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Have a long URL that you want to shorten? Head on over to bl3nd.com and have at it. Take any long URL and make it short and easy to remember. It’s great for when you need to write a long website address by hand or memorize it to share verbally with someone else.

If you like it, let me know. I am going to slowly improve the service to incorporate new features and make it easier for everyone to use. If you like the service, please consider donating some money, so I can remove the advertisements from the site.

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Has anyone wondered why the boot screen in Windows Vista is just a black window with a useless progress bar? I was booting my laptop at work today and I noticed that it has no logo or anything. This blog post made me think about it a little more. What happened to the Windows logo from all the previous versions of Windows? Was Microsoft too ashamed of Vista to give it a logo? Maybe they felt it would be embarrassing for users to be seen booting Vista in public, so they decided to go make it as minimal as possible?

Where\'s the Windows logo?

While on this topic, what is with the useless progress bar? It doesn’t calculate anything relative to the system’s progress. The nearest it comes is anecdotal stories such as “My system is so fast when my it has a fresh load of Windows on it. The progress bar only goes by 2 times before it completes its boot!” I have had that conversation many times. It’s not a real benchmark and doesn’t really mean much. Why can’t Windows follow suit like any other OS and show some kind of relevant progress? Most Linux distributions allow you to see what drivers and stuff are loading. Even things with a GUI boot loader let you hit the “Details” button or link and see exactly what is going on.

So, why? What happened Microsoft?

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Vote for my “Fusion” shirt in the Shirt.Woot Derby!

Fusion

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So, as you probably know if you have read my About Me page, I like the comic called Ctrl+Alt+Del, or CAD for short. Well, since I am going on a trip in a few months, I decided I wanted to put a bunch of comics on my Zune for reading on the plane ride. I figured it would be fairly easy, since the Zune supports picture galleries and I can just add them. (more…)

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I was having problems with a new hard drive I purchased recently. I had an old 300GB Maxtor drive connected to my system using a standard SATA cable that came with my motherboard. It worked fine for a while, then I started to have problems with it. I ran various tests, and determined that the hard drive was dying. Then, one day it would not work at all. I had to put it in the fridge for about half an hour, then hot-plug it into my system to access. I am lucky that SATA is hot-pluggable. If I booted with the drive plugged in, the system would hang at the BIOS. Once I got it in, I was able to use SyncBack to copy all my data off. The drive seemed to fail when it got warm, so it took a few attempts. Luckily, SyncBack was smart enough to continue copying where it left off, instead of re-writing all the files. Let me tell you, SyncBackSE (the pay version) is well worth the $30 it costs. I highly recommend it. I was able to make a complete backup of my drive and send in the bad one for repair. Since Seagate bought out Maxtor, I didn’t receive my drive back, but a 320GB Seagate drive. That was kinda cool, a free 20GB of space, just for having my drive fail. (more…)