The Blog of Tom Webster

Chronic Ranter, Reviewer, and Developer. I speak only for myself, opinions are my own.

Chrome OS Bootable Flash Drive! (Built on: 6/7/2011)

  2011-06-07 14:20:00 PDT

Another version! Its been quite a while since I've put one of these out, so I figured it would help everyone if I released an updated version. As usual, all instructions are included in the download, so pull it down and give it a shot. Chrome OS is really growing up, and fast. I'm really excited for the future of Chrome OS and cloud-based computing in general. This is the future and it is now.

New Version Here

Update: Looks like there were a few nasty bugs with the June 7th build, I've rebuilt with newer sources in an attempt to give you a more stable build. Enjoy!

Update 2: Looks like the 6/13 build has some major GUI bugs and stability issues. Here's the main point: These are daily builds, nasty bugs happen. I'll wait a bit before releasing the next daily build, see what happens from there. I've re-included the link to the previous version, as it is a bit more stable.

Credits and Utilities:

To unpack this file, you will need the totally awesome and free unzipping utility: 7zip

This pack contains the Image Writer for Microsoft Windows, which is a great, simple way to take or place images onto drives. Give these guys a hand!

Instructions are included in a text file in the download!

Why the Academic World is a Steaming Pile of Shit (For CS Majors)

  2011-05-06 17:13:00 PDT

Ah, school! Teaching me the most worthless things ever! Check this out, actual comment from one of my programming projects:

"Create your own sort. Don't use one that's in the API. (-5)"

Huh... Strange... At my job, what would happen if I re-wrote a piece of code specifically designed to be convenient and save time (thus, money)?

I'd get fired.

This is exactly why Academica is worthless for people in my field: Complete lack of perspective and field experience. If I walked up to my boss and said, "Hey, Boss! I'm going to re-do the work that Sun Microsystems already did for me by re-writing perfectly good API calls because I don't want to feel lazy! Oh, and you'd be paying me for these extra hours!", he'd fire my ass on the spot (and rightfully so).

Here's a cool academic exercise: Write a simple Twitter app (Using the given APIs), then make it work on Android. Its cool. Its relevant. Its academic. Its learning and experience. Don't make me re-invent the wheel, college... Some motherfucker did that for me so I wouldn't have to. I'm not paying you gobs of money to duplicate the work that others have done before me, I'm paying you gobs of money to stand on the shoulder's of giants and build into the sky.

Chrome OS Bootable Flash Drive! (Built on: 3/28/2011)

  2011-03-29 05:59:00 PDT

Well, here it is again! Another build, this one a week later. I've heard some reports that the Chrome Web Apps weren't working quite perfectly on some machines, that's the risk when you're running daily-builds of an operating system. This is freshly built as of yesterday, and I've update the instructions to include how to create a bootable Chrome OS flash drive in both Linux and Mac OSX. As usual, the Windows instructions are still there as always. After the jump, I'll include a copy/paste of the Instructions.txt file for your convenience. Have fun and let me know what you think!

New Version Here

Credits and Utilities:

To unpack this file, you will need the totally awesome and free unzipping utility: 7zip

This pack contains the Image Writer for Microsoft Windows, which is a great, simple way to take or place images onto drives. Give these guys a hand!

Instructions: (These are included in the download, as well)

To create a bootable USB drive:

WARNING!
DANGER!
READ THIS!
======================================
THIS WILL WIPE YOUR ENTIRE FLASH DRIVE
======================================

1. Open the image writer program.
2. Click the blue folder, select the usb_chromiumos_image*version info here*.img
3. Select the USB drive you would like to make bootable.
4. Click the 'Write' Button


To install Chromium OS on your main drive:

WARNING!
DANGER!
READ THIS!
=====================================
THIS WILL WIPE YOUR ENTIRE HARD DRIVE
=====================================

1. Boot from your USB device.
2. CTRL+ALT+F2
3. Login as Username: chronos Password: password
4. Run '/usr/sbin/chromeos-install'

==============================================
How to create a bootable drive using OSX/Linux
==============================================

DISCLAIMER!!
Be very very very careful with the dd command. This is a block device writer, it CAN AND WILL DESTROY ALL OF YOUR DATA IF USED INCORRECTLY.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT DEVICE TO WRITE TO!!!!

1. Open up a terminal
2. Use the command 'df'
3. At the very right of the table that is shown, you will see your mountpoint.
4. Try to recognize where your flash drive is mounted
5. For example, my flash drive is mounted at /media/flashdrive, to the left, I see the device as /dev/sdb1 (or on OSX, something like this: /dev/disk2s1)
6. You can also use the command like this 'df -h', this will show you the space total/used/free in human-readable values (8GB) instead of byte count, you should be able to recognize your drive on space alone.
7. READ THE DISCLAIMER ABOVE THIS SECTION. Be careful. PLEASE! You can and will overwrite your main OS disk (or any other attached device) if you are not 100% sure you have the correct drive. Keep this in mind when using terminal commands.
8. Use the command 'dd' to copy the raw image to your flash drive, here is how the command breaks down: dd if=/users/username/pathtoyour/imagefile.img of=/dev/disk2
9. Remember, you need to write the image to the full device, not just a partition. So if your 'flash drive' is /dev/sdb1, you want to use '/dev/sdb' in the 'dd' command. Likewise on OSX, if your drive is '/dev/disk2s1' you want to use '/dev/disk2' alone, without the partition modifier.
10. Most likely, you will need to use 'sudo' to invoke the dd command, depending on your setup.
11. You may need to unmount your flash drive to avoid a 'Resource Busy' error message.

These are daily builds, they have not been well tested for quality. Be careful and have fun. If you run into bugs, report them to the ChromiumOS bug tracker: http://groups.google.com/group/chromium-os-bugs?pli=1

Chrome OS Bootable Flash Drive! (Built on: 3/24/2011)

  2011-03-24 11:48:00 PDT

I've taken to packaging my own vanilla builds of Chrome OS (Well... Chromium OS), and am going to start releasing them semi-regularly. Comes packed with the great Image Writer for Microsoft Windows (https://launchpad.net/win32-image-writer) and stupid-simple instructions on getting a bootable flash drive made to test drive Chrome OS. Ever since Hexxeh stopped major development (that I've seen, correct me if I'm wrong), I've been listening to people clamor for an easy way to test drive Chrome OS without having to build from the source code up. I want to help those people. Every so often, I will make a build of Chrome OS and post it here to my blog. Enjoy!!

This file is packed with 7-zip! The completely free (and open source) zipping utility! Grab it here: http://www.7-zip.org/

New Version Here

An Academic Waste of Time and Money: College

  2011-03-24 11:48:00 PDT

I posted a Twitter update and would like to expand on it for a bit...

"On the top ten list of worthless things I have done with my life, college is quickly nearing the top."

I feel like I really am pissing away time and money and getting nothing in return. I wish there was a 'college' for people like me, where you go to a place, socialize, drink, party, network, but none of the class bullshit. The people I've met in college are fucking great, the networking is brilliant, the experiences I've had outside of the classroom setting have taught me more than any parent ever could. But what I'm actually paying for... what I'm actually buying here... I get nothing out of it. At all. The course material is a joke, the professors are comedians, but at the end of the day, I'm left with an empty wallet and not nearly enough laughs to make my night worth it.

If I wanted to sit in a room for a few hours having some idiot recite shit out of a book that will never pertain to any facet of my life: I'd go to church.

Its like going to a comedy club to drink really good beer. What you're paying for isn't what you're there for. I've been told that this is the college experience, this is exactly what it is designed to be, but I don't really buy that. In my mind, college should be there to expand your mind and get you thinking differently about what is possible and how the world currently works, then should work. I've never had this experience in class. Ever. Instead, I've had these grand experiences in my interactions with others at college. Not in a class, but at a party, hanging out playing games, or standing around in a hallway, just being bored. Why do I need professors, grades, classes, or textbooks when they have done nothing for me? I could have gotten the same experience by just hanging out at a college, without the added burdens of paying an ungodly sum of money for fairly good academics (from what I have been told).

Maybe I'm an outlier. I've always been better at learning on my own and teaching myself things. I've done my own research, processed, then came to my own conclusions. I expand my mind regularly with topics outside my comfort zone, I don't need a person biased in staunch bureaucracy telling me what I should learn and what I should not learn. Academia as a whole is frustrating. From my time at college, I've never learned anything truly useful in a class. When it comes to my career (entrepreneurship and technology), college has taught me nothing useful. To this day, in each job I've held, every contract that I've worked on, I have never used anything I have 'learned' in college. When I walk into a tech or business class, most of the time, I end up teaching the professor. I know how that sounds, everyone knows that guy who fights with the professor about everything, but I don't mean like it like that. I end up bringing up new concepts and ideas that are fairly standard practice in the tech industry, but are brilliant breakthroughs in the world of academia. For a tech guy, walking into a modern college course about technology is like walking into a technology museum.

Academia, for the most part, is in its own little world. Business practices, current research, the very latest and greatest that computers and the internet have to offer aren't being taught in colleges. What's being taught in a high-level management course at my college is this: "Employers who want to maintain a stable working environment and want to posses a good relationship with their employees should avoid yelling at or taking things out on them." Yes... that was an entire chapter. For one entire week, my business class discussed why we shouldn't scream at the people working for us. Brilliant.

To sum up plenty of other examples in a sentence: Academia tends to be 10-15 years behind the curve, no matter what the subject.

Sadly enough, I've come this far, so there isn't much point in quitting now. From what I'm looking at, I've got a year left of school. I already have the well-paying job, I have the lifestyle, I have the job experience, I might as well relax as I work my way through the rest of this degree. One thing is for sure, though, I will never view the academic side of college as an investment after my experiences, I will always look down on it as waste of time, energy, and money.

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