Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Mozilla Service Week - making a difference in your community

Mozilla just announced Mozilla Service Week which will be held September 14 - 21, 2009. This week is a push to connect people who can help make the web work better for someone in the community with people and organization who need that help.

Coming from the non-profit arts sector prior to my job at Mozilla, I will be spreading the word with many arts organizations in Toronto who would be wise to sign up for help from such a talented pool of volunteers. Of course I will also donate my time that week even though it's the kind of work I do all the time already. I can't even count the amount of time I've spent setting up routers and networks for less technical folks in my life, or helping them set up their new computers and teaching them basic skills (all teaching sessions include installing and setting up the latest Firefox of course).

The best part of this week, in my opinion, is that it's an opportunity to get hands-on with local users in the community. The library is a great place to start. It wasn't that long ago (around 2003) when I was using the library computers as my primary access to the internet. I'd love to go in now and make sure that their computers are up to date, and write up how-to manuals and helpful hints for beginners. Even better, get some folks to translate those manuals or tip sheets. At my local library I'm certain that there are many folks who would appreciate localized information sheets.

Two areas that are of particular interest to me with regards to the organizations I know in Toronto:
  1. Bring their websites over to an open-source CMS like Drupal. Many of the sites are hand-coded php (or god forbid Dreamweaver-created sites) with no administrative back-end and keeping the site's information up to date is a difficult/dangerous task for non-technical staff.

  2. Take their FileMaker Pro databases over to MySQL or PostgreSQL so that they are no longer locked in to expensive, proprietary database software that requires additional hosting costs. Three organizations I have worked with are on three different versions of FMP and none of them the latest. Upgrading is painful for them and their hosting costs are ridiculous (especially the ones who are on older versions).

If you're technically inclined, go to the site and sign up. If you've got an organization in mind, tell them to sign up. Let's make this event a success so it will inspire more weeks like this in the future.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

iPhone tethering - how to restore after updating to 3.0b5 and iTunes8.2b10(13)

Breaking my extended blog silence (I've been busy, you know, starting my full time job at Mozilla!) to tell you about the quagmire I went into when I tried to set up tethering on my iPhone.

So here's the story - with links that will help you avoid what happened to me.

I purchased and ADC membership so I could download and install the iPhone 3.0 SDK and OS. When Beta 5 came out I eagerly updated since my phone had been crashing regularly and went into restore mode. As soon as the 3.0b5 update went live on my phone, iTunes said it needed 8.2 to work so I downloaded the most recent version from ADC. This turned out to be 8.2b10(13) which disables the ability to change carrier settings and thus, to enable tethering if you didn't already do it before the update.

So - after many (failed!) attempts to go back to 3.0b3 and 3.0b4 so that I could use iTunes 8.1 - I did eventually (10 hours and many blog tips later) work out my tethering issues with this extremely simple set of steps:

Simple Steps to restoring tethering:
Download: http://www.adammcnamara.com/CanadianCarriersTetheringPatch.zip
Download: iTunes 8.2b7(10) http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/4874487/

* Delete iTunes 8.2b10(13) from your computer, install the older version - as the torrent description points out, it says that it installs as an 8.1.1 but it is in fact 8.2.

* When you connect your phone in iTunes, Option-click the “Check for Updates” and pick the.ipcc file for your carrier (from the carriers patch you downloaded). It will update the carrier settings.

* Reboot (NOT RESPRING) the phone. You can now tether over USB or BlueTooth (unless you have a new Mac Unibody Mac where apparently the Bluetooth stack is broken and so you're relegated to only sharing via USB).

To activate tethering, go to “Settings->General->Network->Internet Tethering”. The first time you do so it may say “Contact Rogers to enable this feature”, but a few second later it should allow you to enable it. If not, restart the phone again.

Thanks to many blogs out there but more specifically to Adam Mcnamara where the bulk of the steps are from.