December 21, 2009

Upload JPG files to Google Docs

I actually came across this accidentally. I was actually trying to upload 2 PDF files into my Google Docs. But by mistake I chose the JPG version of them to upload. Well, GDocs doesn't allow uploading of JPG files. So technically I should have got an error message saying something along the lines of "File type not supported" (which I did get later when I tried to upload a PNG file).

But instead I got an error message saying something along the lines of "The file size is more than 500KB". Seeing this message I assumed that when you upload a JPG file of size <= 500KB, GDocs would create a new document and add the JPG file as an image in the document file. The mentioned size 500KB caused me to make such an assumption. Another option I hoped for was it would let me store JPG files of size <= 500KB. I really wanted it store the JPG files as I have been wanting this feature for quite some time now especially with all the news/rumors of Google Drive.

So I actually found an image file (a PNG file this time round) of size <= 500KB in my computer and tried uploading to GDocs. As mentioned above the attempt failed with an error message along the lines of "File type not supported".

Hence I decided to hunt my computer for a JPG file of size <= 500KB. After finding one, I tried uploading it. And voilĂ  it worked as I had assumed (Added the JPG file as an image in a new document). Here is the screenshot of uploaded JPG file.

I haven't got the chance to test other image file formats such as BMP, GIF, etc. If any of you do, feel free to post the results in comments.

September 19, 2009

The Wonky Facebook

Below are two screenshots of the many Facebook error messages I've been getting recently.

I am still trying to comprehend the logic of the error message in the screenshot below. (Images edited to protect identity of certain people).

This one you can't even try to start comprehending!

August 15, 2009

Watching Singtel MobileTV (mio TV) on your PC

I recently received an SMS from Singtel saying that I would get to watch the Football Frenzy channel (shows UEFA Champions League Matches live) for free until October 31st. Excited, I contacted Singtel's customer service to check if it affected my data usage or if I would get charged unknowingly. Once satisfied, I navigated to Singtel IDEAS on my 3GS and found a few options, including one for Entertainment & TV (mio), which then took me to the various options available including Channel News Asia (free), Bloomberg (free), Channel 8 (free) and Football Frenzy (paid).

Since at this point in time Football Frenzy wasn't ready yet (I suspect it will be in a few days for the Champions League kickoff), I tried out the other channels on my iPhone and realised the stream quality was extremely good with minimal lag.

I then wanted to check if the quality was better with WiFi and got this error message when I tried to reload the page:

This site is only available when you use your iPhone3G with SingTel's unrivalled 3G network. It is not available to SingTel Prepaid customers, when using WiFi or the public internet.
This suggested to me that the website requires 2 things to work:

  1. Using Singtel 3G network
  2. Using an iPhone

Indeed, tethering my iPhone to my PC and navigating to the website gave me the same error as obviously the second check failed. Indeed, if the website could be tricked into thinking an iPhone was accessing the site, this should (at least in theory) work.

From previous knowledge, most websites make use of a user-agent string to detect what application, OS and version the client accessing the site is using. Indeed, if you ever wondered how a website knew what version of Firefox, IE or Safari you were running, this is most likely the check implemented on it. Due to the evolution of the WWW and IE's dominance, several browsers allowed you to fake the user-agent string of another browser. You could therefore fool the website into thinking you were running IE 7 when in fact you were running Firefox 3, and therefore then receive content originally intended for IE 7 users.

Posted below is a workaround I discovered that works and allows you to then play mio on your computer. Note: QuickTime is required as the streams are .mov format

  1. Tether your iPhone to your PC via USB or Bluetooth

  2. Use Firefox (or any other browser that allows you to switch user-agents)
  3. Download the User Agent Switcher add-on for Firefox (or an equivalent if it exists for your browser). This add-on allows you to easily switch between user-agents and already has a profile for iPhone 3G included, although others can easily be added.

  4. Navigate to Singtel IDEAS and click on Entertainment & TV

  5. You're now watching mio TV on your PC!

If you want to watch the channel in full screen (as the resolution of the content is for the iPhone), run QuickTime and open the URL that is being displayed on your browser.

I'm not quite sure what sort of check Singtel has for the 3G usage, but if it is simply being on Singtel's 3G network (postpaid), then this MIGHT work even for people with any other phone. I am yet to confirm whether this works or not.

June 20, 2009

Jailbreaking an Unlocked iPhone OS 3.0 on Windows

I waited, like many others (im)patiently for the 3.0 firmware ever since its release date was announced at WWDC. It has been known for a while, that the current iPhone 3G will ALWAYS be jailbreakable, until the hardware is upgraded. As such, if you are as dependent on jailbreaking as me, it was not a question of whether I should upgrade, but rather when.

After hours of following @MuscleNerd and refreshing my tweets ever so often, the time had arrived - Jailbreaking for OS 3.0 had been released with one caveat - only Pwnage had been released, which unfortunately only works on Intel powered Macs, which of course I don't own!

As such, I realised that a PC owner could restore to an already jailbroken custom IPSW (firmware) created on a Mac, but not without its own share of issues. After several hours of a non-functional phone, these are the instructions for jailbreaking your iPhone on Windows without QuickPWN or redsn0w:

Software Required:
  1. iTunes 8.1.1 found at
  2. iTunes 8.2 from
  3. Custom Jailbroken 3.0 IPSW: Torrent
  4. QuickPWN RC-3 found at
  5. Quick PWN 225-2 found at
  6. Official 2.0.2 IPSW found at,2_2.0.2_5C1_Restore.ipsw
  7. Official 2.2.1 IPSW found at,2_2.2.1_5H11_Restore.ipsw

If you have an iPhone 3G 2.2.1 Jailbroken, these are the steps you should take:

  1. Open iTunes 8.2
  2. Backup iPhone data
  3. Hit Shift+Restore and select the custom IPSW you downloaded earlier
  4. Restore iPhone data
  5. You should have a jailbroken iPhone 3G with OS 3.0

If you are already running the stock 3.0 OS, the steps are a bit more complicated because iTunes 8.2 will NOT let you restore to the custom IPSW or downgrade to 2.2.1. These are the instructions:

  1. If you have installed 3.0 already, this assumes you are running iTunes 8.2
  2. Close iTunes 8.2
  3. Run QuickPWN RC-3 to install the official 2.0.2 IPSW on the iPhone.
  4. When the iPhone screen turns white (while the exploit is being uploaded), disconnect your iPhone - the screen will remain white.
  5. Close QuickPWN RC-3
  6. Open iTunes 8.2 and Shift+Restore to the official 2.2.1 IPSW
  7. You will probably get Error 1013 This is fine for now. QuickPWN 225-2 should fix that.
  8. Uninstall iTunes 8.2 and install iTunes 8.1.1 Alternatively, use another computer with iTunes 8.1.1 already installed. This is because QuickPWN 225-2 does not work with iTunes 8.2
  9. Close iTunes 8.1 and run QuickPWN 225-2
  10. Follow the RESET steps at the beginning, this should fix ERROR 1013.
  11. Jailbreak your iPhone 3G 2.2.1 using QuickPWN 225-2
  12. Uninstall iTunes 8.1.1 and install iTunes 8.2
  13. Shift+Restore to 3.0 Jailbroken Custom IPSW
  14. Voila, you should have a Jailbroken iPhone 3G running 3.0!

It has come to the author's note, that the Dev-Team has already released redsn0w, which allows you to jailbreak with relative ease. If you are unsure, it is best to use this tool, than the method above. The method was used because redsn0w or QuickPWN had not been released by the Dev-Team yet.

    May 21, 2009

    Simplify Media - Remotely Accessing Your Music Library On Your iPhone

    Remotely accessing your music library is definitely a feature I didn't know I needed until I found out it were possible! One of the biggest selling points of the iPhone is in fact its music playing capabilities since it is essentially an iPod Touch with extras. However it definitely lacks in the storage department with even 16GB not cutting it to encompass most people's music libraries (hell even my iRiver which is almost 5 years old has 20GB)!

    Personally, I hate having to fire up iTunes to sync my iPhone (almost as much as I hate a lowercase i in front of everything Apple) because of the need of physically using the cable. I use Appstore (read: Installous) for all the apps that I need (well not really) given that I have 30GB of data that I have not much clue of how to make use of.

    Perhaps one of the main uses of iTunes (and the only reason it's on my PC) is to put songs on the iPhone. However I'm too lazy to do this everytime I add a new album or song to my library. This is where accessing your music library remotely solves all these problems at once.

    Simplify Media is essentially a music streaming app, which you install on your computer (Windows, Mac, Linux) and set up a free account to either share your iTunes, Windows Media Player or WinAmp library and access it via an app for the iPhone or iPod Touch called Simplify Music 2.

    This is quite nifty because unlike a few other apps that allow remote streaming, this one works on WiFi, EDGE/GPRS and 3G! It has a built-in search feature and the interface on the iPhone is quite similar to the iPod app itself. As an added bonus it has album cover, artist info as well as lyrics!

    Another noteworthy feature has to be the ability to invite up to 30 people (who can use Simplify Media which is free) to access your library no matter where they are. It then pops up as a shared library in iTunes, WMP or WinAmp (based on their specified preferences). This means you can also access other people's libraries on your iPhone too!

    Check out a video of the app on the iPhone as well as the desktop version for Windows, Mac and Linux:

    April 2, 2009

    The Hype about Skype on iPhone (and How to Get The Most of It)

    If you haven't heard yet, Skype has recently been released on the iPhone!

    So what's the big deal? Indeed numerous handsets such as a few Nokias have had it for a while and it has been possible for a while to use Skype on the iPhone itself via a few apps such as Truphone and Fring, which allow you to connect to other instant messaging services as well.

    However, the app which I've been trying for most of today definitely deserves to be on the must have app list. You can do pretty much almost anything you can do on Skype from your PC such as chat, add and search for contacts and even make both SkypeOut and free Skype-to-Skype calls (albeit for a few annoying restrictions, which I shall get to talking about a bit later in this post).

    The interface is a lot quicker, more responsive, and a lot cleaner than any other app that you can use to connect to Skype with.

    Unfortunately, due to Apple guidelines, with the default app, you can only make calls when you are connected to Wifi but you can still sign in, chat and see who's online from regular EDGE/GPRS/3G.

    Another annoying nag, is the fact that it is not possible to run apps in the background, which means you HAVE to be on the Skype screen to be able to send and receive messages and calls. Indeed, you have to either know when people are going to skype you or leave it running all the time, which sort of detracts from the whole point of it.

    Nevertheless, this tutorial will help you get past MOST of the aforementioned annoyances:

    1. You need a jailbroken phone for this. So there's no point continuing if your phone isn't jailbroken yet! Infact this is probably a great reason to jailbreak if you haven't done so already!

    2. Install Skype from the Appstore or download the IPA from elsewhere.
    3. Install MobileSubstrate from Cydia. Please note, existing MobileSubstrate users require an update to 0.9.2805-1 which was released today. For more information on the compatibility issues, read this.
    4. Install VoIPover3G from Cydia - this tricks any app that is configured into thinking that it is using WiFi when in fact it is using 3G/EDGE/GPRS and therefore overcome the need of a WiFi connection to make calls!
    5. Edit this file either via Terminal or SSH (easier and preferred method): "VoIPover3G.plist" located in /Library/MobileSubstrate/DynamicLibraries/ Add the following string to configure Skype "" (NB all should be in lowercase. You will probably have to add a comma to separate the previous entry - just follow the layout)
    6. Install Backgrounder from Cydia. Configure the app to have Skype as an Auto-Enabled Application. This will basically keep Skype running in the background when you hit the Home button, not unlike Skype being minimised to your System Tray! You will also hear your phone ring if someone skypes you - highly recommended!
    7. If you have IntelliScreen installed, under Performance - Select App Launch Boost and make sure VoIPover3G and Backgrounder are "On"
    8. Sign in and enjoy an always-on solution for Skype that you can make and receive calls from no matter what connection you have! (NB: Data charges might apply!)

    I've made and received a few test calls for a noticeable length (>20 mins) and the call quality is nothing short of amazing on 3G, with a quite unnoticeable lag! As at this moment, you can't make a conference call from the app, but you can definitely take part in one, if someone else initiates it. This has been tested as well, with great results on 3G!

    March 18, 2009

    Mystery quiz applications on the 'new' Facebook

    Yet another revamp. This one isn't so good I feel. There's an information overload and it's not very legible. I liked the previous font sizing variation and the ability to select the level of detail you want. Changing the Home content according to different friend lists or applications is a cool new feature though. The only good new feature in my opinion.

    Do you have quizzes turning up on your Home page? I do! Lots of them. And you can't hide them, because all the new Home can do is hide updates from that particular friend, which is not what I want it to do! I don't want to see anymore weird quizzes about birthdays an animals! I found a few of them by name and blocked them. They (2 of them) disappeared from the left side menu. Yes!!!

    But no. A few minutes later I had another 2 quizzes added in! Like wtf? Whatever happened to the Facebook we had total control over??

    (Notice the last 2 links)

    No, they don't turn up on your Applications page either. Any ideas anyone?

    March 14, 2009

    Boo Yahoo! Mail + Go Gmail! (or Windows Live)

    I finally decided to make the switch from Yahoo! Mail to Gmail. I love the bells and whistles offered by Gmail. Plus I've been trained for Google Apps at work so I learnt a lot more about it. Also, Yahoo's started to slow down and I keep getting errors. What I like about it was the Outlook-type interface with drag-n-drop. Gmail makes up for it with the shortcuts and Labs features. I love the calendar and tasks integration too. Yahoo's got unlimited space, but hitting 7 gigs itself is close to impossible!

    Over 10 years ago I started off with Yahoo, moved to Hotmail, came back to Yahoo and now I'm switching to Gmail. In this latest step I realised how rigid Yahoo is. They don't have any sort of mail forwarding, you can't export your contacts and no POP/IMAP access is included. They support checking mail through POP/IMAP and contact importing from anywhere. Then they lock your stuff in! If you want to get your stuff out, you have to pay! Basically. Smartasses!! Even MSN (Windows Live) is opening up and becoming like Gmail. It lets you do whatever you want with your mail. Yahoo should stop being so rigid! Google's the king of search but Yahoo still is the king of webmail and a lot of other things.

    On a side note, there's talk that Windows 7 + Windows Live Suite will equate to a pretty complete package. The Live Suite is turning out to be pretty neat. So far so good. Live Mail (Hotmail) has sped up considerably. Check out Live Mesh and Live Sync for file sharing/synchronization across multiple platforms. Take a look at Live Photo Gallery too. I think it's as fast as Picasa! If not a little faster, and offers direct uploading to Picasaweb, Youtube and even Facebook. Microsoft is finally learning the beauty of keeping things open!

    March 11, 2009

    Using your ANU Web Quota on your own Laptop

    After returning to this ANU after a while, I've realised that ANU has changed their internet quota policy changing from a max of 80MB (topped up at a rate of 10MB a day) to a max of 1000MB (topped up at a rate of 1000MB a day).

    As such, this means that you can do a whole lot of things with the data but the computers in the IT labs don't give you much freedom (administration restrictions) and a lot of people (including myself) prefer using their own laptop. As such these are the settings that would enable you to do just that:

    1) Proxy Settings:
    2) Authentication Settings: University ID and Password

    NB: This can only be done from an InfoCommons lab as wwwcache bars other IP addresses.

    March 5, 2009

    Yahoo! Mail does not support Linux...

    The all-new Yahoo! Mail does not seem to support Linux. Although so far I havent add issues using it in Linux, Yahoo officially mentions that "The all-new Yahoo! Mail has not been tested with your operating system". Above is the screen shot.

    Interesting thing about this notification is, I have been getting this only in the past two days. It used to be perfectly fine (no notifications) before that. And I still say all the features I've tried out in the new Yahoo! Mail works fine with Linux.

    March 1, 2009

    Connecting to NUS VPN via iPhone

    Today whilst I was at K-Gourmet Cafe, I felt like connecting remotely to my XPS from my iPhone. The iPhone natively of course doesn't support RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) and as such one needs to install an app that allows you to do so. I personally use Jaadu RDP for this purpose though there are quite a few out there.

    Since my computer lies on the NUS domain, the app works, but ONLY over WiFi which initially was fine for me until today, as for some weird reason there isn't a hotspot at K-Gourmet!

    Since I have a data plan with SingTel I wanted to figure out a way to connect to the comp over 3G. In order to be connect I first had to be on NUSNET by some means or another. I tried the obvious route of WebVPN, with not much hope (because of the Java requirement), and unsurprisingly it authenticated me, but didn't do much else!

    I was always aware that the iPhone had VPN settings (with CISCO IPSec - which is what NUS used to use before WebVPN). I tried searching for the settings but couldn't come across anything substantial and with a LOT of trial and error, I finally had success!

    So below, I shall post the settings for anyone who wishes to connect to NUS VPN from outside NUS using an iPhone:

    1. Make sure the iPhone can connect to the internet via WiFi or 3G
    2. Go to Settings-->General-->Network
    3. Click on VPN
    4. Choose "Add VPN Configuration"
    5. Click on the IPSec tab
    6. Enter the following settings:
      • Description: NUS VPN (or anything else you want to name the profile)
      • Server: (this is for connecting from outside NUS)
      • Account: u0XXXXXX (your NUSNET ID)
      • Password: Leave blank (you will be prompted when you connect)
      • Group Name: inside-nus
      • Secret: inside-nus
    7. Hit "Save" on the top right corner
    8. Connect to VPN.

    That should be it, you should now be prompted to enter you credentials and then get a message welcoming you to NUS VPN!

    NB: For the server: should work as well, but I've not tried it.

    February 26, 2009


    Here is a link for some hints on how to compile and install Player/Stage

    For more details on Player/Stage refer:

    February 18, 2009

    Google Apps vs. Microsoft Live Workspace

    GApps is basically Google's version of a productivity suite online and Live Workspace is Microsoft's version. (You should look them up, this is going to be a very rough post).

    Both Google and Microsoft offer e-mail, word processing, spreadsheets, presentation slides and websites, as productivity and collaboration tools (packaged differently of course).

    Google has some great extras. Postini is one of the industry's leading security and archival solutions. Everything in GApps runs in your browser. You can install Google Gears and GApps can run offline in your browser. GApps also has API access (paid version) plus thousands of applications written on Google App Engine can be thrown in. The Salesforce CRM tied up with Google too.

    Workspace uses Office for editing. I think it's an 'ok' assumption since most people do use MS Office. What's good about that is your formatting is preserved. Google's formatting is pretty barebones.

    Overall GApps has more features while MS who has a stronghold on the offline market is moving online. Google rules the online space but it will be interesting to see what Microsoft does.

    Google still has a few things to iron out. It goes crazy sometimes when too many people are editing one file. The calendar refuses to save stuff sometimes. My mouse gestures in Gmail stopped working randomly. But those are all small issues.

    Microsoft is really working on the usability of their new Live suite. It sounds promising. I tried the new MSN but I didn't like it, only because it's damn slow. The Photo Gallery uploads straight to Facebook and handles tagging as well, that's pretty cool I thought. And they're supporting Mac as well now. Nice of them.

    Google is hitting the enterprise market online while the enterprise giant Microsoft is just starting to get online. Lets see how this turns out!

    PowerToys for Windows XP

    This a great collection of normally-one-tasked programs not-so-officially released by Microsoft. Check out this list. TweakUI would be my favourite. It has a million options inside!

    I like how it enables Classic Search for Explorer. I don't know why but the standard search with that cute dog jumping about somehow can't find files sometimes. Classic Search is the no-frills version which seems to work much better. Loads quicker too.

    There are a lot of settings related to IE, Explorer, My Computer, the Desktop and some of the other main parts of Windows. Try it out.

    February 17, 2009

    My Mobile Solution: how to take almost everything with you, wherever you go

    I've been trying to figure out how not to lug my heavy laptop about with me yet have access to my essential stuff wherever I am/keep things in sync/not have to change settings all the time etc. So here's a bunch of great free tools I've picked up along the way.

    LogMeIn [Windows app + access through web] - The free version is great for accessing your computer remotely. All it needs is an internet connection. You can login to your computer remotely through a browser. It has worked fine with NATs, intranets, firewalls and whatever I've thrown at it. So in that sense it's ahead of Windows Remote Desktop. Of course it's a little slower since it runs in your browser.

    GMail Drive [Windows app + access through web] - Live Sync has the same feature, but this is easier as it turns up in My Computer as a drive. All you have to do is drag and drop. Log in to your Gmail account and you will see the files there as well. So far I haven't had any issues with files as large as 15-20MB.

    Foxmarks [Browser add-on + access through web] - This is for accessing my bookmarks wherever I go. It keeps things synced in the background. Works in all popular browsers. You can also login to their site and access your bookmarks if you don't want to install the plug-in at your friend's place.

    DropBox [Windows app + web access] - This is a great productivity tool which I use with my coworkers. It gives you 2GB of online storage, which is also replicated on my computer. A Windows app keeps things in sync. I can share this folder with you and then our files will be synced (you need to install the app). Of course you shouldn't work on the same file at once as that will cause a clash, or you shouldn't delete any important files because it will get rid of my copy too, thanks to the per-second syncing. All the files are online so you have browser access as well.

    Windows Live Sync [Windows app + web access] - This is the part LogMeIn (unless you pay for it) is missing, file transfer. This nifty tool can help you access all the files on your hard disks through a Windows app. It also has the same functionality as DropBox included (folder syncing). But DropBox has a copy of the files on their site as well. Live Sync doesn't.

    Another thing I hate doing is switching proxy settings ever so often.

    Proxy Switcher [Windows app] - I work on different networks when I do carry my laptop around. It's annoying to keep going through menus and switching proxies. This application runs in your tray, and switching proxies is pretty simple.

    [Browser add-on] - Somehow the everything else works fine with Proxy Switcher except for Firefox! That's where this add-on comes in. It even has a cool scripting feature so you can automate your proxy switching depending on the network. I wish they had the same tool for Windows!

    UPDATE: Windows Live Sync doesn't work too well across NAT/intranets. Folder syncing works (just like DropBox) but accessing files on your computer might totally fail. I get upto the point of seeing the files on my laptop in my browser in office, but it can't seem to download any of them!

    February 13, 2009

    GApps Standard - Losing Count of Free Accounts?

    Google Apps
    came with a 100 free accounts per Standard installation, up until late last year, where they reduced it to 50.

    At the same time I came across some interesting figures in some of the installations. Wonder who's playing with the free accounts at Google eh?

    February 9, 2009

    NUS EZXCESS Disruption

    I'm sure quite a lot of you non-domain users experienced trouble logging into the LAN or Wireless last Friday. The problem revolved around your credentials not being accepted even though you entered the correct password.

    NUS IT admitted the problem in an email sent out today. It however didn't prescribe any solutions or workarounds until then. However IF this problem does recur, there IS a workaround:

    1. Login via WebVPN
    2. Set Proxy to "" for your browser (or any other software that requires access).
    3. To see how to set a proxy for the entire OS please read my previous post

    That should serve as a temporary workaround until the engineers fix the problem :)