Back in June I purchased my first MacBook Pro.  A big move for someone who has run Microsoft systems for the last 30 years.  Sure I have used Linux and OpenBSD servers, Ubuntu workstation on old hardware, but my primary OS has primarily remained Microsoft–All this time until now.  Since June when I purchased my new MacBook Pro, I spend 90% of my time in OSX (not including at work).  The only reason I go to my Windows machine is for Visual Studio and a few games.  Yes a few games, as so many of them work under OSX.

One primary reason for purchasing the expensive MacBook Pro was to have it replace my primary desktop computer I have at home.  This is a self-built beast used for gaming, developing and pretty much anything else.  My first mistake was not putting up the $300 for the 1TB SSD.  The machine has a 512GB SSD and cutting it up with a Windows partition is just not enough space.  So know I need (want) to run an external drive to run Windows from.  With Thunderbolt and an SSD performance will not be an issue.

I scanned a few Internet articles to see if it was possible, saw that it  was and purchased an external 256GB Transcend thunderbolt/USB3.0 SSD. One Saturday I started the Bootcamp installation on the drive not knowing that it would consume most of that day…. I scanned those articles a bit too fast.

I put this post together to go over the steps to get an external Windows drive working.  There were so many hurdles along the way, I hope this helps someone.  I know I may need it again in the future.

Setting up Windows 10 on an external SSD using Bootcamp

I say Windows 10, but this is useful for other Windows versions.

The firsts steps are the same as any other Bootcamp build to setup Windows on a Mac.  Though when you are done there will only be the OSX partition on your Mac drive proving all space to OSX.  Have your external drive connected to the machine.

  1. Open Bootcamp and start the process.  When you are asked to partition your drive, just select the minimum size.
  2. Select install and the files will be copied and configured on the partition just created.  This will take a little bit of time.
    Copying files
  3. Once complete the machine will restart and boot into the windows OS installer.
  4. Make sure you choose custom installation.
  5. I recommend you delete all partitions from your external drive and select the unpartitioned space to be installed into. Obviously be careful not to delete OSX partitions!
  6. The machine will boot a few times and everything will be fine, you’ll be able to install software, reboot, etc.

The issue comes in when you go back to OSX. Using the Bootcamp icon in Windows notification area you select to go back to OSX.  No worries here, the computer will boot back to OSX without issue.  The problem is that you will not be able to get back into windows.  Going to Settings > startup disk  and selecting your external windows drive throws the error: “the bless tool was unable to set the current boot disk.”  I still have not determine why apple can’t mark the partition as bootable, though I assume it has to do with the fact it is external.

This is the point I wasted most of my time trying to get the drive to boot.  The issue is that the partition on the external drive is no longer marked active so it cannot be booted from.  Windows Diskpart will not mark an external drive partition as active.  My [other] partition tool use is a bit rusty and a few mistakes were made, so I hope to keep you from doing the same. Holding Alt (Option) at this point during the mac POST does not work as well, the drive is not bootable, so it is not provided as an option.

The Fix

Ultimately I found a tool (yes this is a hack, but heck, it worked), WinToUSB by EasyUEFI.  This tool quickly repaired the partition of the drive and made it bootable again.  No fuss, it just worked. Plus, you only need the free version to complete this as well.WinToUSB by logo

The instructions for this is on their site which you can find here:

Once I ran this against the drive I could boot from it!

The drive is working, but booting to Windows is a little different then using Bootcamp

Once this process is complete you no longer use startup disk and Bootcamp to switch between OS’s.  Your external drive will actually boot on ANY machine that supports booting from external storage devices.  Granted it has drivers loaded for the MacBook Pro so booting it on a different machine will not work so well (plus there may be issues with Windows 10 licensing since it uses a signature from your machine’s hardware).

Booting to Windows

When you start your Mac press and hold the alt (option) key.  This will bring up a boot menu which will show your Mac drive and your external Windows drive.  Choose the Windows drive and you are good to go!  Want to get back to Mac, reboot.  So, yes, you will need to this each time you want to boot to Windows, even if you choose restart.

Cleaning Up

Once you have your new external drive working as described above go ahead back to Bootcamp Assistant and remove the Bootcamp partition.  It isn’t needed and you can give that space back to your main OSX drive!  Hey, 32GB, that is a big chuck of music.  (:

I don’t recall where I saw this, which will become apparent in a minute, though I was either on twitter or an email where a company who said, get our free logo stickers.  The where cartoonish shark stickers, so why not.

rocket shark

I ordered them and had them shipped to work.  A few weeks, maybe a month or more later I receive an envelope at work.  I open the envelope and it contains three shark stickers.  Hey, one was sporting rockets!  Anyway, that is all that was in the package, no other information.  The envelope only contained references to the logistics company who shipped the stickers.

I now have this company’s stickers though I have no idea who they are, what their name is, or what they do.  Seems like quite a waste of a promotion.

It is important to be careful who use for logistics and ensure that you are representing yourself correctly.  As if you don’t the people you are contacting may have no idea who you are.

It’s been two weeks of no carbs.  What an interesting ride.  I am not going to lie, there are a lot of foods I do miss.  First of all, bee r–Liquid bread as I have heard it called, and the second tacos! My first craving, popcorn.  At the mall with my son and he wanted some of that gourmet popcorn stuff.  Damn it smelled so good.  I didn’t have any though.

I made hamburgers for the family.  Though I thoroughly enjoyed the hamburger patty, cheese, etc.  I missed that burger setting inside a soft bun with mayonnaise, etc. nom. I am still good though, I am not close to giving this up.

So what is it that I am not giving up on?  It’s a ketogenic diet. The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that in medicine is used primarily to treat difficult-to-control (refractory) epilepsy in children (1).  Do I have epilepsy, no, but this is a life choice that I am making to be healthier and hopefully be able to maintain my weight better.  The diet forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates (glucose).  The body does this naturally by a process known as ketosis.

Ketosis is a state where the body gets it energy from ketones instead of glucose. Ketones are created from fats and glucose is provided by sugars and carbohydrates.  There is a lot of information about a ketogenic diet, my main source is the keto sub reddit.  I highly recommend you start with the FAQ.

So why did I chose this? There were two main reasons.  The first is that I know someone who has been following the diet for six months and has done quite well on it. Not only has there been weight loss, but a great up-tick in available energy.  The second is that my doctor had instructed me to cut out all bakery goods.  I had slight high cholesterol and blood pressure and he mentioned that glucose created by the breads, etc. can increase cholesterol in the body.  This information and all that I have read about a low carb, high fat diet prove to me that this is worth doing.  Plus, since I am not a sweets person, eating meat, leafy vegetables, and fats are all the things I really enjoy eating.  This is what has made this new way of eating so easy for me.

So, how are the results, well, flat. Though this is somewhat expected, especially since I lost a weekend on two weeks into this.  It was a company outing and there was much whiskey involved.  :)

Over the first week I lost 8 pounds (I suspect water weight) and a noticeable slimming in my face.  I have stayed pretty stable at this weight the rest of the time.  Even after that weekend, I returned to that weight the next day.

I started this with the thought of how I felt in one month.  If things are going well I will continue, if not I will reanalyze things.

How have these last few weeks gone? Besides being a bit tired (which is more that a lack of sleep than anything else) this Keto Flu everyone talks about has not bothered me.  I get the occasional headache, but that is about it.  Perhaps my reading and keeping electrolytes up is keeping it away.  Of course I am also worried I am doing it all wrong and not achieving Ketosis at all!  Since Keto flies in the face of what doctors have told us to do since the 60’s there is always the worry, if you do this wrong you will mess yourself up. The science doesn’t lie, I will be fine.


I am not going to get into details now, but basically I have changed my diet to remove almost all carbohydrates.  The plan is to consume 20g of carbs or less a day.   Some will know this as Keto. I am trying to record my experience but have no idea how well I will keep up with posts.

September 25, 2015

My first day started out real easy, I ordered an omelet from the little place on the first floor.  I had them put bacon, spinach and mushrooms in it.  Besides them overcooking the eggs (so many places do), it was good. Well, I love eggs :).

By the time I got to lunch I could feel my sugar levels drop and I was getting a bit of a headache.  I decided to head home for lunch.  There was a good amount of chicken left over from the other night.  I warmed it up with some coconut oil and giardiniera.  I poured it over a pile of mixed dark greens.  It was a good lunch. I can get used to this.

After lunch I was already getting a little foggy and I could feel a difference.  The difference, obviously, is that I have consumed less than 10mg of carbohydrates today.  And usually by this time I would be way over 100mg.

Reading Reddit I checked what was needed to keep the symptoms down.  I went over to Meijer and picked up some supplies.  Light salt for the sodium and potassium, magnesium supplement and some nuts and seeds to snack on.  I can’t wait for dinner.

For dinner a 1/3 pound turkey burger w/ muenster cheese on a bed of spinach.  I also added half an avocado and drizzled olive oil on the spinach.  I have one question, How the hell do you measure a cup of spinach? I don’t get it. It is leaves and doesn’t really fit in a cup.  I assume you are not to stuff it in the cup. It should probably be weighed though I don’t know what that weight should be.  I am sure I ate more that the three cups I recorded, but I guesstimated this one.

I felt good after dinner and quite satisfied. A few hours later the headache returned lightly  I wasn’t drinking much water and did feel thirsty and started drinking a lot again.  Overall, a good first day.

So my macros ended up a little off today, but I don’t think they are too bad for first day.  Most of the carbs came from all the spinach.  What can I say, I love spinach (and broccoli!).  Looking again I forgot to subtract fiber, so much better than I first thought.

  • Carbohydrates: 17g (3 under)
  • Protein: 102g (12 over)
  • Fat 102g
  • Calories 1416 (257 under)

I came in  under calories, which is always good.  I will work on the other numbers as I learn to portion out the food better.  I am actually looking forward to tomorrow.  :)

And yes you measure greens by weight, and the weight is on the bag.  For example the spinach I eat is 85g per 1.5 cups.

September 26, 2015

Day two, and it is the weekend, Saturday.  So far this is pretty darn easy, the foods I am able to eat I trues love to eat and haven’t been able to on current diets and instructions from my doctor based on my past eating habits.

I started the morning with another omelet, which I made myself.  The omelet contained mushrooms, bacon and spinach.  And this time the eggs were not over cooked.  I went shopping today to get food for the week.  I obviously picket up a bunch of meat and fish.  In addition I needed some “regular” food for my sons.  There is no way they are giving up carbs and I can have them ingest so much fat and eat the carbs, that would not be good for them.

When I got home I put the groceries away and cooked the pound of bacon I purchased from the deli.  There were two pieces which didn’t fit on the tray (I bake bacon) which became my lunch.  I cut up the two pieces of bacon and fried them.  Added a tablespoon of olive oil and mushrooms.  I took all of this and poured it over one and one-half cups of spinach.  It was quite tasty.  I still feel that the saturated fat of bacon is not good for you, regardless of what they say.  I am sure this may change over time.  Tough for now, it still doesn’t feel right, but it sure tastes good!

Yellow fin tuna for dinner. Damn I over cooked it again. :(.  With a side of broccoli with butter (real butter!!).  I know I need to add more fat to my meals, but it is going to take some time to get used to.  Going over calories doesn’t seem to be as big of an issue from when I was eating carbohydrates. What I am having an issue with is protein as I blew that number again today.  I need to cut back on the meats a bit and consume more fats.

Today’s totals:

  • Carbohydrates: 18g (2 under)
  • Protein: 117g (27 over)
  • Fat 73g
  • Calories 1541 (257 under)

I have read that consuming too much protein can knock you out of ketosis (or keep you from entering ketosis).  Since I keep going over I worry that I am not doing myself a good service.  The issue is that extra amino acids can be converted to glucose and that is exactly what we don’t want in our system. Glucose raises insulin levels and insulin will store the fat we have been consuming in fat stores while our bodies use the glucose for energy.

September 27, 2015

I will spare you the details from today.  Basically it was a great day, if this new way of eating is for real, it is all for me. I can do this! I hit my macros well today.  Low on calories, but honestly I can’t eat any more.  The food is so satisfying it really is difficult.

Today’s totals:

  • Carbohydrates: 11g (9 under)
  • Protein: 96g (4 under)
  • Fat 114g
  • Calories 1445 (214 under)

There is no doubt, drink water, water, water and more water.  Keeping my fluids and electrolytes up has kept me feeling pretty good.  No real bad headaches or fogginess.

Tomorrow is Monday and my first workweek following this new regime. It will be interesting on how I will do.  Adding a 10 hour day of work changes things and I am not one to eat out and haven’t really figured out how to do that.  Eating out is just too expensive as well.  If I get in a good breakfast I can probably make it to dinner time.  It is pretty much what I did today only breaking down around 16:00 needing a snack.  Next post about this will be on how my workweek(s) goes/go and more details on what I am doing.

In June I purchased my first MacBook Pro (I should really write about this sometime).  One simple feature I really enjoy is that the machine will announce the time at the top of each hour.  I don’t know why, I just really like that feature.

At work I am still on Microsoft Windows-based machines and wanted to have this same feature on them.   So I did some digging around and found a VBScript that will do it.  I added the code below to a sayhour.vbs file and set up as a scheduled task to run at the top of the hour.  I have all my clocks showing 24 hour time so their is no need for AM or PM, which personally drives me batty anyway.

' Say the following hour
Dim speaks, speech
speaks= "It's " & hour(time) & " hours"
set speech = CreateObject("sapi.spvoice")
speech.Speak speaks

Spending so much time in PowerShell now I wanted to solve this same issue there.  Again some looking around and digging in to the C# library SpeechSynthesizer I have a solution.  This too will run from a scheduled task.  The only part I have not been able to figure out is how to keep the cmd box to show when it runs.  The below code is saved in a sayhour.ps1 file and set up as a schedule task to to run at the top of the hour.

# Say the following hour
Add-Type -AssemblyName System.speech
$speech = New-Object System.Speech.Synthesis.SpeechSynthesizer
$speech.Speak("It's $((Get-Date).hour) hours")
I know have my machine at work saying the hour at the top of the hour.  I quite like it.


So recently I purchased my first Mac. After 30+ years of using Microsoft OS’s for the majority of my work I have gone to the other side and purchased a MacBook Pro.  It is a great computer, something I may go into with another post.  There are UI elements I miss from Windows, some I have found ways to do in iOS and other I have been not so lucky.

One feature I use constantly on my Windows machines which is missing on the MacBook is to right click on a file and choose Notepad++ (or Atom, etc.) to open that file.  This is regardless of the file type, I am not referring to file associations to applications here.

PC right-click

Not having this functionality while working on my Mac really slows me down at times.  I needed a solution and found one, and would like to share it with you now.

The solution uses an application called Automator.  Automator was already installed on my machine, I don’t know if it standard or not.  Now that I have done it, the process is quite simple (there is a reference image at the end of the post):

  1. Open Automator
  2. Create a new document of type System
  3. In Library select Files & Folders
    1. This will open options in the next pane
  4. In the next pain select Open Finder Items then drag this into the workflow pane
  5. Within the item you just dragged in is a dropdown labeled: Open With:
    1. Select the application you want to open the folder or file with.  I have selected Atom.
  6. At the top of the workflow pane are two dropdown selectors.
    1. The first selector choose, files or folders
    2. The second selector choose, Finder
    3. So it should read, “Service receives selected files or folders in finder
  7. Save the document with the name that you want displayed in the right-click (secondary) menu
    1. I used “Open with Atom

That is all there is to it. If you open Finder and right-click on a file or folder you will see the option Open with Atom (or whatever you decide to call it).

Mac - Open in Atom






Setup in Automator:


Heavenly Father, Divine Goalie, we come before You this evening to seek Your blessing. . . ..Keep us free from actions that would put us in the Sin Bin of Hell. . . .Help us to stay within the blue line of Your commandments and the red line of Your grace. Protect us from being injured by the buck of pride. May we ever be delivered from the high stick of dishonesty. May the wings of Your angels play at the right and left of our teammates. May You always be the divine Center of our team, and when our summons comes for eternal retirement to the heavenly grandstand, may we find You ready to give us the everlasting bonus of a permanent seat in Your coliseum. Finally, grant us the courage to skate without tripping, to run without icing, and to score the goal that really counts–the one that makes each of us a winner, a champion, and All-Star in the hectic Hockey Game of Life. Amen

— Charles S. Prebish

My late brother had this on his cork board for years.  I was cleaning out the garage this weekend and came across it (along with a picture of a young Denny Savard).  The paper it was on is getting warn so I retyped it into Google Docs.  I then decided to look it up to see where it came from .  It seems it was written by Charles S. Prebish who is Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at the Pennsylvania State University, where he served on the faculty from 1971 until 2006. He is also Charles Redd Chair in Religious Studies Emeritus at Utah State University, where he served from January 2007 until December 2010 (

I found what may have been the original writing of this here [].

I wish my brother was here now.  It has been so many years.

Business Projects
IT Operations Projects
Unplanned Work

From “The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win”

A book I have read twice now.

It’s that last one that kills you.

Because I tire of looking up each time when I need to send a test message, I am adding this here for a quick reference.


telnet servername 25

helo somename




subject:your subject information here

Body stuff goes here and here and here, etcetera, etcetera…



Of course now that I think about it, will have to look this up as well, Google is probably faster.  :)

If you reading this is not me, then you probably got here from Google yourself.

A tall high-five to the employees at Double Fine.  That cool indie game company out of San Francisco headed up by the legendary Tim Schafer.  Why? do you ask. Well let me tell you.  


My eldest son just finished the sixth grade where he was in the gifted program.  This year his teacher decided to try the Genius Hour program in her classroom.   Genius hour is a movement that allows students to explore their own passions and encourages creativity in the classroom.  It provides students a choice in what they learn during a set period of time during school. The teacher planed to have a few Genius Hours throughout the year.  The first two Genius hours the students may pick any subject that they don’t already know about.  The third Genius hour the students needed to pick a future career.  After the students learn about their subject they put together a report and short presentation to explain what they learned, etc. to the rest of the class.

Genius Hour Logo

For his first Genius Hour he chose ink as a subject to learn about.  He never really said why, “just because I was interested in it”, he would say.  Okay, cool.  He sure has brought up some interesting ink facts over the last few months I must admit.  I never did see his presentation, but I believe he received a perfect score.

His second Genius Hour was on building games in Unity3d.  He went through one of their tutorials to build a top-down space shooter game.  This was followed by a presentation of what he did and what he learned. One conclusion of his project he discovered he prefers is creating content and story-lines over hacking on code.

Space shooter imageIt’s his third Genius hour, future career, that I am writing about here.  The teacher had the students research the chosen career and interview someone in that field. My son chose, “Senior Developer at an Indie Game Company.”  As a programmer myself, this sounded interesting.  And who wouldn’t want to create games for a living? I know I would love to! It seems natural that he would pick game development of some type. Since he was very young, at least three, he would make up games all the time to play with people.  His Grandmother Debbie played these games with him the most.  She would say they are really creative, though, of course, skewed for him to win.  ;)  He has continued to create games with parents, friends, neighborhood kids, etc. and they are much more fair now (so we think… j/k).

As time went on an his deadline came closer I kept asking him how things are going.  He usually responded that he was researching about the job but had not found anyone to interview.   I thought he may be able to interview me, though honestly I am, at best, an aspiring game developer.  I thought of a few friends at work, but they didn’t fit well either.  Until one day I thought of Double Fine. Oh that would be perfect!

I first heard of Double Fine through their Kickstarter, “Double Fine Adventure“.  I have always loved Tim DoubleFine logoSchafer’s games and the fact he wanted to raise money to build one without the bureaucracy and bullshit of production companies. I’m all for it, sign me up!  On top of that they planned on filming the making of the game and provide that movie to backers.  When I saw this, I had to have a copy of the movie. Mostly because I hoped it could give an inside view for my son on what goes in to these computer games he loves to play and design.

So my next question was, how to contact them?  I started with the basics, the about/contact page on their website.  I found a general email address and started crafting an email.  It was a horribly written email, I have no idea what I was smoking at the time. My wife still loves to rib me about my appalling use of the English language.  Though this didn’t matter.  I sent the email on Friday, April 25th at 17:32 Central Time.  I didn’t expect to here back from anyone until the following week.  By 18:02 that same day I received a response which started out with:

“I’ve forwarded your e-mail to the whole company and there are already a few that are more than happy to oblige. You should be getting a separate e-mail from one soon.”

What!? Are you kidding me? That is freak’n awesome!  I really didn’t think anyone would really be interested.  I was flat out wrong.  A few seconds later I received an email From Ben Burbank, a senior developer at Double Fine.  Him and another showed interest and agreed to an interview.  After a while there where a few more who were interested as well.  At this point I was kind of hoping to hear form Tim himself, though I knew that was a pretty tall order.  The overall response from the company’s employees was so warm.  They expressed so much interest in helping.  It was refreshing very appreciated.

I had my son plan out the time and interview with Ben and others.  He needs to learn these things, I got him the contact, he can run with it.  Which he did pretty well.

The day of the interview Ben and others spent close to one and one-half hours on Skype with my son.  That was so completely awesome.  I am so happy I reached out to Double Fine, the results turned out better than I had hoped.

My son finished his interview, wrote up his paper and completed his presentation all on time.  He “winged” the presentation, which I wasn’t too happy about.  Though he needs to learn in his own way.  His score reflected his input.

It is now a couple of weeks into Summer break and he has not stopped creating.  He put together a mod pack for Minecraft to design some mini games around. And just today, designed some floor game using dice and army men which he said he really liked the outcome of and plans on writing up rules/instructions.

Needless to say, but I will anyway, I am so proud of my son.

I have real simple advice for him, “Never stop being awesome.” Everything else will fall in to place.


To the great people of Double Fine:

Thank you so much for taking time out of your day, your life, to give a little of yourself for the benefit of my son. I really appreciate you. And hey, you never know, maybe one day he may be the Senior Developer in an Indie Game Company at your company.  :)

If you are every in the Chicago area, give me a call, I’ll buy you a drink.


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