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Reseting the LogMeIn client remotely

I use the free LogMeIn.com to manage my MacMini server remotely.

Today, after using it to reboot my router (via its web interface which is only accessible from my LAN) the logmein.com website kept reporting that the connection to the client was timing out or being disconnected.  I couldn’t get the damn thing to connect up at all.

Luckily, I can actually SSH to the Mac Mini remotely too.  So, in order to reset the logmein client, run this from the terminal:

1.  cd /Library/Application\ Support/LogMeIn/update
2.  ./preupdate
3. sudo ./postupdate

That’ll unload and reload the client completely, freeing up any timed out resources.

VMWare Fusion – Network Bridge error finally solved

A couple of years back, I posted this thread about an annoying problem in VMWare Fusion which occasionally stopped me from being able to run an image as in bridge mode.

Well, looks like I’ve finally sorted this one out.  I don’t know if it’s the inclusion of new functionality in v2 or v3 of VMF but after doing the below, I’ve not seen the problem occur for a couple of months now.  I can still easily reproduce this issue so I’m guessing it’s some kind of defect in the adaptor autodetect code [or a problem with my config somewhere].

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How I started running (again)

I had signed up to the Great South Run last year but I broke my foot in August which seriously impacted my already-a-long-shot training schedule.
In January, I decided that I wanted to start running again. Definitely NOT as a New Year resolution, as I think that’s a load of tosh.
I wanted to make sure that I didn’t try and go in too much too quickly, so I decided to follow the Couch To 5K plan.
If you don’t know of it, it is based on simple and slow introduction of run/walk intervals with the end goal of running 30mins without stopping. All in a 9 week program.
It’s almost universally recommended as it stops you going all out too soon, injuring yourself and quitting.

Now, the first thing to keep me interested in something is for it to be a challenge.
I wasn’t super fit by any stretch but neither was I super unfit and I simply found the early stages too easy.  So on January 11th I started at week 5 and it didn’t take long to rediscover that I really enjoy running.
I get to listen to some awesome music, run a quite pretty coastal route and of course there is the “runners high” which gets better and better each time I beat a previous record.
The progressive nature of the c25k program really worked well for me. I need to see results or I get bored quickly. Seeing my distance and times increase with each session (I use Runkeeper to track my stats) was the best motivation I’ve ever encountered.
I’m finding it incredibly difficult to take rest days and I’m always reading online articles about training schedules, methods and crazy success stories (this is my favourite coach to IronMan one).

On February 20th, I completed the final 30 minute Couch to 5k session and could consider myself a “c25k graduate” (I promise not to use that phrase again).

Three days ago, I went out for my longest run in probably 15 years. I ran just a couple of hundred yards shy of 10km in 1hr 5mins.
You can’t imagine how pleased I was with that.
Now, I know that is certainly no earth shattering pace but now I at least have a target and unofficial PB to chase down.

As I pulled out of last years event, I’m already registered for the 2010 Great South Run in October.  I also signed up for the Marwell Wildlife 10k at the end of May, giving me 10 weeks or so to work towards a sub-1hr time.

Finally found my name

Back at the beginning of time, internet wise, anonymity was the preferred medium.  These days, I’d rather use my own name as opposed to a pseudonym.  For example you can find me on Twitter @ianmcshane.

Unfortunately, I’m cursed with the same name as a fairly famous actor so, aside from a domain lost due to a massive fail by a UK based DNS host, I’ve not been able to get a name based domain.  Until now.

My existing and rather poorly updated blog domain (http://blog.maccarocks.com) is going to be retired.  I have quite a few fairly popular posts on there so I’ve done my best to migrate them here and hopefully Dreamhost will mirror correctly to keep the old URLs all working.

Rage against the ma.. oh, wait…

This started as a comment on <insert blog link> but escalated to a full on post of my own.
Firstly, I don’t watch usually watch X-Factor.  Of course, I’ve been at friends houses when it’s on but I don’t watch it of my own accord.
Secondly, I don’t listen to the radio in the UK (other than the occasional Planet Rock and Kerrang) and thus have little interest in what track is number one and even smaller awareness of what is being played all the time.
Thirdyly, Christmas number ones, as far back as I can remember (with the exception of Cliff Richard), have been these so called ‘novelty’ records.  I can’t remember specific examples but I’m sure there was a Mr Blobby one or some form of celebrity rehashed Christmas carol.
I do tire of hearing about X-Factor all the live long day but it’s easy to tune out/block Facebook friends/stop following tweeters.
So, why am I so interested in getting RATM to number one?
Is it the ‘F you I won’t do what you tell me’ element?  I’m not sticking anything to The Man with this, really.  No-one is – except for RATM swearing on Radio 5. :)  I see a lot of people putting that line to mean everyone saying “hey, F you Cowell”.  I don’t think that’s true at all.  If that were the case, there some more relevant tracks in RATMs back catalogue – infect I think Take The Power Back would have given a more obvious call to action.
Is it the ‘F Simon Cowell, he’s a C..’ element?  Nope.  Does anyone really think this is going to stop X-Factor next year or mean that Mr C will have to sell one of his myriad houses?  Of course not.
The whole thing is interesting to me from a social and technological view point.
Virul campaigns have been around for years but this is different.
This was started by one ordinary guy.  Some chap who created a Facebook group most likely for a laugh.  I’ll bet he didn’t think “I’m really gonna go out on a limb to stop this X-Factor guy”.
Of course, it’s not the first time this kind of thing has happened.  Crowd-sourcing is really taking off in a huge way.
Crowd-sourcing news at Reddit and Digg, Software companies using it to aid their development roadmaps, even using Twitter to track breaking news instantly.
That’s why it’s interesting.  However, ordinarily, I wouldn’t have bothered getting involved with this but the fact that this kind of unimportant ‘battle’ can also be used to motivate people to donate to charity made me change my mind.
Last Friday, they’d raised almost £2k.  Today, the current total is over £50k with gift aid.
Am I going to listen to the chart show this weekend?  No way.
Am I really going to be annoyed/interested if X-Factor kid is number one?  Not at all.
However, I spent £0.99 and a donation to charity to be part of something both interesting, useful and certainly something that will be a kind of folklore in geek history.
Either that or someone will stumble across it on wikipedia.. :P

This started as a comment on Pauls post at Blog On The Motorway but escalated to a full on post of my own.

Firstly, I don’t watch usually watch X-Factor.  Of course, I’ve been at friends houses when it’s on but I don’t watch it of my own accord.
Secondly, I don’t listen to the radio in the UK (other than the occasional Planet Rock and Kerrang) and thus have little interest in what track is number one and even smaller awareness of what is being played all the time.
Thirdly, Christmas number ones, as far back as I can remember (with the exception of Cliff Richard), have been these so called ‘novelty’ records.  I can’t remember specific examples but I’m sure there was a Mr Blobby one or some form of celebrity rehashed Christmas carol.

I do tire of hearing about X-Factor all the live long day but it’s easy to tune out/block Facebook friends/stop following tweeters/ignore people.

So, why am I so interested in getting stopping some most-likely-to-be-a-one-hit-wonder kid getting to number one?

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Social Networking Integration != Gaming 2.5

Firstly, yes I am a bit of a X360 fanboy.  Actually, that’s not true, I’m an XBL platform fanboy.  I do REALLY want to like the PS3.  I’d love to be able to get rid of the noisy, hot, unreliable, X360  - but as yet I haven’t found a compelling reason to do so.  Perhaps the next time I get the RROD…..

This week, both Sony and Microsoft released updates to their consoles adding Facebook (both vendors) and Twitter (X360 only) integration.  Whilst both platforms have different levels of integration, the same problem is common to both vendors – IT’S A PAIN IN THE ASS TO TYPE ON A CONTROLLER!

Yes, yes, yes, both the PS3 and X360 controllers have mini-keyboard add-ons available but that still makes it only slightly more useable than an old school mobile phone. I guess you can also use a USB keyboard if you really want too…
When I was checking out the X360 integration and my inner monologue was moaning about this problem, it suddenly dawned on me that I was thinking about the whole integration thing in the wrong way…. (more…)

Amazon international Kindle ships, buyers remorse imminent?

I got the notification that my Amazon Kindle order shipped today, with delivery expected in a couple of days.
In my excitement, I hopped over to the Kindle book store (accessed via Amazon.com as opposed to the .co.uk) to queue up some books and previews ready for its arrival.
It’s accurate to say that I’m left a little deflated and disappointed by the titles available right now.
I  was initially surprised to find that there isn’t an obvious way to see any of the popular Best Sellers listings, be it NY Times or perhaps anything else localised for the UK.  All I could do was list _all_ of the Kindle books and sort by ‘Best Selling’.
Top of the list was Glenn Beck with “Arguing with Idiots”.  Maybe I should know more about him but other than him being on FOX and maybe talk radio, I don’t.  I decided to get queue up the “sample” of his book anyway.
BTW the list price of this book for Kindle is $13.79 (or £8.44) including VAT & international wireless delivery via Whispernet.  Match that against the Digital List Price and Print List Price of $29.99, as well as Amazons price for the Hardcover ($16.47) that’s a pretty decent saving.
Scrolling down the list, there wasn’t really anything on their Best Selling list that took my fancy.
I remembered that Dan Brown had a book out recently and thought I’d grab the sample of that too.
Unfortunately, it seems that none of his books are available on Kindle.  Let’s clarify that, none of his books are available on Kindle for UK customers.
The explanation from Amazon is “Due to copyright restrictions, certain Kindle Titles are not available everywhere.”
I bet this is going to become a talking point as Kindles are shipped around the world.
I decided to go through the New York Times best seller list (http://www.nytimes.com/pages/books/bestseller)
Hardcover Fiction
1. THE LOST SYMBOL, by Dan Brown
2. A TOUCH OF DEAD, by Charlaine Harris
3. THE HELP, by Kathryn Stockett (yes)
4. THE PROFESSIONAL, by Robert B. Parker
5. THE LAST SONG, by Nicholas Sparks
Only one of the top 5 were available to UK buyers.
Of the UK Sunday Times best sellers list for paper backs (http://tinyurl.com/d9av7f):
1. Cross Country, by James Patterson
2. The Gift, by Cecelia Ahern (yes)
3. The Private Patient, by PD James
4. Once In a Lifetime, by Cathy Kelly
5. Arctic Drift, by Clive and Dirk Cussler
Again, only one of the top 5 were available to UK buyers.
This could make for an interesting couple of days.  There are at least 3 books on those two lists which I’m unable to get at present.
Additionally, I looked for books by Max Brooks (World War Z, Zombie Survival Guide) and found that they aren’t available to me either.
Of course, let’s not forget that Internation Kindles have only started shipping today.  There is plenty of time in the next 48hrs for Amazon to iron out the copyright issues that they use to explain the titles that aren’t available.
Perhaps they should at least have a ‘notify me/download sample when this title is available’ mechanism, I hope they are working this through now.
It’s not all doom and gloom, there are of course many titles available right now.  At least I was able to get a sample chapter of “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” :-D

I got the notification that my Amazon Kindle order shipped today, with delivery expected in a couple of days.
In my excitement, I hopped over to the Kindle book store (accessed via Amazon.com as opposed to the .co.uk) to queue up some books and previews ready for its arrival.
It’s accurate to say that I’m left a little deflated and disappointed by the titles that are unavailable for UK buyers right now.  This could make for an interesting couple of days worth of tech news.

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Moving to eBooks?

bibliophile |ˈbɪblɪə(ʊ)fʌɪl|nouna person who collects or has a great love of books.

I travel a lot for work and quite often my flights are longer than just a couple of hours.
This means that my MBP battery life isn’t long enough to sustain the entire flight and besides, I don’t often get to fly First Class so space is quite limiting.
I therefore usually carry a book or two in my carry on luggage.  Ranging from business style ones (Crucial Conversations, anyone?) to fiction, they can add substantial weight to my bag.  Not forgetting the expense of course.  If i’m bored at the airport, I’ll check out the bookstore there.  For example, I bought a whopping book from Dublin airport last week which wouldn’t even fit in my bag.

I’ve coveted the Amazon Kindle for a long time now, pretty much since it was released and especially since they launched the Kindle DX earlier this year.  I know I’d need a US mailing address to open a US account and get it delivered but that’s fine.  The only thing that has stopped me getting one yet is that I am concerned at not being able to buy books for it.  I just don’t know if you can purchase books “off Kindle” – i.e buy them on my MBP and transfer them to the Kindle via USB.
The last couple of times I’ve been to the US, I’ve had the Kindle 2 in my ‘shopping basket’ about to hit the “order” button but backed out at the last minute. (more…)

X360 or PS3?

I own both (as well as a very underused Wii).
Historically, i’ve invested far more into the X360 than the PS3 both in terms of buying games and actual game time.
Most of my friends also own X360′s so back when I had lots of free time for gaming, I spent time playing online over the fantastic Xbox Live network.
There is also the small matter of the ongoing gamerpoint competition.  It seemed ridiculous back when we all started out with X360s a couple of years back but we ended up getting hooked into trying to beat out each others scores.
This meant that when a game is multi-platform (as most are these days), I get the X360 version because of the achievement points.  Sad but true!
I have only four games for the PS3 (2 downloaded from PSN), Metal Gear Solid, Little Big Planet, Zombie Apocalypse (PSN) and Wipeout (PSN).
However, having since gotten an even MORE time intensive job as well as marriage, my game time has slipped dramatically.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been contemplating moving to the PS3 as my sole gaming entertainment provider but I’m not sure I’m ready to take the plunge.
With todays release of FIFA 2010, I’m tempted take the chance and go with PS3.  However that means limiting my online play to strangers and my 360 owning friends pull further away on the gamerpoint front..
Decisions, decisions..

Yes, I know this is an oft talked about topic but I don’t mean it in a “Which is better?”, fanboy way.
I own both (as well as a very, very under used Wii) but historically, i’ve invested far more into the X360 than the PS3 both in terms of buying games and actual game time.
I’m trying to decide if I should continue with the almost 100% support of the X360 platform or whether the time has come for me to start moving over to PS3… (more…)

Clearing the BIOS password on a Dell D610

Seeing as I work in technology, that obviously means I’m the first port of call for friends/relatives with any kind of computer issue.
A couple of weeks ago, one of my wifes friends asked if I could take a look at her lappy – a Dell D610.
She hadn’t used it for a few years as she got a newer lappy, now couldn’t remember her password which left her husband SOoL when he wanted to take it with him whilst he’s away with work.
As here were a bunch of photos on there of their kids when they were younger I couldn’t simply reinstall the OS and go.
Getting the pics off was pretty easy – Installing the OS was not.
I managed to get the photos off with my trusty 3.5″IDE->USB adaptor.  Took the disk out, hooked it up to my MBP and copied them off.
Well, it wasn’t quite that simple as I didn’t realise OS X wouldn’t search an NTFS drive (probably something to do with spotlight writing the index but being unable to write to NTFS natively).
After a bit of drive wrangling, I managed to get the device to show up in Windows 7 under VMWare Fusion and quickly found the pics.
Right, just the OS to go.
I burned an iso of XP with SP3 slipstreamed in and went about trying to get the lappy to boot from CD.
Once I realised that the boot menu was having no effect, I checked out the BIOS.
Yup, completely locked out with an admin password.
This meant I couldn’t change the boot priority or anything.
Bugger.
A bunch of Googling turned me on to a method of wiping the BIOS completely by shorting out the EEPROM.
It took me a while to work it out and I absolutely refused to pay the jackass with the youtube video promising to show you how to do it for a fee.
So, in the interests of freedom of information, here is how to clear/reset/remove the BIOS password on a Dell D610.
Notes and disclaimer:
This worked for me.  If it doesn’t work for you, i’m not responsible for that.
You will be cutting metal from the casing.  You need to be careful not to leave any residue on the motherboard incase it shorts anything out.
As part of the process, your machines service tag details will also be cleared.
1. Get your BIOS locked Dell D610.
2. Get a paperclip or safety pin.
3. Get a phillips or crosshead screwdriver and some metal cutters (heavy duty wire cutters should do it).
4. Remove the power supply, battery, CD drive and HDD.
5. Unscrew pretty much all of the screws on the bottom of the D610.
6. Remove the bottom case.
7. With the rear of the laptop closest to you, you should see a white label covering the modem on your left.  There should be some black plastic covering which stops the CMOS from touching the motherboard.
8. Just above that, there are some holes in the metal casing. You need to access a chip underneath that area.
9. CAREFULLY remove the metal.
10. Take your paper clip and prepare to short out the two pins 2nd from the left.
11. Power on and short those pins for about 5 secs.
12. If you are doing it right you’ll hear the fan kick in.
13. This message will show on the screen.
14. You can either press FN+x or let it reboot.
15. Now you will be able to go to the BIOS and make whatever changes you need.
It’s actually a pretty simple process once you know what chip is where, although you must be extremely careful when cutting the casing.
I hope that helps someone and saves them a few bucks.

Seeing as I work in technology, that obviously means I’m the first port of call for friends/relatives with any kind of computer issue.

A couple of weeks ago, one of my wifes friends asked if I could take a look at her lappy – a Dell D610.

She hadn’t used it for a few years as she got a newer lappy, now couldn’t remember her password which left her husband SOoL when he wanted to take it with him whilst he’s away with work.  To make things a little less straight forward, there were a bunch of photos on it of their kids when they were younger, so I couldn’t simply reinstall the OS and go.

Getting the pics off was pretty easy – Re-Installing the OS was not.

I managed to get the photos off with my trusty 3.5″IDE->USB adaptor.  Took the disk out, hooked it up to my MBP and copied them off.  Well, it wasn’t quite that simple as I didn’t realise OS X wouldn’t search an NTFS drive (probably something to do with spotlight writing the index but being unable to write to NTFS natively).  After a bit of driver wrangling, I managed to get the device to show up in Windows 7 under VMWare Fusion and quickly found the pics.

Right, just the OS to go.

I burned an iso of XP with SP3 slipstreamed in and went about trying to get the lappy to boot from CD.

Once I realised that the boot menu was having no effect, I checked out the BIOS.  Yup, completely locked out with an admin password.  This meant I couldn’t change the boot priority or anything at all.

Bugger.

A bunch of Googling turned me on to a method of wiping the BIOS admin password completely by shorting out the EEPROM.

(more…)