Thoughts on my next 30 day challenge

As I wrap up my first 30 day challenge, which was a pretty easy one, it’s time to start thinking of what I’m going to do for my next one. I’ve already had some ideas bouncing around my head but I think it’s time to start putting them into practice.

I started thinking about doing something healthy for 30 days, but when I got thinking about it, I started wondering why would I only want to do something healthy for 30 days. Why not just make that change in my life?

So for my next 30 day challenge I want to spend at least 1 hour per day creating a jQuery plugin. In the beginning it will probably be mostly about reading how to make a plugin and planning it out. The rest of the time will be spent developing and testing.

I have a few ideas. It may not be the greatest plugin ever but it’ll be something I made. Top contenders right now are a plugin version of my simple jQuery sticky footer that I’ve written about in the past or an accordion that I developed while working at Binghamton University.

Either way it should be fun and give me an opportunity to give back to the coding community. I’ve used so many libraries and plugins that other people have written, it’ll feel good to give something back.

Awesome tools for data recovery

So I did something incredibly stupid the other day. While trying to do a clean Linux install, I wiped my external HDD clean and overwrote it with an OS. I meant to do that to my internal drive but I messed up, badly. I absolutely was just not paying attention to what I was doing. I had other things on my mind and when I realized what was happening, my reaction was something like this:


I had 4+ years of photos, a large collection of wallpapers, animated gifs, purchased mp3s, and other valuable information stored on that external HDD. I thought everything was lost forever, but I wasn’t going to just give up. So I turned to my trusty friend Google and asked it for help. I came across a number of resources which I’d like to share with you here.

The steps laid out in the above link is what I used to recover most if not all of my data that was wiped AND overwritten. I’m not sure if I got it ALL because I had so many photos and other files but a large majority of them seem to be there. Follow the instructions in that link and you should be good to go.

This was the first thing I stumbled upon. When you download it, you get a zip file containing an iso. Burn that bad boy onto a CD/DVD and boot your computer from the CD/DVD you just made. It’ll load Ubuntu 10.10 with some custom tools installed. When Ubuntu boots up it’ll open a website in FireFox automatically with some instructions. You can use either TestDisk (this one didn’t work at all for me) or PhotoRec (worked amazingly). I recommend burning a copy of this iso to have handy in case of emergencies! It has a lot of nice tools packaged into one iso.

Problems doing a clean Linux install on HP Pavilion HPE model h8-1330z

This is an update to this post:

If anyone has done a clean linux install on an HP Pavilion HPE model h8-1330z please email me or comment below. After wiping the HDD clean, I could not get linux (I tried Ubuntu 13.10 and Linux Mint 15 w/ Cinnamon) to boot.

Here’s the steps I took:

At this point I’m running Windows 7 and I no longer want Windows 7 on my computer. I booted into a live CD of Linux Mint, opened GParted, wiped my drive clean, then formatted ~996GB to a primary partition as an ext4 file system. I used the remaining 4GB as a linux swap partition. When I went to go into the installer, it wasn’t acting normally. I’ve installed Linux Mint on my laptop and it didn’t act like this.

I would get this screen in the installer:
I realize this is an Ubuntu screen shot but the Linux mint one looks the same. I also tried installing Ubuntu and got the same error. Not surprising since they use almost identical installers.

It would then move me to the “Something else” screen in the installer where it would ask where I want to install the bootloader. None of my partitions were showing up and if I tried clicking the + or – or Change buttons, the installer would crash. I’m not exactly sure what was causing this but it was the source of much frustration.

For now I re-installed Windows 7 on my machine and am going to look into other methods of doing a clean Linux install. If anyone has experience with this error please let me know how you handled it. Until then I’ll keep trying to figure it out and post a solution when I come up with one.

Edit 11/23/13: Still no luck, no matter what I do I can’t get the Linux installer to detect the HDD. I’ve also tried disabling UEFI and Secure Boot from the bastardized BIOS that HP left me with. I’m beginning to think that the solution to this problem is to not buy an HP desktop. Next time I’ll build my own.

I’m finally making the full transition from Windows to Linux


Today is the day I plan on switching my desktop computer (HP Pavilion HPE) with Windows 7 over to a Linux distro. I’ve ran lots of different Linux flavors (debian, mint, ubuntu) in virtual machines while doing some dev work, but I’ve never made the full leap to a Linux-only desktop. There are a couple major reasons why I’ve kept Windows around on my desktop as long as I have.

  1. Gaming
  2. Netflix
  3. Adobe Illustrator/Photoshop

Now, with Steam making the move over to Linux, Compholio’s Netflix desktop app, and the fact that I don’t use Photoshop or Illustrator anymore (if I did need a graphics editor, there are nice free ones available) makes now the perfect time to get off Windows. I really don’t like the direction Windows is going and that’s the topic of a whole other blog post so I won’t get into it here.

I’m currently in the process of backing up my files to an external HDD, then I should be all ready to make the transition.