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How-to format a disk to FAT32

4 Comments | This entry was posted on Apr 23 2009

When backing up my PS3 for repair I needed to plug in a external hard drive to back up the system. My PS3 is only 40 GB but even that is larger than any USB flash drive I have so I needed to pull out one of my USB hard drives for the backup. I started the the backup process and when it asked for a hard drive I plugged in my terabyte external hard drive but nothing happened. I soon found out that the PS3 will only read FAT32 formatted hard drives. I did not think this would be as much of a problem as it was.
First I tried the format tool built into Windows but I found out that Microsoft decided not to let any drive larger than 32 GB be formatted in FAT32 because…well because they suck and wanted everyone to move to NTFS. So I tried formatting from a command line with: format d: /fs:fat32But I got an error saying the drive is too large for FAT32. I know that isn’t true because FAT32 is technically able to format drives up to 2 terabytes. So I decided to try gparted in Linux. Of course gparted wouldn’t have any problems right? Well in gparted I only had the options for ext2, ext3, reiserfs, and unformatted. That’s a bummer. So how about from the terminal? I tried variations of mkfs and mkfs.vfat but I know there was something I was doing wrong because each time it would just give me a error.
Finally I found a way to do it! There is a program called Fat 32 Formatter. This is a command line program that works in Windows XP/2000/Vista and all you need to do is open a commend prompt and type in:fat32format.exe d: You need to replace d: with whatever your drive is currently mounted as. Once the process completes you have a fully formatted FAT32 drive for your PS3 backup needs. There is a mirror of the fat32format tool here just in case it is removed from online.
And yes this was far more complicated than it needed to be. If you have the commands for completing this task in OSX or Linux please leave them in the comments.

How-to map network drives based on network location

1 Comment | This entry was posted on Apr 14 2009

This has been driving me crazy and I cannot figure out how to do it. Here is my problem:
I have a work laptop that I obviously use at work as well as at home. At work I have 6 network drives that are mapped automatically if I log into my computer while at work. At home I have a Windows Home Server with 5 shares that I wrote a batch script to connect to them when I get home. The WHS Connector also adds a shortcut to the shares on my desktop but I want the shares mapped so I can use them as local drives in programs. I also had to write 3 more scripts (1 to disconnect my work drives, 1 to connect my work drives, and 1 to disconnect my home drives) in case I go between work and home without fully turning off my computer and instead just putting it to sleep. I am fairly certain this problem can be fixed with AutoIT or some other tool but I am just surprised this sort of functionality isn’t built into ANY operating system. My laptop has Vista and Linux Mint on it but I know this functionality isn’t in OSX either.
Is there anyone out there that can can suggest something to accomplish this? All I want is something that monitors what network I am connected to, and if that network happens to be home or work, map the appropriate drives. I am going to work on this in AutoIT but I am open to suggestions if you have any.
As soon as I find more information or someone points me to a solution I will update this post with how it works.
Leave your idea’s in the comments.

Recycling hard drive parts for rocking!

2 Comments | This entry was posted on Mar 07 2009

I never saw the appeal of buying all new Rock Band instruments if you already owned the first generation instruments. There was one thing however that made me really like the new Rock Band guitars, and no it wasn’t the new wood finish. This weekend I finally added the one part that I really wanted. A start button guard!
Rock Band guitars aren’t really known for their durability, and one of my guitars refuses to kick into overdrive unless I do a Chuck Norris roundhouse into a back flip in the middle of Visions’ solo before my drummer’s shin bursts into flames and we have to start the 12 song set all over again.
My main problem with adding the guard was figuring out what to use. I thought about using putty, washers, and even cardboard, but then I remembered I had a bag of aluminum hard drive spacers that would work perfectly. All I had to do was get a little super glue and attach it right to the guitar leaving room for the screw that sits next to the start button in case I ever needed to get to the guts of the guitar.
I took a couple pictures just so you could see how the finish product looks. Hopefully this will alleviate those mid-game pauses that sometimes happen when my groin muscles aren’t feeling up to the task of saving my bandmate.


Let me know in the comments what you have used to modify your Rock Band instruments.

How-To Create a UBUD

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Mar 04 2009

I just made that up. UBCD is a great tool for tracking down hardware and software problems with non-Apple computers. To be honest I am not sure if it works on Apple computers but I assume most of the tools would not work even if it boots on the hardware. UBUD is my abbreviation for UBCD on a USB Disk (a.k.a. thumb/pen/flash drive).
I ran into a problem on my last road trip fixing someones computer and I was without any CD’s to burn UBCD to. So I ran across these instructions at pendrivelinux.com and they worked perfectly for turning my USB drive into a bootable UBUD.

USB Ultimate Boot CD (UBCD) prerequisites:

* ubcdfix2 (does the USB conversion) <--I found that this file doesn't download so you can get it from the link above
* UBCD ISO
* USB flash drive (fat32 formatted) Sorry there is no download link for this.
* A windows host PC to perform the build

UBUD How-To:

1. Download and launch UBCDfix2.exe, a UBCD folder is created
2. Download the UBCD ISO and move to your UBCD folder
3. From the UBCD folder, click fixubcd2.bat and follow the onscreen instructions. I ran into one problem where it said I needed to run the program again because I was using Vista but really I didn’t have to. So if it gives an error in Vista go ahead and try rebooting anyway.
4. Reboot and set your computer to Boot from the USB device

I hope this helps with any problems you may run into when you find yourself without a blank CD.
Let me know in the comments if there are any other tools that you always keep with you on the road for fixing those random computer problems.
Also, has anyone tried UBCD4Win? It seems like it could be interesting for Windows specific (a.k.a. virus/spyware) problems.

MediaSmart server advanced Twonky settings

3 Comments | This entry was posted on Feb 07 2009

With a new MediaSmart server I was excited to get the TwonkyMedia server up and running to be able to stream all my music and videos over to my PS3. I have some experience with Twonky from my Buffalo NAS and it was the best DLNA server I have ever used. I was a bit disappointed that the server configuration was dumbed down and limited to the MediaSmart console.
twonky restricted

Access is restricted to MediaServer configuration!

To enable to regular Twonky configuration pages you need to do the following steps.

1. RDP onto the server using mstsc.exe from a run command. If you have a version of Windows without remote desktop you will need to find a way to install it (I don’t know how) and open up C:\TwonkyMedia\twonkyvision-mediaserver.ini
2. Locate the line

# Web access
enableweb=1

3. Change it to

# Web access
enableweb=2

4. Save the file
5. Restart the TwonkyMedia service by opening services.msc from the run command, find the service on the list, and click restart on the left column.
twonky service restart

Now all you need to do is browse to your home server in a web page and go to port 9000.
http://hpserver:9000
You should be greeted with the normal Twonky configuration settings now.
twonkyconfig

I hope this helps someone, it certainly helped me.

Mythtv Log

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Jan 31 2009

I decided I needed a better way to keep track of myth MythTV systems I have used in the past, and what I needed to do to get the systems up and running. I started a MythTV Log page that should show up on the left (or the links section depending on my skin). I mainly posted this to help other people that are setting up their own MythTV computers using similar hardware. Check out the hardware I am using, and have used in the past, by looking through the logs.
Let me know if you have any good tips on keeping installation logs organized. I am fairly new to all this.

Setting up RSS feeds with Google Reader

1 Comment | This entry was posted on Jan 19 2009

This how-to is actually my original intent with the post I just had, but I got carried away explaining what RSS feeds do instead. So here is how you can use Google Reader for your news butler.

First here is what you need:
A Google account. I know you were probably expecting more but that is it. If you are reading this site you already have a computer with a web browser so you are all set to go.

Let’s head over to Google Reader’s website to log in. Look familiar? It should because it is the same login that you use for your Gmail account. Once you are logged in you should see this sidebar. google-reader-01 This side bar lets you view all your unread news articles or you can also share items with friends (requires a Gmail account) or put notes on things. Lets not forget this is Google so it tracks what you do. If you click on Trends you can see how many articles you have read, what categories you usually read, and how many items you have shared and starred. To be honest I don’t do much starring because I find it like a inferior bookmarking method and if I find something I like (and want to keep for later) I bookmark it with delicious and move on. You can also browse for stuff to find articles you probably will like and subscribe to them right there. If you want to share articles with fellow Google reader’s you can click the start sharing button and get right to it. Below that is where all your subscriptions show up. You can sort them into relevant folders and go through the articles you want to read in a jiffy.
Here is how mine looks.google-reader-02 As you can see on the left I have everything collapsed so that I can just browse all my news by either clicking All items at the top or by each folder. On the right I also turned on collapsed view so that I can read more articles without having to scroll as far. If I find something I like I just click on the headline and the article expands. If I want to read it further or see it at the original site you can just click on the headline in blue. Once I am done with a folder I just click the “Mark all as read” button at the top and that whole folder gets marked and I move on to the next folder.
If you want to share an article you can either click on the share button, share with note, or if you want to share it with someone who doesn’t use Google Reader you can just email it to them right there. It drops a little spot down to write the email and send it all without leaving the reader. Pretty fancy if you ask me.
Last thing you will probably want to know is how to add sites when you are not at Google Reader. rss-logoAll you need to do is look for the RSS link. Usually it will have this icon. All you have to do is click on the logo and any modern browser will ask you what you want to do with the feed. You can simply say “add to Google Reader” and it will take you there with the feed already populated with the latest 10 items. Couldn’t be more simple. Give it a try and subscribe to my blog by clicking the RSS button at the top or click here.
Hope to see you sharing articles in Google Reader.

Error with CIFS on shutdown in Linux

2 Comments | This entry was posted on Jan 19 2009

I kept getting this error with Linux Mint and my NAS. error_screenshotWhen I shutdown I got an error saying:

CIFS VFS server not responding

and the system would hang before shutting down and sometimes not shutdown at all. Of course with so many people using Linux the problem was only a Google search away.
I found that the problem is because Linux Mint would turn off the network connection before it would unmount the mounted volumes I had. It does this for security reasons because if you have system folders or home folders mapped to network shares it needs to have those system folders until it is done shutting down. Of course you would still run into problems when the network connection is killed but I don’t program so I am sure there are other reasons why it is done this way.
Anyway, a good solution is to have the drives unmounted earlier in the shutdown process. To do this we are going to make symbolic links to the script that unmount the volumes for us and then just put that in the folder that is processed earlier during shutdown and reboot. I found bits and pieces on how to do this in the Ubuntu forums but I found a good blog with all this info in one place here. here.
The code you need to run to make the symbolic links is here.
ln -s /etc/init.d/umountnfs.sh /etc/rc0.d/K15umountnfs.sh
ln -s /etc/init.d/umountnfs.sh /etc/rc6.d/K15umountnfs.sh
Here is a quick explanation of what this does from the other blog I found.

This will create two symbolic links to the umountnfs.sh script, one in runlevel 0 (shutdown) and one in runlevel 6 (reboot). The links have a “K” prefix to let the init system know that the script should be called with “stop” as an argument, and they have a priority of 15 to ensure that they are run before avahi-daemon and dhcdbd are stopped


OK that fix didn’t work. I finally found a solution that really works. Do this in a terminal instead.
cd /etc/rc6.d
ls -la

You will see two files S31umountnfs.sh and S15wpa-ifupdown.sh. The number still represents the order at which the script runs. All you need to do is change when the umountnfs.sh script runs. Do that by typing in:
sudo mv S31umountnfs.sh S14umountnfs.sh
You will need to run the command one more time in the /etc/rc0.d folder too.
Now my shutdown doesn’t hang anymore on unmounting the CIFS mounts.
I hope this helps.

Compile Lirc on an AOpen mp945-dr with Ubuntu

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Dec 26 2008

I recently traded in my Mac Mini for a AOpen mp945-dr to see if it would work any better with MythTV and Boxee. I started off with Ubuntu 8.10 installed but found some random problems with video not displaying every time the computer would start so I went back to 8.04. On problem I had with both installations was that the remote sensor did not work out of the box. I did some digging and found that Lirc does work with this machine but the latest development branch was not included in Ubuntu for stability reasons. Here are the steps I had to take to get the remote sensor working.

As a overview we are going to:
1. Download the tools needed to compile software in Ubuntu.
2. Download the latest version of Lirc using CVS
3. Compile Lirc source
4. Test it real fast to make sure it works.

If you have Jaunty Jackalope (9.04) see the notes at the bottom.

1. Download the needed compiling tools.
sudo su
apt-get install libtool autoconf automake linux-headers-`uname -r`-generic cvs

This will download and install the compiling tools.

2. Download Lirc
First lets make a folder to put it in

mkdir ~/lirc
cd ~/lirc

Then we will download the newest source from sourceforge. We are using a tool called CVS to read more about it check out here.
cvs -d:pserver:[email protected]:/cvsroot/lirc login
cvs -z8 -d:pserver:[email protected]:/cvsroot/lirc co lirc

Because we ran that command while in the ~/lirc folder everything downloaded there so we just need to run the commands to configure everything before we build it.

./autogen.sh
./setup.sh

In the graphical interface I selected Driver config > USB > mceusb2 (new)

Then continue with compiling

make
make install
modprobe lirc-mceusb2

Because Ubuntu does things slightly different we need to copy a couple files to where Lirc expects them to be.

cp /lib/modules/`uname -r`-generic/misc/lirc_dev.ko /lib/modules/`uname -r`-generic/ubuntu/media/lirc/lirc_dev
cp /lib/modules/`uname -r`-generic/misc/lirc_mceusb2.ko /lib/modules/`uname -r`-generic/ubuntu/media/lirc/lirc_mceusb2

Then we can continue with installing the new Lirc into the running kernel.
rmmod lirc_mceusb2
rmmod lirc_dev
lsmod|grep lirc
/etc/init.d/lirc restart

Everything should be compiled and in place now.

4. To test it out run
irw
and then push some buttons on the remote. You should see the commands you press displayed in the terminal. If you see that then you can just push Ctrl+C to stop irw and you should be all set to go.

I had to change this tutorial slightly from where I originally posted it in the Ubuntu forums so that it would be more universal. If you have problems please leave a comment and check out the original thread here.

I hope this helps.

For Jaunty (9.04) I did not need to install the headers (it actually failed because it was already the newest version) I also needed to install “dialog” and “build-essential”. I had to create the “/lib/modules/`uname -r`/ubuntu/media/lirc/” folder before I could copy the configurations, and the folder I created also changed slightly to cp /lib/modules/`uname -r`-generic/misc/lirc_dev.ko /lib/modules/`uname -r`-generic/ubuntu/media/lirc/lirc_dev
cp /lib/modules/`uname -r`/misc/lirc_mceusb2.ko /lib/modules/`uname -r`/ubuntu/media/lirc/lirc_mceusb2

More updates as I find them.

Enable “path view” on top of Finder window

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Dec 07 2008

I saw this at The Unofficial Apple Weblog and thought it was nice because I hate that you can’t see what folder you are in by default.
Open a terminal and type:

defaults write com.apple.finder _FXShowPosixPathInTitle -bool YES

And you have your location at the top of the window. I don’t even have a Apple anymore but this still may be useful in the future. Only works in OSX 10.5.5+