Windows 7 Beta works with Virtualbox on Mac OSX

A little experiment tonight, decided to see if I could get the Windows 7 Beta running on my iMac using Sun’s Virtualbox software. I’ve been meaning to try out Virtualbox for a while, and this seemed like a good method of seeing just how versatile it is.

Basic result of the experiment is that it works, although it took an age to install (not from having to fix things, just the sheer time to run the install). Have run a couple of things in Windows 7 and had a look about, and thus far it all looks okay.

So, if you want to have a go yourself, here’s how:

1) Download and register for the Windows 7 Beta. You have until January 24th 2009 to do this. I downloaded the 32-bit version of the .iso file, so can’t comment on the 64 bit version. Make sure you note down the Registration Key you’re given before you download the file, as you’re really going to need this.

2) Download and install VirtualBox for Mac OSX.

3) Run VirtualBox, opt to install a new Windows system, and choose Windows(other) as the type you wish to install. Use a new blank hard disk image, and save it.

4) Go to Settings for your install, click on storage then the CD/DVD-Rom tab. Check the box for mount CD/DVD drive, select ISO image File, and point this at the .iso file you downloaded from the Windows 7 site, and click on OK.

5) Click on the green arrow for Start to start the install. Set aside a good hour or so, particularly if you’re not blessed with memory. Make sure you’ve got your registration key to hand from step 1 before you start, otherwise you won’t get very far.

And that is pretty much it, the install will chug along, and then you’ll be started on Windows 7. I’d suggest this might work also on a reasonably powered Linux box (Virtualbox is available for Mac, Linux and Windows).

How I Twitter

I’ve been finding over the past few months I’ve been using Twitter more and more. I have used it for quite a while, but recently I’ve found both more friends and colleagues using Twitter, and have found more people I wanted to follow. There has definitely been a surge in interest over the last six months, and it’s being seen in more surprising places, such as a Twitter joke on the election night Colbert/Stewart show, or on one of the many mobile phones of Stephen Fry.

So I thought I’d write about how I use it, seeing as I’ve been doing so for a while, and found myself a nice set of tools to help me.

First thing in the morning

I like to update both Twitter and Facebook first thing, so to kill two birds with one stone (actually a few other social networks too) I use Ping.fm . This allows me to subscribe to multiple social networks, and post my status to all of them from one place. They did also have a Facebook application I used for a while, however this has been broken since about the time the new version of Facebook launched, and they haven’t updated it to work yet.

On the move

Until recently I used a Nokia N95, and so I tended to use the mobile version of ping.fm from a browser. Now I’m on an iPhone, I’m using that for posting, and the Twitterrific application (link to UK iTunes store) for reading other people’s tweets.

On the desktop

I’ve used twhirl for a little while now, as it is an Adobe Air application, it runs nicely on all platforms including Linux. In an ideal world I’d like something that combined Twitter nicely with IM and other social networks, and although several applications have come close, nothing is quite there on the Mac yet. My only real gripe with twhirl is that I’d like to size the window a bit smaller, other than that, it has a lot of functionality, and displays incoming tweets rather nicely. I’ll post on twitter mostly from there in the day and evening.

Sharing links on Twitter

This may not be the most obvious route, but to post a link on Twitter I use the Mahalo Share Firefox extension. You’ll need an account on Mahalo, which if you haven’t come across it, is trying to be a human version of Google, with user-submitted links reviewed by their staff. Once a member, you can set up the extension properly, and have a single button in Firefox you can click whilst on a page to submit the link to Mahalo, and to many other sites in one go. I mainly use it as a quick way of saving links at Delicious, but I have it set up with several accounts, so I can also post the link on Twitter, Facebook or elsewhere too. A series of checkboxes allows you to choose which service(s) each link is posted to.

Adding tweets to my blog

I had been doing this by a more tiresome method until recently, however I’ve just discovered the Twitter WordPress Sidebar Widget. Don’t be put off by the fact it hasn’t been updated for a long time, it’s nice and simple, and works fine with my WordPress 2.6 installation.

Sites I read about Twitter

There are a couple of Twitter new sites that have started recently, Twitip and Twitterrati. I’m subscribed to the feeds for both, and have found them both useful. In fact this post was inspired by a recent article at Twitip. I’ve also used Twitterlocal and Twitter Grader to see who else is twittering near me, and how I compare to other Twitter users.

So there you have it: a little insight into the various ways I interact with Twitter. How about you?

Using Dropbox on KDE4

I’ve just started using the Dropbox service, which is rather handy for sharing files between computers. I’ve got it running on my Macs, but found setting up the Linux client on KDE4 (4.1 in my case) a little more tricky. Well until I found this great workaround:

Dropbox without Gnome : Sounds From The Dungeon

This worked a treat, but the only thing I couldn’t get straight away was getting the service to start automatically. What caught me out was setting up the symlink in the .kde4 Autostart folder, rather than the .kde one. So to do this, use the following command:

ln -s /home/USERNAME/.dropbox-dist/dropboxd /home/USERNAME/.kde4/Autostart/dropbox

Nokia N95 Software Update 21.0.016

A new update to the software for the Nokia N95 has been available for about a month now, and I finally got chance to use it. It is well worth reading the rundown at SybianV3.com for all the details. The key points I would make are:

  • Please Nokia, let me update the software directly on the phone. The one thing I have to use Windows for is to update the software, and this is just wrong. I was able to update directly on the Nokia 6630, why can’t I on my N95. You’re not going to make me a Linux client, so allow this instead.
  • Back up your phone data to the memory card before updating. You can find this under Tools > Memory > Options > Back up phone memory. This will save you a lot of pain. Once you’ve installed the software update, you can use the Restore from card option.
  • Make a note of the software you’ve installed before updating. If you’ve installed applications to the memory card, they should in the main work after the update, but ones on your phone itself will be wiped. I did find that even though the Nokia Step Counter was removed, when I reinstalled it, it found the data for it again without prompting.
  • The main reason for updating, I feel, is the upgrade to Flash Lite 3. This means the full desktop version of Youtube now works on the N95. It’s somewhat cumbersome to navigate through, but the videos play respectably well (whereas in the mobile version, I’d yet to get one to stream at all). Well worth doing just for this. I did try to see if the BBC iPlayer would work with it too, but this was a failure, no video loaded when I tried.

Spicebird 0.4 available for download

Spicebird is an open-source collaboration suite. Simply put, it is built on Mozilla’s Thunderbird code, and also includes calendars, instant messaging, notes, contacts, feed reading and an old-school news reader. It look nice, is well put-together thus far, has a lot of integration with Google applications such as gmail and calendar, and is shaping up nicely. It isn’t there yet, you can only use Jabber (including Google Talk) with it thus far, you can only import Google Calendars thus far, but I’m in the market for something that I can stealthily replace Lotus Notes with on Linux, and this has some potential.

I’ve tested Spicebird out quickly, it works on 64 bit Kubuntu without much complaint, it seems fairly intuitive, and definitely has a lot of potential. If I could have all my IM accounts in there (so MSN, AOL, Yahoo, ICQ, IRC as well as what it does at the moment) I’d be interested. If it could do social networking like Flock does, I’d be very interested. If they could build Firefox into it, so all my desktop tabs mixed with my web tabs, I’d be incredibly interested. All these all possible, I just wish I could sit down for the next few weeks and write them myself (if only).

EDIT 2014 update: Spicebird is no more, but some of its ideas are availbable as plugins for Thunderbird, and Mozilla even now offers its own IM client, Instantbird.

Flock for 64-bit Ubuntu Feisty Fawn and Gutsy Gibbon

I’ve been using the Mozilla-based Flock browser more in the past month, I do like how integrated the social networking side of it is. I can’t find extensions for Firefox that do it all so neatly and seamlessly. I’ve decided to start using it at work, and hit an issue, namely that the version supplied on the Flock site doesn’t work with 64-bit Linux. However, Getdeb.net does compile a 64-bit version for the current and previous versions of 64-bit Ubuntu, namely Feisty Fawn and Gutsy Gibbon. This worked fine for me in Gibbon.

Blogged with Flock

Tags: , , , , ,

Firmware update for the Nokia N95

Nokia have recently released a new firmware update for their N95 mobile phone. I have upgraded to this, and have to mark it as an update worth having. The main benefit is supposed to be improved memory handling, and thus battery life. I can’t say I’ve noticed this in particular, but I tend towards using it for one thing at a time, so I wouldn’t have seen much difference.

However where it does score highly is in several little updates to the GUI, and to some of the applications. Search and the music player have been improved. In particular, the music player has had the podcast functionality merged into it more tightly, and the player will now remember a bookmark for each track you’ve listened to. This is very helpful with podcasts, as it means you can shut down the application, come back to it later, and if you play a track you had been listening to previously, it will remember where you were. I really missed this from the iPod, and in fact it is better, in that it seems to remember your place in multiple tracks. Also improved is the camera software, which definitely takes pictures much quicker than before. Finally, there are new applications as part of the Ovi rebranding, including a demo of the forthcoming new N-Gage platform

This is the first time I’ve properly upgraded the firmware, and I have two points to make. Firstly, I just can’t see a way to either upgrade using Linux, nor to upgrade directly on the phone (I’ve certainly done the latter in the past on previous Nokia phones). This is just wrong, even if you’re not going to support Linux, at least let me use the Wi-fi you’ve put on there to allow me to run an upgrade directly. Secondly, back up your files. This WILL wipe your phone. The way to do this is to go to the Memory Card application, and to select the option to back up the Sim card to the memory card. Once you’ve done the upgrade, you can restore from this back up.

Sync to your Nokia N95 using Amarok

I received an email today from a new reader, Mark, asking me if I had managed to sync music and podcasts to my N95 yet using Amarok on Ubuntu. This reminded me that I had been meaning to, but had been distracted by the podcasting application Nokia provide. So tonight I’ve had a look at it, and it is relatively straightforwards. This little guide assumes you’ve got Amarok installed and working in Kubuntu or Ubuntu.

1) Open Amarok.

2) Plug the USB cable into your Nokia N95, and select the Mass Storage mode on the phone. When connected, Ubuntu will ask you what you want to do, and choose to open the device in a new folder. Note the address of this folder (the mount point), it will be something like /media/name_of_your_memorycard .

3) Amarok should open up the following dialog box to allow you to set up the N95 as a device:

Manage devices in Amarok

If it doesn’t, go to Settings > Configure Amarok > Media Devices. In both cases, now click on Add Device.

4) Fill out the Add New Device dialog:

Add New Device in Amarok

Select the Generic Audio Player plugin, enter the name you want to call your N95, and the mount point for your device (that you saw in step 2). Click on OK, and OK again.

5) In Amarok, you should now have something that looks like this in the top left:

Connect to your media device in Amarok

If you’ve connected an iPod before (Amarok is pretty good at managing iPods in Ubuntu too), you may need to change the device showing in the drop-down menu. Click on Connect, and it should pick up the N95 and show you the folders on your memory card:

Nokia N95 connected to Amarok

This is the view on the Devices tab in Amarok. Go to the Collection tab to search for music, and right-click on tracks or albums, and choose Transfer to Media Device to add them to your transfer queue. Podcasts take a little setting up, but once done, you have the option to automatically add new episodes to the transfer queue.

When you’re done, click on Transfer, and then Disconnect when it’s finished. Once this is done, go to the icon for your phone on the desktop, right-click, and select Safely Remove. Your phone will been and show a message to let you know when you can remove the USB cable.

Let me know if this little guide is useful to you. I think personally I am going to go back to managing my podcasts through Amarok, it is a good podcasting application, and a bit better to use than the built-in Podcasting app on the N95.

My current list of podcasts

Last night I entered a list of podcasts I listen to into delicious. I’m going to try later to turn the full list into an OPML file, so they can be loaded into a podcatcher or indeed into the Podcasting app on the Nokia N95 if you want. They’re a good mix, obviously leaning towards tech, but if nothing else you’ll get some new shows to try.

Set up an FTP folder in Kubuntu

Small tip today, I found this the other day, and it’s very handy to have FTP folders set up, rather than use a separate FTP program. Just saves on a few clicks here and there.

To set this up in Kubuntu, go to System Menu > Remote Places, then click on Add a Network Folder. You then get a dialogue where you can choose the type of ftp folder you want. You can choose from Webfolder (Webdav), FTP, Microsoft Windows network drive, secure shell (SSH) or recent connections. It’s pretty useful. Pick FTP, enter your settings and click on Save and Connect. You’ll be prompted for your password, which you can choose to save, and then you’re done, and have a permanent connection you can now connect to from the Remote Places folder.