Archive for February, 2012


Today I was trying to open a big .rar file when I ran into am unexpected “low disk space” warning.

What??!!?? Low space??? How the hell did I fill up all of my 200GB disk?!?!?

Further investigation led to this: there is a folder called winsxs inside the Windows directory that takes up a LOT of space (in my case it was about 12GB!). I never heard of it before, so I searched the web for more info about it, and this is what i found.

The Windows component store (C:\Windows\winsxs) directory is used during servicing operations within Windows installations. Servicing operations include, but are not limited to, Windows Update, Service Pack and hotfix installations). The component store contains all of the files needed for a Windows installation and any updates to those files are also held within the component store as they are installed.
Read the rest of the Microsoft Technet article here.

In other words, the ‘winsxs‘ folder is used to store all install and uninstall files, windows packages (not only the current version of a component, but also the previous ones) and out-of-band releases. Therefore you should expect it’s content to grow constantly through time.

But there’s something you can do to shrink it’s size and gain back some of your vital space.

If you like to work with the command line, and you have SP1 installed (required!!), you can run this command (in elevated/admin mode):

dism /online /cleanup-image /spsuperseded

In my case, it helped me reduce it from 12GB to 7GB!! Not bad, uh??

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My tracks on Soundcloud

It’s a few months I have been using Soundcloud to share my music tracks, but I found out just now that there’s an option that allows an easy integration of those tracks here on my blog (read more on this article).

So here is my latest track, it’s the Kyrie from the Missa for 4 Voices of the English composer William Byrd (1540-1623), recorded in multitrack in my home studio.

Enjoy! (And don’t forget to explore my other music on Soundcloud)

First of all, let me start by saying I am not a professional graphics editor or such, so this how-to might be total nonsense to a pro. But it works for my goals.

That being stated, let me show you how to create a fancy background using GIMP and some simple techniques.

1. Let’s start with an empty image. Since we’re going to have a filled background, I usually start with a white layer

File > New… > 800×400 (or whatever size you need)

2. Now we can start and fill the layer using the blend tool.

Tools > Drawing > Blend

Set the mode to “Difference“, choose a multicolored gradient (anyone you like, as long as it has more than 2 colors; I’m going to use the “Shadow 3” preset in this example), set any form you like (linear, radial or else) and start filling freely, changing directions each time. This is what I get after drawing about 10-15 gradient lines.

using only linear gradients

using just radial gradients

When you’re happy with the result, you can jump to the next step.

3. Turn everything to black and white using the Desaturate tool.

Colors > Desaturate

Choose the options that give you the result you prefer (I have been using the Lightness option)

desaturated image

4. Now you can apply a last finishing touch using the blend tool again. This time change the mode to “Soft light” and use a gradient with a combination of soft colors.

Check the examples below.

example 1

example 2

example 3

example 4