MSI-WS60 running Linux

MSI WS60 Laptop Last year I was the victim of a break in which involved me losing nearly all of my electronics. I had backups of my data, the import stuff, but since that time I had been using a work laptop for most of my personal work. I later purchased a Surface Pro2 and had it dual booting Linux, but I found the tablet/laptop difficult to deal with. The lack of a sold connection between keyboard and device made it impossible to use while sitting on a couch like a normal laptop. While visiting Melbourne I decided to purchase an MSI laptop that’s typically marketed for gamers, and turn it into my primary Linux development laptop.

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Freezing a Hard Drive

I first heard about recovering data from bad hard drives by placing them in a freezer from a web comics. The artist almost lost a lot of his work to a failed hard drive he hadn’t backed up. I’ve had my share of hard drive problems and have kept regular full backups for the past few years, so I’ve never really had an opportunity to try out this technique. But recently a good friend of mine had a hard drive go bad in her five year old MacBook. This seemed like the perfect opportunity, and I was pretty amazed at the results.

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Review: Cloud at Cost

Cloud at Cost Main Page Screenshot Cloud at Cost is a new company offering very low cost virtual servers. For their first 10,000 nodes, they’re offering a $35 one time setup fee to get a virtual server for life (of the company). There are additional $70 and $140 one time plans for slightly larger virtual servers, or the option for $1, $2 or $4 per month. I decided to give one of these virtual server plans a try. There were quite a few hickups. I wouldn’t say they’re production ready quite yet, but if you want a server to play around with, the price is right, and their services are certainly worth that price.

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Discoverying Friend List Changes on Facebook with Python

Unfriendfinder was a Firefox plugin which allowed Facebook users to detect when people left their friend list or deactivated their accounts. After three years of development, Facebook requested the removal of the extension due to violation of their terms of service. The author chose not to fight the request. In response, I’ve created sumfriender, a Python script that can detect friend list changes as well as import previous friend lists from the Unfriendfinder Firefox plugin and grease monkey scripts.

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Removing the Tracking Image from Alfresco

Alfresco is an enterprise document management system. There is a free Community Edition that is open source, but its web interface pulls in an image from their official website that can be used to remotely track usage. This tracking image is added via Javascript and cannot be removed by simply changing a template. It is hard coded into a core class. This tutorial goes through the steps needed to patch the Alfresco WAR file in order to remove the tracking image. It has been tested for Alfresco 4.2c and may need to be adjusted for other versions.

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LtSense – Using Embedded Python for Sensor Networks, Wellington Python User Group

dyject – Python Dependency Injection

The first release of dyject is now out. Dyject is a simple dependency injection module for both Python 2 and Python 3. It had no dependencies outside of the standard Python library and uses a configuration parser to construct and wire objects. You can download packages from pypi, get the source code from githib or view the full instructions and documentation on

Big Sense: REST Web Services in Scala for Sensor Networks, Wellington Java User Group

Rear View Mirror v1.0 Released

Rear View Mirror v1.0 is now out. It has an improved option dialog, cleaner update system and MSI installers for both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions. It also has a new website:

Invalid partition table in VMWare ESX

Anyone who has expanded a drive in Linux knows it’s a two step process. First, the partition table must be altered to include the new space. Second, the file system must be expanded to make use of the new space within its partition. It’s a fairly straightforward process I’ve done many times, but I ran into an interesting issue when attempting this within VMWare.

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