Ivor O’Connor

December 29, 2011

VirtualBox?

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 9:24 pm

I was reading the Linux Journal’s “Readers’ Choice Awards 2011” this morning and came across VirtualBox. Normally I use VMware for everything but since VirtualBox came in 1st I thought I’d give it a try on my HP Laptop.

I decided to use xubuntu 11.10 since it should be the most responsive. I’m tempted to go with just plain Debian or failing that something with an even smaller footprint. Maybe NetBSD. Basically I want something that can run git and bash, maybe something graphical like firefox though not required.

So far the xubuntu install has been very slow. It finished and there were no problems. I’m now downloading and applying updates. It may be an hour before it finishes.

I installed the VirtualBox tools to make it go faster and rebooted. Until I had done that it was impossibly slow. Now it’s slow, like a 1991 version of windows on a slow computer, but it is workable. I ssh’d into another box and the fonts suck compared to those on putty. At this stage I’m not sure what I will do. Also started up firefox and it was slow but acceptable. VirtualBox with xubuntu may be a solution…

December 27, 2011

Flashed Unused Phone to Boost Mobile

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 5:44 pm

Yesterday I took an unused smart phone supposedly unsupported by Boost Mobile and had it flashed to Boost Mobile. Furthermore I had it rooted so that I could have it act as an internet hotspot. (I’m not yet comfortable with these terms “flashed”, “rooted”, and “hotspot” so I hope I’m using them correctly.) It was supposedly a 30 minute process but it took the person closer to 3 hours. The hotspot capabilities were not great. Testing things at speedtest.net found: Ping=280ms, download=.1Mbps, upload=.1Mbps. Furthermore a few hours later I got a message saying “press yes to finish installing your updates and reboot your phone” or something very similar. I pressed yes and it took away the hotspot capabilities. Still I now have a smart phone, a Samsung Galaxy S, that is unlimited for only $50 a month.

I’m going to start making use of craigslist with WTB adverts. I figure I need a backup smart phone for when this one dies. (Given my personal experience over the past 10 years I can expect to break a phone every nine months.) So I have started putting in WTB Samsung Galaxy S2 adverts offering $50 if in good condition. I’ll put a reminder in my calendar for every Monday and maybe someday I’ll get a nibble. I have so very little respect for this market or the carriers. It’s all a rip-off feeding on the lemmings of our society.

December 26, 2011

HP Scanjet 8300 Review

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 7:21 pm

I needed a large flatbed scanner to replace the pathetic one that is on my HP Officejet Pro L77880 All-in-One. The problem with the L7780 is that it sometimes needs to recalibrate itself. This takes many minutes. Also if it thinks there is no ink or paper in it then it won’t work. So I went to CraigsList and looked for some nice cheap flat bed scanners that are still supported in Windows 7. I picked up the HP Scanjet 8300 for only $20 locally at a garage sale. Plugged it in and Windows 7 immediately recognized it and installed the correct driver for it. I then put a document in to be scanned but couldn’t figure out the right button to press. Then returned back to the M$ machine and clicked on printers and told it to scan that way. Presto. It’s an old fashioned slow scanner but it does the job. So now I have a real solution and with an HP. (Never thought I’d have any luck with another HP product.) Looking online I see I saved $479 dollars by buying it at a garage sale!

December 23, 2011

Better Hosting Here

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 4:00 am

I saw this article today “Ditch GoDaddy’s SOPA-Loving Butt and Get a Better Web Host at a Discount” and it caught my attention. I left GoDaddy a long time ago but it doesn’t hurt to have a list of good hosting providers that are not out to damage the World.

2011.12.28 UPDATE: GoDaddy has lost a huge amount of business and has reversed their position on SOPA. They are a business after all and will follow the money. (It would be nice if they came to their conclusions morally but they didn’t.) To prevent the hordes from leaving them they have apparently been doing some more less than morally sound tricks. See this slashdot story:

First time accepted submitter wbr1 writes “Domain registrar Namecheap is accusing GoDaddy of violating ICANN rules and hindering domain owners from moving their domains to another registrar. They are allegedly doing this by submitting incomplete information to the new registrar, making it difficult to process the move.” Adds user bs0d3: “Godaddy has responded to these allegations today and insist that their practice of rate limiting Whois queries is standard practice to combat Whois abuse. Furthermore, they accuse Namecheap of playing foul because they released a statement before ever contacting godaddy directly to resolve these issues.”

December 16, 2011

Sell Now Before Apple’s Evil Empire Collapses

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 8:11 pm

I saw this article Why you should sell your iPhone 4 and buy a Galaxy Nexus and figure the next time I get a smart cell phone, if ever, I’ll buy this one. The big selling point for me is the following statment “With the Galaxy Nexus, unlocking the bootloader and jailbreaking your Galaxy Nexus is a given; Google wants you to jailbreak it.” I don’t ever want to get a phone that I can’t move from one carrier to the next. Assuming the cell phone with very loving and special care can last more than a few months with me.

 

December 15, 2011

Skype & HP Pavilion g7-1219wm Notebook PC

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 6:26 pm

The installation of Skype caused the laptop to crash. Don’t remember if I was using Firefox or Chrome but that might have had something to do with it. However once the computer rebooted itself automatically everything worked fine. Too fine. The camera is very clear. I took a piece of paper and folded it neatly a few times and then taped it over the lens. I don’t want to see myself or have malicious software take pictures of me without my knowledge. Really all cameras should come with a sliding cover so you can physically disable it. Haven’t ever seen anything like that but it’s a good idea.

 

December 14, 2011

Horrible Performance of HP Pavilion g7-1219wm Notebook PC

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 7:23 pm

This computer is getting horrible performance. Nothing is running on it and 60% of both CPUs are in use. There are a few more processes on the list that I deleted before writing them down below. I’ll add them if I continue to have problems. I may just go back if I ever have the time and delete everything imaginable because I don’t like seeing the computer busy at 15 to 20% when nothing is going on.

atieclxx.exe The atieclxx.exe is a program of ATi Graphic card drivers. The function of atieclxx.exe is to give ATi Graphic card better performance so it just plays a subsidiary role. The MD5 of atieclxx.exe is 46b175d56d7235d700394ed99050617f and please be alert if its MD5 has been changed (viruses/spywares may also confuse you by using the name atieclxx.exe). Tried to delete it but access is denied.

ccc.exe CCC stands for Catalyst Control Center, and it’s part of your ATI video card driver package—or to be more specific, it’s part of the utilities bundled along with the drivers, and adds features like customizing your display, or setting hotkeys for different display profiles. As long as the ccc.exe utility is installed into your Program Files\ATI Technology directory, it’s a legit process that can be left alone. Deleted it with no problems, everything still works, cpus still at 60%.

ccsvchst.exe*32 The ccsvchst.exe file is automatically added to your computer upon installing the Norton software, and it is referred to as the Symantec Service Framework. The ccsvchst.exe file works to display the GUI (Graphical User Interface) of Norton products, which usually include the Norton Security Suites. If the ccsvchst.exe file encounters a problem, the Norton’s graphical interface will only be displayed after the computer has been rebooted. Tried to delet it but access is denied.

csrss.exe This is the user-mode portion of the Win32 subsystem; Win32.sys is the kernel-mode portion. Csrss stands for Client/Server Run-Time Subsystem, and is an essential subsystem that must be running at all times. Csrss is responsible for console windows, creating and/or deleting threads, and implementing some portions of the 16-bit virtual MS-DOS environment.

dwm.exe One of the new features in Windows Vista/7 is the Desktop Window Manager (DWM). It responsible for the graphical effects such as live window previews and a glass-like frame around windows (Aero Glass), without draining your CPU. A DWM-capable graphics card is required to enable the 3D effects, as well as Aero Glass. (In older Windows Vista Beta versions, the DWM effects are controlled by the User Experience Session Management Service, via “uxss.exe”.) You can increase your computer’s performance if you switch to Classic Mode (turn off Aero Glass and Animations), or reduce your screen resolution. http://www.neuber.com/taskmanager/process/dwm.exe.html

explorer.exe This is the user shell, which we see as the familiar taskbar, desktop, and other user interface features. This process isn’t as vital to the running of Windows as you might expect, and can be stopped (and restarted) from Task Manager, usually with no negative side effects on other applications. http://www.neuber.com/taskmanager/process/explorer.exe.html

HPMSGSVC.exe*32 Remove HP Quicklaunch from the Applications menu. I just had to do it myself and stumbled on this site. If you want to remove Norton from your system or McAfee you need to use the tools provided by their makers and not the built in Add/Remove Applications. For Norton: Google Norton_Removal_Tool.exe and for McAfee it is MCPR.EXE Deleted it with no problems, everything still works, CPUs still at 60%

HPOSD.exe*32 Our database contains 6 different files for filename hposd.exe . This files belongs to product HP On Screen Display and were developed by company Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P.. This files have description HP On Screen Display. This is executable file. You can find it running in Task Manager as the process hposd.exe. Deleted it with no problems, everything still works, CPUs still at 60%

hpqwutils.exe*32 Latest new variant of the file with name “hpqwutils.exe” was discovered today. Our database contains 7 variants of the file “hpqwutils.exe” with final rating Safe and zero variants with final rating Threat. Final ratings are based on file reviews, discovered date, users occurence and antivirus scan results. Deleted it with no problems, everything still works, CPUs still at 60%

MOM.exe mom.exe is a Catalyst Control Center or a Monitoring program from ATI Technologies Inc. belonging to Catalyst Control Centre. Although this is an ATI Technologies Inc. application there is a possibility that this could be a type of spyware if found in the following folder: \program files\mom\mom.exe. Thus it is recommended for removal if possible. Deleted it with no problems, everything still works, CPUs still at 60%

perfmon.exe

sttray64.exe sttray64.exe is a stsystray.exe belonging to IDT Audio from IDT, Inc. Non-system processes like sttray64.exe originate from software you installed on your system. As most applications store data in your system’s registry, it is likely that your registry has suffered fragmentation and accumulated harmful errors. It is recommended that you check your registry to identify hidden errors now. Deleted it with no problems, everything still works, CPUs still at 60%

SynTPEnh.exe  http://www.processlibrary.com/directory/files/syntpenh/24922/ syntpenh.exe is a process installed alongside the Synaptics touchpad for laptop computer touchpads. Provides additional configurations and support, and is essential on some machines for the functioning of this input device. Deleted it with no problems, everything still works, CPUs still at 60%

SynTPHelper.exe http://www.processlibrary.com/directory/files/syntphelper/442937/ syntphelper.exe is a SynTPHelper Application belonging to Synaptics Pointing Device Driver from Synaptics, Inc. Non-system processes like syntphelper.exe originate from software you installed on your system. As most applications store data in your system’s registry, it is likely that your registry has suffered fragmentation and accumulated harmful errors. It is recommended that you check your registry to identify hidden errors now. Deleted it with no problems, everything still works, CPUs still at 60%

taskhost.exe And I think I have it narrowed down to the Windows RAC task…  This after installing (and buying a few) multiple spyware and antivirus tools…  I wonder if I should ask for reimbursement?? Anyway – my cpu was being consumed by the Windows Reliability Analysis Task – the way that I narrowed it down to this was by installing process explorer and letting it show me what was actually running under taskhost.exeI then went into scheduled tasks and stopped the reliability analysis scheduled activity  –  and presto the taskhost.exe went away and processor utilization shot down to essentially nothing Anyway – that seemed to help me… maybe it will help you Not sure why it is trying to burn up so much cpu… Based on the above comments I went to the control panel, selected system, then scheduled tasks, then disabled everything that didn’t seem necessary before rebooting. Now the system is at 15%.

taskmgr.exe

winlogon.exe

 

2013-01-20 UPDATE:   After having spent hours and hours over the course of weeks I was able to eventually get all the “crapware” that came pre-installed off. Once the crapware was off, and it literally took about a month to get the many many pieces off, the computer no longer burned at close to 99% of it’s CPU while idle running no applications. I have left this HP laptop on for over a year, except for the automatic software update-reboots, and have had no more problems. I suspect this HP laptop is good, unlike their printer products, and that it was totally the fault of the HP pre-installed crapware. I probably could have made my life much easier by buying and installing windows 7 myself on this machine. I felt it was HPs responsibility to deliver a working solution out of the box. However the next time I buy a windows laptop I will install a separate copy of windows 7 and save myself potential grief. Based on how popular this post still is, a year later, I would recommend people buy a $200 copy of windows 7 and wipe the disk and install  windows from scratch.

 

December 11, 2011

A Good PC Headset

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 5:24 pm

I’ve been using several “Plantronics .Audio 655 DSP” headsets. They attach via the USB ports. Every linux/m$ OS I use has had no problems with discovering them. The sound quality and microphone are fantastic. For about $30 a piece, see http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=plantronics+.audio+655+dsp&x=0&y=0 it’s a wonderful deal.

These headsets are wired. I also bought the wireless version but the battery life is so bad they are not useful. For anything. The first wireless I exchanged thinking I got a bad battery. The second was no better. Furthermore the wireless version can’t be used while charging and the charging takes hours. So a few minutes of use, a few hours of charging, so discouraging! Stay away from the wireless version!

The wired version is probably the only headset 99.999% of the population needs. It has destroyed the market for any other manufacturer.

December 10, 2011

Demonizing

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 7:08 pm

The following is republished here so I can find it in the future and not have to worry about ever losing it.
#!/bin/bash

## ################################ ##
## ##
## daemon-functions.sh VERSION 0.1a ##
## ##
## ################################ ##

## Distrubuted under the GPL
## http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-3.0.txt

## No warranty of any kind... May run
## off with your daughter. May explode
## in a ball of smoke and fire. Might
## work. Use at your own risk

## #!/bin/bash
##
## # Example Usage: datelogger.sh
## # A sample daemon which simply logs the
## # date and time once per second.
##
## function payload() {
## while [ true ]; do
## checkforterm
## date
## sleep 1
## done
## }
##
## source /path/to/daemon-functions.sh

function daemonize() {
echo $MY_PID > $MY_PIDFILE
exec 3>&- # close stdin
exec 2>>$MY_ERRFILE # redirect stderr
exec 1>>$MY_LOGFILE # redirect stdout
echo $(date)" Daemonizing" >> $MY_ERRFILE
}

function checkforterm() {
if [ -f $MY_KILLFILE ]; then
echo $(date)" Terminating gracefully" >> $MY_ERRFILE
rm $MY_PIDFILE
rm $MY_KILLFILE
kill $MY_PID
exit 0
fi
sleepcount=0
while [ -f $MY_WAITFILE ]; do
let sleepcount=$sleepcount+1
let pos=$sleepcount%10
if [ $pos -eq 0 ]; then
echo $(date)" Sleeping..."
echo $(date)" Sleeping..." >> $MY_ERRFILE
fi
if [ -f $MY_KILLFILE ]; then
rm $MY_WAITFILE
checkforterm
fi
sleep 1
done
}

MY_PID=$$
MY_PATH=$(readlink -f $0)
MY_ROOT=$(dirname $MY_PATH)
MY_NAME=$(basename $MY_PATH)
MY_PIDFILE="$MY_ROOT/.$MY_NAME.pid"
MY_KILLFILE="$MY_ROOT/.$MY_NAME.kill"
MY_ERRFILE="$MY_ROOT/.$MY_NAME.err"
MY_LOGFILE="$MY_ROOT/.$MY_NAME.log"
MY_WAITFILE="$MY_ROOT/.$MY_NAME.wait"
MY_BLOCKFILE="$MY_ROOT/.$MY_NAME.block"

CR="
"
SP=" "
OIFS=$IFS

case $1 in
pause)
touch $MY_WAITFILE
;;
resume)
rm $MY_WAITFILE
;;
restart)
$0 stop
$0 start
;;
start)
if [ -f $MY_BLOCKFILE ]; then
echo "Daemon execution has been disabled"
exit 0
fi
$0 run &
echo "Daemon Started"
exec 3>&- # close stdin
exec 2>&- # close stderr
exec 1>&- # close stdout
exit 0
;;
disable)
touch $MY_BLOCKFILE
$0 stop
;;
enable)
if [ -f $MY_BLOCKFILE ]; then rm $MY_BLOCKFILE; fi
;;
stop)
echo -n "Terminating daemon... "
$0 stat 1>/dev/null 2>/dev/null
if [ $? -ne 0 ]; then
echo "process is not running"
exit 0
fi
touch $MY_KILLFILE
$0 stat 1>/dev/null 2>/dev/null
ECODE=$?
waitcount=0
if [ "$waitcountmax" = "" ]; then waitcountmax=30; fi
while [ $ECODE -eq 0 ]; do
sleep 1
let waitcount=$waitcount+1
if [ $waitcount -lt $waitcountmax ]; then
$0 stat 1>/dev/null 2>/dev/null
ECODE=$?
else
ECODE=1
fi
done
$0 stat 1>/dev/null 2>/dev/null
if [ $? -eq 0 ]; then
PID=$(cat $MY_PIDFILE)
kill $PID
rm $MY_PIDFILE
rm $MY_KILLFILE
echo "Process Killed"
echo $(date)" Terminating forcefully" >> $MY_ERRFILE
exit 0;
else
echo "Process exited gracefully"
fi
;;
stat)
if [ -f $MY_BLOCKFILE ]; then
echo "Daemon execution disabled"
fi
if [ ! -f $MY_PIDFILE ]; then
echo "$MY_NAME is not running"
exit 1
fi
pgrep -l -f "$MY_NAME run" | grep -q -E "^$(cat $MY_PIDFILE) "
if [ $? -eq 0 ]; then
echo "$MY_NAME is running with PID "$($0 pid)
exit 0
else
echo "$MY_NAME is not running (PIDFILE mismatch)"
exit 1
fi
;;
log|stdout)
if [ -f $MY_LOGFILE ]; then
tail -f $MY_LOGFILE
else
echo "No stdout output yet"
fi
;;

err|stderr)
if [ -f $MY_ERRFILE ]; then
tail -f $MY_ERRFILE
else
echo "No stderr output yet"
fi
;;
pid)
if [ -f $MY_PIDFILE ]; then
cat $MY_PIDFILE
else
echo "No pidfile found"
fi
;;
run)
daemonize
payload
;;
help|?|--help|-h)
echo "Usage: $0 [ start | stop | restart | stat | pause | resume | disable | enable | (log|stdout) | (err|stderr) ]"
exit 0
;;
*)
echo "Invalid argument"
echo
$0 help
;;
esac

I got to this code from following the link here http://www.howtoforge.com/simple-bash-script-to-work-as-a-daemon to http://blog.apokalyptik.com/2008/05/09/as-close-to-a-real-daemon-as-bash-scripts-get/ which had the following code:

function payload() {
while [ true ]; do
checkforterm
date
sleep 1
done
}
source path/to/daemon-functions.sh

Google Voice vs Skype

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 6:20 pm

It’s not an either or between Google Voice and Skype. They are actually complimentary and both should be used in an office environment. Google Voice should be setup first and after GV is running Skype can be added just as if it were another cell phone.

Though Google voice has a big problem. It’s not solid and dependable. I’ve noticed many times situations where my cell phone will ring, Google Voice successfully routed the call, but did not also ring on my PC. So if I did not have a cell phone next to me I’d have missed the call. Also sometimes if you don’t have the GV and GMail windows open you will not get any alerts or rings. Having Skype fixes these problems because no matter what OS you have Skype will run on it. And Skype always pops up making it very easy to click on and avoid missing calls.

You can configure Skype to use the same number that you have ported to GV when making outgoing calls from Skype. Almost everything works seamlessly between the two. Both Skype and GV have excellent phone quality. The only wrinkle being Skype is not tied into GV’s address book. Skype attempts to use its own address book. This is fine for those Skype users who don’t have a real telephone number but for those that do Skype should use the GV directory. Because Skype always pops up in front of everything else you’ll be tempted to answer the call through Skype and won’t know who it is that’s calling. It’s a pain that Skype isn’t yet using GV’s address book.

So get them both and use Skype as a cheap backup, as another phone for GV to route to, for when Google Voice falls asleep at the job. Then configure Skype so that when it calls out it uses the main number that has been ported to GV.

GV is entirely free unless you ported your old phone number to it in which case it is a once only $20 fee. Skype costs about $60 a year to setup for unlimited dialing in the USA and Canada including a telephone number so that GV can route its incoming calls to Skype.

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