>Explore2fs works great for reading ext3 partitions in Vista

>

A 15-pin Serial ATA power connector.Image via Wikipedia

Today my external 3.5" SATA to eSATA/USB 2.0 hard drive enclosure arrived and I was able to install my ext3 partitioned hard drive in it. I then started looking for a driver that would allow me to view ext3 files. Despite numerous claims that ext2fsd and Ext2IFS will work in Vista, I have had no such success, probably because I'm running 64 bit Vista. However, I did find a utility that works perfectly in Vista for reading ext3 partitions and retrieving or viewing data on them. This utility goes by the name of Explore2fs. Instead of attempting to integrate ext3 support in to the operating system Explore2fs simply accesses and read the hard drive by itself. Since it's in a stand alone executable it can be used as a portable application on a usb thumb drive as well.

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>Steve Wilkos rocks. I'm having seizures.

>

The NightmareImage via Wikipedia

Today I'm watching Steve Wilkos: He Holds You Hostage. This show has been like reliving 5 years of my life. The man on this show... he's just like the man I dated for 5 years before David and I got back together. I shouldn't say man, I should say boy. This guy is at least honest and open about the way he thinks things should run between him and her. Steve Wilkos did something wonderful. He threw a chair near the guy's head at the wall. Why? Just to make him know how uncomfortable it felt to have someone do that to you. That felt so vindicating for me and I'm sure many more women that have been in abusive relationships in the past.

David witnessed one of my panic attacks last night. He recognized a partial grand mal seizure. Now I need to go to the doctor and get checked out for epilepsy. On top of that last night while looking up info on epilepsy I happened to discover a link to my sleep paralysis... and narcolepsy. I always thought that it meant falling asleep at weird times. It turns out it can be just feeling sleepy all the time too and oversleeping. I talked to my mom about it and she said it was very possible because both me and my father could fall asleep at any time (and we both have problems with sleep paralysis). It kind of shocked me hearing her say that because I never actually thought I slept that much. I just couldn't figure out why I'm so darn tired all of the time. So yeah, that's another thing I'm going to need to talk to the doctor about.

Finals are due at the end of this week. I have no idea how I'm going to get this all together but somehow I know I'm going to pull it off just like I've pulled it off before. I'm not going to let anything get in my way this week, not even a seizure.

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>How to make ringtones for your Motorola i465 on Boost Mobile

>

Five common USB connectors (left to right: mal...Image via Wikipedia

What you need:
  • a data cable (you don't need one that's specifically for the i465... just find a micro USB cable online. I found mine brand new for 99 cents on Amazon.com and it was labeled as a Blackberry data cable. An example of this can be found here.)
  • MyJAL MediaPAL or a similar application that has the ability to upload ringtones to iDEN mobile phones
  • dBpoweramp or a similar application that is capable of producing 8 bit mono PCM .WAV files
  • Zedge.net or another site or software application that is capable of editing the length of tracks and converting them to .MP3s

Disclaimers:
  • I don't know if this works over Bluetooth or not. I'm guessing it does because the only issue I ever ran in to trying to upload a ringtone via Bluetooth was having the wrong file format. This will more than likely get tested soon as transferring files over Bluetooth is more convenient for me.
  • dBpoweramp is trial ware. I'll let you know if I come across a free application that is capable of producing the right kind of .WAV files.
  • Zedge.net and other sites are not too crazy about you sharing digital content that you don't own the copyrights to. So make sure that if you're making the ring tone from a copyrighted media file it's a private download and not a public one.
  • This is by no means a step by step tutorial. I'm just running you through what I did to get ringtones uploaded on to my phone.
  • This will more than likely not just work on the i465 on Boost Mobile but all Motorola iDEN cell phones that are on Boost Mobile.

First you will need to make an account at Zedge.net. Once you've opened an account, go to the ringtone maker and use it to convert your media file in to a 30 second or less .MP3. Make it a private download and download the new file. Next open up dBpoweramp and use the converter to turn the .MP3 into an 8 bit mono PCM .WAV file. Once this is done, connect your phone to your computer using the data cable, open up MyJAL MediaPAL, and connect. Once you're connected go to the ringtone uploader and use it to upload your ringtone. It should automatically become the primary ringtone (Line 1) on your phone's current profile.

***UPDATE: This also works on the Motorola i335 with Boost Mobile, which uses a regular mini USB cable. You can find one cheap here.***

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>it's final time again

>I'm two weeks away from finals being due, so I may not be posting as much on here as I will be focusing on rehashing my classes and forming good final papers for them.

I have decided the first certification I'm going to work on getting instead of a Network+ is going to be a MCSE. The exams for the MCSE are shorter and cheaper, you earn little certifications along the way to earning your MCSE, it's probably one of the number one employer requested certifications in any IT position above installation, it's probably the most complete certification you can get, and the employers that request it usually pay around 75-100k, which is double what I could expect to get paid with my degree alone when first entering the field. I won't be spending any more money on them either as I will be using the refund money from my student loan to pay for them. I knew that money had to be good for something beyond just buying new hardware to play with because my actual school costs were so little.

The best part about getting certified is that I'm going to have proof that I know what I'm doing. School takes care of the business and theological side of things but certification shows that you are actually capable of accomplishing something beyond just sitting around and talking about it.

I actually *am* going to still get a Network+, but I'm going to focus on the MCSE first because that is going to be the big, key one. The Network+ will be nice to have because it will show I have a good understanding of how networks are put together and work and it will also compliment my degree nicely. Next it would be nice to have a Linux+. Then I might go on to add upgrades or specializations to my MCSE. I'm not so sure on that one yet. It's still a ways off so it's OK if I'm indecisive about it now.

I've also decided I'm going to stop at an AS for a while and work on certifications. I might go back later and finish a BA but right now more than anything I need to be sporting my working knowledge and not my theoretical knowledge. I must also admit that right now there are so many certifications I'm interested in getting from both Microsoft and CompTIA it's probably best I start working on them as soon and as much as possible. Once I start seeing my degree holding me back from career advancement I will probably calm down on the certification exams and go back for my BA.

So, there's the plan. But right now the plan is just to make it through my finals. ;)
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>This is too cute for words

>

Brennan fell asleep in his toy box this morning... it was so cute...

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>Sammy lounges around

>

Sammy gets comfortable on the comforter thrown over the couch.

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>Time to chow down!

>

Brennan does some of the funniest things when he's eating















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>What we've done this week

>My eye feels all better today, yay! Last night it was so bad I think I put half the bottle of homeopathic pink eye drops in it trying to get relief. The drops finally kicked in and I slept peacefully for the first time last night. This morning my eye wasn't sealed shut, there was no tearing, no swelling, and no burning/itching. :)

Brennan's room is finally finished. He now has a TV and DVD player in his room, along with a new ceiling fan, a bunch of framed pictures of animals, and a compact air purifier. We also added one of those push lights to the wall where he can't reach it to serve as a night light since he just yanks regular night lights out of their electrical sockets.



The only thing left to do now is replace the curtains in his room.

We also made a few changes to the bathroom. Namely getting rid of the space hogging stackable drawers and replacing them with a series of shelving that fits over the toilet. We also added a shelf to the area above the sink and a toilet lid latch to keep Brennan out of the toilet.


There's a couple more things I'd like to point out:

The hanging green turtle is a Munchkin Super Bath Scoop. You just run it through the water after your child has taken a bath and it scoops up all the bath toys. Water drains out quickly due to rivets all along the sides of the scoop, and after scooping up the toys you can easily hang it on the side of a tile wall. On top of the scoop is a frog - the Sassy Soft Spout Guard for keeping your little one from getting a bump on the head from hitting his or her head against the spout of your bathtub. It doesn't work too well if left on permanently (I have high water pressure and the water just comes out the sides) but it works great when just used for Brennan's bath time.

Finally a towel hanger for the wall in our bathroom - hooks won't allow the door to the bathroom to close:


There's yet a lot more we've done to the place this past week. We've started installing energy efficient, 99% light blocking, 40% sound blocking curtains through out the place so it's not such a pain to keep the place cool (with nothing but glass doors in Florida that's really important). We finally got an HDTV and a 80 GB PS3. :D (Yeah, really excited about that and the fact we got Guitar Hero World Tour as well). I revamped some of our cleaning products, my favorite being a huge industrial sized string mop that easily squeezes out through a twisting system. We outfitted the place in Holmes ionized HEPA air purifiers (this was when I thought my pink eye might be due to allergies). We also got a bunch of indoor and outdoor rugs, replacing the ones we had and then some. The only other things I can think of is a microwave (necessary, old one burned out), new Tupperware, and new bedding (memory foam pad, pillows, bed sets, sheets).

I also now have a portable HDD (A Western Digital My Passport 250 GB HDD which is one of the smallest I've found and I love it), a 3.5 IDE to USB HDD enclosure (some generic version Staples sells), an 8 GB Sandisk Cruzer thumb drive to add to my collection, a SATA to eSATA HDD enclosure, a USB cable for my Motorola i465 Clutch, and a Vivitar ViviCam 8025 touch screen camera (our old camera broke). Let's not forget my new HP Pavillion dv7-2180us laptop. And of course I stocked up on printer ink for my HP Officejet J3640 all-in-one, electronic wipes, and canned air. Can you tell I'm an Information Technology major by heart and not just by the books? LOL!

I'm quite pleased with these purchases. Chris is soon going to load me up on patch cables as well. I have a Linksys wireless print server that needs to be set up but first I want to get a wireless N router set up. Then I may practice my ability to create subnets with the Netgear RangeMax wireless G router we have now.

I'm starting to think I'm making up for my lack of sewing supplies thanks to Wal-Mart's destruction of the sewing department through getting more serious about computers again. Maybe sometime in the future I'll make the drive out to St. Augustine to get fabric but right now it's just not worth the drive. I'm too bummed about the fact it's not just right down the road any more. I hate you, Wal-Mart. You've went from being about having everything to being about having everything mainstream.
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>my little hacker

>

Brennan has gained a fascination with ROM drives and discs... he's learned to work the DVD ROMs on both of our laptops. This was him running around with the CD he stole out of my DVD ROM, lol.

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>I have pink eye :(

>

no original descriptionImage via Wikipedia

I haven't been posting too much lately because I seem to have came down with a case of viral conjunctivitis (pink eye). It's the nastiest case of it I've ever had, probably because when it first started I didn't recognize the symptoms and thought that it was just my eye still healing up from when Brennan scratched the cornea. The bad thing is it's caused me to fall behind in school due to being unable to see for a few days. I'm catching up, though, and I'm hoping it won't affect my grade too badly.

I've been using Similasan Pink Eye Relief homeopathic drops and they seem to be working pretty well. They don't take away all the pain and tearing but they do dramatically decrease it and the swelling.


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>How to fix the CRC error when installing Spore

>

The Cell phase. The monstrously large creature...Image via Wikipedia

I've found how to fix the CRC error that some people are getting when they try to install Spore. Just copy the contents of the disc on to your HDD and install as administrator from there (right click on "sporeapp" and left click on "run as administrator"). I have no idea why this fixes it, but it does.

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>Guitar Hero

>

Brennan plays Guitar Hero

hey, you

it's me. :)

hey, you, too

it's me again :P

Aww, looksies

It's my sweetheart!

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>HP gives "total care"

>

Image representing Hewlett-Packard as depicted...Image via CrunchBase

HP has continued to impress me with the Pavillion dv7-2180us laptop.


First of all, let me correct myself on something I stated earlier. I said that it could support a total of 3 displays... I was wrong. I forgot to count the HDMI port. That would make it 4 displays.


Where HP has continued to impress me though hasn't been so much with the hardware on this laptop - I knew what it had when I bought it for the most part so there's not much to be further impressed by there - but it has been with the support software on this laptop. The support software is actually helpful. And the recovery partition does something I have never seen an OEM's recovery software do. It actually asks you if you want to backup all your user data - including your program files folder(s) - to a USB HDD before it restores the internal HDD to factory defaults. Once you've reinstalled Vista, you can pull your files off the USB HDD with an included recovery program.


This feature really saved my butt the other day when a Windows update screwed up my installation beyond repair.


I've also ordered my upgrade to Windows 7. It looks a little weird but I'm willing to give it a shot. After all Microsoft is just going to force us in to it anyways. ;)


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>This laptop turns me on.

>Yeah, go ahead and say it. I'm a nerd. I know it.

My HP Pavillion dv7-2180us arrived today. I always mean to take screenshots of the packaging on the electronics I review but I always forget to get the camera out in the midst of the excitement of getting something new, electronic, and shiny, lol.

Some nifty features that weren't mentioned in the specifications:
  • You can turn your mousepad on and off. Very handy if you keep accidently bumping it.
  • The laptop is actually capable of supporting 3 monitors including its own screen.
  • The keyboard has a full numeric keypad. You don't find this too often on laptops.
  • The laptop comes with a free Windows 7 upgrade.

Here's the Windows Experience Index:
  • Base score: 5.0
  • Processor: 5.8
  • Memory: 5.0
  • Graphics: 5.9
  • Gaming Graphics: 5.6
  • Primary hard disk: 5.8

Let me tell you that this laptop is not only fast but it glides smooth as silk through multitasking. Even with all of HP's default software running it never showed any signs of lag. At first the sound was disappointing until I discovered that the speaker volume was only set to 50% in the audio settings. Vista and all of HP's software only takes up 92% of the HDD. I almost cried when I saw that because it was so beautiful.

The screen resolution doesn't make for anywhere near as bad of an experience as I was expecting. In fact, so far I mostly noticed the difference when I first started the laptop, but quickly adapted to it because it was quite acceptable.

Right now I'm working on getting everything updated, software installed, and files moved over. Once I'm settled in some I will start running some benchmark tests on this laptop to see what it can really do.
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>wooooooooork. temper tantrums. picture frames?

>Bleh, ugh, gug. I have been working so hard and have so much more work cut out for me.

I've been working on revamping the house. Not quite redecorating as I'm keeping the same furniture and paint but more like re-accessorizing (and some just plain out accessorizing). This has turned in to a lot of shopping, a lot of de-packaging, and a lot of work putting everything where it belongs. Thank goodness I'm mostly done. Tomorrow I need to set up a wall length mirror, a bunch of picture frames with postcards of various animals in them that I put together for Brennan's room (I will talk about this more later), sweep and mop and vaccum so I can comfortably put down new rugs, change the light bulbs that came with this place out with energy efficient florescent light bulbs, figure out where to put the ionized air purifier (whim purchase :P), and get my laptop set up once it arrives. This weekend we're going to be setting up new curtains and rods and something else I can't even remember. On top of that the house is a mess and needs some TLC stat.

Yesterday we got Brennan a ton of bath toys. Today I dumped them all in the bathtub and he had a blast, so much of one that we ended up being in the bathroom for about an hour. The funny thing is even though he spent an hour in there for the first time ever he threw an absolute temper tantrum when I made him get out of the tub. That kid did not want to leave all those new bath toys behind, lol.

Oh yeah, about the picture frames. My grandma sent me a bunch of animal post cards like she's prone to do because she knows I love pictures of animals so much. The other day I got the idea to put them in frames and hang them around Brennan's room. I got frames that match the furniture in his room so as to make the pictures tasteful additions to his room's overall decor, and plan on using them as tools for helping to teach him what different animals are. It was a mega cheap project to do but the outcome was so beautiful. The frames compliment both the room and the pictures they hold perfectly.

Well, it's time for me to finally get some sleep. I have a big day ahead tomorrow. :)
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  • $25 for $50 Worth of Art Supplies, Classes, and Framing Services at BINDERS (thepoint.com)
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>new school year, new laptop

>Ahhh, the refreshing start of a new school year. Well, it's not refreshing, actually - at least not for those of us that didn't do a summer vacation to start. I've taken exactly four weeks off in the past year, and that was over six months ago.

Anyways, the start of a new school year always also means the start of a new loan and grant year. I knew that refund check was coming soon, so I started looking around at laptops.

I know what you're thinking. Didn't you just buy one a year ago? Yup. But I have several reasons for wanting a new one (beyond just the obvious geeky reasons):
  • The one I have now is out of warranty. If something happens to it, I'm currently SOL without another laptop.
  • David's laptop is no more since both the monitor and the VGA port on it went out. He could use my current laptop, and I would have an available backup laptop again if something happens to my new one.
  • I get so much money back on my refunds that it's impossible to use most of it for school stuff. Buying a laptop doesn't even bring me close, but it does bring me closer and help me feel a little better about my education money being spent towards educational tools.
There are several laptops that caught my eye. Here's a rundown:

Toshiba Satellite Pro P505-S8945

What I like about it:
  • large HDD (hard disk drive) (500 GB)
  • a lot of RAM (random access memory) (6 GB)
  • a lot of dedicated RAM for graphics (1 GB)
  • Lightscribe... umm... I think... (I'll touch on this later)
  • wireless N
What I don't like about it:
  • low res display (1680 x 954)
  • HDD speed is a bit on the slow side (5400 RPM)
  • no integrated Bluetooth
  • small battery (6 cell)
  • Labelflash... is that like a generic Lightscribe? I don't feel too comfortable with mystery components
  • graphics are a bit blah (ATI Mobilty Radeon HD 4570)



HP Pavillion DV7-2170US
What I like about it:
  • decent amount of RAM (4 GB)
  • large HDD (500 GB)
  • Lightscribe
  • decent graphics (ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4650)
  • a lot of dedicated RAM for graphics (1 GB)
  • wireless N
  • integrated Bluetooth
  • sub woofer
  • remote control
What I don't like about it:
  • low res display (1600 x 900)
  • slow HDD (5400 RPM)



Dell Studio 1737

What I like about it:
  • decently sized HDD (320 GB)
  • decent amount of RAM (4 GB)
  • decent graphics (ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3650)
  • Blu-Ray
  • 9 cell lithium ion battery
What I don't like about it:
  • low res display (1440 x 900)
  • no Bluetooth
  • no wireless N
  • only 256 MB dedicated to graphics


I could list a few more laptops but they're all pretty much like these... except for one...

HP Pavillion DV7-2180US
What I like about it:
  • next generation processor (Intel Centrino 2 Processor Technology featuring Intel Core 2 Quad Processor Q9000)
  • a lot of ram (6 GB)
  • decent graphics (ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4650)
  • lots of ram dedicated to graphics (1 GB)
  • large HDD (500 GB)
  • Lightscribe
  • wireless N
  • Bluetooth
  • sub woofer
  • decent battery (8 cell)
  • remote control
  • 4 USB (universal serial bus) ports! (most laptops have 2-3)
What I don't like:
  • slow HDD (5400 RPM)
  • low res display (1600 x 900)
While I wouldn't call it the perfect laptop due to the HDD and display issues, I would say that the DV7-2180US comes with pretty much everything I want and then some, so that's what I ordered today. It's next day shipping so I should receive it either tomorrow or Thursday. There is something that should definitely be noted about this laptop. This is the ONLY laptop in the $1500 and under price range that I found sporting a quad core processor. The quad cores are normally only found on HP's HDX 18t Premium series laptops which when configured with everything the DV7-2180US comes with adds up to around $2000. To be fair the 18t also comes with Blu-Ray, a high resolution display, and an 18 inch screen by default so it's well worth the extra money. I just can't bring myself to spend the money on Blu Ray when I won't ever use it and I don't like laptop screens any bigger than 17 inches because after that they start to swallow me whole. That leaves the high resolution display, which is not so important to me that I'm willing to spend that much extra money just to get it.

Well, it is time for me to go get some sleep. Sayonara!
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