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PartedMagic: a free Linux-based bootable partition manager

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When you want to resize, convert, move or do anything to the partitions on your hard drive, you need a partition manager. In days gone by, the best solutions for this were commercial. I used Partition Magic for a long time, when FreeBSD and Linux had trouble working with NTFS drives. Thankfully, there’s now a totally viable and blissfully FOSS alternative: PartedMagic.

PartedMagic blank desktop

PartedMagic blank desktop

PartedMagic is only 45MiB, and can boot from CD or USB. It supports all of the major filesystems, has a nice GUI (with Firefox installed!) and includes TestDisk — a piece of data recovery software that has saved my digital life a couple of times now. There’s enough software on there for you to perform most rescue operations.

Doing what it was made to do.

Doing what it was made to do.

While PartedMagic has just about as many features as you could want it to, it’s still being actively developed. In fact, they just released 3.1 RC1, which updates the kernel and base software as well as giving it a nice graphical overhaul. It now uses LXDE instead of XFCE, and all the artwork has been redone — it looks extremely polished now.

Some of the software included

Some of the software included

PartedMagic is something that you should always have a copy of lying around, just incase. It’s a very handy rescue CD. While it doesn’t do everything that it’s bigger sibling System Rescue CD does, it does enough and it does it reliably and well.

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Written by atroche

October 13, 2008 at 10:03 pm

Mobile Applications I Use

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My Nokia 6120 has HSDPA, which is one of the main reasons I bought it. I subscribe to 3’s X-Series Bronze package and get a 100MiB download limit for $10 a month. I use it on the train or tram, when I’m sitting waiting for something or when I need to find out a definition or something. I’m really glad I have it, though it doesn’t always seem to achieve the 3.5G speeds – it depends on where I am, even in inner-city Melbourne. If I hit my broadband download limit at home I use my Nokia as a modem instead – and get speeds around 100KiB/s.

The internet access would be pretty useless without the applications:

Opera Mini 4.1 Beta

It runs fast and combines an efficient interface with lots of little techniques to format the page appropriately for the handheld format – reducing the data transfer required significantly. It reduces image quality if you want it to, stores bookmarks and history and can even synch up to your desktop browser – a shame that I use Firefox on the desktop. Combined with the faster access speeds Opera’s interface makes using my phone to browse Wikipedia or read my feeds with Google Reader actually worth it. It handles file downloading surprisingly well and the latest version (4.1 beta) takes about 5 seconds to load up!

Opera Daily Telegraph

My criticisms of it are few. The way that the session management is handled seems to be sketchy – I’d prefer to be kept logged in – because entering the username and password is a real timewaster. Also, I want an option for storing as much history as I can on there – so I can browse sites in offline mode when I have poor reception. I have hundreds of megabytes of storage through the SD card and I want to use it! Also, why on earth doesn’t it remember the searches I’ve done?

GMail Mobile

I love this app so much. It takes about 10 seconds to boot up, and then I’ve got a reasonably fast, responsive interface to GMail that is laid out in a suitably minimalistic fashion. It does everything you’d need it to, except attach files to the messages you’re sending. I suppose it’d be hard for the team to get this working on the ridiculous variety of different phones. Still, it’s a shame. You also can’t save attachments, as far as I can work out – though it does convert and display PDFs and maybe MS Office documents.

GMail Mobile Screenshot2

Apart from the attachments, all I’d want would be speed improvements!

Google Maps Mobile

I almost never use this, it takes forever and I can’t seem to ever search for one location, I have to put in two and get the directions between them. I suppose Google can’t help it being slow on a budget phone like the 6120 Classic, but it’s still disappointing.

Doom RPG / Orcs&Elves

These games are extremely impressive – they give me hope for the future of mobile games – but a few days after I first got them I stopped playing and haven’t since. It gives me a headache navigating my way through the cavernous spaceship or dungeon. Not only this, but it takes a lot of button presses to do things (no more than needs be, it’s not Carmack’s fault but the medium’s.) Regardless, I always prefer just browsing the web.

Doom RPG Screenshot

I’d love to see a really well made non-first-person RPG on the phone. For some reason that perspective makes me feel sick when travelling. I would much prefer a SNES-era Final-Fantasy-esque view. In fact, I’d very happily pay money to get a copy of any of the other Final Fantasies on my phone – with a polished and well-adapted interface, of course. The distribution of mobile phone games really sucks arse, I bet even if Square-Enix had released a couple of their Final Fantasy Mobile games in English I wouldn’t be able to find them anyway.

Things I want

Google Reader Mobile: the mobile web interface is nice, but I’d love for a really speedy and efficient way to read my feeds. They’ve done a fantastic job with the GMail app, hopefully soon they can do it again for Google Reader.

Written by atroche

May 9, 2008 at 1:22 pm

Posted in software

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