Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Force Quit an Unresponsive Graphical Application in Ubuntu - How-To Geek

There are lots of command-line utilities to kill unresponsive programs in Linux, but for the button-pushing-inclined, the Force Quit panel button lets you kill any app that you can click on without needing to remember anything.


We’re not exaggerating about the amount of ways you can kill applications in Linux – we’ve covered three previously. However, this method has a few advantages: first, it’s incredibly easy – you just have to click a button and click on the frozen application. Second, in our testing, it’s been slightly more reliable in shutting down unresponsive GUI applications than other solutions like xkill. On the flip side, it won’t work at all for non-graphical programs.

Since this is a panel button, it will go on one of the panels on your Ubuntu environment. By default, you have two panels: one at the top, with shortcuts to applications, the clock, and other buttons; and one at the bottom, where open programs will be listed.

We’re going to add the Force Quit button to the bottom panel. Right click where you want to add it, and choose Add to Panel.


Scroll through the list and find Force Quit. Select it, and press the Add button.


Close the Add to Panel window and you’ll see the Force Quit button where you chose to add it.


Now, when you have an unresponsive application…


Click on the Force Quit panel button. You will see an explanatory message, and the cursor will change to a crosshair.


Click on the offending program, and you’ll be given a prompt to force it to quit.


Cross your fingers that you won’t lose much data! But at least you now have control over your Ubuntu machine again.

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Rumor: Panasonic to release consumer 3D camcorder next week

Some unnamed sources have revealed that Panasonic will be unveiling a new 3D camcorder next week — one intended for consumers, unlike its semi-pro AG-3DA1, which we saw at CES. We’ve seen other 3D cameras out there but not a lot of excitement yet, likely because the means to view the content are still expensive and inconvenient.

The new Panasonic model is reported to be the same size as a normal camcorder and (this is my guess) will probably cost around a thou. If you consider that a normal consumer Panasonic camcorder costs around $500-700, and then add on the extra lens and stuff, plus the early adopter fee… a thou sounds right to me. It could be less, though. We’ll find out next week.

[via Electronista]

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CrunchGear PSA: Starcraft II trailer may cause nerdgasm

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mexican police arrest man hiding 18 monkeys under clothes at airport

(CNN) -- Mexican authorities searching a man with a bulge under his shirt at the airport in the nation's capital found 18 monkeys hidden beneath his clothes, police said. Investigators grew suspicious after Roberto Sol Cabrera Zavaleta, 38, became "markedly nervous" when asked what he was transporting, Mexico's Public Safety Department said. Two of the tiny titi monkeys he was carrying in a belt were dead, the department said in a statement, and 16 of them survived the journey from Lima, Peru. Cabrera has been detained as authorities continue their investigation, the statement said. In an interview with authorities released by police, Cabrera said he first carried the monkeys in his suitcase, but then hid the animals in his clothes so they would not be harmed by X-ray machines at the airport. He described the animals as "pets" and told authorities he had purchased them for $30. Titi monkeys are protected endangered species requiring a permit for possession, police said. Images released by police show the tiny creatures, many of which are tied up in pouches, squirming in a cardboard box.

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Bouquet brandishing bandit holds up New York bank

New York (CNN) -- Police are looking for a smooth stickup artist who they say pulled off a bank heist last week wielding only a bouquet of fresh flowers. According to police, the romantic robber entered the Bank of Smith Town in New York's Chelsea neighborhood shortly before 9 a.m. Thursday, where he approached the teller and removed a demand note from inside bouquet, which was draped in pink tissue paper. "Give me all your $100s, 50's, don't be a hero," the budding bandit told the clerk. After the teller forked over the cash, the petal-packing perpetrator quickly fled the scene, but left his blossoming bait behind. The suspect, described as a male between the ages of 30 and 35, was not carrying any dangerous weapons, police said. The incident comes on the heels of a string of strange robberies in New York. Earlier this month, a man thought to be in his 60s or 70s tried to knock off an upscale clothing store while carrying a cane and wearing a nasal tube connected to an oxygen tank. And in June, a thief hit a Manhattan shoe store while donning a cat mask.

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Samsung outs the 1TB Spinpoint MT2 2.5-inch hard drive

It’s lovely that we share the world with 2.5-inch 1TB hard drives. I mean, the only thing that could be better is if said hard drives were thin enough to fit into most notebooks. Then it will be perfect but the gulf oil well apocalypse will probably get here first. Oh well, we’ll have to deal with drives like the 1TB Spinpoint MT2 and its 12.5mm height that’s 3mm higher than most notebook drives.

Besides the 1TB capacity, the drive itself isn’t anything all that special with a 5400 RPM rating and 8MB of buffer memory. It’s likely destined for external drive or nettop duty seeing as its a tad too fat to fit inside notebooks. No word on retail pricing, but that’s probably because OEMs and the like are the target demographic.

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Quiksilver Tony Hawk and Friends Tour in Barcelona - Shred or Die

Tony Hawk nails the 900 in Barcelona.

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New business version of PogoPlug coming soon

The plucky little PogoPlug, which I reviewed last December, has seen a number of modest updates in the months since. All of these updates are rolled out automatically, so unless you’re following the PogoPlug blog you might never know about them. The word on the street today is that a whole new PogoPlug device is coming, called the PogoPlug Biz. It sports a white case, instead of the jarring pink of the non-biz version, and offers a number of handsome features.

The new PogoPlug Biz allows for a lot of customization: everything from the domain used to access the web-based shares to the logo, color and background image displayed. This goes a long way to making the PogoPlug useful for business environments: you can share files with clients without having to try to explain what a PogoPlug is or why your clients need to use it. Perhaps the biggest new feature is the addition of usage stats and auditing. You can know how many times a file was accessed, and whether it was downloaded or streamed. This will be a boon to small businesses everywhere.

Additional new features, some of which are also available to current PogoPlugs, include the ability to email files to your PogoPlug, printing from mobile devices to a printer attached to your PogoPlug, and storage quotas for new users.

Basically, PogoPlug provides almost all of the features of something like Dropbox, except that it uses storage media that’s under your control rather than “in the cloud”. For a one-time fee of $299 you can buy the PogoPlug Biz, which includes lifetime PogoPlug service. Not too shabby.

Here’s the full press release:

Cloud Engines Launches New Pogoplug Biz for Business Users
Pogoplug Biz is the secure and inexpensive way for a business
to access, share and send files over the Internet
Cloud Engines, Inc, announces today the introduction of the Pogoplug Biz, a new version of the company’s award-winning Pogoplug specifically designed for business use. The Pogoplug Biz offers safe and secure remotely accessible storage and a flexible system for controlling access to video, audio, photos, and documents from anywhere on the Internet.
The product installs in 60 seconds and requires no modification to network or firewall settings. Pogoplug Biz lets business owners use their own domain name(s) and customize (or “skin”) the user interface and email templates, enabling users to seamlessly represent their company whenever they share files online. A Pogoplug Biz, combined with one or more USB hard drives provides businesses with an extensible cloud storage solution with no monthly fees.
Pogoplug Biz features include:
- Usage Statistics and Auditing: quickly access a summary of how many times a file or folder has been viewed, streamed or downloaded. Keep track of the number of views, streams, and downloads.
- Customization: customize the look and feel of the Pogoplug interface, including the color, logo, domain name and background image. Customize the look and feel of emails that are sent when you share files.
- Custom Email Addresses: claim your own custom email addresses and let your clients email files to your Pogoplug. Create an unlimited number of custom upload folders and give them each a unique email address to share with your clients.
- Cloud/Mobile Printing: print from any mobile device, including the iPhone and iPad. Print to any printer connected to Pogoplug, from anywhere.
- Web View-Only Sharing: share viewable files over the web while preventing them from being downloaded. Web View is perfect for creative professionals and photographers who want to show clients previews of work but not allow them to download the files.
- Multiple Users: allows an administrator to set access levels and storage quotas for individual users.
- Remote backup: continuously mirror all or part of your Pogoplug storage to a second Pogoplug in a remote location.
“Businesses need online storage and sharing solutions that aren’t encumbered by fees or limitations,” said Daniel Putterman, CEO of Cloud Engines, Inc. “Pogoplug Biz gives companies a secure, private and customizable solution to solve this problem.”
The Pogoplug Biz is available for preorder at Pogoplug.com/buy. Pogoplug Biz costs $299 with lifetime Pogoplug service.
Useful Links
Pogoplug web site: www.pogoplug.com
Twitter feed: www.twitter.com/pogoplug
Pogoplug online community: www.pogoplugged.com

About the Pogoplug Biz
The Pogoplug Biz is a device that connects up to 4 external hard drives to the Internet. It is designed for businesses that need to share remote storage of a variety of file types via the Internet to co-workers and customers anywhere in the world. Robust customization allows the Pogoplug Biz to represent your company or brand effectively while maintaining Pogoplug’s famously easy set-up and use.

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How to Disable Login Sounds in Ubuntu

Nothing’s worse than booting up your laptop in a public place and subjecting everyone around you to the Ubuntu login sounds. We’ll show you how to disable both login sounds for good.

Note: This method was tested in Ubuntu 10.04. For older versions of Ubuntu, please see this article.


Disable the User Login Sound

By default, when you log into your Ubuntu desktop, a program will run that plays a sound to greet you. Let’s disable that program!

Click on System > Preferences > Startup Applications.


Scroll through the list and find the GNOME Login Sound program. Uncheck the checkbox (or click Remove to permanently remove the option from this list).


Disable the Login Ready Sound

In addition to the sound that plays when you log in, a sound may play when the Ubuntu log in screen is ready for you to log in.

To disable this, click on System > Administration > Login Screen.


This change requires super user privileges, so assuming you have them, click on the Unlock button and enter your password.


Once unlocked, you can uncheck the “Play login sound” checkbox.



While the login sounds can be helpful, especially if your computer is older and you have to make a sandwich while your computer boots up, they can also be very annoying. If you want to turn them off, make sure you disable both of the login sounds!

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Limbo is a fresh, mesmerizing cypher. Buy it

At this point, we've written enough about the look and feel of Limbo that writing a full review of the finished game almost seems redundant. There aren't any major shifts in gameplay, nor is there a midgame plot twist that we didn't experience in our previews. This Xbox Live Arcade release simply brings a pleasing aesthetic to a sparse story, and then asks you what it all means by the time the game is over.

If you've seen Inception—and if you haven't, you need to—you know the power of an ending that asks you to make a decision about what you've just seen. This style of finale annoys some to no end, but if you have paid attention to the details of what you've just seen and are willing to take something of a leap in your own mind, you'll understand and be satisfied by the story. I played Limbo to completion in one four-hour setting with my wife and good friend in attendance, and we instantly fell into a spirited discussion about what just happened. That's a rare, and very welcome, thing to happen as the credits roll.

What's surprising about Limbo, the story of a little boy trying to find his sister in a bleak, nearly hopeless landscape, is the level of the puzzles. They're not what you expect in this sort of platformer, and you'll need to master timing and inertia in order to move ahead. Playing Limbo, you'll realize just how many games are nothing but exercises in dragging crates or rearranging mirrors. The puzzles here are multilayered and tricky, and the frustration you'll sometimes feel while playing is offset by the thrill of finally figuring something out.

The game is out this Wednesday, costs $15, and will appeal to those who like games with an interesting artistic style, those who like platformers, those who like puzzles, or anyone with a hankering for something different. Buy this game, and vote for adventurous content on our consoles. When you finish it, send in an e-mail with your take on what just happened. I can't wait to hear what you think, and if we get enough entries you may see your thoughts in a future post.

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Portable watermelon cooler

Just when you think you’ve seen it all in the world of gadgets, Japan churns out yet another unique device. This time it’s the Marugoto Tamachan [JP], a watermelon cooler and heater. That’s right, the machine doesn’t just cool watermelons, but for some reason it can also heat them up. And it’s portable, too.

Maker Joybond says the heating feature can be useful for keeping other stuff warm, too, for example beverages or food. The Marugoto Tamachan holds 14l and is sized at 50.2×35.4×39.2cm (weight: 6.3kg).

Needless to say, the device is available in Japan only (price: $230). Ask import/export specialist Geek Stuff 4 U if you’re really interested in getting one.

Hat tip to Akky from Asiajin

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Windows Phone 7: the important bits

Filed under: OS Updates, Windows Mobile, Microsoft

Windows Phone 7: the important bits

by Sebastian Anthony (RSS feed) Jul 19th 2010 at 9:00AM

Today saw the release of the first in-depth previews of Microsoft's next-generation mobile operating system Windows Phone 7. The problem is, I don't really care about the screen, or indeed any of the hardware. I'm not interested in half the things that Engadget or ZDNet have to say about the phone: I'm just interested in what the software -- the operating system -- enables the phone to do. I figured you might be the same -- after all, who wants to dig through a dozen pages of pictures and flavourless prose when everything you want to know can be boiled down to a bunch of bullet points?

So, here's what Windows Phone 7 means for you, the software-enthusiast end-user:

  • Using Windows Phone 7 will be very smooth -- there is a lot less emphasis on applications. You won't 'start the camera app' and then 'start the messaging app' to send a photo. You will just take a photo and then send it to a friend. As ZDNet puts it, the emphasis will be on how you interact with people rather than apps -- which is rather fitting, given our contemporary love affair with social interaction.
  • The Start screen is still alive -- but unlike other mobile platforms where your home screen is merely dotted with app icons, you can create quick access buttons to almost anything, including your favourite songs or contacts. Being able to open an instant messenger chat with your best friend from the Start screen is pretty darn cool.
  • Applications are going to be wider -- on WP7 you will find words trailing off the edge of the screen. Apparently it's a very natural cue that encourages you to swipe left or right to access the next page. I suggest you watch Engadget's video to see how this actually works in practice. Personally, I love the change: moving from a wide-screen desktop display to a hyper-portrait mobile phone is never pleasant.
  • Much more stringent hardware requirements -- no surprise here, I guess. Windows Phone 7 has a (very sexy) list of minimum hardware requirements, including a multi-touch 800x480 screen and a flash-equipped camera. (Check the ZDNet article for a full list.)
  • There will be no external storage on WP7 phones -- OK, this one's a surprise! I guess this is to please app developers and content providers... but time will tell! (Incidentally, WP7 phones must have a minimum of 8GB internal storage.)
  • Hubs -- this is Windows Phone 7's shining glory. There are different kinds of hubs: People, Pictures, Games, Music + Videos, Marketplace and Office. Without going into exact details, these hubs provide easy access to every kind of media. In the case of Pictures, it shows your local camera photos, and your photos from Facebook. Games will contain all of the juicy Xbox Arcade/XNA games that also work on the WP7. For more details on how the hubs work, watch ZDNet's video.
  • Configuration, settings -- like Android, Windows Phone 7 has a consolidated, global 'settings' menu where you can alter any setting for any application. Hooray!
I think that about covers it all. Overall, reviewers and developers are concluding that Windows Phone 7 is polished, fluid and very easy to use. In fact, most complaints seem to be about the lack of copy-and-paste and true multi-tasking. Sure, Microsoft isn't quite finished, but with WP7 phones due to arrive this winter, the platform must be very nearly feature-complete. I think it's safe to say that Windows Phone 7 will not debut with either a clipboard or multi-tasking.

Never mind! The iPhone still did very well without either of those features.

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Seagate’s GoFlex Home is a ever-so-slightly more convenient NAS

You probably remember the GoFlex system, a recent Seagate innovation that adds some versatility to their drives at the cost of you having to buy adapters from them in order to achieve said versatility. Well, the family has a new member in the GoFlex Home, which is a GoFlex-type NAS.

It plugs into your router and provides the usual NAS services: streaming media to compatible devices, automatic wireless backup, and so on. But what makes it a GoFlex? Glad you asked. While you’ll buy the Home with a 1TB or 2TB drive included, you can swap out the one you bought with a larger GoFlex drive or add storage to the USB slot on the back, there.

I’m not sure I see the utility here. If you’re planning on buying one of these and then, say, upgrading it in a year, why not just spend the money now on a Drobo or another multi-drive NAS? Simplicity is one answer, of course, and the GoFlex Home seems to be pretty much plug-and-play, but 2TB for the whole family is going to fill up pretty fast and you’re going to wish you had three or four drive slots to put naked HDDs in.

Anyway, the 1TB will run you $160, and the 2TB will go for $230. It seems like a bit much to me, considering the variety of NAS systems out there. GoFlex is a good idea for power users, but for the home NAS market, it doesn’t seem to bring much to the party.

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New coffee shop concept? One iPad for every table

Apple doesn’t break down country-specific sales numbers, but it’s safe to say that Japan has come to embrace the iPad, too. Case in point: ease [JP], a cafe in Marunouichi Building in central Tokyo, which offers its guests one iPad for every table.

It seems all the iPads are left largely unattended and unsecured – that’s Japan for you.

All pictures taken from Twitpic: 1,2,3 (shot by wrightak and maro_ts)

Via TomokoHosaka

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Friday, July 16, 2010

Root your HTC Android phone with unrevoked

Filed under: Utilities, Android

Root your HTC Android phone with unrevoked

Androidby Lee Mathews (RSS feed) Jul 16th 2010 at 2:30PM

Not everyone who wants to root his or her Android phone is interested in doing things the hard way (like me, for example -- if I had an Android phone, of course). Want to make things easy on yourself? Download unrevoked and let it do the heavy lifting for you!

The tool provides simple rooting for five HTC Android phones: the Incredible, Desire, Aria, Hero, and Evo.

Windows users: you'll need to first load the included HBoot drivers -- Linux and Mac users won't. You'll also need to make sure that no other programs are trying to access your device via USB (like HTC Sync or DoubleTwist, for example).

[via Droid Life]

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Black And White is a cat-tastic platform Time Waster


In Black And White you control two cats, a black one and white one, which move simultaneously in opposite directions as you use the arrow keys (and Z to jump). The goal is to bring each cat to its own door (the black cat goes to the black door, while the white one goes to the white door).

The only problem is that the cats are inseparable. Every movement made by one is mirrored by the other, and this gets tricky because the way to the door is not always the same for both cats. The cats sometimes have to help each other: one cat would hold down a button, which would then disable a wall so that the other cat can move through it. But then, as soon as you move the other cat through the wall, the first cat (who was holding the button down), also moves. And then the wall becomes solid again. Pretty tricky!

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Add Your Own Domain to Your Tumblr Blog

Would you like to personalize your Tumblr blog with your own domain name?  Here’s how you can redirect a domain to Tumblr and register it with your blog.

When you signup for a new Tumblr Blog, by default your blog’s address will be your_blog_name.tumblr.com.  One of the best reasons to use your own domain name is that you could always move the domain to another blog service if you decide to switch and quit blogging at Tumblr.  With your own domain, your blog’s identity is secure, and best of all, once you own a domain it’s free to add it to your Tumblr.  Here’s how to do it.

Redirect Your Domain to Tumblr

First, you need to own a domain name.  There are many popular domain registrars, and you can usually signup for a new domain name for around $10.  If you don’t already have one, find a domain hosting service you feel good with and signup for a new domain name.

Once you’ve got a domain name, you need to direct your domain name to point to Tumblr’s servers.  Or, if you want to keep your domain name at a current site, you could redirect a subdomain to Tumblr.  Our domain was hosted with 1&1, so here’s how to do it there; the process is generally the same on other registrars, though the wording may be slightly different.  Login to your domain administration page, and if your hosting company offers multiple services, select to Manage your Domain.


Now select your domain name, click the DNS button, and select Edit DNS Settings.  Again, this may appear different depending on your domain registrar, but should in general work the same.


Now, on the IP Address settings, select Other IP address, and then enter Tumblr’s IP address:

Click Ok when you’re finished making the changes.  Now your domain name should be ready to add to your Tumblr blog, though note that it can take up to 72 hours for the changes to go through.


Add Your Domain to Tumblr

Once you’ve changed your DNS settings, head over to Tumblr’s Check Domain page (link below) to make sure everything is setup correctly.  Enter your domain name, and click Check domain.


If everything’s setup correctly, you’ll see a confirmation like the one below.


Alternately, if your domain is not pointing to Tumblr, you’ll see a message informing you that it isn’t pointed to Tumblr.  If you see this, make sure you entered your domain correctly, and then go back and check your domain settings at your domain registrar.


If everything is directing to Tumblr correctly, you should now see a page similar to the following screenshot when you visit your domain.  Now you’re ready to add it to your Tumblr account.


Browse to tumblr.com/customize (link below), and click the Info tab at the top.


Now check the box near the bottom that says Use a custom domain name, and enter your domain name in the field.


Click Save + Close on the top right corner, and now you should see your Tumblr blog when you browse to your new domain.  If you don’t see it, press Shift+F5 to force your browser to fully refresh.



No matter how you plan to use your blog, you can make it much more personalized with a custom domain.  Now you can run your business’ blog on Tumblr and keep your branding, or run a personal site that’s easily movable to a different service.  Don’t forget; if you don’t have a Tumblr blog, check out our tutorial on how to Create a Beautiful & Easy to Update Blog With Tumblr.


Check and See if Your Domain is Pointing to Tumblr

Customize Your Tumblr Blog

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Apple plays satirical iPhone Antenna Song at press conference

Here it is -- the Johnathan Mann video that Apple just played (no kidding) to start off their official press conference. No really -- right before Steve Jobs took the stage, he played this song for gathered reporters, and it's fair to say that the video shared in no uncertain terms what he thinks: "The media loves a failure in a string of successes / the fact won't ever matter if they can make their bigger messes ... in terms of daily usage / I've yet to drop a call / so this whole damn thing is stupid." Seems a little frivolous for a problem that a lot of people are really frustrated by, but, you know, whatever. Jobs said that they saw the video on YouTube this morning, and "wanted to share it." The song also mentions the Gizmodo case: "Gizmodo's just ridiculous / pulling their anti-Apple strings / You bought a stolen prototype / Get over it and move on." Again, pretty informal for kicking off an official press conference. It's weird to think of Jobs browsing YouTube, finding this, and thinking it'd be perfect to play before speaking to the world about the iPhone 4's problems.

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How to Hack Your Nintendo DS for Easy Backups and Single-Cartridge Playback

How to Hack Your Nintendo DS for Easy Backups and Single-Cartridge Playback

How to Hack Your Nintendo DS for Easy Backups and Single-Cartridge PlaybackIf you'd love to back up all your Nintendo DS games and carry them around on a single and inexpensive game cartridge you can play on any DS, DS Lite, DSi, DSi XL, this guide is for you.

Earlier this year we showed you how to backup and play your Wii games from an external hard drive. Many of you wrote in asking when we would do a guide for your other gaming darling, the Nintendo DS. You asked, we listened, and now we're back with a start to finish guide to backing up your Nintendo DS games. We'll be swapping out the bulky external hard drive for a nice slender micro SD card but the basic premise remains the same.

Note: Unfortunately this technique relies on you using a Nintendo DS or DS Lite to do the backups. Your DSi can play the backups, but the architecture of the DSi simply doesn't support easy ROM dumping. We're sure it has been done, but likely not without a lot of work, solder, and cannibalizing a few units in the process. If you have a DSi and you want to back up your games, we suggest you find a friend or hit up Craigslist or eBay for a used DS unit for the backing up. After you've backed up, you can play your backups on your DSi without problems.

Even better, while the chances are of bricking your Wii using our guide were nearly 0%—but still technically possible—your chances of damaging your Nintendo DS with this guide are 0%. None of steps will require you to alter your actual DS unit—all tweaks and hacks occur entirely on the flash cartridge we will be setting up. The NDS is a robust little gaming platform and there is next to nothing you can throw at it that a simple reboot won't fix. Should you ever want to sell your DS in "stock" form, all you need to do is remove the flash cartridge and wipe your system settings.

Note: Screenshots for the two flash carts (short for cartridges) we tested were taken on both a Nintendo DS Lite and a Nintendo DSi unit, as we tried out features to ensure functionality across models.

Why Backup and What You'll Need

How to Hack Your Nintendo DS for Easy Backups and Single-Cartridge Playback
Why back up your Nintendo DS games? Why not back them up? You paid good money for those little NDS cartridges. Do you really want to shell out another $30 because a tiny little plastic postage stamp of a game goes missing? Just like backing up your fragile DVD-based Wii games to an external hard drive protects them from damage and your sticky-fingered kids, backing up your NDS games provides the same protection. Photo by el monstrito.

It also protects your games from theft. Should your NDS be stolen after you switch to using backups, you'll be painfully out one NDS unit—but you'll have all your NDS game cartridges safe and sound at home—and likely the original backups still on your computer. If that's not enough for you, playing your games from a backup flash cart gives you access to all sorts of neat bonuses, like Action Replay cheat codes, unlimited game saves, and—depending on the flash cart you use—even in-game, on-the-fly cheat application and game speed tweaks.

So what do you need to get started with this backup magic? For this guide you will need the following items:

  • A Nintendo DS or DS Lite unit with power cable on hand.
  • A Flash cartridge (which we'll refer to as a flash cart from here on) such as the AceKard2i or the SuperCard DSTwo. The Acekard2i is $23.95; the Supercard DSTwo is $38.95.
  • A micro SD card and card reader. 2GB+ is more than sufficient for most people.
  • A wireless router.
  • Nintendo DS game cartridges to backup.
  • A computer—we'll be using a Windows PC for this tutorial.

Selecting Your Flash Cart

How to Hack Your Nintendo DS for Easy Backups and Single-Cartridge Playback
For this guide, we purchased and tested two NDS flash carts. There are more than a half dozen flash carts on the market with varying features like hardware emulation, media playback, and more. We researched flash carts and selected one from the more economical end of the price scale and a premium cartridge to see if the build quality and features were worth the increase in price. All flash carts were ordered from ModChipCentral. They've got excellent prices , reasonable shipping, and all of our orders—we made two just to make sure our first expedient delivery and great customer service wasn't a fluke—arrived promptly. The flash cart market is rife with cheap imitations and outright scams so it's worth using a merchant somebody can vouch for.

Rather than overwhelm you with the specifications of the two cartridges we ordered—you can read their product pages for those—we'll help you choose a flash cart based on your needs. These aren't the only flash carts on the market, but they are the ones we were able to test extensively and can give you some insight on.

How to Hack Your Nintendo DS for Easy Backups and Single-Cartridge PlaybackIf you just want to backup and play your Nintendo DS games and don't really care about emulation, media playback, or other fancy features, the Acekard2i is for you. It's a solid cartridge, it has a development community behind a robust cart-specific operating system called akAIO, and for basic playback as well as homebrew-based emulation you'll be just fine. If playing Gameboy Advance games is important to you, however, keep in mind that this flash cart cannot play Gameboy Advance backups on the Nintendo DSi—this is a hardware limitation, due to the lack of a Slot 2 for GBA games, it can still play Gameboy Advance backups on the DS and DS Lite. The Acekard2i is $23.95 at ModChipCentral.

How to Hack Your Nintendo DS for Easy Backups and Single-Cartridge PlaybackIf you want to backup and play your DS games and use enhancements like cheat codes, real-time saving, as well as playing games in emulation like Gameboy Advance and SNES games, and you'd like to enable movie and music playback, the SuperCard DSTwo is for you. It handles the basics of backing up and playing NDS games perfectly but then goes a step further by layering an interface over your NDS game playback—accessible by pressing L+R+Start at anytime during playback—which gives you access to game guides, real-time cheat codes and game saves, slow motion playback, and a really cool "Free Cheat" mode where the SuperCard looks for open variables in the game that can be modified like those for health or ammo left. In addition the SuperCard has a built-in chipset for emulation of the GBA on the DSi, hardware-based SNES emulation, and media playback. The Supercard DSTwo is $38.95 at ModChipCentral.

Setting Up Your Flash Cart

Once you get your flash cartridge in the mail, you'll need to load and update their software. The process differs between the two carts we're covering, so if you've got the Acekard2i, go here; if you bought the Supercard DSTwo, jump ahead to here. After this setup, the instructions are the same for both.

How to Hack Your Nintendo DS for Easy Backups and Single-Cartridge Playback
Setting Up the Acekard2i: Download the Acekard21 loaders. Extract the contents of the ZIP file to the root of the micro SD card you'll be using for your Acekard2i. Download akAIO—an alternative but practically "official" OS for the Acekard. Extract it to the root of your micro SD card. Download the WiFi update. Extract into /__aio/plugin/ on your micro SD card. Make a folder labeled /ROMS - NDS/ on the root of your micro SD card. You could call it /Games/ if you won't be using any emulators or other NDS software, but we like to keep things well categorized around here. Your games will go here once you've backed them up.

If you intend to use the Acekard2i in a Nintendo DSi that is has been updated to menu version 1.4 (go into the system settings and look in the corner of top screen to check), you will need to update the Acekard2i's firmware.

How to Hack Your Nintendo DS for Easy Backups and Single-Cartridge Playback

Download the Acekard2i update for the 1.4 system menu here. Extract the contents to the root of your SD card. The update can only be run from a DS, a DS Lite, or DSi with menu version 1.3 or lower. You cannot update the flash cart from a DSi unit with system menu 1.4+ because of restrictions in the current system menu. When it is in a compatible DS unit launch the Acekard flash cart like a game and navigate to the root of your micro SD card.

How to Hack Your Nintendo DS for Easy Backups and Single-Cartridge Playback

Run the ak2ifw_update_14_DSi.nds to update your flash cart. Even though the update takes under 30 seconds, plug your NDS into the wall to play it safe so you don't lose power at a critical moment.

How to Hack Your Nintendo DS for Easy Backups and Single-Cartridge Playback

Once you're done setting up up the flash cart—whether you had to update for menu 1.4 or not—pop it into your NDS. Run the "game" and you'll be greeted with the akAIO menu as seen below. Now you're ready to set up your DS for game backups, so skip the SuperCard DSTwo setup below and jump straight to the instructions for setting up your Nintendo DS for game backups below.

How to Hack Your Nintendo DS for Easy Backups and Single-Cartridge Playback

Setting Up SuperCard DSTwo: If you read over the steps required to set up the Acekard2i and thought "I wonder if the pricier one is easier to set up?", it is. You'll pay almost twice as much for the SuperCard DSTwo over the Acekard2i, but the increase in price comes also increases the ease of setup, and the bonus of some really cool in-game cheats and hardware emulation.

To set up the SuperCard DSTwo you'll need to download the SuperCard firmware here. Extract the contents to the root of your micro SD card. Make a /NDS - ROMS/ folder to park your future game backups. Pop the micro SD card back into the flash cart and then back into the NDS and you're done. It already comes updated for system menu 1.4, no tweaking necessary, so you're ready to set up your DS for game backups.

How to Hack Your Nintendo DS for Easy Backups and Single-Cartridge Playback

Setting Up Your Nintendo DS for Game Backups

At this point, regardless of which cartridge you picked, you're now ready to play NDS backups. The problem is we don't have any backups yet, so we need to grab some of our game cartridges and create some. Before we can start backing up our games, however, we need to do a quick setup. From this point forward the guide is flash cart agnostic. Unless explicitly noted all instructions apply to any flash cart.

At this point you'll need your Nintendo DS or DS Lite, your wireless router, the game cartridges you want to back up, and a computer to back them up to. We'll be using a a Windows 7 PC.

First, configure your router. Unfortunately Nintendo never really got on the secure-wireless bandwagon when it came to the Nintendo DS line. If you're running your wireless access point wide open, you're all set. If you're using encryption stronger than WEP you'll have to temporarily crank it down to old-school—and insecure—WEP security. Sorry! You can change it back as soon as you're done backing up your games.

Second, make sure your NDS can connect to the wireless router. If you have a Wi-Fi-enabled game start the game and use it to configure your wireless settings—the NDS and NDS Lite lack a system-menu option for configuring it without a game. If you don't have a game with Wi-Fi play that would allow you to configure things, that's okay. You have a flash cart now that we can run some homebrew software on. Download DSOrganize—a homebrew NDS personal organizer and file manager.

How to Hack Your Nintendo DS for Easy Backups and Single-Cartridge Playback

Extract \DSOrganize\ to the root of your micro SD card. Load up your flash cart and browse to the DSOrganize folder. Launch the DSOrganize.nds file. Once loaded, go to Configuration, then click the start button to navigate across the tabs until you reach the last tab with the Wi-Fi symbol on it. Use one of the three available slots to set up your Wi-Fi information and save it. Reboot your NDS, you've now configured the wireless settings sans a Wi-Fi-enabled game.

Finally it's time to download and configure the backup tool. Download a copy of Backup Tool 0.31 here. The Backup Tool (BT) is a homebrew application that uses your DS's WiFi connection to copy games over the network to an FTP server. BT comes with a copy of smallFTP, which is perfect for the task ahead.

Inside the BT ZIP archive you'll find two folders NDS_Backup_Tool_WiFi and smallftp-1.0.3-fix. Copy the NDS folder contents—but not the folder itself—over to the root directory of your micro SD card; extract the smallFTP folder over to your computer.

You'll need to do some very brief configuration before we jump back to your DS. On your micro SD card, open the file NDS_Backup_Tool_Wifi.ini. Replace the server IP with the local address if your computer on the Wi-Fi network. You can check this by typing ipconfig at the Windows command prompt or by browsing to your router's administration page and checking there. The rest of the settings can stay the same, as they are pre-configured to work with the copy of smallFTP included with BT—change them if you had to set up your own server with different settings. The default dump directory for smallFTP is c:\temp\. If you would like it to dump somewhere else, open up ftpd.ini in the smallFTP folder and edit the last line to the directory you want. Make sure the directory exists, otherwise the backup tool will error out.

Plug your micro SD card and flash cart into your DS and boot it up. While it is booting you can start up the smallFTP server on your PC and make sure it's active.

How to Hack Your Nintendo DS for Easy Backups and Single-Cartridge Playback

Browse on your NDS to the NDS_Backup_Tool_WiFi and run the .NDS file you find inside. You should see a blue and white screen that prompts you to remove the current flash cart and put in the game you want to back up. Do so and press A to initialize. You should see a screen like the one below.

How to Hack Your Nintendo DS for Easy Backups and Single-Cartridge Playback

This screen is for backing up your saved games. Nearly every flash cart will manage your saved games for you as long as the .SAV file is the same as the .NDS file. Now is great time to copy the .SAV file over. When the transfer is done press the Right paddle button to navigate to the Save Restore menu. Press it again to switch to the ROM Backup menu. You'll see the screen below with the ROM information changed to reflect whatever game you've inserted.

How to Hack Your Nintendo DS for Easy Backups and Single-Cartridge Playback

Press B to get started. Depending on the game you're transferring, you'll need to be patient. Now is a good time to double check the smallFTP window on your computer—or whatever FTP server you've set up—to make sure the file transfer looks good on both ends.

How to Hack Your Nintendo DS for Easy Backups and Single-Cartridge Playback

NDS games range in size from around 3-130+ MB. Transfer over the WiFi network takes approximately one minute per 0.85MB of data transferred. Play it safe and just round up to 1 minute per MB. This particular ROM was 64MB, and when we checked back in an hour later it had just finished a few minutes prior.

Once the transfer is complete check in your download directory.

How to Hack Your Nintendo DS for Easy Backups and Single-Cartridge Playback

Success! You've copied the your game and can now copy that .NDS file onto your micro SD card and into the /ROMS - NDS/ folder. Let's do that now.

How to Hack Your Nintendo DS for Easy Backups and Single-Cartridge Playback

Our test game, Professor Layton and the Curious Village, copied perfectly and loaded with no trouble from both the Acekard2i and the SuperCard DSTwo—showcased above. For those of you who aren't satisfied until the fat lady sings—or in this case the Curious Professor travels—here's a screenshot of the game loaded.

How to Hack Your Nintendo DS for Easy Backups and Single-Cartridge Playback

Now just rinse and repeat for every game you want to backup to your flash cartridge. Snazzy!

Start to finish, that's how you backup your Nintendo DS cartridges to protect against loss, damage, and theft. Best of all when you're done you get them all on one cartridge so you can play anything in your collection without hauling a tote bag for your DS gear.

Send an email to Jason Fitzpatrick, the author of this post, at jason@lifehacker.com.

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I have an Acekard 2i. Love it. Reply

Also worth noting that there's some really good DS homebrew floating around. MP3 players, eBook/PDF/comic book viewers, PDA/Organizational tools, instant messaging clients, web browsers, email clients, emulators (ScummVM works particularly well with the touch screen), and homebrew clones of games like Picross, Tetris, Amplitude, Lemmings, etc.

Yes, a flash cart can be used for piracy but there are plenty of cool, legitimate uses for a flash cart too. Reply

To be fair, those cartridges are tiny as hell and very easy to lose if you're not a neat freak like me and keep them in their cases. The gameboy ones were hard enough to keep track of as it was! Reply

And as an aside to my first comment, I would highly suggest you guys negating this article as trash, or saying that it's illegal, to go read some Boing Boing. Search some of their articles, and read up on how piracy, content, and the providers are clashing in a way that is important to digital consumers of all kinds. This is an important era for this kind of thing, and I suggest you read up on it. They are trying to criminalize us, and it's up to us to tell them we won't stand for it. I command LH for publishing both articles (and most other articles that you guys run) and Kotaku for reposting it on their site so the info is out there.


[boingboing.net] Reply

You hear that? That's the sound of everyone backing up their games to flash carts and selling the legit copies back to GameStop since they don't need them any more! Reply
Hi-Im-Asylum approved this comment

Guys youall need to chill.. Backup != piracy Reply
timgray promoted this comment

Screw backing up DS games, I would love to be able to play NES/SNES/Genesis games on the go. I know some were released but I highly doubt games like Simon's Quest or Aladdin or Cool Spot will get any love on the DS. Reply

Kudos to Mr. Fitzpatrick for finding a way to charge flash carts to an expense account. Reply
B1663R promoted this comment

Really Kotaku? "Backups" has long been the cover up for "stealing." Nintendo frowns on the products mentioned with good reason. Guess they don't pay attention enough to cut you off like Sony briefly did a while back. Reply

...if only the 3DS wasn't coming out soon with sophisticated hacker proof technology in it that could potentially brick the system.

Not sure if that applies for using DS hacks or not since it's not out yet- but why take the chance? Reply

There is no need to BACK-UP cartridges, this is all for piracy.

I've been playing and collecting games for about 30 years and of my thousands of games for my 68 consoles, NONE HAVE EVER FAILED!

Kotaku has sunk to a new low by posting this. If you want to pirate or do this there are a million sites out there that can show you how. This article is redundant as a service and only serves to tarnish any relationship this site ever hoped to have with Nintendo and it's publishers.

Good luck getting any type of exclusive interview from 3DS publishers and developerss after this. Reply

strideo promoted this comment

I always figured talking about this stuff would get us banned like most gaming boards... Anyway, cool guide! I didn't realize average users could rip cartridges with a DS - I thought it would freeze as soon as you removed the current one.

Typically I've downloaded ROMs of games I own because the official cases are bulky and excellent at tossing games on the ground since they hold three, open all three at once, but don't secure them at all. A friend of mine just lost his copy of Pokemon SoulSilver (though I don't think a plain backup would have worked of THIS game, it's exactly the kind of scenario you'd want a flashcard for.)

Nice... now I can back up the titles I've been too lazy to source as ROMs. Reply

If only the press would be so "pro consumer" in every aspect of reporting.
The press (not specifically Kotaku) respect and sign the most BS embargos left and right, hold reviews till or after the release if a game isn't all that great etc. . You usually follow the publishers' will to the letter - but here, where it might actually do harm, you claim freedom of the press.

This is a great guide to help you protect your investment. I was absolutely crushed when I lost my Advance Wars: Dual Strike DS Cart.

Losing DS carts is very easy...and when it is a beloved game, it just plain old sucks. Always good to have backups/backup plan. Reply

Dear all the haters, why are you hating? Did you get up in arms when LH posted the tutorial on how to convert your dvd's to h264 for your ipod, iphone, or home video center? Do you not understand that all this information is freely available on google? While I don't own a DS, I would love to use this hack if I did. Carrying around multiple carts was never fun with my GameBoy or Game Gear and I would hate to do it with the DS too. I just used LH's tutorial to convert all my DVD's to h264 for my HTPC and it made everything so much more convenient.

This is what LH's job is. To give us articles about things that interest, help, or benefit us. They aren't advocating piracy any more than google is by giving you the results of your search. Reply

Janglesatwest promoted this comment

Backing up a game you own is completely legal. Nowhere in this article were any instructions given about where to download roms, how to pirate games, or anything inappropriate. It's not the hardware that illegal, or the backing up process. It's the act of stealing from companies that's the crime. Here we have explicit instructions for how to backup games from a cartridge ONLY. Yeah, the next step is piracy and it's not a difficult step to make, but this is a reasonable guide for how to create game backups legally to make people who own a ton of DS games have an easier time.

It's like getting mad for giving instructions how to burn CDs. It's not wrong to show the correct way to do it. It's useful information, just a shame what some people will do with it. Reply

Janglesatwest promoted this comment

The Kotaku crowd has become really disappointing lately. Really.

This isn't a guide to pirate games. It's a guide to safeguard what is yours. To modify what you own.

It's not Kotaku's responsibility to make sure people don't use this information in a negative way.

Finally, to every last one of you complaining: think REAL hard about if you ever burned your music to a CD or recorded it to a tape. Backed up files on your computer, perhaps? Guess what? The intention is no different here.

Also, most of you have probably enjoyed illegally downloaded music at some point, so get off your imaginary moral high ground about piracy.

I swear, this is the only place I like to comment on the entire internet and you people are ruining it. Reply

ihityouinthenose promoted this comment

Long as you've got that flash cart, might as well throw some homebrew on there as well beyond just DSOrganize, no? The DS homebrew scene may not be as lively as the PSP one but there's still some great games and applications out there.

Like Quake (you'll need to get the levels yourself, you can use the demo ones): [quake.drunkencoders.com]

Or Still Alive DS; the 2D version of Portal with a level editor: [stillaliveds.free.fr]

I haven't thrown any homebrew onto my cart in a while, and looking through some of the new stuff it looks like its' come a long way since I last looked some up. Does anybody have any favourites? Posted via email from ://allthings-bare