How To Make Your Android Phone Look Like 2.3 Gingerbread Before It’s Released

The Android world is abuzz about Gingerbread, AKA Android 2.3, Google’s latest release of its mobile phone OS. Unfortunately, the Gingerbread hasn’t been released on many devices yet–as of now it’s only stable on the Nexus One and the yet-to-be-released Nexus S. Just because you can’t install the OS on your device doesn’t mean you can’t fool your friends into thinking you have it with some quick and easy interface tweaks.
Two of the biggest changes in Gingerbread are the Launcher app and the stock keyboard, and both of these have been stripped out of the OS and made available for most who are interested, aside from some minimum requirements.

The Gingerbread keyboard has a new look and functionality improvements

1. 2.3 Gingerbread Keyboard
The Gingerbread keyboard has been given a total overhaul, from a new look to a much more spacious button layout. Droid Life has a quick run-though of the keyboard’s features on YouTube, and if you’re interested in installing it, follow along:
Thanks to Peter Alfonso of Bugless Beast fame, the best ROM for the Original Droid, we have a port of the Android 2.3 keyboard that can be installed on any Android 2.2 device with root access. This process requires root and the ability to flash ZIP files to your phone, so you’ll also need ClockworkMod or SPRecovery on your device to load up this file.
Again: This process requires both Android 2.2 and root access

  1. Download the ZIP with the 2.3 keyboard HERE.
  2. Mount your phone’s SDCard on a PC, copy the ZIP file you downloaded to the root directory.
  3. Reboot your phone into recovery mode
  4. Install the ZIP file you just copied to your SDCard.
  5. When it’s done flashing, reboot your phone, long press on any text field, and select “Android Keyboard.”
  6. After that, you should be good to go! Enjoy showing off your fancy new keyboard to your friends.

2. 2.3 Gingerbread Launcher

Gingerbread also includes a new launcher with snappier animations, refined graphics and a few other new features. This launcher also been ported to 2.1/2.2 Android phones, and is available on the Market for free.
Simply download an app called “Gingerbread Launcher” from the market, and the next time you return to your home screens, Android will ask you what homescreen app you’d like to use. Select “Launcher” and check the box to remember. You’re now up and running with the Gingerbread launcher!
If you’re using a custom launcher like LauncherPro and would rather stick with that, you can get the Gingerbread icons for your device as well. Just follow Droid Life’s excellent instructions.
In the event that you’ve loaded up Gingerbread Launcher and set it as your default but you want to go back to your old launcher, here’s how to do that.

  1. Click the menu button on your phone and select settings
  2. Select “Manage Applications”
  3. Find the “Gingerbread Launcher” app in the list
  4. Click the “Clear Defaults” button
  5. The next time you go to your homescreen, Android will let you choose which homescreen app you’d like to use again.

After you’ve completed these steps, your phone should be a close to Gingerbread-looking as it can get right now! All we need to complete the process is a new notification bar, or, you know, the OS itself. Let the waiting game begin!

A Major Disaster: Losing Everything On Your Computer

When purchasing a hard drive, most people look at the storage available, the speed, the price, and the warranty. The manufacturer’s warranty will be the last thing on your mind if there is a major hard drive failure. To put it in very simple terms, everything on your hard drive could be inaccessible. Everything on the hard drive could be gone.

Of course, there are recovery services that might be able to save some of the data. However, there are no guarantees and, whether successful or not, such services are expensive. And you will want your files, pictures, music, and all that data on your hard drive. You will be looking for all those registration numbers for those software programs that you use. You will not be thinking much about that warranty.

Avoid this disaster. It is possible to safeguard yourself from this catastrophe.

You have heard people say it repeatedly: “do a backup of your data.” Yes, do a backup of your hard drive. It is not difficult. That hard drive you are using will fail. It happens to everyone. Hard drives do not last indefinitely. Problems with the hard drive are a matter of “when,” not “if.”

If you are one of our readers who is doing academic work, you cannot afford a computer disaster at this time of the year. Do a backup copy of all your school stuff. We know some students who do two backup copies and keep one copy off the premises.

To make this as easy and as economical for you as possible, here is a bargain from Acronis. It is the Acronis True Image Home 2010 and the True Image Plus Pack add-on. This will give you continuous data protection and there is a forty dollar ($40.00) discount.

True Image Home 2010 supports Windows XP SP3, Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, Windows Vista SP2 (all editions) and Windows 7 (all editions).

This offer is valid until March 31, 2010.

There are really too many features to list. We are familiar with the excellent features of the Acronis programs and have no hesitation in recommending this software. Please take the time to see what these programs offer for your security. As readers know, we always prompt you to beware of malware and to take steps to protect your computer(s). Doing backups gives you protection. It gives you a copy of your hard drive in case the malware is impossible to remove and doing strange things to your machine. The precaution to remember is that, when you do make the backup copy, just make sure that the copy is free from any malware infections.

Take a few minutes to look at this offer from Acronis. It is exceptional. Thanks to Acronis for this generous price for our readers.

All Up In Your Business

Among our readers are those individuals who run small businesses and have the responsibility for many computers. A common complaint that is heard is that it is very time consuming to protect and restore data for all those machines. To make it easier to manage workstations, we are recommending Acronis Backup & Recovery.

“Built to protect the intellectual property in desktops and laptops in small enterprises, Acronis Backup & Recovery 10 Workstation provides optimized data protection and ease of operation. It creates an exact disk image of your office desktop and allows you to back up key data files and folders. Designed to simplify system restores, users can perform self-service recovery for files and folders in moments without administrator intervention. Even an entire Windows system can be restored in minutes using an Acronis one-click restore feature.”

This programs offers a multitude of features. One that bears mentioning is encryption, which is included. Using this security procedure should be part of everyday policy. This Acronis program supports operating systems from Windows 2000 to Windows 7.

For a limited time, Acronis is offering our readers over a twelve percent discount (12%+). This offer is effective from February 2 to February 10, 2010.

Now it is possible to free the tech person from doing repetitive tasks. And just saving that tech person a few hours more than justifies the cost of this Acronis backup and restoration program.

More Acronis coupons:

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Doing Data Backup Has Never Been More Economical

Experienced computer users harp on this and we have for years. Do a backup of your data. Do the backups often. It just prevents so many disasters.

Think for a minute and consider the trouble in which you would find yourself if everything on your hard drive was gone. Absolutely everything can be inaccessible if there is a hard drive failure. It becomes a ‘situation critical.’

Think also if your laptop, netbook, or even your desktop were stolen. It would be another disaster situation.

The time and possible money lost could be considerable. And we are trying to prevent these sort of disasters from happening to any of our readers. There are some things on your computer, like pictures, that simply are irreplaceable. You want to protect those files and you do so by doing a backup of your data. What would happen if you lost all those class lecture notes on your laptop?

Disasters happen to all of us who have spent much time on the computer. Hard drives do fail — and will fail. It doesn’t matter what brand it is. And the manufacturer’s guarantee will be meaningless because you just want your data back. The manufacturer’s guarantee will be the last thing on your mind because you will be focused on retrieving your data. That can be an expensive job, if it is even possible. You will want your data files — all your music, all your pictures, all your software — everything back.

All that aggravation can be prevented. For your own security, prepare for a hard drive failure now. No, don’t wait. Really, don’t wait. Do the backups now; make copies regularly. Some people do a daily backup. And if the information on your hard drive is really important, make multiple backup copies. Here is a program that will do this for you. It is the well known Acronis True Image program. The backup can be done easily:

Acronis True Image Home 2010 meets home user needs with a simple, yet comprehensive, backup and disaster recovery solution. This is a unique consumer software, providing a full set of advanced features in an affordable and easy-to-use solution.”

This is the latest version of the Acronis program, updated to work with Windows 7. We have worked really, really hard and secured a terrific discount for our readers. A twenty dollar ($20.00) discount is significant. That is a forty percent discount! From now until January 31, 2010, you can save twenty dollars on this excellent, award winning program.

Use this program to protect your data. The backup can save you beyond a hard drive disaster, and it can help if you have a bad computer infection. If you have a virus or malware problem, you will have an extra layer of protection. Restoration of a clean system can be simple. Just make sure that you are making a copy when your computer is free from malware, spyware and other infections. Otherwise, you will be replicating the problem. And you can find in our archives the security programs that we recommend. Don’t risk what you have on that hard drive. Acronis is an excellent layer of security and you want to make a regular habit of using it. And this program is easy to use.

The time that you spend doing a backup is that “ounce of prevention.” It is well worth your time. Ask anyone who has spent time with a computer. Disasters will happen. You don’t want to start doing backups because you learned ‘the hard way.’ Learn from other people’s mistakes. We have made those goofs. There are many experienced computer users with horror stories of lost data. That’s one computing experience that you do not want to have. This Acronis True Image program will save you from having horror stories like that to tell.

On The Side Of Partitioning

There should be an image here!There are really two schools of thought. Some people see no need in partitioning. The opposite camp views partitioning as a valuable tool for organizing, for security, and for overall efficiency. Many of our readers are on the side of partitioning and the following argument will support that position.

One of the best arguments on the side of partitioning was given by Mitch Tulloch, in an article for Microsoft. The three major points on which Mitch bases his argument are:

  1. Partitioning organizes work
  2. Partitioning safeguards the data
  3. Partitioning increases the computer’s performance

The full text of Mitch Tulloch’s discussion can be found in this article: Best practices for partitioning a hard disk.

One of the points that Mitch makes is: “At the end of each month I copy last month’s subfolders archive to CD, label it by date, and put it somewhere safe. That way I have last month’s backup ready if both my hard disks fail from a lightning bolt hitting my office, or my computer is infected with a virus, or a thief steals my computer.” Needless to say, the security programs should be run to make certain that the backup is not infected.

There are numerous benefits of the Acronis Disk Director Suite. For example, it is possible to use it to restore boot records, recover partitions, and so forth. Edward Mendelson, in PC Magazine, said: “Our test system (running Acronis Recovery Expert) worked effortlessly and quickly to find and restore a Linux partition that had been deleted months ago. If you’ve ever lost a partition to buggy or malicious software, this utility alone may be worth the price [of Acronis Disk Director Suite].”

Acronis Disk Director Suite is one of the most popular and well-used partitioning programs. It has won industry recommendations and users’ praise. The many main features can be found here: Disk Management and Partitioning.

The Acronis Disk Management and Partitioning program is easy to use and effective. It supports Windows (NT 4, 98, ME, 2000, XP, Vista). And, until December 9, 2009, the Acronis people are offering our readers an amazing thirty percent (30%) discount. Use this link for the discount.

This program is a CNET Editors’ Choice Award winner: “A suite of utilities that will keep your hard disk healthy. An excellent set of tools that will allow you to keep your hard disk healthy and organised.” The Acronis Disk Management Suite has had many third party reviews and it has been top rated. Thanks to the Acronis people for the generous offering for our readers.

Gnomie Discount For Acronis Backup Software

There should be an image here!It should be a simple rule that every computer user should follow: back up your data. It is not a matter of “if” your computer will give you problems. It is a matter of “when.” This applies to everyone. Students, for example, should back up regularly. Your whole academic year, with notes, papers, presentation, lecture material and other necessary things are on that laptop and/or desktop. And of course, there are the music, games and other personal stuff there too. If a hard drive fails, your academic year can be put in jeopardy. This is only one example. Everyone has important material on the computer.

Disasters happen to all of us who have spent much time on the computer. Hard drives do fail – and will fail. It doesn’t matter what brand it is. And the manufacturer’s guarantee will be meaningless because you just want your data back. If you do not have a backup of your data, everything can be gone. This means all your data files, all your music, all your pictures, all your software… everything.

Imagine, for example, all the time, energy and frustration to find all the registration codes of that software that used to be working just fine. Recovering from a hard drive failure can be expensive. Salvaging data from a failed drive might cost hundreds (and perhaps thousands) of dollars. And even then, there are no guarantees that the hard drive recovery specialists can be successful.

All that aggravation can be prevented. Prepare for a hard drive failure now. No, don’t wait. Really, don’t wait. Do the backups now; do copies regularly. And if the information on your hard drive is really important, do multiple backup copies. Here is a program that will do this for you. It is the well known Acronis True Image Program. The backup can be done easily:

Acronis True Image Home 2010 meets home user needs with a simple, yet comprehensive, backup and disaster recovery solution. This is a unique consumer software, providing a full set of advanced features in an affordable and easy-to-use solution.

This is the latest version of the Acronis program. It was released just recently. We tried to secure a good discount and managed to have them knock off a few dollars. Since this is program is so new, even a few dollars off is a victory. From now until October 7, 2009, you can save a few dollars on this excellent program.

Use this program to protect your data. The backup can save you beyond a hard drive disaster. It can help if you have a bad computer infection. If you have a virus or malware problem, you will have an extra layer of protection. Restoration of a clean system can be simple. Just make sure that you are making a copy when your computer is free from malware, spyware and other infections. Otherwise, you will be replicating the problem. And you can find in our archives the security programs that we recommend. Don’t risk what you have on that hard drive. Acronis is an excellent layer of security and you want to make it a regular habit of using it.

And don’t think that doing backups is a waste of time. When you have a critical failure on your computer, you will pat yourself on the back for being smart and having a recent backup.

On Which Side Of The Partition Do You Stand?

It is surprising how strongly some people feel about the issue of partitioning or not. Voices are raised — faces become a bit redder — language becomes a bit more colorful. If you are from the school of thought that partitioning is absolutely not necessary, please leave a comment at the bottom of the page. Your point of view is valuable and should be considered.

This presentation, however, will favor partitioning. There will be some of us who will remember the days when, for example, a 3 GB hard drive on your laptop was considered to be “state of the art,” and the cost of that machine was several thousand dollars. Now, that seems archaic, and the hard drives increasingly grow in size — and some are partitioned.

One of the best arguments on the side of partitioning was given by Mitch Tulloch, in an article for Microsoft. The three major points that Mitch basis his argument are:

  • partitioning organizes work
  • partitioning safeguards the data
  • partitioning increases the computer’s performance

One of the points is that Mitch makes is: “At the end of each month, I copy last month’s Archive subfolders to CD, label it by date, and put it somewhere safe. That way I have last month’s backup ready if both my hard disks fail from a lightning bolt hitting my office, or my computer is infected with a virus, or a thief steals my computer.” Needless to say, the security programs should be run to make certain that the backup is not infected.

One of the most popular and well-used partitioning programs is Acronis Disk Director Suite. It has won industry recommendations and users’ praise.

The Acronis Disk Management and Partitioning program is easy to use and effective. It supports Windows (NT 4, 98, ME, 2000, XP, Vista). And, until July 22, 2009, the Acronis people are offering our readers an amazing thirty percent (30%) discount.

This program is a CNET Editors’ Choice Award winner: A suite of utilities that will keep your hard disk healthy. An excellent set of tools that will allow you to keep your hard disk healthy and organized. The Acronis Disk Management program has had many third party reviews and it has been top rated.

Thanks to the Acronis people for the generous offering for our readers.

Acronis Gnomie Discount

There should be an image here!This can happen to anyone. Unfortunately, it happened to a long time Lockergnome chatroom visitor, Catherine (aka ‘Noggie’). I’m sure many of you have seen her in the room. Without any warning whatsoever, her healthy hard drive stopped working. Upon reboot, the operating system could not be initiated. Everything was gone. Fortunately, Catherine did have a backup copy that was almost current. She lost all of her most recent work covering the three days prior to the crash. The irony is that Catherine has written about doing backups, and published some of those articles on the Lockergnome pages and newsletters.

Disasters like this are just a matter of time. It happens to all of us who have spent much time on the computer. Hard drives can — and do — fail. If you do not have a backup of your data, everything can be gone. This means all of your data files, all of your music, all of your pictures, all of your software… everything.

Imagine all the time, energy, and frustration to find all the registration codes of that software that used to be working just fine. Catherine’s hard drive crash could have been much worse. Now, if she wants to try to recover that work from those last three days, it might cost her hundreds (and perhaps thousands) of dollars. And even then, there are no guarantees that the hard drive recovery specialists can be successful.

Save yourself the aggravation. Prepare for a hard drive failure now. No, don’t wait. Really — don’t wait. Do the backups now, and make copies regularly. And if the information on your hard drive is really important, do multiple backup copies. Here is a program that will do this for you. It is the well-known Acronis True Image Program. The backup can be done easily:

Acronis True Image Program is an award-winning backup and recovery solution for a good reason: it protects your PC after just one click and allows you to recover from viruses, unstable software downloads, and failed hard drives. Create an exact copy of your PC and restore it from a major failure in minutes, or back up important files and recover them even faster.”

From now until June 2nd, 2009, you can save fifteen dollars ($15.00!) on this excellent program. That’s 30% off!

Use this program to protect your data. The backup can save you beyond a hard drive disaster. It can help if you have a bad computer infection. If you have a virus or malware problem, you will have an extra layer of protection. Restoration of a clean system can be simple. Just make sure that you are making a copy when your computer is free from malware and other infections. Otherwise, you will be replicating the problem. And you can find in our archives the security programs that we recommend. Believe me — you don’t want to risk what you have on that hard drive. Acronis is an excellent layer of security and, at this price, this program for protecting your computer data is a true bargain.

Special Gnomie Price For Acronis Backup Software

There should be an image here!It frightens me how many people do not back up their data. Not to scare you (well, maybe you should be scared), but that hard drive will fail. It is just a matter of when. And the warranty that you have will mean nothing. Why? The first thing that will cause some high blood pressure is that all that data on the hard drive is lost. Files gone. Music gone. Pictures gone. Software gone. Maybe the hard drive files can be recovered if you send the hard drive to specialists who will charge you an incredible, astronomical amount. And that recovery is not guaranteed.

Please — do yourself a favor. Back up! Here is a program that will do this for you. It is the well known Acronis True Image Program. The backup can be done easily:

“Acronis True Image Home 2009 is an award-winning backup and recovery solution for a good reason: it protects your PC after just one click and allows you to recover from viruses, unstable software downloads, and failed hard drives. Create an exact copy of your PC and restore it from a major failure in minutes, or back up important files and recover them even faster.”

Use this link. It saves you fifteen dollars ($15.00) on a premium security program. That’s 30% off! This terrific offer expires on April 6th, 2009.

Buy this program and do your backups. If you have a virus or malware problem, you will have an extra layer of protection. Save yourself from hard drive failures. Restoration is simple. Just make sure that you are making a copy when your computer is free from malware and other infections. Otherwise, you will be replicating the problem. And you can find in our archives the security programs that we recommend. Believe me — you don’t want to risk what you have on that hard drive. Acronis is an excellent layer of security and the excellent people there are offering our readers a true bargain.

Microsoft Vista – The Hacks Continue

Well there was some assumptions that the new Service Pack #1 for Windows Vista would make it harder for pirates to hack. But it seems for some who have already received the first RTM copies of SP1 this may not be the case. With a little research and some minor know how, one is still able to find a hack that still works with SP1.

Before Windows Vista was released to the public, Microsoft was to toting the fact Vista was going to make it hard for pirates to hack. It was also stated that illegal copies would not be updated. Than it was SP1 improved the anti-pirate mechanisms. On one of the forums one person left this comment:

I’m not sure who MS thinks is stealing vista. I don’t put a padlock on my garbage when I put it out to the curb and by some miracle it doesn’t get stolen unless the robbers come just before garbage pickup.

Yipes! That was cruel. But it does make one wonder. It seems like it has been about 7 years or so that Microsoft has been trying to stop the hacking of their software. For every step they take in adding protections, the hackers find a workaround. The only ones they get stuck playing this silly game is we consumers who must tolerate the verification game.

One would think that a company as large as Microsoft with the resources at hand, they could find a simple way to authenticate our software as being genuine once and not every time we want to download a Microsoft fix, patch, update and so forth. This is getting to be almost as silly as UAC with its  nag screens asking me if I am sure or not.

I am sure I am tired of being nagged and I am sure I am tired of having to provide proof my Windows are legal. How about you?

Comments welcome.

[tags] microsoft, vista, hacks, uac, verification, proof, sp1, hacking, pirates, [/tags]

Google Earth Hacks

The folks over at Google Earth Hacks have done a great job of locating sites of interest from all over the world. Each of the sites can be viewed by themselves or viewed in groups. The site is also setup in categories to make things easier to find. Each of the images as can viewed as a thumbnail or blown up by using the Google Earth software. Once opened in Google Earth you can then view additionals areas in or near the location.

So what makes this site so great? It is a real time waster. :-) I went to view the site, just for a look-see, and the next thing I knew it was 45 minutes later. In addition, most, if not all of the work is done for you. Someone has taken a considerable amount of time locating and categorizing all of the stuff they have found.

So if you have some time to kill, take a look at this site. I don’t believe you will be disappointed at all.

Google Earth Hacks can be found here.

Comments welcome.

[tags]google, earth, hacks, time, waster, [/tags]

More About Firefox 2 Extensions

I don’t publish hacks in this column because I generally write it for beginners. I know, however, that some of you who read it aren’t exactly in that category, so I’m going to make an exception.

This is one that can’t really do any harm. In the cases where it works (most of them that I’ve tried), it could help you to get your favorite extension installed in Firefox 2, even though they haven’t been upgraded. The fact is, most of the old extensions work just fine — all you have to do is tell them it’s OK. Here’s how you do it.

  1. Download the .xpi file by right-clicking the link and selecting “Save link as…”
  2. Change the file name by adding the extension “.zip” (without the quotes, of course). It should read “—.xpi.zip”
  3. Right-click the .zip file and find “install.rdf”
  4. Drag it to the desktop.
  5. Open “install.rdf” in Notepad by right-clicking it and selecting “Open.” You may have to tell it which application to use.
  6. Change the “maxversion” to read 2.0 instead of 1.x.
  7. Save the file.
  8. Drag “install.rdf” to the .zip file and release it.
  9. Click “Yes.”
  10. Delete the unzipped .xpi file, otherwise you won’t be able to…
  11. Rename the .zip file by removing the .zip extension. It will change back to .xpi.
  12. Drag the resulting .xpi file to your Firefox icon and drop it.

The file should install normally as an extension/add-on. If it doesn’t… oh, well.

[tags]Firefox, Bill Webb, Bill’s Web, Hacks, Extensions[/tags]