Category Archives: Technical

Post installation procedure for my fedora 24

This is the detailed log of my post installation procedures for Fedora 24.

In the Settings,
In Privacy, changed Usage and History – off, Location services – off
Region and Language, added input sources Malayalam
In Search unselected everything inside
Universal Access set Large text on

Install RPMFusion
Free and NonFree
su -c 'dnf install http://download1.rpmfusion.org/free/fedora/rpmfusion-free-release-$(rpm -E %fedora).noarch.rpm http://download1.rpmfusion.org/nonfree/fedora/rpmfusion-nonfree-release-$(rpm -E %fedora).noarch.rpm'

Install FFmpeg and GStreamer
Skipped installing gstreamer-extras, other gstreamer plugins were already installed.
dnf install gstreamer1-plugins-ugly gstreamer1-plugins-bad-freeworld ffmpeg

Install Gnome Tweak Tool
dnf install gnome-tweak-tool
Enabled the Application and Places menu, Min Max buttion, Middle click lower.

Install Libdvdcss, HandBrake, Vlc
dnf config-manager --add-repo=http://negativo17.org/repos/fedora-handbrake.repo
dnf install libdvdcss HandBrake-gui vlc

Install Flash.
**Skipped**

Installing Chrome
Downloaded the Chrome RPM from Google.
dnf install google-chrome-stable_current_x86_64.rpm

Install Gimp, GFtp, Gparted
dnf install gimp gparted gftp

Install LM Sensors, Nethogs
dnf install lm_sensors nethogs

Disabled PackageKit automatic downloading of updates
gsettings set org.gnome.software download-updates false

Setup Thundirbird
dnf install thunderbird
Copy the contents of the backed up profile folder (xxxxx.default) to the new profile folder
Disabled the mail downloadin Synchronising as the mails were being downloaded again.

Work on fonts/scaling
Changed the default fonts in Chrome to Serif, Serif and Sans and Size to 17.
Changed the font size in FireFox to 17.

Install Xboard
dnf install xboard
Replace the .xboardrc and .icsrc file from backup
Create a custom desktop shortcut to use Dreamer engine
Copy the XBoard.desktop from /usr/share/applications to ~/.local/applications and modify the command property with xboard -fe Dreamer

WAT and bypassing WAT

Windows 7 comes loaded with an anti-piracy system named Windows Activation Technologies (WAT).

Microsoft enforces Activation and Validation of all the instances where Windows is installed.

Activation pairs your product key (it is supplied with every legal copy) with your computer (hardware configuration) and helps to verify that your copy of Windows hasn’t been used on more computers than the Microsoft Software License Terms allow.
Activation is usually only required once unless you make significant hardware changes.

Validation is an online process where it is checked that the windows is genuine by verifying that the product key is not used on other computers or is blacklisted.
The validation process is repeated during several services like, when you use windows update, download drives from Microsoft download center etc.

If the validation fails, the user is notified about it and are instructed to buy the genuine software.

Further restrictions are also imposed, as in Windows 7,
The desktop background is set to black. It is possible to change the background buy they are reset every hour.
Reminders are given to activate the system, upon boot and also hourly.
A message is displayed on the bottom right corner stating that the windows is not valid.
Windows update is not allowed, however critical updates are allowed.

Other than these the OS functions normally.
Note that there are no mechanisms included in WAT to damage your hardware or access/delete your data.

How to bypass WAT and validate as genuine?

Use Volume Activation Keys (VAK)
Volume licensing is a method which which allows a single product key to be used for multiple installations, typically given for large enterprises.
A leaked volume activation key could be used successfully in Windows XP. But with Windows Vista Microsoft restricted the use of VAKs to a predefined number and introduced stricter activation schemes which made this unpopular since then.

Disable WAT
There are tools which disables the WAT while allowing the system to retain its Genuine status in every official check by Microsoft.
The most popular of these tools was RemoveWAT developed by Hazar.
However MS with its update KB971033 disabled it and included mechanisms designed to detect existing similar expoits.
This WAT update also contacts MS on routine basis and downloads signatures of newer exploits so that it can identify similar attacks in future.
But the latest versions of RemoveWAT (2.2.5 and later) claims to disable even this WAT update.

Simulate an OEM Product
OEM systems from large companies (Dell, Acer, HP etc) use a technique called System Locked Preinstallation (SLP). The pre-installed copy of Windows uses a single master product key tied to SLP code in the system BIOS that is unique to that manufacturer’s systems. If the encrypted licensing information in the pre-installed copy of Windows matches the information in the BIOS, no activation is required from the part of user and the system can be validated genuine.

So the trick is to included this SLP code into the BIOS, so that windows gets fooled believing that this is a regular OEM product.
This is usually accomplished either by modifying the BIOS ROM or by using a custom bootloader that injects this code into your system before loading windows.

One such software is the Windows 7 loader by Daz.

Since the software changes the bootloader there is a risk that windows might not boot. Though the author has specified fixes for it .

NOTE: If you intend to use any of the software listed above be extremely cautious. Most of the copies that you will find are modified to include nasty viruses/trojans/rootkits. If you ever download them from torrents or anyother site, please scan them at https://www.virustotal.com/ to ensure it is clean before running them.
Also i request you the verify the md5 or SHA1 checksums of the executables from the authors page.

Switching from POP to IMAP in Gmail/Thunderbird

To access your Gmail in your smart phone or tablet using the native mail app or Gmail app, and to have it synced across your different devices, IMAP is the best option.

Now, with IMAP I have all the mails in my Inbox, SentMail or Drafts synced in my Linux, Windows, Ipad and phone and also in the Gmail web interface (www.gmail.com) perfectly.

I have been using Thunderbird with POP for years and decided to switch to IMAP finally.

I did not delete my POP accounts in the existing Thunderbird as I thought it has all my previous mails intact in case anything goes wrong.

The steps are listed here,

1. Enabled IMAP for Gmail.
Gmail > GearIcon > Settings > Forwarding and POP/IMAP > Enable IMAP and Save Changes.
by default this will be enabled usually.

All the gmail labels that you created or not (including Inbox, SentMail, Drafts etc) will be shown as folders in your Thunderbird. However, Gmail gives you the option to choose the one’s you want.

2. Selected the labels that I want to be displayed in Thunderbird.
Gmail > GearIcon > Settings > Labels and uncheck the “Show in IMAP” option of the labels that you dont want to show (you can change it anytime so dont worry).

I unchecked, Important, Chats, AllMail, and Spam. I keep all my important mails in Inbox itself so, AllMail is not needed.

Configuring Thunderbird,
I was not possible to convert the existing POP account. The method is to disable/delete the POP account and add a new IMAP account.

3. Disabled the existing account.
In Thunderbird,
Edit > Account settings > Your gmail account > Server settings
Unchecked the below
-Check for new messages at startup
-Check for new messages at ever…
-Automatically download new messages

4. Added the new IMAP account
Account Actions > Add Mail Account > Fill name, email and password > Continue > Create Account.

5. Tweaked the Thunderbird settings.
Account Settings > The newly created IMAP account > Server Settings
Check for new messages at startup – Checked
Check for new messages every 10 minutes – Checked

When I delete a message – Just mark it as deleted
Clean up (“Expunge”) Inbox on Exit – Unchecked
Empty Trash on Exit – Unchecked
(Deleted messages are automatically moved to Trash by Gmail and removed periodically)

Account Settings > The newly created account IMAP account > Copies & Folders
When sending messages, automatically:
Place a copy in – Unchecked
(Sent messages are automatically placed in SentMail folder by Gmail)

Drafts and Templates
Keep message drafts in: Other and selected the [Gmail] > Drafts
(This will make the draft appear in the Drafts folder of Gmail and so synced to every other devices)

Account Settings > The newly created IMAP account > Junk Settings
Enable adaptive junk mail controls – Unchecked
(Gmail already has junk mail filtering)

Account Settings > The newly created IMAP account > Synchronization & Storage
Keep messages for this account… – Checked
(This is required if you want offline access to your mails, Otherwise the mail is not fully downloaded until you click on the mail title)

In Advanced you can uncheck the folders where you dont want the full mail to be downloaded. A good candidate here is the Spam folder.

6. Clicked OK to save and close the account settings.

Thunderbird downloaded all the mails and it took almost an hour. I had about 1.5 GB email data.

Done!! :-)

My new laptop: SONY VAIO VPCCB15FG

Model Name: Sony VAIO VPC CB15FG

Sony VAIO VPC CB 15FGSony VAIO VPC CB 15 FG

Specs
2nd Gen Intel Core i5 2410 @ 2.30ghz
Intel HM 65 Express chipset
4GB RAM, 500GB 7200 Toshiba HD
Hybrid graphics AMD Radeon 6630M 1GB DDR3 VRAM / Intel HD 3000
Matshita DVD RW, 15.5” 1920×1080 Full HD WLED screen
ATHEROS WLAN and Ethernet
Realtek Audio, Exmor 1.3MP webcam
HDMI and VGA output. 1 USB 3.0

Backlit keyboard.
Automatic screen brightness control

Windows 7 Premium OS pre-installed. No DVD given.

Free Targus bag(not backpack) worth 1.3k

Price: 53600/-

My few bits
Full HD Screen is fantastic if you want a lot of screen space. However the font size will be a bit too small. I like large fonts and less strain on eye, so increased DPI settings to 125%.
The island keyboard includes a numpad and is the best i’ve used. Very very nice!!
Touchpad is sometimes less responsive. Not the best in the class.
Sound is alright. Not too good or bad.
Includes a wireless ON/OFF switch.
Heat dissipation seems good. There are many air vents at the bottom. Normal operating temp is 45-48C (Room Temp ~25C). After two hours of gaming(FIFA) it came to 71C max.
I found the automatic brightness control irritating and disabled it very soon.
Hybrid graphics is really cool! Greatly helps to maximise battery life (a diff of 1.5hrs) and minimize heat when you dont need 3D acceleration.
HDMI output is fine so that you can connect to your large HD TV for gaming and movies.
Build Quality seems fine. But its an all plastic body, no metal even at this price.

Booting for the first time
Upon booting for the first time there were some bloatwares installed. Removed them all and created rescue DVD’s. These are required in case for reinstalling windows, as no Windows 7 DVD is given.

There was only one drive (C:) with all the available diskspace.

DiskManagement showed 3 partitions. One recovery and system protection partition (may be for system restore) which are hidden and the visible C Drive.

Tried to shrink this drive using the DiskManagement. But it was only possible to shrink it to 200 something GB. Tried shrinking after de-fragmenting, but still the same result.

Finally used GParted from an Ubuntu Live CD. GParted allows non-destructive shrinking of partitions including NTFS. Reduced the drive to 50GB. GParted has a nice easy to use GUI and is available for download as a Live CD. This is a howto on how to resize a partition.
When you boot back to Windows after modifying partitions with GParted, windows’ checkdisk check the disks for inconsistency. Allow it to complete and you are fine.

Created some more partition using the Windows 7 DiskManagement.

Performance
I have’nt done anything intensive yet. However it seems i5 is good enough for almost anything. I have had 20-25 tabs opened in FF without any problem. The Windows 7 Experience Index gives a 6.9 for the processor and 6.4 for the gaming graphics, in a scale of 1.0 to 7.9.

Gaming
AMD HD 6630M seems good for casual gaming. The left side of the touchpad gets bit hot after sometime.
The maximum system temperature i got after 2hrs of FIFA was 71C. Seems fine.

Tried my favourite game FIFA 11 @ 1920×1080, connected to an external monitor via VGA. With all the settings set to max i got a frame rate of ~42FPS during gameplay. The frame rate drops considerably during replays (20-35).
Barcelona Vs Real Madrid @ 1080. FPS and screenshot using Fraps.

FIFA 11 gameplay @ 1080 in Radeon 6630MFIFA 11 Replay @ 1080 Radeon 6630M

FIFA 11 @ 1366×768 with all the settings set to max gives you 60FPS. Note that this is the maximum FPS for an LCD panel, the card must be capable for more. There will be slight blur at this resolution (noticeable if you compare with a 1080 pic) but excellent framerate.
Barcelona Vs Real Madrid @ 768. FPS and screenshot using Fraps.

FIFA 11 gameplay @ 766 Radeon 6630M

Battery
Battery life seems to be decent. Without the Radeon On, its shows about 4hrs+ during idle. And when the Radeon is on it there will be a 1.5hrs difference.

Using a US PS3 in India

My brother bought a PS3 from US and these were some of the issues that came up when we were trying to get it working in India.
Its a PS3 Slim 160 GB with a firmware 3.51 and was bought on Dec 2010.

 

Power Supply

Although it is written 120V AC on the PS3, the power supply is universal and it works perfectly on 230V. You just need the correct plug adapter. No need for any converters, step down transformers etc they may do more harm if they dont have the necessary output power  (PS3 requires 380W).
The model no: of my PS3 is CECH 2501A 120 V 2 A 60Hz and it works perfectly on 230V 50hz here in India without anything.
The Wikipedia article on PS3 also says that the power supply is universal.

Note: There is one comment that some one damaged his PS3 by plugging in to a 230v though we dont know the exact details.

 

BD/DVD playback and Region Codes

US PS3 is Blueray Disc (BD) region coded 1, and will not play movie BDs of other regions, except region free versions. India is region 3 and Europe is 2.
However, many of the movie BDs currently released in India are region free (ie playable in all regions). This may soon change once BD becomes popular in India.

US PS3 is DVD region coded 1 and will not play other region coded DVDs, except region free versions. India is region 5 and Europe is 2.
Most movie DVDs released in India are region coded, and so not playable.
Even if you get a region free Indian DVD it may still not be playable.
Indian movie DVD’s and CD’s use PAL system. So PS3 wont be able to play an Indian movie DVD or CD even though it is region free. It just shows and error message ‘PAL format not supported’

 

NTSC Vs PAL Issue for standard TV sets

By standard TV sets i mean the SD (4:3) resolution CRT TVs and not the new crop of LCD/LED TVs which are HD ( marketed as 16:9, wide screen, 720p, HD Ready, 1080p/i, FullHD etc)
US PS3 supports only NTSC(480i) output and not PAL(576i) output in SD resolution. That is, it works only on TV’s with NTSC system.
Indian television uses PAL system. However, most of the new TVs (year 2000+)seems to support NTSC too and so it wont be a problem for those.
[Note: The above issue does not apply to you if you have a HD TV and connect to it using HDMI or Component cables in HD resoluton]

 

NTSC vs PAL Issue for High Definition TVs (LCD, LED etc)

Though NTSC(480i) and PAL(576i) doesnt come to picture when using HD(1080i/p or 720p) resolutions through an HDMI or component cable, there comes another issue which is the output frame rate.

US PS3 outputs video at the NTSC broadcast standard frame rate, which is 60Hz.
The Indian television system (both HD and SD)uses PAL and it is 50Hz and is not capable of displaying the 60Hz signal.
Fortunately, there are several models from different brands which supports both 50Hz and 60Hz. So ensure that your HDTV supports both. Check in the specifications of your HDTV for words similar to 1080i@50, 1080p@60, 720@50, 720@60 etc
The HDTV must support atleast 720p@60Hz for a US PS3.

For those who already have an HDTV that does’nt support the 60Hz signal, you will have to use an HDMI signal converter to change the signal frame rate. This device will change the output refresh rate to 50Hz and viceversa.
http://www.amazon.com/Atlona-AT-HD560-HDMI-NTSC-Converter/dp/B0011MOVN8

Similarly, an Indian PS3 outputs at 50Hz and so it may not work with an HDTV imported from US (only a very few HDTVs in US support 50Hz).

As far as i know, computer monitor supports a wide range is refresh rates and so it works fine whether its 50Hz or 60Hz at 1080p or 720p resolutions.

 

PS3 games

All PS3 games are region free. So you can use a game purchased from anywhere.
However, you will have to play them in an HDTV at an HD resolution using an HDMI or compnent cable. This is because at SD resolutions the NTSC vs PAL issue comes up.

PS2 games from India seem to be not playable in US PS3 as they are not HD.

 

Online games with a US PS3

The US PS3 connects to the US PSN. Since you are connecting from India you most probably will have problems but usually it can be sorted out. You will have to contact game publisher and they will direct you.

For example, When i tried to play Fifa 11 (which i bought from US itself) online, initially it was showing some errors. The EA customer service told me to make a new online ID with a US address and also gave me a new key. It was fine after that.
Now, i bought a Fifa 13 from India, and i couldnt play online at first. EA suggested some workarounds(install a patch) and it is fine now.

 

How to connect PS3 to your TV/monitor?

The PS3 has an HDMI, Component and Composite (commonly called RCA or AV) output. Note that only composite cable is supplied along with PS3.

The HDMI is the easiest and the best method. Just plug in the HDMI cable to your monitor/TV and the settings will be automatically setup. This is the best method because it gives you the full HD (1080p) video output along with 7.1 Ch audio [ofcourse you must have the necessary audio setup].
You could also use an HDMI->DVI cable if your monitor has a DVI input but no HDMI. [Note that for this setup to work your monitor should support HDCP (via DVI). Check your monitor manual].

The composite(RCA or AV) output works only on TV with NTSC system and supports only SD resolution. The BD playback and PS3 games does not look good in the standard TV. You must consider a 32+ inch HD TV or atleast a 22 inch Full HD monitor.

The component video cable for PS3 has to be purchased separately and used if your TV supports it. It supports full HD.

Note: Turning off and turning on the system again by pressing the power button for 5+ seconds until you hear 1 beep resets the video output to default settings [which is  composite output for standard TV].

 

How to get Audio output?

PS3 supports 7.1 Ch audio via HDMI, 5.1 Ch via Digital out (optical out) and 2 Ch via RCA cable.
By default, the audio will be output through HDMI if you are using HDMI for video, and RCA if you are using a composite or Component video output.

PS3 supports simultaneous audio output from all these outputs. Go to Settings > Sound Settings > Audio Multi-Output and set this On. This is very useful if you want video output though HDMI and audio through RCA.
For example, I am using an HDMI-DVI cable to connect video output to my monitor as it has no HDMI port. In this case you will have to get audio from the RCA or Digital out.

 

Watching videos in PS3

By default, PS3 may not list all the audio/video files in your harddisk or USB drive. It would say “No Titles Available”. In that case just use ‘Triangle’ button, choose ‘Display all’ and then you can browse and play the other videos/audio
PS3 can play  DivX, WMV, AVI, MP4, H.264, MPEG – 1/2/4, MP3, WMA, MKV, Wav etc.

 

Using PS2 controller in PS3

The PS2 controller can be used in a PS3 by using a controller adapter. The adapter plugs in to the USB slot. It costs about 300-400Rs in Ebay India. It may not work with all types of games, especially the games that use the PS button and accelerometer. But for games like Fifa it works perfectly.
After connecting to the USB slot, press the start button in your PS2 controller to enable it(the light glows).

 

 

FAQ

These are some of the repeatedly asked questions in comments. I wont be replying to these anymore.

Will i blow my US PS3 if i connect it to Indian 230V power supply?
Wikipedia, and several internet forums say there will be no problem, as the internal power supply is universal. Many users including me have been using without any problem.
Sony Inc doesn’t say Yes or No.
There is no guarantee that all models, especially the future models will be having universal power supply. Its upto you to decide.

Can you suggest a good step down transformer?

Sorry, no idea. I dont use it. Make sure the one you buy has 300W rating.

Will Indian DVD/CD’s play in US PS3?
No

Will PS3 games purchased from India work in my US PS3?
Yes, if you are using HDTV. Some games may not work in old TVs. Check the section PS3 games for details

What about online gaming?
Mostly yes. You may come into problems as you are logging from a different country. But you can contact support(game publisher) and they will mostly sort it out.

Is PSN region free?
No. US PS3 does’nt play games downloaded from other PSN. Also some games are only available in certain regions’ PSN.

What about controllers and move? can we buy them from another country?

Yes.

Can i play pirated games in my PS3?
You can, but you need to do a hardware modification. And once you do that you cant update your system, and so may not be able to play newly purchased genuine games.

Can i exchange PS3 games with my friend?
Yes.

The power button is flashing Yellow or Red and PS3 doesn’t power on?
Sorry most likey you have a hardware failure. Flasing yellow is ‘generic hardware fault’ and flashing Red indicates an overheating.

——

HDMI to DVI cable which we use to plug in the PS3 to our Samsung B2230.
HDMI to DVI

The RCA female to Stereo 3.5mm female audio jack which we use to output audio from the PS3’s RCA cable to our Creative speakers. The jack is available at electronics shops.
RCA Female to Stereo Female

The PS2 controller adapter
PS2 toPS3/PC controller adapter

Some Links
PS3 user manual online – http://manuals.playstation.net/document/en/ps3/current/
Ifixit PS3 teardown – You can see internals of your PS3 in detail
http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/PlayStation+3+Teardown/1260/1
http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/PlayStation+3+Slim+Teardown/1121/1
http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/PlayStation+3+Super+Slim+Teardown/10670/1