Tech Review

4th October
2011
written by admin
Thunderbold

Thunderbolt

Last Week finally my long awaited Thunderbolt monitor has arrived. It is breeze to setup like any other Apple product. I use the USB ports that the monitor has in the back and hooked up my back up drive, headset one thing i did not like is there is no “safe undock”. My backup drive is a 2 TB that i have set up for Time machine and every time i undock the Mac complaints about unsafe ejecting of the drive. If you know me i hate when people yank devices out without gracefully ejecting the device. So needless to say the “unsafe ejecting” message was bothering upon searching for a solution i found this little apple script that does the job really well (thanks to Shawn at Chompingatbits.com). This is a simple script that basically sends message to the machine to eject all attached drive now my system is ready to undock. I save the script as a little “Undock.app” and launch it every time i am ready to undock. Here is the process:

  1. Open “AppleScript Editor.app” found in the Applications -> Utilities folder
  2. Paste the following code into “Untitled” applescript window:
  3. tell the application "Finder"
    	eject (every disk whose ejectable is true)
    end tell
  4. Go to File -> Save. Name the file “Undock” and choose “Application” as the file format. You can now run this from Spotlight or create a shortcut in your dock if you prefer; just as with any other application. Your external drives will be ejected after running this script.

 

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3rd March
2011
written by admin

Couple of weeks back @nedkumar came up to me asking for how i archive my tweet stream. While i was answering his question i realized i dont have good archival method. I use a combination of Instapaper, Evernote (love it!!), tweet favs and once in a month tweetbackup. Then i realized there should be a way where i can automate this process and not have to give away my data to others (like tweetbackup). So over the weekend i explored. WordPress is a very easy for me to setup and fairly comfortable playing with to make it do what i might need. I also knew that i can get RSS for tweet searches and user profiles given these two i started playing around. Quickly i bumped into twitter tools, it communicates to twitter fairly straight forward and then you have an option to make every tweet of yours as a new blog post. On further looking i found this awesome instructions from Mike Bogle. He uses mainly FeedWordPress to do the job.

After couple of hours of tweaking and tuning up my twitter archive is humming along well. I archive my most watched hashtags, my stream (including mentions, RTs) and my esteemed friend @mrch0mp3rs “Beard Trust” list. Twitter doesn’t give you rss for lists, i used http://twiterlist2rss.appspot.com/ to get the feed. Over the next few days i will continue to organize and build the site with more content.

Friends if you want me to archive your stream let me know i will more than happy to do or teach you how to do it :).

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23rd December
2009
written by admin

After a very long time it was nice to do some real geekery stuff. I recently got a MBP, i was on PC for the last two years at work. I started porting all my PC stuff to mac everything was going smooth until i was at a point of transferring all my old email from Outlook 2007 to Entourage 8. I started this project 2pm this afternoon and after 5 hours of struggle finally managed to do it all.

For those who have been this path before you would understand what i am talking about. There are few commercial tools for price that “claim” to do the job but there were also all sorts of errors that people reported. This is when the geek in me raises and said WTF its just data that need to be ported from one app to another app. Upon some serious search i found two libraries libpff and libpst these are opensource linux packages that convert any pff files and pst files to mbox exactly what i need. All is well so far, but here is where the real trouble beings. These packages need to be complied, configured and make files are to be run. So i have here summarized the steps. PLEASE FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS TO THE DOT. I have done this on MBP running Snow Leaport (10.6.2).

0. Check if you have gcc installed by opening Terminal and typing “which gcc” at the command prompt. It should return “/usr/bin/gcc” or another path where gcc is installed. If there is no response (as in Snow Leopard) that means gcc needs to be installed. Insert the Snow Leopard CD. Enter the “Optional Installs” folder. Run Xcode.mpkg. This should install gcc. Once the install is complete check again by running the command “which gcc” at the command prompt. Alternatively you can download xcode from ADC. You need to be a member to download. Don’t worry its a free to signup. I have downloaded mine here, http://developer.apple.com/tools/xcode/

1. Download libpst source from http://www.five-ten-sg.com/libpst/packages/ (I downloaded libpst-0.6.45.tar.gz which was the latest version). It should automatically unzip in the folder you downloaded it into. Remember this directory path for later.

2. In order to install libpst you also need to install “boost”. Download the latest source from the boost site here http://sourceforge.net/projects/boost/files/boost/ and download the latest version (mine was 1.41.0).

3. Open Terminal and ‘su’ as root (you can also use sudo for each command from here on but su is easier in my mind. If you do not have a root account setup on you mac then google for the steps to activate it.) and “cd” to “/usr/local/” and run this command at the command prompt
“tar –bzip2 -xf /your/download/directory/boost_X_XX_X.tar.bz2” (where X_XX_X represents the release number).

4. Once that is complete you will see a directory now under “/usr/local/” called “boost_X_XX_X”. “cd” into this directory.

5. At the command prompt type “./bootstrap.sh –prefix=/usr/local/”. This will take a few mins to run.

6. Once that is done at the command prompt type “./bjam install”. This will take a while to run – 15 to 30 mins. Get a cup of coffee. Note: you will see some deprecated errors. Dont worry the package will be installed.

7. At this point boost is installed. “cd” to the directory where you downloaded libpst-X.X.XX (Step 1).

8. Type “./configure” at the command prompt. Once that is done type “make” at the command prompt. And once that is complete finish with “make install”.

9. You have now successfully installed libpst. You should find libpst, readpst and pst2ldif under “/usr/local/bin” directory.

10. Run this command at the command prompt in the directory you want the “mbox” created “readpst -r /path/to/the/pst/files/yourfile.pst” and you have successfully converted pst files to mbox. Piece of cake!. If you want to know the complete usage of readpst, here it is http://www.five-ten-sg.com/libpst/rn01re01.html

You need to be well experienced working within terminal. Here are some tips for novice terminal users:

1. How to turn on the root account?
If you are in the admin account you should be able to change the root password. Just type “psswd root”

2. How to see hidden files in finder?
By default Mac OS shows only those files that are needed by user. But if you are familiar in Linux environments seeing all files is helpful. The only reason to hide files is to protect users from deleting important stuff. Type this in terminal “defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles YES” and restart Finder. You can restart Finder by hold down the Option key, then click and hold on the Finder icon in the Dock.

Hope you find these tips helpful. Save the money by not buying those COTS stuff, be bold and try this solution.

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19th February
2009
written by admin

I first joined Twitter, http://twitter.com on Mar 18th, 2008. As always it was my curiousity to use new tools made me jump on this. But honestly i haven’t been really using until late 2008 when i realised the potential of this simple tool.

What is Twitter?
This is nothing but a simple way of updating what you are doing, where you are and anything that you want to say in a short message (140 char). It started off as an alternate to SMS.

Ever since its launch it picked up as a wild fire and was soon in the top 10 web apps in 2008. Today twitter is so popular that it is not limited to individuals but corporations have found a use for it. Beauty of this system is how it is becoming available where ever you are. Twitter on your phone, twitter apps on your computer, smart phone, on Social Media site you name it. There is always a way to use this nifty little tool. Recently twitter got more funds to continue their excellent work. Kudos to the twitter team and for all you twiple have a great twirrific day.

Follow my twitter @ssusarla. Send me a DM if you need more info.

Some useful tips on Twitter:
Top 10 Twitter Tips for beginners, http://tinyurl.com/ddo3wn
Six ways to use Twitter, http://tinyurl.com/cowjc9

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14th July
2008
written by admin

While i was during my daily cruise in a pursuit to satisfy my tech info hunger i bumped into Jott.com. Its a personal assistant program that will let you jott down quick items from different interfaces. You can do it from your phone by leaving a voice note that will be send to you as an email, via online through their website and get a text msg, etc. So my technology curious brain couldn’t stop taking the application for a spin and so i did. Being a blackberry user i digged the site a little more and found a BB app that will let me reply email by letting me speak. The reply will be recorded and will be sent as a voice note to the recipient. It has the regular functionalities of “Reply-TO” and “Reply-ALL”. The app works as mentioned on the site. Further exploration of Jott.com i found something really interesting this is what hit the spot for me..Using Jott to communicate to other web applications like “Twitter”. That was cool…i am seeing this as a start of a trend in Mobile application word. This is the intersection of mobile apps using the native voice functionality of the phone.

Those who has used any mobile/smartphone applications before would have wondered why doesnt this application take my voice commands from phone. If the wave is big and users get on this..its only a matter of time when there is a plugin for social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace or Orkut to have a voice enabled system to update your status write on your wall or send notes/messages to your friends. Anycase those are my two cents about Jott app. Feel free to leave a comment or contact me if you want to take this talk offline.

Peace!!

For further information on Jott visiting http://www.jott.com

9th July
2008
written by admin

Google presents again another cool tool Google “Lively”. Google has launched a Windows-only, in-browser (you need to install a client first, though) 3D avatar world — Lively — that you can embed in websites and use to interact with other people. It’s not as expansive as Second Life yet but expect things to get better. Sure will get better afterall its from Google right!!!. For those who wants to live the bleeding edge here(http://www.lively.com/) is where you can download i have my copy and in middle of creating my meeting space as i am typing this announcement.

5th June
2008
written by admin

I am terrible in listening to my voicemails and always wanted a functionality where a service could just convert into text or at the least just send me an email with my voicemail as attachment. There are many people out there who wouldn’t agree with this just press and hold one and listen to your goddam voicemails..well its be invidual preference. I live and breathe on email/browser and would like everything served there. So when i saw this article from CNet this morning i did not wait a second to register for the service. YouMail, a free visual voice mail solution to organize cell phone messages like e-mail for online playback and response, announced on Thursday that customers can start viewing those same voice mail messages from their mobile phones.

2nd May
2008
written by admin

Research In Motion (RIM) has come up with yet another model of its Blackberry. A clampshell smartphone called as “Kickstart” that looks very much like perl SureType keyboard, a text input and a trackball navigation. Along with this looks like it has the standard microUSB, 3.5mm headjack. Here is a sneak peack of the phone from thanks to “BoyGenius Report”.
Blackberry Kickstart

2nd March
2007
written by admin

I had these on pinned to my cubicle for a long time. Couple of years back i lost the list and almost forgot about these, the other day i bumped into the list and here it:

  1. That’s weird…
  2. It’s never done that before.
  3. It worked yesterday.
  4. How is that possible?
  5. It must be a hardware problem.
  6. What did you type in wrong to get it to crash?
  7. There is something funky in your data.
  8. I haven’t touched that module in weeks!
  9. You must have the wrong version.
  10. It’s just some unlucky coincidence.
  11. I can’t test everything!
  12. THIS can’t be the source of THAT.
  13. It works, but it hasn’t been tested.
  14. Somebody must have changed my code.
  15. Did you check for a virus on your system?
  16. Even though it doesn’t work, how does it feel?
  17. You can’t use that version on your system.
  18. Why do you want to do it that way?
  19. Where were you when the program blew up?
  20. It works on my machine