Posted on October 23rd, 2010 1 comment
I got a MacBook Pro about a year ago and, coming from a background of using Windows, I installed Boot Camp on it so that I could run Windows programs. I find that I actually use Windows most of the time on my Mac computer. However, after a year, the 30 GB Boot Camp partition was reaching its limit. I found that in order to install some new program, I had to uninstall something else. I did a web search on how to expand the Boot Camp partition and was greeted with lots of advice from various forums, much of it conflicting, some of it untested, on whether it was possible and which tools to use. At first I was hoping to just find a utility that allowed me to move a slider bar that would shrink the Mac partition and expand the Boot Camp partition. However, after reading numerous postings and websites on how to perform the task, I realized that wasn’t going to happen. I saw a few recommendations for Camp Tune, which supposedly allows an easy way to resize the Boot Camp partition without deleting it but that program is no longer free and some have reported that it didn’t work all the time.
I dutifully backed up the Boot Camp partition several different ways and then committed to changing it from FAT32 to NTFS. I had set it up as a FAT32 partition initially because that would allow me to write to it with the MacOS. The MacOS can read from but not write to NTFS partitions. However, I found that I never used that feature and the free tool I was going to use (WinClone) didn’t allow you to expand a FAT32 partition. It could back it up and restore it, but it would stay the same size. So I had to convert my Bootcamp partition to NTFS. That’s actually easy to do, but it takes some time. You just need to boot Windows and then go into the DOS prompt and use this command:
convert C: /FS:NTFS
You may have to reboot to get this to work because it may be unable to unmount the partition to convert it. In my case it required two reboots, both of which ran the chkdsk program before the partition converted to NTFS.
Once this was done, I used WinClone to back up the Boot Camp NTFS partition to an external USB drive. According to one of the comments, WinClone may not work with MacOS 10.6 (Snow Leopard). I’m running Leopard (10.5). After backing up the Windows data, I used the BootCamp Assistant in the Utilities to delete the Bootcamp partition, and then to resize it to 120GB. After that I used WinClone to restore the image to the Bootcamp partition.
I followed the directions on this YouTube video:
That video gives you the impression that the steps all take a few seconds. However, some of them can take hours so you need to be patient.
Beware that some people have reported losing data while attempting to perform these steps, so it’s critical to have a backup of all of your important data prior to embarking on any partition resizing project.
Posted on January 31st, 2010 2 comments
By now you’ve no doubt visited at least one website, usually one that appears in page one of Google’s search results, that does a redirect and all of a sudden, what appears to be a virus scanner is now running on your computer screen. It may look something like the window below.
Click on the image for a larger version of it.
Most of the popups are harmless, but the last one is an attempt to get you to download an executable file that, if you open it, invariably will end up taking you to a site where you’ll have to put in your credit card number to pay for the virus scanner to remove the viruses and to ‘keep you safe’.
Downloading an .exe file won’t do anything by itself, but if you open an ‘.exe’ file, then all bets are off, because it can do anything it wants, including installing a real virus, which would not be a stretch for a company that is trying to steal from you already.
The safest place to click on the pop-up windows are on the red X’s in the upper right hand corner to close them, but sometimes you’ll find that you can’t get out of the web page or browser because they keep popping up. If your browser keeps a ‘memory’ of the sites you were on when it closed (like Firefox does), it feels like you can’t get rid of the offending site. But there is a way to safely extract yourself from the clutches of these evil doers.
There are a number of real virus scanners out there, and a popular one is AVG. You can download and install it for free, although it may do some unsavory things such as change your default search engine to Yahoo and install yet another toolbar. These things are easily reversed, of course.
So, you might wonder, how does this happen that a website ends up in page one of Google’s search results and yet is a site that is so obviously evil that it’s trying to extort money from you? It’s usually done by cloaking. When Google’s search bots go looking to index websites, these sites give the search bots a different page filled with keywords that look like an exact match for what you’re searching for so they score high enough to reach page one. However, when the website detects a real browser, it will redirect it to another website that tries to convince you that you have a virus and now must buy some protection. Google and other search engines hate cloaking, but they have a hard time detecting it, since a website can tell whether it’s being visited by a search bot vs. a browser.
If you’ve visited a site like this, you should to do a real virus scan, particularly if you allowed it to download and execute the .exe file. As long as you didn’t open the .exe file, you’re probably OK, but for peace of mind, a scan with AVG or similar virus scanner may help your computer feel just a little less slimy after visiting one of those sites.
Posted on March 13th, 2009 4 comments
In order to improve my productivity, I am looking for a Twitter application with the following automation features:
1. Tweet a quote from some famous person every 5 minutes. I have a book of over 2800 quotes and it would be ideal if it could be scanned into a database and direct the contents into my Twitter stream. It will take about 23 days to cycle through all the quotes at that rate. After it’s over, I want it to loop continuously for the benefit of my new followers and in case someone missed one of the quotes.
2. Check the local weather and send a message to all my peeps about what it looks like outside my window, at least 5 or 6 times a day. It should also tell people when it’s getting dark in my neighborhood.
3. Connect to a pillow sensor so that when I’m hitting the hay, everyone will know, as I’m sure they are curious. It should issue a random yet clever statement with the word ‘pillow’ somewhere in it.
4. Each morning when I arise, it must proclaim that momentous event and simply send the phrase, “Mornin’ Peeps!!!”
5. Whenever Guy Kawasaki tweets anything, which happens about 300-400 times a day, the app should be the first to Re-Tweet it, ideally within 30 milliseconds so I can get my mug to appear in the Tweet stream before his next posting, if possible. For an extra bonus, remove any gratuitous references to alltop.com.
6. It should monitor for any DMs sent to me and forward them to my spam bucket, because, frankly, I just don’t have the time to check my Twitter DMs.
7. It should search through Google’s newsfeed and tweet the top headlines as they change every 3 minutes. It should insert ambiguous and random catch phrases that go something like “This is cool!”, or “Can you believe this?!” in front of the tinyurl link.
8. Harvest the entire Twitter member database and follow everyone.
9. Auto-follow anyone who somehow manages to follow me before I can follow them. It must then send them a Tweet, an email, and a phone text telling them how much I appreciate their follow and how I intend to hang on their every word.
10. If anyone should ever stop following me, notify me about it immediately, so I can launch a marketing campaign to get them back, ASAP, unless it’s someone who doesn’t Tweet every hour, because I really could care less about those kinds of people.
11. Send out some blip.fm song link every 10 minutes that will make my followers think I have very sophisticated musical taste.
Have I left any out? Feel free to add your own ‘must have’ Twitter automation features in the comments…
UPDATE 2009-03-21: Just in case the satire didn’t shine through, I think that automation in social networking is a slippery slope that eventually ruins the experience. People who engage in the techniques above make me want to ‘unfollow’ them on Twitter.
Posted on May 21st, 2008 No comments
I’ve read Dan Pink’s previous books, Free Agent Nation and A Whole New Mind and enjoyed them thoroughly and wrote reviews of them. Just recently I read Dan’s latest book, The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need. This book contains several important career lessons that it helps to be reminded of periodically. I liked its creative approach of using Japanese Manga comic style for a business book. It makes the lessons much more memorable and fun to read. The book has 6 lessons, namely:
1. Your plans and jobs will change, so don’t try to plan out your entire career in advance. Each position will help you learn what you’re good at which can help to direct your career. Positions will sometimes change or move away, so you shouldn’t get too attached to a pre-conceived notion of what your long term career plan must look like to be successful. Despite what your parents may have told you, there are no safe “fallback careers” anymore. Also, if a job is safe but you can’t stand it, then it is no way to spend your career.
2. Find positions that focus on your strengths and not your weaknesses. If you work in an area that requires you to do things that don’t resonate with your strengths, it will be nearly impossible to be successful. There are some good resources recommended about finding your strengths, such as the book Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham. Knowing your strengths will allow you to better choose positions where you spend more of your time doing things that you do well and enjoy.
3. Your career is not about you, but rather about what you do to help customers, clients, and co-workers to be successful. Using your strengths and enjoying your job is important, but they must be applied to helping others, not just yourself.
4. Persistence is more valuable than raw talent. Your career isn’t a sprint, but more like a marathon. You need to continue to show up, practice, and never give up.
5. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. The only people who don’t make mistakes are those who never try anything. When you do make mistakes, make sure you learn from them. If you make a really big mistake, you’ll know because it may be named after you (This has something to do with the choice of the main character’s name).
6. Leave an imprint. When you look back at your career, you’ll want to be able to know that you made a difference that mattered.
There are a lot of business/career books out there that have useful information, but you’d be hard pressed to find one that has as much great advice concentrated in as few words as this book. I was able to read the entire book during a lunch break. One of the common objections I hear from my colleagues who tell me that they don’t read business books is that they don’t have the time, but that excuse won’t work for this one.
This may be the “last career guide that I’ll ever need,” but I’ll certainly look forward to any future writing Dan Pink does on the subject.