IT'S HERE! Android 2.1 on the Eris

All credit goes to:

It’s a very simple process and I, as well as a coworker, have successfully done it. Well worth the update.

Step 1: Download the 2.1 package
Step 2: Put the package .zip file on the SD card  of your phone. Leave it in its .zip format.
Step 3: Turn off phone.
Step 4: Turn on phone by holding the power and send buttons at the same time.
Step 5: Press the volume down button, when prompted, to enter hboot
Step 6: When asked to update, press the trackball (this is the Action button)
Step 7: When asked to reboot, press the trackball.

That’s it. Have fun!

Oh yeah, I’m not responsible if you break your phone.

Upgrade Windows 7 RC to Official Release

Microsoft treated a lot of geeks and technies with a Release Candidate (RC) of Windows 7. By the time the official Windows 7 came out, a lot of us learned that we couldn’t upgrade to the actual Win7 and would have to reformat our computers to do so.

Fortunately, my friends over at How-To Geek figured it out. You basically just copy the entire disk to your hard drive, edit a configuration file, and then run the setup wizard.

For a step by step, check here.

Cloning a Hard Drive Using dd

The other day I helped a friend with his daughter’s computer. The issue was that she had a machine with a 50GB hard drive, all one partition, and it was 99% full. It was a small form factor Dell with only 1 bay for a SATA drive, so simply adding another drive was out of the question. So, how do I get everything from the old hard drive to a new 500GB drive quickly and efficiently?

Easy: dd. What is dd you ask? Well, its a pretty awesome little utility in Linux distros that manipulates file systems at the low, block level. So, this means that you really need to be careful, because you can seriously destroy any hopes of recovering/copying data if you mess up the command.

For starters, you either need a bootable Linux disc, such as Knoppix, or you just need a machine with Linux already installed. For this, I used a netbook I have with Ubuntu 9.10 installed. You will also need at least one external drive enclosure. For my project, I needed two. One for the new drive and one for the old. If you are booting to a disc, pop the disc into the old computer with the drive that is going to be replaced and plug up the new drive via USB.

After you have booted into your Linux distro, you will need to determine which drive is which. This is a very important step. With Ubuntu, you can use the disk utility and easily determine which drive is which. You are looking for something that says “/dev/sda” or something similar (could be /dev/sdb, sdc, etc..). Once you have determined which drive is which, you can open a terminal and begin the process.

For the sake of examples, lets assume that the old drive is “/dev/sdo” and the new drive is “/dev/sdn” (O for old, N for new). The command would look something like this:

dd if=/dev/sdo of=/dev/sdn conv=noerror,sync

The if part of command is “input file” and of is “output file”, the “conv=noerror,sync” tells dd that if it can’t read a block for some reason, it should at least write something the same length/size.

This process takes quite some time. For the 50GB hard drive, it took about 10 hours to copy. After it is done, you can take out the old hard drive and put in the new one. Then turn on your machine and it will boot just like it used to. But, this is only part of the solution. The dd command also copied the partition table, which means that you still only have 50 GB.

Next we need to extend the partition. In Windows, a great tool to use is EASEUS. In Linux, you can use gparted. They both have a GUI and are pretty easy to figure out.

So there  you have it, and if you are uncomfortable or need help, just comment on this post and I will be glad to contact you and help you out.

How Not to Use Social Networking

Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, and countless iPhone/Android/Palm/WinMo apps. All of them allow you to post things like where you live, what your hometown is, who your relatives are, etc. Many people don’t realize how much a security risk this really is. Many password reset questions ask for Mother’s Maiden Name. If you happened to list your mom as a relative to you on Facebook, guess what… well, I’m sure you know the rest.

You may have also seen status updates and Tweets about going out and about. There are also mobile device apps that will track and report your location. Well, one web site has capitalized on PUBLIC INFORMATION that has been placed on the internet for all to see, and has organized it.

The website? A pretty appropriate name: Check it out.

Remember, if you are going to use social media, just be careful as to what you put out there. If you are using a mobile device, pay close attention to the privacy settings. It does not behoove oneself to share everything.