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Cannot erase USB flash drive, “name invalid”

  • Tried creating bootable USB flash drive for Windows 10 for my HTPC, didn’t work.
  • Ended up burning to a CD and using an external CD drive
  • Tried adding files to USB, didn’t work. Then decided to erase
    • Disk Utility -> Erase -> Error: “Invalid name. Operation failed…”

How to fix:

  1. Open Terminal:
  2. type in diskutil list to determine what the disk number is
  3. then type in diskutil eraseVolume [HFS+] [NAME] disk2
    1. Where [HFS+] is the erase type you want
    2. And NAME is the new name you want the disk to be called
    3. in my case, I did: diskutil eraseVolume HFS+ prince disk1



What I use for Hosting – HostGator

Sure you can get free hosting (using a free wordpress site, weebly, hubpages, squidoo, or ezinearticles), but buying a domain name (I always pay less than $10/year) and getting your own hosting is simple, easy, affordable, and most of all – gives you more options.

Options such as:

1. Brandability ( vs

2. You have the option to customize and edit your wordpress themes (using the theme editor or by customizing the widgets)

3. You can install premium themes (such as Thesis theme)

4. You can install premium plugins (such as WP Robot)

Those are the main options off the top of my head. Other things such as stats (google analytics installed through a plugin) and even selling your site can go much smoother with a real site through your own hosting.

I’ve used HostGator for the last 6 years, and have never had a problem.

Get started with your site right now. Today, not tomorrow. Sign up for HostGator

HostGator deal

sync ical and address book for free

Do you have 2 or more macs? Don’t wanna pay $100 a year for Mobile Me? Are you slighty techy and looking for a free solution? You’ve come to the right place.

Gotta give 100% props to both and to for the below. This is how to sync iCal and Address Book 100% for free. No mobile me. No crappy apps. (Disclaimer: it’s always a good idea to backup your files before deleting or editing. Stop reading and do this now.)

Part I – iCal sync setup

On your main computer, the one where the calendar is good to go, perform these steps:

1. Install Dropbox, Open Terminal, and type in the following in Terminal to put your iCal files on Dropbox:

mv ~/Library/Calendars/ ~/Dropbox/

2. Type the following to redirect your mac so it uses the Dropbox location instead of the default location:

ln -s ~/Dropbox/Calendars/ ~/Library/Calendars

On the secondary computer:

1. Delete the old “Calendar” folder (this is found in Finder>>Your User Name>>Library)

2. Install Dropbox (if you haven’t already) and type the following to redirect your mac so it uses the Dropbox location:

ln -s ~/Dropbox/Calendars/ ~/Library/Calendars

Part II – mac Address Book sync setup

(Very similar to the above. also, I’m assuming you’ve already installed dropbox on both macs. If not, please do so now.)

On your main computer, the one where the address book is complete, perform these steps:

1. Open Terminal, and type in the following in Terminal to put your Address Book files on Dropbox:

mv ~/Library/Application Support/AddressBook ~/Dropbox/

2. Type the following to redirect your mac so it uses the Dropbox location instead of the default location:

ln -s ~/Dropbox/AddressBook/ ~/Library/Application Support/AddressBook

On the secondary computer:

1. Delete the old “Address Book” folder (again, this is found in Finder>>Your User Name>>Library)

2. Type the following to redirect your mac so it uses the Dropbox location:

ln -s ~/Dropbox/AddressBook/ ~/Library/Application Support/AddressBook

Congratulations. You just saved $100 recurring.

Perfect sync. Perfect harmony.

Display sleep shortcut on mac

CTRL + SHIFT + EJECT sleeps the display immediately

Totally ninja… like something they do in the movies!

mac (error code 0) – 4gb limit

I got some great help with this annoying problem from this site:

Copying Files – Error Code 0


While moving some large files around the other day I came across a rather funny code that got me confused for quite a while. Every time I tried to copy the file it would throw up an error box saying the file can’t be copied, an “unexpected error has occurred, code 0″. The solution was decisively simple and very easy to overcome. Its due to the FAT32 partitioning system I was copying to. This post is going to explain how you can get around it.

FAT32 has a file size limit. You can read more about it on wikipedia. Due to the way the allocation is set, it wont allow files bigger than 4GB. This wasn’t a problem years ago when files didn’t get this big, but with home movies and large files in general this limit can be reached. With normal day to day operations with your Mac you won’t encounter this problem. However it may come across if you are using a FAT drive or USB stick.

There are two ways to get around this problem. The first is to format your destination drive to a different format, for example you can convert it to HFS which can be used by your Mac. You may run into problems if you want to use Windows. Alternatively you can use a plugin such as NTFS-3G to write to NTFS drives, this allows you to write to it on Windows and Mac and have large file sizes. For a table on formats I recommend this one. Formatting drives can be done in Disk Utility in Applications > Utilities. Formatting can be a bit of a pain. The best way is to split the file up using an application.

One method on reducing files sizes is to archive it. Most of the time this wont do much in terms of file size and you still may end up with a large file. The best way then, is to split up the file into smaller chunks. The best method is to use an app called Split&Concat. This app takes a file and splits it up into small chunks of your choosing. You can then put it on a memory stick moving it a different location and then put it back together again. There is similar apps for Windows and I assume Linux.

Hopefully you understand the problem that is faced by moving large files. There is different ways to store data, each of these have different limitations and can only be read by certain types of operating system. One file allocation system may be too much to ask. As a result the best way to transfer large files with this limitation is to split them up, or find a different way of moving them.

daa file convert for mac

I used for Snow Leopard.

Worked like a charm.

Added a new ‘Downloads’ page

I just added a new Downloads Page up at the top…

My plan for here is to add valuable little downloads for free – cool stuff, or just stuff that might help you out!

Win XP Will Not Boot – Missing or Corrupt hal.dll

Our home computer crashed on Wednesday. It took me 20 hours of painstaking, stressful, ready to give up effort before I finally fixed it, loaded everything back, and could walk away.

Moral of the story: I hate windows.

This is the third time this machine has totally crashed in the last 5 years. The first time, windows wouldn’t boot past the “dell” screen. In case you unfamiliar, this is what shows up before the windows xp logo comes up. For that one, I had to use the dell/Win XP recovery console and do chkdsk /r about 10 times before I could get back into windows. Then, I wiped it and reinstalled.

Two years later, it happened again. But blue screen error. This was January 2010. I tried doing a parallel reinstall on it… 4 or 5 times. Gave up. Wiped it. And reinstalled and loaded everything back. Took a week— off and on to fix.

This last one happened exactly 2 months and a week after that. But for this one, we had some outlook contacts and Architect drawings we had to save. So that’s why it took me 20 hours of hard labor, pull your hair out work to fix it.

What didn’t work for me

I found lots of random resources online… and settled with the 9 ways to fix the hal.dll missing/corrupt problem.

I tried 8 of the 9, because the 9th one was to wipe it and start over… and if you remember, I needed a few important files on that computer before I was willing to wipe it.

What worked for me

Ubuntu. Ubuntu is a linux-based operating system that can be downloaded for free on the internet. If you are having a problem booting windows and want to see if you can access your hard drive and save a few important files, Ubuntu is probably your best bet.

So go online, search for Ubuntu, download it. Burn it to a CD (it’s an ISO file, so you’re going to have to find out how to burn ISO files to a CD). Then pop that baby in your broken computer and fire it up.

You’re going to want to make sure you select the option that doesn’t delete/affect your hard drive… it’s the first option. Then, once Ubuntu is loaded up and ready (it basically has a desktop like windows so you’ll know when it’s working), go under ‘places’ then ‘computer’ (hint: this is the walkthrough I used

So… you’ve followed the walkthrough, save your files onto a floppy or usb or something, and now you can reinstall windows.

My special case

Turns out my hard drive was failing… but I also blame it on Microsoft because this all started as soon as we updated windows and restarted. And I think the culprit might have been the update to Internet Explorer 8… but what pisses me off is that we weren’t even using IE8 as our browser– we were using Google Chrome!

Trouble with Ubuntu.

I had trouble getting Ubuntu to display on my monitor. It pretty much loaded up but right before it did, the screen went blank and it said it couldn’t display our monitor display.

So I found someone who said all you gotta do is hit F8 when it’s just about to finish loading…. well, that worked for me- thank God!

Trouble with our new Hard Drive

Wow did we have a lot of trouble. Well this was the last big one. After we salvaged our important information, and removed the old failing hard drive, we went out and bought a new a Seagate Barracuda 500GB SATA drive from best buy. It was only $69 after taxes! And our old drive was a Maxtor 250 GB SATA.

I popped it in, and put in our windows disc, then fired it up. First thing I had to do was partition it and format it.

I partitioned the whole 500 GB and did the “long-form”/”regular” format. This is because all new drives must select this option because it is the first formatting. Drives that have been already formatted can use the “quick” format option… unless you are having problems with it – then it is a good idea to do the full format because it can clean out the bad sectors. (I use “ to help me through the process)

Once formatting is done and the files have been copied, it restarts and finishes the windows install.

Problem was, we got a black screen right after the “dell” logo popped up. Fortunately, no hal.dll stuff, but it was still a black screen. I later found out that our bios didn’t support LARGE drives and I couldn’t figure out a way to make it work, other than re-partitioning it to 250 GB.

THANKFULLY, that worked.

I saved the day again!! Brand new computer! And trust me, I WON’T be updating to IE8!

Too bad it took so long to put everything back on the PC. That’s another kick in the pants for me.

And last, I’m just praying for the day when we can get rid of the thing and buy a Mac.

Peace and love,


Why I love Evernote and Am Now Paperless

Again, we have to thank my favorite author Tim Ferriss for this one. In February of 2009 I came across a piece of information put out by Tim, toting his use of the software program, Evernote, and how much it has helped him become more organized while also reducing clutter.

Evernote is a program you can get for free that allows you to create a database of files, notes, pictures, videos under 25 mb, and actually capturing entire websites and then putting them into digital notebooks which you name yourself. You can have as many notebooks as you like and also tag each note to organize and search by keyword.

The notes are then synced with an online server that keeps your files save and accessible from any computer, plus, you can install the software on multiple computers… windows and mac compliant!

I’m pretty much obsessed with evernote and have close to 900 notes today. I am able to save more information, categorize and access notes and info quickly, and drastically cut down on clutter. In fact, I am paperless.

Going paperless is fantastic, but not easy. The key is to become a human filter when anything comes across your desk, or your doorstep. First, I recommend canceling and removing yourself from mailing lists and newsletters and advertisements (all that crap you get in the mail that you’ll never read or use) to minimize the input of clutter into the filter (you).

Then, every time you get something you have 3 options: recycle it, retain it physically, or retain it digitally. It’s important to gravitate towards recycling and saving digital copies… because that is the building blocks of a paperless lifestyle. Of course, if you need to save it and can’t scan it or take a picture of it to save into Evernote, you’ll have to keep it, but oftentimes you may not have to forever. Many things can be saved for just days, weeks, or months and then tossed into the recycling bin.

If you have any questions or would be interested on hearing more, I’d love for you to send me a comment or email. I would be more than happy to take a snapshot of what my Evernote looks like or how I use it.

How to get absolutely free ringtones

I have been getting free ringtones for the last 5 years – 100% free. Not even a red cent paid!

This is how I did it:

1. Find yourself a cool ringtone on or

2. Download it to your computer.

3. Text it to your phone (assuming you have free texting) by using my favorite place, OR bluetooth it (I prefer texting because sometimes I have trouble with bluetooth)

That’s it!

Now a few stipulations. What you are doing is getting a ringtone (snippet of a song or soundbite) by downloading it from a website. There are many more websites to get free ones from, but you might have to sift through the dirt to find the gold, so those 2 are the ones that I remember and have used most recently… that being said, you can also take one of your own songs in iTunes or whatever you use and record it and shrink it so it’s the proper size. But I find that most ringtones are already done in this fashion by someone else so I’ll just save myself the time by downloading one that’s already done. Last, when you are texting the ringtone to yourself, you’re going to be using MMS. Now I don’t believe you have to do anything special to enable or activate MMS. Regular text messages are SMS, while MMS are messages that can carry attachments — usually pictures or ringtones. Now don’t freak out, if you have received a picture, or have sent one before, you can do MMS and you’re fine. Also, you could test by sending a friend/family member a picture… or even just by sending yourself a ringtone by following the steps I’ve outlined above.

I hope these directions have been clear and helpful. Happy calling everyone!