Rooting Samsung Galaxy Mini

Samsung Galaxy Mini

Samsung Galaxy Mini

My wife’s phone (Samsung Galaxy Mini GT-S5570I) doesn’t get system updates any more, so I need to manually move Google’s updates into ROM to make space for regular apps. You need root privileges to do this, so I was following these instructions on the XDA Forum which almost work fine. You need to download and apply a file but the problem is the update script inside doesn’t include S5570I in the list of phone models it checks for, so the script aborts.

All you need to do is edit /META-INF/com/google/android/updater-script inside and include this phone model in the assertion list, for example, I duplicated lines 15 and 16 and just added an I to the end:

getprop("ro.product.device") == "GT-S5570" ||
getprop("") == "GT-S5570"  ||
getprop("ro.product.device") == "GT-S5570I" ||
getprop("") == "GT-S5570I"  ||

Everything works completely fine after that. Obviously this is not a general solution when rooting, you can’t just blindly add your own phone model into any not knowing what’s in it, but since this was from a post for specifically this model and it already had several very similar models listed, I thought it was worth the risk and it turned out just fine. Woop! 😎

Running Sparkup Vim Plug-in on Arch Linux

The sparkup plugin for vim lets you write HTML markup faster by Zen Coding, in which you write short code, resembling CSS selectors, which is then expanded to HTML by the editor. For example, writing


would give you:

<div id="nav">
    <ul id="menu">
        <li class="item"></li>
        <li class="item"></li>
        <li class="item"></li>

This is obviously extremely useful, as it saves a lot of typing. However, I encountered a bit of trouble using this plugin on my laptop, which runs on Arch Linux. It’s easily solved though. Continue reading

Icedove and Enigmail

A tip for any Debian user trying to get PGP to work in Icedove, Debian’s re-branded version of the Thunderbird Mail client: All the tutorials and forums on the internet telling you to install Enigmail from Thunderbird’s Add-on menu won’t work. It’s not there. Enigmail isn’t compatible with your version of Thunderbird, which is… Icedove. The solution is simple but not obvious; Enigmail needs to be installed from the package manager, a simple

aptitude install enigmail

should do the trick! 😉

Finding photos of a known size

Recently I did a friend a favour and installed Linux Mint on her laptop as she was a bit frustrated with Windows. Unfortunately I assumed she’d backed up everything before handing it over to me, so I re-partitioned the whole drive to ext4. She hadn’t.

On the bright side the computer was quite new and the only thing she wanted from the disk were some photos she’d taken. Well, that just made it my lucky day because there just happens to be a tool specifically for recovering photos (and a myriad of other filetypes) from disks that have been written over: TestDisk! Continue reading

Renaming USB Devices in Linux

Sometimes you want to change the name of a USB device, for example because it has no name or because it has a new purpose. I usually give my USB flash drives my own name so that if I lose them, people will know who to return them to.

Modern desktop environments make it easy to rename your device by simply clicking it and selecting ‘rename’ from the context menu. However, sometimes you might want to do this from the command line 8) perhaps because you have no desktop environment, or your desktop environment does not allow you to easily rename your device, or because you feel you could do it faster this way. Continue reading

Namibian Mobile Broadband Settings in Linux

I originally posted this as a Note in the Linux Namibia Facebook group when I still had a Facebook account but I’ve decided to cross-post it here because not everyone uses Facebook and because I still see people having trouble with this. After a few lessons in XML in my Internet Technology course, I contacted local networks and with the cooperation of network staff, I was able to add a little code so that the recent (10 August 2011) update to the mobile-broadband-provider-info package in Ubuntu adds support for Namibian providers MTC, Leo and Telecom. Namibians often seem to have trouble using their cellphones or dongles to get connected on Linux, and the network staff, being unfamiliar with Linux, usually aren’t much help either. This should solve that.
Continue reading

Checking Computer Specs With No Operating System

After my previous post about checking computer specs in Linux somebody asked an interesting question: how do you check your computer’s specifications if you don’t actually have any operating system to check them with?

In my opinion the easiest way to do this would be to download a disk image of a live CD for a lightweight Linux distribution, such as my favourite: ArchLinux. Once you’ve burned it to a disc you can put it in your computer and boot directly from the disc. ArchLinux is light and fast and will allow you to log in as root with command line access, where you will be able to run the commands I talked about in my other post to find your computer specs even for a computer with no OS or in other cases, for example where you don’t have permission to check with the current OS. If you’re not familiar with Linux don’t worry, follow the on-screen instructions and just type the commands I described. When you’re done checking you can turn off the computer and take out the CD and things will be just as they were before.

Checking Computer Specs in Linux

❗ Note: automated script downloadable at the bottom of this post!

Something you always want to do on a computer, even if only once, is to check its hardware specifications, that is:

  • how much RAM do I have?
  • how much hard disk space do I have?
  • how “fast” is my CPU?
  • how much RAM does my graphics card have?

Of course most modern GNU/Linux desktop environments like Ubuntu usually come with some kind of graphical tool to find this information. GNOME’s System Monitor program should provide at least some of what you’re looking for. The information here is more for when you’re staring at a blinking cursor on a black screen trying to remember what the command was to show information about the CPU, RAM or Graphics Card.

This is the third time I’ve had to go on an internet search quest to remind myself how to do this in a Linux terminal. To save myself the trouble in the future, I’m writing down the commands here and if anyone else finds it useful then that’s great, and a second bird is figuratively killed!
Continue reading


My brother’s doing his International Baccalaureate Diploma right now and for one of his Geography assignments he had to make these graphs -cross sections of rivers- he called them geographs because… they’re for geography and because it has fewer words, so that’s what I’ll call them here. He drew them by hand but they got smudged and I thought it would be nice if he could make them digitally, but that’s a lot of work. I then thought it would be good if there was an easy way to do this, and, having found one, I’ve decided to share it with the world so that other IB students can benefit from this too!

What is a GeoGraph?

It’s a bunch of points on a graph that shows the depth at different points of a river the class studies.

A graph looks like this one:

Example GeoGraph
Example GeoGraph

And as I understand, it works like this:

  1. there is one graph for each transect measured at different points on the river
  2. the width of the transect is shown
  3. the width of the graph is scaled to the width of the transect
  4. the depth of the river is shown for different points along these transects
  5. the depth is measured at 5 points along the transect:
    1. at the start of the transect
    2. at the end of the transect
    3. halfway between the start and the end
    4. halfway between the midpoint and the start
    5. halfway between the midpoint and the end
  6. the depth is measured as a negative number
  7. because depth is negative the graph is drawn below the x-axis
  8. the graph is shown as an irregular polygon connecting all points on the graph
  9. there is a line along the bottom of the polygon connecting the first and last points
  10. this line is as low as the lowest point on the graph

That’s a lot of points to consider, and it’s why this graph is not easily done using the graphing functions of your spreadsheet application (for most of you that’s probably MS Excel). A lot of people might get frustrated, or resort to just drawing it in Paint or some other simple drawing program, which is much too much work! Don’t worry there’s a much easier way of doing it, and it’s all described below. Continue reading