Monday, April 30, 2012

My experience upgrading to 12.04 then downgrading to 11.10

7 Jamadilakhir 1433H, Ahad.

Update: 5th May 2012, Sa.

Assalamualaikum. Last Friday (27th April 2012M), i tried to upgrade my laptop from Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot to Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin. Somewhere in the upgrade process, the system froze. Ctrl+Alt+Del didn't work. Alt+F2 didn't work. The only thing that worked was a force shutdown. Affects of that action showed after the login screen (at the next and succeeding startups); a black screen and cursor. No menus, no Panel. Just a black screen and a cursor.

My husband on the other hand had just formatted his laptop, switching from Windows to Ubuntu. He was much luckier in the upgrade than me. He managed to upgrade his laptop to Ubuntu 12.04 albeit with much difficulty which was probably caused by Nvidia graphics driver. Graphics on his laptop is a gamer's repellent; the resolution is low.

Update: 5th May 2012, Sa. He has solved his graphics driver problem by installing a beta driver obtained from Nvidia's website.

Seeing that Ubuntu 12.04 has problems with Nvidia, he suggested me to downgrade from 12.04 to 11.10. Both our machines run Nvidia graphic cards by the way.

Before the downgrade, to be safe, i made copies of my work; my husband rebooted using the Ubuntu 11.10 Live CD to access the system. The problem is i can't find my files in the Documents folder, Downloads folder, Music folder, Pictures folder, and Videos folder, also files on the Desktop. i've been searching in folders but couldn't find the contents of those folders. My husband says the files are there somewhere but doesn't know the location.

So, what's the directory to those folders? Or are the files in those folders gone? ... which means about 6 months worth of screenshots and downloaded files are gone for good.

With time running out, menus not loading, graphics problem and all, formatting was the best way out of the problem. i surrendered this task to my husband ;)

Luckily way before the upgrade i had run monthly backups, from browser bookmarks to browser settings to files on the Desktop to fonts in the system. The only thing to do is a restore. My latest backup was on 26th April. Thus anything between the last backup and recent upgrade/downgrade are gone. Of all the things, the only folder i didn't backup was the Downloads folder :'-( and of course the Trash folder.

After Downgrading
Now am back to Ubuntu 11.10. As seen in Pic 1, there are 398 updates. Programs such as Kile, GIMP, etc need to be re-installed. The upgrade/downgrade coupled with slow Internet connection, it's almost 4 days of downtime... and increasing.

Pic 1 - i kid you not... 398 updates!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Jailbreaking iPhone 3G with RedSn0w to makeway for PwnPlayer -- a Ubuntunian attempts

8 Jamadilawal 1433H, Ju.


Seeing that this post is sort of wordy, i've divided it into chapters to lighten up the read =)


This post is about my experience with handphones, iOS, jailbreaking, Windows, and Ubuntu, that went on discontinuously from about Jumaat petang (Friday afternoon) until Subuh prayers the next day.

i'm not a hacker nor cracker. i'm just an ordinary user who uses others' workarounds or solutions and try to improvise where/whenever i can... at least by explaining in detail the steps that work for me =).

The jailbreak attempts deducted in total about RM30 of prepaid credit when my sim card was inside the iPhone for activating after restoring. When jailbreaking next time, either use a post-paid sim card with data plan or find another way to activate without a sim card.

And my courier thinks i've just upgraded to a new smartphone :-\. See Pic 1.

The final results?
See Pic 11 and Pic 12 =)

Pic 1 - Screenshot of the SMS from my courier.

Chapter 1: The settings

i "inherited" my husband's old iPhone 3G after he bought a Samsung Galaxy Nexus and at the same time gave away his old Nokia 5800 XpressMusic to someone who needed it more than me.

If you're a little confused which handphone came after which: the old Motorola Razr 3 was replaced by the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic, which was replaced by the iPhone 3G, and later by the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.

The Nokia was used as an MP3 player because of its external storage space, a massive 8 Gig compared to my phone's 1 Gig. Without the Nokia, the iPhone is forced to serve as the replacement.

However, the problem with iPhone for Ubuntunians is transferring songs from the computer to the phone. Without using iTunes, the iPod app (not to be confused with the iPod devices) won't detect songs transferred to the phone using the simple Copy+Paste method; the same transfer method i used with the Nokia.

i had to search for a way to transfer songs from my laptop to the phone while at the same time bypassing iTunes... because i'm running Ubuntu! Otherwise i'd have to purchase a brand new MP3 player and turn the iPhone into a pricey paperweight. The search pointed to PwnPlayer, an app almost as good as the iPod app.

As mentioned in this previous post: How to solve Flash problems on Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot, the new laptop has dual boot; Ubuntu and Windows 7. Funny that i had forgotten totally about the dual boot. But i just don't feel like running back to using Windows just because i can't find an alternative in Ubuntu.

Chapter 2: The problems

The iPhone was previously jailbroken with a version of whited00r, which made the App Store unaccessible through the App Store button but accessible through Safari. -- Tedious for me. Something needed to be done about this. And the simplest i can think of is: update then jailbreak with something else.

But i've never jailbreaked + i don't know how to!

And my husband has forgotten how.

During the jailbreak learning-time i managed, successfully, and many times too, to brick the iPhone without realizing... until i read much more about bricking =p

The funny thing is: PwnPlayer was long dead! The website domain exists but without content. The app isn't listed in App Store nor is it in Cydia. -- Something i found out after many hours learning how and trying to jailbreak the iPhone just to install PwnPlayer.

Update: 8th Apr 2012. The player is listed in Cydia (apparently i didn't wait long enough for the search results to load) but not in App Store. Sorry for the mistake.

Update: 3 Zulkaedah 1433H / 19 Sep 2012M, Ra.
I got it right the first time; PwnPlayer is not listed in the App Store nor Cydia. Thus to install the player, you'd have to get the app from elsewhere. See Chapter 4.

So, how did i make repeated mistakes there?
-- PwnPlayer will appear listed in Cydia after the player's installation.

In other words:
(i) Before install: PwnPlayer is not listed in the App Store nor Cydia.
(ii) Installed PwnPlayer.
(iii) After install: PwnPlayer is not listed in the App Store but is listed in Cydia.

Sorry, again.

Where did i learn about PwnPlayer in the first place?
From a 2009 article, here: 6 Ways To Sync Music To Your iPhone Without iTunes.

Chapter 3: The Jailbreaking solution

In order for jailbreaking, the laptop had to be rebooted to switch from Ubuntu to Windows. While waiting for iTunes to download, i read then followed some random jailbreak article at first.

Then followed how to jailbreak, here:
... at the moment the bookmarked page is in Windows, not Ubuntu...

i should have followed how to jailbreak, here:
HOW TO: Jailbreak iOS 4.2.1 iPhone 4, 3gs, 3g, iPad, iPodTouch with Redsn0w 0.9.6b4

The iPhone now runs firmware 4.2.1 which is a bit slow but not as bad as my previous failed jailbreak. The screen flickered whenever i swiped or opened apps. Two reasons for the flickering i can think of but unsure which is the cause are:
- used IPSW 4.1 instead of 4.2.1 when the phone was already updated to 4.2.1, or
- selected Enable multitasking

Thanks to the Dev Team for redsn0w.

Chapter 4: The PwnPlayer solution

i followed how to install PwnPlayer, here:
PwnPlayer Lite Download for iOS 4.0+
using the iFile method. Wasn't successful with the OpenSSH method.

There are lacking features, probably because it's a lite version:
  • the player has no loop feature. Once you've reached the end of the last song, you'll have to manually restart the playlist.
  • unable to continue playing in the background like on the Nokia.

Thank you to Eric Castro for PwnPlayer. The player is great!

Chapter 5: An additional solution

One thing with PwnPlayer that made hopes sunk was: Why some songs played for a few seconds then the app closes suddenly but other songs played on? What are the differences between those two "types" of songs?

A hunch brought to this solution which works for me but might or might not work for others. By now i've already rebooted again to switch from Windows to Ubuntu.

1. Any tag editor supposedly can do the job. i used Audio Tag Tool.

Referring to Pic 2, to install Audio Tag Tool:
i. Run Ubuntu Software Center.
ii. In the search field, type-in "audio tag tool".
iii. To read more about Audio Tag Tool, click the More Info button. To straightaway install, click the Install button.

Notice that once Audio Tag Tool is installed, the Install button will turn into the Remove button.

Pic 2 - Refer Step 1. Searching for Audio Tag Tool in Ubuntu Software Center.

2. After installation is complete, run Audio Tag Tool.

3. In the Working Directory section, locate the folder containing the songs that need fixing. Mine is in the Downloads folder as seen in Pic 3.

Pic 3 - Refer Step 3. Locating the song folder.

4. In the Files section, select the "problematic" song. Refer to Pic 3

The song i'm using is a nasyid by Mishary Rashid Alafasy titled طلع البدر علينا مشاري راشد العفاسي (Talaa al-badru alaina) which loosely translates as "The full moon has dawned upon us".

To listen to another version of Talaa al-badru alaina along with Malay translation, go here: Selawat Badar oleh Zulkarnain Mat Nor.

5. In the Tag section, select the Encoded by field.

Decide either to:

(a) remove the field, or
i. To remove the field, click the Remove button (B in Pic 3). The Encoded by field will be removed.

(b) edit the field's text.
i. To edit the field, click the Edit button (A in Pic 3).
ii. Referring to Pic 4, in the Edit ID3 Field window; in the Text field, delete the texts. Then click the OK button. The Encoded by field will remain but with no text.

Pic 4 - Refer Step 5(b). Editing the text for the Encoded by field.

6. Click the Save Changes button. See Pic 5.

This step is indifferent to whichever action you chose in Step 5.

Pic 5 - Refer Step 6. Saving the changes.

7.  Transfer the song from your computer to your song folder in the iPhone via simple Copy+Paste. Then run PwnPlayer. By now the song should play without causing the app to close.

i use the default directory set by PwnPlayer. See Pic 6 (directory in PwnPlayer), Pic 7 (folder in iPhone), and Pic 8 (playing the song mentioned in Step 4).

Pic 6 - Refer Step 7. Screenshot of the song folder directory in PwnPlayer.

Pic 7 - Refer Step 7. Screenshot showing the Music folder in iPhone. Contents of the folder are shown in Pic 9.

Pic 8 - Refer Step 7. Playing the nasyid.

Chapter 6: Note

Simply put, songs transferred to the iPhone without using iTunes will not be detected by the iPod app; the songs are there but not recognized.

However, songs transferred as taught in Step 7 (Copy+Paste) will be detected and played by PwnPlayer as long as you point it to the corresponding folder.

As can be seen in Pic 9, there are 9 song files in the Music folder in the iPhone. But none of the songs are recognized by the system as can be seen by the number of Songs in Pic 10.

Pic 9 - Content of the Music folder in iPhone. The folder itself is shown in Pic 7.

Pic 10 - No songs are picked-up by the system although the song files exist in the folder. This happened because the files were not transferred using iTunes.

The iPhone 3G is now running jailbroken firmware 4.2.1 and is installed with PwnPlayer Lite v0.1b1 (see Pic 12). Screenshot in Pic 11 shows the PwnPlayer icon =).

Pic 11 - Screenshot of the iPhone's current state. The Player icon launches PwnPlayer.

Pic 12 - Screenshot of PwnPlayer version: PwnPlayer Lite v0.1b1.