Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Git Parable

I thought the quest for the ideal Source Conrol System (aja Version Control System) had ended when I moved away from that piece of garbage, known as Visual SourceSafe, and into CVS a few years ago.

Alas, not long after, I realised that things could be better. Enter Subversion!

Time passed. All was well. I even managed to introduce it to the dev team at work; all went well (ignoring some painful merging experiences at the beginning!)

Still, I kept an eye out for anything else that may be better.
The most intriguingly named Git is one that has caught my eye.

There are plenty of articles on the net about git but the one I found most refreshingly useful was the one at Tom Preston-Werner's blog.

It explains how git works in the most useful way I've seen in a very long time.

ps: Comments and/or links to this article are most welcome!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Make a multi-boot CD/DVD

For a few days now, I've been trying to find out how to make a boot DVD that contains a number of ISO images.
I wanted to put a number of anti-virus rescue CDs onto one DVD and have some kind of boot menu on it, so that when it boots it gives me a list of ISO images I can boot from.

You'd think it was easy, wouldn't you!

There is a lot on the web about MagicISO; it supposedly does just that.

I have no doubt that it does, I just haven't been able to find any info on how to do it.
I have seen a few references that talk about how to put a bunch of different versions of Windoze on a DVD.
That'd be about as usefull as getting a bunch of diseases, all in one cup.
Convenient, I am sure, but most undesirable.

However, I did find something that goes quite some way there!

It is called Sardu, which stands for Shardana Antivirus Rescue Disk Utility.
It allows you to build an ISO that is made up of a number of other ISOs.
It also allows you to make a bootable USB out of it.

It doesn't quite do everything I want, i.e. use any number of any type of ISO images.
Instead, it caters for the following specific ISO images:
(note that the filename in parenthesis is the exact name of the ISO image corresponding to that menu item)
  1. Antivirus
    1. Avira (rescue_system-common*.iso)
    2. Bit defender (BitDefenderRescueCD*.iso)
    3. Dr. Web (minDrWebLiveCD*.iso)
    4. F-Secure (f-secure-rescue-cd*.iso)
    5. GData (Gdata_*.iso)
    6. Kaspersky (kav_rescue_2008.iso)
    7. Panda Security (*safecd*.iso)
    8. VirusBlokAda (vbarescue-beta.iso)
  2. Utilties
    1. Floppy Win98SE (Windows98_SE.img)
    2. CloneZilla (clonezilla-live-*.iso)
    3. GParted (gparted-live-*.iso)
    4. NT Pwd (cd080*.iso)
    5. Parted Magic (pmagic-*.iso)
    6. System Rescue CD (systemrescuecd-x86*.iso)
    7. Ultimate Boot CD (UBCD*.iso)
  3. Linux
    1. Austrumi (austrumi*.iso)
    2. Damn Small Linux (dsl-*.iso)
    3. NimbleX (NimbleX-2008.iso)
    4. Puppy Linux (pup*.iso)
    5. Slax (slax-*.iso)
  4. Windows PE
    1. Live XP (LiveXP.iso)
    2. MegaLabCD (MegaLabCD.iso)
    3. Windows PE (pebuilder.iso)
    4. UBCD4Win (U_B_C_D_4_WIN.iso)
    5. VistaPE  (VistaPE*.iso)
Here is how it works.
  1. Download SARDU
  2. Extract it into a dir. For this example, the dir is E:\dooda
  3. You will end up with the following directory tree
    1. e:\dooda                       (contains sardu.exe among others)
    2. e:\dooda\ISO                 (this is where you need to copy your ISO images)
    3. e:\dooda\ISO created      (this is where it will store the ISO it makes)
You can either download the ISOs you need by visiting the sites shown in the table above or start SARDU and click on the name of the ISO you want to download.
If you download the ISO, make sure you put it into the ISO directory, as shown above (cyan-coloured entry).
Also make sure the ISO name is exactly as specified above.

Once everything is in place, start SARDU. It will detect all the ISOs that are in the ISO dir (but will ignore any that are not in the list of supported ISOs).
It will place a check-mark next to the name of the corresponding app in the GUI. You can un-check it, if you wish.

Go through all the tabs in the SARDU GUI and select/deselect the ISOs you want in your final image.

When you've done that, simply click on the MAKE ISO button, wait a minute and, voila, you are now the proud owner of a multi-boot ISO, with all the goodies you selected!

I have not had a chance to test the bootable USB option yet. I'll be buying a 2GB USB stick tomorrow and will try it then.

I believe the author is Davide Costa.

Bravo ragazzo e mille grazie!
This utility is great!

ps: Comments and/or links to this article are most welcome!

Friday, October 16, 2009

dSLR saga goes on...

One of these days, I will actually buy a dSLR and the fun will stop.
Toing and froing from one camera model to another for the last 12(!!!) months has been fun. Hasn't it?

Here are the spasms of selecting a dSLR thus far

At this rate, I will be buying a dSLR sometime just before the Y3K problem comes around.


Anyway, at the moment, I have my eyes set on a Canon EOS500D, costing AU$1,139 at camerastore

The sticking point is that I can't find a lens that will give me the zoom range I have in my current camera, a lowly Panasonic FZ20 (non-dDSLR) with a 12x lens which reaches 423mm at f2.8!
(Did I mention that I have a 2.2x teleconverter on top of that?)

If I look at, say, the Tamron 18-270mm, it covers a 35mm equivalent of 28-419mm but starts at f3.5...

Still, at AU$628, it is a pretty good price!

Pop by in a few months time...who knows, with the holiday season just around the corner, I may just do it!

Buy a dSLR!

Finally!  (I think)

ps: Comments and/or links to this article are most welcome!