Migrating Windows7 to New Hard Drive 
I just got a new, larger hard drive for my work PC (thanks Ed!) and wanted to make it my primary drive. I didnít want to have to reinstall Windows7 and all my apps so I looked around for some way to migrate the contents of the old drive to the new one. The ďrecommendedĒ method appears to be that one should first create a full system image (a feature built into Windows7) and then restore that image to the new drive via a Windows7 Repair Disc. Although full system images can be stored to a net share, unfortunately the repair disc doesnít allow net share access (at least not for Windows7 RC repair discs).

I didnít have a spare third drive, all the external drives in my lab are already full, and file server couldnít be used, so I simply couldnít use the system image restore method at all. Instead, I looked around for a method of doing a disk-to-disk clone. My lab has an older copy Norton Ghost, but I wasnít sure if it would be able to correctly copy the boot loader, and I didnít want to bother with registering the software either.

Instead, I found an OpenSource project called Clonezilla (http://clonezilla.org/). This software does essentially the same thing as Norton Ghost, and there is also a version than can do distributed cloning (such as doing an install for a computer lab).

I gave it a shot and it worked great after a minor fix. Everything was copied successfully, including the boot loader. When I attempted boot, Windows detected an error with the boot loader though. I let Windows attempt a repair, and it told me no problems were found. The problem went away after that though. I suspect that the boot loader had a reference to the name or other characteristics of the drive and this got updated during the repair.

One other minor issue was that Clonezilla created a partition exactly the same size as my old, smaller drive on the new one. I bet that there are some advanced settings in Clonezilla that would have let me fix this, but Windows Disk Management lets you extend the size of NTFS-formatted partitions easily.

I still havenít seen any Windows Activation errors either, so hopefully that will be a non-issue. I can definitely say Clonezilla is worth checking out if you face a similar problem as I did and donít want to purchase Norton Ghost, etc. Just make sure you back up all your important stuff first.

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Optimal Microwaving with Fitt's μλ-Number 
This trick will save at least five otherwise wasted minutes of your life if used religiously. This is intended as a joke, but yeah, I actually do this. :)

When pressing buttons on a microwave, "a lot" of time is wasted moving your finger around (as predicted by Fitt's Law). You can regain these precious lost fractions of a second by modifying your button pressing behavior just slightly to minimize "costly" movements. The trick is to never press 0 (zero) on the microwave. Simply pick a number string of all the same number that is closest to your target time.

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On the Road 
I just read Kerouac's "On the Road," and have now found out a movie is currently in the works. Hopefully it will be good, but the book seems to be "unfilmable" without considerable changes. I'll definitely be keeping a eye out for it regardless, as I "dig" the book. :)

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iPod 4G Repair 
I was able to successfully resurrect my wife's iPod 4G (20 GB) that suffered from a hard drive death recently. I used the opportunity to convert the iPod to use CompactFlash memory as well as replacing the old battery with a fresh one. The flash memory should make the iPod more reliable since there are no moving parts. Lower power consumption (and therefore longer battery life) is also a benefit. I dropped down to 16 GB from the original 20 GB hard drive, but that is still plenty enough to hold my wife's music library. Many folks would probably just buy a more recent iPod, but I was compelled to fix the 4G because we have MusicLink 1.0 in our Honda, which can only charge 4G (and some earlier) iPods. We have a similar issue with a kitchen radio/iPod dock. All told, I spent around $80 on parts.

I used the following guide, but also referred to several other sites in selecting the components:

Instructables Article on iPod CompactFlash Conversion

The trickiest part appears to be selecting an appropriate CompactFlash card. You must use a card that supports IDE mode. Many cards only support a different mode used by cameras. Unfortunately, most CF cards don't specify IDE compatibility and those that do are generally quite expensive (targeting embedded computer markets for system critical applications). Apparently, many brands will use whatever memory and controller chips are cheapest at any given time, which may or may not include the IDE capability. It initially appeared that any consumer-grade CompactFlash card I purchased would be a crapshoot for IDE compatibility. After lots of reading, I finally found that Transcend was a good brand and their official documentation even seemed to indicate IDE as officially supported. I ended up purchasing the following for around $50:

Transcend 16GB Compact Flash (CF) Flash Card Model TS16GCF133


As for a CompactFlash to IDE adapter, I purchased the following:

DealExtreme CF-to-IDE

This adapter was far cheaper than any other option I could find, but took ages to ship due to backorder and even then took a while to get to me from Hong Kong. Given the roughly $5 cost, it was still worth it though. When it arrived, I found a few pins bent and very sloppy soldering. Also, the slave/master jumper needed to be bent parallel to the board because it sticks up too high (this is discussed on various forums). After fixing these problems, the iPod repair was otherwise very straightforward.

I purchased the battery from here:

iPod Battery

Once I connected everything, doing an iPod restore via iTunes and then a synch to download the music brought the iPod back to life.


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Kid Hit by Meteorite and Survives 
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/scienceandte ... orite.html

This reminds me of an event back when I lived in Home Park near GaTech. One day, Jeff C. and I found a hole in his room's wall (2nd floor) that went all the way through the vinyl siding to outside. The drywall was pushed inwards like a projectile came from outside. We found a little bit of rock in the space in the wall. I believe we considered it being a meteorite but dismissed it, thinking a bullet was much more likely and that the rock was from house construction debris. However, the hole wasn't bullet-shaped and we didn't find a bullet either. We probably should have investigated further since a meteorite would be very valuable...


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