Virtual PC VHD to Bootable VHD How-To

I’ve been trying to put together a bootable VHD within Virtual PC for a couple weeks now, and while I’ve gotten the VM configured to my liking, I’ve been missing the step to convert that VM’s VHD into a generalized, bootable image.

Finally, I’ve found the answer I’ve been looking for:

Continue reading “Virtual PC VHD to Bootable VHD How-To”

iPhone Headphone Mic/Button Not Working?

I started experiencing a very strange problem the other day – my iPhone’s stock headphones could no longer be used to play/pause the music or answer calls with the button on the cord, nor could anyone hear me talking when I had the headphones on.

When I first got my iPhone, I could either use the stock headphones’ mic or plug in third-party headphones and talk over the iPhone’s internal mic, but since last week or so, neither worked.

I then found these articles, which didn’t really seem to help:

At this point, I decided to take it in to the Apple store, thinking that they might not help me because of my phone’s special configuration, and of course, they told me to restore the phone to the stock firmware, back it up, and take it in for repair once that had been done.

On a whim, though, the girl who was helping me at the Apple store decided to take a look at the headphone jack itself and found it to be full of pocket lint. After digging it out with a small screwdriver, the headset (and my third-party headphones) worked fine again.

…Yep, pocket lint.

So, if you’re having the same problem (which, as I was told, is more common for guys since we tend to carry the phones in jeans pockets that pick up a lot of lint), try cleaning out the jack with a small pick or screwdriver. Canned air alone didn’t seem to do the trick, but if it works for you, awesome. =)

And, if cleaning out the headphone jack still doesn’t help, or there wasn’t any gunk in there in the first place, this post might help you out instead:

(Why I couldn’t find that site when I first looked I still don’t quite understand…)

Making a Pinhole Lens for SLR Cameras

Pretty cool little guide from CameraHacker.com

Ever since I started learning about photography, I have been fascinated with the art of pinhole photography. I always thought that the possibility of creating an image using the tiniest hole is amazing. If you are unfamiliar with pin-hole photography, see my related links section; I have added some links about pinhole photography for your wandering minds.

Despite my fascination, I have never involved myself with pinhole photography. I read about how to make a pinhole camera out of a 35mm film container. Although the process of making the camera is easy, loading and processing the film is extremely cumbersome. In fact, to use it, one frame of film has to be loaded in the dark, exposure has to be calculated, picture has to be exposed by uncovering the pinhole, pinhole has to be covered, and film has to be unloaded in the dark. All that work for a single exposed frame. But that is not the end, because the frame will have to be processed a personal darkroom, since it is extremely hard to find a place to process 35mm films one frame at a time.

I have always thought, “wouldn’t it be nice if I can have a pin-hole camera that has built-in exposure meter, uses 35mm film roll, and comes with auto film winder?” Then I can concentrate on creating pinhole art, instead of concentrating on the processing of creating pinhole art. After a few years (yes I am a tad slow) I thought, “wouldn’t it be nice if I can have a pin-hole lens on my EOS camera that has auto-exposure, uses standard 35mm film, and has automatic film winder.” Wow!

via Making a Pinhole Lens for SLR Cameras.

(You can pick up the whole book at Amazon here)

Lifehacker:Top 10 Ways to Lock Down Your Data

Cool list from Lifehacker about how to lock down your data:

  • Wipe that iPhone (or BlackBerry) before trading in.
  • Use virtual credit cards for iffy online buys.
  • Hide data inside files with steganography.
  • Plan for the worst.
  • Get smarter on security questions.
  • Boost your browsing and downloading privacy.
  • Theft-proof your laptop (and its files).
  • Secure your wireless network.
  • Encrypt your data whole or piecemeal.
  • Use KeePass. Love KeePass. Be secure.

Read the details here: Lifehacker Top 10: Top 10 Ways to Lock Down Your Data.

Super Awesome Firefox 3 Tips! (Linux)

Here’s a follow up to my previous post that featured Firefox 3 tips for all platforms – this post highlights tips that are specific to (or have specific details for) Linux, particularly Ubuntu Linux.

These tips include tweaks to userChrome.css for changing display aspects of your browser’s “Chrome”, such as reducing the size of the bookmarks toolbar and removing down arrows from folder buttons, as well as themes to make your Linux installation look more like Windows (if you so desire). Read on for details!

Make Firefox “bookmark toolbar” text smaller

Try adding the following to your userChrome.css (located at “~/.mozilla/firefox/<random>.default/chrome/userChrome.css”) to make the bookmark toolbar text smaller, more like Windows or Macintosh:

/* Menu Bar - Shrink and Fade Text */
#navigator-toolbox .menubar-text {
	font-size: 70% !important;
	color: #999 !important;
	}

/* URL Bar and Search Bar - Shrink and Fade Text*/
#urlbar, #searchbar{
	font-size: 85% !important;
	color: #333 !important;
	}

/* Tabs - Shrink Font and Height*/
.tabbrowser-tabs {
	font-size: 80% !important;
	height: 20px !important;
	}
.tabbrowser-strip {
	height: 22px !important;
	}

/* Bookmarks Toolbar - Shrink Font and Size*/
#PersonalToolbar {
	font-size: 75% !important;
	padding: 0px !important;
	margin: 0px !important;
	max-height: 20px !important;
	}
	/* Seperators - Remove */
	#PersonalToolbar toolbarseparator {
		display: none !important;
		}
	/* Toolbar Buttons - Reduce Margins */
	#PersonalToolbar toolbarbutton {
		margin: 0 -5px 0 -1px !important;
		}
	/* Toolbar Icons - Shrink and Reduce Margins */
	#PersonalToolbar .toolbarbutton-icon {
		max-width: 12px !important;
		max-height: 12px !important;
		margin: 0px 2px 0px 0px !important;
		}

(Thanks to s0l3x on Ubuntuforums for that code!)

Remove down-arrow from folders in bookmarks toolbar

Add the following line to your userChrome.css (again, located at “~/.mozilla/firefox/<random>.default/chrome/userChrome.css”) to remove the folder arrows. You can add it below the code in the tip above…

#PersonalToolbar .toolbarbutton-menu-dropmarker {display: none !important;}

Strata Human Theme Modernizes Firefox in Ubuntu

One of Firefox 3’s notable improvements was shipping with themes that matched the native operating system. In Ubuntu, that meant tiny, vaguely cartoonish orange arrows, which, while color-coordinated, was a disappointment to some. The Strata Human 1.0 Firefox theme does a nice job of adding the larger, rounded buttons of XP and Windows, with a perfectly-matched orange-brown coloration. If that back button looks a bit too big to you, Gina’s shown us how to take it down a peg. Strata Human 1.0 is a free download for Firefox 3.


Strata Human 1.0 [Firefox Add-ons via Daily Gyan]

Strata XP on Linux

Firefox 3’s default XP theme adapted for Linux. Based on Pascal Herbert’s “XP on Vista” theme, tweaked to fix some UI quirks.

2008-12-20_165924

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/9123

The Ultimate Chrome Guide

If the above tips aren’t enough for ya, this site will surely float your boat, as it has a huge list of userChrome.css tweaks that should address just about any Firefox 3 customization desire: http://www.linnhe2.free-online.co.uk/firefox/chrome.html

Speed up Visual Studio – EPiServer Labs

Great tips on how to speed up Visual Studio 2008! Combine this with the hotfix and SP1, and…it’s almost as fast as Visual Studio 2005. 😉

  1. Turn off validation
  2. Turn off the Navigation Bar
  3. Show Live Semantic Errors
  4. Track changes
  5. Animate environment tools
  6. Compile for the correct platform
  7. Speed up debugging by removing breakpoints
  8. Formatting XML for easy diff

Find out all the details at the original post: Speed up Visual Studio – EPiServer Labs.

Linked Lists Tutorial: mycsresource.net

Linked Lists

Excellent Computer Science resource with tutorials and Java code examples at mycsresource.net – this was very helpful to me in my CS courses…

Linked Lists are a very common way of storing arrays of data. The major benefit of linked lists is that you do not specify a fixed size for your list. The more elements you add to the chain, the bigger the chain gets.

There is more than one type of a linked list, although for the purpose of this tutorial, we’ll stick to singly linked lists (the simplest one). If for example you want a doubly linked list instead, very few simple modifications will give you what you’re looking for. Many data structures (e.g. Stacks, Queues, Binary Trees) are often implemented using the concept of linked lists.

via Linked Lists Tutorial, Examples, and Java code.

Top 10 Tips For New Eclipse Users | Ben Pryor’s blog

Great tips for Eclipse users; I really could have used these for my last Java project:

  1. Use Code Assist
  2. Navigate Through Code By ctrl-Clicking
  3. Quickly Open Classes and Resources by Name
  4. Know the Keyboard Shortcuts
  5. Set the Heap Size
  6. Configure Eclipse To Use a JDK, not a JRE
  7. Use the Eclipse’s Refactoring Support and Code Generation
  8. Use Multiple Workspaces Effectively
  9. Use Templates
  10. Set Type Filters

Find the details on these tips here…
Top 10 Tips For New Eclipse Users | Ben Pryor’s blog.

E18 Error Fixed! (Canon PowerShot SD450)

Huzzah! I finally fixed the E18 error I’ve been experiencing on my Canon PowerShot SD450, which prevented my lens from extending when the power was turned on, and the fix wasn’t nearly as difficult as I had expected. I’ve even snapped some shots of the process so that you can follow along at home, and fix your own camera if you are experiencing the same problem that I was.

Canon_Ixus_II_with_E18_errorIf you’re not yet familiar with the E18 error, check out this information on the topic from Wikipedia:

The E18 error is an error message on Canon digital cameras. The E18 error occurs when anything prevents the zoom lens from properly extending or retracting.[1] The error has become notorious in the Canon user community as it can completely disable the camera, requiring expensive repairs.

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E18_error)

This is a fairly prevalent problem with the PowerShot cameras, and a class action lawsuit was filed (but dismissed) against Canon:

A Chicago law firm, Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates, has already filed a class action,[4] while the law firm of Girard Gibbs & De Bartolomeo LLP are investigating this camera flaw and may issue a class-action lawsuit against Canon.[5] There is at least one other.[6] Although the suit was dismissed in a court of law, the plaintiffs are appealing.

Fortunately, at least in my case, the fix did not require returning the camera to a Canon repair facility or having to take unreasonably complex steps.

My solution for the PowerShot SD450/IXUS 55 follows:
(You’ll need a very small Philips head screwdriver, #00, to remove the screws)

  1. There are six screws holding the metal frame of the camera body together, two on each side, and two on the bottom. Remove all screws, pop the strap-hook plate (sorry, probably not the most technical term there), then gently lift the front plate off by pulling up from the bottom, and remove the back plate in the same fashion. These should come off relatively easily. This is what the camera should look like as you remove the plates:
    IMG_5340
    IMG_5342
    IMG_5344
  2. Now, looking from the top of the camera, you should see a small motor on the left side, as shown below (it’s beneath the cable with a “22” written on it):
    IMG_5346
  3. Take your screwdriver (or another small instrument) and gently try to rotate the plastic piece attached to the motor on the left side, as shown below:
    IMG_5359
  4. At this point, try placing the battery back in the camera (if you have removed it), turn the camera to one of the capture modes, and press the power button. If all went well, your lens should now be able to extend and retract properly.

Further information (and other repair tutorials) are available at the following locations:

Unforunately, the site that had the most comprehensive information about this issue, e18error.com, seems to be down for the time being. Here’s a quote from their site that I saved in another blog post before the site was taken down:

HOW IT ALL WORKS:
Canon E18 error happens when the lens gets stuck while trying to extend. The camera will beep a few times and the LCD will display a little E18 in the lower-left corner. The lens gets stuck in the extended position, and refuses to move either to focus the lens or to retract when powered off.

Apparently, people who posted about this incident on forums say they had to send the camera for repair and that Canon has horrible customer support and response time.

Here is how the E18 error looks like. You just get a black screen with small “E18″ sign in the lower-left corner:

The problem usually happens because dirt or sand get into the lens mechanism. But it seems that more and more people are showing, who took great care of their camera, and still started receiving E18 errors.

(http://www.e18error.com/)

Please share your experiences with this fix, or the E18 error in general, in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

Microsoft Word: Strikethrough Shortcut Key

This is freakin’ awesome; I had no idea that you could assign keyboard shortcuts this easily:

From word.tips.net:

  1. Press Ctrl+D or choose Font from the Format menu. (If you are using Word 2007, press Ctrl+D or click the Home tab of the ribbon, then click the small control at the bottom-right of the Font group.) Word displays the Font tab of the Font dialog box. (Click here to see a related figure.)
  2. Hold down Alt+Ctrl and, at the same time, press the plus sign on the numeric keypad. The mouse pointer turns into a clover symbol.
  3. Click on the Strikethrough check box in the Font dialog box. (As you move the mouse pointer to get ready to click, the mouse pointer may change back to an arrow instead of a clover; this is OK.) When you click, Word displays the Customize Keyboard dialog box with the insertion point blinking in the Press new Shortcut Key box. (Click here to see a related figure.)
  4. Type whatever shortcut key you want to use for the strikethrough format. Just hold down whatever combination of the Alt, Ctrl, and Shift keys you want, and then press the desired key to go with that combination. If the combination is already taken, that information shows just below the Customize Keyboard dialog box, and you can then change to a different shortcut key. (A good combination to consider is Alt+Shift+S or Ctrl+Alt+S, neither of which are used in a default installation of Word.)
  5. Click the Assign button. The shortcut key is now assigned to apply strikethrough formatting.
  6. Click Close to dismiss the Customize Keyboard dialog box.
  7. Click Cancel to dismiss the Font dialog box.

(via Topics: Strikethrough Shortcut Key)

More shortcuts available here: http://word.tips.net/W020_Shortcut_Keys.html

WordPress.com: How To Embed Video

With the exception of YouTube, I always keep forgetting how to embed video into a WordPress.com blog post (hint: it’s not the embed code). Here’s a handy little quick reference on how to embed video from different sources and how to embed other sorts of media:

What shortcodes does WordPress use?

[audio] converts a link to an mp3 file into an audio player. See full instructions here.

[caption] adds a caption to an image. See full instructions here.

[digg] embeds a voting button for your link on Digg. See full instructions here.

[flickr] embeds a Flickr video. See full instructions here.

[gallery] displays a thumbnail gallery of images attached to that post or page. See full instructions here.

embeds Google Maps. See full instructions here.

[googlevideo] embeds a Google Video. See full instructions here.

[livevideo] embeds a video from LiveVideo. See full instructions here.

[odeo] embeds an Odeo audio file. See full instructions here.

[podtech] embeds audio or video from the PodTech Network. See full instructions here.

[polldaddy] embeds a PollDaddy poll(use without the space). See full instructions here.

[redlasso] embeds a video from Redlasso. See full instructions here.

[rockyou] embeds a slideshow from RockYou. See full instructions here.

[slideshare] embeds a slideshow from Slideshare.net. See full instructions here.

[sourcecode] preserves the formatting of source code. See full instructions here.

[splashcast] embeds Splashcast media. See full instructions here.

[vimeo] embeds a Vimeo video. See full instructions here.

[youtube] embeds a YouTube video. See full instructions here.

Looks like it’s much more flexible than I thought, though it would still be easier just to support copy/paste of embed code (though, I understand why they don’t do it, for security reasons, etc.)

Update: For some reason, DailyMotion didn’t get included in this list, but you can find the instructions here:

Consolas as CMD.EXE (Windows Console) Font

2008-09-15_130451

First, you’ll need the Consolas font. If you’re not currently running Windows Vista, then you’ll need to get it via the PowerPoint Presentation Viewer, which will install Consolas, among other nice Vista fonts. (Or, if you have Visual Studio 2005 or 2008, you can just grab the Consolas Font Pack for Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 or 2008)

Once you have this font installed, open up Registry Editor (regedit.exe) and navigate to the following key, as shown below:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Console\TrueTypeFont\

2008-09-15_125937

Then, right click in the blank area and choose New > String Value.

Double click this new value and enter the following information:

Name: 00
Data: Consolas

Your window should now look like this:

2008-09-15_130000

Once this is done, open a console window (cmd.exe) and choose Consolas from the Font tab:

2008-09-15_131335

Thanks to Scott Hanselman’s Computer Zen for the tips on how to set this up! 🙂

Update: There seems to be an easier way to do this, as I just found from the IEBlog:

Bryn Spears on the Internet Explorer team gave me the following simple instructions to turn on Consolas in the CMD Window:

reg add “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Console\TrueTypeFont” /v 00 /d Consolas

logoff

Note: In Windows Vista, you need to run the reg command from an elevated command prompt.

When you log back in, Consolas will be an option in the “Command Prompt” Properties.  (n.b., Bryn tells me it actually shows up before you relog, but it won’t work.)

How-To Geek: Using Symlinks in Windows Vista

I haven’t tried using my favorite XP junction tool, NTFS-Link, since I upgraded my home computer to Windows Vista, and I’m a little apprehensive since the filesystem has changed a bit. Nonetheless, if you are still using XP, NTFS-Link is an excellent tool for those of you already familiar with symbolic links via other operating systems, such as Linux.

Luckily, Windows Vista does include a command-line tool for creating symbolic links, similar to “ln” in Linux. However, it’s not quite as straightforward. Here’s the scoop from How-To Geek:

Using the mklink Command

The command that you need to use is mklink, which you’ll use from the command line. Just type it on the command line to see the options:

C:Usersgeek>mklink
Creates a symbolic link.

MKLINK [[/D] | [/H] | [/J]] Link Target

        /D      Creates a directory symbolic link.  Default is a file
                symbolic link.
        /H      Creates a hard link instead of a symbolic link.
        /J      Creates a Directory Junction.
        Link    specifies the new symbolic link name.
        Target  specifies the path (relative or absolute) that the new link

(continued via Using Symlinks in Windows Vista)

SundryBuzz: How to soften new sheets

I’ve gotta try this myself…

I bought some new sheets recently, ran them through a regular wash cycle before putting them on our bed, and immediately thought, wait, did I accidentally buy a negative thread count? They were so stiff and almost scratchy. After doing some hunting online, I did the following:

• Washed them on the hottest setting
• Used no detergent (the idea is that new sheets have chemicals on them and detergent just makes it worse)
• Added lots of fabric softener
• Dumped in a cup or so of baking soda during the wash cycle
• Took them out of the dryer as soon as they were dry, rather than leaving them to sit in there for a while

(via SundryBuzz.com)

dPS: 10 Really Useful Flickr Greasemonkey Userscripts

All of these are excellent scripts, and many of them are available in the Better Flickr extension from Gina Trapani at Lifehacker, but my favorite by far is the Flickr Follow Comments plugin which makes that atrocity of a page into something sane and manageable.

Flickr, are you listening? The “Comments You’ve Made” page sucks hard. (Otherwise, I love Flickr to death, and everything else is somewhere in the range of pretty good to awesome.) 🙂

flickr-userscripts-1

This post on Useful Flickr Userscripts has been submitted by Martin Gommel. You can see his work at his is a Flickr account and his blog KWERFELDEIN.

Userscripts are add-ons for the Firefox web browser, which dynamically enhance the communication and visualization of certain websites.

To be able to use these scripts you need to have installed greasemonkey on Firefox – this enables and manages the userscripts. If you have greasemonkey in Firefox you can install and use these userscripts instantly.

(via 10 Really Useful Flickr Greasemonkey Userscripts)

Photojojo: DIY Flash Diffuser

I posted a related link back in March (Pop-up Flash), but I just recently tried it out and found it to be so useful that it was worth reposting:

DSC_7795

Harsh, unflattering flash got you down? Grab an old roll of film and make it all better.

Follow Flickr user natuurplaat’s lead, and turn an old film canister into a flash diffuser! A few strategic cuts make it easy to slip the canister onto your pop-up flash, and voila! Soft, beautiful lighting.

Keep reading and we’ll show you how to make your very own little piece of genius.

(continued via Photojojo: Film Canister Flash Diffuser)

Flickr: Group Guidelines

Well worth a read, especially since I just started a group myself (Remix/Remash):

Tips for running your group
Ultimately it is the Admins that decide what the rules are for their group, but if you have been made an admin of a Flickr group, here are some suggestions for keeping your group happy:
Admin Guidelines
If you are the administrator of a group, here are some pointers for creating a thriving community:

  1. Invite your friends and anyone you know who is interested in what you are interested in. Having group members is the first step in having a successful group!
  2. Visit the group frequently. Groups thrive with daily discussion, and with daily responses from other members of the community, in chat and on the discussion boards.
  3. Moderate, moderate, moderate! Successful groups are kept in check by good moderation. Tend that garden; pull the weeds, mow the lawn, prune the roses, etc. To help you moderate your group, you can enlist other members to become moderators. Moderators don’t have full administrative power, but they can help you moderate pool submissions, keep tabs on discussions, and weed out the people who don’t play by the rules.

(via http://www.flickr.com/groups_guidelines.gne)

My Archival Workflow…

In regard to the last post, “dPS: 5 Ways To Never Lose Your Photos“, I thought it would be good to share the workflow that has served me well for the past couple of years:

  1. Copy/move from CompactFlash

    The first step is pretty obvious, get your photos off the card! (Generally, I move them off the card at this point, but if I don’t have any available media for step 2, or the pictures are incredibly important, I’ll leave the originals on the card and switch to my backup card.)

  2. Backup to CD/DVD

    Now it’s time to backup to the first type of archival media – I use two 2gb CompactFlash cards, which lends well to being backed up on DVD if they’re both full (since a DVD typically holds 4.7gb of data on a single layer). If I haven’t taken a full 4gb of photos in a day, I’ll either wait until I have 4gb of photos to back up, or just back up to a CD.

  3. Copy to small external HD (120gb)

    First step in the department of redundancy department, use SyncToy to synchronize my recent photos to my external hard drive. I use SyncToy instead of merely copying the files because this ensures that any straggling data gets copied over to the external HD, and because it just makes the process simpler. No half-completed file transfers I have to dig through to figure out what did and didn’t get transferred – it will give me a report at the end.

    You can find SyncToy for download here: http://www.microsoft.com/prophoto/downloads/synctoybeta.aspx

  4. Copy from small (120gb) to large external HD (750gb)

    Second step in the department of redundancy department, similar to the step above, though this is a longer-term storage, and it only involves files that have already been archived to the 120gb drive, not directly downloaded to my computer from the CompactFlash card. The reason for this is, of course, redundancy and data integrity. Since this transfer happens less often than the transfer to the 120gb from my computer, there’s less likelyhood of data corruption, and I always try to verify (to the best of my ability) the integrity of the data I’m about to transfer to “cold storage”. I haven’t yet filled up this 750gb drive yet, but as soon as it gets close, I’ll look into getting a Drobo: http://www.drobo.com/Products/drobo.html

  5. Review past archived media (CD/DVD)

    Any type of data gets outdated at some point. Luckily, there are some basic photographic standards that have been pretty solid throughout the years (TIFF, JPEG, etc.), but it’s always worthwhile to look at old media, pictures or otherwise, and make sure that both the media is still in good condition and that the media is easily accessible by modern hardware/software.

That’s my process for now, and has worked for me for the past couple of years, as I mentioned above. Unfortunately, it took me some trial and error to find out this approach, and there were some photo casualties along the way. I’m still trying to dig up my old (pre-2003) photos, but multiple location moves and changes of hardware may have lost these older photos for good.

Remember, backup, backup, backup!