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Showing posts from February, 2011

Graphical User Interface Evolution

Graphical User Interface(GUI) on computers has evolved over 4 decades. The webpage here captures the GUI evolution over a timeline to give the idea how from bit map GUI to touch screen, highly interactive GUI's have evolved over the years.

Portable Ubuntu for Windows

Portable Ubuntu for Windows is a compact yet complete Ubuntu system that can be executed directly in Windows as if it were a regular software application designed for the windows operating system.This can be downloaded here.

React OS - free, modern operating system based on the design of Windows® XP/2003

React OS - free, modern operating system based on the design of  Windows® XP/2003. The OS makes use of wine to be able to run Windows applications.React OS can be downloaded from here.

Virtual Machine Creator- online tool to to create Virtual Machine's config files

Virtual Machine Creator- online tool to to create Virtual Machine's config files by setting Name, Operating System, Memory and HDD size for your virtual machine image. This online tool only creates the required config files for your vmware software to start the Virtual Machine environment. This does not have the OS pre-installed in the virtual machine.

Synergy - A free and open source software to share key board and mouse between computers

I often felt about replacing the KVM(keyboard, video or visual display unit, mouse) switch , which we often use to share single keyboard and mouse between multiple computers with much simpler approach rather than having a clutter of wires beneath my workplace in office. I found out a free and open source software named Synergy, which shares the keyboard and mouse between multiple computers (Windows , Linux and Mac) over Ethernet.  All we need is to setup the synergy server on a machine which has keyboard and mouse connected to it to share the keyboard and mouse between computers over the network. The Synergy software for different operating rating system flavors can be downloaded from here


*There is also paid software named multiplicity, trial version of this software can be downloaded here

Microsoft research on gesture interfaces

How to identify possible hard disk failure based on sounds

We can anticipate the hard disk failure based on the different hard disk sounds it is making and we can backup our data before hard disk completely becomes unusable. The datacent.com has collated various hard disk sounds(noise) to identify the possible  hard disk failure by listening to the noise hard disk creates. Various noise can be heard here

Quick way to lock your desktop/screen in mac

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We can quickly lock our mac machine desktop/screens with a quick keyboard shortcut.  The key combination's are (CONTROL + SHIFT+ EJECT ) . To use this key combination enable "Require password immediately after sleep or screen saver begins" option under System Preferences -> Security -> General tab.

Enabling debug and hidden checksum formats in Disk Utility.

We sometime expect disk utility to provide more options for debugging on any disk related issues. There is hidden option in mac os x to enable the debug menu item for disk utility with many useful actions associated with it. To enable the debug menu item in disk utility application type and execute following command in terminal.
$ sudo defaults write com.apple.DiskUtility DUDebugMenuEnabled -bool true
This will enable "Debug"  menu bar item in Disk Utility application on your mac os x. You would have quit and re-launch Disk Utility again to show the changes.
To reset back to default settings, run
$ sudo defaults write com.apple.DiskUtility DUDebugMenuEnabled -bool false

Similarly, We can also enable various hidden image checksum formats in disk utility application with command as below
 $ sudo defaults write com.apple.DiskUtility advanced-image-options -bool true

To reset back to default settings, run

 $ sudo defaults write com.apple.DiskUtility advanced-image-options -bool false




plutil - a useful command line tool to decode / encode plist files

plutil is very useful command line utility to decode or encode the .plist files if you do not GUI tools like PropertyList Editor or PrefSetter etc.
Type the following command in terminal to convert the binary1 format of plist fle to xml1 format.
$ sudo plutil -convert xml1 /Library/Preferences/com.my.newplist.plist
Now Edit the .plist file. Type the following command in terminal to convert the xml1 format plist fle back again to binary1 format.           $ sudo plutil -convert binary1 /Library/Preferences/com.my.newplist.plist

How mac detects few malwares downloaded from internet

The Apple Mac OS 10.6 + detects the few malwares downloaded from internet as per the signatures found in XProtect.plist file. This is not an antivirus application and only alerts the user when he tries download/install the suspicious application from internet. This file is located at /System/Library/CoreServices/CoreTypes.bundle/Contents/Resources/XProtect.plist. You will need a  good security software to protect your mac from bad guys on internet.  you can read more on this here  and here

Resetting your lost/forgot password in Mac OS X

In case of you forgot your user password on Mac OS X, it is easy to reset. The below steps should help you in resetting your password
Restart your Mac, and goto single user mode by holding ( Command + S ) button on your mac keyboard. Here command button is often referred as Apple button also. In the command prompt execute following commands#sh /etc/rc#passwd (username on your mac for which you want to change the password).#rebootNow login to mac in normal mode, use your changed password to login.Note: All your Key chain stored password will be lost by following above steps.

Booting your Mac OS X in safe mode with NVRAM modifications

Some times we might require our mac to be booted into safe mode to fix/resolve some issues. Your mac can be booted into safe mode in two ways
Hold "Shift" key on your mac keyboard to boot your mac into safe mode.If you can not boot with your keyboard(in case your keyboard is not recognized or some problem)  then you can perform below operations :Establish a remote connection such as SSH to the mac.Run in terminal " sudo nvram boot-args="-x", press enter/return. ( You can also add "-x -v" for verbose mode booting of safe mode)To reset back to normal mode run "sudo nvram boot-args=" " (without any arguments).

Increasing half-open tcp connections in windows xp and later systems

Sometimes we might need to increase the download speed for different downloads such as files, torrents  etc. On windows based systems to prevent rapid spreading of malwares from system to system microsoft introduced a limit to restrict half-open TCP connection limit to maximum of 10. This results in windows not to have morethan 10 concurrent half-open outbound TCP connections. Newconnection attempts are put in a queue and forced to wait. Due to thisspeed of connection to other PCs is limited.You can change this configuration to your desired value in tcpip.sys file. The tcpip.sys file is a binary file hence require tool to do this. By increasing the half-open tcp connection limits, the tcp connection to remote pc becomes faster. make sure you use this feature carefully as your system might become target to malwares. Hence modify this configuration with all the necessary security measures( security softwares installed and configured )in place.The popular tool available to do this is ava…

ANT Censuses of the Internet Address Space

Do you want to read how internet ip address census is conducted. Click here to read ISI's page on the census