How To Fix Missing ASL.dll While Running Blackra1n

Apple has released a new version of iTunes, iTunes 9.1 which changes how certain things work. If you have upgraded to iTunes 9.1, several programs will start giving you an error that ASL.dll is missing.

iTunes 9.1 Missing ASL.dll issue

This problem also occurs while trying to jailbreak iPhone using Blackra1n, when running the executable will give you an error saying that ASL.dll is missing as shown in the above screenshot.

The solution for this is simple, you will need to place the Blackra1n executables in the Apple folder under Common files in Program Files. The folder would be located in the following locations:

32 Bit – C:\Program Files\Common Files\Apple\Apple Application Support

64 Bit – C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Apple\Apple Application Support

Once you copy the blackra1n executable to the above folder, create a shortcut for it on the desktop and double-click it to run it as usual.

Update: If you continue having problems with Blackra1n, you can use the new Spirit tool to jailbreak iPhone OS 3.1.3 and others.

Histwi – A Desktop Twitter Account Management App for Linux

The rapid explosion in the  popularity  of Twitter has resulted in a plethora of desktop Twitter clients being available. However, there is one client, Histwi, which claims to be different from the rest. Instead of being a Twitter client, Histwi is called a Twitter account management client. How different is it actually from a normal Twitter client? We will come to that later. But first the installation.


If you are using Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala, it is quite easy to install Histwi. Here is what you need to do to install Histwi in Karmic Koala:

  • Open the terminal.
  • Add the PPA with the command:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nikolay-blohin/histwi

  • Update your software list with the command:

sudo apt-get update

  • Finally, install it with the command

sudo apt-get install histwi

If you are using another version of Ubuntu or another distro, you can download the .deb file or the source file from


I use Ubuntu 9.10, so my installation was smooth and problem free. After installation, Histwi can be found in Applications -> Internet in GNOME or KickOff -> Applications -> Internet in KDE SC.

This is what you get just after you start it, before any configuration. As you can see, “Add User”, “Delete User”, “Sync User” are given a very  prominent  place where it is very visible.

Clicking on “Add User” brings up a dialog where you have to enter your Twitter username and password to get started. Upto this point, it is a breeze. There is no need to go to Settings, Configuration menu etc to look add your Twitter account.

After you have entered your Twitter details, Histwi downloads your Tweets. This is where it gets irritating. It took a good 20-25 minutes to download my tweets.  However, I found out that this is where the first difference between a simple Twitter client and a Twitter account manager comes up. Since Histwi is a Twitter account manager, it downloads all the of your tweets unlike Twitter clients which needs to download just the latest few tweets. Another difference is that unlike Twitter clients, it does not download the tweets of those you follow.

After, all your Tweets have been downloaded, you can see your all your tweets ever by clicking on “Tweets”. You can save your tweets as a text file or a html file (although I cannot come up with any reason why anyone would want to do that).

Clicking on “Friends” brings up the list of people you follow and those who follows you. You can follow or unfollow people from this window. In this window, you can also see the number of people whom

  • you follow but doesn’t follow you
  • you follow and in turns follows you
  • you don’t follow but follows you

I sure would love to know who are the people in the various groups as mentioned above.  However, Histwi does not provide any way to see who are the people in the various categories mentioned above.

The search is however, one feature that I am very impressed with. It provides a number of search parameters which results it in being a very powerful search tool. And the best part is that it searches the public timeline, not your followers timeline.

This is the search result, I got when I searched for “tegan and sara” as “All of these words”. Quite impressive I must say.

What I Liked

  • Powerful and versatile search. This can be real useful when you are searching for something specific.
  • Easy and simple interface. The interface is such that even a newbie can jump right in and start using it right away without any peoblem.

What I Disliked

  • The whole concept behind the app. I cannot understand why anyone would want to have an app which he can only only use to manage his Twitter account. Unless it is someone who has a number of Twitter accounts, I do not see any real use for this app.
  • No Tweet and no friends timeline. Right now the app does not have any way to post tweets and we cannot see our friends timeline.

How To Install OpenOffice 3.2 in Ubuntu 9.10

OpenOffice 3.2 has been out for about a month now. It has various improvements over the previous version like faster startup time, support for open standards like ODF and better compatibility with Microsoft Office 2007.

Although it has been out for more than a month, it is still not (and probably never be) available in the official repository for Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala. As makes the source available at the time of the release, it is possible to install it using the source right at the time of release in Ubuntu Karmic as well. However, installing from source cannot exactly be called user friendly and you will not get updates if you installed from the source. So, even if you had installed it from source earlier, it is recommended that you install it with this method.

The Scribblers team in Launchpad has however packaged and put up OpenOffice 3.2 in their PPA. So, to install OpenOffice 3.2 in Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala, follow these steps:

  • Open Terminal/Konsole.
  • Add the PPA using the command:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:openoffice-pkgs/ppa

  • Update the software list with the command:

sudo apt-get update

  • If you have installed OpenOffice 3.2 from source, remove it with the command:

sudo apt-get remove openoffice*

  • Now, install OpenOffice with the command:

sudo apt-get install

  • If you have GNOME, run the command:

sudo apt-get install

  • If you have KDE SC, run

sudo apt-get install openoffice-kab

Now that the installation is done. You can find OpenOffice under Applications -> Office in GNOME. In KDE SC, you will find it under KickOff -> Applications -> Office.

OpenOffice location in GNOME Menu
OpenOffice in KDE SC's KickOff Menu

Test The Latest Ubuntu Builds Using TestDrive

When I want to try out the latest build of Ubuntu for changes, I usually have to download the 700 MB image file and install it in a virtual machine. However, with the Lucid development going ahead in full flow, it can sometimes be troublesome to  repeatedly  download the 700 MB image and install it. However, Dustin Kirkland, a developer from the Ubuntu Server team, has come up with a very handy tool called TestDrive to solve this problem.

TestDrive automates the process of downloading the image and installing it in a virtual machine. Another great feature of TestDrive is that it does not download the full 700 MB image file once you have downloaded it. It uses rsync in the subsequent downloads to get only the parts that have changed. This drastically reduces the download size which means faster download and more bandwidth saved.

Installing TestDrive

Before you start using using TestDrive, you need to have either VirtualBox or KVM installed. If you do not have them this is what you need to do to install them:

  • Open Terminal (or Konsole if you are using KDE SC).
  • To install VirtualBox, execute the command:

sudo apt-get install virtualbox-ose virtualbox-ose-guest-source virtualbox-ose-guest-utils dkms

  • In case you want KVM not VirtualBox, execute:

sudo apt-get install kvm

After you have either VirtualBox or KVM installed, you can now get to installing TestDrive.

If you already are running Ubuntu Lucid, you can install it using the command given below:

sudo apt-get install testdrive

If you are in Ubuntu Karmic or lower versions (upto Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron), you will need to add a PPA as TestDrive is not in the official repository.

To add the PPA in Karmic, execute the command given below in the Terminal (or Konsole):

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:testdrive/ppa

To add the PPA in Jaunty, Intrepid and Hardy, follow the steps below:

  • Open the source.list file with the command (replace gedit with kate if you are using KDE SC):

sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

  • Add the following two lines in source.list (replace <version> with jaunty for Ubuntu 9.04, intrepid for Ubuntu 8.10 and hardy for Ubuntu 8.04) and save and close.

deb <VERSION> main
deb-src <VERSION> main

  • Add the PPA’s signing key with the command:

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver --recv-keys 4D1BAE55

After adding the PPAs install TestDrive (in both Karmic and other versions) using the commands:

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install testdrive

After installation, you will find TestDrive under Applications -> System Tools -> Testdrive in GNOME and Applications -> System ->Test Drive an Ubuntu ISO in KDE SC. After running you can enter the what you want to try out – Ubuntu Server, Ubuntu Desktop etc. You can also enter a custom URL if you desire.


How To Disable “This Program Might Not Have Installed Correctly” Notifications

Before I begin, allow me to get one thing out of the way; I absolutely hate the “This Program Might Not Have Installed Correctly” dialogue box. They are not only annoying but also misleading. Whatever little purpose they serve is negated by the fact that these prompts tend to be woefully inaccurate.


These warning prompts are triggered by the Program Compatibility Assistant (PCA) Service, which monitors all application installations and tries to detect known compatibility problems. The trouble is that most portable applications seem to trigger PCA alerts. Thankfully, disabling the PCA service is straightforward.

  • Type services.msc in the Start Menu (or in the Run dialogue box).
  • Locate the entry for Program Compatibility Assistant Service.
  • Program-Compatability-Assistant

  • Right Click on it and select Properties from the context menu.
  • Set Startup Type to Disabled and close the Services applet.
  • If you ever feel the need to undo the changes, simply change the Startup Type back to Manual.

How to Add a Right Click Search to Chrome Browser

Would you like to be able to highlight a word or a phrase on a web page and find out more about it? You can make this possible by adding search entries to the right click (context) menu.

Recently, I’ve posted articles telling you how to Add a Right Click Search Menu to Firefox and Internet Explorer. You might think that I have a real searchaddiction. It’s not an addiction, it’s a real need that’s based on the desire to save time. I spend large chunks of time searching the net for the things I want to learn and write about.

Now I’ll show you how to add a context search menu to Google’s Chrome web browser. chrome

1. You must be running version 4 of Chrome or higher.

2. Go to the ChromeExtensions site and install Context Search.


3. To add your own custom search sites (providers), open the Extensions manager by using the Wrench pull-down menu.


4. Click on the Options button for Context Search.


5. In the preferences, you can add/remove and edit existing search providers. To add a new provider, click the Add newlink.


6. Here you can see how I’ve added my favorite search provider. Don’t forget to use the Savelink when you have everything entered. (read why I like Scroogle Search)


Tip: How do I get URLs like the ones shown above? I go to a website (such as Twitter) and perform a search there, using an easy to identify keyword (such as TESTSEARCH). Then I find the keyword and replace it with %s.

URL displayed in address bar after searching Twitter for TESTSEARCH

URL after replacing TESTSEARCH with %s

7. When you run across a word or phrase on a page, highlight it and you’ll see a little triangle beside the highlighted text. Click on it and you’ll see your search providers listed.


8. I’ve noticed that the little triangle doesn’t appear on some web pages. When that happens, right click on the highlighted text and you’ll see your customized search providers listed.


That’s all there is to it. Now you’re ready to beat Chuck Norris at searching. Oh, I forgot – Chuck Norris doesn’t search, the results come to him.   (bad joke)

Twitter Tuesdays | 40 Great Twitter How-Tos

Twitter Questions and How TosTwitter can be pretty overwhelming for somebody who is new to it. You hear your geeky friends doing all sorts of tricks, hacks and cool things on Twitter but you don’t know anything about it. Fear not, this post is supposed to answer all the questions you ever had about doing something on Twitter. In these, you can find really basic information about Twitter features and even advanced hacks and tricks for carrying out some unique Twitter tasks. Read on:

  1. How To Use Twitter: Starting with the very basic question.
  2. How To Choose a Twitter Handle/Username: 8 handy tips on choosing the right username.
  3. What is a ReTweet and How To Do a ReTweet? Simple insight to the most common feature of Twitter.
  4. How To Follow Someone: See the essence of how Twitter works.
  5. How To Use #Hashtags: Get most out of hashtags on twitter.
  6. How To Upload Background Image: Give your Twitter profile a personal touch by uploading a background image.
  7. Change Background Display To a Personal Picture: It takes less than 2 minutes to do this.
  8. How To Create Twitter Lists: See the easy way of creating lists on Twitter.
  9. How To Auto-Follow People: Automatically start following somebody who follows you.
  10. Remove Yourself From a List: Somebody put you on a weird list? Remove yourself using these steps.
  11. Building Relationships on Twitter: Using Twitter the right way can change things around for you.
  12. Find People On Twitter: Twitter has millions of users and you need to know the right way to find somebody.
  13. Create Groups on Twitter: If you don’t like lists, here is an alternative.
  14. How Do I Insert Symbols In My Tweets: It is really easy to insert cool symbols in your tweets.
  15. View Replies Sent To Other Users: See how to view replies send to somebody else.
  16. Schedule Tweet For Future: 7 simple ways to send your tweets later.
  17. Find People To Follow On Twitter: Make most of Twitter by following the right people.
  18. How To Link Facebook To Twitter: Automatically send your tweets to your Facebook.
  19. Import Facebook Friends To Twitter: Bring over your buddies from Facebook.
  20. How To Customize Your Profile For SEO: Who knew Twitter can be a huge SEO tool.
  21. How To Get More Followers: Learn to get more followers while giving back as well.
  22. Use Advanced Search On Twitter: Twitter can be a black hole if you don’t know the right search tools.
  23. Send Direct Messages To People You Don’t Follow: A very useful hack that is often needed.
  24. Unblock Somebody You Accidentally Blocked: If you have blocked somebody by mistake, see how to undo it.
  25. Revoke Permissions For Twitter Apps: In other words, get rid of the spammy/crappy apps.
  26. Publish Your Blog Feeds To Twitter: Automatically tweet your latest blog posts.
  27. How To Remove Twitter Updates From Facebook: Stop the automatic posting of your tweets on Facebook.
  28. How To Use Twitter For Customer Service: Turn your Twitter account into a PR tool.
  29. Remotely Control Your PC Using Twitter: Execute commands on your PC by tweeting.
  30. How To Apply For a Verified Account: Don’t let anybody else be you.
  31. Download Twitter Archive: The smart way to save your tweets.
  32. Create an RSS Feed From a Twitter List: Get instant updates in your RSS reader for any Twitter list.
  33. Delete a Bulk of Direct Messages: The smart way to remove unwanted direct messages.
  34. Conduct Polls Via Twitter: Learn to use Twitter as a tool to capture public opinion.
  35. Know What a Twitter Term Means: A small glossary for Twitter related words.
  36. Measure Your Popularity On Twitter: See how famous you are on the Twitterverse.
  37. Save Yourself From Spam and Phishing: Learn to protect your Twitter profile from being compromised.
  38. Analyze Somebody’s Twitter Profile: Know more about a user by analyzing their profile.
  39. How To Access Twitter From Outlook: Use Twitter from your work email.
  40. How To Backup Your Twitter Profile: Don’t wait for any mishaps before you decide to backup your profile.

These are are not all, but just some questions that are commonly asked about Twitter. If you have any more questions or answers, make sure to share them in comments.

How to Add a Right Click Search Menu to Firefox

ff-logo Would you like to be able to highlight words on a page and choose the search engine or a site to look them up? This can be done in most web browsers, but it may not be a built-in feature.

A while back, I told you How to Add a Right Click Search Menu to Internet Explorer.   Now I’ll tell you how to add this to Firefox. Here’s what it looks like:


As you can see above, the word RSSis highlighted on the page. A right click on the highlighted word, brings up the context menu(or right click menu).

To add the Search formenu item, we’ll need to install an addon to Firefox. There are a few addons which add this type of function, but I like the SmartSearch addon.

Do you see all of the search engines listed in that menu? Those won’t be there when you use this addon the first time. You have to add them yourself. It’s easy to do, and the beauty of this is that you can add only the sites you like to search. Nobody will be giving you a pre-made list that they think you’ll like.

Here’s how to add a site to the Search formenu after SmartSearch is installed. I’m going to use as an example.

Go to

When you see the search box, right click on it and choose Add a Keyword for this Search.


Next, you’ll need to fill out the name of the search and add your own short keywordfor it (as shown). You can see that I’ve chosen the two letters DLas the keyword.


Notice that the Folder says Bookmarks Menu. You are actually better off creating a new folder for all of your searches. I chose to call my folder quicksearch.

After saving, you’ll have a new search in your right click Search formenu.

There’s an additional benefit. Since you have a keywordon the bookmark, you can search from your address bar using that keyword. If you want to search for browsersat, just type dl browsers  into the address bar and the results from will quickly fill your page.

Here’s where to install SmartSearchfor Firefox.

Be sure to check out some of the other cool Firefox addons we’ve talked about in the past.

Happy searching!

Zip Up Files to Hide Your Secrets [How to]

zip-icon Zip files are a great way to pack up a collection of files to send them to other people, usually in an email. At least three or four times a year, I run into someone who doesn’t know how to zip up a collection of files in Windows. I ran into three people in the last two weeks at work.

Years ago, you had to have a third party tool such as WinZip to create and open zip files. In 2001, Windows XP was released with built-in zip capabilities. Microsoft decided to call these compressed folders.

Not only is it easy to use the built in zip features in Windows, it’s also possible to password protect zip files so that others can’t open the files inside them. However, even though a zip file is password protected, you can still see a list of files inside it. I have always hated that, but I found a way around it.

Here is how to hide all of your top secret files in a zip file (or compressed folder).

First, let’s create two zip folders. You’ll see why we need two of them shortly.

To create a zip folder, right click into any folder or in an empty place on your desktop, and choose NewCompressed Folder.


Let’s choose Stuffand Top Secretas the names of the new zip files.

Now we can add some top secret files to our Stufffolder. I’m going to add a JPG picture to it here. I’ll open up Stuff.zipby double clicking it, then drag the JPG file into it.


Now let’s add the Stuffzip file to the Top Secretzip file.


Now we need to add a password to the Top Secretcompressed folder.


You’ll have to type your password in twice to confirm it.


That’s it. The next time anyone opens that zip folder, all they’ll be able to see is a file named If they try to open it or extract it, they’ll have to know the password you’ve set.


As you can see, all of the files inside the are hidden. That’s why we needed two zip files.

As a final cleanup step, you can delete the older copies of Stuffand the JPG. These are safely and securely inside the Top Secretzip folder now.


These techniques will work in all versions of Windows released after XP, as well as XP itself.

Here are some other ways to use zip files:

1. Compress and Zip Files Online Without Any Software
2. How to Fix Default Zip File Behavior
3. Open Zip Files Online
4. Repair Corrupted Zip Files
5. Unzip or Extract Files Online

Here are some other ways to hide files:

1. Lock And Hide Files & Folders
2. Windows Scripts: Show/Hide Hidden Files and Folders In Windows
3. Password Protect and Hide Personal Folders
4. Hide Drives From My Computer

If you have your own special way to hide secret data, let us know in the comments below.

How to Add a Right Click Search Menu to Internet Explorer

ie8-icon There is definitely something missing in Internet Explorer 7. When I’m using Firefox, Opera, and Chrome, I have gotten used to highlighting a word or phrase, then right clicking and choosing a search engine to look it up. I noticed that it was missing in IE7 the other day, and I immediately set forth on a quest to fix this fault.

It didn’t take long to find the answer. Once again, an old acquaintance, Ramesh Srinivasan, had a solution handy at his WinHelpOnline website. The right-click-search (or context menu search) is fairly easy to add. Just follow my instructions below. (This should work in IE6 and IE7, but may not work IE8.)

  1. Download from WinHelpOnline.
  2. Right click on the zip file and Extract Allthe files to a folder. (the Windows Desktop is a good spot)
  3. Open the folder and copy google.htm to the C:\Windows\Web folder.
  4. Double click on the google.reg file and click Yesto add this information into the registry.
  5. The next time you open up Internet Explorer, you’ll now be able to right click on a highlighted word and search for it.
  6. An undo.regis included in the zip file, and you can run it if you want to remove the google search from your menu.


Wait! I’m not done with you yet. I can tell you how to add other search engines to the right click menu. I modified Ramesh’s code and created more search context actions. Thanks to Ramesh for permission to re-use his code.

Here are searches for:

To install these, just use the same instructions (2 through 6) above. Substitute the name of the site you are installing for google.

Note: IE8 already has a similar feature called accelerators. At this time, I don’t know how to write those.

Do you need any other websites added to this list? Let me know, when I have time I’ll add more.