iPod Touch on Ubuntu via VirtualBox

So I finally am able to do full syncing on my iPod Touch with iTunes despite running only Ubuntu. I use Virtualbox to create a virtual instance of Windows XP. VirtualBox makes it really easy to install Windows within Ubuntu. There were a couple of hurdles to jump to get USB working, but I followed the instructions and was able to plug in my iPod Touch but then iTunes crashed out with an error, something about 0xE8000035. I eventually found that other people had the same problem and waited for a fix. None came, so I tried vmware, which people claimed success with - but I couldn't replicate it. And then a few days ago, some guys posted a hack that required rebuilding the Linux kernel and all sorts of fun stuff, so I gave it a try and I am in business. Who hoo. Now if I can just unlock it so I can get to reading books...

The final magic recipe to make VirtualBox support iPod Touch with a guest Windows XP under Ubuntu is as follows:

sudo apt-get build-dep linux-source-2.6.24
sudo apt-get install linux-source-2.6.24 build-essential
tar -jxvf /usr/src/linux-source-2.6.24.tar.bz2
cd linux-source-2.6.24/drivers/usb/core
perl -pi.bak -e 's/16384/131072/' devio.c
make -C /lib/modules/`uname -r`/build/ M=`pwd` modules
strip --strip-debug usbcore.ko
sudo install -m644 -b usbcore.ko /lib/modules/`uname -r`/kernel/drivers/usb/core
sudo depmod -ae
sudo update-initramfs -u
sudo reboot

(I love the iPod Touch but all of this made me hate Apple and its closed ways. Bring on Android!)

Military Service in Israel

A few years ago I had an incredible couple of weeks traveling solo through India. One night I had dinner with a group of young Israelis who invited me to join them. It was great. I did not know about mandatory military service in Israel and how both men and women (boys and girls?) were forced to participate. Military service is not too uncommon in the world of course - but the experience of doing it in Israel is another thing entirely. Turns out, many Israelis head to India and spend months or years or lifetimes in drug induced escape from all that they experienced as part of their military service. I have become more and more fascinated about Israel ever since (The People On the Street is a great book) and can't wait to visit. A few days ago, BoingBoing posted a link to a photography project about women (girls?) in the IDF. I started clicking and was fascinated by these M16 carrying girls of so many races, all of one race, fighting millenia of injustice with the tools of injustice, so innocent and yet not.

Girls in the IDF

Obama on Africa

Last night Obama was on Letterman and spoke at length about Africa. Not even looking at what was said - the fact that Africa was being discussed at all was great. But looking at what was said is pretty great too:

Dave: “Well, it’s pretty short now. Just a couple of months and there will be the election and the inauguration in January. Do you ever think about going to Kenya as president of the United States?”

Obama: “You know, I do think about that. I went there a couple of years ago after I’d been elected senator and, you know, it was moving for me to see people’s response. You know, sometimes we forget how people overseas look at America. They place so much hope in the United States, and that’s something I think we’ve forgotten because we always hear bad news about how, you know, people don’t like Americans anymore. That’s not true. They’re disappointed precisely because they’ve got high expectations, and obviously, given that my father’s from Kenya, there was a special connection, so we were just seeing these enormous crowds, and you know, I went up to the village where my grandmother lives and folks were lining the roads for miles. And, you know, we took an AIDS test because the CDC, which is doing great work - this is something that George Bush has done well is work on AIDS issues in Africa, he has made a serious commitment to it and I give him credit for it. But the CDC that’s working over there, they asked Michelle and I to take a test because they said just the act of you as a married couple taking a test, potentially a million people will see it, and you can save thousands of lives just by people getting tested. So it was a great trip. I can only imagine what it would be like if I were president, but we have 55 more days of work before we get to that point.”

Dave: “What - I, for like the last 10 years, even longer - for as long as I’ve been aware of stuff,” (audience, Obama laugh) “rarely do you hear positive stories coming out of Africa to the point where you can create the impression the continent could be lost. And you mention George Bush actually providing medical care and food and funding and so forth. Is it a lost cause? Is that a false impression?”

Obama: ”You know, it is. Look, we tend to focus on the negative, and when you go there, first of all what you realize is that the people there are more energetic and optimistic than you would ever imagine. In fact, there’ve been some surveys done showing that Africans are surprisingly happy and positive about the future, and there are a lot of good things going on there. You go to a place like Rwanda that suffered such brutality and now it is thriving, it is growing. President Bill Clinton has done some great work in helping to foster economic development and other efforts in those areas, Bill Gates’ foundation has done great work, so it makes a difference. But what is true is that we’ve got to have better governance in Africa. You know, sometimes we spend so much time running down government that we forget what it means, how important it is to have a functioning government, one that can deliver services, one that, you know, if you want to get a telephone, you don’t have to pay a bribe, if you want to start a business, you don’t have to give a cut to somebody. All that makes an enormous difference, and hopefully we can hold governments there more accountable so that their people actually have a chance.”

Dave: “Is there a way for this country to do that without pushing people around and being resented?”

Obama: “Well, no, I think that if we send a signal, and this is true whether it’s in Africa or the Middle East or anywhere in the world, if we say we want to be a partner with you, we respect you, but if you’re getting our help, then we’ve got certain expectations, that we’re not just helping the wealthy or the people who are going to send the money to Swiss bank accounts, we expect to actually see results on the ground. Just holding people accountable but doing it in a respectful way, I think that could make a big difference.” (audience applauds)

Dave: “And - absolutely. And then I saw today, closer to home, in the Caribbean - Haiti - things just get worse and worse and worse and worse.”

Obama: “They’ve had a long, long run of bad luck, and, you know, we need to make sure that we’re providing help to them - obviously, our prayers go out to the families who’ve just been devastated by the recent hurricane. They already had little, they have even less now. But one of the things that I think it’s important to remind ourselves is, you know, New Orleans hasn’t been in great shakes either, and you know, if we’re not doing our job with respect to our fellow citizens here during crises, then it’s a bad sign for us being able to help others and that’s part of the reason why we’ve got to have a government that works, and I am campaigning now, Dave. That’s why I’m running for president of the United States.” (audience applauds)

Dave: “But it’s frustrating to me because even I know that the resources are here. You know, we have the resources, just in terms of money, we have the money. We can raise the money, the world can raise the money to solve these problems. Africa can be solved, Haiti can be solved, New Orleans could be solved.”

Obama: “You know, part of it is that we’ve been sold a bill of goods, I think, that says just look out for yourself and everybody’s on their own. Now, I am a big believer of individual responsibility and whether it’s improving our education system or dealing with issues like welfare, I’m a big believer that you’ve got to take care of yourself and take care of your kids. But, I also believe that part of what makes this country great is that we rise and fall together, and that our attitude is, you know, if there’s some child out there that doesn’t have a decent school, that that affects Harry and that affects my kids, and it affects everybody.”

Dave: “That’s right, it’s everybody’s problem, absolutely. Yeah, that seems to have evaporated, yes, I think so.”

Obama: “We’ve lost that, let’s see if we can restore it.”