Installing Windows 7 on Acer One

Installing Windows 7 inside an Acer One is fun and probably not a waste of your time.


For two reasons in specific: It's free and it's fast.

- Free because Microsoft allows you to use Windows 7 until June 2010.
- Fast when compared to it's predecessor Windows Vista.

Still not as fast as XP and a lot of memory is consumed but we might consider the pros vs cons in a later blog post.


My short tutorial is just an example so that people have a better notion about a possible way to install.

The first step is downloading the Windows 7 ISO, it's available from MS here:

Then, using a separate partition to keep both XP and Win7 working is a good idea in case you need to go back some day. There are plenty of tools to split the Acer One partion, I used the one I trusted the most.

Since I use Ubuntu, there is a USB install tool that creates USB pendisks, one advantage of these pendisks is that they come builtin with a partition editor that resizes NTFS partitions safely (and as simple as it gets) -

After the partition is made available, it's time to launch Windows 7 install setup from the original XP. I created a 40Gb partition thought after installed this new Windows it took about 9Gb worth of used space.



Since there is no incorporated DVD reader, we can fake a drive using a virtual DVD drive to mount the ISO image.

My favorite tool for this task on Windows is ImDisk (open source) -

LinkJust install and reboot the machine. Aftwerwards you can right-click on any ISO image and make it available as a fake drive.

Mounting the Windows 7 ISO image we get the install started.

Don't forget to choose a new instalation and select the secondary partition that you have just created and the installation begins.

The install process is a bit lengthy (one hour perhaps) and reboots several times without need for human interaction.


I was a bit afraid that some drivers wouldn't recognize the Acer One hardware. But there is one good thing about this Windows version - it supports drivers that were created for XP. This is a big plus without doubt.

All that was left to be done was visiting the Acer download site and grab the latest drivers for the Mouse synaptic software that allowed double tapping to be recognized as left-click.

Also, the software to control the fan noise also seemed to work only for XP/Vista - it was nice to see Win7 also asking to run the program in "XP mode" so that it work as expected (and it did).


In overall

I have very nice words to say about Windows 7 indeed.

This OS is serious and less cluttered than it's precedent. The visual style is good and they have really made enough improvements to convince me as a worthy replacement for XP.

In a time that both OSX and Ubuntu are enjoying from a popularity boost given by the awfull performance demonstrated by Windows Vista, it should be no surprise to see Windows rising back into better days within 2010 if all goes well for them.

It's nice to see some competition.. :)

Got coffee?

A few weeks ago I've discontinued working at some of my favorite software projects. The next couple of years will likely be very busy and time always passes too quickly when you're having fun.

One of these projects was Ninja Pendisk. In contrast to other projects as WinBuilder or the Boot Land community that are well kept by other developers, the ninja was suddenly made orphan.

It is growing popular but development stagnated.

To lift up some motivation in order to continue support and improvement, I've placed a small donation box powered by Pledgie.

This is probably the first time that I've ever placed a donation box anywhere but the pledgie service is very nice and given the current state of Ninja, this sounded like a good experience.

Results arrived today.

A friendly ninja supporter named Wilson has contributed with 1 euro.

A small token to some but a meaningful contribution to me.

After paypal deducted 0,35 cents + 5% of the contribution value, I was left with little over 63 cents on my account - still good to sponsor a coffee.

Since I drink about 2~3 cups of coffee per day, this is enough to power one half of the morning or even perhaps a whole afternoon working on ninja to update it's functionality.

Let there be coffee!


NoMachine NX - remote network control

Guess everyone heard about VNC to control a computer over the network but what about NX?

In the past I always thought that there were only two good ways to control a computer remotely.

The first would be using VNC and the second would be Windows Remote connection.

Thought these two options work fairly well for a LAN or possibly an intranet WAN, the truth is that both are a serious pain to use over the Internet due to their slug performance.

Meet NX.

This is a freeware server/client remote control software strictly for linux/solaris machines.

The client itself can also be used from Windows or MacOSX environments and this works fast!

I'm not joking about being fast. Their compression algorithm is extremelly efficient. I suspect that both client and server work together to save as much bandwidth as possible and only sending the bare minimal changes to update the client's display in contrast to VNC or RDP that output the full screen.

So impressive that it still works incredibly quick over the 3G modem dialup connection from my laptop.

Not that I complain from working remotely using a remote ssh session but it's always nice to work with a desktop to get some things done right.

Here's the link:


Starting a VirtualBox image on boot up

Recently with current hardware, it has become feasible to run windows 2003 machines from within VirtualBox PC emulators (opensource -

One strong point for using an emulated windows server is the relative ease to move this emulated machine onto another physical computer without needing to reinstall everything up.

VirtualBox is handy because it runs fairly well and is very easy to configure, but one of the missing features is the option to select a virtual machine to start when computer boots up.

The lack of this feature forces an administrator to manually start the virtual machine everytime a reboot is necessary.

Looking around the web I've stumbled on this solution:

But I required something a bit simpler and decided to make a smaller version from the mentioned script that is easier for anyone else to customize as needed.

One thing I should mention is that this script will first attempt to send an ACPI shutdown to the virtual machine so that it can close by itself and if this machine is not closed within a specified time frame (12 seconds), the script will force the shutdown without further delay.

Enough talk for today, here's the code:
# Simple script to start virtual box on boot up
# Credits -

# How is this virtual box called?
emulatedbox="Windows XP"

# The script will send a soft reset when shutting down,
# how long should it wait before sending a power off? (0 to disable)

## Start the program ##

if [ "$1" == "start" ]; then
echo "Starting VirtualBox Image.. ("$emulatedbox")";
VBoxManage startvm "$emulatedbox"
exit 0

if [ "$1" == "stop" ]; then
echo "Stopping VirtualBox Image.. ("$emulatedbox")";
RUNNING_MACHINES=`VBoxManage list runningvms | wc -l`
if [ $RUNNING_MACHINES != 0 ]; then
VBoxManage controlvm "$emulatedbox" acpipowerbutton
if [ $until_shutdown != 0 ];
then sleep $until_shutdown; fi;
RUNNING_MACHINES=`VBoxManage list runningvms | wc -l`
if [ $RUNNING_MACHINES != 0 ]; then
VBoxManage controlvm "$emulatedbox" poweroff; exit 0; fi
exit 0

echo "No parameters specified, exiting."
exit 1
I hope you know how to use this script, if you don't then I'd suggest reading up the suggestions from the link I've suggested on the top of this blog post as it gives some instructions regarding how this should be applied on your server machine.

Good luck, hope this helps you.


Moving out.

For the past five years one thing remained constant in my life - living in the azores.

Now, I will unfortunately retire from my current work location and move back into mainland Portugal.

I would say that this is great since I'll be living in the same city where the rest of my family lives, but at the same time it's with sadness that I depart from these islands.

Living here is a surreal experience, after a few years you kind of assume some things to be normal but they're nowhere to be found anywhere else for sure.

The fact of living stranded in the middle of Atlantic ocean, seeing the green fields that are greener that anything else you'd ever seen and the marvelous chance of breathing such clean air are just a few of the things that I'll surely miss.

It's also the place where you can go out and take a coffee knowing that you'll stumble on some familiar face to exchange a few words while enjoying the seaside view or attend small rock concerts promoted by your friends at places where everyone knows everybody.

Really amazing stuff.

But it's also in the nature of people to move forward and time has come to get back on track and move along to the next challenge.

Moving out is not easy.

Life and Death

Today I've received a sad call on my cellphone.

It was my mother washed in tears saying that one of our very best friends had committed suicide.

This is a sad day for me, his name was Pedro Simão.

He was the sort of person that always seemed disconnected from the traditional way of living. I was lucky to meet him when I was little above 8 years old.

At the time, he was the chief of the scouts organization where my mother placed me and my younger brother Edgar to learn how to live in the outdoors and also spend more time with other kids.

Those years were a truly valuable life experience.

Simão was around 23 years old but treated kids a bit like adults and taught us very early in life the reason why discipline, hard work and a good taste for adventure allow to achieve good results.

It's probably because of him that I first joined the army. The scout experience really prepared me to face without fear the human limits of exposing myself to stress conditions. He used to say: "Anything is possible if your mind is set on a goal" and I believe him.

At this last decade after 2000, I just wish that the younger Simão could have talked some sense into the older Simão.

Things started to collapse after Simão returned from his army mission at Mozambique when he quickly wasted his saved money on all the wrong things. A mix of naive personality with the desire to fulfill some his dreams have lead to the quick depletion of his saved resources and I think this was the turning point that somehow demotivated this once inspiring soul.

Over the last years, he got himself into an awful amount of debts to pay the car, the house and so many other things that simply couldn't be afforded by his monthly salary.

He'd frequently drink in excess, most of the times all alone at his home.

It was sad to see Simão going down like this. Also didn't helped the fact that I was never around Coimbra anymore just like most of our mutual friends that also went to somewhere else and he was left all alone by himself to linger on these sad things of life.

Now thinking clearer, I feel awful for not spending more time with him after my last visit to Coimbra last month. I saw him so briefly. He was always available to help others and I asked him a lift to the bus station where I could pick the bus that would leave for Lisbon.

We only talked for less than 10 minutes at the bus coffee house. Then I went for the bus and waived goodbye. Just wish he hadn't gone or at the very least drop a call to talk with me or someone else. Even worse because in a couple of months I'll be living again at Coimbra and would have a chance to talk with him much more often.

I'm simply too disappointed on myself because I could have done better.

Things weren't well and I fell that I've disappointed a good friend in this mad pursuit for my own selfish goals in life. Didn't even took some quality time to look closer at what was happening and ignored all the warning signs.

He had a bad life in the last years but he also had a very kind heart. Was the sort of person that I would trust wholyhearted knowing that he'd never break this trust.

Pedro, if you're listening. I'll miss you.