Showing posts from July, 2010

Using Blizzard Downloader from behind a proxy server

The Blizzard Downloader used to download Starcraft II and all other Blizzard products does not work from behind a proxy. Blizzard does not support proxies in any way really, so if you don't have a direct connection to the internet you're slightly out of luck.

But if you're keen enough, there's always a way. The requirements for this method are:
1. An SSH connection to a server anywhere in the world that has a direct internet connection.
2. SocksCap - free Windows program that can force any program to connect through a Socks proxy.
3. Putty - free Windows program that can act as an SSH client and allow you to make SSH tunnels.

If you already have an SSH server that you can use for this purpose, great. If not, consider either turning a home server into an SSH server (this could be slow if you have a slow internet connection at home), or go get a VPS (you can get a server from VPSLink for a whole month for $7.99, this includes full root access & SSH access, the whole …

Creating a minimal Ubuntu 10.4 VirtualBox Virtual Machine

Download the latest Ubuntu Minimal ISO.Start up VirtualBox and create a new Ubuntu Virtual Machine. Give it say 768MB RAM and create a new 8GM dynamically expanding disk space (you cannot increase this maximum disk size so make sure you pick something that will accommodate the largest possible size your VM will take).Go to the Settings dialog in VirtualBox and select to mount the the mini Ubuntu ISO you downloaded. Go through all the other settings as well and make sure sensible configurations are enabled (you can always change these later).Start the VM, it should boot from the ISO and take you to a 'boot:' prompt. Just hit enter without typing anything.Select Command-line install from the next menu and follow the prompts selecting language, keyboard, etc. All defaults work fine in most cases.Set a proxy when prompted if you're behind a proxy server. The installer will then do it's thing, connect to the internet, download packages and install the core of the OS.After t…

MyTouch Slide Battery Drain

There seems to be an issue with the MyTouch Slide causing the battery to drain extremely quickly at times (within a couple of hours). In my experience this seems to happen mostly when not connected to WiFi and when applications try to synchronize data over the 3G connection.

I tried to identify which application was responsible for this battery drain by closing them down one-by-one (using ATK). After everything was closed the battery was still draining. So I went into Settings/Applications/Manage Services and started shutting these down one by one too.

It seems that, in my case at least, the Google Talk Service was responsible for the battery drain. Shutting this service down dramatically increased my battery life. Restarting the phone brings the service back up, and a few hours later rapid battery drain begins too.

Dismiss Windows Update Postpone

If you have Windows set to automatically download and install updates, you'll often get a little dialog asking you to restart your computer or postpone the restart for 10 minutes or up to 4 hours.

This can get pretty annoying, especially when you get the restart notice early in the morning. Restarting can be a pain when you're busy doing your work and have multiple applications open and configured as required. Postponing every 4 hours works, but what if you're away from your desk when the next notice comes up? Or what if the dialog pops open and you accidentally hit restart?

It would be good if there was an option to select 'Remind me - never' or something along those lines, but there isn't.

An easy workaround however is to just open a Command Prompt and type net stop "windows update". This will turn off the Windows Update service, hence no more restart prompts. The service will come back on by itself whenever you do get around to restarting your PC.

Custom MP3 alarms on MyTouch Slide

The MyTouch Slide comes preloaded with a number of different alarm sounds. These are boring. You can use any MP3 as an alarm. To do this, just connect the phone to a PC, and make sure to select Disk Drive on the phone so you can browse the SD card content.

On the PC, navigate to the SD card and create a folder named alarms. In here, drop whatever MP3 you want to be able to select as an alarm and you're done (e.g. F:\alarms\freestyler.mp3 where F: is the SD card in Windows Explorer).

Disconnect the phone (or set the USB to charge only), go back to the alarm settings, click on sounds, and you should see your custom MP3s in the list of options along with all the defaults. Note that the song titles are taken from metadata tags and not the actual filenames.


Windows 7 - No HDMI Sound Output

I have a HTPC with HDMI audio/video out and Toslink (Optical) SP/DIF sound out. Up till recently I've been using the HDMI for video only and running an optical cable to my amp for sound. I wanted to pack my amp and so switch to HDMI audio out directly to my TV, so went into Control Panel / Hardware and Sound / Sound, but couldn't see a HDMI component in the Playback tab. I only had Speakers (which were not plugged in) and Realtek High Definition Audio Output, which was the Optical cable and was set as the default.

You can right-click on the Playback panel and tick to show Disabled devices and Disconnected devices, but HDMI still wasn't there.

To get it to show up, go to Device Manager. Click on View / Show hidden devices. Then scroll down to Sound, video and game controllers, expand that, and look for a HDMI device. This will probably be disabled, so right-click and select enable.

Then go back to Control Panel / Sound, and you should see a HDMI device in Playback tab (make…

Androids, Swype and Qwertys

I've spent about two weeks now with my first Android phone, the HTC MyTouch Slide. I chose this over all other Androids because of it's nice full QWERTY keyboard, good looks, and good price. On the subject of keyboards though, is a physical qwerty still necessary with the growing screen sizes and the invent of Swype?

The MyTouch Slide comes pre-loaded with Swype as the default virtual keyboard. If you haven't seen how this works yet, watch the video below:

Swype is pretty easy to get a hold of, and it's powers of prediction are pretty amazing, even when you move your finger all over the place in an odd way and don't even touch all the letters. Also, it's actually fun and satisfying to use, and you still have the ability to touch type every letter one-by-one if you want. Is it faster than a real qwerty? Probably not, but on a 4" screen plus, it's good enough for most SMS/email needs.

Swype is almost good enough to choose a phone without a keyboard for …