how to turn your old Palm Pre into a skypephone

I keep a old Palm Pre 2 around for historical reference, WebOS was a nicely designed operating system and i like to dust it off every once in a while but other than that it is pretty much a museum piece.

However in webOS 2.2.4 HP added Skype support so i figured id make the Pre into a skypephone and document the process, it should be as easy as pressing update on the phone to get the 64 mb 2.2.4 OTA but that does not usually work so here we go the manual way of restoring  a clean 2.2.4 image directly to the phone (lines in italic are terminal commands)

You can skip STEP 4 if you have a sim card nearby to put in the phone and want to make or use a existing webOS account (STEP 4 will lock your webOS account to a generic Dr. Skipped Firstuse account)

STEP 1 (downloads)

download (and/or extract) to your desktop
download the webosDoctor for your device withe the WebOS version you prefer from (get WebOS 2.2.4 which has Skype support  webosdoctorp224pre2wr.jar in my case)

STEP 2 (driver)

move ~/Desktop/NovacomInstaller.pkg to /Library/Receipts/NovacomInstaller.pkg

sudo ~/vlad/Desktop/novacom/novacomd

STEP 3 (webOS)

right-click Open on webosdoctor******.jar
follow the procedure to install the os

STEP 4 (activation)

connect the phone to the mac's usb port
turn off the phone then back on again while holding volume up until the usb logo shows

java -jar ~/devicetool.jar

STEP 5 (skype)

enable Wi-fi (unless you activated a sim card with a data plan)
open contacts, press "Add An Account", select Skype


What else can you do with this phone ? If it hasn’t stopped already the HP App Catalog will eventually stop working, you can get Preware a homebrew app store.

Skype video call option is available but don’t expect it to work, overall skype seems to work good enough on webos tho at one time it just would not connect.

The devicetool.jar downloadable here contains the all three images for most palm 2 phones unlike the official hp download:

how to make your iOS device read stuff

Here is a little handy tip to make your device speak textual content with almost acceptable computer voice:

Go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Triple-click home to “Toggle VoiceOver” or “Ask” if you want to get a dialog asking wether to turn it On/Off (remember that tapping is done by double-tapping when voiceover is on).

Optionally go into Settings > General > Accessibility > Voiceover and set the “Speaking Rate” slider to around 20%, i found that speed to work best for me when reading papers.

Now go to your book or webpage or anything you want read and triple-click home and behold the machine start speaking your currently selected element,

Remember to turn voiceover off when you are done or else you will have to interact with the phone interface in a a whole different way (if by any chance you lock the device as i did you can unlock it by tapping the swipe bar to select it then tapping it again to unlock).

The major pitfalls besides the surprisingly hard to perform triple-tap home is that you have to select any text blocks you want read, and while this might be acceptable for pdf books where you can select a whole page in basically everything else you have to select individual paragraphs, even sentences, so do not expect a audiobook experience, and do not expect it to speak the contents of apps that do not have selectable text like WSJ, NYT etc (BBC/Reuters/AP work).

It is a shame Apple did not make it possible for this to be implemented as a book/content speaker with a consistent behavior and without relying on voiceover tricks, as it will even support reading in a lot of other languages than English, (for the full list see this for iPad and this for the other devices)

Voiceover is only available on iPhone 3GS, 4, iPad and 3rd generation iPod touch.

Safari-like Reader for any browser including Mobile Safari

We all like the new feature in Safari 5, Reader, well maybe except the advertisers, it is so pristine as anything we would expect from Apple but as it turns out it is actually based on the work of NYC based design house arc90, namely Readability which is acknowledged by Apple in file:///Applications/

If you visit their Readability page you will notice that it is implemented as a javascript bookmarklet useable in any browser (i tested Chrome and Firefox) , all you have to do is drag the link to the bookmarks bar, for Mobile Safari which does not have such a bar it is a bit more complicated:
1 – create a placeholder bookmark by pressing plus (can be any page), press Save
2 – copy the javascript at the bottom of this post into the pasteboard
3 – press bookmarks > press edit > press the arrow on the shortcut you created
4 – press the round x to clear the name and type say Readability
5 – select the bottom field, press the round x to clear the address and paste the text


Now when you want to see only the content on a page you are visiting just tap the newly created bookmark and you are all set.
Just in case you want to enhance your Mobile Safari even more you might want to check out ,in page text search is a must-have if you ask me.

midnight commander for snow leopard

midnight commander snow leopard

Wether you like to have a file manager running as root , need a file manager that can really dig into the guts of the os or are just nostalgic for the good ole 2 pane commanders , either way you got to have mc handy on your brand new 64 bit osx.

There are a number of ways to install it , you can go all out downloading the source and dependences and compile , or take a easy road by means of the macports or fink  packages , however there you might find this way the easiest .

Attached to this post is a zip file with the compiled sources, download and extract it to the root directory of /mc , then open a terminal with 5 tabs , type “cd” in each then drag each of the folders to a different tab , press enter in each , then type “sudo make install” in each tab , in this order : gettext > pkgconfig > glib > slang > mc.

That’s all there is to it, delete /mc, now type mc to get your native 64bit mc fix.mcsl

enabling iPhone tethering on Orange

Here is how carrier free charge tethering looks and is done with Orange Romania


rename ~/Library/iTunes/iPhone Carrier Support/Orange_ro.ipcc to extract and enter Payload and bundle dirs , open Carrier.plist


edit the apns section like in the screenshot , optionally edit the other 2 plists changing BundleVersion from 2.5 to 5.0, save and close all plists

compress the Payload dir an rename the archive to .ipcc , alt+click Restore in itunes and select it after typing

defaults write carrier-testing -bool TRUE

in terminal then just reboot the iphone


i have tested both usb and bluetooth , working great , the ipcc file is atached


dual boot , one itunes library

Since i started dual booting either Tiger or Leopard one thing that really annoyed me was that i had to deal with 2 itunes libraries , not being able to have the same thing in itunes no matter what i boot into.

Well there is a very elegant and easy fix for that that i am going to detail in this post and it only requires you to have a extra partition besides the ones that you are booting from.
So let’s get to it (texts in bold are shell commands and should be entered via Terminal):

1 – move your itunes library to a partition you do not boot from (i put mine on the Storage partition)

mv ~/music/iTunes /Volumes/IStorage/

2 – boot into each of the os’es and delete ~/music/iTunes if existing and make a symbolic link to the new location in its place

ln -s /Volumes/IStorage/Itunes/ ~/music/iTunes

This works beautifully and it works at some extent for things like Photo Booth too , also tho it might work i do not advise to make the links with Finder , just stick to console.

avi movies in front row and itunes

Everyone has those divx movies , you can play them in quicktime given you have the proper codecs like Perian , but the pesky itunes will not add the files to its library.

What we need to do is basically change metadata of files by adding type “MooV” to them , the simplest way to do it is download this applescript droplet i wrote and just drag the files you want fixed on its icon.

A more involved way to do it that needs devtools (found on the install dvd) installed is by entering the bold text below in Terminal , after you modified the path and extension to suit your needs.

find /path/toyour/movies/directory -name “*.avi” -print0 | xargs -0 /developer/tools/SetFile -t “MooV”

Now that you can play those files with itunes how about having them show and play in Front Row from the confort of your remote ??!! , without even adding them to the itunes library , it is just a matter of making symbolic links in your ~/Movies folder to the directories containing your movies , you can use the shell or just alt+cmd drag them to ~/Movies to make the links.

A bit of diNovo hacking

I recently replaced my trusty UltraX keyboard and mouse with the Logitech diNovo Cordless Desktop for Notebooks and i had a seroius problem with pressing the Sleep button every time i picked it up so i just had to disable that.

The problem is that you can not disable it from windows if you are on a notebook with ACPI based power management instead of APM and the drivers do you no justice.

And you only have the option of shutdown or sleep for the sleep button in the windows interface , but by directly modifying the registry you can set it to a third “do nothing” action , which i promtly did , it is a dirty hack but it serves its purpose (reg file attached , needs reboot after run).

Next thing was not so much a problem but a nuisance , the mail button mapped to outlook express , the email client nobody uses , so i figured i should at least make that start total commander , so i produce a 3 line app to replace the outlook executable with which starts total commander.
(also atached , copy it to WINNTsystem32dllcachemsimn.exe then go to Program FilesOutlook Express and overwrite msimn.exe there too then create link.lnk shortcut to whatever program you fancy)

Besides the unconsistency in button placing of Insert and Del and the somewhat tiny mouse this is a good and confortable kit but it sorely lacks some serious key mapping features , just do not jump too soon at the bluetooth version , it seems to be affected by serious lag .