Archive for the “Gadgets & Gizmos” Category

After realizing I hadn't given my BootCamp partition enough room on my new humongo-drive (upgraded from 120gb 5400 RPM to 320gb 7200 RPM), I went looking for a way to add a few gigs to it. The solutions were wide and varied. Most had to do with cloning the partition's contents, killing the partition, making a new one with Boot Camp, stopping the Windows install, and then restoring the old Windows install.

That was a lot of work and a lot of hassle.

Then I found someone recommending CampTune. It's a free download and "pre-release" but it works fine. It's a working Linux ISO file you can download and burn to a CD-ROM with your favorite disc creator package (or Disk Utility).

Once it's burned, hop into System Settings, choose the "Startup Disk" option, and set your machine to boot from CD-ROM next time. Boot from the CD you burned and you'll go into CampTune, which has a very simple interface for changing the respective sizes of your Mac and BootCamp partitions.

When you're done, everything should work as normal, although if you created a VM in Parallels or VMWare to use your Bootcamp partition inside OS X, you may need to recreate the VM.

That's it. Pretty simple, huh?

Don't be scared off by the "pre-release" status. It's been that way for over a year now and I think Paragon just decided the market for people wanting to resize their BootCamp partition wasn't big enough to charge for it after all, so they just left a good release candidate up as the free download and moved on to other projects. It worked well for me.

As always, don't mess with the internal structure of your hard drive without having made backups first.

Good luck! Have fun!

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I recently posted my solution to connect the Samsung Moment to a Mac laptop using Snow Leopard via USB. Once that was done, the question was how to get my iTunes music and playlists from my MacBook Pro to my Samsung Moment.

I use iTunes to manage my music collection, both stuff purchased from iTunes as well as my older MP3 rips from CD and MP3s I've purchased or received free from Amazon.com. A while back, iTunes moved to a DRM free format for most new purchases and you could upgrade older purchases for 30 cents a song. The Moment will play the DRM free AAC format (M4A) from iTunes. But there's one problem, the built-in music player on the Moment, as well as two others I tried, will not recognize the information tags in the M4A format. Fear not, though...

CONVERTING ITUNES M4A TO MP3

Go to the Preferences pane for iTunes. In the "General" page (main page), go to the section that lets you specify what to do when you insert a CD. There, it has a button for "Import Settings". The default is iTunes AAC format, but you can set it to MP3. Once you've done that (you can also specify a variety of bitrates and other info), you can go into your music library, right-click on any song that's listed as "Purchased AAC" format ("Protected AAC" still has DRM), and convert it to MP3. You can highlight a large number of songs and perform this right-click action to batch convert them.

After this, I found that the three Android music players (the built-in one, MixZing, and one I can't recall) I tried would not read ID3 v2.x tags as iTunes wrote them. I ended up deciding to use MixZing because it handled the index display of videos as well as music and was better than the "Gallery" built-in video player that just shows you icons with no titles.

To import my music and my iTunes playlists, I found that DoubleTwist worked very well. It recognized my Samsung Moment and imported my iTunes Playlists with ease. It generated .m3u playlist format lists that the Samsung could understand, and dragging the playlist to the Samsung in the program took care of importing the playlist and all the associated music files.

A Playlist Caveat

If you want to import existing playlists, you're going to have to update them with any files you converted, otherwise they'll still sync the m4a version of the song to your phone. This isn't terrible. It still plays. It just comes up as "Unknown Artist" from "Unknown Album" with "Unknown Title". So if you're just shuffling your playlists and never look at the song info, who cares? if you want to know the name of the song/artist that's playing or play a specific song, then you need to convert the songs and fix up the playlists.

Two downsides. One, it will not convert/unprotect videos from iTunes that have DRM. So, for example, the free episodes I got of "Handy Manny" and "WordWorld" on iTunes won't play on my phone without some additional and illegal massaging. On the other hand, the music videos that came with the "Madagascar 2" soundtrack got upgraded to DRM-Free when I did the big batch of upgrades. So the will.i.am "I Like to Move It" music video transferred over and plays beautifully on the Moment's AMOLED screen.

Second downside is the way it handles podcasts. Rather than separating them out, they're incorporated into the music catalog. So, my "Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me" audio podcasts are found under the album of the same name with "NPR" as the artist. As for my "Sesame Street" video podcasts (for my 4-year-old), they only come up in the "Movies" section under the general "iTunes" heading. They're not in the "Movies" or "TV Shows" lists, so they can be a little hard to find.

On an upside note, if you give a YouTube video URL to DoubleTwist, it will download the Flash .flv file of the YouTube video to your hard drive. Putting the files on your Moment can take a while, though, because it re-encodes the videos into an MP4 format before transferring them. Since the Moment works with YouTube, this is only valuable for being able to watch YouTube videos when you don't have an internet connection (like when you're on a plane) or you're in a poor coverage area. I'd love to know if any of you have suggestions for a quicker method for downloading and converting YouTube videos, or a faster .flv to mp4 conversion method.

It also seems to do the conversion on the fly, so if you're rotating videos in and out and back in again, you may want to use a separate converter to do a permanent conversion from the Flash .flv file format to one your Moment can play. I tried transcoding with VLC and that was difficult to produce a video VLC could play back, much less my Samsung Moment. Quicktime Player's "Save For Web" option in the file menu worked very well. I selected the "save for iPhone" option and it created a good quality m4v file that my Moment would play.

I also copied over some other videos I had in other formats (collected over the years) directly to the card. I was able to play the .wmv and .avi format videos, but not the .mpg. Of course, these formats can have various underlying codecs, so don't take that as a blanket statement, but it's a decent place to start. Of course, if videos won't play on your Moment, but will play in Quicktime, you should be able to use the "Save For Web" function to convert them to a format your Moment will handle.

Hope this information helps you. Cheers!

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I got my Samsung Moment this afternoon and have been enjoying exploring it. I finally got around to connecting it to my laptop via the included mini-USB cable. While it is getting current via the connection and shows it's charging, it is not, OTOH, seeming to get data. My laptop doesn't see the phone and the phone is not displaying the USB icon to indicate that it's connected to a computer via USB.

I'll be researching this and trying to figure out how to get my Android phone and Mac laptop to see each other. In the meantime, I figured I'd set a placeholder blog post now so it can get indexed into the search engines. Perhaps if anyone else finds a solution before I do, they'll stumble upon this page and leave a comment with some useful information.

Update: The Next Evening:

If you read the comments below, you'll see some of the things I tried. A USB mounting program still required the phone to recognize that a USB connection existed, which it didn't.

I hooked it to a WinXP laptop and got the two to see each other without a problem, transferred some files. So it's a problem with the Mac or some miscommunication with the Mac.

image of the snow leopard system profiler screen on my system

The image above is a screen cap of my system profiler app. It shows that my Macbook Pro is seeing the phone, identified as SAMSUNG_Android, but the phone isn't seeing the machine. I've rebooted the phone with the machine connected to it. I've rebooted the machine with the phone connected to it. Still I can't get the phone to recognize that it's connected to a computer.

It's definitely getting current via the connection. I charged it from 60% to full via the USB connection to my Mac.

I've posted a query to the community forums at Sprint's site. We'll see if we get a a response.

Update: Sunday Morning:

The thread over at the Sprint forums has delivered in part. We've determined it's not the Mac hardware because other respondents in the thread have been able to pair it up with Windows and Linux running in virtual machines on their MacBook Pro laptops. So there's some incompatibility occurring with Android and Snow Leopard.

So the question is whether the phone's software needs to be patched, whether Snow Leopard needs to be patched, or if (as I'm hoping), there's a simple config change you can make on OS X that will solve the problem. We'll see.

Update: Sunday Night:

SOLVED! I was going deep through the Moment's menus and found a kludge/workaround that is at least getting the phone to recognize a connection exists and giving me the external drive functionality so I can transfer files back and forth through the USB connection without having to pull the battery, pull the Micro SD card, and plug the card into a reader/adapter.

How to Connect your Samsung Moment to your Mac

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A friend of mine recently tweeted about how much he loves SnagIt. I've used it in the past, mostly at jobs where I didn't have to pay for it, but its $50 price tag combined with the fact that I don't often need to screen capture long pages or documents meant I never picked up a copy for use on my own systems.

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