Google Maps update problems on Droid Froyo

drew 23 Jun , 2010 0 comments Android

I’ve been running and RC build of Android 2.2 aka Froyo on my Motorola Droid for a few weeks.  It’s great, overall, but there are still a few quirks.  One of the most noticeable issues is that Google Maps doesn’t like to update.

To manually fix Maps, modify /data/system/packages.xml, removing the section that starts with:

<shared-user name=”com.google.android.apps.maps”

After you’ve taken that out, reboot your phone and then install Maps from the Market. If you get a Login Failed message, join Latitude. It will prompt you to authorize the app. Do that, and then you can un-join Latitude by selecting Privacy options and opting out.

To modify Packages.xml, do this:

adb root
adb remount
adb pull /data/system/packages.xml (which will copy packages.xml to your working directory on your computer)
(edit packages.xml, which is now in your working directory, with a text editor, removing the section described above)
adb push packages.xml /data/system/packages.xml (which will push packages.xml to /data/system/ on your phone)
adb reboot

Then install Maps from the Market.

I recommend Notepad++ for editing the file. Regular Notepad loses the formatting of XML files and makes it more difficult to remove the entire section that you need.

How To: Schedule Winamp Recording

I like to listen to a weekly streaming radio show, but I’m usually not around to catch any or all of the stream.  I then need to scour the interwebz to find a ripped recording of the show, which is usually on Rapidshare/Megaupload/etc.  This method takes a while to find/download (that is, if it’s even available).  I decided I’d rather record the streams myself, but couldn’t find a simple method to do so through Winamp.  I discovered a method that works well and takes only a few minutes to configure.  Unfortunately I couldn’t find a GUI for setting up scheduled recordings, but with a few Scheduled Tasks set we can use a free utility called StreamRipper to record any streaming radio station that can be played through Winamp.

  1. Download Winamp, if you don’t already have it (I’m using version 5).
  2. Determine the URL of your streaming radio station.  In my case, it was http://listen.di.fm/public3/trance.pls.
  3. Download StreamRipper.
  4. Launch Winamp (which will also open StreamRipper) and set the StreamRipper settings (such as directory to save to, etc).
  5. Launch Windows Task Scheduler and create a basic task.  This will be to start the recording.
  6. In the newly created task, set the command to run to be StreamRipper.exe (in my case located at C:\Program Files (x86)\StreamRipper\streamripper.exe).  Set the arguments to be the URL of the stream you wish to record.  Set the start time to be whenever you’d like your recording to start.
  7. Set whatever other options for the task you’d like (I chose to run only if a user is logged on, that way I have the CMD window open to view the task.  I also chose to end the task after running for a certain amount of time, as a fail-safe in case the task doesn’t stop when it’s supposed to, that way my hard drive doesn’t get eaten up and create a 100GB mp3).
  8. Create another scheduled task.  This will be to stop the recording.
  9. On the second scheduled task, set the command to be taskkill.  Set the arguments to be “/f /im streamripper.exe” (without the quotes).  Set the task to run when you want your recording to end.  Again, set whatever other options you’d like for this scheduled task.  I chose to run this one regardless of whether a user is logged on or not.
  10. Test out your newly created task by manually invoking the first task.  Let it run for a few seconds (if you set it to run only when a user is logged on you should see a CMD window open that displays some text referring to your stream).  After that has run for 10 or 15 seconds, manually invoke the second task.  This should end the recording.  Then check the directory you set earlier (using the StreamRipper GUI) to view your recording.  If your recording is in there and you can delete it (meaning the file is not open and still being written to), then you’re all set!  If you cannot delete the file, then the second task probably did not work properly, as the file is likely still being written to.  If there is no file, double check that you have set the path to record to (in the StreamRipper GUI) and that your first scheduled task is configured properly.

That should be it!  If you have any questions, write me on Twitter by tweeting @agreenbhm .

The Motorola Droid is the bomb

drew 27 May , 2010 0 comments Android, Phones

I recently purchased a Motorola Droid smartphone.  I was looking forward to the Android operating system that it comes with and am very impressed with the amount of progress that has been made in the modding community.  There are tons of alternative firmwares available across the web that include tons of different enhanced features, including overclocking!  I’m currently running my Droid at 1Ghz (stock is 550Mhz)!

My only complaints about the device is the battery cover is not completely flush on the back (one side is raised just slightly).  I purchased a rubber gel case that should mask this issue, but Motorola is also giving away free replacement battery covers to anyone who requests one.  Mine is in the mail.  My other issue is with the hardware keyboard, which seems a bit shallow (I’m coming from a Blackberry Tour 9630).  The touchscreen takes a bit getting used to for typing (once again, since I’m coming from a Blackberry), but after a few days I’m fairly used to it.

On my phone I’m running Pete’s Bugless Beast v1.1 firmware (which was released today, and can be found at alldroid.org).  I had issues installing this via the update.zip method (renaming the ROM to “update.zip” and putting it at the root of my SD card).  I ended up purchasing ROM Manager (which includes a recovery manager allowing you to backup and restore your entire device, plus it allows you to easily download and install new ROMs).  SPRecovery is a free recovery manager, but with the extra features that ROM Manager had (mainly the ability to install Pete’s BB v1.1 in a method differently to the update.zip routine), I felt it was worth the $4 price.

To fully unlock the potential of your Android device, you need to “root” your phone (which is the same concept, essentially, to jailbreaking an iPhone).  To root my Droid, which came with the 2.1 firmware, and as of now, is not able to be rooted, I downgraded to 2.0.1 using the RSD Lite – spf downgrade method (search Google for it).  Then, I installed DroidMod Updater, which rooted my Droid and installed the DroidMod ROM.  I then installed ROM Manager, backed up the phone, then installed BB v1.1 and the baseband upgrade (which is for the cellular radio of the phone).

I’ve installed a bunch of different ROMs on my phone the past few days, but that is mainly due to learning about the different aspects of the device and the Android platform.  So far I’m happy with Pete’s Bugless Beast v1.1.

If you’re thinking about getting a Droid, I’d highly recommend it!

CA ITM (business antivirus/anti-malware) sucks!

Like the title says, CA Integrated Threat Management (aka CA ITM, eTrust ITM, etc) is god-awful!  We’ve been running it at my office for almost two years and I’m glad to say we are NOT renewing the subscription.  I can’t count how many infections I’ve removed from employee’s PCs that CA has missed but free programs (like Malwarebytes AntiMalware, SUPERAntispyware, and even ClamWin) have caught.  It’s just pathetic.  I feel compelled to let the world know how horrible this product is.

Ever since I’ve been in charge of the IT department at my office (approx. 4 months now), I’ve been patiently awaiting the day when we can ditch CA ITM for something, anything better.  I finally have that opportunity later this month, and as such, I’ve been working hard evaluating other antivirus solutions.  The top 3 I had to decide between were Sunbelt Vipre, Kaspersky Business, and NOD32 Business.  I ended up choosing NOD32.  I’ve been using NOD32 on my business PC for over a year now (since I didn’t trust CA), so between that, reviews, and the extensive real-world testing I conducted (by creating my own virus “zoo”, if you will), I feel comfortable that NOD32 will provide my company with sufficient protection (something they are NOT used to).

I just spent 4 hours (on Easter Sunday) removing a Vundo infection from a co-worker’s PC.  This is the last straw! Since our CA subscription expires in less than 60 days, and we’ve already purchased our NOD32 license (we got a great deal – 100 licenses, which work on servers or workstations, for 3 years, for $2420), I decided to remove CA and put NOD32 on this workstation as our first live test machine.

I didn’t get an opportunity to attempt to remove the infection with NOD32, however, since I wanted to clean the machine with MBAM, ComboFix and SUPERAntispyware first.  I took a screenshot of what SUPERAntispyware found, just for evidence that CA does NOT catch severe infections.

So with that, I warn you, please STAY AWAY from CA ITM!

VMware Server 2.x – a nightmare

drew 09 Mar , 2010 0 comments VMware

For the past year and a half we’ve been running one VMware product or another.  We started with VMware Workstation and Server, and while Workstation proved to be (and continues to be) an invaluable tool, Server just wasn’t cutting it.  I had used Server 1.x at home to host a few virtual servers without any issues for the better part of a year.  Server 2.x, however, which we used at the office, was a nightmare.  To those not too familiar with VMware’s products, Server is a Windows (or Linux) application hypervisor.  It is just like Microsoft Virtual Server.  You install Windows on the hardware, install VMware Server, then install virtual machines on top of VMware Server.  For a server with enough horsepower and that is not running any critical applications, installing VMware Server on top seems like a great way to break into the virtualization world.

Not so much, we found, with VMware Server 2.x.  The way virtualization works is that hard drives are stored as a single container file, 1 per virtual hard drive (from here on out referred to as “VMDK”).  Over the course of a number of months when we ran Server, we had a number of instances, on both machines that were running Server, where the VMDK files would become corrupt (multiple files at a time) and render the VM useless.  Not only that, but VMware Server would not start the services necessary to run or manager the VMs when it detected these corrupt files.  This was a bug in the software; there were no problems with the physical hard drives.  After dozens of hours of trial and error, I came up with a method of recovering the corrupt VMDK files and rescuing the contents to a new, useable VMDK.  After a while, we finally had enough, and moved on to ESXi.

DrewGreen.net: Now running on IIS 7.5

For the past few years I’ve been running a few websites on a Ubuntu server running a LAMP (Linux Apache MySQL PHP) configuration.  I’ve been running an application called EHCP (Easy Hosting Control Panel) which is a simplistic web control panel to host multiple sites in a reseller environment.  I was using it for the sole purpose of easily hosting multiple sites on the same web server (as I’m not very well versed with Apache).  It served it’s purpose for a while, but a number of quirks made me want to find a better solution.  I was interested in possibly switching to a Windows-based solution, as that’s what I’m most experienced with, but was unsure of exactly what to do.  Do I load Apache on Windows or should I try IIS?

I’ve got a virtual server running Hyper-V R2 and a VHD template of Server 2008 R2 Enterprise, so I figured I’d give IIS 7.5 a shot.  To my surprise, Microsoft has established something called the Web Platform Installer (Web PI), which as it suggests, installs a number of web applications automatically.  I visited their site and found that WordPress was one of the web platforms offered.  I downloaded the Web PI and selected the WordPress option.  This great tool even went so far as to install the necessary IIS role components (as IIS wasn’t even installed yet), install the latest version of PHP, install MySQL, and then install WordPress.  It then brought me through a quick wizard to establish my WP database, db user, etc.  Within a few minutes I had a WP blog setup on IIS 7.5.

This was so incredibly simple, I couldn’t believe it.  I’m fairly impressed overall with IIS 7.5, as it seems fairly easy enough to use.  This is the first real site I’m running on IIS, and compared to Apache, it seems much more user friendly.  This being the case, I decided I would migrate my other sites over to the new server.  The other sites included another WP blog, a fairly basic site written in PHP, and a web page that redirects me to my Outlook Web App site.  Migration was as simple as drag and drop, for the most part. I created the new sites in IIS, set the bindings (mapping hostnames to each site), I copied my files from the old site to the new IIS directories, and then had to do a quick database export and import to transfer my MySQL data to the new server.  Luckily I set the db credentials to the same on the new server as I did on the old one.  If any changes were needed, they can be modified in WP-config.php.

The one thing I can suggest is that when running through the Web PI, you should set the WP database name to something other than just “wordpress”, as this can cause some issues (as I found out) if you want to add another WordPress blog, since the default db name (that I happened to use for both blogs) was “wordpress”.  I didn’t think much about this at first since I didn’t plan on migrating my old blog to the new platform initially.  When I decided to do this, however, I now had to either have one “wordpress” db and another db named something else (and then change the WP settings in wp-config.php) or change the name of the “wordpress” db to something a litte less generic.  I opted to rename both databases to something descriptive.  The problem is that you can”t simply rename a database.  To do this, I exported the db, created a new db with the name I wanted, then imported into the new db.  I then assigned the wordpress db user account the necessary permissions to the new database.  Then, after pointing wp-config.php to the correct db, I deleted the old “wordpress” db.  When I moved the blog from the old server to the new one, I was able to essentially do the same process, except I created a new db on the new server and then imported the exported tables from the old server’s WP database.

Overall, I’d say this was was a very easy project if you’ve got moderate web server knowledge.  The database rename was the most time consuming part, simply because I spent time looking for a feature (rename) that doesn’t exist.  I’d recommend IIS 7.5 to anyone that is interested in an easy to use web server.  If you’re a student, you can obtain a copy of 2008 (maybe even R2 now) Standard for free from the Microsoft DreamSpark program.

Windows 7/Server 2008 R2 now publicly available

drew 23 Oct , 2009 0 comments Windows 7

Yesterday marked launch day for the latest generation of Windows client & server operating systems.  Having used Windows 7 for the better part of the past year (during the beta testing stages), I can safely say this is a product any consumer will be happy to have on their computer (except maybe Mac fanboys).  I strongly suggest upgrading.

Office 2010 Beta available on Torrent sites

As the title suggests, the Beta of Microsoft Office 2010 is now available on Torrent sites all across the interwebs. Here’s a TPB link (includes x86 & x64 versions).  So far, I’m really liking 2010.  The most noticeable change to me is the addition of the Ribbon to Outlook.  The layout seems a bit more intuitive.  Try it for yourself.