Jumping on the Bed!

The continuing blog on anime, games, movies, computers, college, and life in general

Archive for April, 2010

Zune HD 4.5 Firmware Update

Zune HD 4.5 Firmware Update
Much to my delight, Microsoft has just released the 4.5 firmware update for their Zune HD lines of portable music players. Of which, I have. They went directly from 4.3 to 4.5. Other than taking about four minutes to update, everything seems to be working fine. Visually the “tilt” effect is more pronounced giving the entire interface a much deeper three dimensional effect. Personally, I rather liked the older more subtle effect (it took me three days of constant use to realize it was doing it). The “swipe to unlock” image also has a larger drop-shadow beneath it giving, again, a greater sense of depth. There is also a nice little fade out when exiting an application.

Speaking of applications… No more stupid advertisements before loading the games! I’m quite happy about that for a couple of reasons. Not the least of which that my 32Gb Zune is already bursting at the seams and I’d rather use that space for more music, not little adverts for the Zion.

As far as features go, the Zune HD now has many of the features that the Zune Desktop software has such as “SmartDJ” and “Marketplace Pics”. It also supports XviD files without having to convert it to whatever video format it uses… m4v I think. Overall the UI seems to be quicker, lighter, deeper, and slightly more animated.

(“touched” vast – visual audio sensory theater)

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Not trying to tempt fate here, but…

dead wd mybook

I really hope this is the last of the depressing news around here.

When I came home last week and went looking for some of my old files on my NAS (Network-Attached Storage), the mounted drive was unresponsive. “Enh”, I thought at the time. “it just needs to be rebooted again.” Unplugged the power to the Western Digital MyBook World Edition and plugged it back in. Instead of the happy blue rings of the system powering back on, I got nothing. Power-cycled it again and still no lights but a faint “click click click” sound was coming from it. My already battered heart took another hit and I went numb.

Damned the warranty, I dismantled the white acrylic cage imprisoning my data and the past four days has been spent trying to recover from the crash. I had intended for it to be a backup unit, but as I’ve been moving between a couple of different computers and six or seven operating system changes, it’s pretty much just been storage and not duplicated files. I seriously considered sending the drive out for data recovery knowing that it would likely cost me around $1,000. Thankfully I was able to get 70% of the crucial files back before the drive (pictured above) finally gave up the ghost and was throwing read errors left and right.

The MyBook World Edition uses some sort of linux operating system so the drive was partitioned and formatted as ext2. I’ve been using ext2ifs to read and write to my dual-booting Ubuntu drives for a few years now and it’s worked admirably. This time, however, it would only read the partition as part of a RAID set and wouldn’t open it normally. After a little digging, I uncovered another actually older utility called Explore2fs which is strictly an ext2 partition reader, as opposed to ext2ifs’s ability to mount the ext2 partition as a normal readable / writable drive within the Windows environment.

Explore2fs wouldn’t run properly at first but after setting it to run under Windows XP compatibility mode with administrative rights, it worked like a charm. It found the four partitions on the MyBook drive and let me browse the file system and export the folders I needed to my desktop. I did end up losing most of my music, but as I’ve been paring down my physical CD collection to those artists or albums I really enjoy listening to, I may not miss most of what’s gone. I was, however, missing over half of the 8,771 pictures I’ve taken with my camera over the last 6 and a half years. So I’ve been scouring the 34 hard drives I’ve been holding onto, in some cases for the past 13 years, for any and all files I want to keep.

The road is long and arduous, but while disposing of the cruft, and triaging the survivors, I’ve been reminded of many fond memories and I’m gaining a better sense of myself; learning about he boy I used to be, the person I am now, and the man I want to become. Amazing what nearly 3.2 Terabytes of data spanning the beginning of your adult life can teach you.

(“sleep” imogen heap – i megaphone)

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Pillow or Floor… Zzzzz!

Lunesta Vs Ambien CR

Due to numerous stresses in my life, I haven’t gotten more than two to three hours of sleep at a time for the last two and a half months, and with that some other unfortunate complications. I finally went to my physician to see what’s wrong with me and he gave me some samples of Lunesta. “The one with the butterfly in the commercials” he says to the guy who hasn’t had cable television for over five years. I’ve taken them nightly for the past five days and while it takes about forty-five minutes to start feeling the effects, I still wake up every two to three hours.

I just want to sleep!

My brain has felt like thick oatmeal for the past six weeks. I’m sleep deprived. And while I can function in society, anything that requires higher brain functions such as everything I have to do at work, takes far too long for me to complete. I figure five days is long enough of a trial, so I called today and told my doctor’s assistant that I’m still not sleeping through the night and asked for some Ambien CR which I know works after my flight to and from Japan a couple of years ago. Thankfully I was able to some samples from him again because this stuff is ridiculously expensive and of course since it likely works, my health insurance won’t cover a prescription to it. Go figure.

Tonight is my first night with the Ambien. Here’s to hoping…

(“what your soul sings” massive attack – 100th window)

[Update April 10th, 2010]

While the Ambien CR does kick in within a few minutes of taking the dosage, and it does offer me 4 hours of sleep before I wake up, after two nights of it working alright, the following two nights of medications didn’t even register. I felt a little “buzzed” but nearly as strong as before, and I only got three hours of sleep before I suddenly awoke. Instead of running the risk of gaining an addiction to the medications, I’m just not going to take them anymore. I’m going to try sleeping on the couch tonight to see if that helps.

[Update April 11th, 2010]

No luck, woke up every hour and a half. I’m seeing my physician tomorrow for blood lab-work, and then my psychologist Tuesday. -_-

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