Archive for February, 2010

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FalconFour’s Micro BootCD v2.5

February 18, 2010

A little preview of what’s to come.

Possibly the most powerful 50mb you will ever download. On this disc is a bootable Windows XP installation containing many useful tools for PC diagnostics and repair… or anything else you want to use it for. Live XP based on Hiren’s XP 10.1 gives you a working copy of Windows on any bootable PC, even without a hard drive. From there you can edit the PC’s registry offline, run an offline Chkdsk, or run a quick offline temp file cleanup with CleanExternal. All sorts of cool offline stuff here.

But 50mb gave me a little more room to work with. So I added a few DOS-based utilities as well, like Spinrite to refresh/repair a hard drive, PTEdit to reveal if your old system is 48-bit LBA compatible (137gb barrier on old IDE systems), and Kon-Boot to log in to any local account without a password – and without breaking the existing one. Pretty powerful stuff.

Suck on that, Damn Small Linux.

How’d this all start? Well, I had created a MiniBootCD of the v2.5 F4UBCD to fit on an 8cm 185mb CD-R (we had a lot of ’em laying around), and those became the de-facto shop standard. Then, I was browsing around and I saw a business-card CD-R that held 50mb. Well, 50mb was about the size of the raw XP image. Why not try cramming it in there? Cram, I did. But in making it fit, I found some extra free space laying around. And I found that I could apply those techniques to other parts of the system as well. Next thing I knew, I was thinking of all the useful tools I could cram onto the disc. Instead of wasting space with flat floppy images, they’re now cleared and GZipped, decompressed on startup with memdisk. And it worked well.

Now you can see what’s in store for v2.5 ahead of time. Since this isn’t actually being used officially in shop I can give it to you guys for your consumption. Hopefully it’ll make up for the relatively unpolished v2.0 (by current standards)!

Once you dive into this disc, you’ll never need another boot CD. ™


On the Disc

  • Live XP based on Hiren’s XP 10.1
    Includes: HD Tune Pro 4.01, RegEditPE v2.0 Beta, Ghost 11.5, fix_hdc, network support, Keyfinder, NTPWEdit, RemoveWGA, Unstoppable Copier, 7-Zip, and Solitaire
    Tweaks
    : Desktop icons, Taskmgr as task manager, 1024×768 res, 7-zip instead of UHA compression, FAT32 image filesystem to save space, various other tweaks
  • SpinRite 6.0
  • PTEdit
  • Memtest86+ 4.0
  • Kon-Boot 1.1

jfgi

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Hey, marketing geeks! Double branding sucks.

February 14, 2010

Linksys by Cisco. Pelco by Schneider Electric. Even APC by Schneider Electric. And now as I look at a bottle of water, I see “Crystal Geyser by CG Roxane”. This all friggin’ sucks, and you marketing geeks probably want to know how it’s impacting your brand image.

Badly. When I see “by” in the name, I don’t think “ouh, so these guys made it”. I think “Oh, so their parent company didn’t think they were getting enough attention, so they slapped their name on it”. That, in turn, means that the brand itself isn’t important, just the mega-corporation after the “by”. Probably also the same reason HD-DVD failed – take an existing, recognizable logo, and tack something onto it (“HD” with a few “waves”). In this case, take an existing brand, and tack another name onto it. Cisco did it first with that “Linksys by Cisco” crap, but they took it WAY too far, even to the point of changing the linksys.com domain into a redirect to linksysbycisco.com – blatantly trying to shove that into peoples’ minds. Here’s a hint, NOBODY is ever going to tell someone to go buy a “Linksys by Cisco” router. Doing that just dilutes the brand name image and next thing you know, people will end up buying a Netgear instead of a Linksys by Cisco.

Schneider Electric? Talk about a fucking mess. Okay, so Pelco, possibly the most recognized name in video surveillance systems. APC, the most recognized name in power management systems. They get bought by some no-name company whose name doesn’t even reflect technology. Schneider Electric. And they know their name sucks. So what do they do? They want to attach their name to each of them, then slap the modified logo on EVERYTHING involving the two companies. Pelco by Schneider Electric, APC by Schneider Electric. What’s this tell me? It only serves to tell me that Schneider Electric has serious self-confidence issues… and perhaps that their shareholders need a little extra ego-stroking. It’s pure bullshit, and yes… I see all these things when I see the word “by” in a company name.

Now, it’s acceptable to put a company name in a product name. I see no problem with that. Microsoft Office, for example, works just fine. But you rarely see the word “by” in these names, probably because “by” implies that massive douchebaggery is afoot in the boardroom. But for god’s sake, it must take an ego the size of Texas to slap this kind of double-branding shit on a company’s name. What the hell.

Needless to say, I avoid these brands solely due to their name, due to the fact that I want to avoid supporting such douche boardroom decisions. Perhaps with enough people avoiding these brands, they’ll see that their brand is failing, and some marketing nut will suggest that they change their brand again – back to what it was. And maybe, by some act of God, that suggestion will be implemented, and we’ll once again see Linksys, Pelco, or APC standing on their own as respectable companies.

edit: And it seems I’m not the only one.

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Your moment of zen

February 9, 2010

*** eddyg wouldn’t want to antagonise FalconFour and be on the same continent – he’s the sort to come knocking on your door with an AK47 and a few support questions of his own.

I lol’d. Googling myself on the #handbrake IRC logs is proving to be quite entertaining. source

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Handbrake 0.9.4 Netbook resolution patched

February 7, 2010

Handbrake 0.9.4 was finally released some months ago. It’s still an amazingly useful tool, and probably x264’s most active “vehicle”. But, as before, it’s not without its problems. The GUI is still buggy and flaky at times, probably because of a huge amount of patched spaghetti code. IMO it really just needs to be rewritten, just looking over the source. Handbrake itself has gotten significantly more stable, quicker, and more usable. It’s now quite a useful tool to convert DVDs to MPEG-4 with top-of-the-line codecs and amazing compression.

Perhaps most glaring of its issues, despite the fact that the GUI automatically scales and provides a scroll bar to navigate the interface, it refuses to run when the resolution is too low. It flat-out does not allow the program to run due to this arbitrary limitation – no bypass switches, nothing. It needs to be recompiled. But it works just fine at lower resolutions. You can test this functionality by launching Handbrake at 1024×768 (or higher), minimize the GUI, then change the resolution to 800×600. Restore the GUI, and it suddenly grows scroll bars like magic and it’s still usable. The devs have consistently ignored countless requests to remove this limitation so, well, once again, that’s where I come in.

Look closer – shit bricks.

This is a full installation of the Handbrake application, which can be installed over your existing Handbrake install (you shouldn’t need to have both the original, and this patched version, installed at the same time). Install, and voila! Handbrake on your netbook. As per GPL licensing, the source is available as well.

Download the patched version here. ** edit: fuck dropbox in the ass. Find it on OneDrive here.

edit: Fixed some versioning discrepancies that caused Handbrake to pop up prompting for an update right off the bat. Hopefully this does it… the way HB-GUI checks versioning is a fucking nightmare of holy-shit spaghetti code. #1 reason why I hate object-oriented programming. *headdesk*

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He’s gettin’ ink done

February 7, 2010

That song’s really painfully cheesy… but that lyric stuck.

So, at least 3 years coming, I finally got that tattoo I’ve been dreaming of.

Please excuse the emo mirror photo. At first I couldn’t think of a good way to get a photo of a tattoo on my arm (with the other? timer?), then I thought of the mirror. Cool deal. So here it is, at least in line form. Not quite finished yet, but it’s already as beautiful as I imagined it. I’m so damn happy…

Okay, a little back story (and/or more reasons to believe I’m insane) is in order. See, I don’t lie, and I’m not your average joe 12-year-old furry – I really believe I am a falcon at heart, stuck in a body I don’t respect, that doesn’t respect me. I’m unusually robotic at a lot of things, avoiding social situations and preferring to stay home perusing Wikipedia or absorbing other knowledge. Hell, the love of my life is arguably a “robot” itself. F-16s don’t have a perceivable conscience, nor would any person other than myself really put an emotional label on them. Something’s different about me. I never felt like I belonged in the body I was given. If anything, I should be a fighter pilot – but if there’s anything my body doesn’t want me to be… it’s a fighter pilot. I’ve got to give it respect for being really immune to motion-sickness, though 😉

So, the tattoo. Like a lot of F-16s have a falcon on the side of them, giving them their name (and, arguably, their personality, liveliness, or “soul”), I wanted the same on me. Maybe I am just a soul deposited into a random body. I really now need something to make it mine. Then, I can actually see the body as “myself”, and perhaps treat myself with a lot more respect than I had in the past…

Perhaps it would also reflect in the work I do outside of my weekend clothes. So often, I use clothes to present a better outward appearance than the shit I’m forced to wear Monday through Friday. Nobody else can see that falcon on my arm, but I still know it’s there. I now remember, I now know who I am, no matter what ridiculous outfit I put on. Rather quite the change from the generic human I’d been before. I’m still the same flesh and blood, but I finally have something permanently engrained in my skin to signify exactly what this body means to me.

And it changes everything.

tl;dr: I got a fucking tattoo, bitches. I’m badass.