Thursday 13 November 2014

Create a bootable USB drive

After so all these years I’ve never booted a machine from a USB drive—or, more specifically—had the need to create my own bootable USB drive. I’d just burn an ISO to DVD and call it done. Since I keep all of my ISOs for, like, ever, and tend to hang on to the DVDs “just in case” I’ve got a lot of crap lying around.

I’ve been on a mission to de-crap my life lately.

I also made two coasters today when a Windows Server 2012 ISO failed to burn successfully. Since I don’t like plastic, a better solution was required.

I opted to use Rufus to have a go at making my first bootable USB drive and it worked exactly as advertised. There’s no install required, which I like, and no extra Microsoft prerequisites to locate and install. I popped a big enough USB drive into a port, Rufus detected the insertion, I left the defaults as they were, selected the .iso file to use, and a few minutes later it was all finished.

On the target side (i.e. the computer I was booting with the USB drive), I did have to fiddle with the boot settings in the BIOS slightly to not only enable the machine to boot from USB but also make it extra aware of my intentions. You know what those BIOS developers can be like—your system will be specific so I won’t include the gory details.

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Saturday 8 March 2014

How to configure Hyper-V to use a wireless connection in Windows 8.1

I haven’t used Hyper-V for a while but when I recently built a Windows 8.1 test bed VM I needed a virtualisation platform  and Hyper-V was more or less ready to go within my Windows 8.1 host laptop.

The only hiccup I encountered along the way—and one I was familiar with from my days running Windows Server 2008 on my laptop simply so I could run Hyper-V—was configuring Hyper-V to make use of my laptop’s wireless connection. This time I followed Rick Gipson’s excellent post to get everything working  and I summarise/condense his steps here in the interest of preservation and to document a few notes relevant to my Win 8.1 environment. Check out Rick’s post for screenshots.

  1. Create a new Internal virtual network switch named Virtual WLAN from the Virtual Switch Manager in Hyper-V Manager. A new Unidentified Network connected to vEthernet (External WLAN) will now be visible within the host OS’ Network and Sharing Center. Note I renamed this connection to vEthernet (External WiFi) in Windows to reinforce its relationship to the wireless adapter and differentiated it from the Hyper-V object.
  2. In Hyper-V Manager, configure the target VM’s network adapter to use the newly-created virtual switch (i.e. Virtual WLAN). Note Rick suggested the need to add a new Legacy Network Adapter but I found this was unnecessary.
  3. In the host OS’ Network and Sharing Center, share the host’s physical WiFi adapter by checking the Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s internet connection box and specifying the Home networking connection as vEthernet (External WiFi). Note Rick’s screenshots show the Home networking connection field as a drop-down list but my current configuration displays as a text field. The WiFi adapter should now be listed as Shared in the host OS’ adapter settings.
  4. Start up your guest VM when you’re connected to a wireless and enjoy network connectivity including internet access.
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Sunday 23 February 2014

Lightroom Touchpad Scrollbar Fix

Lightroom and Synaptics touchpads (trackpads) don’t seem to play well together but climbbike1 at the Adobe forums posted a registry fix that worked for me.

I’m not sure what it does, but as stated the little scrollbar graphic that was popping up wherever my mouse was positioned no longer appears after applying this fix (a good thing as it seems to be related to the problem). I was having a similar problem with a few other apps I rarely use under Windows 8.1 and didn’t have the problem when using a proper mouse. Note the Control Panel –> Mouse applet/Synaptics tab reports that I’m running Synaptics Touchpad V7.2 on PS/2 and Device Manager states the Driver Version as (I just installed the latest driver when building the Windows 8.1 machine).

Here’s how to implement climbbike1’s fix.

Option 1 – edit the registry directly:

  1. With administrative rights on your Windows computer, run regedit.exe (either via Start –> Run or the search charm in Windows 8)
  2. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Synaptics\SynTPEnh
  3. Right-click the SynTPEnh key and select New –> DWORD
  4. Name your new DWORD UseScrollCursor
  5. It’s value should be set to 0
  6. If the key already exists when you complete step 2, modify the value instead
  7. Restart the Synaptics processes (see below)

Option 2 – create and run a .reg file:

  1. Open notepad and save the blank file to your desktop as fixscroll.reg (or whatever you want to call it)
  2. Copy the italicised text below and paste it into your .reg file
  3. Double-click the file to run it (with administrative rights)
  4. Note I’m not sure if this will create the key if it doesn’t exist—follow the steps in option 1 to confirm it exists and is set correctly

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00



You’ll need to restart a couple of Synaptics processes and can do this by either restarting your computer or following these steps:

  1. Open Task Manager
  2. Locate and end the Synaptics TouchPad Enhancements (SynTPEnh.exe) and Synaptics Pointing Device Helper (SynTPHelper.exe) processes
  3. Restart those same processes by running them from your startup folder or locating the executables and double-clicking them

Lightroom was running while I made these changes and the fix had instant results—no need to restart Lightroom or Windows.

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Tuesday 14 January 2014

High-Key Black and White Process

After reading about how to do spectacular black and white conversions in Australian Photography (June 2013), I thought I’d give it a spin. I chose the photo as a sacrificial test snap because the focus was off and the two subjects (my wife and little girl) were looking away from the camera. Despite these ‘defects’ the response from friends and family has been strong and I’ve come to love this photo, appreciating the focus as a private, shared moment between wifey and baby. Here’s how I did the conversion in Lightroom (v5.3).

In the Develop module:

  1. Adjusted white balance of the original colour photo
  2. Changed the Treatment from Colour to Black & White (first option above white balance in the Basic panel)
  3. Increased the Exposure (+1.79)
  4. Increased the Contrast (+100)
  5. Decreased Highlights (-7)
  6. Decreased Shadows (-38)
  7. Decreased Whites (-10)
  8. Decreased Blacks (-100)
  9. Increased Clarity (+29)
  10. I should have modified the colour channels (HSL/Color/B&W sliders but did not during my first edit—what you see below)
  11. Added a graduated filter to the top 75% of the image to further reduce exposure and highlights and increase shadows
  12. Sharpened
  13. Added a not-so-subtle vignette which works well with the black and white
  14. Cropped square

Gemma and Charlie BW