Stabilizing the Blinking ADSL Light

Remember the post on boosting your MTNL broadband I had written some time ago? It was written in a time of blissful ignorance, and my early days as a blogger. Why I didn’t take it down, you ask? Because of hilarious comments. Do read the comments page.

So this post is equally ridiculous. I don’t know why it works, but it works. And Indians have an in-built feature to do so many jugaads.

Cables were stolen in my neighbourhood few weeks ago, leaving me with twenty days of no Internet. When they reinstalled it, the connection was highly erratic. The main problem, the freakin’ ADSL light used to blink on and on.

This wasn’t new. It used to happen when I first got broadband about five years ago. I had developed a jugaad back then. And it’s time I publish. The secret to making *drumroll* that ADSL light *nails biting* stable *music reaches to crescendo* is…

Unhooking the phone.

Huh?

Huh?

You heard me! Unhooking the phone! So next time, when your ADSL light begins to blink periodically, and it appears that it is never going to be stable, simply unhook the phone. Hear the dial tone, keep the phone aside, the ADSL light will be stable in about a minute or less.

IĀ  this is ridiculous, I know it shouldn’t work, but hey it does. And that’s what matters. I even tried it at Mridul’s house. He was as surprised as you were.

Poof. Try this at home. And then hurl abuses at me. I’m off to reading chemistry.

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Download And Install All Software You Need On A New PC

Apologies for a really long (and lame) title.

We’ve all faced the problem of a crashed computer. (Thank you, Windoze). And almost always, once in half-a-year your Windows machine will crash. And mess stuff up to such an extent, that you have to reinstall Windows.

After you’ve done that, you reinstall all drivers necessary, and you proceed to download all the other software you are used to. At bare minimum, you’ll need a browser (Firefox), a media player (VLC), media codecs (K-Lite), software bloatware for your iPod (iTunes), and so on. It’s highly impractical to download all setup files one-by-one (but that is what you do anyway).

What I had planned initially, was downloading all these files once, and storing them on a DVD. But again, it will be outdated soon. Then you’d install all those apps, realize they’re outdated, and update them manually again.

Here comes Ninite Easy PC Setup. This brilliant initiative by Patrick Swieskowski and Sascha Kuzins ensures that you don’t need to do all that manual download and install stuff. Just download a custom installer, and leave your PC overnight. There are ~75 applications to choose from, and it’s really, really simple. Below is a screengrab of the website. Notice the clutter-free design and clear cut objective – select, download and enjoy. As you can see, nearly all popular apps exist. Four browsers, twelve media players, and even important stuff such as .NET Framework, Java and Flash.

Ninite Easy PC Setup

Applications I Download Using Ninite

The best part is that the entire process is unattended. Only one window is open – the Ninite Installer Window. You won’t even have to restart your computer. Be warned though. Ninite will install everything in the default path Windows installation path.

Amazingly, each installer you make gets a unique link, which you can share with others, or even keep with you for downloading the online installer for all these apps again. Of course, you can always store the installer…

Applications Download Page

Applications Download Page

There’s also a Pro service Ninite provides, known as Ninite Pro (how innovative!). It’s a paid service and costs $20 (Rs 950) per month. That is, in my opinion, quite steep. I still recommend it for use if you are an administrator in a school or office. Ninite Pro offers an offline installer, which works just like the one in the free edition – unattended usage. You can download a set of software on the offline installer, copy it to each computer’s hard disk, and sleep while they all install away.

Ninite

Ninite Pro

Link to my customized installer (the software in the image above).

Do tell me about your experiences with this service in the comments.

Eddie

His name’s Eddie. Eddie is the Heart of Gold’s shipboard computer, and is always in a constant state of amazement and excitement. That’s how this new PC is.

It was a real pain to get this one. My older PC was pretty much dead. It wasn’t broken down, but all support for hardware had ceased. Intel’s graphics drivers for 82845G had a virus which disabled the Task Manager and Registry, and I was forced to use Process Explorer, which, for the record, is fantastic.

Right, so I had to persuade dad to get a new PC. He delayed it till the boards ended, and little further away till the holidays started. Then I really began to pester him, with constant reminders. He gave an offer for a Dell desktop, which didn’t have even half the configurations I actually wanted, and cost nearly as much.

With Digit magazine’s help, I could design a PC which fit my budget, and conveniently forgot to include a PSU. The Zebronics cabinet I mentioned was not designed for the motherboard, and I now have this iBall cabinet. Dad was getting my PC assembled with the help of his office’s technicians. Apparently, none of them understood by AMD-based configuration. After a lot of “please papa”, he finally relented, gave the go, and here the PC is ready.

2×2 GB Corsair 800MHz DDR2 RAM

AMD Phenom II X4 @ 3.00 GHz per core

Leadtek GeForce GT 240 1GB

ASUS M4A785D-M PRO Motherboard

Seagate Barracude 7200.12 SATA 500GB Hard Drive

No floppy drive šŸ˜¦

While it may be a “far cry” (pun intended) from a gaming rig, it is enough for me. I’ll just play the occasional game at medium settings, but I really wanted to watch videos in HD. A friend handed over a Blu-Ray rip of Avatar. Bliss…

I have Windows 7 installed, and a download of Ubuntu’s Lucid Lynx has just been stopped. It’s Isadora all the way.

Now why did I go for AMD? Simple. It’s cheaper. Way cheaper. Core i7 began at Rs 14000/- and I could get my Phenom at 7500/-. Nice, huh?

Well, I’ve already finished Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. As usual, don’t expect any reviews.

*

Do watch this.

Don’t forget to watch in full screen high definition.

“Ronal–d’oh!”

**

Also, the UEFA Champions League final was epic. Hats of, Milito, though I was really was supporting Ribery-less Bayern Munich. Seems like Jose has got a magic wand with him.

Don’t worry, the best football club in the world will win the League next time.

Prepare for trouble treble

And make it double!”

Xbox 360 Is A PlayStation Copy

Moments ago, a shocking discovery has been made, and ShadowLineTV is bringing you exclusive footage.

In a recent investigation, it has been found that Microsoft’s widely popular Xbox 360 (popular games include Gears of War, Red Ring of Death and Halo3) is inspired (or copied?) from Sony’s immensely popular PlayStation. Or, at least the name is.

If you notice carefully, Xbox 360 is actually X — BOX — 360. Or…

Send .jar / .sis / .sisx Files Over Bluetooth

Ever tried sending an installation file over Bluetooth, and got this message?

Still thinking that you can’t send such files over Bluetooth?

Now you can!

Nokia has a strict policy of sending installation files (such as .jar / .sis / .sisx) over Bluetooth. This is understandable, as some applications have been paid for, or some may even contain viruses (my old N72 has been infected with CommWarrior in the past). CommWarrior was one of the first known mobile viruses targeted at S60 mobile devices and spread over Bluetooth and MMS.

Now CommWarrior did use an ingenious method to transfer the .sis file itself over Bluetooth. It is not impossible, as even trusted and popular applications such as Lonely Cat Games’ SmartMovie have done it in their older versions. I have no idea how to transfer them directly, but there exists a trick so simple and brilliant, that you will laugh at the mere simplicity of it and curse yourself for not discovering it earlier. It requires no third-party software at all. Keep in mind, though that this trick works only on Symbian Series 60 devices. I have tested it successfully on the N72 (S60 2nd Edition FP3), the E63 (S60 3rd Edition FP1) and the E72 (S60 5th Edition FP2). For some reason, it does not work on S60 3rd Edition devices, the non-FP ones (such as the N73).

Right, so you have to understand the principles first. Basically, the Symbian platform allows the exchange of only certain types of files on over Bluetooth. The most important one (which we’ll use here) is music files. You know, that standard .mp3 ones. The reason you can exchange songs easily is because even if you bought a song, it is likely to be DRM protected anyway, and the receiver cannot play it unless he has the certificate on his phone as well. But the primary use of Bluetooth today is still to exchange (non DRM-protected) songs, because everyone on this planet likes songs. This is what we can exploit.

Step 1: Open the File Manager and locate the installation file you want to send.

Step 2: Press the left softkey (Options) and chose Rename.

Step 3: With the help of the joystick, navigate to the end of the filename and rename the .jar / .sis / .sisx part to .mp3. Hit the center button (or the softkey which corresponds to OK).

You will get a message that changing file extensions may bring about devastating problems, some of which include a) another Roland Emmerich movie; b) Rakhi Sawant deciding to have lunch with you; and c) the answer may no longer be forty-two (OMG!).

Step 4: Send the file normally over Bluetooth. Do all that usual stuff–check whether Bluetooth is enabled on the receiver’s device, and it’s not “hidden” and it’s in range, et cetera. (Fun fact: Did you know that the call button also doubles up as a shortcut for easy access to the send menu?)

Step 5: Here’s the fun part. The recipient’s device will have a notification that a message has been received (you know the drill).

Now when you open the “song”, Symbian’s Music Player will open up and refuse to play the file, claiming it to be “corrupted”.

But what happens next, is the most important part. You will actually have the option to save the darn file on to your memory card!. Why is that awesome? You’ll see.

Step 6: Close the player and delete the “song” from the Inbox (if you wish to). Open the File Manager and navigate to Attachments in the Phone Memory/ Memory Card (depends on where you saved the file in step 5). The folder may vary in older Symbian versions (it is Music in S60 2nd Edition devices).

Step 7: You’ll find that file there, with a tiny musical note beside it.

Hit the left softkey (Options) and rename it.

Navigate to the end of the file name, delete the .mp3 part, and rename it to .jar / .sis / .sisx whatever the extension was before.

Click OK, and…

… you can open the file, and begin installation normally.

Congratulations! You have successfully sent an installation file over Bluetooth! Now since this method is file-specific by no means, you can use it to send other files as well, such as the .avi ones to be played on SmartMovie. You see, although you can send .avi files over Bluetooth, you won’t be able to save them, as Symbian will not have any default application to run those .avi files. If you still watch movies on your phone in the .mp4 or .3gp format, you don’t deserve to own a phone.Seriously.

Please try this method out, and do tell me if it worked (or didn’t) in the comments section. Also, I would really, really appreciate it if you mention the devices you tested this on.

P.S: Didn’t the first line sound like those TVC Sky Shop commercials?

Widget!

So here’s the new Opera Widget for Shadow Line! You can get all new posts delivered to you right at your desktop. And once you install the widget (assuming you have Opera 10.50), you can run it even without Opera running! Sweet!

Widgetize!

I’m even adding a link in the sidebar, so in case you re-install Opera, or recommend this blog and widget to someone (which you will!), the widget link will always be there.

P.S: I’m finished with Social Studies. Forever.

Of svchost.exe And Problems

Quite recently, I began facing this really irritating svchost problem on my computer. I’m running Windows XP Service Pa(ni)ck Two, and really haven’t had this problem before. A certain process called svchost.exe began eating up most of the CPU power, and here I was, unable to do absolutely anything on my computer for the next five minutes to five hours.

Yes, the problem never had a defined period of time, and often came and went randomly. And if I decided to end the process from task manager, Windows reverted to the good ol’ Windows Classic theme, and convinced itself that it didn’t have any sound devices installed anymore. This was too much, and I decided to explore.

What is svchost.exe?

svchost.exe,Ā as defined by Microsoft themselves

… checks the services part of the registry to construct a list of services that it must load. Multiple instances of Svchost.exe can run at the same time. Each Svchost.exe session can contain a grouping of services. Therefore, separate services can run, depending on how and where Svchost.exe is started. This grouping of services allows for better control and easier debugging.

For a quick check, click on Start and then, click on Run. In the Run dialog box, type cmd and smack enter. Congratulations. You are now inĀ primitive, but more powerful, DOS mode.

Type tasklist /svc and hit enter. A long list of processes currently running will follow, along with the services it is taking care of. The svchost.exe entry is so prominent, that it’ll catch your eye when you scroll down the list. But contrary to what the movies force you to believe, typing something and getting a list of results isĀ not hacking. (I’m talking about you, Swordfish).

Tasklist /svc

Tasklist /svc

Whoa.

Okay… Now what?

You’ve seen for yourself that ending that svchost.exe process will cause unprecedented andĀ irrevocableĀ damage to your computer, thus angering Lord William Henry Gates the Third, who will ensure that you rot in the bowels of hell forever! [Citation Needed]

Don’t worry. I have a solution. In fact, Mr Important, I have four simple solutions I have for you. You will, I know, make the right choice.

I was elected to lead. Not to read.

I was elected to lead. Not to read.

What’s the name again?

It is possible that the process you noticed in the task manager was not svchost.exe but scvhost.exe. The latter is a spyware, which will allow users to access your computer remotely. You must get rid of it at once by installing an anti-virus RIGHT NOW. You can also choose not to react to this situation, if you are totally okay with Ho Chi Minh’s grandson in Vietnam enjoying a holiday in Bermuda, with the money he stole from your bank account with the help of the net banking passwords he found on your PC.

Linux rules.

If you use your computer primarily for browsing the web, watching movies, playing music, or basically anything that does not involve gaming, you can switch to Linux. If you simply love orange colour, start with Ubuntu. If you’re a fan of black ‘n green, start with Linux Mint.

Best of all, Linux is free.

The real (temporary) solution.

It’s alright. It’s okay. You can keep that gun on the table. Heh. *wipes sweat off brow*. I was just joking. I know what the solution is. Heh. Right here.

So here’s a temporary solution. Basically, what I figured out was, that if you have a really old computer with automatic updates disabled, then Windows will try to get them by itself. So it forces you to update your operating system, if you don’t want to. And all this Nazi stuff is managed by one single process. You guessed it. svchost.exe.

So here’s what you do:

1] Open Task Manager, right-click on the svchost process, and click End Process. The process is gone. What follows is complete disruption of your computer’s sound capability. This is definite. Sometimes, even the themes may get messed up. To verify this, you can open that the Volume Control by clicking on the tiny speaker in the taskbar. Instead of getting a sound mixer, you’ll be greeted with this.

Greetings

Greetings

2] Click on Start button in the taskbar. Right-click on My Computer and click on Manage in the drop-down menu which follows.

Manage

Manage

3] In the right pane, double-click onĀ Services and Application. Double-click on Services. If you get this, you’re on the right track.

Services

Services

4] Scroll down, and you’ll find something known as Windows Audio. When you select it by single-clicking, you’ll see its description on the left-hand side. Not the left pane. To the left of the list of services. The service is currently stopped.

Windows Audio

Windows Audio

5] To the immediate left of the services list, you’ll see Start the service. Click on Start.

Starting the Windows Audio Service

Starting the Windows Audio Service

You may follow the same procedure to restart the Themes service as well, if you want to.

But the problem is that this is still a temporary solution, so you’ll have to do this all over again when you restart your computer. So I suggest you Hibernate Windows, rather than restarting it or shutting it down.

The permanent solution

I suggest you do this after you’ve attempted the previous one. That will speed up work.

In the same Computer Management window in the above solution, search for Automatic Updates. Double-click it. You should see this.

Automatic Updates

See that Startup type: dropdown box? Yes, that one. Click it, and choose Disabled.

Automatic Updates Disabled

Automatic Updates Disabled

Then you click okay, and you can close all open windows now. Congratulations, sire, you have now fixed your computer.

I would be extremely grateful if you leave a comment below, or rate this post. Please let me know if this worked or not. Thank you!