Fixing Auto-rotate screen issue on Android

My device Auto-rotate suddenly stopped working without any reason. I verified that “Auto-rotate screen” was still turned on in my Acessibility settings. I also tested and recalibrated the sensors with the excellent free Sensor Tester by Soaus without success.

After reading some advice about cleaning the cache I looked into the issue and found a simple solution that worked for me. Using a cache cleaner (Titanium Backup) I simply cleaned the cache of the “System UI” application, rebooted and Auto-rotate worked for me.

Free online convertion of pages into RSS feed

Again I am a big fan of Flipboard the best free application to read news on iOS and Android. I am also a big fan of SkimFeed which I also like to read for my daily news. Unfortunately the two of them do not work well because SkimFeed does not provide any RSS feed.

Fortunately there is a great free service named Feed43 which does exactly what we need, but it is not really immediately straightforward how to use it.

  1. Create a new feed here, and put the url you want into the address box, you can leave the encoding box empty, and click Reload. I used
  2. In global search pattern just put {%}
  3. In item search pattern, identify the link, name and information you want to publish in your RSS feed and identify them with {%}. I used <a href=’{%}'{*}title='{%}'{*}</a> – {%}<br> where the first {%} identified the url suffix, the second {%} identified the title, and the third {%} identified where the link comes from. Click Extract to test your rules.
  4. Fill the title, link and description. Note that the link will be used as a prefix for your links. So in my case I use which I skipped during the search
  5. Enter {%1}, {%2}, etc. into the item title template, item link template, and item content template boxes. Where {%1} was the first {%} from the search pattern, and as follow. So in my case I used {%2} in item title template, {%1} in item link template, and {%3} in item content template.
  6. Click Preview. If everything worked as expected you should have a nice preview of the resulting RSS feed and a link to use ( in my case).
  7. Enter manually that full URL into Flipboard and you are done!

I also made another one for

Aggregating multiple RSS feeds into another RSS feed

I am a big fan of Flipboard the best free application to read news on iOS and Android. I am also a big fan of which I read every morning to get my daily pulse of the tech universe. Unfortunately the two of them do not work well because does not provide a useful RSS feed and just provides the most clicked feed.

So I had to build my own and for that I simply used the free RSSMix, you basically provide a list of URLs of the feeds you want to aggregate and it provides you a url of the resulting mix.

For example for I collected all the following feeds:,18-1.xml

I entered all of them into RSSMix with a simple copy and paste. RSSMix produced a useable url ( that I manually entered into Flipboard and everything worked!

Copying files from your computer to BlueStacks

BlueStacks is a fantastic piece of software allowing you to run Android applications on Windows and Mac, however it does not give you full access to its storage making it cumbersome to copy files the simple way you are used to with any Android device USB-style.

There are a lot of options involving mounting the obfuscated file system, however the guys are BlueStacks are constantly changing the storage method, so I looked and found a simple and neat solution fully contained in the Android emulation.

  1. On the main BlueStacks screen, click “App Stores” and launch the preinstalled Amazon app store
  2. In the search box enter “Ghost Commander” without quotes.
  3. Install Ghost Commander first, then the Samba plugin
  4. Run Ghost Commander, enter the local ip of your sharing machine, the directory you are sharing and you should be able to copy files back and forth as needed

Running Euler Math Toolbox on Linux Mint

Euler Math Toolbox is in my opinion the best free mathematical package, however it is for Windows and it does not fully run out of the box with the latest versions of Wine. Here are the few easy steps to fix this issue.

  1. Run “Synaptics Package Manager”
  2. If you have Wine already installed you can skip this test. Enter “Wine” without quotes in the quick filter box and press enter. Right click the first wine entry and select “Mark for Installation”
  3. Enter “Maxima” without quotes in the quick filter box and press enter. Right click the first wine entry and select “Mark for Installation”. Click the Apply button.
  4. Download the windows install for Euler Math Toolbox here, right click the file and “Open With” then “Open With Wine Windows Program Loader”
  5. Run Euler Math Toolbox with the desktop icon. Open the “Options” menu then “Symbolic Settings” then “Setup Maxima Call String…” and put “z:\usr\bin\maxima” without quotes in maxima executable line, click ok, and exit Euler Math Toolbox. Yes you need to close and reopen the app so that the new setting works.

You are done. You can test it with something simple like “&solve(x^2+1)” without quotes and Euler Math Toolbox should display the results as expected.

Compiling and patching Wine on Linux Mint

This is an area where Linux shine a bit, the default latest version of Wine does not work with Euler Math Toolbox, but a patch exist so I decided to dump into compiling it and patching it on my own. It was surprisingly straight forward, even if I had to compile the information from a dozen pages.

Here are the simple steps

  1. Download the .tar.bz2 source code from
  2. Go to the folder where you downloaded the file, open a terminal and run without quotes “tar -xvf wine-1.5.15.tar.bz2”
  3. Then enter the directory without quotes “cd wine-1.5.15”
  4. Get the tools and libraries needed to build wine again without quotes “sudo apt-get build-dep wine1.5”
  5. Build configuration for your machine again without quotes “./configure” yes there is no typo: “./configure”
  6. When it is done just type “make” without quotes again
  7. If everything went well just install with “sudo make install” without quotes

And that’s it. Now imagine you want to patch the code base. In between steps #4 and #5 run the following.

  1. Download the patch for example in my case it was which I saved as winepatch.diff
  2. Make sure to copy your .diff file into the wine-1.5.15 folder
  3. In terminal run “patch -p1 < winepatch.diff” from the wine-1.5.15 folder

Updating to latest version of Wine with Linux Mint without using Terminal

Another example of Linux not being ready for mass market. If you want to update to the latest version of a software, if it is not yet supported in the default repositories you are on your own. And contrary to windows, it is not as simple as downloading and running a setup program.

  1. Click your “Menu” button then “Administration” then”Run Synaptic Package Manager”
  2. Click the “Settings” menu and then click “Repositories”
  3. Go to the “Other Software” tab, click “Add” and put “deb precise main” without the quotes in the text box
  4. Click the “Edit” menu and “Reload package information”
  5. Enter “Wine” without quotes in the search box.
  6. If you have already had wine installed, right click wine, mark for upgrade, and click the big “Apply” button.
  7. If you did not have wine installed, right click wine, mark for install, and click the big apply “Apply” button.

That’s it.

Installing GIMP 2.8 on Linux Mint without using Terminal

This is the perfect example of why Linux is not yet ready for prime time. Installing the latest version of a software is not just about downloading it and running it as you would do on windows. Worse most of the solutions (see here and here) proposed require you to use the command line, which is a serious no go for beginners.

Being a Linux noobie myself I decided to learn how to install the software without using the terminal, and found a relatively simple solution.

  1. Click your “Menu” button then “Administration” then”Run Synaptic Package Manager”
  2. Click the “Settings” menu and then click “Repositories”
  3. Go to the “Other Software” tab, click “Add” and put “deb precise main” without the quotes in the text box
  4. Click the “Edit” menu and “Reload package information”
  5. If you have already removed the old version of gimp you can skip this step. Enter “gimp 2.6” without quotes in the search box, right click, mark for removal, and click the big “Apply” button.
  6. To install the new gimp, put “gimp 2.8” in the search box without quotes and when it appears, right click, mark for installation, and click the big apply “Apply” button, and you are done.

That’s it to start Gimp 2.8 just go to “Menu” then “Graphics” and “GIMP Image Editor”

Porting a VS project to Eclipse CDT (C++)

Few days ago I tested Eclipse C++ (see here) and was actually pleased with the results. Today in office I needed to work with a C++ pipeline tool and decided to convert it to Eclipse C++ while I was working on it.

Overall it went really smoothly and I like Eclipse C++ more and more. Here are the few things I needed to do.

  1. To edit your project building properties, go into the “Project Explorer” panel on the left, right click your project and select “properties”. Then unfold “C/C++ Build” and select “Settings”. The good thing is you can edit both debug and release configurations to set identical settings, so in the “Configuration” drop down select “[ All Configurations ]”
  2. There is no #pragma comment(lib,”mylib.lib”) to link with libraries. So make sure you go to “MinGW C++ Linker” then “Libraries”. Add the name of the library without .a nor .lib in “Libraries”, and add the path in “Library search path”. The specific project I worked on used DevIL the image library and the linker had no problem linking with the provided libraries. Again the trick is to remove any suffix from the library name. If you enter Devil.lib into the settings, the linker will complain about not being able to find the library. Change that to Devil (without .lib) and the linker will find it.
  3. If you compile your project with default settings you will most likely need to ship it with libraries like libgcc_s_dw2-1.dll or libstdc++-6.dll, so again in the settings page, go to “MinGW C++ Linker” then “Miscellaneous” and in the linker flag box add -static. This will increase a bit your executable size but will make it easier to deploy and overall will be smaller than shipping with all the Dlls needed.

Overall I already made two small projects with Eclipse CDT this week and it went as smoothly as it should, and as smoothly as VS, so the next test will be a project with more Windows / DirectX specific code. But so far, Eclipse CDT seems like a perfectly viable free alternative to VS.