Thursday, September 1, 2011

Supercharge Your New HP Touchpad With Non-Market Apps and Patches

Many of you bargain hunters probably picked up the defunct HP Touchpad last week, and though WebOS isn't exactly thriving, that doesn't mean you can't do some pretty neat things with it. If you want to go deeper, here's how to get extra functionality out of your Touchpad.
While there isn't much in the way of Android-style custom ROMs (yet), users can install non-market apps and software patches from Preware, a repository of WebOS software maintained by All it takes is a settings change on the Touchpad itself and a small Java program called WebOS Quick Install. It's kind of like rooting or jailbreaking, but nowhere near as complex.
I put this guide together with a lot of help from the WebOS Internals Wiki and thePreCentral Touchpad forum, which incidentally is a great place for app and patch suggestions. Definitely head over there once you're done setting up your Touchpad if you need more inspiration.

Step One: Activate Developer Mode

Turn on your Touchpad and press the home button. Tap the "just type" area and enterwebos20090606. Tap the "Developer Mode" icon that appears. Tap the "on/off" slider in the top right corner of the next screen, but leave the "DEVELOPER MODE PASSWORD" field blank. Tap "Submit".

Step Two: Install WebOS Quick Install

Switch to your computer and download the latest version of Jason Robitaille's WebOS Quick Install. It's a Java app, so you'll need an up-to-date version of Java, but it should work equally well for both Windows and OS X.

Step Three: Install Homebrew Apps & Patches

Plug your Touchpad into your computer with the included MicroUSB cable. It's best to use the cable that came with the device; it seems pretty picky about third-party cables. You should also use a USB port directly on your computer, not a hub or extension cable. Do NOT press the "USB Drive" pop-up that appears.
Switch back to your computer and double-click the .jar file you downloaded. It'll probably install some drivers for WebOS hardware—just let it do its thing. When it's finished, the Quick Install menu will appear. From this page you can manually install apps and packages. Click the globe icon on the right side (which looks like an old-school Palm HotSync icon—nice!) to open up a menu with all the Preware apps and tweaks ready to install.
Standard homebrew apps are on the "Applications" tab. Quality fluctuates across the 200+ entries, but there's a lot of worthy apps there, and it's all free. I highly recommend installing the Preware app, which then lets you install apps right from your device rather than needing to connect with WebOS Quick Install.
"Patches" is a great collection of advanced software tweaks that WebOS users have put together over the last few years. Just click "Install" underneath the description area to apply a patch. Two of the patches you'll absolutely want to implement are "Remove Dropped Packet Logging" and "Muffle System Logging", which cut down on the intensive back-end tech support services and should give you a noticeable speed boost.
The apps and patches will download and install across the USB cable right away. When you're finished, just unplug the cable. If you want to remove patches later, just repeat the above steps and click Tools > Device Management from the main Quick Install screen. Save the .jar file in a handy location for when you want to use it again. Advanced users can check out custom kernels for overclocking and a huge variety of Linux programs that run on the Touchpad.

Michael Crider is a freelance web writer. You can check out his regular posts on Screen Rant, follow him on Twitter (@MichaelCrider) or visit his personal blog.

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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Save a Dying Video Card with a Quick Bake in the Oven

If you've booted up your computer only to find red lines and other graphics issues, you might be able to save that graphics card by putting it in the oven.

Lines across your screen and other graphics abnormalities are called artifacts, and they're likely to occur when your video card is failing. If it's really dying, you might even get a blank screen or program crashes due to overheating. It turns out, a bit of heat is the perfect medicine. Things you'll want to be careful of:
  • Make sure to remove the heatsink and any other plastic parts from your card. Melted plastic all over your card is bad news.
  • Place a few balls of tin foil on a tray and rest the card on them so it isn't touching the tray. Make sure to put the card in chip side up, otherwise the chip will fall off.
  • You'll want to bake it for around 8 minutes at 385°F. The time is flexibile; the general consensus is that anywhere between 5 minutes and 12 minutes should be okay.
  • Obviously, let it cool off before you stick it back in your machine.
The science behind this simple: often, video cards fail due to loosening solder joints. Thus, an oven is the perfect savior: by heating those joints back up, they'll turn to liquid and melt back together, giving your card another shot at life. This isn't a brand new trick by any means, but we just discovered it and thought it was pretty cool (not unlike the "save a failing hard drive in the freezer" trick).
Check out the video above for a demo by my favorite hardware guru, Linus Sebastian of NCIX Tech Tips. It didn't work for him in the video, but it's actually a well-documented fix, and he does a good job of explaining the process. Your mileage may vary, of course, but if your graphics card is about to bite the dust, what do you have to lose?

Car Rental Review Geneva, Switzerland - Resident Advise :)

This is a short review of car rentals available in Geneva, Switzerland. I hope to expand this review as soon as I get more facts and figures from the rental places.

I have experienced all of these services mentioned below so this is not a review based on other articles.

Mobility Car Sharing 

First of all if you are planning in staying in Geneva for more than 4 months there is a perfect solution to car rentals from

You could write them an email and explain your situation. They normally asks for a resident permits but given that you are planning in staying for more than 4 months they should be ok in providing you with a trial supscription  for 4 months. you can reduce the trial subscription to 40 CHF if you have a cumulus card from Migros supermarkets. Its available at the reception at any Migros free of charge.

Now let me go through the Mobility car sharing program. The program offers cars from sizes Mini to large passenger vans.

You can have a look at the available range from this link -

The program allows you to rent any one of the vehicles in the mentioned link on a hourly basis and per kilometre.

the rates are available here -

First you got to book a car from their internet booking portal or via the Iphone app or the customer service line. calling them is not advised for bookings because they charge you a fee for every minute.

Then you can visit the location that is nearest to you and unlock the car via the plastic credit card sized access card. the car keys are available in the glove box or in the place marked with a sticker. You do the same when you are done with your journey.

Click here to see how it all works at the Mobility website

I'm not going to go through all the details or repeat them, you can find all the dets at their website

Before I come to major car rental companies I should mention a company called

Patrick Location SA

If you dont mind driving a little older car which is three four years old then you are going to be saving a whole lot of money. these guys are having a small three door Fiat Seicentos available for 40 CHF a day with 100 km's. You can check out their website for more details.

Well there is newer and bigger cars from 65 CHF as well. I've had one of those 3 door Fiats for few days and it was all good. The deposit is around 1000 CHF which is a downer but then again if you are safe driver you got nothing to worry about. Geneva is a safe town to drive.

To be continued ......

Photo by nocklebeast

Android Parental Control Contains Kid Access to Your Smartphone


Android: I've often given my son my phone to play Angry Birds, and at least twice he's managed to delete contacts or emails. Android Parental Control helps users lockdown their phones so kids can only use apps that you have approved; an admin password is required to access any restricted app. Additionally, the app can be set to launch as soon as the phone boots so clever kids can't get around the restrictions by rebooting the phone.
You can also enable "Safe Sandbox" mode to show a screen with approved apps your kids can access. This is great for little explorers who are frustrated when they can't open the apps they want to try. The only apps they see are the ones you've previously selected that they can see.
The app works well and is free. If you want the ability to let kids play games or watch videos on your phone without having to worry about them accessing inappropriate apps or deleting info, you should definitely check it out. The app has not had an update since last December, but the developers seem to frequently use the app's Facebook page.
Android Parental Control is a free app available in the Android Market.
Android Parental Control | Android Market

Download Windows 7 ISOs to Reinstall Without Restoring Your System

Windows - If you've just bought a new laptop or pre-built desktop running Windows it's more than likely you do not have a disc with the operating system. You may have a restore disc or hard drive partition that will restore your computer to factory settings, but having an actual disc to install Windows is good to have if you need to reinstall just your operating system.
Why wouldn't you want to use the restore disc? Your computer doesn't just have Windows, it also has free trials of several programs, various toolbars, and other bloatware that slows down your system. You need an install disc for Windows so that if it becomes necessary to reinstall you won't have to spend an hour removing unwanted software.
Luckly, you can download full ISOs (disc images) of the various types of Windows 7 from Microsoft and These ISOs were put there to be freely available for customers who purchase copies of Windows7 online, but if you have a legit product key there is no reason you can't use the ISOs to make your own Windows install disc. Tech blog My Digital Life has collected several download links for all versions of Windows 7. See the link below to download.Photo by Indi Samarajiva.
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