Archive for October, 2009

Network streamed whole disk backup

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

You fiddled for some days to get all needed operating systems installed on your new portable? Got dual, triple or whatever boot manager set up properly? It was a painful process, your fingers, brain are still hurting? Backup the whole disk on some storage near you (some Unix-like OS required):

On the target:

netcat  -l -p 6666 > your-portable.img.gz

On the source:

cat /dev/sda | gzip -1 | netcat the-nas-name-or-ip 6666

On very low end (read Intel Atom & Co) this might be CPU bound. If you have LZO / LZOP around it might speedup the backup process somewhat - while still compressing to a reasonable degree (on the wire or over-the-air and on the remote storage):

cat /dev/sda | lzop | netcat the-nas-name-or-ip 6666

Optimizing compression ratio

If you want to optimize the compression ratio and thus storage space you should zero out the whole disk before installing the systems:

Most Unix’s, including Linux:

dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda

Mac OS X:

Disk Utility: Security options: Overwrite with zeros.

You can archive the same with slightly lower efficiency in the running operating systems by creating a file with just zeros:

dd if=/dev/zero of=file-with-zeros ; rm file-with-zeros

This has a slightly lower compression ratio, because it usually leaves a little noise in the file-system (allocation bookkeeping) meta data. However, it’s better than not zeroing out formerly random data at all.

Update: And LZO is still good enough to compress my now triple booting (3 OSs, Linux, Mac OS X, Windows 7) Nokia Booklet 3G 120 GB disc down to just 19GB on the server. (And I even haven’t zeroed out the HD too carefully, because I actually had to re-install Windows 7 quite some times to get rid of the recovery, as well as the extra boot loader partition, and until it was able to be loaded by the external boot loader all right, …)

Don’t forget to make a recovery CD from your Nokia Booklet 3G

Friday, October 30th, 2009

There is no install/recovery media in the box, and Nokia will apparently not send you one (in case you need one, e.g. after ruining your NTFS partition’s superblock by an off-by-one typo in the partition number while fiddeling your Linux and OSX on it, …). They rather wanted to pick up the laptop for “repair” on their side. Autsch!
Of course the Windows 7 Starter sucks big times anyway, so the loss is questionable. However, I have not yet even taken a look at this rumored Ovi & Maps things.

With an intact hidden restore partition (as in my case), it should be possible to manually restore the image from a XP, Vista, 7 repair console like:

imagex /apply d:\Recovery\restore.wim 1 c:\”

I’ll probably give it a try, just to see the Nokia bloatware before I’ll install a more potent Windows flavor, one that can Aero and change the desktop background wallpaper, …

Update: Of course Microsoft does not ship the imagex within the installation media, that would obviously be too convenient. Instead it is part of some Windows Automated Installation Kit (AIK) that is some whooping 999MB in size! Oops.

Google has some hits for some freestanding RAR archives. Let’s hope they do not contain malware, though, …

Update 2: Ok the “bundled” software was not worth it. I thought there would be an Nokia Ovi Maps application included, but instead only some “Update and Marketplace” enabler was. According to the printed docs included, the Maps has to be downloaded an is an over-the-internet app.

Yes we can: Mac OS X on Nokia Booklet 3G

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

As a picture tells more than thousand words:

More details, howtos, etc. soon.

Update: How to open, disassemble, upgrade the Nokia Booklet HD, SSD

While fiddeling with OS X on the Nokia Booklet, let’s annotate the Sony Vaio VGN-P bits

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

VoodooHDA.kext <- Intel HDA audio driver override glue
GMA500BacklightDisplay.kext <- GMA500, Inter Pulsbou backlight control

AppleIntelPIIXATA.kext <- correct checksum of Inquirey reply (for SSD SATA adapter)
fakesmc.kext <- OSK0 and OSK1
NullCPUPowerManagement.kext <- prevent the AppleIntelCPUPowerManagement from matching and panic
OpenHaltRestart.kext <- generic PC system halt and restart
PlatformUUID.kext <- generic UUID injection
SNC.kext <- generic vendor WWAN, 3G, UMTS
VAIOPEnabler.kext <- GMA500 PCI BAR fixup and EHCI fiddeling, as later re-published as GMA500Enabler.kext
VoodooBattery.kext <- generic ACPI battery glue
VoodooPowerMini.kext <- generic ACPI power glue
VoodooPS2Controller.kext <- PS2 keyboard and mouse


Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

It has a normal (Phoenix) BIOS (with Nokia splash), boots my Linux from a USB stick just fine. Does apparently disable VT in the BIOS :-(

Comes with Windows 7 Starter, at least in Germany, at O2.

Stay tuned.

Now I know why the O2 Germany flagship-store Berlin folks always want to give me a business card

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

It’s near to impossible to find, google their telephone number, … Gotcha. I should have taken it!

(Yes, I’m eagerly waiting to finally hold a Nokia Booklet in my hands. Why are there no deliveries? Damned.)

Update: +49 (0)30 23691800, and of course they still had no Booklet, …

The next ExactScan release is imminent

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

ExactScan / Pro 2.8 will comes with yet more polishing all over the place, including a couple of all-new scanners driver, see the updated lists of compatible scanners.

Release seeds and press announcements after the break.

Strange night

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

Tonight we had the first internet server hickup (connection loss) for years. At our new flat the tree in front of the balcony fell over (by storm, rain?). Calling my parents some 300km away it turned out they had a power outage (very rare in Germany).

What a crazy night.

Sony VGN-P31 with 1,86 GHz Atom Z540

Monday, October 19th, 2009

The Sony Vaio P series just got a refresh here in Germany–now with Atom Z540 at 1,86GHz by default at the same price the 1,33 GHz version was before (99x EUR incl. tax). So my Netherlands tipster was right, and the German Sony store did not know what’s up.

Oh, and the X series just blended in.

More AMD Congo stuff to appear soon?

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

So Engadget is reporting that there might be actual AMD Congo machines to appear in “the next weeks++”?

The 64bit-ness and more performant VT are good reasons alone to wait a bit longer for AMD silicon in your my next ultra-portable. Also avoiding the performance stagnation that is the Intel Atom.