WM5 Tip – Backup your Voice Contacts

31 05 2007

If you’ve ever had to reflash your phone, restoring your contacts, e-mail and calendar is easy if you regularly sync between your computer and mobile device. I like to use the built in Cyberon Voice Commander (comes standard on most WM5 phones) to dial my contacts by speaking their name. Unfortunately ActiveSync does not back up the data file that contains all of those names you’ve recorded. Re-recording your contacts can be a real drag, but if you backup your Voice Commander file you might save yourself some major headache.

1. Fire up ActiveSync and locate \Windows\CommandModel1.bin

2. Save it on your hard-drive and if you ever need to restore your voice contacts, just drop the file back into \Windows\

Your voice contacts are associated with your Contacts List, so if you’ve deleted a contact your voice contact might still exist. It’s always a good practice to backup your data. If there is one thing I can’t stress enough its just that!

Enable Tracker Live Search in Ubuntu

30 05 2007

With the advent of Feisty Fawn, we now have Tracker which does a much better job of finding files than the standard GNOME search utility. One thing that bothered me about Tracker was that I was never able to get it to integrate with my trusty Deskbar applet – until now:

“sudo apt-get install libdeskbar-tracker”

Not only does it enable the Deskbar to search using Tracker, but it does a live update of the search results a-la Google Desktop Search.

GooSync – Wireless Calendar Syncing for Windows Mobile 5

30 05 2007

There is no excuse to use wires to sync your phone this day in age. Being mobile to me means to be completely wireless. Microsoft still hasn’t included an option in ActiveSync to synchronize over wi-fi. I’ve resorted to using GooSync to wirelessly synchronize my Google Calendar with Pocket Outlook. Here is how it works:


1. Get a Google Account

If you don’t have a Google account already sign up for one at http://www.gmail.com

2. Register for a free GooSync Account

Visit http://www.goosync.com and sign up for a free account. The advanced account lets you sync between multiple calendars, and allows you to sync up to 365 days in advance. One limitation of the free account is that you can only sync events that are 3 weeks in advance.

GooSync will require you to give them access to your calendar in order for you to be able to sync. Rest assured, they have a legitimate and fair privacy policy. You can unsubscribe from their service at any time. I did the first time I signed up because I was worried about my privacy. The folks at GooSync promptly terminated my account. At any time you can revoke GooSync’s access to your calendar by visiting http://www.google.com/accounts and changing your Authorized Websites preferences. After hearing about great service from a friend, I decided to sign back up and I have had no problems.

3. Install GooSync on your Phone
After successfully registering for GooSync, they will e-mail you link where you can download the application and install it on your phone

4. Run and Sync!

Just click the two-way arrow and syncing between your Google Calendar and your Pocket Outlook is a breeze.

The beauty of GooSync is that it supports two-way syncing. I can create a calendar item on the fly on my phone and have it automatically sync with my Google Calendar (vice-versa). This is a great alternative if you don’t want to pay for a push account, or are simply tired of having to bring out your USB cable just to sync.

Note: GooSync is not only for Windows Mobile devices. Symbian, PalmOS and other operating systems are supported as well. For the full list check out http://www.goosync.com/SupportedDevices.aspx

OpenDNS – Speedy Internet in Ubuntu

29 05 2007

OpenDNS has richly enhanced my internet experience. I have been using the service for about 6 months now and have always noticed a difference between page load times on networks using OpenDNS and networks using their ISP’s DNS. OpenDNS is great because it caches frequently visited websites more often and flat-out has a bigger cache than what your local ISP provides. The end result is a faster internet. Some additional features include spell-checking when you accidently type in “craigslist.og” and anti-phishing prevention. OpenDNS maintains PhishTank which is a blacklist of known phishing websites. Shortcuts is a great feature which allows me to type in “bball” to go directly to the Phoenix Suns homepage.


Here is how you can setup OpenDNS in Ubuntu:

  1. Run: sudo gedit /etc/dhcp3/dhclient.conf
  2. Change the prepend line to read: prepend domain-name-servers,;
  3. Run: sudo /etc/init.d/networking restart

What we just did here was prepended the OpenDNS addresses to the top of the DNS list. You don’t have to worry about the DHCP client overwriting settings on each reboot or lease cycle, and your ISP nameservers will still be used as backup.

The only issue I had with OpenDNS was that it would not work in locations that used their own DNS through a proxy. For example, I wasn’t able to use OpenDNS at the local Starbucks which used T-Mobile HotSpot to connect to the internet. This is due to the fact T-Mobile forces you to use their own DNS. There is nothing OpenDNS can really do about that – but overall my OpenDNS experience has been great and the internet keeps on blazing.

Customize Compiz with GL Desktop

28 05 2007

Feisty Fawn doesn’t really give you any options when it comes to customizing how you want Compiz to work. You get fading, and wobbly windows, but there is so much more you can tweak. GL Desktop is a configuration manager for Compiz that unleashes a lot more functionality. Think of it as a Beryl-Manager for you Beryl folks. You can choose between a rotating cube, or sliding planes when you switch between workspaces, enable mouse-driven zooming, make your desktop rain, and perform desktop annotations just to name a few options.


GL-Desktop is in the universal repository so installation is as easy as:

“sudo apt-get install gnome-compiz-manager”

Once installed it should appear under System > Preferences > GL Desktop

Democracy TV – Tivo for the Internet

27 05 2007

I spent my weekend watching tv shows on my computer using Democracy TV. I’ll cut down to the chase – Democracy is an open-source media player that allows you to subscribe to internet videos via RSS. This is great because now all of the videos you find on the internet can be viewed like an actual television set. Instead of clicking on links and watching videos, why not switch between channels (feeds) and use the same principle that made the television so popular? Setting up Democracy to watch your favorite shows is as simple as 1-2-3.

1. Add the Democracy repository to your sources list and install:

deb http://ftp.osuosl.org/pub/pculture.org/democracy/linux/repositories/ubuntu edgy/o

2. Choose a show from tvRSS

Visit tvRSS and select a show that you want to subscribe to. Copy the RSS feed to your clipboard

3. Add RSS as a Channel

Copy the RSS feed for the show you selected into the Channel guide and start watching your favorite shows!

tvRSS is basically an RSS feed of tv shows that are available on the internet. Sort of like a tv guide for the internet. Democracy will go through your feed and download the tv shows via bit-torrent so that you can watch the shows at a later time. Sounds like Tivo for the internet no? Please excuse me while I finish watching the rest of The Office.


Note : The download link is a tarball which needs to be compiled from source. Democracy is also updated on a regular basis, so it would be best to follow the steps mentioned in this post to install the software.

Frostwire – Best P2P Client for Linux

26 05 2007

I previously wrote about Deluge being the best bit-torrent client, but for searching for individual media Frostwire suits my needs. Frostwire is an open source P2P client that resembles the populare Limewire with one catch – NO SPYWARE. aMule or GTK Gnutella didn’t fit the bill because it wasn’t as reliable as Frostwire. This is due to the fact Frostwire is connecting to the same network as Limewire which I found to be better.

The Frostwire team has released a Debian package for us Ubuntu users, so install away!



Enabling A2DP on Windows Mobile 5 Phones

25 05 2007

This post is now available at my new blog The IT Report:


What To Do When You Can No Longer Start Ubuntu

24 05 2007

Lets face it, if you like to edit system configuration files keeping your sudo finger happy – you just might screw up your operating system. Before you go reformatting your drive just remember not all hope is lost. In fact its really easy to get your system back in action with Linux.

Option 1 – Reinstall the Ubuntu Desktop

The ubuntu-desktop is a metapackage that links together a lot of core applications in Ubuntu. If you reinstall it, the system will add all of the original software and packages that were bundled when you first installed it.

“sudo apt-get –reinstall ubuntu-desktop”

Once this is complete, your system should be good to go! In most cases, this will do the trick. If this does not fix the problem, you could have an issue with your desktop manager….

Option 2 – Purge GNOME (or KDE, XFCE, etc.)

One time I could no longer boot into my window manager. All I had was my trusty shell and an internet connection – and thats all I needed. If you have somehow messed up your desktop manager such as GNOME, re-installing it might not work because a lot of settings are still present. Even if you did a remove and then a clean install of the package you may have some lingering config files around.

“sudo apt-get –purge gnome”

“sudo apt-get install gnome”

If you perform a purge all settings WILL be removed cleanly. After that, do an install and you should be set! Try this in conjunction with an ubuntu-desktop reinstall if the problem isn’t solely GNOME.

These two options have saved me a lot of headache. Fortunately I haven’t witnessed any problems more serious than these cases. If I ever have a more severe problem and manage to fix it, I’ll be sure to update this post!

Deluge – Best BitTorrent Client for Linux

23 05 2007

This post is now available on my new blog The IT Report: