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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Free: miniMIZE, lingro

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Offtopic: Yeah, no freebies yesterday. Didn't feel like it. :P

miniMIZE

miniMIZE captures all your minimized windows and displays tiny thumbnails of them on your desktop. Think of it as without the fancy animation, Thumbnail preview in Opera 9 or tab preview in Firefox 3. As miniMIZE sits in your system tray, it'll monitor for minimized programs and stick them onto your desktop, freeing up your taskbar. Double click on each thumbnail and the application pops back up in its original state.

miniMIZE in action Although miniMIZE can be customized to your liking, there were several quirks that I experienced. For example, if you press WIN+D (Show Desktop) or WIN+M (Minimize all windows) while an application is in focus, it'll not show up as a thumbnail. In fact, it'll just disappear into oblivion. Fortunately, Alt+Tab will bring the missing program back to life.

A workaround for this is to set a hotkey in miniMIZE to miniMIZE all your windows. You'll have to live without two windows shortcuts, but at least it works. I highly recommend assigning hotkeys for all three functions in miniMIZE as they'll come in handy.

miniMIZE runs only on Windows XP and is in beta.

lingro

lingro claims to be "The coolest dictionary known to hombre!" and I can't say I disagree with them. lingro is an open source dictionary that relies on the work of other dictionaries as well as its own user submitted definitions to provide translations for thousands of words.

Other than its , lingro also hosts what it calls a and a . Viewing websites through the web viewer will allow you to click on any word to retrieve its definition, while the file viewer allows you to upload files and do exactly the same thing.

Whether I'm using its web viewer or online dictionary, lingro is always fast and responsive. Its definitions are on par with competing closed source dictionaries and if you don't understand a word in the definition, just click on it twice to get its meaning. This can go on infinitely and before you know it, you end up learning about a ton of different words.

After my experience with lingro, I won't be surprised if lingro becomes the de facto online dictionary in time to come. In fact, I'm already wondering if someone has come up with a greasemonkey script or Firefox addon so that all web pages come lingrofied.


Check out the . :)

 

Just Out: iDemocracy 2.0.2

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Offtopic: There was no update yesterday since nothing much happened, despite official unlocked iPhones floating around Germany. Today, however, is much more eventful. The , which may lead to an unlock for 1.1.2 iPhones. That is something that hasn't occured yet, so for now, let's look at something concrete - iDemocracy 2.0.2.

iDemocracy 2.0.2

Drakenza has updated again and this time it should be easier to check for updates as comes with an update checker. The rest of the changes can be summarized by this statement from Drakenza or you can .

iDemocracy has been updated to 2.0.2, which features bugfixes for the infamous virginizer and anySIM 1.2 problems, as well as an important new feature: Check for Updates! Grab the patcher update now from the downloads section.


More were also implemented in this version. Two of them are really just aesthetics or easter eggs (Fake Update and Window Transitions), but the last one (Jailbreak/Re-Jail/Activate 1.0.2 iPhones) could be useful if you come across a 1.0.2 iPhone.

 

Friday, November 23, 2007

Howto: Installing Flash Without Actually Installing it

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These days, the is a plugin that you just can't live without. Whether you're watching cats talk on or wasting time on , Flash is required to save your ass from boredom.

But what if you're stuck on a limited (Windows) user account somewhere? You could download or to spare yourself the monstrosity that is Internet Explorer, but your limited privileges just won't allow you to sneak a Flash install past security. And without Flash, well, just thinking about that is depressing.

Look ma! Flash without admin privileges!

What Adobe neglected to tell you is that the nice little package you downloaded isn't necessary at all. Sure it makes everything foolproof and easy to manage, but what you don't know can kill you (imagine an hour without YouTube!). Don't bang your head on the keyboard yet, I'm here to save your day.

  1. The procedure for installing Flash with limited privileges is a simple affair. First you'll need a copy of Adobe Flash for Firefox/Netscape/Opera, which you can .

  2. Next, grab the and extract it to a folder.

  3. Run 7-Zip (double click 7-ZipPortable.exe) and browse to the folder where you saved the Flash executable in step 1.

  4. In 7-Zip, right-click on the Flash executable. A menu should popup. Select Open Inside by clicking on it.

  5. You should now see a few files and a folder. Copy out NPSWF32.dll and flashplayer.xpt by dragging and dropping them somewhere.

    1. If you use Portable Firefox, copy the 2 files in step 5 to C:\FirefoxPortable\Data\plugins. If you installed Portable Firefox in a different directory, browse to that folder and copy the 2 files into DRIVE:\DIR-YOU-INSTALLED-PORTABLE-FIREFOX\Data\plugins.

    2. For normal Firefox, those 2 files should go into C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\plugins. You know what to do if you installed into a different directory.

    3. For portable Opera, those 2 files should go into C:\opera9usben\program\plugins. You know what to do if you installed into a different directory.

    4. For normal Opera, those 2 files should go into C:\Program Files\Opera\program\plugins. You know what to do if you installed into a different directory.

  6. Profit!

If you're using Internet Explorer, you're SOL. :P Internet Explorer uses the Flash ActiveX control which requires administrative privileges (to register the file).

 

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Free: PipeBytes, Trust-No-Exe

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Offtopic: I've completed my new Blogger hack. I'm not sure if anyone's done it before since it's quite simple, but I'll guess I'll know when I post it. Oh and happy Thanksgiving if you celebrate it!

PipeBytes

PipeBytes Want a fuss-free way to share a couple of files with your not-so-computer-savvy friends and vice versa? Just stuff your internet pipes with . Whether you're the sender or receiver, with PipeBytes all you need is a browser and you're ready to begin transferring files to anyone in the world. As you upload your files, your friends can simply start downloading them from you without waiting for your upload to complete.

128kbps upload limit

Unfortunately, while PipeBytes is incredibly simple to use, it does have some severe limitations. The biggest drawback is the capping of the upload speed to 128kbps for free users. Transferring a 21MB file to myself took approximately 25 min, which is a bit too long for my liking.

Sending files above 5MB is probably out of the question with PipeBytes as it doesn't support resuming either. If you're hoping to send the same file to multiple users, you'll have to repeat the upload process for each user. PipeBytes is supported by advertising, but don't worry too much about that. You'll probably won't even notice the Google ads while you're enjoying the YouTube videos.

Pipebytes is great for the occasional file transfer, but for heavy duty file sharing, I suggest looking elsewhere for solutions.

Trust-No-Exe

Trust-No-Exe

Afraid that the family computer will be taken over by rogue malware this holiday season? You could setup limited user accounts for your family members or you could go one step further and install as well.

Trust-No-Exe options

Trust-No-Exe works by blocking every type of executable file, including .exe, .scr, .com, .dll and more, not on the access list from running. According to the site, Trust-No-Exe monitors if a file is loaded as a process or thread by the operating system, which means that a simple file rename will not be able to trick Trust-No-Exe.

When I gave Trust-No-Exe a test run, I noticed that even Administrators are not spared the "Access Denied" dialog box. This comes in handy if you accidentally execute a malicious file. (Yes, it happens to the best of us.) The access list in Trust-No-Exe works as a whitelist, while the deny list is a blacklist. This means every program not on the access list will be blocked from running, while those on the deny list will also trigger the warning.

Trust-No-Exe comes with features for easy deployment on multiple computers and the warning message can be also be customized. Trust-No-Exe runs on Windows NT/2000/XP.


Don't trust anyone, except... me. :P

 

Updates: iDemocracy, MoreAppSpace, Windows 1.1.2 Unlock Guide (Not for OTB iPhones)

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Offtopic: So the latest news is that Germany will see (preliminary injunction). Wonder if there are any German hackers in the iPhone Dev Team?

Here's . As I was typing this, it seems that some rich Netherlands dude just bought one of these unlocked German iPhones at 999 euros. Apparently, the official unlocking appears to be done via iTunes. More specifically, your Apple store account is tweaked by Apple and when you activate, you're home free. Read about it at or if you read (Dutch?), here's the original post: .

iDemocracy

Drakenza is working on

the iD2 tutorial guide, and a new website and domain name coming soon!


Coincidentally, Mark @ Hack the iPhone was about to work on an iDemocracy guide (he's already got a ).

MoreAppSpace

The iPhone Elite Team has written a new guide about "freeing up" application space on your iPhone titled . It involves moving your programs to another disk and creating a symlink (similar to a "we have moved" sign). This probably isn't new though, I recall seeing it on a few weeks ago.

Windows 1.1.2 Unlock Guide (Not for OTB iPhones)

Mark @ Hack the iPhone has finished . It's not any shorter than and requires about the same amount of effort and time (lots).

Just a quick note: He recommends using iWorld at the end to fix the crashing SMS/phone apps issue. Although this will fix the crashing issue, it appears that your caller ID won't work (I believe it'll show numbers). You would still need to in order to resolve this.

 

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Free: Speedtest - 10 fast fingers, Online .htaccess Editor

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Offtopic: is out for download. Looks like .

Speedtest - 10 fast fingers

10 fast fingers is an entire site dedicated to the art of . Touch typing, as you might expect, is the ability to type without looking at your keyboard and happens to be one of the skills that might shorten your workday significantly if you work around computers often. With that in mind, 10 fast fingers provides 10 lessons to sharpen and hone your typing skills (mistakes kill your typing speed).

Speedtest When you've completed your touch typing lessons, you could try out (and show off) your new skills with . Churn out as many words as you can within a 60 second time limit and be rewarded with your scores and overall rank.

You reached 256 points, so you achieved position 18153 on the ranking list


You type 331 characters per minute
You have 57 correct words and
you have 1 wrong words


Looking at my score, I'm about the same as an , with one big difference - I'm not a touch typist. :) I do have some touch typing background, but I find that I'd make less mistakes if I sneak a couple of glances at the keyboard every now and then. Maybe it's time to refresh my muscle memory. :)

Online .htaccess Editor

.htaccess Editor If you've got a server and run Apache on it (a high probability), chances are you've messed about with . Unless you happen to love the .htaccess file with a passion, you probably can't remember how the .htaccess works or what it contains. Even if all the different HTTP status codes are imprinted in your brain, can save you a whole lot of time and effort. By segregating the features into various categories, .htaccess Editor allows you to configure each one at a time so you're not overwhelmed by all the options available. When you're satisfied, copy and paste the resulting text into your .htaccess file and bookmark the site so you don't have to type it out the next time.


Gotta improve my typing skills!

 

Just out: IPtools, What Lockdownd is All About

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Offtopic: Another uneventful day. Wonder if geohot will be successful in dumping the UK bootloader anytime soon.

IPtools

The iPhone Elite Team has packaged the tools, , that they released yesterday into one downloadable package called . Meant to run on the iPhone, the tools require

1. The BSD Subsystem (patricularly tar and gzip)
2. A way to copy files to your phone
3. A way to run commands in a terminal on your phone


Get .

A detailed explanation of Lockdownd

An was posted on the iPhone Elite Team wiki. It's not necessary to read it, but if you do, you'll be able to learn about the different activation states, the circumvention of Apple's security logic, brick mode and more.

 

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Free: University Courses Online, CNET UK Internet TV, Uninstallers

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Offtopic: Working on a new Blogger hack soon. ;)

Free university courses online

Fancy taking a course at , or but don't want to fork out any cash? Now you can browse through any of their open courseware offerings available online for free! With a wide range of courses available and , it's your chance to get a tertiary education without actually attending classes. Although universities won't officially recognize your Physics knowledge gained through their online courses, keep in mind that (with a Physics degree).

[via ]

(If you remember seeing something like this, .)

CNET UK Internet TV

CNET TV The just launched and is getting pretty good feedback so far. Other than its slick and smooth interface, videos are of better quality and resolution than most Flash videos you see. Besides quality, there's also quantity. Despite its recent launch, it has already been populated with a decent selection of videos to watch, ranging from technology to music. And if you happen to have a widescreen monitor, you're in luck as all the videos are in widescreen format (I think :) ).

Just a tip: I've updated to include CNET's new site. :)

Uninstallers

Installing programs to uninstall programs. Kinda ironic, don't ya think? I, for one, have always relied on Windows Add/Remove to do the dirty work, but if that isn't powerful enough for you, . Read each of them carefully since some of them do not require installation or provide a standalone version. Personally, I'd go for the ones that need no installation since I'd like to avoid the situation of installing programs to uninstall the uninstaller. :)

 

Just out: iPatcher, bricktool

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Offtopic: Mark at Hack the iPhone informs us that They've also released a program called iWorld to fix the crashing phone/sms app issue. You can find iWorld in Installer under Tweaks (1.1.2).

iPatcher

The first of the iPhone Elite Team new releases of the day, ,

is a program that runs on MacOS X, Win32-Cygwin, and the iPhone.

It will automatically patch lockdownd to make the iPhone appear activated, regardless of the actual activation state. It has been designed to patch the following firmware versions:

-1.1.2 -1.1.1 -1.0.2 -1.0.1 -1.0.0 -As many alternate lockdownd patches as we could find.


Supposedly it's able to patch modified lockdownd files, but it's recommended to revert to the original version so that iPatcher will recognize it easily. If you plan to run it on Windows, needs to be installed first. Read more about .

bricktool

The second iPhone Elite Team release, , toggles the brick mode of your iPhone. Apparently when your iPhone stops working as a phone, the firmware may have enabled brick mode. Upon compiling bricktool, you can disable this brick mode. For more details, read about .

 

Monday, November 19, 2007

Free: Munseys, Wishlistr

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Offtopic: Of ebooks and wishes...

Munseys

Munseys The site formerly known as is back (was ). Reincarnated as , it proudly claims to have over 20,000 rare ebooks in 10 different file formats, from pure HTML to PDF to the Sony Reader ebook format. And that number is growing by 10+ ebooks per day. Although the books at Munseys are likely to be older than most readers, true book lovers will be delighted to see such a large number of (out-of-print) ebooks at their disposal.

Wishlistr

Wishlistr With holidays just around the corner, what better way to spread your wishes than with ? Add items to your own wishlist, style it up for the holiday mood and spam your friends, family or anyone else that might be buying you a gift. Armed with your online wishlist from Wishlistr, everyone will be wishing they didn't know what you wished for instead. :P

Wishlistr Santa


I wish I had an iPhone. :P

 

Just Out: iDemocracy 2.0.1 and Hidden Features, Updating to 1.1.2 OSX Unlock Guide

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iDemocracy 2.0.1

Due to several bugs in , Drakenza has updated .

Bugfixes:

1. No more incorrect symlink error messages for the Long Method.

2. Hacked out parts of the virginator.sh script to get around problems with input.

3. Changed virginizer password from "alpine" to "dottie" so that it's actually usable now.


Fortunately, doesn't require a complete re-download and is a lighter patch file at 1.2MB.

iDemocracy 2.0.1 Hidden Features

iDemocracy 2.0.1 comes with several hidden (read: experimental/unstable) features that can be enabled simply by editing a text file. to find out how to enable them and what they'll do.

Additional Countries for Phone+SMS Fix
Unpatch a Patched SpringBoard

Unpatch a Patched SpringBoard

Get Build and Version Information

Get Build and Version Information


Drakenza clearly states that these may not work and should only be done if you know what you're doing. But the last one listed, "Get Build and Version Information", shouldn't be too dangerous as it simply retrieves which version of iDemocracy you're running. :D

Updating to 1.1.2 OSX Unlock Guide

Over at Hack the iPhone, Mark has completed . It's a lengthy and very detailed guide, but like he says, 1.1.2 probably isn't worth the effort.

 

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Free: Clippy, Crayon Physics

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Offtopic: Hope you're enjoying your weekend. If not, maybe these will help. :)

Clippy

The ghost of is back to haunt you! Or someone you know. :P Remember when you trivialized/despised Clippy and his helpful tips? Well Clippy isn't pleased with the way you've been treating him all these years. Revenge is the only thing on Clippy's mind and he will not stop until he claims his next unsuspecting victim. :P

It's the ghost of Clippy!

If you're feeling really evil, run Clippy with this command - "clippy 1 random" - without quotes. He'll popup every second to irritate the person behind the chair. :) Note: Clippy is joke software and some antivirus software may flag him as a baddie, but he's pretty harmless. Clippy runs on Windows 95 onwards.

Crayon Physics

The objective of is to get the red ball to the yellow star. Sounds easy eh? Just wait till you see what's in store for you. ;) I personally spent 30 minutes completing it the first time. Yeah, I went back for a second time, because it's very addictive.

Crayon Physics

Crayon Physics is 5.6MB large and runs on Windows only. The author's working on a newer version called . It looks way cooler than the old version but its name doesn't sound very free.




Don't let Clippy find you. :)

 

Blogger Hack: BIcomments - Recent Blogger + IntenseDebate Comments

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Over the past few days, I've been working on a mashup of recent Blogger comments and comments. In case you're unfamiliar with IntenseDebate, it's a neat commenting system that you can install into your blog in a few simple steps. It comes with many features not found in Blogger, like threaded comments/reputation/comments export and import, and supports quite a number of blog platforms.

Unsurprisingly, it comes with a recent comments widget as well. The widget has a clean and neat design that compliments the IntenseDebate comments form. I almost installed it when I discovered there were several drawbacks with the IntenseDebate recent comments widget. The two most significant in my case are the use of javascript and the lack of Blogger comments.

IntenseDebate recent comments widget

IntenseDebate recent comments widget


For most users, the latest comments widget provided by IntenseDebate should suffice. However, I try to avoid using external javascripts whenever I can as I already have many widgets and scripts on this blog. In addition, I'd like to track comments for my other posts as well, which were made before I installed IntenseDebate. (IntenseDebate has an import tool to import older comments, but is currently in beta.)

BIcomments - Recent Blogger + IntenseDebate Comments

Hence I created using Yahoo Pipes. It takes both comment feeds, mixes them up a little and spits out a nice and proper feed so that you can use it in Blogger.

BIcomments

The features:

  • Shows latest comments from both Blogger and IntenseDebate. It can also be configured to display either Blogger or IntenseDebate comments.

  • Number of recent comments can be customized. Note that Blogger displays a maximum of 5 items in a feed.

  • Length of comments can be customized. If a comment exceeds your chosen length, an will be appended to the end of the comment. Note that three dots are actually appended instead of an actual ellipsis. :)

  • Returns a feed. In Blogger, a feed is dynamically included into your blog as HTML, so there's no client side processing.

  • CSS styling. As a feed in Blogger is essentially HTML, you can style your recent comments with CSS.

  • Profanity Filter. A portion of the profanity will be replaced with asterisks.

BIcomments Howto

The design of BIcomments makes it very flexible and user-friendly. New users will like its simplicity, while advanced users will be able to change and mold it to their liking.

Configuring BIcomments
  1. How many characters do you want the comments to be before they cut off? - quite self-explanatory. As I've mentioned, comments exceeding the length that you enter will be cut off and an ellipsis appended to the end of the comment.

  2. How many comments do you want listed? - again, self-explanatory. For Blogspot, 5 is the maximum that you should enter, since Blogspot will display no more than 5 comments.

  3. Enter your Blogger comments feed url - Leave this blank to show only IntenseDebate comments in your feed. Otherwise, stick your Blogger feed URL here.

  4. Enter your Intense Debate feed url - Leave this blank to show only Blogspot comments in your feed. Otherwise, stick your IntenseDebate feed URL here. You can find it in your Dashboard under the last 5 comments section.

Quick start for Blogspot Bloggers
  1. Login to Blogger and click the Layout link.

    Layout

  2. You should be in Page Elements now. Click Add a Page Element.

    Page element

  3. Look for Feed and click Add to Blog. A window should appear asking you for a Feed URL. This is what we'll be getting in the next few steps.

    Add feed

  4. Visit the page and configure it the way you like (as mentioned above in Configuring BIcomments).

  5. When you're done configuring your feed, run the pipe and look for more options (under Use this pipe). Click Get as RSS.

    Get as RSS

  6. Copy the URL of the RSS feed in your location bar and paste it into the Feed URL box in step 3. Click continue.

    Feed URL

  7. Configure the feed options and when you're ready, click Save Changes.

  8. Profit!

The result and some thoughts

For a preview of how it could look like on your blog, just take a look at it in my left sidebar. :) I did some minor transformations and spiced it up with CSS so yours might look quite different. :P

I'm quite satisfied with this mashup as it returns proper author, link, description and pubDate tags. (Thanks to IntenseDebate for adding the author tag upon my request!) The title tag is the only tag that requires an ugly hack, as Blogger returns truncated comments as the title (Grr...). (IntenseDebate returns author + post title.) A quick workaround was to extract it from a page URL. This is also the only reason why this is in beta. :)

Just a day after I wrote this, Yahoo Pipes that allowed me to extract the post title using a (fairly) complicated method I've worked out. Hence BIcomments is out of beta and in its first (and likely to be final) release. :)

If you've got any questions, comments or tips on how to magically insert actual post titles into BIcomments (the method I've come up with is complicated, troublesome and requires a lot of overhead), you're more than welcome to use the IntenseDebate comment form below. :)

 
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