Linux Windows

VMWare Workstation 7 and Ubuntu 9.10 Easy Install – Too easy?

I’ve got a company laptop for the weekend and wanted to take Ubuntu 9.10 for a spin. Using wubi (and then later uninstalling it) would probably have worked, but I haven’t used the latest version of VMWare, so let’s have a look at how well the new VMWare 7 handles the equally new Ubuntu distro with Easy Install.

Based on the disk image I chose, VMWare Workstation already knew I was installing Ubuntu. It prompted me for my full name, desired username, and password. Next thing I know VMWare Workstation is blowing past any of the usual prompts during the bootup process of a Ubuntu install and formatting the partition.

Wait… what just happened? Easy Install makes a new installation almost too easy, so far!

Linux Mac Windows

Exporting From WebMail into Gmail/IMAP Using Thunderbird

Most of you have heard the news, as each day goes by, Yahoo will likely succumb to Microsoft’s advances. As such, I’ve decided that now is a good time as any to migrate all of my email from Yahoo and MSN accounts into a Google-Apps-Powered account.

The easiest to use tool I’ve found so far is a plugin for Mozilla’s Thunderbird called WebMail. This extension is so slick, it sets up a local POP3, IMAP, and SMTP server that proxies requests from the mail client to the web interface for a ton of different webmail sites, like Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL, and more.

So I had several thousand emails loaded into both an old Yahoo mail account, as well as an email address I’ve been wanting to get rid of forever. The problem with both of these services is that you have to pay around $20 apeice to get POP3 or Office Outlook Connector access, respectively.

I’m not willing to pay money for something that their biggest competetor (GMail) provides for free. This is MY email, MY correspondance, and MY time invested. Similar to the problem Robert Scoble had with Facebook and a beta version of Plaxo, I did get temporarily banned from Yahoo for accessing their webmail with a third party program, and got a nasty error 999 message, and absolutely ZERO support from Yahoo until it cleared itself up – took a few hours and the IP-address-ban was gone.

The most upsetting part is that they provide a “free” service to switch to Yahoo! Mail, including importing all your contacts, mail, etc and pulling it all into a walled garden that you’re not allowed to remove anything from after it’s in there. Vendor lock-in is a crutch, and thanks to the WebMail extension for Thunderbird, it’s a weak crutch now.

How well does it work? Let’s just say that as of today I’ve got some emails in my Gmail account that go back to 1998!!! Hot damn!

The method is pretty easy. Install Thunderbird, then pickup the WebMail Extension plus add-ons for each webmail service you’ll use, configure the plugin to use whatever ports you like, then add your webmail accounts into Thunderbird.

The WebMail extension works as a proxy between your email client and the website that has your email on it. When you click “Get Mail” in Thunderbird, the addon actually goes to (as an example), logs in as you, and clicks on Inbox, then reports back to Thunderbird what it sees in the language Thunderbird understands, IMAP, POP3, or SMTP.

It’s really non-techie friendly too, there’s no major configuration needed or anything really technical to figure out.

The best part is once you have the email inside Thunderbird, you can drag and drop or cut and paste emails from one account into another at will. I was able to move several thousand emails from my Yahoo! and MSN accounts into my Google Apps account very quickly. Sometimes it chokes on emails without a subject or very large (10MB+) emails, but those are easily forwarded manually.

Big thumbs up to the WebMail folks, this extension is hot and works like a charm! So what’s stopping you from importing email from your old accounts? You could be find some pictures from Argentina that your friend Rick sent you two years ago. 🙂

rich-y-agueda-2.jpg summer.jpg

For those of you who aren’t into the whole Valentine’s Day thing, if I don’t see you until tomorrow, Happy Ubuntu Bug Hug Day!

Linux Mac Windows

Using Mozilla Prism To Run Web Apps Seamlessly

Prism is a new side project by the Mozilla team. It’s a nifty way to run specific web applications in an embedded browser of sorts.

If you haven’t seen it yet, imagine a letterboxed web browser – all you see is the content. There is nothing else showing in the window – back/forward navigation buttons, location bar, status bar, all gone.

I’ve found a dozen uses for it, but I think my two favorites are embedded videos (like Chris Pirillo) and Google Reader.

Prism is available for all major platforms – Linux, Mac and Windows. It’s really simple, just install it (or unzip it) and open up the Prism progam, and fill out the information it asks for, like URL or Name.

Prism does not share cookies or any other settings with Firefox, Internet Explorer, or Safari. This is nice if you have separate accounts and don’t want to mix things up.

In Ubuntu 7.10, I setup a Widget Layer rule in Advanced Desktop Effects Settings (ccsm) to match all windows set to be “Always On Top” using the following rule: state=above This setting lets me easily toggle windows to be set as a widget (or not) by simply setting the window as “Always On Top” after right clicking the title bar. Really simple to setup, then just F9 by default to view the widget layer.

Here’s a screenshot of my current setup:

Do you use Prism or Widget Layer rules in a creative way? Let me know in the comments.


Sometimes A Picture Says A Thousand Words

ut3.jpgI feel betrayed and deceived. I’m livid with Epic Games right now. For the first time in months I’ve installed Windows, just to play a video game. There is STILL NO LINUX client!The upshot of this is that I’ll be able to compare Vista performance with Linux when it comes out… if ever.

Linux Windows

The REAL Fix For Comcast BitTorrent Throttling

First, a little explanation may be needed as to what is happening in between our computers, Comcast and the Internet.
Comcast is using a packet filtering platform called Sandvine. This platform is a at its core, a Quality of Service system that has legitimate uses, such as giving high priority to Xbox Live communications and VOIP packets. 

Unfortunately, Comcast has decided to use Sandvine (some say illegally) to impersonate us and send a reset packet (known as an RST flag), which is exactly like the Chinese goverment filters the internet!  (PDF)

TorrentFreak hinted on August 22nd, is that someone was working on a fix for Comcast users.

“…we know that at least two BitTorrent client developers are including this fix in their next update.” –TorrentFreak 

It’s two weeks later, where is the fix!?  And just exactly how do you find out if you’re being throttled by Comcast?  And how can we figure out how to avoid this traffic shaping?