R.I.P Video Floppy Disk Transfer

January 21st, 2011

We pride ourselves on being able to transfer just about anything: 8 tracks, DATs, MiniDisc, 5.25 floppies, zip discs, laser discs, umatic tapes, PAL 8mm tapes, MicroMV tapes, you get the idea. But once in a while customers show up with formats that even we haven’t encountered, like the person who called today with the 2″ floppy disc.

Sure, we can handle the 3.5″ and 5.25″ discs, but 2″ floppy disc? My first thought was a confused customer who didn’t know what he had (a more likely scenario in our experience), but sure enough his 2″ video floppy disc really did exist, straight from his Sony Mavica still video camera.

Needless to say the video floppy disc never quite took off. You can see one and read about them here. In ten years in business, this is the first one we’ve encountered, but if you have a bunch of them, let us know, and maybe we’ll become the leading (and only?) video floppy transfer company in the U.S.

How to Clone or Migrate Your Bootcamp Partition

November 21st, 2010

I did it!

After 5 or so failed attempts, I got a bigger hard disk installed inside my 17″ Intel iMac, and preserved the data from both the Mac and XP partitions on the old drive in the process, growing them on the new drive without issue. Here’s the step by step to save you the headache:

1. Format the new drive as a single partition HFS+ journaled with a GUID partition setup.

2. Clone your existing Mac partition to your new drive using Super Duper(an external enclosure or a desktop Mac you can install both drives in is the way to go, with the iMac I took the enclosure route).

3. Run the Bootcamp Assistant to partition your newly cloned Mac partition into your desired sizes for MacOS and Bootcamp partitions (this should be non-destructive on your data). Quit the Assistant as soon as the partitioning is done.

4. Pull the old drive, install the new one, and boot to the cloned Mac OS. You’re half way there!

5. Put the old drive in an external enclosure and use Winclone to clone your old Bootcamp partition on to your newly created Bootcamp partition. (Alternately, you could image your old Bootcamp partition to your MacOS partition in step 3 if you have the room, and then just do the image restore to the new Bootcamp partition with Winclone at this step).

6. Once Winclone cloning finishes, reboot your Mac into Windows. My XP install seemed to notice something was up, and asked to run a series of disk checks (maybe because the volume was suddenly 520 gig larger?). I said fine, and it concurred that everything was okay.

Successful migration of both the MacOS and XP to much larger partitions without the painful XP or Windows software reinstall. And finally, plenty of room to grow on both systems.

P.S. In my experience, Macs run XP more reliably than many PCs do.

Astound Video Launches VHS to Mac Service

November 13th, 2010

We love Macs, and we love helping people get ready to edit their old home movies on their Macs. To that end, we are pleased to announce the launch of our VHS to Mac service.

Technically it isn’t a new service, as we have been offering transfers to hard disk for quite some time, but we the marketing guys haven’t given it a fancy name and its own page on our website until now. So check it out, and bring in your hard disk and some tapes and we’ll get it all set for you to cut into a masterpiece in iMovie.

The Secret to Expand Your Areca 1220 Raid Set Volume

November 11th, 2010

The more time I spend in the video industry, the more I realize video is becoming just a sub specialty of IT!

Case in point: Over the last few days we have been upgrading one of our in house RAIDs from 5 terabytes to 16 terabytes. We built this server from scratch in a SuperMicro case with an Areca 1220 RAID controller running Openfiler in a RAID 5 configuration.

To pull off the upgrade, we pulled one drive from the RAID at a time and let the array heal itself each time. Pretty cool to see the RAID working like it is supposed to (Note: Many purists will argue this is a bad idea, as you lose your redundancy during the rebuild, etc. This very well may be true, but it worked for us, and we got anything critical off the array before we started).

Only took 4.5 hours for each drive. After all 8 were done, we were ready to crank things up to 16 terabytes, but our controller card said not so fast.

We tried to expand the volume to no avail. Controller card insisted no additional available space, and we were stuck with only 5 terabytes available, 11 terabytes lost in RAID never never land.

Enter Google to save the day!

Thanks to an Areca tech support post that found its way on to a forum we discovered the following magic way to get the controller card to let us expand the volume:

>>>>>>>>>>
please follow the procedure below :
1. login the browser management console
Raidset Functions > Rescue RaidSet
2. enter the keyword “RESETCAPACITY Raid Set # 000″, confirm and submit.
after that, controller will reconfigure the raidset capacity.
>>>>>>>>>>

You may need to tweak the Raid Set number for your setup, but if you get it right it does work!

If you are looking for this info, enjoy! If you’re super grateful, link to us.

Thanks to Allynm over at [H]ard Forum for tipping us off to this.

P.S. When you are ready for the Openfiler volumer expansion, here’s what you need to do:

This may help

https://project.openfiler.com/tracker/ticket/547

The sequence of steps to get this done is:

1. stop all services
2. umount -a (unmount all partitions)
3. vgchange -an (disable all volume groups)
4. partprobe (reread partition tables on all disks)
5. parted /dev/ resize (resize the partition)
6. partprobe (reread partition tables on all disks)
7. pvresize /dev/ (resize the physical volume
8. vgchange -ay (enable all volume groups)
9. mount -a (remount all disk partitions)
10. start all previously running services

Caveat emptor, it is assumed that:

1. Openfiler partitioning scheme has been followed (http://www.openfiler.com/docs/install/g … stall.html)
2. OS and data partitions are not on the same disk

Or my changed version for XFS filesystem:

http://www.openfiler.com/community/foru … hp?id=1615

The sequence of steps to get your array grown and usable is done by:

1. parted /dev/
1a. mklabel gpt
1b. rm 1
1c. print
1d. mkpart primary 0.017 333789 (fill in your start number and end number as 1c. print, states)
1e. quit
2. stop all services
3. umount -a (unmount all partitions)
4. vgchange -an (disable all volume groups)
5. partprobe (reread partition tables on all disks)
6. pvresize /dev/ (resize the physical volume
7. vgchange -ay (enable all volume groups)
8. mount -a (remount all disk partitions)
9. start all previously running services
10. xfs_growfs /mnt/
11. Go to volumes in the web administrator and edit properties of the volume
Last edited by necrosis (2008-01-10 21:55:45)

Original posting of the above available here.

Rocky Mountain Film Lab Declares Bankruptcy

July 13th, 2010

I just got a letter in the mail yesterday that Rocky Mountain Film Lab has filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection. We have done business with them in the past, and the results were fine, but the unreturned phone calls, and promised delivery dates that came and went, resulting in a 1 year turn time was a little troubling.

If you are looking to get old 8mm or Super 8 film developed, we recommend Dwayne’s Photo in Parsons, Kansas or Film Rescue International in Fortuna, North Dakota

DVD, Blu-ray and the Future of Your Memories

July 5th, 2010

What will be the next thing after DVDs? We get this question a lot. The heir apparent is of course Blu-ray, but we aren’t offering Blu-ray transfers at this time, and don’t plan to in the near future. Here are a few reasons why:

#1 DVDs still trump Blu-ray at the store and will continue to do so for several years. Current research estimates shipments of 4.8 billion pre-recorded DVDs in 2010 compared to only 519 million Blu-ray discs. Run the model out to 2014 and you get 3.5 billion DVDs and 1.9 billion Blu-ray discs. That puts DVD as the 2 to 1 favorite over Blu-ray four years from now.

#2 Blu-ray is still growing up. Playback problems due to firmware (e.g. Avatar) and compatibility issues with burned discs make for more headaches than happy customers at this point in time.

#3 Cool reception in the PC world. Only 3.6% of PCs shipped with Blu-ray drives in 2009. And that number is only expected to grow to 16.3% by 2013 (see article). That means that three years from now, over 80% of people won’t be able to play Blu-ray discs in their PCs, compared to the near ubiquitous support for DVDs. Apple, the current momentum leader in the electronics world, isn’t exactly on board either. Jobs recently indicated he has no interest in bringing Blu-ray to the Mac, ever.

Don’t get me wrong. Blu-ray is technically superior to the old DVD, and represents a great stride forward in video quality. But in our business adoption and compatibility are important considerations, and as cool as Avatar may look on Blu-ray, the format is not the best choice to preserve your precious memories, or to distribute content to  broad audiences.

The Quest for the Elusive 8mm VHS Adapter

June 25th, 2010

Anyone who has worked in this business for a while has heard of the elusive 8mm VHS adapter. You know, the device that you put your 8mm Hi8 or Digital8 tapes into so you can play them in your VCR. I have had customers standing at our counter swearing they used to have such a thing.

But like the elusive Sasquatch, the Loch Ness monster, and the island of Atlantis, a lot of people believing in it doesn’t mean it exists.

The main problem is it is technologically impossible. The size of 8mm video tape (8mm, surprisingly) is much smaller than VHS (12.7mm wide). This size difference, coupled with the fact that 8mm tapes use a U-shaped tape loading approach, as contrasted with the M-loading technique utilized by VHS tapes makes it technically impossible for a VHS player to play an 8mm tape, even if you had an adapter that would enable you to load it into your VCR (there are a host of other technical reasons why it won’t work, but I won’t bore you with the details).

The confusion of course comes from the fact that there were VHS camcorders that shot on VHS-C (the C stands for compact) tapes. The tapes were about the size of a cigarette package,  and could be placed inside an adapter and played in a VCR just like a full-size VHS tape.

These VHS-C adapters are still available, but buyer beware. The good old ones manufactured under the Panasonic and RCA brands were powered by a battery and worked wonderfully, but many new cheaper ones are not battery powered and do a poor job playing back VHS-C tapes. If you have one that doesn’t seem to be working, look for a battery compartment on the unit and try replacing the battery. We have brought many adapters back to life with a new battery. If you are in the market for a VHS-C adapter, hold out for an authentic RCA or Panasonic branded model. They are getting quite difficult to find, but are well worth it.

Astound Video Blog 2.0

February 15th, 2010

We are in the process of upgrading our entire website to provide better access to pricing information and ultimately order tracking.

As a part of this upgrade, we have completed the migration of our web site to our new server, and are now in the process of relaunching our blog. Check back here regularly for product and service updates, recommendations, rants, and other little tidbits that we think will be of interest to our current and potential customers.

It will take a while to get the templates tweaked, and everything integrated with our main site, but perfection is the greatest enemy of the good, so please bear with us as we strive to move from a functional blog, to an incredible blgo experience.