"Murphy was an optimist!"
Down the ‘recover dead hard drive’ rabbit hole August 21, 2011 1:16 pmPosted by Doug McCaughan in : Hardware, Software, Technology
So I’ve had a friend’s computer for what must be 4 weeks now. Fortunately, he has other computers on which he can do his work. His hard drive failed badly. I said I could work on it in the evenings and weekends. We bought a 1.5TB hard drive and I proceeded to fight to get the data from the old drive to the new. I succeed in recovering most if not all the data by installing Ubuntu 11.04 on the new drive, installing Gnu’s ddrescue, using GParted to resize Ubuntu and create a partition to hold Windows Vista, the used ddrescue to recover the dying drive to the new partition. Data saved!
Unfortunately, GRUB2 detects both operating systems but fails to boot to Vista, ergo, a crazy path of chkdsk and recovery console nonsense that eventually led to GRUB2 not even coming up. So, after 4 weeks or so, I decided this post will chronicle the recovery moving forward.
Sunday, 1:10pm: Grub fails to load. The last repair of Ubuntu says it couldn’t load a boot manager and one will have to be installed manually. fdisk claims "partition[s] do not end on cylinder boundary” but supposedly this doesn’t matter. GParted has been used to resize Ubuntu partition to end on cylinder boundary but Vista partition could not be resized at this time. GParted reports 3 bad sectors on the Vista partition. Running chkdsk again but it looks like I may have to blow away the partition and start again. Fortunately I have a backup on a good drive.
Update Saturday, August 27: My friend has grown irritated at the length of time this has taken. I have grown frustrated at the near pointless hours upon hours put into this machine. However, I have had several near successes. I feel like we are right at the finish line and giving up. I have reformatted the 1500GB hard drive and reinstalled Ubuntu 11.04. I’ve checked the firmware on the hard drive to confirm it is the latest. I’ve checked the motherboard bios to confirm it is the latest. I’m now using GParted to resize Ubuntu so that I can do the final copy of the Windows data so that even if I cannot get the machine to boot to windows, my friend will be able to read his data.add a comment
Today’s Bizarre Dreamweaver Error July 25, 2011 12:35 pmPosted by Doug McCaughan in : Software, Technology
Dreamweaver has never been one of my favorite editors. I believe the following error is due to an improper shutdown.
The following translators were not loaded due to errors:
ICERegions.htm: has configuration information that is invalid.
Server Model SSI.htm: has configuration information that is invalid.
Spry.htm: has configuration information that is invalid.
From a quick Google Search, it looks like renaming the configuration file and restarting DW and/or the computer will fix things. I’ll update shortly.
UPDATE 1: Reboot of system did not help. I’m using Adobe Dreamweaver CS4 version 10.0 Build 4117
Update 2: Renaming the configuration file to "configuration old" and restarting DW did the trick. See this forum, that forum, and this other forum (a list of potential directories).add a comment
Google’s Voice Search June 17, 2011 10:49 amPosted by Doug McCaughan in : Programming, Software, Technology
I think I’ve seen this and never paid any mind to it. How long Google had voice search on Chrome?1 comment so far
Dear Apple.. an obvious feature request March 25, 2011 1:15 pmPosted by Doug McCaughan in : Gadgets, Software, Technology
Dear Apple, when can I have the ability to prevent my children from moving or deleting items in my iOS device (iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad)? I’d also like to give them the ability to use the device without accessing particular applications. I’m not asking for user profiles but at least give me the ability to demand a system password for moving and deleting apps and give me the ability to use the same system password to lock selected applications (or screens) so that my financial and business applications aren’t accessible while they use their games and educational applications. Thank you! Doug, father to 5 children in a household of 4 iOS devices (and growing) that often change hands.add a comment
Call to action: WordPress Developers Please Comment February 17, 2011 9:33 amPosted by Doug McCaughan in : PHP, Programming, Software, Technology, WordPress
Hello WordPress developers! (me included). When you make a theme, I implore you, please use a simple html comment at the top of each page to identify the template. For example: <!- – TEMPLATE: single.php – -> would allow someone unfamiliar with your theme to look in the generated source and see which template(s) are influencing the output. Yes, experienced WordPress developers should already know which files are being used but we don’t write themes only for experienced developers. And even experienced developers get stuck, tired, or would like things to be sped along and a simple comment, <!- – TEMPLATE: page.php – ->, would help tremendously. Thank you!add a comment
Time to reboot the feed reader September 16, 2010 11:37 amPosted by Doug McCaughan in : Communications, Software, Technology
I used to love SharpReader. I was using it before RSS was vogue. The difference between consuming information by going to individual webpages vs using a feed reader is like riding a bike on the Interstate versus driving a Ferrari. I had to give up SharpReader because it was tied to a single box and I’m not. I work anywhere and everywhere and I need to be able to access my data from any device. I switched to Google Reader and have never looked back. Unfortunately, I lost all the articles in SharpReader that I’d marked as a favorite during the transition.
As I scan and read in Google Reader I use the star to mark my favorites so that I can return to the article and read it again (not that I ever do). I rarely but once in a blue moon add an item to my shared items.
I’ve come to a point where my feedreader more resembles bookmarks rather than a useful way to consume content. Many of the feeds are dead or stagnant. I have some like Fark that I don’t read anymore. Some have changed hands and are actually spam now. I’m going to drop my entire feed list. I’ll export the entire list first and probably publish it somewhere for reference. My one concern is losing my favorites. I can find nothing that talks about whether or not there is a way to save my favorites and whether or not removing a feed that had something marked as a favorite will also delete that favorite. I’ll experiment with it this weekend and figure it out.8comments
flickr iPhone app 99% upload then fails June 23, 2010 8:07 amPosted by Doug McCaughan in : Communications, Gadgets, Of Interest, Software, Technology
My iPhone refuses to upload a picture using the flickr app. It gets through 99%, reports complete, then says "Upload failed. Try later. Try again." Not much on The Googles about this. However, I believe the answer is in Flickr’s monthly upload limit for free accounts. After upgrading to Pro, my upload worked flawlessly. To the flickr iPhone app developers, your error message needs to be altered to encourage the purchase of a pro account.add a comment
On Time Management/Organizational Tools April 30, 2010 11:27 amPosted by Doug McCaughan in : Doug's Mantras, Philosophy, Software, Technology
I’m a huge fan of Jott. I don’t know how Siri (recently acquired by Apple) slipped through my radar. I now have Siri and am very excited. SpringPad and I have this oddly tenuous relationship which I’ll explain in another post. I think SpringPad has incredible potential and should be appreciated by fans of Evernote.
Like Stephen R Covey’s First Things First and David Allen’s Getting Things Done, none of these tools do any good if you don’t use them. And by use them, I mean fully. For instance, in Gmail I frequently flag emails to review later but then I may not review them. The same thing can happen with any of the tools above. I fill Jott with voice notes and text memos daily. Like sharpening the saw, a review is critical. One of my mantras is "15 minutes a day for proficiency." It comes from preparing for juggling shows. If I wait until the day before a performance and try to cram several hours of practice in, I don’t perform well. If I spent 15 minutes a day for those same number of hours, I perform very well! That 15 minute mantra applies to all things in life be it learning a skill like guitar, a language like Spanish, losing that extra weight, reading a book, writing a business plan, or just keeping your life in check.
Trying to get organized while living our crazy lives often feels a bit like trying to balance your checkbook while going down a water slide. You can’t do it and your checkbook gets really soggy. Feels like a catch-22; too busy to organize, must organize to not be so busy. That’s were 15 minutes a day comes in. We can spend 15 minutes just staring into space. Even exhausted, we can muster 15 minutes. And now, I will spend 15 minutes reviewing my notes in Jott.1 comment so far
Suggestions? iPhone password/data keeper March 8, 2010 7:30 amPosted by Doug McCaughan in : Gadgets, Of Interest, Software, Technology
When my beloved Motorola v3xx bit the dust, I bought an iPhone with the promise to myself that I would use it as a business tool to facilitate building iPhone apps for my clients. I have not talked about my iPhone experience much but that’s coming. In the meantime, know this: 1) Steve Jobs is a user interface genius! and 2) I love my iPhone!
Over the past few years, I endeaved to eliminate paper from my life using cloud tools such as Google Docs. The iPhone seems to be the missing link and has helped me take the last steps toward cutting the umbilical cord to paper. Meeting notes go straight to my iPhone. Todo lists, via Jott, straight into the iPhone. The iPhone has helped make my already digital world even more digital.3comments
WordPress 2.9 has arrived December 19, 2009 8:46 amPosted by Doug McCaughan in : Announcements, Blog, Of Interest, Publishing, Software, Technology, WordPress
WordPress 2.9 includes built-in image editing and now videos can be embedded simply by putting the url of the video on its own line in the post with Oembed support and more. Update your WordPress blog soon.
[Source]add a comment
There is a cure for Windows dependency December 4, 2009 7:24 pmPosted by Doug McCaughan in : Software, Technology
My computer experience looks a little like this: Atari 2600 -> Atari 400 -> Timex Sinclair -> Commodore 64 -> DOS boxes -> Apple ][ -> Apple ][e -> Apple //c -> Macintosh Classic -> Solaris workstations, AS 400, Next Box, CM5, VAX, ramdom flavors of Unix machines -> Mac Performas (etc), PCs (Windows 3.1, 3.11, 97, 98, 98se, Windows 2000 server, XP, Vista, 2003 (blah blah name it) -> Linux (Ubuntu primarily). In the end I find myself surrounded with PCs with loads of Microsoft software. So everything I write is dependent upon the Microsoft Office suite, software I install requires Windows and so on. Granted, I have Linux development servers because much of my work is in a LAMP environment. That is until my primary machine died horribly and while I was recovering it, I was forced to spend most of my time on my Ubuntu workstation.
After working for a couple of weeks on Ubuntu and relying heavily upon Google Docs, I learned that I love cloud computing. Cloud computing is using applications that are primarily accessed over the Internet. Twenty years or more ago, Bill Gates said this is how all our computing would be and that PCs would revert to being dummy terminals. The nice thing about cloud computing is your data is accessible anytime, anywhere, from any machine, as long as you have an Internet connection; this is also the bad thing. Your data is exposed to 3rd party companies that may go out of business or change ownership or malicious people may find ways to expose your data to the world. You must weight the risk versus the benefits.
Another option is open source software. Many alternative software directories are ready to help you find a free alternative to the commercial software you love. My favorite is osalt.com. For example, search Photoshop, osalt points to GIMP. I’ve been using Quickbooks Pro since 1999 (actually earlier but 1999 was my most current version). So for 10 years, I have used financial software that was out of date. I cannot find the discs and desperately need a new solution. Many exist! including buying the current version of Quickbooks. A search of osalt found PostBooks which is free although some people are confused by their commercial offerings. Don’t be quick to discount open source software just because of the price. Free does not mean bad. For instance, I now favor GIMP over Photoshop in some instances. Soon I may wonder why I ever used Quickbooks.
Do you have any experience with Postbooks? Your thoughts?5comments
Wibiya Toolbar Not Showing on WordPress Blog November 20, 2009 11:47 amPosted by Doug McCaughan in : Blog, Publishing, Software, Technology, WordPress
If you are trying to use the Wibiya Toolbar on your WordPress blog, but it will not appear, try editing the Wibiya plugin and changing the code from:
Cannot log into WordPress from Google Chrome November 12, 2009 9:27 amPosted by Doug McCaughan in : Software, Technology, WordPress
If you go to your WordPress blog’s login page in the Google Chrome browser, type your username and password, and get kicked back to the login screen without an error message, try opening a new tab and logging in from that tab. Seemed to work for me. I also cleared my cache but that did not seem to have an impact. The new tab fixed the problem for me.1 comment so far
My workstation is almost working September 25, 2009 10:19 amPosted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life, Software, Technology
After fighting with trying to clone my old 60 GB hard drive to my new 500 GB hard drive, I finally gave in and started from scratch. Since I was installing from Windows XP sp1 I was limited to 137 GB partition. Once Windows XP installed successfully I upgrade to sp 2 then sp 3 and installed all security patches and updates. Then I began reinstalling software beginning with Avast antivirus first quickly followed by iTunes.
Everything seemed to be going very well until I decided to actually switch back to working on the machine. I tried to remap my development servers but cannot browse my network. I get the error message:
WORKGROUP is not accessible. You might not have permission to use this network resource. Contact the administrator of this server to find out if you have access permissions.
This list of servers for this workgroup is not currently available
Guess I’m network troubleshooting this weekend.
Update: I made an important discovery today. None of the computers in the house see each other anymore. I used to be able to open Windows explorer and browse to My Network Places then to Entire Network then to Microsoft Windows Network then to MSHome (the workgroup) then to a specific machine that was visible on the network. However at the workgroup level the error message above occurs. I thought it was specific to this Windows XP machine but I reproduced it on another Windows XP machine. Then I tried browsing the network with Windows Vista and also could not see any of the LAN. So on my newly installed Windows XP machine, I tested pinging various machines on the network with success. So in Windows Explorer I typed a machine name and a known shared directory "\\mickey\www" and successfully browsed the remote directory. I then successfully mapped the drive. On my Ubuntu Linux 8.04 workstation, I clicked Places then Network Servers then Windows Network and get the message "Unable to mount location – failed to retrieve share list from server" which in the past would have simply listed all the devices on the local area network.4comments
Force Windows to Install Anywhere But C September 20, 2009 10:54 amPosted by Doug McCaughan in : Software, Technology
Does anyone know how to force Windows
98 to install to a different drive letter than C? I need my Windows XP installation to be the E drive. I’ve run out of tricks.