Replacing a hard disk

Replacing a hard disk

I have a Dell Optiplex 780, which I bought used from the Box Shop some years ago. The date of the BIOS is 2008, so it is quite ancient. However it is a 64 bit system, with 4GB RAM, and virtualization support. It must have been considered a fine machine in its day. It still works. I have installed Windows 10 on it, even that OS is not officially supported on it, and before that two varieties of Linux. It is no longer my primary system, but I am not yet ready to part with it. Hence How to Copy Your Windows Installation to an SSD caught my eye, since replacing a hard drive by an SSD is a good way to speed up an old system.

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WSL: Files and Environment Variables

Continuing from WSL: Directories and Files.

The Ultimate Guide to Windows Subsystem for Linux (Windows WSL) points out that with WSL2 the Linux file system is a virtual disk. In my case


I hope there is a way to relocate this file into a directory format that is fit for human consumption.

The Ultimate Guide goes on to consider environment variables. Opening an administrator command prompt as in the example:
“Failure is always an option.”-Adam Savage

Rang Gaeilge, 29ú lá Mí na mí Mheiteamh 2021

Duinnín agus an Bhadhbh (tuilleadh)

  • Bhí tost sa seomra. Bhain an Duinníneach taitneamh, soicind,
    as éifeacht a scéil ar an gcomhluadar. An soicind ina
    dhiaidh sin, chúb sé roimh an mbéic a lig Woodley as.

    ‘Mo chuid sionnacht [var pl?]! Iad á ngoid ag mo thionóntaithe féin!’

    ‘Ach ni bhíonn tú ag seilg sionnach, a thaisce, agus tá’s agat
    go n-itheann siad na piasúin . . .’arsa a chéile.

    There was silence in the room. Dineen enjoyed, for a second, the effect of his story
    on the company. The second after that he cowered before the shout Woodley let out

    ‘My foxes! My own tenants are stealing them!’

    ‘But you don’t hunt foxes, my dear, and you know they eat the pheasants . . .’ said his wife.

    taitneamh Shine, brightness; Liking, enjoyment
    soicind second [of time] m
    éifeacht Force, significance; efficacy, effect; value, importance f
    comhluadar (Social) company m
    chúb bend, cower, shrink
    béic yell; shout f
    seilg hunt, chase f
    piasún pheasant m gs npl piasúin
  • Léigh tuilleadh

The United States-International keyboard layout

I have used the United States-International keyboard layout for years to enter Irish Language accented letters (á,é,í,…) and occasionally German letters with umlauts. I have done this with dead keys: In this layout ‘, `, “, ~, and ^ are dead keys. Nothing happens until you type certain letters following the dead key, at which point the letter appears with the appropriate accent, umlaut, etc. This has worked very well for me. TIL that you can do much more with that layout. How to use the United States-International keyboard layout in Windows 7, in Windows Vista, and in Windows XP explains all of this. Using the Right-Alt key and the Right-Alt-key with the shift key let you enter all sorts of wonderful things, e.g. ß (for German), € (Euro), ¥ (Yen), þ, ð, ø, Ø, ©.

Some of you may know this, but I suspect the vast majority of Windows users, and a lot of Linux users, do not. The link above refers to older versions of Windows, but the layout works on Windows 10 and on Linux. The process of installing the keyboard will depend on your OS. Look for “keyboard layout” in the documentation.

Networking with the Windows Subsystem for Linux

Networking was built in on the Ubuntu WSL install. WSL Ubuntu under Windows has an IP of, but it can see my local 192.168 network, and the entire internet. WSL Ubuntu says it uses a DNS Server on the 172.17 network. Since WSL uses NAT, I expect that translates to my router on the 192.168 network, which in turn accesses the DNS servers of my ISP. IP addresses in the range to are private, so apparently WSL creates its own network.

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A Note on Computer BIOS Settings

Enabling VM features on a computer is a BIOS feature, so do to it you have to interrupt the startup with the Escape or some other key, depending on the machine. My HP EliteDesk uses the Escape key, but the boot started so fast that my 70 year old fingers could not hit that key fast enough to prevent Windows from starting. A web search suggest that I use the Windows power settings to disable the “quick boot” and actually do a full shutdown and restart rather than a simple reboot. This worked and I could click Escape in time and get to the BIOS settings. After a little searching I found the VM setting (Every BIOS is different) and turned it on. I also added a 5-second delay to the boot settings to make the next time easier.

Another Undead Computer Language

From Competitive Programming to APL, with Conor Hoekstra.

The first half or so of this article was like reading an anthropological report of a strange culture far away: There were no programming contests when I was getting started out in the field (1967-1976). I rarely had the kind of technical interviews that Hoekstra went through, and did not get any of the five programming jobs I held from 1977 to 1998 through such an interview.

I started reading more closely with

Conor: So, I heard about APL five different times between the year 2010 and 2019.
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