Saturday, December 19, 2009

Charging & Tethering BlackBerry on Ubuntu 9.04

If you just want to charge your BlackBerry device, there is a stand-alone tool bcharge from the Barry stable. This application scans the USB bus for BlackBerry devices using libusb and sets the USB ports to which they are connected to output 500mA if they are not already doing so. This is installed alongwith Barry so no separate install or configuration is required.

For those interested in tethering their BlackBerry devices, check out the berry4all project which is a free open-source software for tethering a BlackBerry device on linux & mac. Install instructions for berry4all can be found here. The pre-requisites for this are that python, pppd, libusb and the python usb (pyusb) modules need to be installed.

Check out the specs & reviews of Blackberry Pearl 8100 on Amazon:

Sync BlackBerry on Ubuntu 9.04

One of the pitfalls of moving to Ubuntu 9.04 was that my BlackBerry Pearl stopped charging and synching with the computer. Here's how to resolve it ...

After a bit of googling, I stumbled upon the Barry Project which is an open source synchronization, backup, restore & management application for BB devices.

Install Barry
Open the Synaptics package manager & do a quick search for "barry".
Select & install the packages barrybackup-gui, opensync-plugin-barry, barry-util & libbarry0.
Now create a new launcher on the desktop and enter the command as "/usr/bin/barrybackup".

Configure Barry
Connect your BB phone to your laptop and fire up the luancher short-cut created above.
Barry will assign a unique device PIN number and ask you to configure this device.
Assign a meaningful name and configure what you want to Backup & Restore. I normally choose only the Address Book as that is the only thing that I use.
Another option it asks is to Prompt for label on every backup - use this option if you want to append a specific label to the name of the file Barry creates. Note that the file name already has the PIN, date & the time in it so I leave this unchecked.

Use Barry
Now go ahead and press the Backup button to backup whatever you had configured it to!
Also, once the data has been backed up, you can run the launcher to restore previously backed-up data or to backup data again.

Check out the specs & reviews of Blackberry Pearl 8100 on Amazon:

Sansa e250 on Jaunty Ubuntu 9.04

After installing Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope on my Dell Vostro 1000, I had never tried to connect my Rockbox -ed Sansa e250 to it. On connecting it to my laptop, the player would not get recognized and I was at a total loss as to what to do. Here's how I solved it ...

A search of the ubuntuforums quickly showed that I was not the first or the only one to face this problem. The culprit is the older version of glibphoto on Ubuntu 9.04!!!

The solution lies in removing all configuration for Sansa from the libgphoto config file:

su gedit /usr/share/hal/fdi/preprobe/10osvendor/20-libgphoto2.fdi

Feel free to substitue su with sudo/gksu/gksudo as you feel free as all them work the same in this case. You can also use vim/emacs or any other editor that you like instead of gedit.

and then restarting the hardware abstraction layer daemon - hal:

/etc/init.d/hal restart

Now if you plug-in your Sansa e250, it should work!!!
So it is working as of now - have tried it a couple of times. Lets see if this works out consistently!

Check out the specs & reviews of the Sansa e250 on Amazon:

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Where is a Website physically located?

We were discussing about how the physical location of a webserver impacts the access speeds for end-users.

During this discussion, I stumbled upon a very good site InfoSniper which gives a very good idea of the physical location of the website.

Here is the tool if you want to test ride it!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Adding Poll to a Blog Post

Was discussing about the most frequently used / favorite *nix and I thought of adding a Poll on this in a Blog post. Here's how to do this ...

I played around with the blogger menu's & settings, but there was no way I could add a poll to a blog post.

So I went the round about way of creating a Poll on the side menu and then putting that code into my post. Voila ! and it worked like a charm! Here are the steps in detail:

  1. In Blogger/Blogspot, Go to the Layout Tab
  2. Click on the "Add a Gadget" link in the right panel
  3. Click on the "Poll" gadget from the "Basic" list - this pops open a new window
  4. Enter the Poll Question and list of answers you expect people to choose from
  5. There are four options - you can remove as many as you don't want or add more too
  6. Select whether users can choose multiple answers - based on how you want your poll to be
  7. Select the end date & time for your poll
  8. Save the poll
  9. Click on the "View Blog" link at the top and then view the source
  10. Search for the question in your poll in the source - you will see an <iframe> tag near it
  11. Copy the full tag from <iframe> to </iframe>
  12. Now create the new post to which you want to add this poll to
  13. Go to the "Edit HTML" tab if not already in it
  14. Paste the copied tag inside the post in the location where you want this poll to appear
  15. Save & Publish this post
  16. Go back to Layout and remove this gadget

After this, your post & the poll inside it should still work perfectly!

Here are a few things that you can do with the iframe properties:
  • Adjust the value of the "height" property
  • Adjust the value of the "width" property of the "style" property
  • Set the value of the "scroll" property to "no" to remove scrollbar
  • Add "overflow:hidden" to the "style" property to remove the scrollbar

Your favorite *nix command

Was discussing a project related task with colleagues at one's desk and this brought out a very interesting trait of IT Professionals!

He had a terminal window open and to our surprise, he kept typing in "ls -ltr" even while discussing and talking.

This brought up an interesting characteristic of IT professionals who like to work with *nixes. Most of them have a favorite command that they just love to type on the terminal.

So, what is YOUR favorite *nix command - take the poll let me know!


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