Monday, December 23, 2013

Batch renaming of files in OSX using Automator

While I was organizing my photos, I encountered many instances where the filenames of different photos were the same, so I couldn't place them in the same folder without renaming them. It was fine at first when there only a handful of duplicate filenames, but there had to be better way. There was another scenario where I wanted to insert the year before each video so that I could easily group them.

In OSX, there is a built-in tool called Automator, which is found in Applications. Just open it and create an Application. When it opens, just search for rename and drag "Rename Finder Items" to the main window, which will ask you if you want a copy or not. In my case, I did not need a copy. You can change the parameters to something like below. Then save it to your Desktop for easy access.
Inserts the year in front of the files.
To use this, in Finder, select the files you wish to rename and drag them to the Automator icon that you just saved in your Desktop. I have two such icons handy: Append isodate and Prepend Year. After dragging the files from Finder to the Automator icon, your files will have been renamed.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Android KitKat 4.4.1 on Nexus S (CM11)

My Nexus S was on CM 10.2 (Android 4.2) for a while and held off upgrading to 10.3 (Android 4.3) because there was little difference in the upgrade. Kitkat (Android 4.4), on the other hand, promised good performance on devices with as little as 512MB, so I jumped at the chance when the first Nexus S (crespo) KitKat nightlies started appearing on Cyanogenmod.

I encountered just one hitch in the upgrade and it was related to the clockwork recovery I had. Here are the steps to upgrade from CM 10.2 to CM 11 Nightly.

Backup your phone data
  • Backup your SMS messages. I used the SMS Backup and Restore app.
  • Backup your photos. Just copy the \DCIM\Camera folder to your drive.
  • Backup your phone ROM. Just boot to recovery (Power off, Hold Power and Vol Up button until the recover menu comes up) and do a backup.
Download the following files on your PC
Install Clockwork Recovery
  • Follow instructions on to install the Clockwork Recovery to your phone. (See Installing recovery using fastboot)
  • Note that I didn't wipe the data anymore. I just wiped the cache. All my apps and setting remained intact.
Install CM11
  • Follow instructions on to install the Clockwork Recovery to your phone. (See Installing CyanogenMod from recovery).
Enjoy your Kitkat!

Monday, August 05, 2013

Your car key remote got wet, what now?

My car key fell into a street drain where it lay there for at least 5 minutes before somebody was able to fish it out. The first thing you need to do is remove the battery and dry out the electronic parts. I used tissue paper to blot out all visible moisture. When everything appeared to be dry, assembled the key back and tried to open the car. Fortunately, it worked. A couple of hours later, it didn't work anymore. When I checked the battery again, there was a little water and it appeared that there was still moisture inside the casing.

The best thing to do here is to find silica gel or a dessicant which you can find inside new shoes or bags. If you can't find any, you can go to a supermarket and buy a pack of rice crackers. I knew One One Rice Crackers had a large pack of dessicant inside. That's the one on the left below. I found the one on the right from a Case Logic bag. Just pack these together with the electronic component of the car key in plastic bag. Seal it and leave it alone for at least 2 days. The objective here is to remove all moisture from the electronics. My key worked again after this. I am still keeping the key with the silica gel bags at least for the week to be sure. Hope this helps.

Silica gel or dessicant from shoes, bags or rice crackers.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

PDI Kettle 4.4.0 Missing MySQL and Oracle

Pentaho Data Integration (PDI) Kettle does not include all database JDBC drivers by default beginning with version 4.4.0. Oracle and MySQL, in particular are have been taken out. That means all your transformations and jobs that access those databases will not run until you copy the jdbc drivers to the libext folder.

The following table shows the comparison between an older version of PDI. The highlighted rows are no longer bundled by default, so you'll have to copy the drivers over from an previous version or download from the database vendor's website.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

To Do Lists and Task Managers

I have tried several apps to help manage my To Do list and so far cannot find the optimal system for managing tasks. If you've read Getting Things Done by David Allen, the key to an effective system is to have only one entry point for all tasks. To guide you on the path I had taken, here are the tools that I've used so far:

  • Google Tasks - Web. Officially available only on the web but handy because you are already logged in to Gmail, if you use that.
  • GTasks - Android. Syncs to Google Tasks, handles offline but syncing is slow. 
  • Astrid - Android. Syncs to Google Tasks, handles offline but syncing is slow.
  • Taskos - Android. Syncs to Google Tasks, handles offline but syncing is slow.
  • NoNonsense Notes - Android. Syncs to Google Tasks, handles offline but syncing is slow.
  • Any.Do - Android/iOS. Syncs to Google Tasks, handles offline but adding new items and syncing is slow.
  • Wunderlist - Android/iOS/Mac/Windows/Web. Syncs to own server. Handles offline. Fast to enter items. Does not handle nested tasks.
  • Evernote - Android/iOS/Mac/Windows/Web. Syncs to own server. Handles offline. Many taps to enter a task.
  • Trello - Android/iOS/Web. No offline mode. Very good visualization for teams.
  • - Android/iOS/Web. No offline mode. Ability to create templates to create a set of tasks for a new similar project.
My verdict: Wunderlist. You want to be able to enter items fast even when offline because keeping a task in your mind goes against GTD principles and increases the chances of it being left out. Wunderlist has the disadvantage of having to create another account but using the desktop app makes using it more convenient. The smaller feature set of Wunderlist forces you to keep your list clean and manageable, which is really the point of having a task manager in the first place.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

How to install Android 4.2.2 on your Nexus S

The Nexus S got its last official Android update (4.1.2) last October 2012. If you want to get to the latest version, you have to go for a custom ROM. The 4.2 Jellybean changelog lists down the new features that are available. There are only a couple of new features that are significant:

  1. Quick settings - If you are tired of doing Menu -> System Settings and scrolling, then this should be make things like disabling mobile data or switching to 2G/3G faster. Though one could argue you could get this using Power Toggles.
  2. Gesture keyboard - If you don't have Swype, then this should be handy. Though someone backported this feature to 4.0 and 4.1, so you still can get this. Jellybean 4.2 Keyboard
  3. New clock - I used to install Ultrachron for the stopwatch and timer. Now, it is built-in. The design is not as intuitive but you'll get used to it. It also looks so much better than Ultrachron.
  4. Font enhancement - There are slight tweaks to how text looks.
  5. Lock screen widgets - Frankly, I don't use this on the Nexus S. However, if you want to try the excellent DashClock lockscreen widget, you'll need 4.2. It is quite useful on the Nexus 7, where you have a larger screen.
If you really want the new features of 4.2, then the easiest way to upgrade will be to install Cyanogen 10.1. The Cyanogen wiki page has the best instructions IMHO. Read and reread that completely. The major steps to installing a custom ROM are the following:
  1. Unlock your bootloader - Download the Android SDK to be able to use the fastboot command to unlock the bootloader. This step wipes all data from your device so make sure you keep a backup of your photos and SMS messages.
  2. Install ClockworkMod recovery - Since your bootloader has already been unlocked, you can install software that will enable you to install a custom ROM. This is a small piece of software that you run by pressing Power Button and Volume Down at the same time when turning on your device.
  3. Install CyanogenMod - You'll be using ClockworkMod to install the custom ROM. Follow the instructions on wiping before installing the files. You'll need to install 2 files in sequence. The first file is about 150MB and will install Android 4.2. Choose the M1 if you want something stable. The nightly builds may have bugs and can randomly reboot but will have more advanced features like HDR. The second file provides Google Play and the Google apps.
  • or one of the nightlies (Update 2013-03-04: has been released). See the Get CM page for the latest list.
Once you've done this, you'll be able to try out other alternative ROMs. Steps 1 and 2 no longer need to be done. Good luck on your journey in the land of custom ROMs!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Activating NDD on your Globe landline

NDD and IDD is not available by default on your new Globe landline to protect you from inadvertent charges due to calls to mobile phones and long distance numbers.

Note that these instructions are for Metro Manila accounts. To activate NDD, you need call 730-1000. The problem is, an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) menu greets you at that number and there is no menu option to activate NDD. There is also no easy way to get to a human in the options. For credit card companies, I always use the "Report a lost card" option to reach an agent immediately. It appears there is no such shortcut with Globe's number. After several attempts at the menus, the way I got to an agent was to pretend to customize my plan and select the option that says the information is not helpful. Here's the guide:

730-1000 IVR Menu:
1 - English
1 - Globelines
1 - Customize your plan
1 - Customize your plan
2 - Not helpful
1- Talk to a customer agent

It will take about 3 minutes for the agent to verify your account details and put you on hold while they schedule the activation. NDD will be activated within 24 hours. The agent gave me these locking instructions.

Default PIN: 1234

Phone Lock: #5702 4-digit-PIN#
Phone Unlock: #5712 4-digit-PIN#
Change PIN: #575 Old-4-digit-PIN*New-4-digit-PIN**New-4-digit-PIN*#

If this helped you, do click on an ad below or at the right!