Unetbootin, Vista 32bit hell and other stories

Zoe had a friend who was having some computer problems and I suppose to some extent I brought this upon myself. Thankfully, I now have a strategy. Of course this is probably like 10 hours where I am far too deep in to start strategizing, but I now have a strategy.

Lets pretend for a moment you have a 32 bit Core-Duo laptop running Windows Vista Home 32bit that is infected with malware and viruses and acting generally poorly, what do you do?  Well, my friend, you take your 8GB flash key that has an already built 9.04 Ubuntu Kernel on it, you boot it from that and run ClamAV using the ClamTK GUI.  It works.  It found a couple of viruses on the backup HD and  I feel safer about backup data as well as my data on my Windows 7 machine.  Thankfully, since I’m principally running OS X and 9.04 MythBuntu these days we’re highly prone to viruses, but nonetheless, I was concerned about re-infection with her external USB hard drive as well as her 4GB Flash Key.

Step 1) Use Unetbootin to load a flash key with a bootable version of the Linux of your choice

Step 2) Boot up the sick (dying) notebook with that USB flash drive

Step 3) Scan all files with ClamAV under Linux, then backup all data

Step 4) Wipe the old computer clean and re-install Windows (this part is oh so familiar) & leave ~ 20GB for a separate EXT3 Linux partition

Step 5) Institute a backup as well as best practice anti-virus procedures

Step 6) Install Linux in the 20GB spare rescue partition in case this happens again!

Step 7) After about a year  Windows XP will be gunked up again, so repeat! (see Step 1)

iPod Touch has 802.11n! But it’s not enabled! Zing!

I went to the Apple Store on 5th Ave before doing a little bouldering in Central Park.  Chris sent the Polish Traverse and made it look effortless.  At least someone is in shape.  So, I stopped by Apple and asked what they knew about the 802.11n chipset on the latest model iPod Touch.  Nothing.  They never know anything.  Seriously, I’ve had my best experiences at these stores only in the morning on very un-busy days.

I had to get a new battery once for a black Macbook and my options were: 1) schlep to Staten Island 2) buy one or 3) schlep to the 14th Street store because they are less busy.  I sat around the 14th Street store for about 45 minutes, crossed my fingers and waited for a lull in the ever present traffic.  The Genius there was very nice, she took pity on me and warranteed a new battery. But my other option was to come back to the 59th store at 5AM on a Friday. Their system blows, but I digress…

The employee didn’t have any specific answers about 802.11n on the new Touch.  It was his belief that it works, though I imagine if this were the case I’d have read at least one technical blog mention it.  Right now the word is that it has Broadcom’s mobile n chipset and it has a single antenna and it should be capable up to 30 Mb/s. Most tech writers speculate it’ll be enabled in the next 6 months. Oh well. Also, there is no camera yet on the Touch.

The image below links to the tear down, and if you’re into such things, click here for the Broadcom PDF spec sheet.

iFix it 802.11n iPod Touch Teardown

iFix it 802.11n iPod Touch Teardown

802.11n in iPod Touch

802.11n in iPod Touch

One Stop Ripping All Your FLAC Audio Needs

Thought I’d throw out a quick post while I was doing some searching for “best practices” in FLAC image extraction of audio CD’s for backup purposes.   Basically follow this guy’s instructions:


In EAC you’ll click the “Actions > Extract Image + Cue Sheet > Compressed” function using your basic FLAC settings.  Also be sure to enable Accurate Rip and do the automatic detection on all the drive settings.  Save a .log file.  There should be three files upon final output: the FLAC image, the CUE sheet, and the .LOG.  That’s it.  Simple is as simple does.  If you feel like embedding the CUE sheet in the FLAC you can use Foobar2000 to do such, know however that it’s non-standard as far as burning back out.  Apparently it’s always handy to have a separate CUE sheet.  Good to know.

UPDATE: So, two things I realized.  One: XLD (X Lossless Decoder) for OS X does pretty much the same thing as EAC.  However, if you’re still hell bent on using EAC and XP (couldn’t get EAC to go under Darwine) it’s important to know that it won’t easily embed cuesheets (.cue sheets) automatically as XLD does.  Embedded cuesheets do make life a little easier as your playback software can look at either the .cue or the .flac file and see all the tracks from the single disc rip.

To embed a .cue using Foobar2000 right click on the .flac image file select “Utils > Edit cuesheet” a window will pop up, check “Embed cuesheet” and then “Load .cue file” from your extraction directory, click “OK” to save.  Bingo bango.  XLD can do this automatically.  I really cannot say which is better per data integrity, YMMV.  Obviously if you’re running Windows EAC is a “reference” standard.

Album art is another grey area as either the %Album Name%.jpg or simply “cover.jpg” can be used inside the album folder.  Also, what about album dates?  Certainly, we can agree that the album’s original release date is the important date here in metadata, and per genre conventions I tend to trust MusicBrainz.  For a good read I really liked Daniel Stout’s article about simplifying down to 25 main “top level” genres and tagging comments/notes metadata with sub-genres.  The moral here is you should read up as much as you can.  Either EAC or XLD will do fine with rips to backup your audio CDs.  Cover art and sub-genre notes I’m going to have to keep exploring.

Exact Audio Copy

Exact Audio Copy

Darwine you are a fine Wine.

For whatever reason I’d never played around with application compatibility layer software like Wine under OS X. Parallels and VMware are quite overkill for most people’s purposes.  Usually the user may need to run one application in the guest OS and setting up an entire VM and giving 10GB or whatever over to that system, not to mention memory resources, is overkill.  Certainly for developers being able to load/change machine states with VMs and sandbox their development, it makes sense, but for most end-users it’s crazy.

I haven’t checked all the applications I’d like to use, the ones I found myself booting to XP the most were A/V stuff like Foobar2000, MediaMonkey, EAC, etc.  But the good news is that under Leopard Darwine v1.21.1 runs Foobar2000 just fine, a fine Wine if you will (hah).  So that’s exciting.  Codeweavers sells something similar called CrossOver but Darwine is free and I figured since I already had X11 installed it was worth a shot.  Pretty cool stuff.



Gaggia little Gaggia, the light of my life.

Found a used Gaggia Classic on newyork.craigslist.org.  Took the train up to Greenwich, paid the the cash to the pusher man in the back of his SUV and took home a “marginally used” single pump/single boiler w/3 way solenoid valve home espresso machine.  The Rancilio Silvia currently goes new for about $600 or more, the Gaggia Classic is usually just under $500.  I paid less than half of that so I feel good about it.  Now the grinding, that’s another story.  My vintage PeDe hand grinder goes pretty fine, but it’s still a bit coarse for the Gaggia.  I had Ellen at Sweet Leaf grind me some Hairbender with their Mazzer profi grinder and it’s perhaps too fine; I’ll try less tamp.  This morning it has tended towards a bit sour extraction though blonding doesn’t seem to be happening as quickly and I’m getting the full 30 seconds if not more, which makes me think it’s too fine.  With the Larry’s espresso I was using and the PeDe I was getting 15 seconds max but it was much sweeter, though likely much less extracted, so it’s a fine line.

So yeah, at this point I have some cleaning to do: back flush the porta filter basket and 3-way valve, and do a full descale of the system.  So far it doesn’t look like it was too heavily used though when I pulled the screen off the group head there was a pretty serious buildup of coffee soot/sludge so I’ll likely need to do a bit of cleaning around the group.

Gaggia Classic Espresso Machine

Gaggia Classic Espresso Machine

I did find a few terrific videos concerning grinding and cleaning I’ll link to here, from Seattle Coffee Gear and their blog here, The Brown Bean:

HTML5: http://youtu.be/N7Bn5IjZht8

HTML5: http://youtu.be/hLoaIWmufKk

HTML5: http://youtu.be/bxpOBZyK9MA

HTML5: http://youtu.be/uiP-6ZLJpp4