Read/write access to NTFS drives on OSX

April 24th, 2011

If you plug in your Windows-formatted USB drive into a Mac, you’ll often get read-only access, especially if it’s large.

You don’t need extra software to fix this on Snow Leopard. If your drive appears as /Volumes/MyDisk:

  1. open terminal
  2. type: sudo pico /etc/fstab
  3. Type in your password when prompted.
  4. When the text editor opens, add a line:    LABEL=MyDisk none ntfs rw
  5. Then CTRL-X to exit.
  6. Reboot.
  7. Done!

Amsterdam Winter

September 29th, 2010

This is a photo I took looking out of Amsterdam public library on my point-and-shoot Canon. I’m really proud of it and use it as my desktop backdrop everywhere :)

Amsterdam Winter is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you use it please mention me.

Learning Dutch

January 2nd, 2010

When learning Dutch I used:

Free software:

  • Before You Know It: uses flashcards to teach you quite a varied basic vocabulary. Nice but irritatingly requires you to type exactly the correct answer (including capitalisation)  - and sometimes two flashcards within the same set will be identical on one side and different on the other, meaning you’ll always have to guess.
  • Nieuwe Buren Oefeningen (got it from the local library I think): Pretty dry and uninspiring but gets the job done.

The local library:

  • There’s a lot of state support for foreigners to learn Dutch, the easiest to find being that libraries are well stocked with learning material.


  • A 5-day intensive course in Arnhem. Was expensive but very effective, I’d recommend splitting your 5 days to be Wednesday through Friday and then Monday, Tuesday the following week to keep yourself sane.


  • The standard textbook everyone talks about, and that was used by all teachers I used is Taal Vitaal, the blue one is the textbook and the green is the exercise book


Video (eg XVid) to DVD conversion

December 23rd, 2009

May I recommend DVDVideoSoft’s free Studio for the PC. NOTE: The installer defaults to installing some annoying almost-malware, like a toolbar for IE, changing your search provider, etc. So be careful to un-tick/check the tick/checkboxes for the extras during installation. But apart from that, it works wonderfully.

You just drag the videos you want into the video – to – DVD converter, select the quality of the output, press go, and it even can directly burn the DVD when it’s finished converting.

It puts up a pretty basic DVD menu; a list of filenames and their www address. If you want a fancier menu, I haven’t looked, perhaps there’s a way, but this was enough for me.

Nice Internet radio station

November 1st, 2009

Swiss Internet Radio – RadioCrazy Classical

This direct link will let you play it in the background on an iPhone.

Making your own iPhone ringtones

October 28th, 2009

Let’s say you have a movie, song or other sound that you want to use as a ringtone. Here’s a way to do it with free software.

Say you have  a PC.

If you have a movie, you should turn the part of it you want into an MP3 using this free video-to-MP3 converter.

Once you have the sound file, load it into this free sound editing software.

Cut the sound clip down to the size you want. It’s pretty self-explanatory but can I recommend that when you’ve finished cutting, you select the first fraction of a second of the clip, right-click, select “effects” then “fade in,” then select the last fraction of a second of the clip, select “effects” and “fade out.” This will made the ringtone start and stop smoothly.

Save the clip, but change the file type to “Apple AIFF.”

Find the file in Windows Explorer and drag it into iTunes.

Find the track in iTunes, right-click on it, and select “Create Apple lossless version.”

iTunes will make its own copy of the file, probably in “My Music\iTunes\iTunes Music\Unknown Artist\Unknown Album.” It will have the file extension “m4a.”

Copy the file, and change the new file’s extension to “m4r.”

Drag this file into iTunes again, and it will appear as a ringtone. Then you can sync your iPhone to get the ringtone into the iPhone, and start using it!

Phew, there’s quite a few steps to that, even if they’re quite simple. I’ll edit this post if anyone has any suggestions for how to do it more easily.