My Desktop Background Set

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Desktop Backgrounds (16x10), a set on Flickr.

I just created a Desktop Backgrounds set on Flickr. I really wanted to do this on Google+ (PicasaWeb), but could not figure out how to share the high resolution originals. I even had some discussion on the topic in Google+ the other day.

While I would love to do everything in one place, I also realize that I might be asking for a bit too much. You know me... always shooting for the moon. ;)

Installing An SSD In A 2009 Mac Pro

Solid State Drives (or SSDs) are all the rage these days. Because they are non-mechanical the access times are much faster and the theory is that they are more resilient than their "spinny" hard drive counterparts. They are, however, quite a bit more expensive so when Apple released Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) I decided to bite the bullet and install just an 80GB drive in my Mac Pro. As a system drive, this should be plenty large assuming I'm smart about where I put my large applications and multimedia. (Large assumption, I know.)

I did no research on what the best SSD was. No performance comparisons. No reviews. Nada. I went to my local Best Buy and picked up what they had. (Yay for instant gratification!) Introducing the Intel 320 Series SSD. At least it has the installation kit included.

They weren't kidding! And when your kit include a "Speed Demon" sticker, you know you've got something special. That baby oughta knock a few milliseconds off the seek times!

But seriously, that's a pretty good kit. Power connecter, SATA connector, USB transfer connector, a 2.5" to 3.5" drive adapter, screws, screwdriver, documentation, a utility disk and a rubber sleeve for the drive. You won't need everything here.

However... You will probably need something they did not include -- 3.5" to 5.25" drive rails.

"Why?" you may be asking yourself. Well here's the rub and the reason I'm posting this information in the first place. While you can mount the drive onto the 2.5" to 3.5" adapter ...

... and you can, in turn, mount that onto one of the super-cool hard drive "trays" ...

... the problem is that the SATA connector will not be in the correct position to match up with the connector on the motherboard when you try to slide the tray into position. It's not even close.

Once I got to this point, I looked online to see if there was a simple solution to this problem. I was shocked (SHOCKED, I tell you!) at what I saw. If you don't use the 3.5" bracket, you can attach one side of the drive to the tray (the connector side) and things line up. Securing the other side of the drive involved electrical tape, velcro or zip ties. (Duct tape would have been a more acceptable option as any Red Green fan knows.) Granted, there are no spinning platters to cause vibrations, but this still seemed wrong to me.

I decided to see what I could do to install the drive in the 5.25" bay where the "Superdrive" lives.

To do this, I needed to convert that 3.5" bracket to 5.25". Because I did not have the foresight that you do to find a handy how-to article like this, I did not prepare the parts I would need ahead of time.

To Crazy Tom's Closet of Forgotten Tech!

Booyah! An old fan controller from my PC building days. Scavenge those rails, attach them to the 3.5" caddy and I'm back in business.

Mounting the drive at this point was pretty straightforward. Particularly considering that Apple provides cool screws on the 5.25" caddy just in case someone wants to mount something in it.

Assuming you've gotten this far, buttoning things up should be a breeze. I will, therefore, fall victim to my inherent laziness and not document that part of the process.

So is it worth it? Seems to be. You be the judge. Here's what I've got...

And here's a quick video I recorded from a cold boot to a usable desktop.

I'll let you decide on where to start and end the timer. I'll call it about a minute from the time I hit the power button. Your milage may vary.

Hope you found this useful, educational and/or entertaining. As usual, feel free to leave me comments here, on Twitter and now on Google+.

SharePoint 2010 - Errors In The Manager Reporting Structure

After installing service pack 1 for SharePoint 2010, I saw this error pop up in the Health Analyzer:

This is not necessarily a commentary on your company's leadership.

User Profile stuff in 2010 is such a pain (although there are upsides) that I probably winced a little when I saw it. Fortunately, the solution is pretty straightforward and it's provided in the Remedy section of the alert. You can also find information on it here.

I did modify the PowerShell commands slightly.

$upap =  Get-SPServiceApplicationProxy | ? {$_.TypeName -like "*User Profile Service Application*"}
Add-SPProfileLeader $upap [Domain]\[UserName]

You'll see the following after executing "Add_SPProfileLeader":

Run a full crawl, go back to Health Analyzer have click "Reanalyze Now" on the target error and you should see the problem go away.

Broadway United Methodist Church

The Broadway United Methodist Church of Paducah, KY.

Paducah has some really interesting buildings and most of them seem to be churches. I did a similar shot years ago and thought I would like to do a higher resolution, wider angled version.

This is a single exposure, tonemap. So HDR-like, but technically not HDR.

Unidentified Plant

Unidentified Plant by Thomas Gehrke
Unidentified Plant, a photo by Thomas Gehrke on Flickr.
I'm not sure what kind of plant this is, obviously. If anyone knows, please leave me a comment.

This was one of those "throw-away" shots I took last summer while hiking around in southern, Illinois.

Nothing complicated as far as presentation goes. I went with black and white because I wanted to really play with the contrast. The original shot was just various shades of green and not that interesting, IMO. The curves and hanging leaves are really what caught my eye and I wanted to highlight those aspects.