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Friday, 9 October 2015

Dismantling laptop and upgrading to Android 6.0

One day, I found a laptop on the washing machine. It was a MSI gaming laptop that's even newer than mine! Although it had lower specs, I was curious as to who put it there and what to do with it. Turns out my mother got it for free from a friend, and didn't take the power adapter thinking mine would be the same! That defeats the purpose of another laptop, even if it worked... Then I noticed the screen hinges were broken, and my mom also said that her friend said it wasn't working as well. She said it was brought for me to play/tinker around with. Therefore I decided to dismantle it.

Although I should've at least tested the thing first with my power supply, my geek enthusiasm got to me first. First was taking apart the case. Easy, just unscrew and pry off after removing battery (I upgraded RAM and SSD before on my MSI gaming laptop). Then I took the most useful parts: 8 GB of RAM, and 750 GB HDD. Next was the CPU, which wasn't soldered on thankfully. Then came the DVD drive (wished it was Blu-ray).

I'm not sure I remember when I got the fan off, but the screen took quite a while. I had to pop-out the keyboard, remove outer cover, get rid of the backplate, and unhook all the wires. Hopefully the screen still works, cause I'm thinking of using it for my next project involving a controller board that transforms it into an external monitor.

The RAM is actually pretty useless cause only my dad's laptop, mine, and my Chromebook supports it. Mine already has all 4 slots populated with 4 GB sticks (same as these), my dad's is maxed out at 2x8 GB, and the Chromebook doesn't need any more RAM than its 2x2 GB. Therefore, I'm saving it for a future machine just in case. Same thing with the CPU, although I don't want to risk upgrading mine for a negligible increase in performance (3630QM vs 3610QM). The DVD drive isn't necessary cause I already have a Blu-ray drive (exported from my laptop to USB enclosure).

Now onto the next big thing: Android 6.0! I won't go into the details of what's new here, but I've successfully flashed the stock firmware with Nexus Root Toolkit, and then rooted it via Nexus Root Toolkit > Advanced Utilities > Manual Input following these instructions. Funnily enough, SuperSU "updated" from beta 2.50 to stable 2.4.6... Of course binary files wouldn't install, so I manually installed the beta 2.51 APK. Also my USB connection was set to charging only, so I had to set it to MTP. Strangely, that notification didn't show up until after a few reboots. Google Now on Tap replaced Home Launcher Button, so time to reorganize a few things.

Otherwise, the update went smoothly and enjoying the Marshmallow experience! What's new? Well, it should be more noticeable than iOS 9! My favourites include proper app backup to the cloud, "Doze" + "App standby", actual app permissions management, and Google Now on Tap. Some may be considered "catching up" to iOS, but I find as much if not more copying the other way around (hint: multi-tasking, smarter notifications, widgets, etc.)

Lastly, a few more links just for you to read deeper into this:

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Wacom tablet, karaoke mic acquired! Plus whatever else I did...

*See bottom right of blog for new drawings I may add*

Well, I'm back! While I won't go into the details of my last hiatus, of course new things have happened. One of which is my Wacom Bamboo tablet, which allows me to re-experience my creative drawing side I once had as a kid. Unfortunately, I do not have the same aesthetic skills as before (half a dozen or so years ago)... Even with pressure sensitivity, layers, and whatnot.

Also, I've got a karaoke mic my dad rediscovered. Turns out it was a waste of time shopping for a new one or an adapter, cause the 1/4 in pulls off to become 3.5 mm. Unfortunately, my computer wasn't much louder than my voice even with everything maxed out, it needs a pre-amp. For now, I've settled with using a software audio boost via Equalizer APO. That has the unfortunate side-effect of increasing static noise as well, but no need to get a pre-amp anymore. My singing voice could use some training though...

What else have I done? Well I was reorganizing hundreds of gigabytes of data across multiple hard drives, SSD's, and even a FDD (flash drive). Much of it was backups, which includes Robocopy, Windows File History, System Imaging, manual file copies, archives (7-Zip), and cloud uploads. I think I have talked about my backup strategy before, but now I rely more on native Windows apps:

Remember when I was spending much of a few days getting cover art and lyrics for my favourite music? Well I decided to spend another good portion of a day or so deleting a quarter of those songs... From 444 to 305. Won't have that much time starting October 13th when I begin a software testing Trainee position.

Lastly, you know how big corporations always steps on us little guys? Well, I was wondering why only Chinese tablets feature dual-booting of Android and Windows. Turns out, while Intel is technically capable and can profit from this, Microsoft and Google just don't want it to happen:

And for those who sides with them? Here's my personal quote against that: "Some people can't see the point simply because they don't have the creative or technical know-how, nor the willingness to go against the norm or big corporations."

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

The crosscol archive

Ever notice the cross column underneath the header (Anti-Xenophobic IT)? Well, it will be updated (rarely or occasionally depending on what's up) from now on! It'll include what I believe is groundbreaking news, and here will be the archive of what was previously on there:

"Expect Windows 10 to be the last version? Nope! Windows 365 is next."

"Blackberry switching to Android and Microsoft is using Linux for its Cloud. What else is new?"

Unfortunately, I do not remember what I used in the beginning... Maybe someone will remind me? Anyhow, this post will be updated as the cross column changes.

*Actually, I will use it from now on to switch to the HTTPS version of this site.

Dual-booting Android and Windows with a Chuwi Vi8

Well ever since winning $150 by sheer luck (paid $3 on one of those ticket machines) soon after doing so-so at bowling, I decided to go forward with a personal project of mine. It's supposed to include a Pico Projector (which I will get one way or another later) and either a Raspberry Pi, Mac Mini, or PlayStation 3. Well I chose none of those, and instead got a tablet with mini HDMI and microSD slots that dual boots Windows 8.1 and Android 4.4.4 for $120. It came with all the cables along with a keyboard case and 32 GB microSD. Here is my experience with this 8-inch wonder.

First of all, performance is quite good for an Intel Atom with only 2 GB of RAM, especially considering Windows 8.1's minimum requirements. There is next to no lag with everyday tasks, including playing 720p video with HDMI mirrored to the TV (while charging at the same time). I haven't tested gaming, but don't expect much with Intel HD Graphics from Intel Atom (even though it is Bay Trail). Android KitKat runs admirably as well.

An added bonus was that it includes a lifetime license of Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware Premium! That I transfered to my gaming laptop. It also came with Microsoft Office 365, but unfortunately doesn't accept my Microsoft account. Oh well, uninstalled it for 350 MB more space. Although Windows 10 and Android 5 should be available for this device, I don't want to ruin anything especially the rooted (by the previous owner) Android OS. Therefore, I decided to disable the upgrade to Windows 10 notification, that downloads in the background without you stating yes, altogether: http://www.wilderssecurity.com/threads/huge-problem-with-unwanted-windows-10-download.379049/page-3#post-2525124

Not everything was fine and dandy though. First, I noticed that after rebooting from Android to Windows, I cannot access the microSD on Windows anymore. It seems Android locked it for exclusive access or something to do with Windows... Also, my edits to the BT_Config.xml doesn't stick, it always resets back to what it was on reboot or re-enable of Bluetooth service. The only reason I do that is to use the same mouse on Android and Windows without re-pairing it. The Bluetooth keyboard case seems to support multiple devices, so it works on both without issues. Oh well, Android is touch-based after all. Lastly, I couldn't connect the tablet directly to my laptop and recognize it, even using Android. Guess I'll need to use an OTG cable or something, but I want it charging at the same time. Therefore, I'll just copy to and from the microSD directly.

Overall, it's quite the worthy investment as I have not only a tablet, but a full-fledged computer at the same time all in that portable package. If I could upgrade the RAM or flash storage, I would. But it'll have to do, and I have no complaints with it as a secondary machine I can easily bring down the living room and hook up to the TV. Did I make the right choice? You decide!

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

How I find cover art, lyrics, etc.

For my favourite music; the proper title, author, album, cover art, and lyrics must be shown (on Windows Media Player). Although I strip away those details when I convert those MP3 to M4A to save space on my phone, my computer must archive every faved music in their proper format.

Here are the software I used to perfect those (downloaded) MP3 files:
https://picard.musicbrainz.org/ (MusicBrainz Picard)
http://www.mediahuman.com/lyrics-finder/ (MediaHuman Lyrics Finder)

The first allows me to add every single detail about the music onto the MP3 file, except lyrics. That includes dozens of tags of varying usefulness. If I can't find it in the database, I add the following tags myself: title, author, album, and cover art. That means scouring the Internet for whatever is relevant. It usually happens for obscure non-English songs (I listen to a lot of Japanese, and some Chinese / French). Then I add the lyrics with the second program, which also allow manual input.

For one particular song (I'm Okay by Cathi Bruns), I had to decipher the lyrics myself and write everything down manually. That means listening to a slowed-down music file, and jotting whatever sounds about right. Here is the fruits of my labour as proof:

All of this editing I don't keep only to myself as I also do the same for my little sister's collection (thankfully it's a fraction of mine in terms of amount). Maybe I can help one of you if need be...

*Can't believe I had to write the lyrics for another song... This one is easier though:

*Wow, I can make a hobby out of this:

Me and My Punching Bag 2.0

Remember the first video (which I will not link cause I'm not proud of it)? Well, here's a better one, finally. If I ever get to seriously making myself in shape, watch out LOL.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Nexus 5 "Desktop"

Hello all, and welcome to my current project: The Nexus 5 "Desktop". Surprisingly, I won't follow convention and use anything Bluetooth (such as mouse/keyboard) other than my watch, and no external monitor via MHL. Instead, everything will be connected to one OTG cable.

What is connected you ask? Well, there is an Apple Aluminium Keyboard with 2 USB slots. Connected to those slots are a Mighty Mouse and Card Reader. And finally, the phone is mounted on a selfie stick with a tripod. The YouTube video is a screencast of everything in action. It wasn't all fine and dandy at first though, I had trouble finding a USB storage that is low-powered enough to work with the keyboard and mouse all connected to my Nexus 5.

Using my OTG cable (hope to find a hub with charging):
Not enough power or something for non-powered USB hub. Keyboard/mouse doesn't work.
Apple Aluminium keyboard works! Along with Apple Might Mouse on one USB side. But lacking in power for 128 GB flash drive, 35-in-1 card reader, etc. Supports "USB 2.0 all in one card reader", but that doesn't read 64 GB SDXC microSD (can read lower capacity).

And lastly, here is a picture of the entire setup:

*Oh yeah, I got that selfie stick for $5 on craigslist. And the aluminium keyboard was free!

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Catching up on anime

*Pain in the @$$ finding free legal images. Might get a Wacom or something*

It's been quite a while since I watched any anime on my own accord... Something to do with lack of time or motivation or something ever since somewhere around the end of June... Anyhow, I've decided to watch the next seasons of some of my favourites, and might as well list them all:

  • Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya 2wei Herz!
  • Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works
  • Yuru Yuri San Hai!
  • To LOVE-Ru Darkness 2nd
I've actually been classified as a "moe-fag" by one fellow otaku due to liking such anime, but that doesn't really bother me at all. Why though? Well, mainly because of Prisma Illya, YuruYuri, To LOVE-Ru, and the following I watched at June:
  • Hello!! Kiniro Mosaic
  • Hentai Ouji to Warawanai Neko
  • The World God Only Knows
Others that I've considered and will probably watch include:
  • Dungeon ni Deai o Motomeru no wa Machigatte Iru Darou ka?
  • Monster Musume no Iru Nichijou
Damn that's a lot of ecchi now that I think about it... Ah hell with it, I'll just state this: Animation has unlimited possibilities, but sex is not one of them (at least for me).

Monday, 31 August 2015

My LG G Watch W100

As many of you readers may have known, I owned a Pebble smartwatch for almost a year now. For those that need a reminder, here it is: http://t7j7l.blogspot.com/2015/02/my-pebble-smartwatch.html

Times have changed. Smart watches evolve. Therefore, I decided to give my early 2013 Pebble to my dad, and get myself a mid 2014 LG G Watch. Why not a more recent model? Well, there are barely any changes from last year, other than updated specs I believe. Plus, I got this watch from Craigslist for $80! Yep, another Craigslist deal...

Anyhow, while I will be describing the watch itself; my main focus is its software: the apps. Here I will be listing all of them, and give a brief description of my favourites. Starting in alphabetical order: 2048, Agenda, Alarm, Attopedia, Audio Recorder, Authenticator, Calculator, Camera, Compass, Find my phone, Fit, Google, Hangouts, Keep, Maps, Notification Toggles, Phone Finder, Play Music, Settings, Stopwatch, Timer, Together, Tool Box, Torch, Translate, Wear Battery Stats, WearFaces, Weather, WeChat, World clock.

Do note that many of them aren't in their full names (which I will give in my favourites descriptions), and instead are shortened versions for better viewing on the watch. With 4 GB of internal storage, I can own far more apps than the original Pebble's 8 (Pebble Time doesn't have that limit).

2048 - You guys should know this, except it's 4x4. My highest score is 1436, but the watch suspended before I could take a picture...
Attopedia - Wikipedia on your watch! Don't worry, it's magnified and cut into sections where only the main image and full scrollable text are shown.
Authenticator Plus - Although a paid app, this is the only Google Authenticator alternative with Android Wear support. Shows you the 2-factor authentication codes for you accounts.
Google Now - With voice commands, I can literally Google anything and it will show the results! Includes brief description as normal Google searches does, and opens links on your phone.
Hangouts - View your entire texting history and reply via voice! Although Google Now can also reply via voice commands, this conveniently stores the entire conversation on your watch.
Google Keep - View and add notes which syncs with your phone. Via voice commands of course.
Google Maps - Displays the GPS and map just like your phone! Updates a bit slower, and fades into black & white to save power, but has full navigation support!
Notification Toggles - Choose what to enable/disable on you phone; such as volume, WiFi, etc. With root and companion apps, you can even lock the phone or reboot it!
Wear Aware - Phone Finder - Although I already have "Find my phone", this will buzz me whenever the watch disconnects from the phone.
Google Translate - Speak and translate into pretty much any language that Google supports!
Wear Battery Stats - Monitor your phone's battery life, and notifies when below certain percentage.
WearFaces - Make your own Android Wear watchface. Mine was a custom selected image of course.

Whew that was a lot of writing, much like my Pebble article. And of course you can respond to any message, except you use your voice instead of canned messages. You swipe down to control notifications (silent or not), view the watch's battery, enable/disable cinema mode or brightness boost, and open settings. The settings are pretty much what you expect from a smartwatch, you can control its brightness, watch face, font size, shutdown/reboot/factory reset watch, and whatnot.

Swiping left gives you the app launcher where you can scroll all the apps you own. The last 3 ones you've used will show up on top. Swiping left again gives you contacts, which you can phone, text, or email. Of course it's pretty redundant with voice commands, but that's another option. And swiping left again will give you the Google Now voice control center, which is the same as saying "OK Google" when the watch is on. Swiping right is usually the back button and can exit apps, except some like 2048 which exits by holding a tap. Swiping up does nothing special other than scrolling.

While the LG G Watch definitely has a design and functionality advantage over the original Pebble, there are some disadvantages. The main 2 are battery life (lasts ~24 hours instead of ~4 days), and waterproofing ability (water resistant vs able to completely submerge underwater for 50 meters). And lastly I did not review the music control capabilities this time, because I moved all my music to my Lumia 520 (which I got for $20).

Wearable technology is not only next-gen, but you can own one right now!

*Oh yeah, when you reply to a message, there is a timer of 5 seconds that allows you to cancel it. And the WeChat app isn't working on the watch for some reason.

*Can't believe I forgot this, but watch notifications you haven't taken action on are stored as a banner at the bottom of the watchface. You swipe up to access them. Hangouts is more useful than I thought, you can view chat history with each contact and reply to them. And lastly, I got a better 2048 score, it seems the app remembers unless you manually closed or uninstalled it:

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Ninja time!

Just kidding, although I am wearing a Naruto headband... Otherwise I'm demoing some stances (I believe) and different bamboo/wooden swords in these pictures.

The first should be a fencing stance with some Chinese wooden sword (either decoration or Tai Chi). The second is the kendo stance with a shinai. The third is some anime stance used by cocky characters with a bokken (or bokuto). Excuse the closed eyelids, I was blinking quite a bit.

If you noticed the easter egg (hint I'm wearing 2 smartwatches!), I've also recently acquired an LG G Watch W100 for $80 on Craigslist. That I will be writing about later this week. Ciao.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Linux security time!

Blazej X - FreeImages

Linux security, is it just obscurity or not? Well, yes and no. Of course security by obscurity is a factor to the lack of malware on Linux, but that is not all. For one thing, Linux is open-source. That means there are a lot of people looking over the code to patch any holes. Heck you can do that yourself and compile a hardened distro with only the features you want.

Another big factor is that most software comes from trusted repositories managed and digitally signed by distro authors and their communities. That means it's so much harder getting infected by downloading something from some random site (which should be scanned/uploaded to VirusTotal beforehand). It's pretty much all provided in the software center.

So how do we make it even more secure? Well, I'll list the following methods:
- Grsecurity/SELinux/AppArmor: That is how you harden applications and the kernel. Think EMET, Malwarebytes' Anti-Exploit, or HitmanPro.Alert for Linux.
- FireJail/Docker: Isolates applications from the system via virtualization and access policies. Think Sandboxie for Linux.
- custom firewall rules: Same as making Windows Firewall whitelist every inbound/outbound connection, except without possible backdoors.
- OSSEC: Real-time monitoring of the integrity/logs/policies of your OS. Sort of like Comodo Defense+ or another HIPS for Linux.
- Possible detection tool or AV like RKHunter or Comodo: Not necessary, but could be a failsafe.
- uBlock Origin, WOT, and other browser extensions: Blocks those malicious ads, javascript, websites, and whatnot. Which is how you usually get infected.
- DNS, HOSTS, and other system config: Mostly like the above, except you can do more than just blacklist/whitelist domains or IP addresses. Usually for privacy.

Feel free to add onto the list or provide feedback. An (hopefully) active Wilders Security thread about this subject: http://www.wilderssecurity.com/threads/the-hardened-linux-thread.379114/ 

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Dealing with Skype Scammers

Well they're here again... Scammers impersonating as females to entice you to give up personal details to either a shady website, or directly through Skype. Rule of thumb, always ask for proof like video messaging (which is hard to fake once you get a real conversation going) and whatnot.

I actually just asked for pics, and no shady websites, but that's just me having fun. Since they can actually read that I stated no shady website, they gave me an imgur link. That alone will fool far too many people, but I just search the image with Google and voila! There is the real owner of that pic.

Interesting enough, this scammer was a smarter one who asked for personal details from me beforehand. But I wouldn't give in, and requested to answers from "her" since "she" requested this "hookup". That is how they finally gave the imgur link, which lead to the obvious closing of the case.

I should've made a screencast of this on my phone, but didn't thought about it until later and actually removed the whole conversation. Luckily, somehow the whole thing was stored on Outlook.com, which is what you see from the screenshots above.

Of course I reported the scammer, and you should too! Not that you need to bother with all these steps and could just decline shady looking names in friend requests...

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

8K video?!

Wow, so much for 4K... Anyhow, getting the source video so I can test it natively was more challenging than I thought. Basically, I couldn't download directly from Google servers or copy a playable file from the cache, so a 3rd party video grabber was needed. I won't go into the details due to possible copyright problems, but I finally managed to get it!

There will be 3 media players tested: VLC, Windows Media Player, and Leawo Blu-ray Player. All will be default settings. The first 2 I couldn't use my dedicated NVIDIA GPU for some reason (probably deliberate software limitation, cause I remember being able to select discrete graphics before in the control panel). Therefore, I will use Leawo to see how well that plays, although it doesn't seem optimized for it according to settings (no PureVideo or CUDA option). I tried NVIDIA 3D Vision Video Player, but it has lame codecs issues, so nevermind.

Playing the 8K video on Chrome itself was actually a pretty laggy. Running it with the NVIDIA high-performance GPU setting wasn't any better, in fact it crashed on fullscreen... Anyhow, onto the testing!

VLC: Choppy. A bit pixelated due to that. Failed.
WMP: Can't even display video. Failed.
Leawo: Even more laggy and pixelated than VLC. Dedicated GPU didn't change anything.

The results are bizarre, because on another video (4K this time), VLC was equally laggy, but the other 2 played it fine (except discrete Leawo)! The files appear very similar according to MediaInfo, other than resolution and bitrate, so I'm not sure why the discrepancy. Also, running with dedicated graphics shouldn't be recommended outside of optimized games and such.

So basically speaking, my laptop is not ready for 8K. What about yours? Leave a comment below.

Monday, 17 August 2015

No more bad Apple

Apple Inc.

iDevices are now gone and will not be written about anymore. May have exceptions like where comparison from memory is necessary, but I will avoid writing about Apple whenever possible.

Why? I could go on about their proprietary nature, the buggy world of iTunes, and totally not worth it price, but basically I am sick of wasting my time with Apple products. I refuse to shackle myself to one ecosystem, or to the necessity of iTunes to do anything from proper system maintenance and syncing of multimedia.

One cannot even share data between apps outside of DCIM photos/videos, but that's getting into too much details. All I can say is: iTunes is a security risk / bloatware at best, and an absolute nightmare of bugs at worst. No more bad Apple for me from now on.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Re-install of iTunes triggered something dangerous...

On a peaceful night where iTunes couldn't detect my sister's iPod... I decided to reinstall the whole damn thing yet again. Problem is, Windows 10 immediately shuts down after booting when I restart following a routine repair install or complete uninstall of iTunes.

How do I know that? Well, I just so happen to have a system image handy, and every time I mess with iTunes after restoring it, Windows will not boot. After Googling this issue, I've come across this topic from a less fortunate fellow: http://www.tomshardware.com/answers/id-2107522/windows-boot.html
Turns out my sfc /scannow from the recovery media also says the same nonsense about a system repair pending!

I cannot access the good ole F8 menu thanks to Microsoft who believes we need to be spoon fed, so here is the fix for that: http://winaero.com/blog/how-to-restore-the-last-known-good-configuration-feature-in-windows-8-1/
Other threads of interest would be:

So what did I do? Basically, I started getting the entire F8 menu back ASAP. On reboot after doing that, I noticed Windows is getting updates! That might actually be the root cause, other than all the iTunes cleaning I did with CCleaner winapp2.ini... Nope, still shuts down.

Now onto the actual troubleshooting: safe mode works but "sfc /scannow" fails to correct the problem. Neither did restoring last known good configuration... Advanced options startup repair said it couldn't fix the problem, but it somehow did anyways (like in my previous experiences).

After re-installing iTunes at last, the problem reappeared on reboot... At least this time restoring last known good configuration worked. Unfortunately the problem reappears again on reboot after I open iTunes to set it up. Yet another "sfc /scannow" in safe mode was futile.

Therefore I decided to go to advanced startup again, but this time to enter this into the command prompt:
dism.exe /image:G:\ /cleanup-image /revertpendingactions (G drive since I have so many attached)

It finally worked! No problems on restart. Now I can finally get back to syncing some music... That's why Android is so much better, I don't even need a cable (see AirDroid) to add music to the system that will be recognized by all apps. *This article was typed on my Chromebook during the entire ordeal.

*iTunes was having trouble detecting the iPad, so on repair install the same damn thing happened. This time after dism.exe, I've run the following command in hopes of fixing this once and for all!:
sfc /scannow /offbootdir=H:\ /offwindir=G:\windows

*Update 2: Nope, iTunes is officially messed up on this Windows 10 PC. I dread the next time I will need to reinstall it for whatever reason.

*Final update: While the boot issues appear to have gone, Apple Mobile Device USB Driver refuses to install no matter what I try. Only manual install of the drivers (Update Driver Software) showed any sign of why it's failing: "One of the installers for this device cannot perform the installation at this time".
That's it, screw iTunes altogether, even CopyTrans Drivers Installer won't work. Instead of bothering with a 3rd party music app that syncs via WiFi, or firing up my old iMac; I may just give up on Apple altogether and sell these iDevices I rarely use.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Free Windows Desktop Software Security List - Part 2

  Almost forgot about my trip to Microsoft Store as a Windows Insider. OP will also be updated with white version of t-shirt and bag once I find them.

Some of you may have noticed that this was my very first big technical project I took on years ago. And that I have already featured it on my blog. Well, it's gone through another big update after months of inactivity from myself and the other authors...

This time I've decided to personally help save it from disappearing into irrelevancy by updating it with everything I've found and learned so far. Please feel free to comment on the changes, especially to the "My Choices" section.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Just a reminder and an example of true technical discussions

*Pics to come after t-shirts are washed (yes I wore one on that day and martial arts yesterday)*

A few of you may ave noticed either on the bottom left of my blog or on Facebook that I posted a new Bambuser live video. That is regarding my trip to the Microsoft Store at Metrotown in Burnaby, BC, Canada. I had too much anticipation built up and waited for over an hour for the store to open!

In the end, I managed to snag the last free Windows Insider t-shirt (white one), got 20% off on a WD My Passport Ultra (~$90 after tax), and another t-shirt (this time a black Windows 10 one). Overall, it didn't meet my expectations, but was a good experience anyhow.

And remember when I said Wilders Security Forum is where true technical experts reside (outside of major league hackers)? Well here is an example of that:

I don't expect you to understand everything, but you should at least know who I am in that discussion LOL. If I may cherry pick my best post, this is probably it:

The thread is a long one with basically 2 sides. One is for sandboxing Chrome with SBIE. The other is against adding another sandbox on top of Chrome's. My cherry picked post should list all the reasons for the first side, although I'm more of the second side. Read the whole thing if you dare.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Sun Peaks Resort, Lumia 520 overheating stopped?, and Windows 10 update issues

Wondering where I was the whole time? Well, now you know. My family and I went on vacation from Sunday to Wednesday to Sun Peaks Resort. It was quite the experience, highlighted by the above photo. It was where a bunch of young people including myself decided to take a "shortcut" up over  1 km of steep grassy plains to the top. There were flies were everywhere. Unfortunately, the "top" was actually only 25% of the route of the ski lift, so we gave up and went back down.. That is where I twisted my ankle pretty badly, and had to call search and rescue... Seriously! On the same fateful Tuesday, some children of the group we're in suffered from sickness and injury. Otherwise it was a great trip with far too much food brought and horseback riding!

During the entire trip and seemingly ever since I upgraded my Lumia 520 to Windows Phone 8.1, it was a battery hog of a heat sink. Even with a 2600 maH portable battery, it seemed to only last half the day! Plus, there were issues with the buttons, so I had to configure double tap to open the screen and a lock screen app... Anyhow, just today I've noticed that the temperature was finally normal. No, it was not disabling anything, airplane mode, rebooting the phone, etc. that made the change. In fact, I don't know what happened, other than that it occurred right after I made a manual backup of the phone to Microsoft servers and was about to factory reset it. Anyhow, I'm glad that the heat issues are gone, and hopefully the battery will be better as well.

And lastly, Windows 10. It seems that upgrading from my OEM Windows 7 didn't actually save the license in my account. When I looked at the product key, it's not embedded in the BIOS and seems to be the generic one provided online! Anyhow, I decided to update it from build 10130 to build 10159, but Windows Update just wouldn't show it even a day after switching to the Fast Ring... Oh well, download the ISO right? Except that nags for a product key, and neither the generic one provided online or my OEM key under the battery worked! Contacting Microsoft is futile, they just want to defer to my manufacturer. The automated robot  activation system does work, but I don't even have the new build installed. Therefore, I'm stuck with build 10130 for the time being, and may not even have a genuine license!

What an upgrade... Please read this beforehand everyone, and don't jump the ship too early like myself: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/insider/forum/insider_wintp-insider_install/how-will-the-final-release-will-be-rolled-out/73c37498-5124-4f9b-85cc-c75468d7c37a

*Contacted Microsoft again, and they finally directed me to the right department. Turns out my product ID was blocked... They had to reset it and everything should be fine now.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Update #2: failed iOS 8.3 jailbreak, Windows Phone 8.1, and no more DNS adblocking

*insert awesome picture here*
(Too lazy)

Well, I just had to jump at the opportunity of jailbreaking iOS 8.3, the latest and greatest. Unfortunately, even after much troubleshooting involving old versions of iTunes and whatnot, the TaiG jailbreak tool doesn't work for me. Anyhow, I've decided that it's not worth jailbreaking my iPad Mini anymore, as it;s only a secondary device with limited usage. Plus, I get to have the latest and greatest versions of iOS w/o waiting forever. Therefore, I clean restored it and synced my latest backup. That worked better than I thought, with every app settings intact. You can't say the same for Android without root, even using adb.

Also, the same philosophy applies to the Lumia 520 I just got. Plus, it's virtually impossible jailbreaking it for anything other than sideloading apps and unlocking the carrier... Since it sat in the drawer of the seller for so long, it literally took hours for me to install all the updates Microsoft spew out. Afterwards, I put my music in a microSD card, downloaded offline maps, synced all the contacts/calendars/emails, and installed only a few necessary apps. They are:

UC Browser - happens to be only ways to adblock, via "speed mode".
LINE - cause my android version used too much resources and now I can multitask with gaming.
Listen - best music player that doesn't download unnecessary albums and reads straight from files. includes lyrics, although online. very attractive interface.
XFile - wirelessly allows me to download/upload files to and from the device.

Overall, I'm surprised by the quality of Windows Phone 8.1, and how walled its garden is. Built-in FaceBook, Skype, Mail, etc. with support of ~5-10 different types of accounts. One of the best offline navigation via Nokia Maps. And more. Just forget jailbreaking it unless you want to sideload apps.

And lastly, I cannot recommend BA.net adblock or FoolDNS anymore. They now use the same server, which doesn't even work! Therefore, what should I do for iOS adblocking without jailbreak? Cough up money for Weblock? Na, this will work fine: http://www.speedmeup.net/

*P.S. The last link is relatively new and unknown (although clean according to VirusTotal), so use SpeedMeUp at your own risk! Don't be surprised if they can sniff your non-encrypted traffic.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Craigslist godly luck and status update of all software/hardware

Yup, I did it again! The Craigslist gods has given me a Nokia Lumia 520 and (older) Razer gaming mouse for $20! I'm not lying, just that desperate times calls for desperate measures...

Anyhow, that's not all. I will be updating right here the following articles:

"List of hardware I own"
MSI GT70 0NC, Acer C710, Asus Eee PC 4G, Apple iMac MA590LL, Apple iPad Mini, Google Nexus 5, Pebble Smartwatch, Nokia Lumia 520.

LG E2350V-SN 23" Monitor, IBM ThinkPad Docking Station, OptiBay optical HDD caddy, external laptop CD/DVD/Blu-Ray enclosure, Lilliput UM70 7" USB Monitor.

Sony Sixaxis Controller, Biogenik Combat Controller, Logitech RumblePad 2, PS2/PSX DualShock controllers twin USB adapter.

JBL Spark Wireless Bluetooth Speaker, Outdoor Tech OT1400 Bluetooth Headphones, Michael Jackson In-Ear Earbuds Section 8, Nexxtech PowerPort Wave 6600 External Battery, The Lifesaver 2600 mAh Portable Power Pack

Microsoft Sculpt Comfort Mouse, Microsoft Wireless Intellimouse Explorer 2.0, Rocketfish RF-BTMSE4 Bluetooth Mouse, Logitech S520 Keyboard.

BlacX HDD Docking Station, Hitachi HDT7210SLA360 1TB HDD, Lexar JumpDrive S23 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive, Patriot GearBox, Dell Floppy Drive Module, USB2.0 Multi in 1 Card Reader.

protective signal interface for microprocessor technology, Electricord XP Power TAP, staples transient voltage surge protector.

Touchscreen Gloves, OTG Cable, Camera Connection Kit, 30-pin to Lightning Adapter, Retractable Network Cable, USB 2.0 4 Port Hub, Universal USB Travel Power Kit, audio splitter.

"My Operating Systems"
I use Windows 10 64-bit on my main laptop (MSI). Fedora 22, Kubuntu 15.04, OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, Windows 7 64-bit, and Windows XP run as virtual machines under it.
Chrome OS Beta (Developer Mode) with Trusty Crouton is installed on my Acer Chromebook.
OS X 10.6.8 Snow Leopard is installed on my 17" Late 2006 iMac.
Haiku Nightly Image is installed on my Asus netbook. 

Android 5.1.1 rooted on Nexus 5. Stock firmware for iOS 8.3 (iPad Mini) & Windows Phone 8.1 (Lumia 520).

"My Security Setup"
Emsisoft Emergency Kit, HitmanPro.Alert, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Premium, Prey (Anti-Theft), SoftPerfect RAM Disk, WinPatrol, Zemana Anti-Malware, PeStudio, SUMo, LastPass, TrafficLight, VTchromizer, WOT, ┬ÁBlock, HostsMan, Sandboxie

The above is actually my security setup, minus what's already in Windows 10 (system imaging, file history, SmartScreen, Windows Defender, Protected Mode, UAC, etc.)

"My hardware specs"
MSI GT70 0NC [17" 1920x1080]:
Intel Core i7-3610QM @ Quad-core 2.3 GHz
16 GB DDR3 1600
128 GB SSD + 750 GB HDD
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670M @ 3 GB

Acer C710 [11.6" 1366x768]:
Intel Celeron 847 @ Dual-core 1.1 GHz
4 GB DDR3 1333
320 GB HDD

Apple iMac MA590LL [17" 1440x900]:
2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
3 GB 667MHz DDR2
ATI Radeon X1600 @ 128 MB

iPad Mini [7.9" 768x1024]:
Dual-core A5 CPU @ 1 GHz
64 GB Internal Memory

Google Nexus 5 [4.95" 1080x1920]:
Quad-core 2.3 GHz Krait 400
16 GB Internal Memory
Adreno 330

Nokia Lumia 520 [4" 480x800]
Dual-core 1 GHz
512 MB RAM
8 GB Internal Memory
Adreno 305

Asus Eee PC 4G [7" 800x480]:
Intel® Celeron M 353 @ 900 MHz
512 MB DDR2

Pebble Smartwatch [2.3" 144x168]:
ARM Cortex-M3 @ 80 MHz
128 KB RAM
4 MB Flash storage

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Windows 10 Insider Preview!

Unless you've been living without a computer or Internet these days, I'm pretty sure you've heard of Windows 10, which is coming out at the end of July. That is actually my current operating system, not just a virtual machine. Coming from Windows 7, I had a lot of installed programs and other things that made the system feel a bit clunky, although it worked surprisingly well. Therefore, I decided to try out the Refresh and Factory Reset option (available since Windows 8), which doesn't require an install media. After "refreshing" my system, I've had issues with the second monitor not being detected properly amongst other things, although my Windows settings such as Downloads folder location was quite intact. That means factory reset, which took a further 2 hours or so.

Now onto the fun part, using the new OS! What I notice right away is the new start menu and charms bar. They can be quite intuitive with enough knowledge and experience I believe. Personally, I just changed the places listed in the start menu, dragged my favourite programs to the right, never combine taskbar buttons etc. The new search menu is actually unnecessary, just type after opening the start menu and it'll show results. I also like how some of my notifications appear on the charms bar. Another new tool I like is the Mail app, which supports virtually all email accounts under the sun. Weirdly, I had to enable the sound and notification banner manually from the settings. Battery, WiFi, sound, date/time all had a remake, and I'm surprised how everything worked out of the box. All the hardware toggles works fine after installing the manufacturer utility/drives, and there are new features such as automatic battery saving!

Windows Explorer (Files app) was also upgraded, with universal Quick Access (taskbar right-click, right-hand side of explorer, etc.) replacing the Favourites. What I mean by those are folders you can quickly access by bookmarking them. Too bad it doesn't work with the start menu yet. Older Windows 7 features are still there, such as system imaging, file history, etc. Backwards compatibility is surprisingly good, with old XP-era games still running strong! Unfortunately, that doesn't mean everything is fine and dandy. I'm still missing Sandboxie, and VirtualBox has been a pain to work with. So much so, that I tried to find Hyper-V, only to notice it's not available in the Home edition... By a pain I mean even the latest beta cannot install properly without unchecking bridged networking, and there will be 3 error prompts sometimes before starting any virtual machines.

Otherwise, all of my essential programs are working fine, plus Chrome is easy to deal with once you sign in with your account. I also have some new stuff in the form of mobile apps such as Facebook, LINE (crashes on photo posts unfortunately), and various games (example: Jetpack Joyride). The new Microsoft Edge browser is currently quite limited, like I can't even set my own download directory! It's settings are also separate from many of Internet Explorer's options. It gets a bit confusing at times switching between Control Panel and the Settings app, I thought it would be more streamlined by now. Of course there are still bugs, one of which is that you have to display recently opened programs on the start menu or else it won't open sometimes.

Overall, I find Windows 10 a worthy, but unnecessary update to Windows 7 (yes I skipped 8). If you want to start from scratch, it's better to upgrade. But otherwise, you may just keep using previous versions of Windows, there is no great need to upgrade at the moment.

LINE has fixed their bug. Sometimes Windows Explorer lags and then opens two of the same folder window. Adblocking Windows Store Apps needs something like HostsMan. I tried BA.net free iOS adblock DNS servers, but no cigar.

Better not clean install before registering your machine on Microsoft (Hotmail/Outlook)! Otherwise you wont'get get a genuine license, but only a beta tester one! Or you could upgrade and then factory reset like me.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Door to door experience selling Telus with Latta Corp...

Sorry for the lack of updates, I was honestly depressed for a while (maybe more on that in the future). Anyhow, I had this interesting experience training to be a door to door salesman under Ladda Corp for Telus. It was quite strenuous dealing with all sorts of customers and working from basically lunch to after dinner. You had to wear a dress shirt and everything. As long as you perform, there is potentially very high benefits. Unfortunately, there was no base rate and I didn't work long enough to gain any clients before my depression took over...

Well, it was quite the learning experience practicing my pitch all day across Metro Vancouver. Not quite the job for me though, unless there is a way to remain motivated and energetic at least 8 hours every day. This blog will now be updated on an unpredictable "see as I feel" schedule.

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Sci-Fi Story on hiatus, Blog reduced updates, and root/jailbreak taking its sweet time

I know, I know. I said I would be working on that Sci-Fi Story. But unfortunately, due to lack of interest from both you guys and myself, it will be on hiatus until further notice. Sorry to any fans out there... It was an idea of the moment, but needs better implementation.

As for the Blog itself, I've honestly forgotten about it while going through my job hunting and whatnot of daily life. Seriously, I didn't think about writing here until yesterday, which happens to be my birthday, when friends came over and we talked about stuff. Although this won't be on hiatus, the good old days of 2-3 updates every day is long gone.

In other news, Google is taking its sweet time updating one of its platform phones, the Nexus 5. Somehow, Android 5.1.1 is already released for the Nexus Player (yes a fricking iPod Touch replacement) and Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge (on T-Mobile)... Yet my Nexus 5 still suffers from WiFi disconnections, LTE taking over WiFi with a !, lower battery life, and crashed apps. This is one of Google's best-selling phones we're talking about, and still relevant because it's freaking cheap compared to the Nexus 6. Rant continues...

On the other hand, Apple loves to fortify its Great Walled Garden of Flocking Sheep. No offence intended, but I hate how they block any possibilities on jailbreaking your iDevice at this moment! After silently patching the jailbreak when iOS 8.1.3 came of out beta, the tweaking community was dealt another blow with the release of iOS 8.3 right when an 8.2 jailbreak was in the works. Obviously, you can't downgrade soon after the release, so we're stuck with 8.1.2. No, I'm not upgrading for some overpriced Apple Watch or security patches on non-important data.

Anyhow, since I've bothered to download GIMP and tons of other programs, might as well try designing my own image for once. Tell me what you think below.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Status update: Job hunting

So why the long delay from my previous post? Basically it came down to this, I like my last post to be displayed longer, there was nothing really to write about in my interests, and I was busy job hunting. I did get into this non for-profit temp agency called EMBERS Vancouver and had work last Thursday, but couldn't continue it due to prior arrangements.

Unfortunately I've yet to receive any more work since then, even though I try to be there at 6:30 AM latest, but they're a nice place to work for if there is jobs for you. Why do I say that? Well they have a $12 minimum pay, 4% holiday bonus, overtime + double pay, and more. Just need to arrive at the right time and stay working.

So what did I do while waiting? Other than playing games and socializing, I've done pretty extensive job hunting (especially on Craigslist), and freebies/gigs searching. One day, I decided to do this heavy labour gig involving shovelling dirt and lifting 40+ pounds of them down to the garden. Unfortunately, I only lasted 2 hours of continuous lifting... Well, at least I got $30 out of it.

Today is no different, except I skipped out waiting on EMBERS due to oversleeping, and met with my employment coordinator. She introduced me to this website called indeed.ca, which will hopefully land me a job sooner rather than later. I guess the less experience you have, the more you need to depend on luck.

Anyhow, I've got other stuff to catch up on, so yeah. I'll probably work on my story for the next post seeing that there isn't much else to write about at the moment. Bye!

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Free Windows Desktop Software Security List

Gizmos Freeware - ako, J_L, MrBrian

It's now live! This is the best security freeware list available to date, and categorizes all types of software for the safety and well-being of your computer. I'm actually the co-author J_L of that list for years now, way before doing this blog. Honestly, with the help of original author ako, and new revisionist MrBrian, this is probably the best piece of work I've ever been in a part of creating.

This list previously existed in the form of "Probably the Best Free Security List in the World", but now is better than ever. Hundreds of new items coming soon. Anyhow, feel free to check it out and gaze in awe of my excessive overkill soul!

Monday, 13 April 2015

A match made in hell: legit Blu-ray movies on Windows, cloning to new SSD, and Pebble Watch 0xFE504502

Why the inactivity recently? Well, I was busy with a few things not including work or school. It turns out playing Blu-ray movies on Windows is a b*tch, as is cloning to a new SSD that is 2 GB smaller than my old one, and Pebble Watches can act like turds when out of battery for more than a day.

First of all, getting Blu-ray movies you bought to even play on your computer is not an easy task. First you need a Blu-ray player (thankfully my laptop came with one that I replaced for an OptiBay and put in an external enclosure). Then you need to set the player region. It's not done for me, and I couldn't do it without putting the Blu-ray drive back in and connecting directly via SATA. Then you need special software to even decode and play the thing. VLC will not work on all of them, including the recent ones I bought. I had to resort to re-downloading Corel WinDVD Pro, which I thought was unnecessary, and thankfully it remembers my license. So therefore, no lags and Blu-ray plays fine even in 3D! Because of the virtual machine used in BD+ encryption, my security software detects that as VM-aware malware and Aero has to be disabled by Corel. At least I can finally enjoy the movies I legally bought for free after skipping a bunch of ads...

Secondly, I bought a SSD from NCIX Vancouver. It had errors until I slow formatted it. Before that, I tried chkdsk /r, all sorts of Linux commands, zeroing out the drive and cloning with Clonezilla via Parted Magic, trying out Hiren's CD's Macrium Reflect and whatnot, etc. NCIX Surrey said because it passes basic formatting and read/write tests, they cannot offer me a full refund. Then they ave me advice about Macrium Reflect and whatnot, which still failed. I just cannot clone from my 119 GB SSD to my new 117 GB one for whatever reason (superblock error was given my CloneZilla, but Macrium said it's fine). It just wouldn't boot no matter how I repair using the Windows 7 installation USB and whatnot. Therefore, I've decided to move my Steam games, VirtualBox guests, music collection, and more onto that new SSD. That means both now have enough space to now show red on Windows Explorer anymore. Plus, I swear my virtual machines are 5x faster with no lag anymore.

Lastly, my Pebble Watch died and resurrected, both somewhat to do with church... It died when I went on a church trip without charging it or bringing a charger. After a few days, this error shows up whenever it has battery: 0xFE504502. I tried all the fixes, but it just won't boot! Recovery mode didn't work cause it won't even go there. So how was it fixed? Basically by me fiddling around with it in another church while listening to the sermons... Yes, seriously. I have a theory that the select button was stuck, and when I finally scratched on it and pressed it exactly on boot, somehow Recovery Mode was invoked. Then I re-flashed my Pebble, restored all the apps, and I'm good to go!

Sorry, no pictures this time since it's getting late (not that you ever needed one). It's strange how my luck works, it's either outright bad or surprisingly good with little in between... Anyhow have a good night as always, and sweet dreams!

Friday, 10 April 2015

A look at my main desktop

So, what does the desktop of a genius look like? Just joking (partially), but anyhow there it is. Please click the image for a larger version as always.

Basically that's it, my dual monitor (one of them built-in laptop display) setup. The desktop on the left isn't OS X or a virtual machine BTW, just a handy program called Nexus Dock. As for all those little icons on the system tray, I'll list them one by one (starting from top left reading left to right):

Cacheman, Process Explorer, GlassWire, NVIDIA GPU Activity, Soft Organizer, Avast, LinkScanner, Crystal Security, HitmanPro.Alert, WinPatrol, AX64 Time Machine, Intel Rapid Storage Technology, MSI Keyboard LED Manager, MSI VGA Overclock Tool, S-Bar, SoftPerect RAM Disk, UltraMon, Voicemeeter, Chrome - Notifications, Ditto, USB Safely Remove, Battery, WiFi, Volume, Time

You'll notice that most of them are freeware, but there are a few paid software here and there. I got the last free version or giveaways of those, because I only spend on games LOL. There are actually more running in the background, but with their icons disabled in settings. I won't get into those... As for why I have 12.51 GB of RAM/Pagefile used, 8 of that is actually for my RAMDisk.

Anyhow, that is basically it for today until I get some free time to brainstorm on my story and whatnot. Ciao!

*Latest update on Windows 10:

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

PS4 unboxing

On a lighter note, here is a video of my friend Miles and I unboxing his brand new birthday gift! It's a PS4 with skins and tons of accessories. I wish him a happy birthday once again, and should've posted this earlier but forgot. Enjoy!

Monday, 6 April 2015

My recent strings of bad luck

Wonder where I've been these past few days? Can't say it has been good for me. Basically, 3 strings of bad luck happened at around the same time. First I broke my laptop Blu-ray enclosure, then I lost a job on the second day, and my Pebble watch stopped working. I'll go straight to the details:

  1. Being overly excited about my laptop Blu-ray enclosure that I just got for $10, I brought it to FreeGeek Vancouver to show around. Wanting to test it out with one of their DVD drives, I found that it was almost stuck going in. I told my supervisor about that and handed it to her, but she mistakenly thought it was stuck going out and basically took it out by force. Unfortunately the pins and adapter separated. They did fix it for me though, and I was thankful for that, but the connection stayed loose... A few days later, I accidentally removed the drive outside of the enclosure and it separated again. Upon trying to fix it, I broke one of the pins making the enclosure useless.
  2. Just under a week ago, I found this job as a shampoo mascot for Great Clips. They accepted me very quickly unlike most other places, so I took the job even though it's over a hour long bus ride. I did pretty well in my opinion, trying to wave and hanging out with the kids. Even went a little bit further, although they gave a sort of warning about that. Should've taken it to heart or at least asked them, even though they haven't specifically stated to be within the neighbourhood. On impulse, I decided to try going way out walking over 10 km in total partially as an adventure and partially promoting the store. That meant I was too far out of the zone for too long, which lead to a cold dismissal of my position. There were no second chances... Unfortunately, you should always ask questions and stay on protocol these days, or else there'll be consequences as seen in the news about good Samaritans.
  3. Last weekend, my family decided to go on a church trip. Nothing major happened, except one mistake: I forgot to bring the charger for my Pebble smartwatch or even charge it beforehand. That meant the watch died for a day or so, and when I plugged it back in, this error came up: "0cfe504502". I tried pretty much everything to fix it, holding down select, trying to get into recovery mode (failure), draining the battery and then trying those again, a stronger charger, etc. Unfortunately, I believe it's dead and I have no warranty on it being second-hand. Plus, I just had to be fired before this happened, so no money to replace it immediately.
Overall, I hope these bad days are over and I can look forward to the future. And no, I haven't completely given up on my Sci-Fi story yet for those that remember, but didn't manage to spend time on it. Anyhow, have a great day as always, and enjoy!

Sunday, 29 March 2015

OptiBay and External Optical Enclosure

Ever wish you had more hard drives on your laptop? As in more space to store files? Well you can actually do that without modifying the laptop to make it bigger or something like that. You can actually replace the DVD or Blu-Ray ROM with a hard drive or SSD by using a special caddy to fit the space where the optical drive was. And then you can put the optical drive in an USB enclosure and use it with any computer of your choice!

Be careful when installing new drives though, Windows may mistakenly mark it as active and try to boot from there. To fix that, go into recovery console and follow these instruction in the command prompt: http://superuser.com/questions/681956/drive-letters-swapped-after-system-restore-c-%E2%86%92-d

Note that the above screenshot is actually a test drive that is almost full. I am actually going to get a 320 GB blank hard drive. Where did I find such things? Actually, I spent just $30 on craigslist buying them locally, which means no shipping waits and stuff. And the 320 GB drive will be my birthday present from a friend. So yeah, always getting good deals here. So enjoy your new-found space!

An update to my setup, now with maxed out connections!!!

Friday, 27 March 2015

Today's lack of update...

Wondering if I lost motivation again? Don't worry, that is not the case. Unfortunately, it has been very busy for me today, and will continue to be so during the weekends. So don't expect many posts yet. Just an idea of how busy I was:

The sci-fi story wasn't updated either, and I'm sorry about that. I won't give a definite due date this time, but please know that I haven't given up on it. Thanks.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

A new video

Just a video of my little sister unboxing her new EverAfter High doll... And a tour of my room! Enjoy.

OTG and Camera Connection Kit

Ever want to access your camera directly from your phone or tablet? How about a USB stick, card reader, or even mouse? That is possible thanks to an OTG cable for Android, or Camera Connection Kit for iOS. An OTG cable is basically microUSB male to USB female. A Camera Connection Kit is basically 30-pin or Lightning to USB female.

The first is very powerful, and will let you connect any USB device as long as the microUSB port outputs enough power. The second only appears to support cameras in my testing with a 30-pin to Lightning adapter, but it may be more powerful on older devices.

On Android, you need to pay for a non-root software I believe, but if you are rooted, StickMount works great! On iOS, just open the Photos app to import from the camera. Although with jailbreak you may be able to mount USB stick with a terminal emulator and access them via iFile, I don't think it worked for me even after formatting the stick to HFS.

This is top secret info guys! Just joking, yet another not well-known tip by yours truly. See ya!

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

MMA-based anime?

Being a fan of both art styles and forms of entertainment, I would really love to see something like a combination of both. That would be truly special. Unfortunately, such a series is few and far in between, with the most popular being Kenichi: History's Strongest Disciple. Unfortunately, although very entertaining and martial arts based, there is little grappling and it's not true MMA. I would (re?)watch it sometime in the future though.

After browsing online for this subject, I found something even more interesting. It's called Baki the Grappler. This appears to be exactly what I'm looking for. Unfortunately, I haven't watched it yet, nor have the time to delve deep into the series, but I expect this to be a good show.

If anyone have any ideas, please feel free to comment below (even anonymously!). I will review both anime once I've completed them, so don't feel as if I'm not serious about this.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

How I used up almost 100 GB on my system SSD (600 GB on my data HDD)

Think you are lacking space? Think again, I'm using more than 700 GB here... On my 128 GB SSD, only 24 GB of free space is left. That is thanks to 109 installed programs, many portable apps, and their components (heck a SSBB ROM takes up 8+ GB!). It's amazing how much space I need for my games, Internet programs, multimedia, office, programming, security, system, and utilities.

Heck, I recently used up 3 GB installing the complete Netbeans and Python (plus all their requirements) so that I can program HTML5, PHP, C++, Java, and Python apps. As for my data disk, most of my downloads, backups, and other personal stuff are stored there. It's lucky I have an external 1 TB HDD as well, or else I would really run out of space.

Feel free to post in the comments below on how much space your stuff takes up. Until then, bye!

Chrome Remote Desktop: Quite the convenience

Have you ever wished you could connect to any one of your computers using another one, or even a mobile phone? Well, with Chrome Remote Desktop, that is very much a reality. After signing in and verifying your Google account, you can set up sharing the computer on Windows, OS X, or Linux (I believe) after installing the app and host software. Then with a secure 6+ digit pin, you can access those computers using any device you own, including Android and iOS!

With a mouse and keyboard, it's like controlling the computer yourself in person. With touchscreen, you can emulate those, but it's not exactly the same. Unfortunately, there are no host options for my Chromebook, iPad, and phone. Those are devices I carry on the go to access home computers anyways, so no worries there.

The only problem I've had with the service is my dual 1080p setup being shrinked too small, although you can adjust it. Also, I've had problems connecting from a different network at home with the same public IP address, but dissimilar IP subnet. That is rarely a problem though, unless you have 2 or more routers at home. Otherwise, my experience with this software is great, you just need Google Chrome installed.


Monday, 23 March 2015

How to avoid being infected or scammed

Ever had this unknown person contacting you on Skype? I did, twice recently. Being skeptical but bored at the same time, I took to the challenge of accepting their request. Of course they pose as women. But although you could probably tell in the beginning, I had nothing better to do but to amuse myself with their company. Also, you may remember being infected by a file you've downloaded. That can also easily be avoided. Here are some safety procedures everyone should take:

  1. Look for any errors or suspicious qualities about the name, title, or URL. Usually scams have something striking out in one of those texts.
  2. Always ask for identification before entering your credit card or whatever into some shady website. That means more than just pictures, you need to confirm they're real via video chat.
  3. Although they may be using a fake webcam, that should is far from foolproof, just ask them to perform some random actions and see how they can respond.
  4. If they only provided images, examine them carefully. That includes using Google reverse image search, TinEye, or something similar.
  5. If the above are not met, just block the person and report them to the proper authorities.
  6. As for files you download, a simple way to check is via file extensions. Make sure that is enabled on your computer settings.
  7. Unless you're using some outdated versions of Windows Media Player or something, video files such as AVI, MP4, MKV, etc. are safe to open. If they're hiding something, that will either not run since nothing is executed or display a corrupted file.
  8. The same can be said for text files (TXT, LOG, etc.) and images (JPEG, PNG, GIF, etc.)
  9. Watch out for executable files and scripts. Those can run malicious programs on your computer. For example: EXE, BAT, SCR, etc.
  10. If you still want to see what they are, upload the file to VirusTotal so it can be scanned by virtually all known anti-virus engines. Then open it in a program like Sandboxie or VirtualBox, where it never touches your real system.
  11. VirusTotal can be used to scan URLs you suspect as well!
As always, I hope you guys learn something out of reading this, and have a good one!

Sunday, 22 March 2015

An awesome dream

Just woke up at 6:30 AM after trying so hard to sleep back at 12:30 AM last night. My body was very sore, and I wasn't feeling well (depressed almost). But suddenly, I had this crazy dream that was awesome in every aspect. The problem is as soon as I woke up, although rejuvenated with energy and ready to continue my short story series or even another totally different one, I forgot most of it.

Even the basic concepts are hard to recall at the moment, but I think I've written down some good ideas to be used for the future. Expect something to be written by Thursday, which is the date I said I will try to meet. Even now after 15 minutes of staying awake when I should be sleeping, I feel more motivated than I ever was in the past week. Hopefully that will have a positive impact on this blog and my life in general. I seriously thought I wouldn't recover in time LOL.

Anyhow, excuse me while I try to remember more details one way or another. Might just go back to bed cause I'm actually feeling tired again. But I'm kinda afraid that will sap my current energy when I wake up again. So for the mean time, some serious brainstorming and thoughts will be jotted down on my LibreOffice (too cheap to buy Microsoft Office, not sure why I didn't get it back in school). No worries, like I told you guys before. *Inserts gesture of goodbye in yet another language or term.

In other news, some of you may have noticed that my mirror is loading slower than it should. That is because the host website doesn't have any way to separate my news into smaller chunks, and instead loads all of them in the same page. That is very unfortunate, because I like them otherwise. They say that it will be fixed in the new version of their web editor coming out, so I'm crossing my fingers that this will be resolved soon. For the meantime, avoid using my mirror for speed purposes. Try to access it only if blogger is censored in your country. Thank you.