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Tips and Tricks: Hard Reset of your Motorola Droid

Unfortunately, this is something that sometimes needs to be done with a phone. Fortunately, outside of your applications, contact information can be synced from your Google account and such, so restoration isn’t as terrible as you may think.

For me, it was the official Twitter application that hosed my phone up. When you have a lot of contacts, my suggestion is that you do not sync your Twitter contact information. Since it doesn’t ask where to store the information, it stores it directly on the phone memory which will fill up and basically leave you with an always syncing phone.

To hard rest your Motorola Droid:

  1. Turn the Droid off.
  2. Open the keyboard.
  3. Hold the X key and hit the power button. Keep holding the X button down until a yellow triangle appears on the screen.
  4. Press the camera and volume up buttons at the same time to get to the menu.
  5. Use the directional pad to the right of the keyboard to select the Format option.

Once you format the phone, it’ll basically set it up like it was at the store. Fortunately, you don’t have to go through the entire process of letting the system know what your ESN is and what not, since that should already be in the system. The rest is just setting the phone back up to however you had it before.

Tips and Tricks: Booting Your Droid to Safe Mode

First off, I hope that you never have to read this, since if you are, that means that something crazy has happened to your Droid and I feel for you already.

Sometimes, there are applications out there that don’t have checks and balances that really should be done when looking at the Droid. Fortunately, there is a way to boot the device into safe mode:

  1. Turn off phone.
  2. Open the keyboard.
  3. Hold down the Menu and hit the power button. Continue to hold the menu button until splash screen.

If you do these steps, you should see it boot with “Safe Mode” in the lower left hand corner. Good luck!

Workarounds for Ubuntu 10.04 Migration

So far, I’ve upgraded several boxes to Ubuntu’s new 10.04 LTS version and I have to say that this is probably the first version that I’m sort of disappointed with the upgrade procedures.

It wasn’t tested very well. The entire grub-legacy to grub2 configuration is actually not as well tested considering that if you have a one drive system, then it works brilliantly. But who here has more than two harddrives in their system? Also, there were patches and such that I don’t understand from a perspective of kernel commits.

Let’s start with the netbook. I have a HP Mini 210 for work that I upgraded to 10.04 in a hotel room. It was actually fairly good upgrade since it was one drive, although I was hoping for the 10-15 second boot time that Canonical was supposedly working on which didn’t happen. I actually believe that the boot has slowed down a little bit but I haven’t bothered to benchmark it. I think that the worst of the netbook upgrade was the fact that the synaptics clickpad patch that was committed has about half the distance that the original patch to set up clickzones had. This makes right clicking very difficult since the area that is dedicated for the non-pad function is about the width of half of your pinky. Nothing you can do about this until they commit a new kernel patch unless you want to patch the clickpad yourself.

Upgrading a workstation is more painful, especially if you dual boot with Windows. The one thing you have to pay attention to is the grub install. You MUST install the bootloader on the first boot drive, which is usually the one with Windows. Not the one that it detects in the upgrade where your linux install is which is generally the secondary drive. If you don’t do this, then you’ll run into this issue and need to run the fix.

Another annoying part of it was that the install doesn’t really default to vga drivers when proprietary drivers fail. So when I had my GFX5200 fail out and display some messed up things where you couldn’t make heads or tails of it, you couldn’t boot directly into commandline (at least not off the top of my head in grub2). That required me to install a fresh install from CD to fix the issue since I couldn’t access the box if I couldn’t see what was on the screen. Very annoying.

It would be interesting if Canonical actually created a method to define which packages could be installed with the default configurations from the install CD.

Either way, this upgrade has not been the most smooth of the versions. I’m hoping to see that there are changes in this LTS version where it becomes a little bit more stable on upgrade migrations.

Dropbox being Blocked in China

About two hours ago, in the forums, it seems that Dropbox has been blocked by China.

There really isn’t any reports on why this has happened or why Dropbox has joined the ranks of Twitter, Facebook and the rest, but one could probably speculate the fact that since they do allow sharing of files and some public urls of files, which could be used in anti-government actions. However, there hasn’t been anything that has surfaced so no one really knows why this action has been taken.

Tips and Tricks: Making Your Netbook Touchpad Work with Ubuntu

I recently loaded my work netbook with Ubuntu 9.10, Karmic Koala. What’s interesting is that with the HP Mini 210, the touchpad is an integrated key/touchpad. Which means you can run into some really nastiness when it comes to trying to click or right click since the mouse will move to place where you’re “pressing” for the click.

Annoying.

Fortunately, someone had gone through the trouble of figuring out a patch for the touchpad so that the area where there’s supposed to be clicking buttons deactivates the sensors which makes it infinitely more useful. Just follow the directions there and patch the linux source and create yourself a new patched kernel module to run that actually makes the touchpad function as it should.

Brilliance of open source, eh? Now if only they figured out how to make multi-touch scrolling and such like the Mac… and believe me. Someone is probably already working on it.