AxCrypt is evil and it installs heinous Adware on your computer. Avoid at all costs!

AxCrypt is a nightmare for my computer. It downloaded many exe files and installed Conduit Adware across the system. My Firefox starting pages are deleted and the homepage is changed into http://search.conduit.com. An ugly and intrusive toolbar is also install on Internet Explorer (IE).

A virus total scan report shows that AxCrypt is infected with OpenCandy Adware. Actually it is worse than normal Adware because it is so pervasive and intrusive — most important of all, no user consent was acquired before this heinous AxCrypt infected system with Trojan like malicious applications: Malwarebye scan reports that there are about 140 folders, files and registry keys which are infected with conduit malware. Please avoid using AxCrypt at all cost. You have been warned.

To the developers of AxCrypt: shame on you!

Setting up eGPU for Thinking X220

After my X220 arrived to my place through numerous troubles, I still didn’t find time to reinstall its system and use it heavily. But I have time to waste elsewhere: several hours spent on investigating how to make eGPU (external Graphics Processing Unit) working for X220.

Here are my findings. It is totally workable for X220 and does not require too many skills to set up. You only need the right hardware and the software.

Hardware:

  • Graphic card: Zotac Geforce GTX560 Ti 1GB GDDR5. A nVidia card is preferred to an ATI one.
  • Interface: PE4L ( PCIe Adapter ver2.1b ) connects the graphic card and the express card. PE4L 2.1b is capable of transferring 5Gb of data. This is a good match for X220, which has Sandy Bridge platform and Express Card version 2.0.
  • Power supply: Corsair CX430
  • Cables that connect the graphic card with the monitor (Maybe I will just use the default DVI cable. Not sure if this affects performance)

With these gigs, the bandwidth is x1.2Opt which means x1 lane and interface 2.0, and nVidia optimus is helping compressing the data. This is supposed to perform significantly better than x1.1Opt. This information can be found in the section of “Bus Interface” in GPU-Z .

Software:

  • New bios 1.23 and above for X220
  • nVidia Optimus driver for displaying image on the internal LCD
  • no need to restart the system if using Windows 7

I am not longer a gaming person and the only game I can think of playing is Need for Speed. If I can get the papers done, I will implement it and hook it to my TV and play.

The benchmark results of this configuration should be similar to this:

Set-Up: X220 i5 2520m, 8 GB RAM, GTX 560 Ti 448 Cores, PE4L v2.1b

3D Mark 2006: 17.879
Resident Evil: 143,6

3D Mark Vantage GPU: 17.973
Devil May Cry: 181,4

3D Mark 2011: 4.560
Heaven: 1306

 

Installing Win7 Thin PC on HP Dv2000t

Update:

1. The sound does not work well on HP Dv2000t with Win 7 Thin PC.

Even if I mute the system sound, individual programs will still make sound and can not be muted. Sometimes, the whole system is muted even I enable sound, and a reboot is needed for the sound to come out again.

2. The good thing about Thin PC is that it does not have BSOD as Win XP usually did on my laptop.

 

I installed Win 7 Thin PC on my five year old HP dv2000t. The installation process was straightforward. Here are some information you might find useful if you plan to install this stripped-down version of win7.

1. Use diskgenius to partition and align the SSD disk. I didn’t realize diskgenius can easily assign the sector to the new 4K sector and I wasted too much time finding the right partition tool.

2. Then use wintoflash to transfer the ISO image of thinpc into the USB thumb stick and boot from that boot from it. The system will restart twice before the installation is finished and a little patience is required when the installation process seems frozen.

3. The display of Chinese fonts is not so good and some tuning such as clear-type is needed for better display. Installing popular Chinese fonts is also recommended.

4. The Chinese input method is working and the interface as well as the locale can be changed to suit the Chinese language environment. In this respect, it feels like using Linux in a simple way, because I do the same thing under Linux.

5. To run cmd.exe as an administrator, find the file first, then right click and select ‘run as an administrator’. You need admin privilege to run activate commands.

Like any new version of MS OS, the system feels slower and it uses more resources. I am thinking of going back to XP. Thin PC and probably Win7 looks better, but do not necessarily works better than XP.

Then why did I install Thin PC in the first place? Because I have a 40G SSD drive and Win7 or Thin PC is optimized for SSD hard drive. Also, Thin PC uses less space than Win7 which has many extra features I do not need.

For now, I will stick to this Thin PC system for a while and may eventually return to a self-customized version of XP.

Three ways to use Twitter on Symbian phones

I am no twitter fan but as G.F*W gets so omnipotent, I guess I should dig a tiny hole in it by using twitter anyway.

After a few days of search, I found the following ways to access twitter on my Nokia Symbian phone.

  1. The easiest way is to visit http://wkg.me and input your twitter account information. After that, you will have an quite intuitive interface to do your normal tweets.
  2. Using http://twittermail.com and register your twitter account. After that, you can send a tweet to your secret email account suffixed by @twittermail.com. But for users from China, one needs to climb over G.F*W to visit the twittermail site.
  3. Install the application Mobitile on the phone and send tweets from it. I put it at the bottom of the list because I don’t like its ads and keyboard operations — especially its slow flash interface.

You can find more mobile phone applications for twitter at Twitter Fan Wiki.

Update: I found Snaptu quite handy when it comes to serving as a mobile phone feed center. Using twitter on Snaptu is hassle free and I enjoy using its News&Blogs app. Also, since Twitter is so open to the third-party API, it is impossible to gfw it.

How to bypass firewalls under Firefox

I previously used QuickProxy addon for Firefox but found that it failed to load Youtube for me. Today I changed my proxyfier into FoxyProxy and it solved all my problems. Here is a brief tutorial of how to use it under Firefox.

After installing it, you need to add a proxy server. Here I conviently named the profile ‘Beyond the Wall”.

Next step is putting in the address of the proxy server. I use a ssh tunnel between the localhost and the remote host, so the address here is 127.0.0.1 and the port I designated under putty is 9000. Be sure to select “SOCKS proxy?” otherwise the page won’t load.

I don’t want to use this tunnel for all the sites, so I need to tell FoxyProxy to only proxify sites I want. Still under the new proxy server interface, add the patterns for the sites to visit.

I don’t know if configuring using this is totally secure and anonymous or not. If you know better ways to use ssh tunnel and Firefox, tell me.

Running Hiren’s BootCD from hard drive

Update: Running Hiren’s BootCD from hard drive has become much simpler in its recent releases (at least version 10.0 and above). Please use the following method instead to boot it from your hard drive:

  1. make sure the partition is FAT32 not NTFS (let’s assume its C: from this point on)
  2. in the HBCD directory of the ISO image, find the two files menu.lst and grldr, and copy them to C:
  3. copy the entire directory HBCD to C:
  4. download grub4dos, extract grub.exe to C:
  5. modify boot.ini file for XP, and add C:GRLDR=”Hiren” to it

Now reboot the system and choose Hiren in the menu. You are good to go. As a side note, Hiren should include the NTFS support into boot.gz image. If you feel adventurous, you can try to do it yourself, thus enabling booting Hiren from a NTFS partition.

The following is the old method, and only use it for the old version of Hiren BootCD.

Hiren’s BootCD is easily rankings itself among the best boot cds and system maintenance tools. I have configured it to run both from my USB stick or directly from hard disk. Here is how to boot Hiren’s BootCD from the hard disk using grub for dos (grub4dos).

    1. The first step is getting grub4dos and release the GRLDR, grub.exe and MENU.lst to the root directory of C:
    2. Open the ISO file of Hiren’s BootCD using Daemon Tools or Winimage and extract the directory HBCD to the root directory of C:
    3. Edit MENU.lst and put the following code into it:
timeout 30
default 0

title Start Hiren's BootCD
find --set-root /HBCD/boot.gz
map --mem /HBCD/boot.gz (fd0)
map --hook
chainloader (fd0)+1
rootnoverify (fd0)
map --floppies=1
boot
    1. Edit the boot.ini file under C: and put the following line into it. This will make Windows load grub4dos, and then grub4dos will load Hiren’s boot file to boot it.
C:GRLDR="Hiren"
    1. You can also boot the mini WinXP in the HBCD directory by adding the following code into the MENU.lst file.
title Mini Windows Xp
find --set-root /HBCD/XPLOADER.BIN
chainloader /HBCD/XPLOADER.BIN

After the modifications, reboot the system to use your Hiren’s BootCD from the hard disk. Becaues the boot.gz under HBCD does does not come with ntfs drivers, this method only works when C: is in FAT32 format.

Prevent Directory Listing in Lighttpd

How to prevent files under wp-content/uploads to be listed in the browser? It is actually a one-liner under Lighttpd (lighty).

Edit /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf and change server.dir-listing into disable.

 server.dir-listing          = "disable"

If you choose to enable directory listing, you can set the encoding of the file names to be displayed:

 dir-listing.encoding        = "utf-8"

There are wonderful resources about lighty in the following two sites: Flexion.Org and Calomel.org

Debian Squeeze minior tweaks

Yes, I upgraded from Debian Lenny to Squeeze because I need ibus to replace scim as my default Chinese input program. So far the experience with ibus is good but the same was half-true with Squeeze. I spent quite some time to make Squeeze more comfortable to use.

Touchpad tapping and scrolling

I need to create an option file under /etc/modprobe.d to enable tapping and scrolling. Just create a file with any name under modprobe.d and put the following line into it:

options psmouse proto=imps

Undervolting core2duo CPU

Under Windows you have the convenient way to use rmclock to undervolt the CPU to reduce the heat generated by CPU operations. Linux has the equivalent method, but only a little harder. The answer is Linux PHC. To implement it as quickly as you can, the following steps are involved:

Compiling and installing it is fairly easy. You just need to have kernel-headers and build essentials (gcc, libc, make, etc). You do not need the kernel source to compile this kernel module.
Find the workable voltage for your CPU. You can use rmclock in Windows to select the voltage and write down the number or search the Internet for the limit of the undervolting for your CPU.
Use PHCTool (old version) to convert the voltage into VIDs (voltage IDs) for Linux PHC.

PHCTool

The voltage for my T7200 are translated into these four PHC VIDs 24 23 19 19. To pass these values, I edited /etc/init.d/rc.local and put the following two lines at the bottom of that file. Since I have two CPU cores, two lines are needed:

echo "24 23 19 19" > /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/phc_vids
echo "24 23 19 19" > /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu1/cpufreq/phc_vids

Underclocking Nvidia Geforce Go 7200

I have little luck with underclocking Geforce Go 7200 on my HP DV2000t laptop. By the way, this laptop is very hot and noisy so I don’t think I am gonna buy a HP lappy again. I basically followed the instructions by Artem and ended up putting the following lines into my /etc/X11/xorg.conf, but I am not sure if it worked or not. Maybe I should change the driver and try again?

Section "Device"
    Identifier     "NVIDIA GeForce"
    Driver         "nvidia"
    Option         "RegistryDwords" "PowerMizerEnable=0x1; PerfLevelSrc=0x3333; PowerMizerDefault=0x3; PowerMizerDefaultAC=0x3"
    VendorName     "NVIDIA Corporation"
EndSection

ibus input method

ibus works great under Debian Squeeze. Just remember to run ibus-setup first and enable the pinyin input method for ibus to handle.

disabling auto-starting services

Bum (Boot-up Manager) is a great tool to view the system services and disable them. It is better than rcconf and sysv-rc-conf.

bum

Capturing screen

The screenshot was taken by shutter under gnome. shutter is quiet powerful to use and its plugins can perform almost everything you want in a screen capturer. But it’s still a diamond in the rough because I struggled a little bit trying to find the resize function under this program. It turned out that resizing is supported by a plugin and it hides under the ‘screenshot’ menu. The screenshot of bum above is a an art of creation by shutter.

Convert mp3 tags into UTF-8

Install python-mutagen package first and then run this command in the directory of the mp3 files.

find .  -iname  "*.mp3"  -execdir  mid3iconv  -e  GBK  {}  ;

Java based program ID3iconv is also know to perform the same task.

Some say by setting an environment parameter in /etc/X11/Xsession.d/95setenv like this will save the hassle of running the tag conversion when you have new music

 echo "GST_ID3_TAG_ENCODING=GBK" > /etc/X11/Xsession.d/95setenv

Right now I am using Exaile as the music player. Too bad it does not allow me to sort music by directory sources like foobar in Windows.

More to come about the movie/music player and other cool stuff under Linux.

What I expect in Windows 8

Here is what I expect from the next version of Windows from Microsoft — Windows 8 (Windows Eight).

  • Very fast barebone installation. All drivers and a basic desktop should be up and working within 15 minutes after the installation media is booted. Users of the old Windows should be blown away by the speed of Windows 8.
  • This barebone installation should be completely free of charge for the end users and everyone can download a free copy from the Microsoft website. The activiation machanism should be completely eliminated.

A real cashcow

How can Microsoft make profit? You may ask. Here is what I suggest: with the barebone Windows up and running, users will be immediately presented options to quickly access the best applications and services they need.

  1. An assortment of free applications, either made by MS or other developers, should be presented to users. There should be a forum or user group for every application available the list. MS can charge users a little fee if they need technical support and even share the revenue with application developers. This strategy kills two birds with one stone: tightly integrate the Internet with the desktop OS and bond the developers and Microsoft in a win-win situation.
  2. Likewise, MS should gather the best web services on the Internet and users should be able to use them with a few clicks. It should be so convenient for users to set up a universal account and use it with twitter, gmail, youtube or facebook, to name a few. Ms does not need to outcompete these services or provide its own secondary services like hotmail or bing search. Instead, MS can cleverly fuse these services with the operation system, making it a much better experience than users on other platforms such as Mac OS or Linux. Do you know how painful it used be to install a flashplugin under Linux?
  3. Deliver information in a timely, authoritive and accessible manner. MS can cooperate with live media and news providers such as lastfm, wikipedia and BBC to deliver information and entertainment to the doorstep of the users. How wonderful it would be.
  4. All these three services can be fused smartly into one instant-messenger program — a Google wave style — initiating program. Call it ‘smart portal’, ‘star trek’ or even ‘MS assistant’ as long as it does the job mentioned above, MS would be unbeatable.

To my Linux buddies

No I am not a traitor even though I devised this best strategy for Microsoft to dominate the world for a few score of years. Linux fans should be rested assured that the last thing Microsoft wants to listen is a piece of advice from a dual booting Linux-Windows user. Maybe Linux community should use this strategy?

To Bill and Steve

Yes, I am ready to be hired and put your dream of friendly world dominiation into reality. It is interesting when I poped into a speech excerpt by the Microsoft CEO: “The fifth [computing] revolution is about more than personal empowerment and social interaction; we literally will get the tools to help us better understand and address global issues that affect billions of people, including education, healthcare, science, and environmental change.”

How can this revolution be possible when you only have a few Windows and fail to keep the door wide open and bring the best of the software world and the Internet to the doorstep of the users? Search me.