Short Opera Mini for iPhone Gallery

Opera Mini for the iPhone (also iPod touch and iPad) has already replaced Safari’s resting throne on my iPod touch shortly after it became available via the App Store early this morning.

Opera Mini's new home.

I was a little disappointed with Opera Link since it never actually synchronized my Bookmarks and my Speed Dial on Opera Mini isn’t configurable up to 12 (or even more or less than 9 for that matter). Aside from these relatively small problems, I’ve been very pleased with Opera Mini!

Probably the most important advantage for me in Opera Mini is the lightening fast back button (like in the Desktop browser). Pressing back in Safari forces a page reload which consumes a great deal of time if you use your mobile device for browsing a lot!

One thing I’m unclear on (and haven’t taken the time yet yo clarify) is the difference between a Bookmarked page and a Saved Page in Opera Mini. Saved Pages seem to load faster, which leads me to believe they may be stored locally for offline viewing, but I’m not completely sure just yet.

After installing Opera Mini, I took a few screenshots and thought I might share some of them below just to give some more exposure. Overall I’ve been rather impressed. Nice work and congratulations to the Opera Teams responsible!

Initial Welcome Page
Initial Welcome Page Scrolled Middle
Initial Welcome Page Scrolled End
Successfully Connected to Opera Link
View of My Blog: kyleabaker.com
My Opera Mini Speed Dial (only first 9 speed dial items though..of 12). Also, 99 open tabs. 😉
Fun testing tab limits (99 vertically).
Fun testing tab limits (99 horizontally).
Fun testing tab limits (100 tabs...blank).
Fun testing tab limits (100 vertically).
Fun testing tab limits (100 horizontally).
Configuration options with Saved Pages and Find in Page!

My Guide to Jailbreak the iPod Touch

I recently made a quick list of steps that I followed a while back to jailbreak my iPod Touch as I usually do to keep as a reminder guide in case I have to go back and do it again. You can use this on your iPod Touch and/or iPhone, however, the iPhone is a little more risky as you could potentially brick your device if you don’t create a proper restore point or backup prior to jailbreaking it.

I thought I would post it here so others can find it and use it as I most likely will again in the future. So…below is my “quick and simple” guide (copy/pasted from my bbPress forum post) as well as a few things you can do with your device after you’ve jailbroken it.

Index:
I… Preparation
II.. Jailbreak
III. Securing your jailbroken device
IV. Installing apps and customization
V.. iPod/iPhone with Ubuntu
VI. Previews of my iPod

Notes: It is no longer required to Jailbreak your iPod/iPhone in order to use it with Ubuntu. If you only wish to use your device in Ubuntu, simply follow the link in Step #10 and ignore the steps to Jailbreak your device.

Preparation
1. Update your iPod via iTunes to the latest firmware available.
2. Backup your iPod to allow future system restores (in case of an error).

Jailbreak – (more detailed guide)
3. Download “Blackra1n” http://www.blackra1n.com/
4. Open “Blackra1n” and click “make it ra1n”
5. Wait until you are prompted with a message similar to the following:
“Your jailbreak is done once the phone reboots.
If this was the simplest jailbreak ever, …”
6. Now simply wait for your device to reboot on its own. It can take a minute or two to reboot. (If you ever reboot or turn off your device in the future, you will simply need to connect it to a computer and click “make it ra1n” to reboot it after its been jailbroken. Also, iTunes must be installed for “Blackra1n” to work correctly.)

Installing apps and customization
7. Download the “Cydia” application from the new “Blackra1n” app that should now be on your device.
8. Download the following apps from Cydia (some require a reboot so don’t go too far from a computer…as noted above).
—1. Categories – This enables you to create folders on your springboard and better organize your icons.
—2. WinterBoard – This allows you to install (seperate) themes to further change the appearance of your springboard, unlock screen, icons and panels.
—3. MIM (Make It Mine) – This allows you to change the carrier name (iPod, iPhone or whatever it may be) to something more personalized. Mine is “kyPod”. You can also change the banner (where the time is usually displayed) to anything you’d like as well. I left my banner default (time).
—4. Install themes, navigate to the Winterboard app to find and activate them.

Securing your jailbroken device
As with any hack, there are risks. One of those risks is that your device can become infested with a few nasty viruses that have recently made news headlines. To avoid this, simply follow the steps to change your devices default SSH password. Steps are also provided in your Cydia application towards the bottom of the home screen labeled “Change Root Password”.

9.  Open the Cydia app. Scroll down to find the guide labeled “Change Root Password”. Scroll down to Step #4 in the Cydia guide labeled “Change the mobile Password”. If you connect to your device via a terminal window (Mac or Linux will work or you can download the “Terminal” application via Cydia and use it) you can connect via SSH using the “su root” as the root user and “alpine” as the default password. You want to change “alpine” to something different so the typical virus won’t have your default password. After logging in via root, type “passwd”. You will now need to enter your new password twice (it will not appear as you type it as a security measure). After you’ve entered your new password, exit the terminal…you’re done! You may also change your mobile password if you wish by starting the password change with “passwd mobile”. This may or may not be beneficial to you.

iPod/iPhone with Ubuntu
10. Following the directions that I discuss and point to at the following location:
https://www.kyleabaker.com/2010/01/17/ubuntu-ipod-touchiphone/
It is no longer required to Jailbreak your iPod/iPhone in order to use it with Ubuntu. If you only wish to use your device in Ubuntu, simply follow the above link and ignore the steps to Jailbreak your device.

Previews of my iPod

Ubuntu + iPod Touch/iPhone

Updated Information at End of Article

After spending a great deal of time researching Ubuntu and iPod Touch/iPhone sync issues, I’ve finally found a solution that isn’t a dreadful experience.

There is currently a project in the alpha/beta stages that, when completed, will provide sync support for the iPod Touch and iPhones that are using Firmware 3.

If you’re not using Firmware 3 on your iPod Touch or iPhone, then I’m not sure how much this guide will apply to you. You can try looking here for more information.

If you are using Firmware 3 (my iPod Touch is running OS 3.1.2), then I’d suggest you following the guide provided by A. Tres Finocchiaro (aka FatButtLarry) over on his blog.

Following his guide, which is comprised of two lines of terminal commands to copy-n-paste, I was able to have my iPod Touch sync’ing in no time!

While the transfer speed seems to be a bit slow, it is indeed working well! Cover art is transfered flawlessly, everything seems to be in order!

Remember that this project isn’t complete and you are likely to encounter bugs. My experience thus far has been positive, your mileage may vary. Good luck. 😉

Update (2010-02-24):
If you are using or plan to upgrade to Ubuntu 10.04, you will not need to manually install any of the software mentioned above. Ubuntu 10.04 brings support for the iPhone and iPod Touch by default. You should not have any problems with your device and Rhythmbox!

Screen Capture Tip: Use Jing!

I’ve been using this little screen capture tool for several weeks now with very positive results! Jing is available to Mac and Windows in both a Free form as well as a Pro (pay for) form.

jing1

Using Jing, you are able to quickly capture a screenshot of a specific window or a pesky little software bug in action, upload it to an online source and paste the link all within a matter of seconds!

If you can’t capture what you’re looking for in a simple image, you might like the option to capture a video of what you are doing on your desktop and share a link to that instead!

jing_header

To use Jing, you simply select it from the top of your screen (where it waits by default) and click capture. You’re then given a selection tool that allows you to pick to screen space that you want to capture….nothing more, nothing less. After selection the area that you want to capture, you simply specify if it’s for an image or for a video.

If you click image, you will have your capture almost immediately  and can pick where to store it! If you select video, you will have 3 seconds to prepare your cursor or anything else you need to do. After the count down, video recording begins. Simply click the stop button when you’re finished and pick a source to upload to!

One feature that I’ve only just started using is the FTP option to upload my captures to kyleabaker.com! Thus far, I’ve used Jing to capture tons of bugs that would have otherwise been nearly impossible to capture.

Aside from the slightly noticeable resource usage and slight hang when it’s first activated, Jing is an excellent tool that I would suggest to anyone who needs to capture a visual from your computer screen!

Install Boxee in Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty x86_64

After coming across details regarding Boxee and the extended number of sources that it can pull videos from, I just had to give it a test drive.

First of all, Boxee is a media player that is being developed for multiple platform use. It’s not restricted to videos and is able to stream music from Pandora as well as Last.fm.

One of the first things that I noticed upon registering for Boxee (which is free) was that it is currently only available for Mac and Ubuntu. A Windows version is in development, however, it’s not currently possible to get an install of the alpha/beta Windows builds.

To further disappoint me just a bit, I found that the installers for Ubuntu were for 32-bit machines only. fortunately there is that geeky thing you can do called “force-architecture” or “force-all”. 😛

boxee

After using my online best friend (Google) I was able to come across several guides for installing Boxee on Ubuntu 9.04 64-bit. Some of them were correct and some of them weren’t. Some of them were scattered and unorganized and…well…none of them were pathetically easy to follow.

That’s why you’re here. 😉

If you want to install Boxee on Ubuntu 32-bit, just follow the installation instructions provided after registering. If you’re installing in Ubuntu 64-bit (Jaunty Jackalope I might add) then please continue.

Installation

  1. Install “getlibs-all” by downloading it from here and double clicking to install or by copy/pasting the following terminal commands. (More details about getlibs here).
    wget http://frozenfox.freehostia.com/cappy/getlibs-all.deb
    sudo dpkg -i getlibs-all.deb
  2. wget http://apt.boxee.tv/dists/jaunty/main/binary-i386/Packages.gz
  3. zcat Packages.gz | grep Filename
  4. Make sure that the bold part in the following command matches the file name from the above command (ignoring the jaunty and intrepid folder differences).
    wget http://apt.boxee.tv/dists/intrepid/test/binary-i386/boxee-0.9.11.5777.deb
  5. sudo dpkg -i –force-all boxee-0.9.11.5777.deb
    sudo dpkg -i –force-architecture boxee-0.9.11.5777.deb
  6. The following command may take some time to complete, however, be patient and wait for getlibs to prompt you whether or not to install additional libraries to make Boxee work on your machine. Be sure to answer yes or y. 😉
    getlibs /opt/boxee/Boxee
  7. sudo apt-get install lib32nss-mdns

After being patient and completing these (honestly) few steps, you should be able to launch Boxee from the application menu and start enjoying some Internet videos!

For further reading or more detailed/technical instructions please see the source thread of this process.

Also, for the record, Netflix Watch Instantly does not work in Boxee for Ubuntu as far as I can tell (due to the lack of DRM support).

I hope I’ve been able to help in some way. Best of luck with Boxee!

Apple to Sell DRM-Free iTunes Music

itunes_iconAfter being rumored for over a year and highly anticipated by both Windows and Mac users, Apple is to finally drop DRM protection from the entire iTunes music catalogue. The entire music library is now available in the 256kbps AAC format which was previously known as iTunes Plus…until now.

In April, iTunes will introduce variable pricing among the entire music catalogue with song prices ranging from 69¢ to 99¢ and $1.29 depending on pricing arrangements made with record labels.

If you’re already sunk a fair amount of money in the iTunes store, Apple will allow you to upgrade your entire library to the DRM-free format – for 30¢ per song or 25% of the album price.

While that’s not quite the deal I was looking for, it is a nice alternative for keeping your expensive music collection portable! Those of you looking for a cheaper alternative might find this to be beneficial. Or this. 😉

My One Year Anniversary With Netflix

As you can tell from the goofy title, I’ve been with Netflix for one year now!

I must say that I’ve loved the service! I use the Watch Instantly feature daily and get two in the postal mail every 3-4 days!

I recommend it to all of my friends if you don’t have it already. If you’re even the slightest bit tech savvy then you’ll also find that it’s easy to stream movies from Watch Instantly to your television!

My laptop has an S-Video out and my television at home has an S-Video in. If you’re not sure what S-Video is then here’s an image.

s-video-port s-video-cable

The image on the left is the port that you should look for on your television and computer, while the image on the right is the cable that connects the two. You can click on the images to view a larger version.

The only problem that some of you may run into after getting the two connected is figuring out how to switch the computer view to an output source. I won’t go into too much detail on that since there will be far too many computers and layouts for me to cover, but simply put there is typically a button on your keyboard up on the top row that will toggle output sources. You may need to use a key combination such as the function key and the output source key which for me is Fn+F4.

I hope that helps and for those of you who suddenly realized the potential of Netflix (and other video sources such as Hulu), I hope your on your way to streaming more. 😉

My first real dabble in Mac OS X

I’ve been telling myself for a long time that I need to take some time to get comfortable on a Mac. I used a Mac a long time ago. You know, one of those old clam shell Macs..

clamshell_ibook_ad

.., but that was only for a short amount of time. It was running OS 9 and a bit slow, but it was a neat little computer. It would be cool to get it running again, but I’m sure it’s a bit behind the times these days.

Anyhoo, I’ve noticed that Ubuntu and OS X are a lot alike! Not that Gnome looks remotely similar to the Aqua OS X, but I’ve found that I knew my way around in OS X from all of the time that I’ve spent in Ubuntu from Feisty to Gutsy to Intrepid and now to Jaunty.

If I had to explain the differences between Mac OS X and Ubuntu then I would start by skipping the obvious…there is no dock by default in Ubuntu, however, it is possible to mimic the OS X dock and very easily.

Mac has a certain way of minimizing clutter in windows. I would say that Gnome is pretty good at the same, but not as intuitive with file browser views and scrolling options.

One of the biggest problems with Ubuntu, and Linux in general, is that most applications are not polished. Since most applications used in Linux are open source, the development can be slow (or sometimes fast, but rarely) and User Interfaces are not always almost never polished.

There are a couple of themes for Intrepid, one being Dust, that really improve the aesthetics in Ubuntu. If your interested in installing it, checkout this short list of things that I install each time I setup Ubuntu 8.10. You can copy and paste straight into the terminal to install the community themes then select it as usual. For an Opera skin to match the Dust theme in Ubuntu take a look at the two that I’ve developed (Dust in the names). They are Dusty Chrome and Opera Standard Dust.

One of the things I really love about the Mac OS X User Interface is the way the menus are displayed on the top panel instead of in each individual window. This makes each window get straight to the point of it’s being there and reduces clutter and messy appearances. It greatly simplifies every window and just makes things look that much more polished.

It is possible in Gnome to get the menu Items to appear in this fashion, but it is a great deal of trouble (or it was the last time I tried) and a nasty hack.

The icon sets alone in Mac OS X are worth bragging over. I’ve seen some good looking icons in Linux that some people like and some people don’t like, but for the most part I would say everyone likes the icons in OS X and that to me is hard work towards polishing the interface.

I think it will take me a little longer to get used to Mac OS X so I can be just as productive using a Mac as I can using Windows or Ubuntu, but now I know that I can get around pretty well. I think I’ll stick with my trusty installs of Ubuntu for now, but maybe one day I’ll be a Mac fan as well. 😉

Mac and Windows, Netflix and Silverlight

I’ve not been very pleased with Windows lately and have found that Ubuntu seems to have more to offer. However, after booting up in Windows Vista today for updates I wondered what the new Netflix Watch Instantly looked like and how well it worked.

After installing Silverlight it was time to check it out. If you want to use the silverlight version, which now supports Mac and Windows both, then you will have to opt-in here first.

I was surprised! The new player is great! I would even say it’s better than the old player. I just can’t wait until it’s supported in Linux.

Anyone have any opinions on the new player or Netflix Watch Instantly in general?

An auspicious day in the history of Steve Jobs.

I came across an interesting read today at Wired.com that was focused on Steve Jobs…just for the day.

Sept. 16, 1985: Jobs Quits Apple
Sept. 16, 1997: Jobs Rejoins Apple
Sept. 16: It’s an auspicious day in the history of Steve Jobs. It’s the day he quit Apple and the day he returned.

I wonder if we can expect Steve Jobs to leave the company again on Sept. 16, 2009 (a 12 year period equal to how long he quit the first time). Probably not. 😛 Anyways, this article has some other interesting facts about Steve Jobs and this particular topic.