Monday, December 21, 2009

Convert bin/cue files to .iso on OS X

This is documented a couple places in much detail.
I just needed a CD image convert to ISO format (that's ISO9660)
so I could mount it in VMware Fusion.
Warning: command lines follow.
  1. Get BinChunker (bchunk) to convert bin/cue to iso. If you don't have a compiler, you can get it prebuilt here: BinChunker for OS X. I was trusting.. it works.
    (If you have macports installed, then you can just do 'sudo port install bchunk').
  2. run bchunk. I will assume you specify full path here or have it on your path:
    bchunk -v image.bin image.cue isoFileName
  3. Done. Mount it in vmware, Virtualbox, or just open the iso file if you want to look at the files (double-click in Finder).
Above is all I need to remember.
Credit to these posts, which go into more depth and alternatives.
Along the way I found some other things.
  • 'drutil burn' says it can burn bin/cue files; see the man page.
  • Burn can also burn bin/cue files, ISO's, mp3's or audios with CD-Text, and more.
    Selectable compression for conversion of videos to DVD format (mp2)--this might let me get more video on a disc?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Mercurial error-- hg ... "abort: cannot follow nonexistent file: "

There is a simple solution near the end..

I don't know much about Mercurial, except that it's a free revision control system and included with NetBeans. I was playing with the GUI builder and didn't want to pollute a subversion-controlled project, but did want to be able to revert back if necessary, and somewhere saw that Mercurial didn't need a server.

Anyway, it was working fine, then I went away from my work for a week or so,
had some more stuff that needed to be checked in before I could test moving part of a module to another project.

.. but on trying to commit my changes in NetBeans, I got an error dialog with instructions to see the output window, which contained the arguments to hg plus the message
abort: cannot follow nonexistent file: src/com/foo/frop/
followed by one of the project files I was trying to check in.

I knew hg put its stuff in a tree somewhere, found it in NetBeansProjects/MyProject/.hg.
There is a file here for every src file in my project (filenames minorly encoded), plus a couple metadata files per directory. When I looked for the file hg complained about, it wasn't there.
Yet hg though it was checked in. How to convince it otherwise?

I didn't see any commands in the menus that looked promising,
google's first page of results were just statements that 'Mercurial is unfriendly'.
I really didn't want to spend a lot of time on this. Worst case I could create a new project and check it all in again. But I know how to mess with things which is generally the first step in reverse-engineering, so..


I moved the files out of the way,
and then Mercurial said they were gone.
I committed this change.
I moved the files back,
Mercurial said they were new.
I added them.

And I remembered something I might have done--I restored a MacBook from TimeMachine backup as a way to migrate to another machine. Possibly that Mercurial file was one of the last, or somehow that file feel in the cracks one of the times I aborted backups.

Ideally, hg or netbeans would provide some graceful recovery.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Microsoft Genius: An error occurred while Windows was synchronizing with

.. or, etc.

To see the error, double the clock in the systray, select the third tab which is labeled 'Internet Time', and try the 'Update Now' tab.
You will get the "An error occurred while Windows was synchronizing with" message. Try a different server, then 'update now'. Still get the error?

I did a little research, and found this long forum post about how this is broken everywhere --

We simply instruct them "to click on the time icon on the desktop,
then click the Internet Time tab,
and then copy the following blue text only - -
and next paste it in the Server: Field,
then click on Apply,
then Update Now
and finally OK. Done, no more error messages.
Ok, isn't that what I did? No. (blogger fonts are whack when you paste text in from a webkit browser... I'm going with it).

What's missing? What did I do differently?
This is genius!
After you change the value, you have to click apply to tell microsoft windows you changed it. What should be a obvious intuitive interface is subtly subverted. You change the value to X, and click update now. Doesn't it use that value? It says, "error connecting to X" but it doesn't use that value? Not til you click Apply!
Why don't that have another button that says "ok, I clicked that button" ?

This is a cash cow for microsoft! How many people have called and been charged $59 for this? Whoever thought it up surely got a lot of stock options and probably a promotion to VP, or a special position where they can apply this feature to other parts of the system (send in your examples). An MBA student could do a thesis on this...

Well, I tested on 3 2003 Servers which had this problem,
but the XP system actually worked [but that was probably a bug].
I couldn't test on Vista, because the police took that computer.

... I guess I only read about a third of that post -- it looks like there could be multiple issues, or there are different types of voodoo that can cure it...
I only read about halfway, but I'm tired.
Good thing I have a Mac now.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Mount filesystems over ssh, ftp, etc on OSX with MacFUSE, Macfusion, and a fix for snow leopard

OS X can already mount folders shared by windows machines with smbfs (Finder - Connect to server), or WebDAV natively. With a little more software, you can mount any (*nix) filesystem over ssh or ftp, with macFuse/Fusion.

'FUSE' is something like Filesystem in User SpacE.. that means it doesn't have to be part of the OS directly, most importantly making easy for developers to try something, test it, fix it, and try again really quick, instead of maybe having to compile a whole OS, rebooting, etc. This has been around for a long time on Linux, and a while for Macs too. Just a whole lot easier on a Mac because there's some nice interfaces.

  1. MacFUSE allows you to extend Mac OS X’s native file handling capabilities via 3rd-party file systems. Visit the MacFUSE website for more information.
  2. install, you will need to reboot.
  3. Get Macfusion from and install it.
  4. Run it and mount some drives. After it's mounted, you can exit Macfusion.
One problem, it didn't work for me.. because I have the newer 10.6 (snow leopard). The error I got (see the macfusion log viewer) was:

(macfusionAgent, SSHServerFS, norad, 11/20/09 7:35 PM) dyld: could not load inserted library: /Applications/Utilities/

I put mine in Utilities, but you might also see the path

tell it to look for beta versions, check for update, remove an old module, and then it works..

I see my password in the macfusion log viewer -- how to I get rid of that?

Friday, November 13, 2009

This PTF WP_PTF_6102 can not be installed/uninstalled because PortalAdminPwd, W asPassword have not been entered in

Full message:

E:\IBM\WebSphere\PortalServer\update>UpdatePortal -fixpack -installDir "E:\
IBM\WebSphere\PortalServer" -fixpackDir "E:\IBM\WebSphere\PortalServer\updat
e\fixpacks" -install -fixpackID WP_PTF_6102 -fixpackDetails
Start of [ UpdatePortal ]
Build 20090714_0130

Verifying installer jar:
[ PortalUpdateInstaller.jar ]

Setting permissions on E:\IBM\WEBSPH~1\PORTAL~1\version
Set encoding: console
Fix pack update specified
Fix pack directory: E:\IBM\WebSphere\PortalServer\update\fixpacks
Installation specified
Fix pack: WP_PTF_6102
Target product directory: E:\IBM\WebSphere\PortalServer
Copyright IBM Corporation 2002, 2008; All rights reserved.
WebSphere Portal Version 6.1
Update Installer Version 1.6.1, Dated 5/1/08

UpdateInstallerArgs.isThisUninstall 0
UpdateInstallerArgs.isThisUninstallforFixpack 1
UpdateInstallerArgs.thisIsFixpackID WP_PTF_6102
what is profileDirectory? e:/IBM/WebSphere/wp_profile
wp_install_root is e:/IBM/WebSphere
WP_PTF_6102Checking for Passwords ...

PortalAdminPwd has not been entered
WasPassword has not been entered

This PTF WP_PTF_6102 can not be installed/uninstalled because PortalAdminPwd, W
asPassword have not been entered in
UpdateInstaller.puiReturnCode is 8

End of [ UpdatePortal ]
Well, I set the passwords... got a little farther:

UpdateInstallerArgs.isThisUninstall 0
UpdateInstallerArgs.isThisUninstallforFixpack 1
UpdateInstallerArgs.thisIsFixpackID WP_PTF_6102
what is profileDirectory? e:/IBM/WebSphere/wp_profile
wp_install_root is e:/IBM/WebSphere
WP_PTF_6102Checking for Passwords ...

log file in configtrace checking e:/IBM/WebSphere/wp_profile\ConfigEngine\log\Co
Checking the status of all Application Servers
Checking status of server server1
Checking status of server WebSphere_Portal
Checking product features:

[No fix pack detail]

The specified fix pack does not exist

UpdateInstaller.puiReturnCode is 9

End of [ UpdatePortal ]
okay, maybe i didn't have the file(s) in fixpacks, but a subdirectory
There seemed to be a problem before, so I moved them..

start at 8:50pm ...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Because I ran Tor, the police took all my computers.

What is Tor?

"Tor is a network of virtual tunnels that allows people and groups to improve their privacy and security on the Internet."

Tor has been used by people in China to avoid censorship, access news sites, and get around the Great Firewall of China.

People in Iran used Tor during the recent elections to get their word out to the world.

Normal people use Tor, for various reasons. You might want to help the Tor network grow.
(In fact, the very easy-to-use Tor Bundle means you can also run it and/or use it, without understanding anything about how it works.)

Anyway, I had been running a Tor relay node for a few months.

Friday, I was waiting for a package to arrive. I heard a knock on the door, much louder than you would expect from a delivery person. I went down steps (still in my pajamas, as I was working from home), and saw four Men in Blue at my door. I opened it and was told they had a search warrant for my house. They put their battering ram down, and my girlfriend and I were asked to wait outside while they did a preliminary search of the premises.

The search warrant contained as evidence of probable cause one hour-long IRC chat session (showing origination from my IP address) with an undercover NY state trooper and a perp who claimed to have a boy kidnapped and locked up, along with pictures and videos.

From this evidence, they took three of our digital cameras, my two laptops, two desktop computers, and two external harddrives. They could have taken more, but I think it was pretty clear to the six officers that searched our house that we were not involved.

They said they would get to it as soon as possible and return our property, but sometimes the forensics office has a backlog (of up to six months!).

I guess this is what they mean by "Freedom isn't free."

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Cisco VPN fails with "Reason 442: Failed to enable Virtual Adapter."

Detailed instructions (and feedback with alternatives) here:
Solution to Reason 442: Failed to Enable Virtual Adapter with Cisco VPN Client on Vista x86
that page says
Update: This problem has been fixed in Cisco VPN Client Please speak to your Cisco supplier to obtain this new version. When disconnecting from a VPN connection it appears the new client performs these actions for you automatically (it takes around 60 - 90 seconds now to disconnect from the VPN session). I am unable to redistribute the client from this site - please speak to your Cisco supplier / IT Team.
but I am using and encountered the same.
I just got connection to work (after just getting the lient and the necessary group VPN), so haven't had a chance to see if it recurs, and if the solution works again.

If problem persists, I may try the registry hack too.

Those instructions worked for me,
but I had to reboot as in step 7 of this shortened version of the above instructions.
Others say you have reboot the interface more than once, so perhaps doing that is what fixed it, and not the reboot... no way to tell.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Samsung Syncmaster - 'auto adjustment locked'

When your workplace accumulates random hardware over the years, there aren't always people who know/remember how it works around (or manuals). Someone got this LCD monitor on their desk today, but the mouse would go off the screen, and a few people standing around it couldn't figure out why. So, they replaced her monitor.

The symptom: everything in the menu was locked (except for brightness and contrast), so we couldn't tell which value was the problem.
(probably the Horiz-pos or Vert-pos setting..)
Trying to change anything just said " auto adjustment locked"

The LCD monitor that had been on my desk disappeared... so I took the problematic one,
did a little research, and found the answer
Hold down the menu button for more than 5 seconds with the monitor switched on.
This action enables / disables this feature.
Maybe it's 10 seconds.

It's probably in the manual.

If I put a post-it that says 'Broken' on it, no one will take it...

2016 Update:
It's 10 seconds, at least according to the FAQ for this monitor:

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Vista tweaks

I got a new laptop a couple months ago (Acer Aspire 5515), and it has Vista installed. Although a number of people have reported 'downgrading' to XP, I decided to give it a try.
(Acer has a download sight for drivers, Vista and XP. Don't know if it's complete, but looks like it. Is ATI South Bridge included?)
(Aspire 5515 might be tricky with SATA AHCI drivers -- see here.

Vista's not so bad; some days it doesn't even bother me. My computer would probably run faster with XP; if I get enough frustration and time I might try it...

Some things I have to change in windows:
  • CapsLock is control.. this is where the control key should be, and how it was before IBM decided to make a 'PC'.
    (set in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Keyboard Layout)

  • focus follows mouse -- I don't need the window to be on top to type in it.
    "correct entry should be 9F for the first hexidecimal number. That should activate the x-mouse without bringing them to the forefront"
    (does this explain the registry flag bits ?)
    You have to open registry Editor then Navigate to following location [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop] For full X-Mouse, add +1h to the first number stored in binary key "UserPreferencesMask".
    For me, this was 9E, changed it to 9F.

another BartPE boot CD will work? (DVD?)
Ubuntu seems to work okay, haven't tried much..

What is the equivalent of BartPE for Vista? I did some research on this and found something that looks promising, but can't recall the name. I have it bookmark'd somewhere...

Still looking for problems with cygwin "file name too long" (using find/updatedb), stupid permissions problems (like from an external HD after copying files from another machine).
Maybe here: UTF-8 Cygwin

A cygwin package tool (like urpmi on mandriva--I like to just say "download and install the package that has curl" or netcat or gcc or whatever...).

random vista stuff: powercfg, scripting with jscript.. would like to be able to control e.g. windows media player with a javascript. What's the debugger/interpreter for playing with jscript on windows?

I should get a MacBook, then just install Linux here....

Friday, September 11, 2009

possible topics I

stuff i know, or want to learn, but might write about in some capacity:

  • data annotation
  • java: spring
  • process migration
  • complex event processing
  • spreading activation network
  • software estimation
  • cloud topics
  • augmented reality platform
  • open video
  • RDF / RDFa, dublin core, OWL, protege, topic maps, hyTime
  • rewriting proxies, debugging proxies
  • GIS, ArcGIS, ArcSDE with Oracle, flash interface
  • spatial data infrastructure
  • ajax, xmlHttpRequest, json
  • ALM - application life-cycle management
  • uml, model-driven development
  • IOC, dependency injection, guice
  • infosec, security patterns
  • CMMI level-2
  • reputation and recommender engines / systems, trust networks
  • WebEOC, board building and communication to other systems
  • NIMS resource definitions, resource database, iBatis
  • websphere portal development
  • java application servers, servlet development, enterprise applications, web services,
  • SOA: some overhyped acronym
  • datamodels, database engineering, reverse engineering, roundtrip
  • tomcat, axis2, pojo
  • situational awareness
  • edxl
  • knowledge management
  • victim tracking, patient tracking systems
  • sbeocs - strategic bio-defense emergency operations and communications system, preplink
  • the symbol grounding problem
  • nims resource typing
  • revision control, configuration management, RCS, CVS, VSS, SVN
  • bespin, code in the cloud
  • semantic web
  • using synergy2 (aka synergy) to share mouse and keyboard, via software
these items came to mind while cleaning my desk and going through some old notes.

Friday, September 4, 2009

How to play SWF files

This is so simple I don't even know why I was asked... google: how to play swf file

Just double-click and view it in your browser
(you may need to choose the program to use).
Or drag the swf file over and drop it on your browser icon (Chrome, Firefox, Safari.. even IE).

On windows, you can find some files in

Where are some example .swf files on a mac?

The google search link above will give you more ways.
Hit #4 comes from Adobe, so is the 'official' answer, but there are a number of third-party utilities out there that may make playing more convenient.. or save videos to disk, etc.

In many cases, you can't just save a swf file from a website because they may have supplementary files, or allowing playing or website connected only when the swf comes from the website.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

"Windows can't stop your Generic volume device because it is in use..."

You've closed everything that could have it open, and you still get this message when trying to remove it.

Easiest solution:
From task manager (or process explorer), kill explorer.exe.
Your systray and start menu will go away..

From task manager (or process explorer), run explorer.exe.
It should come back, plus all the little widgets in the systray.
Or most of them.. most of the important ones.

Now selecting the 'safely remove device' should work.

If it doesn't... more solutions after I encounter this next.

update September 2010:
This is one of my most popular posts. Since I am now using a Mac, I haven't had this problem. (Sure, a Mac costs more, but consider how much time you spend annoyed, or dealing with windows popups, virus, malware, and trojan removal... windows really costs more of your time and is less productive.)

Did the above 'kill explorer' trick work for you?
Is Windows 7 better about this?
If so (or not), leave a comment... thx.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Synaptics touchpad suddenly stopped working (Vista laptop)

I thought it was after I had unplugged an external USB mouse from it, after hitting the power key to suspend it. A couple days ago the synt_whatever.dll had crashed, so I lost the scroll features on the touchpad, but regular mouse movement and clicking were fine. I expected they would resume after a reboot. Also this day I had plugged into a projector (external video: Fn-F5), and at one point also hit mute (Fn-F8).

I tried rebooting a couple times--it's the Windows way--but that didn't make a difference.
Looked in the synaptics utility that shows in the systray--thought I saw something there about enabling touchpad/usb mouse simultaneously, and maybe a toggle would fix that. Nothing.

The device manager said everything was running fine. I figured I would probably have to uninstall and re-install drivers, because Windows just breaks, and this is something you have to accept.

Well, after a little search, seeing people had problems installing the driver, or the ALPS driver worked for them, I saw one that said 'try Fn-F7.'

Fn-F7 toggles the touchpad. Problem solved.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

JAX-WS classes not generating in Eclipse

I have a project that uses annotation processing + jaxws to generate WS interfaces,
but Eclipse (Flexbuilder) will forget about them.
I have to go in, toggle the 'use annotation processing' flag,
restart IDE,
toggle and hopefully it builds them this time so I can export a war file.

Server-side symptom:
Jul 22, 2009 3:45:24 PM org.apache.catalina.core.StandardContext listenerStart
SEVERE: Exception sending context initialized event to listener instance of class WSSERVLET11: failed to parse runtime descriptor: runtime modeler error: Wrapper class com.blah.blah.jaxws.MyClass is not found. Have you run APT to generate them?
at org.apache.catalina.core.StandardContext.listenerStart(

It seemed like I tried both combinations...
I check in windows explorer just to make sure the .apt_generated isn't there and not showing up.
I check the properties -- the folder is read-only (probably due to the VSS checkout); I turn this off.
Excellent... I don't see the .apt_generated folder there; perhaps its existence is fleeting.
But I do see generated classes in the build directory.
Oh, now I see .apt_generated at the project toplevel (not in src)...

so, it works.. probably was the folder permissions, there's definitely some bugginess here.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Capslock to control

Back before IBM had a PC, most computer keyboards had the CTRL key to the left of the 'A', in the home row.
ADM3a keyboard, Hazeltine.. my TRS-80 didn't have it (I modded the keyboard, and wrote my own keyboard driver in assembly)

the way a keyboard was meant to be:

See wikipedia: Control key for more info and some history.. anyway, one of the first things I do on a computer to make it usable is fix it so the key to the left of 'A' functions as control.

For windows xp and since (maybe going back to win95 ?), a registry entry can fix this.
The following in a .reg is sufficient:


[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Keyboard Layout]
"Scancode Map"=hex:00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,02,00,00,00,1d,00,3a,00,00,00,00,00

A collection of .reg files for quick setting and resetting is here: howto geek windows key mappings.

And after you set it, you have to reboot for it to take effect, because this is windows. (I discovered going to the 'switch user' screen and coming back works.)

For X11, a small file for input to xmodmap(1) can do this; specific settings are included in the man page.

Flex Builder cannot locate the required debugger version of Flash Player

It used to work, honest..
then after a couple weeks I try debugging my app from Flex Builder, and this dialog pops up:


Flex Builder cannot locate the required debugger version of Flash Player. You might need to install the debugger version of Flash Player 9 or reinstall Flex Builder.

Do you want to try to debug with the current version?

Uninstall and re-install? Maybe I just need a good reboot?
Well, the dialog box had a URL to adobe site. I think.

Anyway, go to Adobe Flash Player Support Center and look for
Adobe Flash Player 10 — Debugger Versions (aka debug players or content debuggers)
you may need to restart your browser, but it works right after that.

Did this help you?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Organization tools (a lazyweb request)

this may read as incomplete / incoherent / stream of consciousness...  it makes sense to me at the moment, I'll explain it later (or sooner, if you write, I'll clarify..).

a description of (certain aspects of) a tool that I think would be useful.

A tool to organize information.
Actually, different organizations:  temporal, alphabetic, linked, conceptual, mindmap, spatial, geographical, geospatial.

but, also allow these organizations to be changed.
incremental refinement:  I maybe tag a bunch of stuff as t01; later, i decide these can be either t02a or t02b.  but, maybe i don't want to tag it all at once, i'd like to save my workflow (after being able to define it) to refine it...  and visualize it, in various ways, various metrics.
info i create, info automatically crawled (searches, feeds, etc)
occasionally cull ("forgetting") this.

other large tasks in organization require some kind of workflow.
example:  organize my digital pictures.  
this includes:
 - make a complete list (also: note any large gaps in numbering which may indicate an incompleteness; search dvd/cd backups for these
 - i want to tag all my pictures, just for completeness.  things like people, things, bugs, flowers, plants, fungi, etc.   eventually i expect the computer to be able to do this to a large extent, similar to the face recognition that goole does wiht picasa(web)
 - i want to geotag all my pictures.  oh, assemble my gps .gpx files and sync those up (gpicsynch is good for this)

I should do this incrementally; eg, as I import each set of pictures, do tagging then...  some of this would be easier if so.  However, I also see how large-batch processing can be more consistent because you have in mind what the rules are (the tag dog v canine, the 'which one did i use before rule').  this implies some sort of meta-tools too that can organize your tags, give some historical perspective ("the tag 'canine' was used 42 times from mar-jun .."), renaming rules (everything tagged t03, ask whether it should be t03a or t03b).

you might tag your tags, create your own ontology or folksonomy for a task.
where are standard lists of tags?  this is where taxonomical rules would be ideal.

data extraction, template filling for generation of facts.
so you're not just doing a google search and looking at results and clicking on documents,
but creating a knowledge base that you can come back to later.
instead of closing the tab or 'going back', rate in some way what interest it was
 - worthless / unrelated
 - good stuff
 - not related, but interesting (sever / de-weigh from current interest, add to something else)
 - worth further looking
 - watch for changes

I think there is a set of tasks that can be done as part of the incremental workflow, and another set that may be better suited to large batch style works.  This may vary by person, or by mood, and may change over time.  You process a large batch and decidee "it would have been easier if I added that info at the time I created it" and at other times you may feel "I'm not going to do this now; I'll wait until I get a big batch and do everything later."

ways to select items of interest--search via any of the above organizations; 
selected items are now 'in the workspace' associated with my particular 'task focus'.
tomorrow i may reuse this; a few weeks now i wouldn't mind being able to come back to this particular view.  items in the particular view can be operated on, made more important, weighted, throw them together in a page with other attributes and put it out somewhere so google can find it...

links as first order types?
also while working, weighting/strength of the link.  
spreading activation, associative memory--what is the query language?
these weights have a temporality, if i renew an interest from the past, then probably related items should also have a fairly high ranking.
what kind of learning can take place?
while i'm learning the computer can note and learn something about what i'm doing,
ask me some questions ("is this link similar?  which is more X, A or B?").
maybe learn some rules about how to help me (the tripod links are pretty dumb, don't show me parked domain link farm pages even though it's in the top results, etc).

some of these tools exist in some rudimentary fashion.
there are simple mindmaps.
there are the more advanced "semantic desktop" tools, for either viewing or authoring semantic web 'pages'.
i am interested in tool-building, but not necessarily tool-building for it's own use.
again, this needs to be incrementally easy so i can build a piece at a time,
or somewhat self-learning / taught / trained.

i am tired of being frustrated by machines that slow me down.
whatever happened to the mathematica-style notebooks that have dynamic info,
where you can have active formulae in them?
what happened to the memex?

I guess I will go off and look at what tools exist:  
 - mozilla ubiquity
 - piggybank and other firefox plug-ins for the semantic web
 - stuff at w3c
 -  OWL and protege-related tools; kqml ?
 -  dublin core and related tools

I will try to post some links to these, if I find good summary pages, 
or a new post.  If you have something, please link.

I am posting this to the lazyweb.
lazyweb is the concept that if you wait long enough (or do enough searching)
someone will have built the thing that you need.
maybe someone will read this post and be inspired.