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Error code 0x80070057; "the parameter is incorrect" when restoring a Win7 system image

Win7 has a nice backup/restore feature using system images (ala Norton Ghost) that allows you to recover from a damaged HDD or go back to a clean installation. Unfortunately it seems that some restore scenarios were not tested thoroughly and you may end up getting cryptic errors while restoring images and as a result a poor experience

In this post I provide a solution to the “Error code 0x80070057; “the parameter is incorrect” error when restoring an image.

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Building the Objective2 headphone amp for desktop use

The Objective2 (O2) headphone amp was designed as a portable amp first with a few options to be used as a headphone desktop amp. So most of the documented builds out there deal with the portable version and never/barely touch on the desktop options.

In this post I document my desktop build so that other people can benefit from it. Note that as I write this NwAvGuy (the creator of the O2) is busy with the Objective Desktop Amp (ODA) design which will render the use of the O2 as desktop headphone amp obsolete.

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A big kudos to NwAvGuy for sharing his design and for the wealth of knowledge (and objectivity) available at his blog.

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Uploading Arduino sketches wirelessly using a Bluetooth breakout board

Sparkfun sells a few Bluetooth modules that connect to the Arduino’s UART port. From the Arduino point of view there is no practical difference between these Bluetooth modules and any other module that connects the same way like the FTDI breakout board.

So a question that comes up frequently is: Can I upload sketches through the Bluetooth module? (Read the comments section of the BlueSMiRF Silver)

And the answer is Yes!. In this post I explain how to do it from Windows using the SMiRF Silver module and an Arduino Pro 3.3V board.

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Resetting the Arduino through software for fun and profit

For some time now the Arduino boards (since two years ago?) have had a nice hands-free sketch upload process that is driven by the Arduino IDE in contrast with old boards where you had to reset the board manually and then go back to the IDE to transfer the sketch.

The upload process is explained at a high level here but basically this is achieved by resetting the board through the serial port DTR line. The DTR-controlled reset is all nice (and hacky) but if for any reason you don’t have a way to control it from software then there’s no way to auto-reset the board and no way of auto-uploading new sketches without manual intervention!

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Recompiling and uploading the Arduino Pro 3.3v bootloader

If you ever want to tweak the Arduino bootloader there are a few things you have to do: locate the bootloader for your board, make your changes, recompile it and finally upload the new bootloader to your board.

There are different ways to achieve the same result and here’s how I did it for the Arduino Pro 3.3v using Windows. I think most of this applies to any of the Arduino boards out there though.

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Samsung Focus cell phone turning off mysteriously when making phone calls

A few days ago my girlfriend came from work all revved up because her phone was turning off when placing calls. She also claimed that she had to power cycle it to have it working again… and of course she asked me to have a look.

The first thing I tried of course was to try to repro the problem by calling myself from her phone and just as she said the phone turned off immediately after placing the call. That was odd. But then a few seconds later my phone started to ring… the phone wasn’t dead after all.

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Launching Windows Media Center automatically when turning on your Xbox 360

I have a couple of Xbox 360’s and I use one of them mainly as a Windows Media Center extender so 90% of the time that’s what I want my Xbox to be running when I turn it on.

To do this it’s just a matter of navigating to System Settings->Console Settings->Startup and Shutdown->Startup and select Windows Media Center there.

If you want to see the change check this video

Perfect!