Subscribe

Receive updates via email:

 Updates via RSS

Tag Cloud

Blog Archive

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Fixed! DBAN Finished With Non-Fatal Errors When Trying to Wipe SATA Drive

Yesterday I was able to complete the migration of my Dell Microsoft Windows Vista machine to a VMWare Virtual Machine so I could have one less PC running in my house. Having successfully moved everything over, no matter how painful (posts coming) it was now time to prepare the computer for disposal (eBay / Craigslist).

As I mentioned earlier this week, I usually use Darik's Boot and Nuke, called DBAN to wipe the disks and permanently destroy the data before reinstalling the operating system and getting rid of the computer.

So, I updated to the most recent copy of DBAN, 2.0.0 from the download site and dropped it into the CD-ROM to boot. I then followed the common steps I normally did to wipe the disk.

I choose my settings:
Entropy: LinuxKernal (urandom)
PRNG: Mesenne Twister (mt19937ar-cok)
Method: DoD 5220.22-M
Verify: Last Pass

I then selected both the drives that I wanted to nuke, and hit f10 to execute.

Oddly, rather than entering the progress screen dialog, I was greeted with an unfriendly message:

DBAN Finished With Non-Fatal Errors
Logs were being written to disk, yada, yada, yada. It didn't work.

I rebooted the machine thinking that would change something. I still received the same error message:
DBAN Finished With Non-Fatal Errors

Something was pretty odd here.

I went ahead and at the initial startup prompt entered the command "autonuke" thinking that would somehow lead to a different outcome. But, it didn't.

It then dawned on me that there could be some random incompatibility between my computer and DBAN 2.0.0. I pulled out my trusty DBAN 1.0.7 disk and gave it a try. Still, the same result of DBAN exiting with the non-fatal errors. (Which ironically, is fatal since your computer basically freezes up and you have to thumb it...but, I digress.)

Then I turned to Google. After much searching and little result, I stumbled across a post which suggested that DBAN had an issue with SATA drives that possibly had to do with them not being high enough on the primary channels. That led me to notice that there were 5 devices shown for some reason in the DBAN GUI menu, three that were not recognized and the hard drives were listed as the last two.

That led me to try something out.

What I did next, since I had 4 devices in my Dell Dimension E520 -- 2 Hard Drivers, 1 CD/DVD-ROM, and 1 CD-RW/DVD-RW drive was to reconfigure that SATA cabling. I pulled out two of the devices, the 2nd CD-ROM, and the secondary hard drive and put the single hard drive on channel "0" with the bootable CD-RW/DVD-RW drive on channel "1".

With just two of the drives connected, I then gave DBAN 2.0.0 another shot. After making the configuration setting changes, I attempted to start the data destruction process. Guess what? It kicked it off and started working, showing my progress. In just a few hours, my

Lesson learned? For those of you with SATA configurations with multiple drives from Dell or other manufacturers, you made need to either disconnect some drives or even re-order how they are connected to your motherboard or SATA card. With some basic tweaking, DBAN will be back and working in no time.

Did this work for you? If so, if you wouldn't mind tweeting about it on Twitter, posting a link on Facebook, or posting a comment below...that'd be awesome!

Read more of this post!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

How To: Clean The Trackball on Your Blackberry (Video: Bold, Tour, Pearl, and Curve)

The other day, the trackball on my Blackberry Bold 9000 stopped working. By not working, basically, the trackball would not scroll down -- which is the most common problem as that is the most frequently used direction. Due to that, there can be some dirt and debris build up that needs to be cleaned out from time to time.

This guide will walk you through a quick tutorial on how you can clean the trackball. If this does not work for you, you can always replace the trackball by purchasing a replacement fairly cheaply from Amazon.com. Click here to go directly to a compatible product.

This guide and tutorial is available in both a video and text form. The video is below along with the supporting text on the steps to take and is compatible with the Blackberry series of devices and smartphones that include the Blackberry Bold, Pearl, Tour, and Curve lines.

Before getting started there are 3 things that you need:

1. You Blackberry Device, Blackberry Bold 9000 in my case. (9700 from AT&T, T-Mobile)

2. Isopropyl / rubbing alcohol or lens cleaning solution.

3. A couple of Q-Tips

4. Alternatively a can of air to initially clean or dry the trackball.

Here is the video:



Here are the actual steps to take:

1. Power off your Blackberry.

2. Optional: Spray the trackball and the area surrounding it on your Blackberry to dislodge and clean out any dirt or debris.

2. Prepare the isopropyl alcohol or lens cleaning solutions by pouring a little bit into the cap, just enough to wet the Q-Tip.

3. Lightly dip the Q-Tip into the rubbing alcohol or solution to wet the Q-Tip. Do not soak the Q-Tip as you do not want the alcohol to be dripping off.

4. Take the Q-Tip and roll the trackball several times in all 4 directions, up, down, left, and right. This will ensure that all of the areas of the trackball and contacts are cleaned and any dirt is collected.

5. Swab around the outside of the Trackball to pick up any additional direct or debris that may not have been removed.

6. Either use the can of air, or lightly blow on the Blackberry to dry an excess alcohol from the device.

7. Turn the Blackberry back on. Congratulations, your trackball should work again on your Blackberry device whether it is the Bold, Tour, Pearl, or Curve!

How To: Clean The Trackball on Your Blackberry (Video: Bold, Tour, Pearl, and Curve)

Read more of this post!

Monday, December 28, 2009

How To: Prepare and Sell A Used Computer & Hard Drive (Erase, Format, Wipe)

Did you get a new computer for Christmas?

I did not, but a number of my friends did. And on more than one occasion I have been told they did not know what to do with the old computer. When I asked why not sell it on Craigslist or eBay, the reply often was -- I did not know how to prepare it to make sure the data was removed from the old hard drive.

It immediately made me think that many people are not quite sure where to start when it comes to securing their hard drive before parting with it. If that's you, you may want to check this article out if you plan on disposing of that old hard drive or computer -- either by donating or selling on your favorite site, whether that is on eBay or Craiglist to see how you should prepare that computer for sale. That will enable you to get the most cash for your old machine and feel safe about letting it out of your hands; even if you had very personal data on it.

The first thing to realize is that simply formatting a hard drive is not enough to protect to remove, erase, wipe, or destroy the personal data that you may have on your hard drive. In fact, an article published earlier this year revealed that over 34% of resold hard drives still have personal data on them.

Unfortunately, in many cases it is all to easy with some basic utilities to scan a formatted only hard drive and recover most of the data if you have only have performed a basic format and have an unencrypted drive. Which today, is the most common scenario for most home PCs.

However, there is both a free and easy way to permanently wipe and erase you hard drive and making sure that nobody is able to access the data.

How you ask?

With Darik's Boot And Nuke, a free open-source software that enables you to boot via a CD-ROM, run the tool for a number of hours and wipe that data from your hard drive. Here's a little more on the tool:

Darik's Boot and Nuke ("DBAN") is a self-contained boot disk that securely wipes the hard disks of most computers. DBAN will automatically and completely delete the contents of any hard disk that it can detect, which makes it an appropriate utility for bulk or emergency data destruction.

DBAN is a means of ensuring due diligence in computer recycling, a way of preventing identity theft if you want to sell a computer, and a good way to totally clean a Microsoft Windows installation of viruses and spyware. DBAN prevents or thoroughly hinders all known techniques of hard disk forensic analysis.

DBAN is a free software product that can be used at home or in a business at zero cost. The only official place to obtain DBAN is by download at this web site. We do not sell DBAN media


Last time I wrote about DBAN a couple of years ago, the current version was 1.07. Now updated to version 2.0, it now supports AMD, Intel, and MAC PowerPC processors, so matter if you are running a Microsoft Windows or an Apple Macintosh (Mac) operating system -- you should be set to go.

If you are looking for more details on how to operate DBAN, please check out my old article here.

Once you complete the low-level format and completely wipe the data -- you are now able to reload all the original operating system and software. Once you have done that, you can put it up on eBay or Craigslist to maximize the value, while feeling safe about letting the old hard drive out of you sight.

Was this article helpful? If so, please post a tweet (on Twitter) or a link on your Facebook page to let other know!

Read more of this post!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Blogger Editor Broken: Add Photo Icon Missing from Updated Editor

It appears that Blogger's new updated Editor is broken. Broken to the point where it is not usable, at least for me. While it looks "neat" and is a little more functional than the older version, it appears to be missing a key component, the links and icons for upload pictures, videos, and more.

As far as I can tell, there is no way to fix the problem and it is not supposed to be that way, according to the post on Google's Blogger Help.

Google / Blogger's new editor is supposed to be fully functional with more features. I find it to be ocurring with less

But, that's what I am not experiencing. Rather, my new "enhanced and update" Blogger Post Composer and Editor is missing all but the most basic editing options. Yes, it is enhanced and more usable, but unfortunately not functional.

Blogger's updated editor for post creation and editing is missing key icons like adding photos, videos, and more

At first, I thought it had to be just a configuration issue. There had to be a seating on the page, through another menu or somewhere that would aid in resolving the situation. After searching around the application I could find no menu bar options to add the additional icons and functionality. That left me with only one option, to revert.

With the broken updated editor, your only choice is to revert to the previous old editor by going to the settings and basic tab

In order to revert, all you need to do is click on 'Settings' and on the basic tab at the bottom there is a section called Global Settings where you can select your Post Editor. Simply click on the radio button for the Old Editor and you are back in business where you can upload photos, videos and more.

Back to the old Blogger Post Editor, not pretty, but it still works

In the end, it is a pretty big bummer. What attracted me to the new updated Blogger editor is the new Amazon widget that they published. Rather than having to switch between the Amazon Associates website for their Affiliates program, it integrates right into a widget on the right hand side where you can search, link, embed with much greater ease. In fact, if you even highlight text in your posting editor it automatically fills in the search -- making the process much more efficient.

For now, it looks like I will have to upload pictures, screenshots, and other items with one editor and then switch the settings back to use the new Amazon functionality. That's a real downer.

Does anyone know how to either fix the issue or if Blogger is working on the fix?

Read more of this post!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

How To: Force Blackberry to EDGE Network on AT&T instead of 3G

Sick of your AT&T Blackberry dropping calls on the 3G network?

Sick of having full bars on your AT&T yet data will not download?

Sick of your battery draining because the service switches between GSM, GPRS, EDGE, and 3G frequently because of poor 3G coverage?

Tired of poor connections and phone call quality on the AT&T 3G network?

Wish you could go back to the EDGE 2G network permanently?

Well, now you can. But first, do you want to?

From my point of view, I have been longing to return to the AT&T EDGE network for months. While AT&T may cover over 200 million people according to their latest releases, the quality of that coverage is terrible in most areas. Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and the Silicon Valley just to name a few. That's why I really laugh when I see the commercials. It seems that AT&T has forgotten that quality is more important than quantity when it comes to 3G coverage.

And unfortunately, for me -- changing providers is not an option. I won't got into the particulars, it is just not an option. So, that leaves me with the desire to force my Blackberry Bold 9000 back to the EDGE 2G network, so that it would hopefully revert to the old performance.

The good news is that if you have a Blackberry 3G device like the Blackberry Bold 9000, 9700, the Curve, or the Tour on the AT&T network, there is now a way that you can by a simply changing a configuration on your device. It really is that simple.

But, it has not always been that way. When I first started looking into this 6 months ago, the device did not support a network mode or preference. In fact, there are number postings (like this one) where AT&T originally removed this option from the Blackberry software for the AT&T specific devices. Whether it was intentional to force people on the 3G network or an oversight, no one knows.

However, over time...the demand for the ability to have a better choice in choosing network due to customers that were on the fringe of coverage as well as recommendations from AT&T techs put AT&T in a tough position. In recent software updates, they have re-enabled that feature.

So, if you are not seeing the screens below in your Blackberry you may not have an updated version of the Blackberry Device Software. The current version on my Blackberry Bold 9000 that has the feature is v4.6.0.297 (Platform 4.0.0.247) by looking at Settings --> Options --> About. If you do not have the most current version, there are two ways to get to it.

1. Go to the Blackberry website and download the latest version of you Blackberry Device Software. The link is here.

2. You can also update the software on your Blackberry by using the Blackberry Desktop Manager, if you have the latest software. If you do not, go to this link to download it.

If you have any difficulties with either process, please leave a comment a the bottom of the post. If people are struggling with doing this, I will go ahead and put together a post on how to do it.

Now for the moment you have been waiting for. Here is how you can force your AT&T Blackberry to be on the EDGE 2G network rather than the poor performing 3G network:

1. On your Blackberry navigate to Settings --> Options and then scroll down to Mobile Network. Click on the Mobile Network.

Force EDGE Network on ATT Over 3G for Blackberry: On your Blackberry navigate to Settings, Options and then scroll down to Mobile Network.  Click on the Mobile Network.

2. Here is the data services screen. Scroll down to the 3G & 2G Setting.

Force EDGE Network on ATT Over 3G for Blackberry: Here is the data services screen.  Scroll down to the 3G & 2G Setting.
3. Click on the 3G & 2G settings and scroll up and select the 2G setting.

Force EDGE Network on ATT Over 3G for Blackberry: Click on the 3G 2G settings and scroll up and select the 2G setting.
4. You'll notice the the EDGE / 3G network is no longer in the upper right hand corner as the device reconnect to only a 2G AT&T Network.

Force EDGE Network on ATT Over 3G for Blackberry: You'll notice the the EDGE / 3G network is no longer in the upper right hand corner as the device reconnect to only a 2G AT&T Network.
5. 30 seconds later, you'll now be on the more reliable AT&T EDGE 2G network and no longer experience the pains of AT&T's poor performance on the 3G network.

Force EDGE Network on ATT Over 3G for Blackberry: 30 seconds later, you'll now be on the more reliable AT&T EDGE 2G network and no longer experience the pains of AT&T's poor performance on the 3G network.
Congratulations, you're done. Did this work for you? If so, leave a comment below to let others know!

Read more of this post!

Photo Blog: New York City: Weather, Travel, and Times Square Snowball Fight

This past weekend, Ashley and I took a quick holiday getaway to New York City to relax and taken in the Christmas spirit with all the decorations and festivities of the city. As we learned a couple of years ago on our first holiday trip there, nobody does Christmas like New York City. We were very excited for the trip, and before we left on Thursday, there was a good chance of getting some snow and a white Christmas...of which we rarely see from Southern California where it is usually 80 degrees on Christmas!

Little did we know that we would have what we would consider to be one of the best experiences of our lives; including an epic snow storm that left the city buried in snow and a social media phenomenon created with the snowball fight in Times Square that was featured on CNN that we stumbled on. Combine that with some great food, good shows,a peaceful Central Park covered with snow, and some Christmas cheer -- and it makes for an almost perfect three days.

What made it even better?

Our 8:25pm flight out of JFK on Sunday evening was the only flight to LAX that day that was not delayed and our upgrades came through. :-) Combine that with the slush developing in NYC (another popular iReport here) and it was the perfect time to get out.

My only regret?

Leaving my Canon EOS SLR at home with my trusted L-lenses as wells as my Flip Video MinoHD camera. I had no idea how epic the experience would be and intentionally left it at home. A poor decision in retrospect and I was left wanting with my Canon PowerShot SD790IS. Still, at least I got some decent pictures.

Here are a few pictures from our trip:


Ashley and I hanging out with Santa Claus in the Winter Wonderland at Macy's.  The wait was only 45 minutes on Saturday as opposed to 2 hours the previous weekend.  Whew.Ashley and I hanging out with Santa Claus in the Winter Wonderland at Macy's.  The wait was only 45 minutes on Saturday as opposed to 2 hours the previous weekend.  Whew.



The start of the snow falling in Central Park.  We were considering ice skating, but passed on this trip just to walk and enjoy the lightly falling snow in the city.The start of the snow falling in Central Park.  We were considering ice skating, but passed on this trip just to walk and enjoy the lightly falling snow in the city.


One of the few blur pictures I have taken and liked.  When we went in to see South Pacific at the Lincoln Center at 7:30pm, there was very little snow.  3 hours later, there were over six inches on the ground right outside the doors.One of the few blur pictures I have taken and liked.  When we went in to see South Pacific at the Lincoln Center at 7:30pm, there was very little snow.  3 hours later, there were over six inches on the ground right outside the doors.


Some Times Square Fun in the Blizzard conditions.  After watching South Pacific we grabbed some late night snacks at Maxie's, we stumbled across the beginning of a snowball fight in Times Square which has been a social media wonder.  Not only is there an iReport on CNN, but also a Facebook group has been created.Some Times Square Fun in the Blizzard conditions.  After watching South Pacific we grabbed some late night snacks at Maxie's, we stumbled across the beginning of a snowball fight in Times Square which has been a social media wonder.  Not only is there an iReport on CNN, but also a Facebook group has been created.


The rooftops were all covered in snow when we woke up from our hotel room at the Hilton Times Square on Sunday morning.  It was time to head to Central Park.The rooftops were all covered in snow when we woke up from our hotel room at the Hilton Times Square on Sunday morning.  It was time to head to Central Park.


One of the many beautiful and peaceful scenes in the park early on Sunday morning.  If I would have brought my Canon DSLR camera, there is no telling how much time I would have spent in the park taking photos before it became too crowded.One of the many beautiful and peaceful scenes in the park early on Sunday morning.  If I would have brought my Canon DSLR camera, there is no telling how much time I would have spent in the park taking photos before it became too crowded.


Undisturbed snow on a bench in the middle of Central Park.  Families were flocking to the Park to sled and play in the snow.Undisturbed snow on a bench in the middle of Central Park.  Families were flocking to the Park to sled and play in the snow.


Taking a quick photo by the fountain in front of the Lake in Central Park.  While cold, the wind was fairly calm making it quite enjoyable.
Taking a quick photo by the fountain in front of the Lake in Central Park.  While cold, the wind was fairly calm making it quite enjoyable.


The horse drawn carriages were just starting to run.  This was the first on and the driver was reporting back about only 1 lane being workable from a carriage perspective.The horse drawn carriages were just starting to run.  This was the first on and the driver was reporting back about only 1 lane being workable from a carriage perspective.


A shot of the bridge with the snow and ice covered pond.  Breathtaking and peaceful!A shot of the bridge with the snow and ice covered pond.  Breathtaking and peaceful!

Read more of this post!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

How To: Change Resolution on PS3 for Ubuntu Linux (576x384 ps3videomode)

When I first installed Ubuntu Linux on my Sony Playstation 3 (PS3) a few weeks ago (how to guide is here), the first thing I noticed was the video mode and resolution was a really bad 576x384. So bad in fact, that I could not even see to run the various update programs to automatically upgrade the Ubuntu Linux operating system from the 9.04 packaged installation to the 9.10 current distribution for PS3.

After a couple of hours of tinkering, frustration, and looking through several guides -- I finally figured out how to not only detect the resolutions that would work with my Television and the Ubuntu installation on the PS3, but also how to set the resolution so it would take effect in GNOME and whenever the PS3 booted to Linux.

This guide will take you through the process so you can very quickly get your Unbuntu installation running at the right resolution so you can use it the most effectively.

To get started, you first need to realize there are two steps to the process. The first step is that you will need to test out various video modes to figure out which video mode you prefer. Once you have the video mode figured out; we'll then go ahead and put it in your startup commands so you can now use the new resolution and not be stuck with the 576x384 video mode.

Here we go...

1. The first thing you need to do is to enter the full console mode. To do this, just quickly hit Ctrl-Alt-F1. From here you will need to login. If you try the following commands in the terminal screen in the Ubuntu Desktop, you will not see the desire results. You can shift back to the Desktop mode at anytime by using the shortcut Ctrl-Alt-F7.

2. Once you have logged into console mode, we now will get familiar with a new command called "ps3videomode" which is a program that will allow you to test and change the video mode on your Playstation 3. Type "sudo ps3videomode -h" to see the output and options for the command. Here is the output:

sudo ps3videomode -h
ps3-video-mode (ps3-utils) 2.0.2

Usage:
ps3-video-mode [options]

Options:
--help, -h print this message
--video, -v set video mode ID
--full, -f use full screen mode
--color, -c use HDMI full range
--dither,-d use dither ON mode

Video mode ID:
0:auto mode
YUV 60Hz 1:480i 2:480p 3:720p 4:1080i 5:1080p
YUV 50Hz 6:576i 7:576p 8:720p 9:1080i 10:1080p
RGB 60Hz 33:480i 34:480p 35:720p 36:1080i 37:1080p
RGB 50Hz 38:576i 39:576p 40:720p 41:1080i 42:1080p
VESA 11:WXGA 12:SXGA 13:WUXGA

full screen mode:


3. Having familiarized yourself with the command and options, now it is time to find out where the video mode is currently set to. Simply type "sudo ps3video mode" to see the current setting, the output is likely to be a single number and "1". Just a quick note, if you get the message "error open:-1" when typing the command -- it is most likely because you forgot to type "sudo" in front of your ps3videomode command. Lastly, both "ps3-video-mode" and "ps3videomode" are accepted commands.

4. Now it is time to test out which video modes work best on your computer. I recommend starting with setting "2" and working your way up until you are happy...or encounter an issue. The command to test out video mode 2 which is 480p would be "sudo ps3videomode -v 2", for 720p, "sudo ps3videomode -v 3", and so on until you have full 1080p with "sudo ps3videomode -v 5".

If you encounter any issues during the process; in that the screen will not render properly, you can always try the previous setting by hitting the back arrow once, the up arrow once and hitting enter (assuming you are doing the commands in successive order) or hit Ctrl+Alt+F7 to go back to the desktop mode.

5. Once you have a setting you're happy with you can further tune it by turning on dither mode (adding 2048) or full screen mode (add 128). As an example, video mode 3 with dither and full screen would look like "sudo ps3videomode -v 2179". Now remember the number that you like the best.

6. Now we are going to go into the startup configuration and create the setting that will enable your Ubuntu OS on PS3 to use that mode. We will be using the nano command editor to make the changes. From the command line, type "sudo nano /etc/kboot.conf" which will launch you into the command editor.

7. Find the line that looks like:
linux='/boot/vmlinux initrd=/boot/initrd.img root=UUID=256a61d2-fd0c-449c-8b7f-9ed6effc0c62 quiet'


8. Add the following to the end of the line after quiet (without the quotes) " video=ps3fb:mode:3" where the number 3 represents the video mode you settled on in step 5. The line should look like the following:

linux='/boot/vmlinux initrd=/boot/initrd.img root=UUID=256a61d2-fd0c-449c-8b7f-9ed6effc0c62 quiet video=ps3fb:mode:3'


9. Now hit Ctrl+O to save the file, then Ctrl+X to exit the editor.

10. Finally, type in "sudo reboot" to reboot the Ubuntu system and for the new video mode to be utilized in not only the console, but also the Ubuntu Desktop with you new resolution.

Congratulations, you have not gotten rid of the dreaded 576x384 resolution. Did this solution work for you? If so, let me know with a comment.

Trackbacks that led to this post:
change resolution ps3videomode
ps3 video modes in ubuntu
how to change change reslolution in ubuntu for ps3
ubuntu 9.10 ps3 change resolution
576x384
how tochange linux 6 resolution for ps3
ps3 linux resolution bad
"change resolution on ps3" ubuntu 9.10
change resolution ps3videomode
error ps3videomode
how to change the screen res in ubuntu 9.10 on ps3
how to change ubuntu resolution ps3 9.10
playstation 3 dither
ps3 gnome change screen resolution
ps3 kboot
ps3 ubuntu 9.10 lcd resolution
ps3 video mode 9.10
ps3 videos modes --kernel command line
ps3-video-mode ubuntu 9.10
ubuntu ps3 video mode dither
what is dither mode linux

Read more of this post!