All posts in Technology

How to Change Mouse Polling Rate in Vista

This guide is, in its entirety, taken from Jim’s thread over at OverClock3d.

These files will increase your USB polling frequency from the Windows Vista default of 125hz to 500hz or 1000hz making your mouse much more responsive in gaming. This file will only work on the RTM/Final version of Vista 32-Bit and 64-bit. If you want the same hack under Windows XP just search google for “XP usbport.sys 500hz”.

  1. Restart Vista and repeatedly press F8 to bring up the boot menu. Select Safe Mode.
  2. Press Start > Run… and enter this into the box: bcdedit -set loadoptions DISABLE_INTEGRITY_CHECKS . This disabled the constant integrity checks that will disable you from overwriting system files. After the restart, it is set back to default.
  3. Open the same window and this time enter this: takeown /f "C:WindowsSystem32Driversusbport.sys" . This commands lets you take full ownership of the usbport.sys file, enabling you to rename it.
  4. Again, in the Run… box enter this: cacls "C:WindowsSystem32Driversusbport.sys" /G username:F . Replace username with the account you’re using on Windows. This further makes sure you are allowed to edit and rename the file.
  5. Open C:WindowsSystem32Drivers and locate the existing usbport.sys, and rename it to usbport.old
  6. Download this file, unzip it and copy the usbport.sys from the appropriate folder over to C:WindowsSystem32Drivers.
  7. Restart your computer, and use mouserate.exe to check whether the settings have had effect.

Hope this helped you!

How to Share a Hard Drive on a Vista Network

Background

This is how an article at Microsoft’s TechNet describes the changes in Vista’s sharing.

  • The default workgroup name in Windows Vista has been changed to WORKGROUP. In Windows® XP Home Edition, the default workgroup name is MSHOME. If you upgrade a computer running Windows XP Home Edition to Windows Vista, it will keep its existing workgroup name. However, new computers with Windows Vista can have a different workgroup name than the other computers on your network. With different workgroups, it takes more time and effort to view all of the computers on the network.
  • Windows Vista uses the Public folder, rather than the Shared Documents folder in Windows XP, to simplify file sharing. With Public folder sharing enabled, the public folders and all of the folders within the Public folder are automatically shared with the name Public. You do not have to configure file sharing on separate folders. You only have to either move or copy the file or folder you want to share on the network to the Public folder.
  • Windows Vista by default does not allow simple file sharing. Access to shared folders, including the public folder (if shared), requires a user name and password. Simple file sharing is enabled by default in Windows XP Home Edition.

Sharing hard drives was perhaps not easy in Windows XP, but it sure is harder on Vista. It took me a while to figure out what to do, but after a bit of messing around with security settings I finally achieved what I had intended. This guide consists of five steps, and I take no responsibility for what happens with your computer!

Steps

#1
Properties
Right-click on the harddrive you intend to share. Click Properties to open a window with most changeable settings on your harddrive.

#2
Security
Select the Security tab. In front of you is a list of the different users that have access to your hard drive. Select Everyone and click Edit….

#3
Security edit
At this prompt you have the ability to change how much you want everyone to have access to. Customize this yourself, or use my settings, then apply the settings by OK-ing this window and the previous one.

#4
Share
Now, right-click the hard drive again but this time select Share…. In the prompt (which is the sharing tab in the properties-prompt) click Advanced Sharing… and authenticate yourself if needed.

#5
Advanced sharing
In the window in front of you, check the Share this folder checkbox and enter a name for the share. If you need to specifcy the amount of simultaneous users, do so, but for most home networks this is not needed. To enable everyone to access the share, click Premissions and use either my settings or your own.

Conclusion

There are of course security implications associated with sharing an entire hard drive. You should avoid sharing the drive you’re booting from and/or using Windows on, also you should also generally be careful of how much you’re letting people do with the drive.

How to Install uTorrent Skins

This is something that should be so easy as downloading the skins themselves is easy as pie. I have found a very simple method of completing this.

First of all you need the skin itself. It can be found on several places, but most notably on the uTorrent site itself. Go there and find yourself a nice looking skin, and make sure it’s called toolbar.bmp when downloaded!

Open up an Explorer window (or simply open up My Documents or any other folder) and type %AppData%uTorrent in the adress bar. Paste the toolbar.bmp file here!
The only thing you need to do is restart (or open) uTorrent and voila! Your new skin is there!

Have fun, and comment if you find any good skins out there!

Skype: Display Bandwidth Info during Calls


Skype, the modern free Voice Over IP calling software, is a great way of calling your friends and family and staying in touch. But for us who’d like something a little more advanced and technical, Skype lacks a lot of settings and options.
However, if you’re on the lookout for some pretty advanced statistics such as what codec and quality is being used, what pings you are getting and how much bandwidth you are using, there is a way!

Steps

Click Tools in the top menu then Options to open the Option-menu. In the left-hand part of the window, click Advanced and then Connection in the options that pop down under Advanced.
Check the box that says Display technical info during calls and call someone! Hover your mouse on the same part of the window where the Call and End Call buttons are and you should see a windows popping up telling you about what’s going on behind the scenes!

The Safari Web Inspector and it’s Console

I have never really explored Apple’s Safari’s web inspector, nor have I ever found or wished there to be any use in it. I use my own source-files to debug and check my sites, and I also happen to use the built-in code-editors in some of the PHP software I use.
Due to my sheer ignorance of this perhaps marvelous feature of Safari I have never (with emphasis on never) touched the Console and Network buttons! Until today, when I practically stumbled upon them both by mistake.

The Console feature

Pressing this button/tab takes you to a console with one line of code-input. What this thing enables you to is to run specific JavaScript commands to test and debug various features you may have. I have personally yet to find use for it, however I can definitely see large websites with a lot of JS making use of it!
I will further try this out, perhaps even inputting some jQuery code and seeing if something happens!

The Network tab

Web Inspector network tab
Let me start off by saying the following. The Network feature is awesome. As the picture depicts, it is all about load-time. What objects load? When does an object load? Where does it load? How long time does it take to load it? Is there anything I can do to improve this? The graph to the right of Transfer Time takes you back to the intuitive interface of iTunes and it’s graph of the layout of your iPod harddrive… All this is something I have found use for (and which I can’t see how anyone wouldn’t!) and which I will be using in the future!

Installing Windows 7 – What Works and What Doesn’t?

Currently I am in the process of installing Windows 7 Beta 1 – the new operating system shipped out by Microsoft. After acquiring the disc needed to install the Beta 1 version of the operating system I went through the fairly simple and Vista-like installation process and booted up.
Right now I am installing drivers and programs and testing whether these work or not. I will keep this post updated with my progress.

What doesn’t work?

  • SPTD (SCSI Pass Through Direct) does not seem to be installing properly. This prevents mounting software such as Daemon Tools from working.
  • The sidebar in XFire (social gaming client) is empty, and the sound notification doesn’t work.
  • Ventrilo (Voice-Over-IP software) seems to have problems with minimizing and opening other program while transmitting.

What works?

  • Steam (games provider) seems to work flawlessly. I am testing the games within Steam at this moment.
  • PowerISO (ISO-manager software) works well except from some issues with installation and registration.
  • Google Chrome (browser) doesn’t register as the default browser. Opening it with administrator rights fixes the problem.
  • WinRAR (archiving software) appears to work well, and extraction is actually fairly fast compared to XP and Vista.
  • Spotify (music streaming service) works fine.
  • uTorrent (torrent client) works well, giving just as fast speeds as in any other operating system.

Enhancing Colors in Photos using Lab Color in Photoshop

Have you ever taken pictures you just wished were a lot more colorful? Ever felt the need to cram that extra little bit of color out of a seemingly perfect picture? Thanks to a tutorial and some personal research I have come up with a very simple and effective method that will highlight and increase the colors in a photo. Let’s get going!

This is the image we will come up with, in comparison with the old one.
Before and After

Steps

#1
Change the color mode to “Lab Color” inside Image > Mode > Lab Color. This is the main start-off point and plays a key role in this tutorial.
Change to LAB color

#2
Select Curves in the Image > Adjustments > Curves. Using this tool we will now edit the colors to perfection!
Select curves

#3
In the Channel drop-down, select a and b respectively and change the curves to something that resembles this.
a-curves
b-curves

#4
Revert back to RGB color mode, otherwise this can create problems when further editing the picture!
Revert to RGB color

Good job, you’ve now gotten yourself a lot more color! Is it a bit too much? Fiddle around with the Saturation settings until you get what you like!
Did you like this or have any questions? Comment!

Coolest-looking Lamp Around?

Introducing you to the SoL R38. It’s a highly efficient modern LED lamp with power-saving in mind as well as long life of operation, performance (the light itself is crisp and white) and heat emissions.
And best of all, it’s coolest on the block. Buy a few of these and you can turn any dull room into something well worth the stay, more or less! The outer shell, the housing, is made of anodized silver, looking a bit like a heatsink.

Thanks to NYTimes!

Installing the Huawei E220 on a Mac

So. You have a Mac OSX and you’re a Telia user, or using any other ISP, and you buy this wonderful wireless 3G internet package. You receive a parcel with the little egg-looking modem (the Huawei E220) and the shiny USB-cable. All the documentation is for Windows and the only thing people have used it for are PCs. Now what?

First thing you should try is to use the built-in drivers available on the modem itself. See, the little egg works like both a storage device and a modem, and on the storage part are included drivers for both Windows and Mac.
As a Mac user, you will only see the Mac drivers, and as a Windows user it’s vice versa, so you do not have to worry about choosing the wrong drivers. Open Finder and click on the newly appeared device in the left-hand bar, and proceed by double-clicking the Mobile Connect.app. However, the installer is very buggy and for some it just does not work.

If all goes well and you do manage to install it, just run the application and use the internet! If you’re unlucky, it will, as I mentioned, briefly open and then close itself. You need to get a driver from the Huawei homepage. Fortunately I’ve fetched up the drivers for you (it was kind of hard to find one’s way around, I can tell you that), you can directly download the driver from over here.

The file being downloaded on your harddrive is called just plain “E220” without any extension. You won’t be able to do much with it in it’s current state, so to proceed you must rename it to “E220.dmg“. Now just double-click it, let it mount and run the installer – it should take you through the installation process and configure everything for you!

The new and updated driver will be an .ISO-file and will mount itself! Install the driver and enjoy the modem.

Congratulations on getting fairly good 3G internet anywhere in the world (depending on coverage, of course)!

Broadcasting a Video with XFire (exclusively on this blog!)

You most likely have not seen this in action yet. If you have, then you’re probably really eager on how to do it, and if you haven’t you probably want to see how it is done anyway. I was at least, and I am perfectly normal!

What is all this about?

XFire introduced Live Video back a few months ago. Live Video is a tool for gamers to broadcast what they see to the masses. It’s quick and easy, requires only a few configuration steps and the XFire client itself. You can only broadcast a current game in progress (i.e. you can’t (regularly) broadcast anything else but a full-screen DirectX game), and only some games are supported.
Now what I’ve managed to find out is how to broadcast pretty much any video player (though I’ve only tested it on a certain player it should theoretically work in any environment) by doing some fairly straight-forward editing of files. Enough talking, let’s get to the actual guide.

Steps

#1
Download Media Player Classic from here (direct SF link). Extract the file (mplayerc.exe) to a location of your choice (I put mine in C:Program FilesMPC) and open it. You will be greeted with an empty window. Click on View and then Options. In the left-hand menu navigate to Output, and choose the following settings:
Output
Press OK, close the program and remember the path to where you extracted it.

#2
Close XFire and then navigate to the folder where it XFire is located (usually C:Program FilesXfire) and open the file xfire_games.ini in Notepad or any other text-editor (no, I’m not saying you can use Word). Scroll down to the bottom and paste this a few lines under the last row:

[9999]
LongName=MPC
ShortName=mpcplayer
LauncherDirKey=C:Program FilesMPC
LauncherExe=mplayerc.exe
Launch=%UA_LAUNCHER_EXE_PATH% %UA_LAUNCHER_EXTRA_ARGS% %UA_LAUNCHER_NETWORK_ARGS%
InGameRenderer=D3D9
;InGameFlags=USE_PRESENT|ENABLE_MOUSE|USE_DINPUT_MOUSE

Change the path after LauncherDirKey= to wherever you extracted Media Player Classic. Otherwise make sure everything else is as it looks.

#3
Open XFire again, let it log-in and then press Tools and then Options. In the top bar select Games and let it detect any newly installed games. Double-click Not Installed, scroll down and click on MPC (the games are in alphabetical order). Select Manually Setup and Browse to the location of where you extracted Media Player Classic (same path as in the xfire_games.ini file, yes I know) and press OK.
Manual
Now go Tools again, this time hovering over Launch and then clicking MPC. When it’s been launched, select File and Open File, browse to the file you want to open, press OK and press ScrollLock + B to start the broadcast! If nothing happens, make sure you’ve enable Live Broadcast (Options, Broadcast (ALPHA), check Enable Broadcast).

Conclusion

As far as I know, there are no legal implications as to the modifying of core files, and it’s really nothing that can destroy your installation of XFire (if it does, just re-install).
I am aware of the fact that it doesn’t display the broadcast in the XFire status window. The solution to this is for the viewers to go to http://www.xfire.com/live_video/username directly.

Have fun, and let me know how it goes!