Boot Camp partition preprocessing failed horrors

August 27, 2010

If you have the Boot Camp partition preprocessing failed VMWare Fusion error (which results in a resource busy) and have not solved it after reading all the VMWare forum posts there is a small chance this could help.

After I dropped my MacBook on the concrete floor I had to buy a new one. Restoring was easy since I had a recent SuperDuper! image.
However I never made a backup of my Windows 7 Bootcamp partition. Sometimes I ran that Bootcamp partition in VMWare.
So I decided to reinstall Windows 7 with the Boot Camp Assistant. After trying to import the Bootcamp partition in VMWare, I got the infamous Boot Camp partition preprocessing failed error.

Googling I found some possible solutions:

Unmounting Bootcamp partition or

Do a registry fix or

Deleting VMWare image

None one of those solutions helped. I tried installing Windows 7 32 bit, Windows 7 64 bit. This did not help either. I blame Apple for their usability in this case. My mistake was as follows:

When running the Bootcamp Assistant you will be asked to create a partition. After restarting in Windows installation mode you need to select a partition where to install Windows 7. When you select the partition that Bootcamp Assistant made for you it will say that that partition can not be used. So I deleted that partition and created a new one. Wrong!! Not wrong for Bootcamp or Windows, since that will work flawlessly, but wrong for VMWare because it won’t understand it.

Don’t delete and create a new one. Just format it! Doing that solved the VMWare preprocessing error.


The music industry moves in mysterious ways. Convenience is the USP

September 21, 2009

I am member of eMusic, an online music store that operates by subscription. I my case I have 75 downloads each month. I really love this, since eMusic does not have all music “on stock” and I have to explore, taste, been recommended and listen to music which can be found in the digital recesses,  in order to  sample new music. Thanks to eMusic my musical horizons have broadened.

But sometimes I am not able to download a particular album, because of where I live. You would think the music industry is globally organised. Not so. Bummer. Bad!

Regional difficulties

But the next thing was new to me. I was able to download the album “Broken Social Scene”, by “Broken Social Scene” except one song, which was not available for download:

Download album but one

This is very strange. However I could download this one song by going to the single where it was available for download:

Single download

I am pretty sure this is not enforced by eMusic, but by the label(s).

I am one of the dinosaurs still paying for my music. But my main criteria is convenience. All those restrictions are hurting paying customers in my opinion. I was close to copying it from someone owning the CD. As a matter of fact I sometimes illegally download albums which are regionally restricted.
Please labels, enter the 21st century. We pretty much got rid of DRM, but regional issues still exist and are causing aggravation and only annoy the paying customers.

I will do my best, but convenience is the USP.  Remember that!


Review of ec2Phone or ElasticPod. Manage your EC2 instances with your iPhone

April 14, 2009

Recently I bought ec2Phone for the iPhone in order to start and manage my Amazon EC2 images.
After entering your access and secret keys you can start up an image. The secret key is still readable after entering it, which I find a bit negligent.

I was unpleasantly surprised that there is no listing functionality. You have to enter the image identifier yourself. You need another tool if you don’t have that information ready. After filling in the necessary parameters like number of instances, instance type etc., the image is started.

Start AMI

Starting image

After the image is started there is nothing you can do with it except shutdown or reboot. This was a bit disappointing. What surprised me more was that the next time I ran an image, the AMI id and availability zone were remembered by ec2Phone but not the number of instance or instance type. I do not understand that design decision.

Not much to do.

Running image. Nothing to do!

Furthermore.
For some pet project I always have this workflow.

  • Find image
  • Start image
  • Attach EBS volume
  • Go to terminal to execute some scripts
  • Connect browser to image

In my workflow only the start image is supported by ec2Phone. This is a bit thin. When you compare this to the (free) Firefox plugin ElasticFox it has only a small percentage of that functionality.

ElasticFox
ElasticFox

Together with the fact that there is no support for European EC2 images I think ec2Phone/ElasticPod is just too lightweight to justify its current price.
However the developer has said that terminal integration and image listing are on the backlog for the next release. If he would add EBS support it would be a nifty iPhone app for me.


Transparency out the window. Do not report failures. It is a sign of weakness. XS4ALL – UPC 1-0.

December 1, 2008

The difference in the technical transparency of companies and how it effects loyalty is something which a lot of companies still seem to miss. In my daily work I use two e-commerce products, Endeca and ATG. Both of them are a bit obfuscating but one of them overdoes it. This lack of transparency does not help create loyal users.

Another good example is UPC

I use two ISP’s. One ADSL provider: XS4ALL and one cable provider: UPC.
I want as much upload as possible and then cable is the one to go where I live. However UPC has a very very bad reputation and thus I keep XS4ALL as a backup, since XS4ALL has arguably the best service in the Netherlands.

Having two ISP’s has proven to be a wise choice because UPC is going down now and then. What really annoys me is the fact that their technical trouble page is always empty.

Geen storingen

This is untrue and a plain lie, because when I call them I get an automatic response that there is a technical problem in the place where I live. How they know where I live when I call with a mobile phone is something I will not pursue right now…

In contrast with XS4ALL which very very seldom has failures, XS4ALL’s site always reports a problem somewhere.
It is a fact that UPC has a lot more infrastructure problems than XS4ALL. However if you look at both sites the opposite seems to be true.

What is up with that? Is UPC still believing that transparency is a bad thing? Reports show that transparency and a willingness to solve a problem creates more loyal customers.


Converting mp3 audiobooks on Mac OS X to bookmarkable audiobooks

September 7, 2008

Update September 8th 2008 As can be read in the comments by Aldo: a better, although not free solution is Audiobook Builder

I am a member of emusic, the retailer that offers a selection of independent music and audiobooks.

One thing which always bothered me a bit was the audiobook format. They split an audiobook in dozens of mp3 files which are not the best solution if you use iTunes and an iPod.
iTunes and the iPod have the so called bookmarkable format, that is, the track will resume playing wherever you left off the last time you played it.
There is a lot of information on the net, but I could not find a step by step process for the Mac how to convert emusic audiobooks to iTunes audiobooks.

This is my procedure for Mac OS X.

  • Download two Applescripts scripts from Doug’s AppleScripts: Track Splicer and Make Bookmarkable. Install them as described.
  • Add the emusic audiobook files to iTunes. They will be stored somewhere under music.
  • Select the audiobook mp3 files. Make sure they are ordered correctly and run the Track Splicer script. This will create one big mp3 file.
    If you like to split it in a couple of 1 hour files, like an iTMS audiobook, then select a smaller number of files and repeat the procedure.
  • Select the mp3 audiobook and convert it to an aac (m4a) file with iTunes. (Right mouse: Convert Selection to AAC). Use a bitrate
    applicable for audiobooks, since 256kbps or so seems like a waste of disk space.
  • Select the aac audiobook and run the Make Bookmarkable script. This will convert the m4a file to m4b file. When you look under
    Audiobooks you will see your converted book.
  • For nicety find a cover and add it as album artwork.

Audiobooks

Enjoy!


I don’t need no stinking Apple TV

August 21, 2008

Getting the Dolby 5.1ch sound working from my PlayStation 3 to my Onkyo TX-SR805 receiver proved to be a bit more troublesome than I hoped for.
There is some configuration involved on the PS3 and on the Onkyo.
When I eventually got it working I examined the possibility of connecting my Mac with the PS3.

Boy was I in for some surprise. Medialink for Mac OS X, is an excellent piece of software.
Perhaps I was lucky, but after installing it, I could immediately browse (wireless btw) through my photos, movies and music.

Media Link on my television

I no longer see a reason to buy an Apple TV. The PS3 with Media Link does an excellent job. Perhaps not as pretty as the Apple TV, but it supports all major DRM free encodings.
Something which cannot be said for the Apple TV.

Renting movies through the Apple TV is not something I see happening any time soon here in The Netherlands. So I skip the Apple TV and embrace my PS3 for now.

When you compare the price of the PS3 (€ 399) to the Apple TV (€ 299) I am amazed how much power is packed into the PS3 (Console, Blu-ray player, MediaCentre) for a arguably better price.


SelfDiagnose and OGNL and check your deployment

June 16, 2008

Some time ago I wrote about selfdiagnose-the-world-according-to-my-atg-application.
Since then SelfDiagnose has added some nifty features. The latest release of SelfDiagnose now adds support for OGNL. This gives SelfDiagnose some extra punch. I can now use constructions like:

<checkvaluematches
    value="${@java.lang.Integer@parseInt(configList.length)}"       
    comment="Number of configured Endeca instances"
    pattern=".*" />

or constructions like

 <checkendecaservice host="${configList[0].host}" 
port="${configList[0].port}"
query="N=0"
comment="Endeca instance 1 connection test"/>

The ${configList[0].port} is a typical OGNL construction.

The CheckEndecaService can also return the Endeca com.endeca.navigation.ENEQueryResults response.
With OGNL you can easily dissect this Endeca response.

This can be extremely handy to query for the latest Forge or pipeline version of an Endeca build in the different ATG environments were you cannot directly access those services! For instance in production.