07 March 2011

Honoring the Last WWI Veteran, Frank Buckles

The last US veteran of WWI, Frank Buckles, has recently passed. He deserves special recognition for his participation in a war more devestating than anyone alive can imagine.

Please take a moment to complete the contact form on Speaker Boehner's website. Paste the text below into the comment box:

Speaker Boehner, Take a moment to acknowledge the special place in America that Frank Buckles holds. He is the last of a generation that suffered tremendously for the benefit of all Americans.

Please consider allowing Frank the position of honor he greatly deserves. As a veteran of two combat tours in Iraq, I feel how the nation treats him now represents the country's respect for all veterans.

Support any initiative that allows our nation to recognize and strengthen by letting him lie in honor in the US Capitol rotunda.

28 February 2011

IceWM Menu Settings

Are you using IceWM and looking to setup your Start menu? I discovered that this menu is actually the product of two separate config files.

The first is menu and the second is programs. Both should be located in ~/.icewm. If there's not one there look in /etc/X11/icewm. Copy the files you wish to modify from there into your home directory at ~/.icewm and then you can modify as you want. On my system, the syntax for the default programs looks a bit different than in menu, but I've successfully copied and pasted lines back and forth so the differences don't appear significant.

The menu file takes care of the top part if the Start menu. That's everything in the picture here between the Accessories folder and the GNOME Search Tool entry. The programs file is responsible for the part, labeled (obviously) Programs.

Look at the IceWM FAQ for more info on editing these menu files.

26 February 2011

Modest Spec Ubuntu Recovery USB

A while back I bought a 16gb Toshiba Flash Drive from Sam's. My intention is to build a light weight Ubuntu install on it to use for data/system recovery and just to figure out some of the more obscure command line tools. I installed a command line system on it just like it were the internal HDD and built up the system from there. I generally followed this tutorial. Modest Spec or Barebones Installation of Ubuntu.

I deviated down at the bottom and installed these packages to build the window environment. I had an ethernet connection at the time but wanted to finish it on wifi.
  • sudo aptitude install xorg xterm wdm icewm menu slim wicd-curses
After that was all installed I logged in with:
  • sudo slim
Then I opened a terminal (or switched to tty1) and started my wireless networking with:
  • wicd-curses
I am actually starting to prefer the ncurses based wicd over the gtk network manager Wicd. After all this is supposed to be lightweight and I didn't think the difference was necessary. I went to aptitude and began to install the rest of the packages I wanted. Everything went pretty smooth until it came time to setup the IceWM menu. I found some help on the Freenode IRC in the #puppylinux forum. Puppy uses IceWM. The #icewm channel doesn't really seem to have anyone in it. For anyone interested in looking through the list of binaries installed on my system check it out on Google Docs.

18 February 2011

Encryption Wizard

The Software Protection Initiative's Encryption Wizard, a project of the Air Force Research Laboratory is a easy, simple file and folder archive and encryption program.

From the Software Protection Initiative site:
Encryption Wizard is a simple, strong, Java file and folder encryptor for protection of sensitive information. Encryption Wizard encrypts all file types for data-at-rest and data-in-transit protection. Without installation or elevated privileges, it runs on Windows, Mac, Linux, Solaris, and other computers with Sun Java. Behind its simple drag-n-drop interface, EW offers 128-bit AES encryption, SHA-256 hashing, searchable metadata, archives, compression, secure deleting, and PKI/CAC/PIV support. Encryption Wizard is GOTS - Government invented, owned, and supported software.

Here's an easy way to set it up on Ubuntu so that it will launch from the menu.
  • Download the .zip file and extract it to a location of your choice. I put it in ~/.encwiz on my personal machine.
  • Install Java. I have the JDK, package sun-java6-jdk from the lucid-main repository. It will work with the standard JRE but I haven't tested it.
  • You can right-click on the .jar file you extracted, select "Properties" and the "Open With" tab. There, pick Java to get the file to open and run correctly. Otherwise it will open with the archive manager.
  • Open your Main Menu from the Settings > Preferences menu.
  • Create a new launcher in the location of your choice and pick "Application in Terminal" and name it what you like.
  • Enter the command:
gnome-terminal --geometry=60x14 --hide-menubar -t 'Encryption Wizard' -x java -jar /home/jcollierdavis/.encwiz/encrypt_wizard.jar
  • This will open a terminal window just big enough for the text inside it, with no menu, titled "Encryption Wizard" and execute the command to launch encryption wizard with Java.
When you click the launcher on your menu a terminal window will open and start the Encryption Wizard. When you're finished with the Wizard, closing either the terminal or the Wizard will close the other.

For some reason, this is the only way I could get it to work from the launcher. If you have a better method, please share.

09 February 2011

Request Vodafone waive all charges for Egyptian Customers

Take a moment to contact Vodafone.
Send them the message below:

Vodafone Executives:

I  not a Vodafone customer, nor do I even live in a country where Vodafone is a service provider.

I do however that the people of Egypt would greatly appreciate the removal of any calling charges occurring between the 25th of January and the 2d of Feb. 

When the Egyptian government turned off the internet, many people relied on their phones to communicate. Many international internet providers opened up dial-up modem lines free of charge specifically for Egyptians to continue communicating with the world. 

I think the tremendous gain in good will gained by Vodafone from the world would greatly outweigh any potential profit loss.

Please consider this request.  Many people will remember this kind gesture.

20 January 2011

Update: XDA-Developers TV

Well, it came down to me and four other videos instead of the ten original selections that made it into the second round.  I ended up in a solid fourth place and about 35 votes out of third.  The top three were selected.  Check out the winners.  They are all really good.

I'm still going to keep on with the Youtube channel. I'm going to add some additional topics too and not just stick straight to phones.

22 December 2010

Android Power Management Episode One

Just completed filming my pilot episode for xda-developers TV.  I did a show on some basic functions to get better battery life out of your Android phone.  I did quite a bit of research while working on this episode.  

If you want to look into it further, please check out byrong's thread: Your battery gauge is lying to you on the xda forums. He did some really good work looking into how batteries charge and how the phone reports the current battery status. 

Also please check out Battery Problem? by kthejoker20, also on xda forums. He details the method I've heard several places about resetting the battery gauge on your phone.  I don't know the entire spectrum of devices this trick will work on.  If you have some good feedback on this technique, please leave a comment.

I mentioned two widgets in the video, SwitchPro, and Power Control Plus.  Both are available in the market.  Use the QR codes below to find them.

This one is for SwitchPro:

This one is for Power Control Plus:

Here's another good thread, Tweaks for Superb Battery Life in EVO with most of the same information about battery life and somethings you can do to make the battery last a bit longer. egzthunder1 put that article together from a wide range of sources.  That info should be valid for most phones.

In the upcoming episodes, I'll look at some ways you can automate your battery saving efforts with some apps.  I'll look specifically at Tasker, which has a strong following and an amazing range of features beyond battery saving.  I'll also look at an app by Chainfire called Super Power.   Super Power has a range of features specifically oriented to save battery.  They go from fairly standard to complex and even take advantage of different functions only available on rooted phones.

Here is the QR for Super Power.

If you have any particular theories about extending your own battery life, leave them in the comments.