Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Dual Booting Windows 8 and Ubuntu 12.04 LTE

Since the beginning of Windows 8, the Linux community has been up in arms about the Secure Boot feature of Windows 8 and that it was an effort of Microsoft attempting to block out Linux from PCs.

So I thought I would build a VM and test if this was in all cases or just on new PCs.

For this test, I am using:

  • VMWare Workstation 9
  • Windows 8
  • Ubuntu 12.04 LTE
I prefer to use Ubuntu 12.04 LTE for a lot my Linux work as it the long term supported version and still relevant despite there being newer versions. Makes it easier for me... but anyway.

So I have configured up a virtual machine and have install Windows 8. Basic build and simple account (no Microsoft account used). 

Once happy with the Windows side, I connected up a Ubuntu ISO and rebooted.

I have kicked off the install and it has detect that there is a Windows 8 installation (yes, Windows 8) and if I would like to split the disc. I have created the VM with a small 20GB hard drive, so I have split it two ways, 50/50. I continued with the install as usual.

Cool side note: Ubuntu is smart enough to detect the Documents and Settings you have in Windows and offer to replicate them in the Ubuntu environment, saving you manually doing it later.

So once the install finished I had to reboot the computer as normal, and was eventually presented with the GRUB boot window.

After booting to Ubuntu and confirming a successful installation, I rebooted and selected the Windows 8 option. And it booted!

While this does not necessarily disprove there is a problem, this does prove that it can be done. Windows 8 has not completely killed off Linux, or even Linux and Windows operating on the same system.

Secure Boot on UEFI based system may experience issues, especially on OEM systems from companies like HP and Lenovo may have issues, but this does not spell the end. 

If this article helped you or otherwise, please leave a comment below.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Google - Somebody that I used to know

Who is Google anymore? They have changed so much I really don't see the company I used to like.
What happened to the friendly "We're on your side?" type of company I grew up with? And what are they doing to their own products?

When I was in high school, I was one of the few between to get a Gmail invite. It was a big thing too. There was high value to a Gmail invite. Only certain people could give them out, and they only had a finite amount of invites. Also, that was around the same time I discovered (and fell in love with) Google Labs. Their little corner of the internet were experiments and software demos were shown off and discussed. It was fun and dynamic. There browser was a no-brainer for me being embedded into their ecosystem later down the track and after getting my first Android (Samsung Galaxy S).

So what's different now? Well everything. Currently the Google Graveyard stands with lots of flowers from users paying respects their favorite and often frequently used products. Their recent causality; Google Reader.

Google Reader

The decisions to closed down Google Reader came to as a shock to me and a lot of other in the community as it is a useful tool. A central web-based site to keep up to date with your favorite websites through a single page using RSS. I used it for many years to keep up with my tech sites and found the go to place for news and other sites.

Google claims that a drop in user activity is the reason behind the decision to close the project. Really? Is it that low in usage that its not worth the server space? You're Google. You could just run this on a server in the basement and no-one would care. This tombstone sure suggests that it has somewhat of a significant fan base.

Google Chrome

When Google release their own web browser, it was a welcomed competitor to the web browser market. At the time, it was a fight between Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Mozilla's Firefox. Although Firefox was popular, IE still had a market. However today, things could be more-or-less split three ways and no-one complains.

However on a technical level, people welcome the browser as it was based on the Webkit rendering engine. Webkit is famous for it support for industry standards in web markups and languages. It was fast and also used by Apple's Safari browser. And while using the engine, Google has contributed development back to the engine to improve it's capabilities not just for Chrome, but for all browsers using the engine.

However recently, Google has announced that they would be making their own engine based on Webkit. They claim that using Webkit is restricting their development and building their own engine would allow them to redesign the engine to perform certain functions as separate processes, speeding up the loading process. But no only are the making their own, but splitting it two ways, open-source version and Google version. Because there just isn't enough fragmentation in this digital world enough already.


The free email service that everyone loves. Kind of.

It was revolutionary when it was announced. Most people in the industry (even myself) thought it was joke as Google announced this project and released it on April 1st, none other than April Fools Day. But it turns out, it was actually real. Who woulda thunk it?!

The revolutionary part about the service was that fact it was the first service to offer 1GB of free online storage. And it continues to climb to this day. This amount was unheard of. Microsoft's Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail only offer mere tens of megabytes.  But it got better from there.

They introduced Microsoft Exchange as a way to synchronize your mobile devices (phones, tablets and even computers) to the service for free. Only businesses really ever saw the light of a Microsoft Exchange server. But to have it on a free webmail account was awesome. And I love it. Fully sync mail, calendars, and contacts in a sync wizard. Awesome. However we are now going backwards.

Recently Google announced that they would no longer offer Exchange to free Gmail accounts but would continue to the services for their paid business services. Well that was a bummer. But it got worse.

While everyone was moving their settings from Exchange to IMAP, there was the question over syncing Calendars and Contacts. Well that was solved with using open technologies like CalDAV and CardDav for contact sync. Ok fine. But that didn't last long. Google have now decided to develop and use their own proprietary Google Calendar API to sync calendars (not sure about contacts at this point). What?

That's right. Google chose to develop their own way instead of embracing a open standard supported by lists of hardware and software. Microsoft even update their Windows Phone to allow CalDAV. But just as that update arrived, so was Google decision to not use it.

While Microsoft Exchange is proprietary, it was recognized by everyone. Google Android, Apple iOS and Blackberry had no issues connecting to a Exchange server. And it connected Mail, Contacts and Calendars in one hit. It was obviously the licensing cost that was too much for them.


So what do you from here? Can you really trust this company with it's products?

I have had this long skeptism in Google. You could invest you time and efforts into a single product and next day, they could decide they're no longer interested and you would be on the hunt for a replacement before losing all your data.

It’s a nervous time, but you can't blame them. They're growing at an enormous rate and none much more than the fun little company. They are an software enterprise. Android being a huge hit. Search advertising raking in the dollars. It would be nice to see some stability in their products some times.

Some Extra Reading

Google ditching Webkit for their own version of webkit but still open source?

After ditching Exchange, they want you to use CalDAV and CardDAV. But now ditching that for their own propriatary API

The Verge - GMAIL drops Exchange

Google Spring Cleaning

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Facebook and the new redesign

Recently I opted-in for the new redesign of the Facebook homepage to see how much they would change, and they have changed everything. And I love it.

Here are some screenshots.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Switching/Moving from Evernote to Microsoft OneNote

Update 4 (25-Apr-2016): Microsoft now provide their own tool for migrating you data from Evernote to Microsoft OneNote. See here: https://www.onenote.com/import-evernote-to-onenote

Update 3 (13-Apr-2014): A lot of people in the comments noted a recent issue with the software prompting for both Evernote and LinkedIn passwords unnecessarily. I won't be updating this post any further due to it's age and no longer recommending the conversion software.

Update 2: Microsoft have released a native client for Mac OS X. Also OneNote for Windows is detached from the Office suite and available for free.

Update: A lot of people had issues with this post in that it either they had issues or it did work at all. Problem here is that newer versions of OneNote may have issues with this process. There may be other issues that I am unable to test for.

When doing this guide, keep in mind that it will attempt to export to a new OneNote file. Each notebook in Evernote will become a new OneNote file. Some manual processes may be required here.

Other than that, if you have any issues, please let me know below.

I have been using Evernote for about a year now and I can honestly say that it has been one of the truly useful tools and cloud solutions on the internet. This single point location to store simple yet important information has grown from a single page of notes, to a expansive array of notes and notebooks. And I mean that in good way.


At the same time, Microsoft have had a long running note taking solution called OneNote as part of the Office suite. And not many people know that this is also in many ways, just as free to use as EverNote.

OneNote is available on multiple platforms like Evernote:
  • Microsoft Windows
    • Universal App (through the Microsoft Store, free)
    • With Microsoft Office suite
  • Mac OS X (native)
  • Web-based app
  • Android
  • Apple iOS
  • Windows Phone

Import/Export (Windows)

Microsoft now provide their own Importer tool for migrating your data from EverNote to OneNote.

See Here: https://www.onenote.com/import-evernote-to-onenote

So first up let me show you easiest method to move from EverNote to OneNote.

Ever2One Importer

  1. Download Ever2One Converter - as mentioned in Update 3, I am no longer recommending this software.
  2. Install
  3. Run and convert your notebooks to a OneNote file
  4. Enjoy
This software will turn each EverNote notebook into a single OneNote file, however OneNote software is smart enough to treat this as a single collection of notebook, not lots of individual ones.

OneNote after EverNote Import

Why Change?

This will be done to personal preference. On the base level, both software packages do wonderful jobs and doing the basics well is a strong point. Evernote does keep it simple while OneNote does have advanced options which will benefit others.

Mum and Dad, stick to EverNote. Keeping recipes and other important notes, Evernote will not let you down.

If you are techie or student (for example), OneNote will handle screenshots, equations snips and other more advanced notes than just the basic text much better.

If you have some further insight into this, please feel free to leave a comment. If you found this blog useful, consider leaving a donation.

Using HP Array Configuration Utility on a Citrix XenCenter Server

I don't have a lot of experience with the Citrix virtual environment but have to use it from time to time at work. I came across this situation today and thought I would share this link.

You may have a monitoring system link Spiceworks or N-able (which is what I use) that has just reported that you have a failed HDD. You go to call HP Support and they ask for confirmation via a HP utility. For me, somehow Intergrated Lights Out was never configured (before my time) so no confirmation there. We need to install the HP utilities. However you cannot use the Windows version of the tools as the windows server will be virtualized and won't be able to communicate with the hardware via hypervisor. You need to go straight from the source.

This article explains how to download and install the HP utilities directly on to the XenCenter server or the hypervisor, giving the direct access to the array controller that you need to get the information that HP Support is looking for.

Linux knowledge will be needed.

How To Use HP System Management Software on a XenServer Host