Category Archives: tips

How to flip sidebar to left and post body to right in Blogger

In Blogger Beta you can move the widgets up and down, but you can’t flip the post body to the right or left of the sidebar. Here’s an easy way to do that without widgets.

To move the sidebar to the left find the section main or main-wrapper and change float:left to float:right, then find the section sidebar or sidebar-wrapper and change float:right to float:left. To move the sidebar to the right just do the opposite, change float:right to float:left and float:left to float:right.

After flipping them you might want to flip the backgrounds as well, and fine tune the layouts to make your blog look well.

Here’s the picture of the template TicTac Blue with the sidebar on the left:

How to kill a hard drive in Linux quietly with an easy way to undo it

We know that we can kill Linux by running the command rm -rf /, but this can’t be undone as your files are gone. Here’s a quick way to make your hard drive look like formatted and how to undo that easily (tested under VMWare with ubuntu), click each picture for more information.

First back up the first 10000 bytes of the hard drive and then replace it with empty data.

Everything seemed to be OK and we could still shut down normally, but……..

After we restart, it won’t boot anymore with an empty MBR and all the partitions are gone! To fix it we need to boot from a boot disk and restore what we backed up.

After all this it everything worked again. Now restart and check it…

Inspiration from my very sad personal experience:

Once upon a time I thought the first 512 bytes of hda1(where my Windows is installed) is the MBR but in fact it’s supposed to be the first 512 bytes of hda, I ran the command “dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hda1 bs=512 count=1″ and thought this would reset the MBR, but the Windows partition is ruined instead!

List of free phone call services compared

Free PC-to-Phone services with free PC-to-PC feature:

Skype – Now you can make free unlimited phone calls from skype to regular phone within U.S. and Canada with no minute limits until the end of this year. This only apply within U.S. and Canada, if you’re using Skype from other countries the calls won’t be free.

Gizmo – I heard about Gizmo for the first time in an email that says “Skype bad, Gizmo good”. Now Gizmo can make calls from PC to mobile and landline phones FREE in 60 countries (click for more information), but it requires both participants, the one making phone call and the one receiving, to use Gizmo to make PC-to-PC calls actively in order to qualify for this.

Free Phone-to-Phone services:

Jajah – Like Gizmo, active users can use it to make long distance phone call with other active users. Unlike Gizmo, it’s phone-to-phone, to use it you have to go to its website to type your phone number and the number you wish to call, after a while your phone will ring – your friend’s phone will ring, and you can start talking. Unregistered users can only try it for 5 minutes, registered users can call 1000 minutes a month, five hours a week, 1 hour a day. (for more information click here)

Phonehog.com – Like Skype, this service is only available in U.S. and canada unless you have a way to call its toll-free numbers for free in other countries. Unlike other services, it’s intended to be used in regular phones, to use it you have to dial the toll-free number and enter the pin number they gave you, just like using phone cards. When you registered you have no free minutes yet, to add free minutes you have to go to its website and sign up offers from other companies, many offers are free, some are paid, most paid offers gives you more free minutes. If you want phone card or you want to make phone call from public phones (20 units per connection) it should be your choice.

Some very cool free stuff and tools online

Did you Know that:

Make Ubuntu Dapper to display Chinese well in two minutes

With Ubuntu Dapper you can make Linux to display Chinese fonts (or maybe for other languages as well) much much easier than before. After you read this you’ll find out to make Linux to display Chinese well can be as simple as this.

  1. Get the font Simsun.ttc from Windows or some other high quality Chinese fonts and put them in the folder /usr/share/fonts/truetype.
  2. Update the font cache by runing “sudo fc-cache -fv”.
  3. Last and not least run the command “sudo fontconfig-voodoo -f -s zh_CN” and you are done! restart X and check it out.

Here are some screenshots for the effects:

You can even see bold, italic, bold+italic fonts:

Firefox browsing Yahoo China:

Something about Blogger’s template format and tips to show html code in posts

Did you know that Blogger.com‘s template is just a special HTML file with some special template tags in between? That means you can customize your blog just like editing a web page.

That gives you the maximum flexibility to customize the blog’s design. You can add and change anything you want from top to bottom. To learn more about the template tags and what they do please visit http://help.blogger.com/bin/answer.py?answer=42095.

I found it useful to put <meta name=”description” content=”<$BlogDescription$>”> into your template’s <head> section, so that search engines will show your website’s description in their result instead of some stupid message like “Notify Blogger about objectionable content. What does this mean? Blogger · Send As SMS · Get your own blog · Flag Blog · Next blog” if you have NavBar on.

If you want to put HTML codes in your blog to let others copy you can’t paste them directly in the Edit Posts window, it will give you some error message, here’s a way to get around it:

  • Copy the codes you want to paste into the post and paste it into a HTML editor (like FrontPage)’s design section.
  • Check the source code of the contents you just pasted, you will notice that the symbols “<“, “>”, or others became &??; now you can copy those codes with &??; and paste them in the posts, although you still see &??; now, when you published your post the &??; will become the appropriate symbol again when it show in the blog.

Note: You can’t get away with it by putting the unmodified codes inside the text box, Blogger’s editor still won’t let you save it even if you do that.

Wow! pictures of houses taken from the sky!

WTH? did I take this picture of my friend’s house from the sky front and back? No, it came from the amazing new Windows Live Local service (Formerly Virtual Earth) I mentioned before, now whenever you see the map of some big cities you can see them in bird’s eye’s view. with that you can see any place front and back as if the picture is taken from the sky. The technology used is called Pictometry, its images are taken at a 40 degree angle using a patented process, and it’s widely used by local and state Governments, including police and fire departments. Now everybody can give it a try now to see the all the places around us for free.