“Unable to retrieve MSN Address Book” on Pidgin on Ubuntu / Debian?

Today I got the following error on Pidgin (I’m running version 2.5.2 on Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex) while it tried to connect to MSN:

“Unable to retrieve MSN Address Book”

After searching a bit I found this post by Gijs Nelissen which said to use a different MSN plugin for Pidgin called msn-pecan.

I’ll reiterate the instructions for those with Ubuntu / Debian:

  1. Close Pidgin (make sure the process is really down)
  2. Run “apt-get install msn-pecan”
  3. Start pidgin
  4. Change your MSN account type from MSN to WLM
  5. Reconnect

I don’t know if this error affects other libpurple based multi-headed IMs (such as Adium) (UPDATE: It appears this IS a libpurple issue – so Adium IS affected), however, the msn-pecan project has a Windows binary release as well as source release (if you care/need/want to compile it for Mac OS X or other Linux distributions).

Failed to run /usr/sbin/synaptic Unable to copy the user’s Xauthorisation file

If you get the following error while running Synaptic:

Failed to run /usr/sbin/synaptic
Unable to copy the user’s Xauthorisation file.

Make sure to that you have enough space in your /tmp directory.

To check if that is indeed the problem run the following command in your terminal:

df -h

This command will show you each mounted volumes you may have including the one mounted to /tmp.

/tmp usually contains temporary data for applications while they run. It sometimes may reach a point where it 100% full (might have happened to me while I upgraded to Hardy Heron 8.04).

To clear /tmp run the following commands (BE CAREFUL NOT TO RUN rm -rf ON ANYWHERE OTHER THAN /tmp):

cd /tmp

pwd   # just to make sure you are really in /tmp

rm -rf *

VmWare Server 1.0.4 on Ubuntu Server 7.04 (a.k.a Feisty Fawn)

2 days after my previous post about installing VmWare Server 1.0.3 from Canonical’s repository, VmWare released version 1.0.4.

I tried using its built-in install script on a vanilla Ubuntu Server 7.04 (a.k.a Feisty Fawn) and it worked flawlessly.

Aside from certain libraries which it needs to compile the vmmon and vmnet kernel modules (the installation script will tell you which ones are missing and you can get them from the repositories using apt-get), you’ll also need to install xinetd.

All in all, the installation script did all the job and it works fine without patching the vmmon code.

Keep up the good work VmWare Team!

Ubuntu Feisty Fawn (7.04), VmWare Server and Authentication problems

If you are going to install VmWare server (a great and free server virtualization product from VmWare) on Ubuntu Feisty Fawn (7.04) and you’ve followed this post showing how to do it using Canonical’s commercial repository, make sure to read this post at the Ubuntu Community Docs.

Basically, if you encounter authentication problems at the Server’s Console after installing the VmWare server and until this bug is fixed, you need to edit /etc/pam.d/vmware-authd to contain:

auth required pam_unix_auth.so shadow nullok
account required pam_unix_acct.so

Afterwards, restart the VmWare service and try to authenticate using the server’s console again.

I’m just being the Good SEO Samaritan and bumping this article’s SEO so everyone will see it first (instead of it being buried down somewhere and the search results) :-) .

Nokia E61 Change Language Keys Combination

I own a Nokia E61 phone which I’m very happy with (leave aside the PC Suite backup problem my wife had when she upgraded to an E61 as well).

Even though I’m an Israeli I use its English interface because it’s less buggy and because most of the things I do with the phone (Emails and such) are usually in English, but from time to time I do need the occasional SMS in Hebrew.

Some of the programs on the E61 like Opera Mini and Fring (great program btw, try it! it gives you MSN Messenger, Google Talk and Skype capabilities on your cell phone including voice!!!) don’t have the “Writing Language” option on their menu and I was forced to do a stupid thing like go and create a new SMS message, change the language and return back to the program.

I knew there had to be a way of changing the language without doing this stupid thing and I finally found it.

You should press:

Shift (the Up arrow) + Chr

That’s all. Simple as that. Works in all text entry screens.

Heck, I’m probably the last Nokia E61 user on this planet that has more than one language on his phone and don’t know this shortcut… :-)

libtool: compile: unable to infer tagged configuration

I got the following annoying little error after I tried to upgrade to a newer mod_python on my Gentoo Linux box:

 libtool: compile: unable to infer tagged configuration

It seems that the main problem was due to the fact that I’ve switched to GCC 4.1.1 and when compiling mod_python, the compilation uses libtool that is brought and compiled with Apache (located under /usr/share/apr-0/build/) which should have been recompiled after I’ve upgraded to the new GCC (I was too lazy to continue running the “emerge -e system” command so I stopped it after GCC was recompiled).

To solve it, simple recompile Apache and emerge upgrade mod_python.

Migrating from Blogger Beta (or the new version of Blogger) to WordPress

When I started to think about migrating from Blogger to my own WordPress blog running on my own server I started to look at migration options.

It seems that since I already migrated to the new blogger system (which is out of beta now), the current import options from Blogger available in the latest WordPress installation (2.0.5 when I was installing it ;-) ) didn’t work anymore.
The default blogger import can fail in two points:

  1. It fails to authenticate using the new Blogger authentication – Google Accounts (like the authentication for Gmail, Google Reader, etc)
  2. If you upgraded to the new templating scheme, I think it would be hard to use the current blogger importer which tell you to use a specific template format that it will know how to read and import

I didn’t have problem #2 since I didn’t upgrade to the new templating scheme, but I couldn’t authenticate and that’s why it didn’t work.

I searched around and found this script to migrate from Blogger Beta (also good for the new blogger which is now not in beta) written by Ady Romantika.

It’s currently in version 0.3 and doesn’t require you to publish your blog into some FTP (or SFTP) site. Instead, you need to enable full feeds on your blog and comments and it will utilize that to get all the information. The only thing it will have a bit of problems with is with importing images. Luckily I didn’t have much, so it wasn’t that big of a deal.

It also allows you to edit the Email and web site address of people who commented on your blog, making it a very clean and useful import that will give you all of your content as if you were always on blogger.

I’d like to thank Ady on a great script. I do hope it will be taken into the default WordPress installation help other Blogger users to migrate.

Completely removing ZoneAlarm

I use ZoneAlarm Security Suite on my laptop (yes, it’s running Windows…) since its a cheap and nice complete suite that has a firewall, an anti-virus and anti-spyware software plus a lot of other stuff I rarely use (IM Security and the likes).

I have it for about a year and a couple of months and I saw in the support forums that there is a beta release of version 7.0.

Since I have a couple of standing issues with ZoneAlarm Security Suite, mainly its pro-active anti virus that keeps on hogging the machine at boot time and another problem with Cygwin (it’s a known issue) I thought I’d give it a try.

It worked relatively well, but it had more than a few major issues (one of which is that it started to say the beta has expired – also a known issue). I’ve decided to go back to my 6.5.x version.

At this point I started to really get pissed off. It seems that a normal uninstall of ZoneAlarm Security Suite will not uninstall the license and since the beta require a special beta license my 6.5.x version didn’t work and said it has expired and wouldn’t let me put my previous valid serial number.

After digging in the forums a bit more it seems there is a secret key for doing that just.
If you add two parameters to the uninstall executable it will clear the license information. Just run this from the command line or “Start -> Run” (don’t forget to change that path if you installed it to a different location):

“C:\Program Files\Zone Labs\ZoneAlarm\zauninst.exe” /clean /rmlicense

That is the magic line that will fix all of your problems.

Now I know they don’t want people partying on their 15-days evaluation of the full Security Suite but there is no reason that I will have to dig to find out how to cleanly uninstall it. What about other people who are less technology oriented than me?

I would expect, like in any uninstall program, that the nice people at ZoneLabs will not leave any trace of there program including my license information.

Don’t leave crap on my machine if it’s not really necessary.

Zoundry Blog Writer – a new version

Zoundry released a new version of their Blog Writer product. Some of the more prominent features added (which a lot of users including me asked for) are:

  • XHTML Editor – You can now see and edit the generated XHTML
  • Spell Checker – No more copying and pasting stuff to another spell checker :-)

Check out the full feature list and download.

I’ve been using Zoundry for the past 6 months as my primary posting tool for this blog as well as my Advanced .NET Debugging blog and it has been really helpful. With the new features now released it is now a kick ass blog writer.

How to edit/delete Google Talk custom messages

Google Talk stored all of your custom messages that you have entered in a file in your user profile directory.

The file is located at “%USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Google Talk\status”

Inside you will find a file named in the format [userid]-history.txt.
So if your Gmail account is John.Dow@gmail.com the filename will be john.dow_gmail.com-history.txt (besides, there is usually only one file there anyway ;-) ).

The file format is very easy. It start with a first line which has the character “1” in it. I’m not sure what it stands for and what it do but you can disregard it.
All of the other lines are your custom message.

There are two statuses that can have custom messages that you can set for them. The “Available” status and the “Busy” (reffered internally as dnd – Do Not Disturbe).

Each two lines represent one custom message. The first line of each one of them represents one of the two statuses that this custome message refers to (available or dnd). The second line is your custom message.

There is no way of delete your previous custom messages in the current Google Talk GUI (Its currently true for the versions I’ve worked with and but may be irrelevant for future versions).

In order to delete these unnecessary custom messages do the following things:

  1. Close Google Talk
  2. Open the file (the location and name are mentioned above)
  3. Find the message text
  4. Delete that line and the line above it.
  5. Save the file
  6. Start Google Talk

That’s it, you won’t see it.

Of course, instead of deleting the line you can also edit it to change it.

Hope this helps someone.