Category Archives: TWEAKS & TRICKS

Important & Useful Tweaks and Tricks for your Electronic Devices. [Mostly PC]

iFixit Pro Tech Toolkit is your Ultimate Weapon to Fix Any Gadgets.

iFixit Pro Tech Toolkit – iFixit Home.

If you need to upgrade your electronics or repair your electronics, the New iFixit Pro Tech Toolkit has enough driver bits, spudgers, and miscellaneous other tools to open, disassemble, repair, and reassemble your phone, laptop, or most other electronic products that you can think of.

The heart of the set is the 54 Bit Driver Kit. I really liked that the magnetic bit driver that came with an extension that you can use to give the driver a t-handle for extra torque. It also has a flexible shaft extension (“write your own joke here”) and a driver to adapt the 4mm bits to a standard ¼” chuck. The bits themselves have all the standard Phillips, Slot, and Torx bits along with a selection of Pentalobe (as used in newer Apple gear), JIS, Hex, Tri-Wing, Square, Triangle, and Torx Security bits.

Also inside the tool wrap is are various metal and plastic spudgers (used to pry open casings), a precision tweezer set, an anti-static wrist strap, a suction cup to help slide the screen off a phone or tablet, and a six-inch metal ruler. The Pro Tech Toolkit retails for $59.95 which is a lot if you’re ever doing one repair or upgrade but is more than worth it if you’re the lucky person all your family and friends come to to fix computers, change out iPhone batteries, and in general keep their tech working. If you need extra or speciality tools you can also buy one of their expansion toolkits designed not to duplicate anything in this kit.

iFixit was also kind enough to send their new Magnetic Project Mat, a magnetic gridded dry-erase workmat with a foam base to prevent slipping and hold small screws. It is handy for keeping track of the order in which you disassemble a gadget and you can put the screws on the same grid square where you write down your disassembly steps.

Many of us have bought cheap bits or opening tools so we can swap out batteries and displays that fall apart after one use. The tools in this kit seem to be made to a much higher standard and the price seems fair for what you get. If you don’t need 54 bits and all the openers you can get their Home Tech Toolkit contains half the tools for half the cost. I love iFixit.com for their detailed repair guides and with the few repairs so far (I’ve changed out an iPhone 3GS battery and took apart my Spyderco Tenacious folding knife) the tools have been a pleasure to use.

Check out iFixit – (Need Repair Now)

Source : Gizmodo, Net

By : 20th CEN

 

 

 

16x Dvd+-rw Dl Dvd Writer Comparison Guide.

DVD Writer Comparison Guide :

Since the introduction of double layer DVD writers, the interest has been quite overwhelming. The anticipation has now turned into down right obsession and it has become a key component in any current or new system build, thanks to the declining prices and continued media hype. Manufacturers are quite aware of the fascination and is why they have each been releasing their own products which excel in at least one area of the testing methodology used in most reviews. This has led to some confusion as to which drive is best suited for the individuals needs. Today, we compare four 16x double layer drives and highlight both the strong and weak points in order to give you a better idea of which drive is best suited for you.

In this comparison guide, we will be looking at four of the top 16x drives to hit the market, the Pioneer DVR-108, NEC ND3500A, Lite-On SOHW-1633s and the new LG GSA-4160B. We will cover everything from design and features to performance and price. Let’s begin with a quick look at each of these drives.

As far as the front bezel design goes, the LG-GSA4160B is by far the most attractive drive of the bunch. However, for those who are looking for a headphone jack, the Lite-On drive is the only DL writer offering a headphone jack, as well as volume control. The Pioneer and NEC drives, in my opinion, are the ugliest drives, with a very plain look that just wants to make you hide the drive period. Although we only obtained the 4160B in black, all these drives are offered with both white and black bezels. If you opt for the more expensive Pioneer “XL” model, it has the most impressive looks of any drive in the market. However, this will come at a very hefty price tag, considering they contain different firmware as well that offer a few extra features.

So, we have determined which is the sexiest-looking drive, but what about performance? I’ve done some extensive testing on each model to determine which is indeed the most impressive of the bunch. But before we show you performance results, let’s briefly look at the features and what they have to offer.

Features

Each one of these drives has there disappointments when it comes to features. Let’s compare each to see what they really offer.

DVD Writing

DVD+R DVD-R DVD+RW DVD-RW
LG GSA-4160B 16x 8x 4x 4x
Lite-On SOHW-1633s 16x 8x 4x 4x
NEC ND-3500A 16x 16x 4x 4x
Pioneer DVR-108 16x 16x 4x 4x

While all these drives are indeed 16x models, only two will write to both formats at this speed. The LG GSA-4160B and the Lite-On SOHW-1633s only support 8x DVD-R writing. So if you are one who only prefers this format, the NEC or Pioneer would be the best choice. All of these drives support writing to DVD re-writable media at 4x.

DVD+R9 Double Layer Writing

Write Speed
LG GSA-4160B 2.4x
Lite-On SOHW-1633s 2.4x
NEC ND-3500A 4x
Pioneer DVR-108 4x

The major disappointment with both the LG and the Lite-On 16x drives is the lack of 4x double layer writing support. Pioneer and NEC seem to be the only manufacturers to jump in and release second generation double layer drives supporting much faster 4x writing. In fact, the jump from 2.4x to 4x is quite substantial as we will show you a bit later in this comparison.

DVD-RAM Support

Supported Read Write
LG GSA-4160B YES 5x 5x
Lite-On SOHW-1633s NO NO NO
NEC ND-3500A NO NO NO
Pioneer DVR-108 YES 2x NO

Now this is where both the LG GSA-4120B and GSA-4160B shine above the rest. In fact, it is what has made these drives the most popular DVD writers on the market. Unlike the rest in the roundup, it is a triple format burner, offering full support for DVD-RAM media. The other drives do not support it, with the exception of the Pioneer DVR-108 which supports reading of DVD-RAM discs at 2x. I personally don’t see the point in offering only read capabilities, but it’s at least one extra feature added to distinguish it from the rest. Fast 5x support of the LG GSA-4160 will actually be tested a bit later in this article.

CDR Writing

CDR CDRW
LG GSA-4160B 40x 24x
Lite-On SOHW-1633s 48x 24x
NEC ND-3500A 48x 24x
Pioneer DVR-108 32x 24x

The fastest CDR writers of the bunch are the Lite-On SOHW-1633s and the NEC ND-3500A. With their support for 48x writing, they make a great all-in-one drive for many users. The only drive lacking in this lineup is the Pioneer DVR-108. Why they opted for only 32x writing is still quite puzzling and is actually why I have found that many are choosing the NEC over the Pioneer. The LG GSA-4160B should not be left out of consideration though. We will show you later that the difference in write times between 40x and 48x is not much to brag about.

Bitsetting Support

One feature I’ve found that is most important for many users is bitsetting support. Let’s compare these drives and see what they offer.

DVD+R/RW Support DVD+R DL Support
LG GSA-4160B NO NO
Lite-On SOHW-1633s YES NO
NEC ND-3500A NO YES
Pioneer DVR-108 NO YES

The LG GSA-4160B does not offer bitsetting support out of the box. However, it is very likely that you will be able to obtain support through an excellent third-party tool called DVDInfo Pro. Right now, they only support the GSA-4120B, but I’m confident with the author that support for this drive will be likely. LG firmware is very hard to hack, however some select few have been able to do so. Using Lite-On’s booktype utility, you can change the booktype of DVD+R/RW media, however, the firmware does not automatically change booktype of DVD+R DL discs to DVD-ROM like the NEC and Pioneer models do.

Additional Features

As far as other features go, all these drives have a 2MB buffer but offer some sort of buffer under-run protection, which all work exceptionally well. This is especially useful if you will be burning discs at 16x, which I personally don’t recommend just yet. As our individual tests of these drives revealed, burning at this speed is quite unstable, with the exception of the Lite-On SOHW-1633s.

By : 20th CGN.

10 Fast and Free Security Enhancements.

10 Fast and Free Security Enhancements.

Before you spend a dime on security, there are many precautions you can take that will protect you against the most common threats.

1. Check Windows Update and Office Update regularly (_http://office.microsoft.com/productupdates); have your Office CD ready. Windows Me, 2000, and XP users can configure automatic updates. Click on the Automatic Updates tab in the System control panel and choose the appropriate options.

2. Install a personal firewall. Both SyGate (_www.sygate.com) and ZoneAlarm (_www.zonelabs.com) offer free versions.

3. Install a free spyware blocker. Our Editors’ Choice (“Spyware,” April 22) was SpyBot Search & Destroy (_http://security.kolla.de). SpyBot is also paranoid and ruthless in hunting out tracking cookies.

4. Block pop-up spam messages in Windows NT, 2000, or XP by disabling the Windows Messenger service (this is unrelated to the instant messaging program). Open Control Panel | Administrative Tools | Services and you’ll see Messenger. Right-click and go to Properties. Set Start-up Type to Disabled and press the Stop button. Bye-bye, spam pop-ups! Any good firewall will also stop them.

5. Use strong passwords and change them periodically. Passwords should have at least seven characters; use letters and numbers and have at least one symbol. A decent example would be f8izKro@l. This will make it much harder for anyone to gain access to your accounts.

6. If you’re using Outlook or Outlook Express, use the current version or one with the Outlook Security Update installed. The update and current versions patch numerous vulnerabilities.

7. Buy antivirus software and keep it up to date. If you’re not willing to pay, try Grisoft AVG Free Edition (Grisoft Inc., w*w.grisoft.com). And doublecheck your AV with the free, online-only scanners available at w*w.pandasoftware.com/activescan and _http://housecall.trendmicro.com.

8. If you have a wireless network, turn on the security features: Use MAC filtering, turn off SSID broadcast, and even use WEP with the biggest key you can get. For more, check out our wireless section or see the expanded coverage in Your Unwired World in our next issue.

9. Join a respectable e-mail security list, such as the one found at our own Security Supersite at _http://security.ziffdavis.com, so that you learn about emerging threats quickly and can take proper precautions.

10. Be skeptical of things on the Internet. Don’t assume that e-mail “From:” a particular person is actually from that person until you have further reason to believe it’s that person. Don’t assume that an attachment is what it says it is. Don’t give out your password to anyone, even if that person claims to be from “support.”

By : 20th CGN.

10 Reasons why PC’s crash, You Must Know.

10 reasons why PCs crash U must Know :


Fatal error: the system has become unstable or is busy,” it says. “Enter to return to Windows or press Control-Alt-Delete to restart your computer. If you do this you will lose any unsaved information in all open applications.”

You have just been struck by the Blue Screen of Death. Anyone who uses Mcft Windows will be familiar with this. What can you do? More importantly, how can you prevent it happening?

1. Hardware conflict

The number one reason why Windows crashes is hardware conflict. Each hardware device communicates to other devices through an interrupt request channel (IRQ). These are supposed to be unique for each device.

For example, a printer usually connects internally on IRQ 7. The keyboard usually uses IRQ 1 and the floppy disk drive IRQ 6. Each device will try to hog a single IRQ for itself.

If there are a lot of devices, or if they are not installed properly, two of them may end up sharing the same IRQ number. When the user tries to use both devices at the same time, a crash can happen. The way to check if your computer has a hardware conflict is through the following route:

* Start-Settings-Control Panel-System-Device Manager.

Often if a device has a problem a yellow ‘!’ appears next to its description in the Device Manager. Highlight Computer (in the Device Manager) and press Properties to see the IRQ numbers used by your computer. If the IRQ number appears twice, two devices may be using it.

Sometimes a device might share an IRQ with something described as ‘IRQ holder for PCI steering’. This can be ignored. The best way to fix this problem is to remove the problem device and reinstall it.

Sometimes you may have to find more recent drivers on the internet to make the device function properly. A good resource is http://www.driverguide.com. If the device is a soundcard, or a modem, it can often be fixed by moving it to a different slot on the motherboard (be careful about opening your computer, as you may void the warranty).

When working inside a computer you should switch it off, unplug the mains lead and touch an unpainted metal surface to discharge any static electricity.

To be fair to Mcft, the problem with IRQ numbers is not of its making. It is a legacy problem going back to the first PC designs using the IBM 8086 chip. Initially there were only eight IRQs. Today there are 16 IRQs in a PC. It is easy to run out of them. There are plans to increase the number of IRQs in future designs.

2. Bad Ram

Ram (random-access memory) problems might bring on the blue screen of death with a message saying Fatal Exception Error. A fatal error indicates a serious hardware problem. Sometimes it may mean a part is damaged and will need replacing.

But a fatal error caused by Ram might be caused by a mismatch of chips. For example, mixing 70-nanosecond (70ns) Ram with 60ns Ram will usually force the computer to run all the Ram at the slower speed. This will often crash the machine if the Ram is overworked.

One way around this problem is to enter the BIOS settings and increase the wait state of the Ram. This can make it more stable. Another way to troubleshoot a suspected Ram problem is to rearrange the Ram chips on the motherboard, or take some of them out. Then try to repeat the circumstances that caused the crash. When handling Ram try not to touch the gold connections, as they can be easily damaged.

Parity error messages also refer to Ram. Modern Ram chips are either parity (ECC) or non parity (non-ECC). It is best not to mix the two types, as this can be a cause of trouble.

EMM386 error messages refer to memory problems but may not be connected to bad Ram. This may be due to free memory problems often linked to old Dos-based programmes.

3. BIOS settings

Every motherboard is supplied with a range of chipset settings that are decided in the factory. A common way to access these settings is to press the F2 or delete button during the first few seconds of a boot-up.

Once inside the BIOS, great care should be taken. It is a good idea to write down on a piece of paper all the settings that appear on the screen. That way, if you change something and the computer becomes more unstable, you will know what settings to revert to.

A common BIOS error concerns the CAS latency. This refers to the Ram. Older EDO (extended data out) Ram has a CAS latency of 3. Newer SDRam has a CAS latency of 2. Setting the wrong figure can cause the Ram to lock up and freeze the computer’s display.

Mcft Windows is better at allocating IRQ numbers than any BIOS. If possible set the IRQ numbers to Auto in the BIOS. This will allow Windows to allocate the IRQ numbers (make sure the BIOS setting for Plug and Play OS is switched to ‘yes’ to allow Windows to do this.).

4. Hard disk drives

After a few weeks, the information on a hard disk drive starts to become piecemeal or fragmented. It is a good idea to defragment the hard disk every week or so, to prevent the disk from causing a screen freeze. Go to

* Start-Programs-Accessories-System Tools-Disk Defragmenter

This will start the procedure. You will be unable to write data to the hard drive (to save it) while the disk is defragmenting, so it is a good idea to schedule the procedure for a period of inactivity using the Task Scheduler.

The Task Scheduler should be one of the small icons on the bottom right of the Windows opening page (the desktop).

Some lockups and screen freezes caused by hard disk problems can be solved by reducing the read-ahead optimisation. This can be adjusted by going to

* Start-Settings-Control Panel-System Icon-Performance-File System-Hard Disk.

Hard disks will slow down and crash if they are too full. Do some housekeeping on your hard drive every few months and free some space on it. Open the Windows folder on the C drive and find the Temporary Internet Files folder. Deleting the contents (not the folder) can free a lot of space.

Empty the Recycle Bin every week to free more space. Hard disk drives should be scanned every week for errors or bad sectors. Go to

* Start-Programs-Accessories-System Tools-ScanDisk

Otherwise assign the Task Scheduler to perform this operation at night when the computer is not in use.

5. Fatal OE exceptions and VXD errors

Fatal OE exception errors and VXD errors are often caused by video card problems.

These can often be resolved easily by reducing the resolution of the video display. Go to

* Start-Settings-Control Panel-Display-Settings

Here you should slide the screen area bar to the left. Take a look at the colour settings on the left of that window. For most desktops, high colour 16-bit depth is adequate.

If the screen freezes or you experience system lockups it might be due to the video card. Make sure it does not have a hardware conflict. Go to

* Start-Settings-Control Panel-System-Device Manager

Here, select the + beside Display Adapter. A line of text describing your video card should appear. Select it (make it blue) and press properties. Then select Resources and select each line in the window. Look for a message that says No Conflicts.

If you have video card hardware conflict, you will see it here. Be careful at this point and make a note of everything you do in case you make things worse.

The way to resolve a hardware conflict is to uncheck the Use Automatic Settings box and hit the Change Settings button. You are searching for a setting that will display a No Conflicts message.

Another useful way to resolve video problems is to go to

* Start-Settings-Control Panel-System-Performance-Graphics

Here you should move the Hardware Acceleration slider to the left. As ever, the most common cause of problems relating to graphics cards is old or faulty drivers (a driver is a small piece of software used by a computer to communicate with a device).

Look up your video card’s manufacturer on the internet and search for the most recent drivers for it.

6. Viruses

Often the first sign of a virus infection is instability. Some viruses erase the boot sector of a hard drive, making it impossible to start. This is why it is a good idea to create a Windows start-up disk. Go to

* Start-Settings-Control Panel-Add/Remove Programs

Here, look for the Start Up Disk tab. Virus protection requires constant vigilance.

A virus scanner requires a list of virus signatures in order to be able to identify viruses. These signatures are stored in a DAT file. DAT files should be updated weekly from the website of your antivirus software manufacturer.

An excellent antivirus programme is McAfee VirusScan by Network Associates ( http://www.nai.com). Another is Norton AntiVirus 2000, made by Symantec ( http://www.symantec.com).

7. Printers

The action of sending a document to print creates a bigger file, often called a postscript file.

Printers have only a small amount of memory, called a buffer. This can be easily overloaded. Printing a document also uses a considerable amount of CPU power. This will also slow down the computer’s performance.

If the printer is trying to print unusual characters, these might not be recognised, and can crash the computer. Sometimes printers will not recover from a crash because of confusion in the buffer. A good way to clear the buffer is to unplug the printer for ten seconds. Booting up from a powerless state, also called a cold boot, will restore the printer’s default settings and you may be able to carry on.

8. Software

A common cause of computer crash is faulty or badly-installed software. Often the problem can be cured by uninstalling the software and then reinstalling it. Use Norton Uninstall or Uninstall Shield to remove an application from your system properly. This will also remove references to the programme in the System Registry and leaves the way clear for a completely fresh copy.

The System Registry can be corrupted by old references to obsolete software that you thought was uninstalled. Use Reg Cleaner by Jouni Vuorio to clean up the System Registry and remove obsolete entries. It works on Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 98 SE (Second Edition), Windows Millennium Edition (ME), NT4 and Windows 2000.

Read the instructions and use it carefully so you don’t do permanent damage to the Registry. If the Registry is damaged you will have to reinstall your operating system. Reg Cleaner can be obtained from http://www.jv16.org

Often a Windows problem can be resolved by entering Safe Mode. This can be done during start-up. When you see the message “Starting Windows” press F4. This should take you into Safe Mode.

Safe Mode loads a minimum of drivers. It allows you to find and fix problems that prevent Windows from loading properly.

Sometimes installing Windows is difficult because of unsuitable BIOS settings. If you keep getting SUWIN error messages (Windows setup) during the Windows installation, then try entering the BIOS and disabling the CPU internal cache. Try to disable the Level 2 (L2) cache if that doesn’t work.

Remember to restore all the BIOS settings back to their former settings following installation.

9. Overheating

Central processing units (CPUs) are usually equipped with fans to keep them cool. If the fan fails or if the CPU gets old it may start to overheat and generate a particular kind of error called a kernel error. This is a common problem in chips that have been overclocked to operate at higher speeds than they are supposed to.

One remedy is to get a bigger better fan and install it on top of the CPU. Specialist cooling fans/heatsinks are available from http://www.computernerd.com or http://www.coolit.com

CPU problems can often be fixed by disabling the CPU internal cache in the BIOS. This will make the machine run more slowly, but it should also be more stable.

10. Power supply problems

With all the new construction going on around the country the steady supply of electricity has become disrupted. A power surge or spike can crash a computer as easily as a power cut.

If this has become a nuisance for you then consider buying a uninterrupted power supply (UPS). This will give you a clean power supply when there is electricity, and it will give you a few minutes to perform a controlled shutdown in case of a power cut.

It is a good investment if your data are critical, because a power cut will cause any unsaved data to be lost.

By : 20th CGN.

8 People Can Use The Same Msn Dial Up Account.

Its easy really. want to have an entire family on dial-up with just one bill?

Purchase 20 dollar a month subscription to MSN unlimited access dial up. This will include an MSN 9 cd which you will need. With the software installed, fill up your secondary account slots with new users. Make sure you pick @msn if it gives you the choice, hotmail email addresses will not work..

say the secondary account is johnsmith@msn.com type in the Dial up connection

USER : MSN/johnsmith
PASS: ******* (whatever)

connect to your local msn phone number and the other people you gave secondary accounts to will be able to do the same, while you are connected. Its a sweet deal considering everyone is paying about 2 bucks a month for internet access, especially if you cannot get broadband. if you wanted to sell off the access to people you could actually make money doing this.. but i do not suggest it.

I used to be an msn tech and this was a little known secret even to most of the employees.

After you do this you do not need the software any more. I would suggest keeping it on to micromanage everyone else’s accounts. and for the simple fact that if they don’t pitch in, cut them off HEHEHE

By : 20th CGN.

Basic [PHP] Navigations Help.

[PHP] NAVIGATION EXAMPLE :

php
if($_SERVER[‘QUERY_STRING’] == “SoD”)
print “owns you!”;
else
print “don’t front!”;
?>

Description: Instead of calling files like ( index.php?str=blah ) , you could do ( index.php?SoD ) and it would print out “owns you!”. You can add more strings in there, this is just an example.

$vars = explode(“,”, urldecode(getenv(‘QUERY_STRING’)));
$v1 = array_shift($vars);
$v2 = array_shift($vars);
$v3 = array_shift($vars);

switch ($v1) {
case ‘first.1’: {
print(“This is v1, first string case ‘file.php?first.1’.”);
break;
}
case ‘first.2’: {
switch ($v2) {
case ‘second’: {
switch($v3) {
case ‘third’: {
print(“This is v3, the last case ‘file.php?first.2,second,third’.”);
break;
}
}
}
}
}
}

Description:  That’s it for the navigation as I am not going to do the other due to they’re everywhere else and I wanted to be different and show everyone this method.

By : 20th CGN.

How to Rip Dynamic Flash Templates.

How to Rip TM Dynamic Flash Templates
by: Aryaan.

What you need:

  • Sample dynamic flash template from TM website
  • Sothink SWF Decompiler
  • Macromedia Flash
  • Yourself

STEPS :

1. browse or search your favorite dynamic flash template in TM website. If you got one… click the “view” link and new window will open with dynamic flash.. loading…

2. If the movie fully loaded, click View -> Source in your browser to bring the source code of the current page and in the source code, search for “IFRAME” and you will see the iframe page. In this example were going to try the 7045 dynamic template. get the URL(ex. http://images.templatemonster.com/screenshots/7000/7045.html) then paste it to your browser… easy eh? wait! dont be to excited… erase the .html and change it to swf then press enter then you’ll see the flash movie again.

3. copy the URL and download that SWF file.. use your favorite download manager.. mine I used flashget  [NOTE: dont close the browser we may need that later on.]

4. open your Sothink SWF decompiler… click “Quick Open” then browse where you download your SWF/movie file. Click Export FLA to export your SWF to FLA, in short, save it as FLA.

5. Open your Macromedia FLash and open the saved FLA file. press Control+Enter or publish the file… then wallah! the output window will come up with “Error opening URL blah blah blah…” dont panic, that error will help you where to get the remaining files.

6. Copy the first error, example: “7045_main.html” then go back to your browser and replace the 7045.swf to 7045_main.html press enter and you’ll see a lot of text… nonsense text icon_lol.gif that text are your contents…

NOTE: when you save the remaining files dont forget to save with underscore sign (_) in the front on the file without the TM item number (e.g. 7045) if it is html save it as “_main.html” and same with the image save it as “_works1.jpg” save them where you save the FLA and SWF files. Continue browsing the file inside Flash application so you can track the remaining files… do the same until you finish downloading all the remaining the files.

By : 20th CGN.