo after I amend the now-custom firmware with the SDHC patch…