Archive for Computing

Backupmania…the urge of backups…..

I am currently being a bit of a urge over backups, thinks it is a good time to start doing more backups myself.

Currently, I had my own backup solutions by bits and bytes, example:
Mail – I setup my own mail server at base to do pulling ALL IMAP/POP account I had, off site backup on the mbox time by time.
Invoices – they are all in PDFs, update ones were synced by dropbox, older ones offsite archived.
MSN – message log are all exported to XML, offsite archived.
SMS – XML backup by Android App.
Calllog – XML backup by Android App.
Phone Calls – important ones are logged to .amr/.mp4, offsite archive time to time.
GoogleReader Stared – developed my own PERL script to back them up in HTML with a index file.
GoogleEarth – profile XML were synced across dropbox/SFTP, don’t want to miss this one, it contain most of the places/logs I being in the last few years.
Photos – don’t really backup at all, older photos are archived in older HDD when my routine upgrade (one/year), newer photos from S95 and mobile sync across dropbox.
Code, Personal – fun little code I dev for my own use were backup/sync var dropbox/SFTP
Code, Work – sync across 3 sets of computer, SFTP.

I would love to do more backups, example:
Twitter – my different twitter accounts, since I already did OAuth code on the other project, I think I can do my own backup code.
Google Chrome Bookmark – I really shouldn’t trust the cloud that much….
Google Contacts/Calendar – Hum…….did I even ever back that up??

I think I really really should spend some time on this….
but anyway, why the urge??? hum………

My wanted software list on a mobile device on 2011-June

Back in 2007, I made a post about “My wanted software list on a mobile device”, by the time those idea was as my describe, dreams, seems a good time to go for a renew on the topic in mid-2011.

First, lets compare the old list back in 2007…
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Applying CSS on INPUT with type.

This has bug me for a while already (my bad, should have read more CSS REF when I was still a student)

I would like to apply certain style on input elements in HTML, example: border:1px solid #efefef;
but I would only like this style to apply to type=button or type=text, but not other input elements.

Google comes to help.

input[type=”button”], input[type=”text”]
{border:1px solid #efefef;}

Good to take a note.

Getting new windows popup as a new tab in Google Chrome.

I used to have this special setups on my Firefox and did not actually able to find a solution on Chrome, Google Chrome tends to open >a target=”_blank” in a new popup, which I do not like.
Came across a post over mydigitallife and find that there is actually an extension on Chrome to do so called “One Window”..

Yes, one more reason NOT to fall back to Firefox, which I found it goes slower and slower with my usage…. (I still need it tho for testing web developing….but it is now not my primary browser anymore.)

mydigitallife – How to Force Google Chrome to Open Link and Pop-Up in New Tab
Chrome Web Store – Extensions – One Window

DVBViewer – current temporary workaround.

Since I do not/cannot use the recording service (I do not have the time to work on fixes for it), I will have to keep DVBViewer on all time for the build-in Timer function to work, this raises a few problems.

1/. EPG does not update itself, I found that EPG would not update if main program stay on all time, I have no idea why but this is how it works on my system. A bit of search lead me to “yet another plug-in” which will update EPG automatically, but “yet another plug-in” that I do not know is it up-to-date, and all documentations are “yet another in non-English”, fine, by setting up a batch file that runs every 0600, I had it kill any task of DVBViewer.exe, wait 10 seconds and re-launch it, this fixes the EPG update issue.

2/. Still having problem on unreliable Timer function on recordings, no recording seems executed by the Timer, misses all recording during whole weekends, hope the above kill+relaunch solve the problem, lets see.

3/. Still having problem on DVBViewer timer fires, but cannot get any DVB signal, resulting in failure on the recording, I think this must be related to hardware/drivers issue, no solution yet, but since the above kill+relaunch, things “seems” getting better.

4/. Changed recording filename to NOT containing any Chinese Chars by removing %event% in recording option, not what I would like since it is very hard to keep record of what was recorded (The log and extra log were also having problem on Chinese show name, I can be sure it is DVBV encode problem), but hope to see less problem, it is the way it is.

That’s it for now, at least I see some recordings..

My current Gadget connections – 2011 March

Many people asked me how do I use my gadgets, and I think is good to keep a list on how I currently using them.

LG P990 Optimus 2X

Toy of 2011, dual-core tegra 2 is just simply FAST!! can’t wait till more developing/hack are on it.

Apple iPad 16GB WiFi

Mainly used for viewing content, heavily used for PDF magazines, comics, books and user guide, video watching by AirVideo, obtained in 2010, thanks to cousin MY from US.

Canon Powershot S95

Since I mainly took photos indoor and at night, the S95 is very very nicely served here, obtained in 2010.

Sony PlayStation Eye

By using drivers from Code Laboratories, I install the eye as a webcam at home, with the software Yawcam, it will take shots at certain time period (used to do motion detection, but I disabled it as master do not like it), which I can monitor anywhere, obtained 2010.

Canon Canonscan N670U

I have a habit of scanning all mail, invoices to PDFs for archiving and warranty use, with the web code I developed I do easily scan them when I arrived home with my iPad or Android, obtained back in 2009 thanks to cousin who needs upgrade to all in one scanner/printer.

Polaroid Pogo Instant Mobile printer

Toy of 2011, is fun to print the photos I took by Bluetooth on the road! family meetups and holiday with Master must have!


My main A2DP headset, I mainly used the Audio part of it since I do not much enjoy talking with a headset, but I do enjoy the quality of the music it stream, obtained back in 2007, introduced by mate SS.

Holux M-241 Wireless GPS Logger

I just love keeping track logs of my travel, the reason I choose this GPS is because it support connection by Bluetooth, or it can work as a stand-alone Logger which powered by AAA battery, which I can easily get any time even I am on the trip, obtained back in 2007.


iPad Camera Connection Kit

Copying Photos I took to the iPad, I mainly use this as a “viewer” for family meeting, the larger iPad display is good for sharing, emailing, twitting in family meetings.

EyeFi 4GB Connect X2

I setup my Android device to Copy the photos I took from S95, edit/tweet/email them on the road, and by using software Dropin, all photos will be automatically sync when WiFi is connected to my Dropbox.


My wireless Router, connects everything at home, running DDWrt of coz, the main reason I choose this wireless router is its USB port and ddwrt firmware, which I still do not have the time to play-around with it, yet.

Software – AirVideo (iOS)

it stream my collections of downloaded movies, amine and my recorded TV shows to my iPad, it is just nice to be able to watch shows I wanted on bed..

Software – Dropbox (iOS, Android, Win32)

Heavily used service, sync my files all time at work/mobile/home/servers.

Software – Dropin (Android)
I use this software to synchronize my photos on my Android device to a Dropbox selected folder, it simply works even with settings like only sync when on WiFi, the only improvement UI would like to see was only syncing my selected folder instead of all photos in Gallery apps and sync my selected folder too (comment submitted, waiting developer to give it the little touch)

Software – Eyefi droid (Android)
I use this software to copy photos from my camera to my Android device by WiFi, this software seems abandoned by its developer, I have seen problem on different cases using it on different device, but lucky it works smoothly on my N1 and 2X, if you are having problem, try moPhotos from the market, it works too for like $.99.

Software – DVBViewer (Win32)

As mention earlier post, I was having hard time on it, but at least I got it working, I really miss the tradition broadcasting time, which I used my own toolchain to do recordings, much more reliable!

Software – Google Earth (Win32)
I keep most logs of where I travel, view and backup them as KML by Google Earth.

My developed software
zipped jpg2pdf (Perl)
Since most of the comics we download from the internet is in zipped jpg/png format, which is not optimized for reading on iPad, by imagemagick, perl (image:size) and pdftk I developed this script to resize, align, crop, auto contrast the downloaded zip into a PDF.

Photo/File import by Dropbox (Perl)
I developed these script to help me automatically copy/move my files in dropbox to my local storage system for archive reason, or my dropbox account would surely be oversized in few days.

KML log clean up (Perl)
I setup my GPS Logger to log every seconds to improve accuracy, but sometimes the log gets messy with too much noise, this script cleans them up if I stay at a certain position for a pre-setted time frame.

Scanning TWAIN by web interface (Web/CGI/JSON/HTML)
Since my computer setup at home was different from normal users, I will have to get up and move to the scanner, place my scan and walk back to my keyboard and mouse for scans, which I do not like (3 second of life wasted…), so I developed this server-side scanning code.

A Home monitor/control web system (Web)
Control my main computer, monitoring home status

Secondary Backup:
Google Nexus One

My Toy of 2010, thanks to Google Inc, it was given as a gift back in 2010 Devconf, I sure did enjoy it, and sure did “promote” Android for them. πŸ™‚

iTech Clip 802

it was sitting on my bench for a while, the main issue why was it sitting there was charging, it uses a “not that normal” USB cable for charging, which I had to carry them to work or home, well, new hack is planned for it..

Sony Ericsson LiveView

it was an impulse and mistake order, haha, is good to see it first time, and honest I never get to “use” it at all…

LG HBM-700

A fun BT headset given by mate RP, I liked the idea since long ago, but do not see much device like it on the market, it is a bluetooth headset which included dialing function, which should be very good idea for those 3G enabled Tablet example Samsung Galaxy Tab out there.

That’s all I can think of, right now, I am sure I do miss some of them, but think of it if I can miss them that means I do not use them the much, at all…

Apple iPad
Apple iPad Camera connection Kit
Canon PowerShot S95
Canon CanoScan N670U
Code Laboratories
EyeFi Connect X2
Google Nexus One
Holux M-241 Wireless GPS Logger
iTech clip 802
LG HBM-700
LG P990 (aka Optimus 2X)
Polaroid Pogo Instant Mobile printer
Sony PlayStation Eye
Sony Ericsson LiveView

DVBViewer – try once again…

I was having a hard time on getting DVBViewer working, since I paid my hard earn cash with it there is no point of letting it sit there without using it, so here I come, work around and debug time…

For my earlier experience, please read: DVBViewer – Great idea, buggy codes…

Here is a list of my current status:

– DVBViewer which I was using, the first 4.6 series releases, is JUST buggy, which was released afterwards works just a little bit better..
– I found that running DVBViewer on a 64bit windows 7 system is tricky, I believe it is NOT that stable on 64bit system…
– From time to time DVBViewer is having problem at hardware drivers level, example, I set a record timer at certain time, it will start record, but recording are like 1xxkb ONLY, which of coz, does not contain the show I want to record, this is due to DVBViewer is having problem accessing hardware of the USB TV tuner card, it seems no TV signal was received by DVB to process, the only solution I found on this issue is physically unplug and replug the USB TV Tuner card from the system, my plan was using devcon to cron unplug and replug of the device by software, only to found that devcon is NOT working well and correctly on 64bit system…
– About the EPG Chinese chars mess up issue on Web Interface, it has been fixed by the latest Recording service (still in beta! always beta..), but it raises another problem, if recording filename is set to %event%, it mess up the output of recording, DVBViewer will NOT record correctly, filename will become ????, no solution yet, so I am off Recording Service at the meantime, back to using the build in Timer function of DVBViewer main program, which of coz, I will NEED to keep the main exe open…
– I request a function on DVBViewer official support forum about “was that possible to record subtitle in different file instead of all in 1 ts file”, all I got was a few line reply from officials that “No”, and a few reply from die-head fans which accuse me of “Not DVBViewer issue on converting recordings, and ts is open format…etc etc” well, is good to see there are user who is having good time with this software, and official support did reply quick, but dead end it is.
– Spend LOTS of time finding “how to extract subtitle from the TS recordings.”, this is NOT a hard thing, but due to different country/broadcaster uses different way of embedding subtitle in different system, it was a pain to trial an error and search to learn what is going on, in HK, all subtitles are broadcast by Image format, which is like SUB/SUP used in DVD/Bluray system, these subtitle are not in text, they are images, no teletext, project-x seems to be the only tool set I found working ok with the recordings from DVBViewer.

With all the time and effort of going though it, I manage to achieved certain level of my needs:
– Now I am able to record, NOT reliable tho, due to the hardware issue I mention above, I have yet to found a way to work with it..
– I am able to extract subtitle from the recorded stream by project-x, and am able to edit/crop/cut ads and unwanted part of the record on STD channels (4), which is broadcast in MPEG2 video stream, editing with project-x seems not supporting the HD channels, which is broadcast in h264 video stream, tho I am sure I can workaround it with other tool sets since it can still demux the ts file into parts.
– on STD recordings (MPEG2 video + multi channel AC3 audio +Sup/Sub subtitles), I first edit the wanted/unwanted part of the stream, demux the ts into different parts (m2v+ac3+sub+idx), and uses a tool call Avidemux to remux, encode them into AVC+AAC mp4 file format for using it with my devices.

What are my next moves?
– Getting recording service to work, as mention above, %event% with Chinese name mess up recordings (do not record correctly), I suggest this has to deal with internal coding on Windows 7 64 bit systems, which many other programs too have problem with utf8/big5/ascii code page conversion.
– Get more test on HD channels post-processing, should be piece of cake, the catch is it is gonna be slow I know since 1080 h264 re-encoding is gonna be hell even on my fastest working system.
– Embedding the subtitles and multiple audio tracks to the output file itself, the current sub/idx subtitle works fine with Media Player Classics, VLC and AirVideo on iDevice, but not if I want to sync it to my iDevice or Android device since it does not support sub/idx subtitles, it is known that m4v file format, which support embedding subtitle and multiple audio tracks and playback on iDevices, currently my approach is main mp4 file + different ac3 audio file + sub/idx subtitle file in same directory, which I think it would be nice if I can embed them in 1 file, the catch is I have to find a way to convert the sub/idx to srt format, which is TEXT file, a way to convert these images and time-line to text would be a challenge since it would require a good Chinese OCR software to be in the work.

That seems to be my current status, may update when there is more…
but by the way, I can at least getting some basic recording working.

DVBViewer – Great idea, buggy codes…

I have been using DVBViewer for watching TV on my system (say purchased, we come up to that later) for like 6 months or so by now, from their site and introduction, it looks very promising, very functional, but IMHO, the user experience was very bad..

I was attracted to its record format, especially in .TS format (unlike Windows Media Centre, protected .wtv format) with multi-language audio channel, subtitle support, and their recording service which support web base control is what I just needed, I can add/remove recording anytime anywhere.

First when I brought and install it, I used it a few times, but when I started to get more to work for it, example their recording service, their web interface, etc I just felt so upset and let it sat on my start menu and never used it any-more, here are some summary:

1. It crashed ALL THE TIME, or say, from time to time, at a random chances it just crashes, the main problem I have here is not even it crashes, it is refused to quit, killing it by ALL MEANS (TaskManager. taskkill.exe and some others like 1x ways) other than reboot did not help. and without killing or quitting it you cannot reopen it..

2. It has so much great ideas and plug-ins, addons, which if they all work would lead to so many useful solutions, but most of them does not work very well with each others, and reading those documentation is really not a happy job.

3. Since the developer is not English native speaker, main core documentation are not in English (in deutsch), or many of the needed documentation is either outdated “Fans” translated which is really confusing users.

I can get its basic function to work, that is, watch TV (skip the random crashes), but try to put them together never worked out well, all I wanted is their watching TV, recording service to record in .TS format by web interface and that’s it.

My current setup is:
– Recording service, as back end, with DVBServer, web interface on.
– DVBViewer, as front end, configured to work with the DVBServer by unicast to

The reason of my setup is because then I do not need to keep that buggy front-end on all the time, I do not like to hear what I am recording isn’t it?

The recording service is all time beta (an “addon” towards its core installations), within the service there are settings for web interface, which seems good, but utf8 EPG is broken for like I can’t remember since when, entering the option page would STOP the service (why? most system even Windoz would not)..

Trying to do record from web, which is call timer, it looks ok, when it was time for the record, it hangs…and there is NO way of killing the service either, it just hangs.

Trying to find where to remove the timer? sorry mate, not on the web interface.

About the main program DVBViewer Pro, way too many options confusing users, took me like at least a week or so to mostly “understand” them instead of using them, not talking about the confusing multilingual fan made not-up-to-date “documentation” reading, painful messy support forum searching, you will need that, since patches, workarounds, support are just ALL OVER the place, reading them is not a happy job I tell you.

Honest it took me a while to consider pay for it at the first point since they do not provide any Free/Trial/Demo, and I learned my lesson, NEVER pay for software that do not provide a FULL function trial..

A bit of experience in the painful crashes, which if you are having same problem as I had, try them out.
– When it crashes, hangs, and no luck in any-means, try kill the capture device by unplugging it, I mean physically, sometimes it helps, or else, sorry, reboot it is.
– If you were attracted by their so very rich function, think twice or at least physically see it in works before paying for it, see prove of concept is NOT a production solution.
– Once you are done setup with it and get all you need? DO NOT even try to change any settings, you cannot get them working anymore, no matter you set them back to what it used to be.

Adobe Photoshop CS preference corruption/damage problem.

One day when I was trying to work with the Adobe Photoshop CS, it stop working when I run the program, it hangs on loading splash screen where it stated it was loading preferences…

Tried killing it with Task Manager, Reboot, all did not seems to work, so google is always the best solution!

I came across this forum from google about almost the same issue.

It turns out there is a key input combo, by holding down shift + ctrl + alt when Photoshop starts, this force Photoshop to clear and rebuild the preferences files which solve my problem.

Working with PDF the free and easy way.

Since I got the Apple iPad a while back, I now deal with lots more PDF then I used to.

Very often we would like to do some simple work with PDFs, example: add/remove/swap pages/cover, split large PDF to multiple parts etc.

I tried quite some different freeware to work with PDFs, not as simple and as good as my need, some freeware has difficultly working with large PDFs (file size larger than 100MB or so), some of them do not work well on different/multiple pages resolution, some occupied crazy amount of memory (3GB+ for a 150 pages PDF)..

If you paid for the great Adobe Acrobat, things are a little bit better, their price do worth what it can do, but since my need was way too simple for that price, so it came to my interest to find a free and easier way to get my simple task done.

In the search, I found a program call pdftk, PDF Toolkit at which suits my needs.
First of all, the price is just right, it is free, and it does the simple job I want easily, especially I just love command line (CLI) programs, which I can do batch file processing.

Here is some examples:
To remove page 1,3 and page 301 from a PDF with 350 pages:
>pdftk INPUT.PDF cat 2 output TMP.002.PDF
>pdftk INPUT.PDF cat 4-300 output TMP.004-300.PDF
>pdftk INPUT.PDF cat 302-350 output TMP.302-350.PDF
>pdftk TMP.002.PDF TMP.004-300.PDF TMP.302-350.PDF cat output OUTPUT.PDF

To join all pdf in current directory to one PDF file:
>pdftk *.pdf cat output OUTPUT.PDF

I now use pdftk, imagemagick with a simple PERL script to process comics downloaded from the net.
Why so complicated you may ask, but handling downloaded comic images are a bit more work than you think, first many of these scans are in multiple page (2 page join in 1 image), which I do not like to see that on the iPad.
First the PERL script unzip the images into a tmp folder, using Image:Size, it tries to guess was the image merged from multiple pages (by width/height ratio), if split is needed it is then passed to imagemagick for splitting (left/right split), then resize is done too since we do not need very large image on the iPad, each page is then converted to a single PDF in imagemagick, finally we merge the PDFs into the final output by PDFTK.

Converting a 150 pages comic zip file from merged jpg/png to a single PDF is simple and quick (about 1~2 mins depends on how much work is needed on the resize and crop).