GParted rocks

Did some upgrades on my girlfriend’s Windows PC today… The techs who originally set up her computer gave her an unconscionably small C: drive, a tiny 10 gig slice of an already-modest 40 gig drive. Even with careful discipline trying to put things on the D: partition, 10 gigs doesn’t go very far. Shared DLL installs, gobs of temporary files, cached updaters for all manner of software, etc all fill that stuff up and it was running out of room constantly.

My secret weapon to fix this was to be an Ubuntu Linux live CD, which conveniently comes with GParted.

I took a 200 gig drive left over from my dear departed Linux box and hooked it up, figuring I could back up the old data over the network, overwrite it with a raw disk image from the 40 gig drive, and then resize the NTFS partitions to a livable size.

Easy!

Well, sort of. :)

It turns out I could have saved myself some trouble at the command line by copying the partitions across drives with GParted itself instead of goin’ at it all old-school with dd. (Neat!)

I had two sticking points, though.

First, it didn’t seem to let me move the extended (D:) partition to a different place on the drive. That meant there was no room to expand the C: partition, which was the point of the exercise.

I ended up having to create a copy of the D: partition, which it let me put in the middle of the drive, and then delete the old partitions. Kind of roundabout, and it changed the partition type from extended to primary, but Windows doesn’t seem to care about that so keep those fingers crossed…

My second snag was due to Ubuntu’s user-friendliness. As soon as the new partition was created, the system mounted it — which caused the NTFS cloning process to abort, warning that it can’t work on a mounted filesystem.

Nice.

Had to go into the system settings and disable automatic mounting of removable media… luckily that’s easy to find in the menus. If you know it’s going to be there, at least. :)

iProduct vs Veronica Mars

So I finally gave in and picked up an Apple TV unit; that frees up my Mac Mini from TV duty to be my main home computer, while letting the Apple TV concentrate on being a media player.

The good: unit is very compact, setup is pretty straightforward, and picture looks good once I adjust the ungodly color saturation my TV defaults to on the component input.

The bad: at least for the shows I tested (Veronica Mars season 3), video playback is totally broken at HD resolutions!

At 720p playback stutters very badly, with very jerky motion and sound out of sync from picture by about a second.

At 1080i I don’t even *get* picture during playback, just sound. (Menus display fine.)

At 480p everything looks great, though, and the currently available content doesn’t need more than that, so I’m leaving it there for now.

A quick Google scan doesn’t show any other obvious complaints of this problem, so I’m not sure if I’ve got a bogus unit or if it’s something funky with the Veronica Mars encoding that might not be a problem with other shows…

Update: At some point it started working fine. *shrug*

Yay!

My Final Cut Studio crossgrade finally arrived… now I can get back to not making cute animation videos because I’m busy doing something else instead of because Motion doesn’t run on my MacBook.

For the record, this is the most awful software upgrade procedure I’ve experienced.

  1. The previous versions of various Apple pro media apps such as Motion don’t run at all on newer, Intel-based machines. BOO!
  2. The various individual products have been discontinued in favor of the Final Cut Studio bundle which includes a bunch of them. You can no longer get just one. So to run your old copy of Motion on your new MacBook, you have to upgrade to the entire bundle… BOO!
  3. …which they offer a huge cross-grade discount on! YAY!
  4. To get your new installation media, you have to mail in your original installation DVD… which will naturally get lost in the mail. BOO!

The good news is, if you have enough documentation you can talk them into replacing your lost media so you can send in for the upgrade again.

fruit ratings

[[Wikipedia:Apricot|Apricots]]: YUMMMMMMM! Easy to slice in half and remove the pit, and verrrry delicious. Dried apricots are also nice and last longer in the cupboard.

[[Wikipedia:Peach|Peaches]]: Similar to its smaller cousin the apricot, but IMHO they’re harder to work with. The pitting vs deliciousness ratio is unfavorable.

[[Wikipedia:Blueberry|Blueberries]]: Pretty awesome when you pick them yourself in the forest. Prepackaged, though, I find them kinda… boring and tasteless. Maybe I just got boring mass-produced Chilean blueberries, though.

[[Wikipedia:Blackberry|Blackberries]]: Upside: yum! Downside: full of little crunchy seeds.

bloggy blog

I tossed together a silly WordPress plugin to special-case links into [[leuksman|my wiki pages]] such as my [[gimp mac helper]] tools, as well as to MediaWiki’s bug tracker (eg, bug 1) and SVN repository (r12345 was nice).

SVN anonymous checkout: http://svn.wikimedia.org/svnroot/mediawiki/trunk/silly-regex-linker/

Only useful if you’re me at the moment, but maybe I’ll generalize it for fun.

SSHKeychain

For a long time I’ve found SSHKeychain an invaluable little app on my Macs, making remote logins with keys relatively painless.

When I upgraded to an Intel-based MacBook last month, I was saddened to find that there wasn’t a Universal release; the last PPC release didn’t run on Intel; and development seems to have stopped altogether. :(

The good news is that it’s open source, and further one of the last code checkins, early in 2006, had been to add Universal binary build support. So I went ahead and built the thing for my own use.

I did though find that it crashed intermittently when waking from sleep. After a little debugging I found the problem; some variables were initialized badly so if all your keychains were locked it would crash. Fun! Easy to fix, though.

I mailed the patch to the dormant developers mailing list and the author, hopefully it’ll get rolled in and other people will get to use it…