# Monday, 07 September 2009

One of my most liked and second most used feature of Windows 7 is BitLocker To Go. Put simply it allows you to change ANY portable storage medium into an encrypted filestore. The ANY keyword here is important, because now a days when you buy some USB thumbdrives, they'll have some form of encryption software that allows you to repartition some of it's storage as an encrypted store. But as mentioned it's only for SOME of the USB thumbdrives, and it's only for the THUMBDRIVES. BitLocker To Go will allow you to encrypt that 320GB hard disk which you use to backup your system with!

But before all that you'd have to first setup BitLocker To Go on the drive you want to encrypt. This is easily done by just right clicking on the drive in question and selecting "Turn On BitLocker"

01-in menu

Then you'll be asked on what password to use, and then you're given an option to save a RECOVERY KEY file to your system.

03-Save Key

This key is what will allow you to unlock the drive if you forgot your password, I've already used this feature more than once since I keep forgetting the passwords to my test media all the time. My keys are stored in SkyDrive so they are ever present if I need them. (Of course there's always the interesting topic of why keep such an important thing in the cloud?)

And after that, you might think that your drive is now a fully encrypted filestore right? WRONG! After the initial setup you'll be greeted with this.

04-Encrypt

Your drive will then undergo an encryption process to lock it's contents. Personally I have no idea how much free space is needed on your drive when you do this because it seems like you can still use the drive normally while it's being encrypted. So it's really interesting to me how it's achieving this. One thing you need to be aware of though, this process TAKES A WHILE to complete! That's why there's a PAUSE button there. If you have a need to eject the drive BEFORE IT FINISHES ENCRYPTION press the PAUSE button FIRST! So.. the burning question of how long does this take? Depends on the size and speed of your drive I'm guessing. I'd say  10~15 MINUTES per 1GB of storage space. For comparison purposes I encrypted my 320GB backup hard disk over the course of 2 working days.

THIS IS A ONE TIME PROCESS! So once it finishes, that's it.. your drive is now a fully encrypted filestore.

Performance wise it's obviously slower than an unencrypted source, but for just moving files around it feels normal to me. Haven't done any throughput test on it to see wheter I can play 1080P videos off it properly though.

And now for the bad news, only Windows 7 Ultimate/Enterprise Editions able to CREATE BitLocker To Go drives. But ANY OTHER Windows 7 Edition can read/write to the drive once unlocked with the password.

If you plugged the now encrypted drive to a version of Windows OTHER than Windows 7, that's when it get's interesting. First of all you'll be able to see that the contents of the drive is pretty much gibbrish.

btg-filecontents

And you'd best not touch the contents too in case you accidentally break anything. What you need to do is to run the "BitLockerToGo.exe" application which is the program to unlock the contents of the drive.

btg-non7password

And then after unlocking you're giving a view into the drive's encrypted contents (contents censored, note there are no video files in there)

btg-reader

And you may READ from the drive contents. Yes, you may read but you CANNOT WRITE to it. Obviously this is a major setback if you need the encrypted storage to shuffle files between a Windows 7 and non Windows 7 machine. For that you could probably just use your thumbdrive's own encryption store creator

But if you're just using it to transport data between Windows 7 systems, want to encrypt any sort of portable media (I wonder how long does encrypting a 1TB hard drive would take?) BitLocker To Go is a really neat feature to use in Windows 7 Ultimate/Enterprise Edition! And I LOVE IT!


Monday, 07 September 2009 23:58:56 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Sunday, 06 September 2009

After being tied up for the past month I finally got around to finish something I should have done few weeks ago.

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I needed to fix my XBox 360. The 360 that I'm using is technically a 1st generation 360, the one with the extremely high failure rates. I declamped the bugger about 2 years ago, and have been using it until 1 month ago it RROD'ed again. When it failed I pretty much knew what was wrong. The 360 has been working well for 2 years, on a RM4 drop of Thermal Paste, which probably has thinned out by now and has lost contact between the heat sink and the chips.

So I took apart my 360 and applied slight pressure onto the heat sinks, the 360 booted up. I let go of the heat sinks. The 360 show's it's overheat warning. So I slabbed a new layer of thermal paste (Cooler Master Brand RM24 per tub, if you must know) on it screwed it back up and let it run. And yup.. it works.

So... why is it that I keep using the least reliable console of this console generation? Because XBox Live is the BEST ONLINE GAMING EXPERIENCE. If you ask anyone who plays online with both the PS3 and the Xbox 360 you'll know that the 360 gives you the better online experience. (The Wii doesn't even exists in this comparison)

So if it means I have to reapply thermal paste on this thing again in 2011 with WZ looking on me from the edge of the table wondering when he can get his game on. So be it!

In fact I was so excited to get back online I accidentally bought a wrong arcade title!!! Gaaaahhh!!!


Sunday, 06 September 2009 02:06:40 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Wednesday, 02 September 2009
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Handle toys that clearly are not meant for his age.

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Jumping off the bed.

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Paint...


Wednesday, 02 September 2009 00:25:25 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  | 
# Monday, 31 August 2009

If you're reading my blog you know that I've always pointed to Brando's as the place to go for weird hardware gadgets. Basically a source of SIN for a gadget freak like me! But now I've found another place to get weird, cheap junk gadgets. DealExtreme ! If you thought Brando's site looked like a shody place to buy stuff from, wait till you see DealExtreme's site!

You know that feeling you get when you see the same item being sold with a different brand name for different prices? Then you tell yourself, "Yup this here all made from the same Made In China factory and then they just bought it in bulk and stamped their logo on it!" There's A LOT of that shit going on in DealExtreme.

DealExtreme's inventory checking seems to be more of a lie than Brando's. They can say an item can ship in 24 hours but it might still take them a week to ship it out to you. But like Brando's they don't charge for shipping on most items. So don't use DE if you're in a hurry to get your stuff.

For the record the first things I bought from DE were these.

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A macro lens for my phone, and 10 LED lights on a keychain. The LED lights were a good example of how cheap things can get at DE, first of all... It was sold in units of 10! How cheap in quality is it? Well it's basically just an LED and 2 batteries with a fancy shell. No fancy controller chip for power adjustment, no fancy switch mechanism. Just a bulb and 2 batteries.

The macro lens... works. Though on my Diamond 2's camera the new focal distance is kiss the item you're taking a picture with the lens. Can't seem to focus any further. Here's a sample shot of a processor badge.

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At such a close distance, the phone almost TOTALLY obstructs the item being photographed. So I really don't know how useful this is.

But then again I mainly got this junk gear, as a test of how well DE performed. I'd have to say they were acceptable but it'll be a while before I'll buy anything more expensive than oh... USD25 from them.


Monday, 31 August 2009 21:32:50 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [1]  | 
# Wednesday, 26 August 2009

About eating junk food and drinking coke? Wonder what they would say if they knew you were eating this?

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Puffed corn junk food (think Twisties) coated in fizzy coke flavoured soda candy. Darn thing even feels slightly carbonated!

Then there's this other one.

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Which is a vanilla flavoured corn snack. Coke + Vanilla = Vanilla Coke! A ridiculous proposition?

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Sure looks like they intended that for that to happen!


Wednesday, 26 August 2009 23:31:06 (Malay Peninsula Standard Time, UTC+08:00)  #    Comments [0]  |