Robocopy: Now Multi-Threaded!

OK, so I’m about two years too late with this, but yesterday I wanted to copy all 100+ GB of my music from my desktop computer to my netbook, and this came in really handy!

Robocopy is a command-line file copying tool from Microsoft that has been included with Windows since Windows Vista. Its name comes from “Robust File Copy”, and Robocopy offers a lot of features that are unavailable with most command-line file copy apps. For instance, you can have Robobopy include NTFS permissions on copied files, so if you need to move a file share from one server to another, you can use the /SEC switch to include all the appropriate permissions. And my favorite switch – /MIR – can create a mirror of a folder at another location, which is excellent for backups.

One of the longtime complaints about Robocopy was that it was single-threaded, meaning it would only copy one file at a time. However, the version of Robocopy shipped with Windows 7 is able to copy up to 128 files at a time using the /MT switch!

By default /MT generates 8 threads, but you can change this by adding the number of threads you want, such as /MT:6 for six threads or /MT:24 for 24 threads. As mentioned, the maximum you can do at one time is 128, so /MT:128 is the most you can do.

You might need to play with this to how many threads works best in your situation. I started copying my music with twenty threads, and my poor netbook just couldn’t keep up. In fact, file copying seemed slower with twenty threads than it did with one! So I reduced the threads to six, and it copied all my music in record time!

Sadly, unlike previous versions of Robocopy, the Windows 7 version doesn’t work on earlier versions of Windows, like Windows XP. So if you STILL haven’t upgraded, here’s one more reason to do so.

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2011-08-28

  • "Good morning!" i said to the blue and black lizard that lives on my deck. #
  • "Scrobbling" is the worst word ever invented. #
  • @MorganFogarty Did you feel the ground shake just now? Earthquake felt in Belmont, NC! #
  • RT @Andy_Richter: Got a massage with a "happy ending", which means they gave me a pizza and some car magazines and left me alone. #
  • If you have to ask, the answer's no: #
  • Apple says Steve Jobs resigning as CEO – #
  • I read the words "World Mode Code Division Multiple Access (Evolution-Data Optimized Revision A)" and my eyes glazed over. #
  • Thanks for getting "Rock You Like a Hurricane" stuck in my head, hunny! #

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Quote of the Day

“It sort of came at a bad time in my life, when I wasn’t feeling well and didn’t want to think about working. It’s hard to explain why you end up in Eragon and not GoodFellas.”

– John Malkovich,
on turning down the
role of Jimmy Conway

Starting Apps via Outlook

So my new Motorola Triumph phone has a nice big screen and rich sound via headphones. I used to use an Archos AV-420 to watch downloaded video, but when its AC adapter died, I switched over to using my iPod Nano to watch TV shows and movies. But while the Nano has a vibrant screen, it’s awfully small. And the iPod requires most videos to be converted to mp4 – a simple process using VidCoder, but an annoyance all the same. With the free MoboPlayer app for Android, I can watch those same video files on my phone – with its relatively giant screen – without conversion!

Here’s the thing, though: as of now I only have an 8GB memory card in my phone. With storing camera pictures and videos, apps, data and music for Spotify I only have around 4GB of free space on the card. This is plenty for the moment, as TV is mostly airing re-runs until after Labor Day.

One day soon I’ll upgrade the card to a 16GB model. But in the meantime I use HFS (a simple HTML-based file sharing app) to share my video folder on my local network. I watch a video on my phone, delete it, and then fire up the phone’s web browser to download a new TV show or movie to watch.

But the thing is, I’m lazy. I don’t want HFS running all the time on my computer, but I don’t want to go “all the way” upstairs or get out of bed to start it up as needed, either. And that’s where Outlook comes in.

There’s a little known feature in the rules section that allows you to start a program when an email arrives that meets certain criteria:


In my case, I set up a rule for Outlook to start HFS when it receives an email with the subject line “WH47H*QA-HFS” (not the actual text I use, but something similar). I then created this simple batch file which forces HFS to exit:

taskkill /f /im hfs.exe

I then set up another rule, which runs the batch file any time an email is received with the subject line “WH47H*QA-KILLHFS” (again, this is not the actual text I use, but it’s similar).

So now when I need to download a new video to my phone, I just use the Gmail client on my phone to send an email with the appropriate subject line to my POP account. True, I have to wait 4 minutes for Outlook to do a send\receive before starting HFS, but it’s a small price to pay for laziness. And you could use this method to start (or end) any number of tasks remotely.

Try it out for yourself and let me know what you use it for!

Knuffingen Airport

Ever heard of Knuffingen Airport? You probably haven’t, because depending on how you look at it, Knuffingen is either the world’s smallest airport… or it’s the world’s largest model airport. I can just hear my mom making a “more money than sense” comment, but this is just the most awesome thing ever:

If I’d had unlimited funds as a kid, I would have totally made this!

Although the video is embedded above, it’s really worth your time to watch it full screen in 1080p… seriously!

A Random Fact

More than a few American cities are situated in counties of the same name. For example, the City of New York is in the County of New York in the state of New York. Here’s a fun fact: the city of Montgomery, Alabama resides in Montgomery County, Alabama. But the city and the county are named for two different people!

The city of Montgomery is named for General Richard Montgomery, an Anglo-Irish army officer who switched from the British to American side in the Revolutionary War and was killed at the Battle of Quebec in 1775.

The county is named for Lemuel P. Montgomery, an attorney from Nashville who joined the militia during the War of 1812, was commissioned as a major in the 39th Infantry of the United States Army and was killed at The Battle of Horseshoe Bend in 1814. The battle took place around 40 miles from Montgomery.

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2011-08-21

  • It's Bo time! #
  • YES! TLC Cancels 'Kate Plus 8'!!! #
  • @wagnerofficial Wow: Thanks for spoiling it for those of us who are still a few episodes back! :p #
  • @wagnerofficial STOP IT WITH THE SPOILERS! #
  • My battery life multiplier: x1.80 with JuiceDefender #Android #
  • 'You Lie' Rep. was right: #
  • Christie to run in 2012? AWESOME! #
  • Ouch! Majority of Android OEMs lose Linux distribution rights – #
  • Biggest threat to the 3DS and PlayStation Vita? Your smartphone #
  • "Seriously, when the going gets tough, you don't want a criminal lawyer. You want a CRIMINAL lawyer. You know what I'm saying?" #
  • It's official – he's a bust! Steelers waive wide receiver Limas Sweed: #
  • Gerard Depardieu urinates in plane cabin after he's refused permission to go to toilet | Mail Online #
  • @1outside What's that food pic of? #
  • @1outside Well that just looks damn delcicous! #
  • Freakonomics » Reason No. 1,382,992 to Hate Politics #
  • @KymArmstrong What up, guuurrrrlll! 🙂 I didn't know you were on the Tweeter! #
  • Oh my! #
  • I'm Tweetdeck's bitch… #
  • OMG – he's dating a 22 year-old with a perfect rack? Yes, that's TERRIBLE honey. #
  • There's no other way to say it: Firefox for Android sucks. Badly. #
  • @BretEastonEllis How about BOTH of those songs suck? #electropop forever! #

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SONGS I LOVE: “The Painted Desert”

Such a pretty song… too bad it’s almost forgotten.

You met a new friend in the Canyon or so you wrote,
On a blanket in the cooling sand you and your friend agreed;
That the stars were so many there, they seemed to overlap.

The Painted Desert can wait till summer,
We’ve played this game of just imagine long enough, wait till summer.
When I am sure the rain has ended, the blooms have gone,
Everyone killed by the morning frost.

Was a cactus blooming there as you watched the native boy?
In a Flagstaff trailer court you wrote the line,
‘He kicked a tumbleweed and his mother called him home
Where the Arizona moon met the Arizona sun’.

I wanted to be there by May at the latest time,
Isn’t that the plan we had or have you changed your mind?
I haven’t read a word from you since Phoenix or Tucson,
April is over will you tell me how long before I can be there?


A Gmail (Droid) Tip

Many people have switched over to Google’s Gmail service. But there are millions of folks like me who still use POP accounts from web hosts or ISPs. And this presents a problem for people with Android phones: how to get that POP mail on your phone.

Let’s be honest: while the Gmail client for Android is pretty slick, the native email app kind of sucks. And while there are several worthy replacements (like K-9 Mail, for instance), it’s kind of silly to have to use two different email apps on your phone.

The obvious solution would be to have Gmail pull the email from your POP account(s). But this presents two problems.

For one, Gmail only pulls POP mail every so often, using a secret algorithm that’s roughly based on how many emails the POP account receives. So a POP account that gets hundreds of emails a day might get checked every 20 minutes or so, while an account that gets a handful of email a day might only get checked once a day (or less!). This is unacceptable, because an important email might sit in your POP account, unchecked, for a couple of days before it’s pulled down to your phone.

Secondly, Gmail can suddenly stop pulling emails from the account for no good reason. In fact, this happened to me just the other day. It suddenly dawned on me that I hadn’t seen any POP emails in my Gmail inbox for several days. I logged in to Gmail from a desktop computer, and low and behold, the POP account settings said: “last checked 4 days ago”.

Continue reading “A Gmail (Droid) Tip”