June 2011

Tux, as originally drawn by Larry Ewing

Image via Wikipedia

One of the worst things that can happen to you and your computer is your Operating System not booting up when you switch your computer on. Panic ensues as you realise that you have tons of information on the hard drive that you desperately need including all those family pictures. And guess what? You have never backed up in your life.

So what do you do after the panic has subsided and the sadness has taken over? Well there are actually some ways in which you can take all that important information off that hard drive, and if the drive is no longer working then you still might be able to get what you want.

If the computer powers up but it won’t load the operating system and instead you get error messages then this workaround could be your salvation.

Don’t Despair…Yet

One of the ways you can try is by using a copy of a free program like Knoppix. Knoppix is Linux based and doesn’t need to be installed on your computer like Windows does. You can boot Knoppix from a CD or DVD and once you have access to the desktop recover that info onto media like a CD or DVD, USB stick or even another hard drive.

Knoppix, What’s that?

Well Knoppix, as mentioned earlier is Linux based and Open Source which means anyone is free to download and use the software. You can even make changes to the software to make it even better. It runs from either a CD or DVD and comes packed with lots of other Open Source software like Open Office, Mozilla and MySQL being just a few. No matter how experienced you are with computers you can be assured that Knoppix is easy to use and comes with user guides that are simple to understand. There are lots of websites and Wiki’s out there that will also help you should the worst happen and you don’t understand something.

CD or DVD, Which One for You?

That really depends on you the user. You have the choice of downloading both versions on the website. The DVD version comes with more free Open Source products for you to try so if you are a software freak then that choice could be for you. But whichever choice you make both will do the same thing and that is to access the hard drive with all that important information on.

You Have the Disc, Now What?

So you have the disk now what do you do? Well it’s really simple, put the disk into your CD/DVD rom and close the tray. You will want to store the information on something when you get into the hard drive so plug in a USB stick so you can transfer everything over to that. After that switch off the computer then back on again.

Patience is a Virtue

Once the pc is switched back on it will automatically find the CD/DVD and ask you if you want to boot into Linux. Press Enter as asked then sit back and wait.

Patience is a virtue and none more so when booting up from software like Knoppix so be patient as it finds the USB stick then installs the installation files needed to boot up onto a virtual RAM drive.

Once it has booted up into Knoppix you will find your drive on the desktop along with the USB stick. Now you will have to make the USB stick writeable so you can transfer all the files across to it. Right click on the read/write mode and make it writable. Then copy the files you need to the USB stick and when satisfied close the windows down. To log out of Knoppix right click on the desktop and select Log Out and then follow any instructions that come up.

What can go Wrong?

Sometimes the best laid plans won’t always come into effect and something goes wrong like the computer doesn’t read the CD when booting up.

Question. When you boot up your computer it doesn’t read the CD/DVD.

Answer. Well that would be because the computer is booting from the hard drive first when it should be the CD/DVD. You will have to get your hands dirty with this and go into the BIOS (Basic Input/output System.) To do that when the computer starts you will have to usually press the F2 or F10 key, sometimes you will have to press the Del key but computers are all different. If you are unsure look at the screen when it powers up, usually in the left hand corner it will tell you. Once you are inside the BIOS you will have to navigate to the page that allows you to change the order of booting and change the setting from hard drive or HD0 to CD/DVD drive. Once you have changed the order so that the CD/DVD is the first booting device save the settings and reboot.

Please, at this stage do not change any other of the settings in the BIOS otherwise you could end up with your computer either not booting or having problems when it does.

Simple Isn’t It?

So there you have it. A once inaccessible hard drive can be accessed via a piece of software which is Open Source and freely available.

One thing does stick out though in these circumstances and that is backing up. If you were to back up the hard drive on a regular basis then you wouldn’t need to go through this. So before your hard drive says goodnight Vienna why not backup now?

There is other Open Source software you can try including Ubuntu which basically does the same. Even if you don’t have problems software like Linux can be used instead of the usual Windows operating system. Go ahead and play around, you won’t break anything. Honestly!

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If you are looking for software for your computer where do you look? The mall, local store or that little computer shop down the road? Did you know there’s another place you can look? A place that you will most probably use every day, is gaining in popularity worldwide and in particular when one wants software? I am talking about looking online and free software. Free computer software is fast becoming more readily available, is as good as or better than most major branded commercial software that will cost you a mint to purchase, and of course is free.

Well believe it or not there is tons of software out there in cyber space with a lot of it for free. Programs from anti-virus to Office, email clients to internet browsers, you will find it all online and free.

If you go to the local computer store and look at the shelves it seems that no matter what program you are looking for it’s on the shelves, but at a price. One can pay a fortune if you want the latest anti-virus program or that Office suite from major manufacturers, and coupled with heavy advertising most people will readily spend their hard earned cash on a piece of software without thinking twice.

Think Twice, Think Cheap

Now, if you did think twice and looked online you will find software that can be equally as good or even better for free. Don’t get me wrong, I am not talking about illegally downloading the latest software, instead the software is from smaller companies or even individuals who want to give people a chance to own good quality software that will do the job like a major branded piece of software.

But, I hear you say major branded commercial software is better than free right? Wrong. Just because it’s free it doesn’t mean that the software is rubbish, quite the opposite in many cases. Many programs that are free are kept up to date on a regular basis. You will find that most of this free software will be compatible with your computer, whereas some branded software won’t or may cause problems. Many free Office programs are also compatible with major branded Office software. They will allow you to open those documents you have saved in many different formats unlike some branded software which will only allow you to open their own formats.

So Much on Offer

So what is available online for free? Well the list and possibilities are endless, but some of the popular choices are photographic and computer fixes, backup and clean-up software, even games, screensavers and themes are available, all you have to do is search.

Talking of searching, looking for this free software couldn’t be easier. There are some very reliable websites that have been around for years which give you the chance of owning this type of software. Many smaller companies and independent programmers are now offering their software on their own websites and blogs. This in turn allows people who have tried the software to leave remarks and comments, meaning you can read if the software is good or reliable before downloading. All you have to do is search using your favourite search engine and browse the results at your own pace and time.

So next time you are in the market for software don’t go to the local mall until you have checked for free software online. You will be surprised at the choice available and will probably find what you are looking for. Sure you won’t always get a box or written help guides, instead you can read the guides or Wiki’s online and maybe print them out if needed. Not having guides, boxes and other paraphernalia saves on the garbage you throw away and that means less trees cut down. There are two other things that are certain. It will save you money and time as you no longer need to go to the mall.

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Would you like to write a blog post for my blog?

I am looking for a number of bloggers who are willing to write guest blog posts so I can post them on here. Most topics can be catered for but I would prefer the posts to be on frugal living, cooking and baking, technology, wildlife, gardening or writing.

I am sorry but I can’t pay you to write a guest post, but you can put link backs to your website or blog in the post. I will also include a link back in the Favourite Links section for more exposure for you.

I am also available to write guest blog posts for your blog or website, with a wide range of topics catered for. If you want me to write a blog post then all I ask in return is a link back to this blog and my business website, www.wayne-anthony.com.

If you are interested then please Contact Me.

Are your strawberriesready yet? If not a well known supermarket in the UK are selling them for £1 for 227g. The strawberries are also grown in the UK so you will be eating our wonderful produce and keeping our farmers and growers in business. I won’t name the supermarket but the first letter is A. The name is also very short, 4 letters to be exact!!!

Strawberry’s and chocolate are the food of love so why not mix both and create a lovely dip to dip the strawberry’s in?


100g bar of chocolate like Dairy Milk or other quality chocolate

500g home-grown strawberries

1 carton of double cream


1. Break the chocolate into smallish pieces.

2. Heat a pan of water on the cooker. As the water is heating up get a Pyrex or other ovenproof dish and place on top of the water.

3. Break the chocolate into small pieces and put into the ovenproof dish and allow to melt. As the chocolate is almost melted add the cream and gently stir the ingredients together.

4. Stir both ingredients together until creamy. Don’t let the mixture boil or go lumpy.

5. Remove from the cooker and allow to cool for a few minutes. Don’t let the chocolate set!

6. Serve in a bowl with strawberry’s on the side to dip in.

Another way to use this recipe is if you have kids round and you want to give them something different. Or at the end of a dinner party strawberry’s and chocolate are a great way of finishing off the evening with friends. How about after a romantic meal for two? Now that would give you a few good points, need I say more chaps?!

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After you’re hard work in the garden with the vegetables, it’s only right that you prepare and cook them all and make some delicious meals.

The following recipe is just perfect after all your fruits of your labours in the garden.

If you are having a dinner party and some of the guests are vegetarians then this pie is for them. But even if you or you’re friend aren’t vegetarian, the delicious tasting pie will go down a treat.


2 garlic cloves

1 large onion

                     1 red & 1 green pepper

1 aubergine

1 egg plant

1 fenchel

1 squash

    4 tomatoes

                                                                                Olive oil

                                                                                             Sprigs of thyme

                                                                                   Puff pastry

Fenchel (pic above) is lovely, it tastes like aniseed and I think it looks like a heart with all the valves coming from it!!! Not very nice for a veg is it!!


· Preheat the oven on 200C or gas mark 6.

· Peel the onion and cut into quarters.

· Peel the garlic and cut into halves.

· Cut peppers and aubergines into halves.

· Cut the eggplant and fenchel into smallish pieces.

· Cut the squash into half-moons.

· Cut the tomatoes into quarters.

· Roast the vegetables for 40 minutes in the oven on baking paper, doused with thyme and olive oil.

· Take the puff pastry and roll out. Make it so it’s bigger than a large oven-proof plate as you will need to fold the edges over.

· Grease the plate then cover with the pastry.

· Remove the veg from the oven when they are cooked. Turn the oven down to 180C or gas mark 4.

· Carefully place the veg in the middle of the dough creating a hill.

· Fold the dough over the vegetables but don’t worry if the edges don’t meet and you can see the vegetables.

· Cook in the oven for about 50 minutes or until the pastry is golden coloured and looks flaky. During the last 10 minutes of cooking cover the pie with tin foil.

Serve with boiled potatoes grown in your garden for a really delicious meal.

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Before I go shopping I always write a list. I then check my shopping prices online to see how much my shopping is going to cost at my favourite supermarket. The list is an invaluable tool for me in that it does save me money. When I walk around the supermarket I only look what is on the list, not at all those tempting items on special offer conveniently placed around the isles. I have a copy to hand on my computer desk and add to it whenever I see I need something like toothpaste, soap, meats, bread etc.

If you would like to use my copy of the shopping list then please do so. Click on the image and it will load up. It’s a .PDF file so you will need Adobe Reader which most computers have nowadays.

Facebook have introduced a new feature in you’re Privacy Settings called Facial Recognition Feature. What that is is it looks for pictures with you in them then suggests to your friends they tag you in them. Now I don’t know about you but I don’t want ANY pictures of me being tagged by anyone, unless I say so!!

You can, if you want disable this feature.

1: Go to your Privacy Setting’s under Account on the top right of your Facebook page.










2: Next you will be shown the settings you have on Facebook. You need to click on the Customise Settings link underneath.

3: Now go down to the bit where it says Suggest Photos Of Me To Friends and click the box at the side. Click disable or whatever setting you want.


While you are there why not disable the Friends Can Check Me Into Places feature? Basically that will allow you or other people tag where you are. So if you are in a place you shouldn’t be then it’s best to disable it, I know I have!

And there you have it, now when people want to tag you they will have to do it manually. As for where you are, well if you should be working but sat in a bar it might be best to disable it!

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