Tips and Answers

 

Video

  • How to copy a DVD.
  • How to Make a DVD from a Digital TV program.
  • How to Rip Music from a DVD.
  • How to Remove Scratches from a DVD or CD.
  • TMPGEnc-2.54.37.135

    Various

  • Things you should know about Windows 10
  • Bite the Bullet - Upgrade from VISTA/W7/W8 to XP!
  • Program the XP right-click menu
  • The Complete Guide to Cows, by Eric W. Tilenius
  • WordStar 4 - Antique word processor revived
  • Electronics Stuff
  • Daily Planet Temperature Images.

    Web

  • Use Explorer For FTP If You Have Firefox
  • Keeping Spam from Your Website

    Android

  • Rooting the Acer Iconica Tablet
  • Updating the Android hosts file

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


     

     

    Rooting the Acer Iconica Tablet A500             (  Android Honeycomb 3.1  )

    What is Tablet Rooting Anyway?

    People who have only had experience with microsoft windows operating systems will no doubt be wondering what this "rooting" stuff is all about. Well, this is definitely NOT used in the classic Australian context!

    In these tips I will be considering the Acer Iconia A500 Tablet which is a linux based system, specifically "Android Honeycomb 3.1". For other versions of android you will need to find a specific rooting package. The procedure is basically the same.

    A Greatly-Simplified History of Linux and Windows

    Linux is UNIX cut down for the personal PC. UNIX was one of the first computer operating systems, used on mainframe systems. It is completely open-source.

    When IBM released their personal computer, an operating system was required for it. UNIX was considered but it was just too big to fit on desktop-sized PCs. UNIX was developed into "Linux" by Linus Torvalds in 1991, like UNIX it is completely open-source which means - no secrets, nothing hidden, nothing that everybody can't look at.

    Another development that preceded linux was CP-M which became microsoft MS-DOS which definitely was NOT open source and was later developed into windows that most people are familiar with.

    The underlying philosophies of Linux and Windows are thus diametrically apart with linux being a global community-based project which everybody is encouraged to participate in, and windows which is sealed, secret and very un-friendly to work with. To many linux people working with windows is like trying to eat gravel.

    "Android" is a linux based operating system was developed specifically for small hand-held devices like mobile phones and tablet PCs.

    What does "root" mean?

    Consider a tree with roots and branches. The "root" is the lowest part. Everything develops from the root. The branches are the various files and applications, everything depends on the root. A slight change at root level and everything else is affected.

    Anything at hardware level is at root level. This includes the hard drive, memory etc. Anything that affect the way the operating system works is also root level. Anything that affects the security of the system is also root level. A user has "root" access when they have "permission" to alter any of the above.

    Why the need to "ROOT" it?

    There are many applications that require certain minor changes to the operating system to work. For instance, an internet filter needs to be able to install files of web addresses to block. To do this it needs to update certain system files - this requires root access to do. So a person without root access cannot install many types of applications. If you try to install an app requiring root, it will stop with an error message about not being able to access certain facilities or not being able to write to certain files. Many people like to have this ability, even if they don't want to install apps needing root, because without it their tablet is not entirely their own.

    What's Involved?

    Linux has excellent security. It was originally designed that way with the development of UNIX. Every file on a linux system has a set of "permissions". Permissions to read, write and execute for various types of user. Ordinary users are at the lowest level. System operators would be next. Then come the Super-Users. This class of user has root access, they have access to the entire system.

    In the android system thankfully, a little loop-hole was left available to make it possible for the owner to become a Super-User. This means that the owner can "take possession" of their own tablet.

    This is not a job for the inexperienced however. Thankfully this job is greatly simplified by some apps which do the job for you. Be warned that poking around as root is dangerous. If you do anything at all, make sure you first know what you are doing. Many manufactures will void the warranty if they discover that root access had been granted.

    As root, certain applications will install and run. That's the main thing. Unless you know what you are doing, just leave it at that.

    Procedure to Root Acer Iconica Tab A500

  • The usual warnings about backing up any important data apply.
  • Make sure that the USB Debugging is enabled in your tablet.
  • Setting up

    Whenever you run an app that requires root access the Super User will pop up asking you to confirm the granting of root access to that app.
    Answer YES and it will be remembered.

     

     
     

     

    Updating the Android hosts file

    What is the hosts file?

    The hosts file is a linux / windows file that lists IP addresses and domain names.
    On linux systems it can be found at "/etc". On windows systems it is buried at "C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc".
    Consider it as the first option for DNS (Domain Name System) Lookup - given a domain name, lookup the IP address.
    The difference between the hosts file and DNS Lookup is that the HOST file is a local file. DNS Lookup is done by a remote DNS server.
    Being a local file, it is most often used in local networks but can also be used to define web servers on the internet.

    A common use for the hosts file is to redirect traffic from the web to the local network.
    For example, here is a simple hosts file:-

      127.0.0.1 localhost 74.125.237.152 oo 192.168.7.7 www.rampant.server.com 0.0.0.0 www.disgustingad.server.com

     

    On the first line the address 127.0.0.1 is universally reserved to indicate the local computer. So that whenever the domain name "localhost" is encountered, that IP address is provided.

    On the next line a shortcut address is provided for Google. If you then open a web browser and type "oo" you will get Google (without having to do a DNS Lookup).

    On the next line, all requests for the server "www.rampant.server.com" are redirected to a local computer with the IP address of 192.168.7.7 which has its own alternative server to provide some or all of the functions of "www.rampant.server.com".

    The most common use for the hosts file is to redirect calls for unwanted servers into a "Black Hole". This is illustrated by the last line which redirects requests for "www.disgustingad.server.com" to a special reserved IP address of 0.0.0.0 which means nowhere. This is often used to prevent web pages from accessing malware and spyware sites as well as certain types of ad servers.

    Updating the Android hosts file

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


     

     

    How to copy a DVD

    Is it Legal?
    You should backup your favourite DVDs because DVDs can deteriorate over time through:-

    Is is of course illegal to make a copy of a disk unless it is to make a backup copy, however you should check your own national or state laws as some governments consider any copying illegal. Also, you my wish to remove some offensive material from DVDs. With CDs there is the additional issue of portability, ie, if you want to listen to your new CD via your iPod or Mp3 player then you have to be able to copy it.
     

     
    NB: All video editing software for download is hosted on this site as much is no longer available from the original source for various reasons. Also, all these programs I use myself and I can certify them completely clean. Another download source may be contaminated as a lot of recent video editing software seems to be a hot-bed of malware.... Be Careful downloading these tools elsewhere!
     
    (All work well under windows 7 - 8 and possibly W10.)


     

     
    Encryption
    Most likely the first problem you encounter when you go to backup a DVD is the gobbeldy-gook caused by DVD encryption. If you just copy the DVD folder structure to you hard drive you will get windows reporting data errors which leads you to think that the disk is faulty. Then if you manage to get the data off and then burn it to another disk using NTI or Nero for instance the picture will be sort of scrambled. Some bits may be OK but the overall effect is that the disk is un-watchable.

    Most commercial DVDs are encrypted by a simple process and every DVD player (hardware or software) has an algorithm built in to decode it. An excellent program to decode and copy a DVD to your hard drive is DVD Decrypter.



    Insert the DVD into the drive and start DVD Decrypter.
    Click the DVD symbol when ready.

    It will create a folder (usually with the name of the DVD) in the root directory (C:\) of your hard drive (or the drive with the most free space) and copy the decrypted files there.


     

     
    Compression
    Unless you purchase double-layer blank DVDs (which are expensive, hard to obtain and require a very good quality duel layer drive to burn properly) the next problem you are likely to encounter is that the DVD data files will not fit on a standard single layer low cost disk. What is required is a means of reducing the size of the DVD files without noticeably affecting picture or sound quality. An excellent means of doing this is with DVD Shrink



     
    Run DVD Shrink, click Open Files and point
    it to the DVD folder that DVD Decrypter created.
     
    DVD Shrink will analyse the DVD files.
     

     
    Then click Backup and then select Target Device
     

     
    and then select the "ISO Image file and Burn with DVD Decrypter" option.

    Next select a name and location for the compressed DVD image (ISO) file, or use the default C:\DVD.ISO
    If the DVD needs compressing to fit then select Quality Settings tab, tick the two boxes there and select Maximum Sharpness then click OK.

    The process takes anywhere from 30 mins to 2 hours depending on how powerful your computer is and how much compression is required.
     
    As mentioned, DVD Decrypter has a built-in ISO file burner. You might want to open DVD Decrypter and check the burn settings before DVDShrink is ready for it:-   Select Mode then ISO then Write.

    A note on burn speed
    Now check that the burn speed is not set to MAX. Burning disks too fast causes a lot of defects. Verify this for yourself - examine a disk burnt at high speed under a bright light and you will likely notice a kind of shadow pattern over the disk surface caused by thousands of tiny black spots. This disk will develop data errors sooner that a disk burnt at a lower speed. I use 4x. This speed produces almost NO rejects and the disks remain reliable.

    Also tick if you want the disk to be verified. (Not a good idea for re-writable disks as these "wear out" quickly and cause a lot of data errors but luckily most of them are un-noticeable.) Verifying will almost double the total time but is a good way to check that the disk burnt OK. It beats getting half way thru a movie only to discover that the disk is unwatchable !

    Close DVD Decrypter when done. It automatically saves your settings and will use them whenever you (or DVD Shrink) use it.

    Weeding-out
    After you import DVD files into DVDShrink it will indicate the amount of compression it has had to use so as it will fit. Depending on the source material, compression begins to get noticeable below about 60% (which means the DVD files are now 60% of their original size). If you think there is too much compression or if DVDShrink is showing Red at the right hand end of the green indicator bar (which means that even with maximum compression the files are still too big to burn) you will have to remove some material that you don't need.

    First un-tick any foreign language sound files and/or subtitles you don't need.

    English sound/subtitles are usually the first in the list. If unsure click play button (lower left) and check.
    If still to big then you will need to Re-Author.


     

     
    Click Re-Author then select the main feature only.

    Click Re-Author then drag what you want from the right hand side to the left. This should definitely make if fit now, but just in case it does not then you will have to compress it twice - open the completed ISO file for input and compress it again; be aware that the finished product may be grainy and or jerky.

     

     

     

     

    How to Make a DVD from a Digital TV program

    Demux
    This assumes that your TV hardware produces .TP (transport protocol) or .TS (transport stream) data files. If yours is not producing this type of file then check to see if it can be configured to do so. Sometimes ".tp" files are named as ".mpg" depending on the TV software. (The best way to be sure is to try it.)

    Digital TV files consist of various types of program information all multiplexed together. Like traffic on a main road there might be a bus then a bike, then car, truck etc. The road can be considered to have a multiplexed traffic flow.

    Digital TV transmissions might contain one or more video streams, several different audio streams of different languages as well as different language subtitles, teletext and other data streams used to control transmitters and relay stations etc.


     

     
    ProjectX
    Before Digital TV can be put into DVD format the various types of data needs to be separated out (DeMultiplexed). Programs to do this are surprisingly hard to find. ProjectX is an open source java project that does just that. It takes as input your transport file and produces a file for every wanted type of data contained within.

    You must have the Java Run-Time environment installed. This is often included with new computers. You can download the latest version (use caution) from Sun or download jre15020.exe from here (XP). For Windows 7 you will also need the jre-1_5_0_22-windows-i586-p.exe update.

    A linux version of java is also available from SUN. (ProjectX_0.90.4.00 works just as well under linux with no modification!)

    To install - Unzip ProjectX into C:\ProjectX and Click ProjectX.jar to start.
    ProjectX is a very sophisticated piece of software. However most settings do not need altering.
     


     

     
    Click File -> Add
     
    (if your files are broken up into spans then select all
    of them with the Cntl key, projectx automatically joins them up).
     

     
    Click the "[+]" at the bottom right of the screen and choose an output folder.
     
     --> 
     
    Click Prepare on the middle left and check that Demux is selected.
     

     
    Close that and then click Quick Start or you can now CROP beginning and end.
     

     
    Use the arrow buttons to move to the start of the TV program and click the [+] as indicated.
    Now move the slider to near the end and use the arrow buttons for precision then click the [+] button again.
    Click Quick Start to begin the demux.

    The actual file format written depends on the .TP content. Video is usually .MPV or .M2V, audio can be .MP2 or .AC3 for instance. If you have a TV card/Software that can extract Teletext data then ProjectX can provide subtitle files as well - the format depends on your location etc.
     
    Digital TV transmissions have a certain amount of data errors per hour, this varies depending on factors such as Rain, Signal Strength and interference. As well as a demux function ProjectX also corrects or compensates for data errors which can upset DVD players. The number of data errors found is displayed top right. It is normal to have 5 - 300 errors, many are automatically corrected or compensated for.
     
    ProjectX can be used from the command line as well. Click here for a simple batch file. ProjectX works perfectly with Windows 7.
     

     
    Removing TV Advertisements
    While ProjectX has rudimentary editing functions it is not the best tool to use to remove TV ads. Mpeg2Schnitt is the best I've tried. The only drawback is that there is very little english help but once you grasp the basics it is very easy and quick to use.
    NB: Mpeg2Schnitt only works with demuxed file pairs (video and Audio). Mpeg2Schnitt works perfectly with Windows 7.
     


    Click File then Open Video/Audio and select the video file that ProjectX created (.MPV). Mpeg2Schnit automatically adds the corresponding audio file.

    Mpeg2Schnitt will analyse and load the file. This process is slow but you can configure ProjectX to automatically generate an Mpeg2Schnitt IDD file when you demux your TP file. This will considerably speed up the loading process.

    To configure ProjectX to produce the Mpeg2Schnitt idd file
    click Presetting then Extern and tick Mpeg2Schnitt IDD Version V2/A3

    In general, there are two ways to edit video or audio:-

  • 1) Cut out what you don't want. ProjectX works in this way.
  • 2) Cut out what you DO want. This is the way Mpeg2Schnitt works.
    With Mpeg2Schnitt you create a series of cuts of material you want to keep (Cut List). The program then creates a new output file from these cuts.
     

     
    Move to the BEGINNING of a section you want using the
    slider and then use the RED arrow buttons and then click  IN 
     
    Now move to the END of the section using the slider and
    then use the MIDDLE ORANGE arrow buttons and then click OUT
     
    Now click CUT. This adds the selection to the cut list.
     

     
    click GO when done.

    MpegSchnitt will ask for a name to save the output as then write all the cuts together into one file pair (video and audio). Note that if the time is shown in red then the cut point is not valid and may produce undesirable effects. Use the LOWER YELLOW arrows to make single frame adjustments. There are a lot of other very useful features, just put the mouse over something to find out what it does.

     

     

     

     
     

     

    How to Author a DVD.

     

    While there are lots of DVD authoring programmes available, the most flexible and therefore the most powerful is GUI for DVDAuthor which is a GUI wrapper for DVDAuthor. GUI for DVDAuthor works perfectly with Windows 7.

    Drag the .MPV file produced by ProjectX or Mpeg2Schnitt from the panel on the left into the center area. The audio file will automatically be added.

    Right-click the title and you can edit the text, change font, colour etc.

    On the left there is a tree structure, under Menu you can right-click and change highlight and activated colours, as well you can right-click and change background image or colour.

    As well you can Right-click and change source files. You can import .mpg files.
    Click Images and/or text at the top of the screen to insert these. (It needs AviSynth 2.57 installed before you can insert video files for animated menus.) DVDAuthor is an immensely powerful programme, with it you can do anything at all provided you are prepared to edit some .xml, .avs. and .bat files, however for menus using basic images or animations (including gif masks operations) no file editing is required.

    Click Create DVD to create the DVD file structure ready for burning with whatever DVD burning software you have. If you have installed Nero 6 then you can click Burn DVD which will Burn the disk using nero.

    Click Settings then Project you can set up basic project settings including destination folders, autoburn (if nero 6 is installed) and whether to use animated menus as well as use titlesets or not.

    If Use Titlesets is enabled then each title you have on the disk is in a seperate VOB file(s). You don't have to have titlesets enabled if all your titles have the same aspect ratio, size and the same type of audio file. So if you have recorded from digital TV a number of programmes off of the same channel then they can all go into one titleset which simplifes the DVD menu structure. If you inadvertently put a title with .ac3 sound and one with .mp2 sound into the same title you will not get any warnings but when you play the DVD (on a DVD player) only one title will have sound! The computer will play them OK but a DVD player will not. This can be a real trap for the un-wary.

    Also, there must be 9 or less vob file parts. A duel layer disk can hold up to 8.5Gb and the max file size on a DVD is 1 Gb. Vob files are automatically broken up into 1Gb parts by the authoring software so the max number of parts a vob file can be broken into is 9.

    Example:- VTS_01_0.VOB to VTS_01_8.VOB. In this case the vob file is VTS_01 and it has 9 parts. VTS_01_9.VOB should never exist.

    If you try and use more than 9 parts to a vob file you will not get any errors from DVDAuthor but DVDShrink will crash if you try and compress it. If this happens then the simplest cure is to use tilesets which breaks the DVD into 1 vob file per title. (This is really a bug in DVDShrink because if you intend to compress the files then an uncompressed fileset can exceed the maximum size for a DVD.)

    If you click Create Batch then only the batch files will be prepared so you can edit them. (Run MAINBATCH.BAT when done.)

    DVDAuthor will call Mplex to re-multiplex (re-mux) video and audio into an .mpg if required.
    The .mpg produced can be found in \..DVDAuthor Files path..\temp if you want to save it for future use. (Using an .mpg instead of a video/audio file pair will be faster as they are already re-muxed but the downside is that if you want to edit it you will have to de-mux it again using ProjectX etc)

    Note that some settings can't be altered once the project has begun so be sure to change basic options like Animated Menus and Titlesets in Settings - Project before you add video files to your project.

     

     

     

     
     

     

    Rip Music from a DVD?

    Just follow the above procedure for ProjectX but point it at the .vob files written by DvdDecrypter. ProjectX can demux almost any Mpeg2 format not just .TP or .TS. DvdDecrypter also has a demux function for DVDs. The audio files produced will have to be converted to MP3 or WAV format.
    A Good program for this is BeLight. BeLIght is a GUI wrapper for BeSweet which can convert any audio file type to any other. BeSweet can even rip the audio from .vob files which means you don't even have to run ProjectX - just run DvdDecrypter. The files produced will have a sample rate of 48Khz, ie more bandwidth than your average mp3 which means higher fidelity.

    Procedure using DVDDecrypter and BeLight

  • Download and install DvdDecrypter
  • Download and install BeLight
  • Download VobInput.dll and put it into the same folder as BeLight.
  • Insert DVD to rip, load DVDDecrypter and note the destination folder.
  • Click on the DVD symbol to start
  • Start BeLight and browse to the Vob files written by DVDDecrypter
  • Set the output type to whatever you want, ie, mp3 etc. It is not a good idea to alter the sample rate as this can cause some interference to the sound quality - just leave it as 48khz. You can alter the bit rate with no problems if you find that the audio files produced are too big (for email, ipod etc). If you have a GOOD quality ipod or mp3 player with GOOD quality headphones then 128Kbs will be required for good sound otherwise you can use 96kbs as it will sound no different. (The lower this number the more compression and hence the smaller the files produced).

    If the sound level of the output file is low then tick Boost Mode and try it again.

    You may have to repeat this procedure for each .vob file until you find the music you are looking for.
    To have DVDDecrypter merge all vob files into one big file click Tools - settings - File Mode then set File Splitting to none.

     

     

     

     

    How to Remove Scratches from a DVD or CD

    An irritating problem with plastic disks is that they are easily scratched. Most DVD/CD players can tolerate a great deal of scratching but eventually enough is enough and the program may glitch or even freeze.

    The area where scratches have the most effect is right on the edge of the disk particularly if the scratch runs parallel to the disk edge. These may be only a few millimeters long but their effect can be devastating.

    Fortunately the answer is fairly simple - BRASSO which is a very fine metal polish that has always been used to polish perspex visors, goggles etc. It is also good for polishing ipod screens.

    Use a piece of tissue paper and rub the disk all over using a constant pressure, at this stage it does not matter which direction you rub. Polish it off and examine the disk. What remains are all but the lightest scratches and dirt.

    Re-apply and work on what remains using a fresh tissue (don't re-use old pieces as the brasso may have hardened and may actually scratch the disk).

    Don't concentrate on a very small area as this causes the disk to become concave at that point which behaves like a lens and de-focuses the laser. Make the minimum work area about 20mm dia.

    It is useful to have DvdDecrypter loaded and be ripping the disk. When it stops reading eject the disk, polish, return and click RETRY. (you may have to set 'Disable Tray Locking During READ' in Tools - settings - Device and also set Software Read Errors Retries to 0 in Tools - settings - I/O).

    Be sure always to remove ALL the brasso including around the inside of the hole. It is a good idea to avoid getting brasso in the center hole because it can penetrate under the label.

    An old electric toothbrush can be useful for problem areas, particularly near the edge, but remember not to make the work area too small or press too hard. Also the brush will leave the area frosted which will have to be polished out using tissue.

    To finish, re-apply brasso and work rapidly with light strokes backwards and forwards between the center and the outside, rotating the disk occasionally, continue until the entire disk is done. Polish off the same way.

     

     

     

     


    Bite the Bullet - Upgrade from VISTA / W7 / W8 to XP!

    While Windows 7 and Vista look very nice, once you get over the novelty of all the beautiful graphics, you start to notice more and more all the things missing that you were used to in XP. All these little things soon add up to make you wish you still had XP.

    One thing that they have never fixed even with windows 8 is Vista/W7/W8's inability to consistently restore network connections after standby or hibernate. What you are often met with is an error message about the network name already being in use! (oh dear....) If you had 20 folders open when the computer went to sleep you will often have 20 error message boxes when it wakes up - and you have to close each of them individually. Whereas with XP this kind of thing NEVER happens. This alone is enough to keep me with XP as my "windows" of choice. (Unless it is Wi-Fi connection. Windows XP will then issue the error messages before it restores the wi-fi)

    Another thing I find annoying is that the computer will go to sleep/hibernate/power off while it is being used. I kid you not! If you are doing a anti-virus scan or other diagnostics and you come back some time later ready to get on with the next thing you will often find that it has gone to sleep and not finished. One has to disable sleep power management beforehand or turn it off completely.

    Another annoyance is that windows 7 will delete any network icons on your desktop (Scheduled weekly usually at 1am sunday or the next opportunity). It looks as if microsoft are just trying to be annoying!

    As for windows 8, it seems be all-round worse than w7. At least W7 had aero as it's one saving grace - W8 does not even have that! Also, Gadgets have been removed from Windows 8. Another example: windows explorer gives misleading information about the last-modified time on files. The most recent file shown can often be incorrect - even of you refresh the listing! You actually have to open the file (and not modify it) and close it again before explorer will update file info. Also, if you change things like entries in your hosts file (even as administrator), W8 will simply change it back again.... (You must disable "defender" to prevent this kind of behaviour. Windows 7 will at least give you a choice.)

    Another thing is that is has become much harder for the user to tailor how windows opens files. Under XP there is an applet to allow the user to set the file associations and icons that explorer uses to display filenames. Under Windows 7 (32 bit) this is absent. However the user can still do this via the registry. But under W7 64 bit using the registry to do this just does not work - file associations are not changed and chosen icons never appear. The problem seems to be fixed in W8 however.

    This stuff is fundamental - these are basic precepts of computing which are being flouted. It seems that every new version is somehow worse than the previous, instead of the other way round.

    Now with Windows 10 all your personal files will be automatically copied overseas to a microsoft server ("The Cloud"). It is very difficult to prevent this happening when you "upgrade" to W10. (Be careful as under Australian law it is illegal to store certain legal documents overseas.) Also, Microsoft think they have the right to claim as their property all your files because they are stored on their servers. This is still being fought over in the courts. Also Microsoft wants access to your files (not just keep them on their servers), you can however choose not to share your file content with Microsoft by un-ticking a box.

    The "FREE" upgrade to W10 comes with not just strings but chains attached.

    If you want to replace Vista/w7/W8 with XP the easiest way is to delete the existing partition table before installing XP because the bootloaders are quite different. Boot off a DOS disk or a WIN98 CD, or a linux live CD and use the fdisk utility. You can also use "Advanced Options" on a w7 installation disk to delete the partitions. (This will of course delete all your files so back-up whatever you want to keep first.)

    Also on certain new notebooks there may only be support for SATA hard drives and no floppy drive to give XP setup SATA drivers when asked, so you would then need a XP disk with SATA drivers integrated. An excellent program for making integrated windows disks is nLite. SATA drivers for your mainboard can be obtained from the manufacture's download site. Many boards use Intel chips so try Intel SATA drivers if all else fails.

    Continue using XP after April 2014
    Microsoft ended support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014. As usual there are a lot of fear inducing statements from microsoft and others as to why you should immediately rush out and buy a new PC. This is absolute RUBBISH!.

    XP is a reliable and stable platform, for most people it is quite safe to use for as long as hardware drivers support it. If you buy a new computer however, there may not be drivers available for XP, so XP won't last forever, but it will last as long as the supporting hardware lasts.

     

     

    Things you should know about Windows 10

    Windows 10 is Microsoft's latest brain-child and promises to be VERY lucrative for them. "How?" - you may ask, when they are giving it away for free! The answer is simple and it will bring tears to the eyes of psychopaths world-wide:

    Stick with windows 7 (or even XP). Get rid of windows 10 upgrade malware. There are a lot of ways to do this. Here is one by Steve Gibson.

    The Upgrade malware comes via Windows Automatic-Updates. Initially it was part of an "Optional Update" and it pops-up adverts to upgrade for "free". The status was then changed to "Recommended Update" which means that if you have "Optional Updates" unchecked, you will now get the malware.

    Now is has been advanced to "Security Update" which means that you will get it if you have automatic updates turned ON. It is now virtually compulsory. You can still decline, but you have to have the Windows Updates screen visible to do so. However, if you click the red cross at the top RHS to cancel the upgrade, it may received as an "OK" to upgrade.

    You may be using your computer and it will suddenly re-boot with the message "Do Not Turn Off Your Computer - Installing Critical Security Updates..." and upgrade to W10. Many of your programs (Apps) will be disabled and some files may be lost.

    This Malware has been described as the Worst Malware Ever. If you are using W7, W8, or W8.1 then it is strongly recommended that you take steps to avoid getting this malware.

    Also, it is getting harder to buy a new computer without W10. Microsoft make if very difficult for big stores to sell a computer with any windows version but W10. Shop at the small stores.

    In a nutshell - Windows 10 is Spyware.

     

    Create a System Image safeguard:-

    If you don't want to turn Automatic Updates OFF then you can still be protected from the upgrade by creating a System Image on an external Hard Drive and keeping your current working files backed-up on a memory stick etc.

     

     

    Keeping Spam from Your Website

    I maintain a small website with a simple form to allow users to leave comments and ask questions. Recently I've noticed an increase in the amount of spam hits to that form. The comments are generated by robots and mostly consists of random sentences collected from other sites. Sometimes just random words. Most include a web link to operations marketing all kinds of consumer junk.

  • In a 12 month period I had approx 77,000 spam hits.
  • These consisted of about 12,000 individual IP addresses.

    I hate Captchas, and do not want one on my own website.

    My first approach was to simply filter out all messages that included a web link with a note to bona fide users not to include web links in their message. The attacks were still hitting my CGI but did not progress any further.

    However, up to 30 hits per hour (without links) were still triggering emails. These have no intelligible content whatsoever, purely designed to overload small web servers like my own.

    I decided to start investigating the source of these attacks. First of all I started recording the IP addresses of the attackers but I soon realised that:-

    
      Of the 12,000 individual IP addresses used:-
      
      CN   9053    China
      UA   1340    Ukraine
      US   819     United States
      RU   475     Russian Federation
      LT   79      Lithuania
      FR   66      France
      BR   55      Brazil
      GB   40      United Kingdom
      ...
    
    
    What was needed is a Country based filter against the worst offenders. My web site statistics show almost no bona fide visitors from China or Ukraine, but quite a lot of bona fide visits from many of the countries below them on that list.

    Filters were created to block access from China and Ukraine. (I hate to block anybody but in this case there was simply no other way. Also, using filters, particularly htaccess files can affect performance.)

    I have prepared a series of text files containing Apache CIDR "Deny From" strings to be inserted into a '.htaccess' file or directly into a Directory entry within httpd.conf.

    For other servers the 'IP ranges' files are also provided.

    I have covered all countries because in your location other countries may be a problem. The files can be download from Here

    I have also provided a file of Apache "Deny From" strings of the worst of the recent spammers  - deny.txt (from countries other than CN or UA)

    All these files are updated monthly.

    This is by no-means a perfect solution. These spammers are still using some of my bandwith. I'm still getting about 1-2 attacks per hour from other countries but these I can cope with.

    Download Country Filters

     

    The data is extracted monthly from GeoIP database - http://www.maxmind.com.

     

     

    Program the XP or W7 right-click menu

    While it is possible to do this using a similar method to the method shown above for Use Explorer For FTP If You Have Firefox.  (Instead of using "Edit", select "New")

    It is recommended that you use the .reg method to write directly to the registry as you get much more control over what happens:-

      Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00   ;RightClicks.reg   ;.Reg file to add the DEMUX option to the XP right-click menu for .MPG files     ;create the class MpgStuff [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\MpgStuff]   ;this line defines the explorer file Type description in folder listings ;for the MpgStuff class @="mpg file"   ;define flags:- ;EditFlags 00 means no special attributes have been defined for that class. ;BrowserFlags 0x8 or 0x9 indicates that a particular app should open in its ;own window when its associated file is clicked. "EditFlags"=dword:00000000 "BrowserFlags"=dword:00000008   ;this line creates the shell key for MpgStuff [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\MpgStuff\shell]       ;Now define the demux function for MpgStuff:- ;add the shell\demux key [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\MpgStuff\shell\Demux]   ;This line defines the right-click menu text for demux @="Demux mpg"   ;this line creates the Demux command key [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\MpgStuff\shell\Demux\command]   ;this line specifies the actual command to perform the demux ;in this case a batch file located in c:\bats. @="C:\\bats\\Demux.bat \"%1\""   ;(The double backshashes are intentional as the first one escapes the second ; as do the ones preceding the quotes)       ;these two entries point file classes ".mpg" to the new "MpgStuff" class:- ;(The windows default for .mpg is "mpegfile") [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.mpg] @="MpgStuff" [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\.mpg] @="MpgStuff"

     

    (Copy and paste to a text file named RightClicks.reg then save, double-click and confirm.)

    Once you have the new "MpgStuff" class then another entry can be added for .mpg file. This ads a Demux-Remux option.
    The selected .mpg file will be demuxed and then remuxed:-

      Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00 [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\MpgStuff\shell\DemuxRemux] @="Demux-Remux" [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\MpgStuff\shell\DemuxRemux\command] @="C:\\bats\\D-Rmux.bat\"%1\""

     

     

      And here are the batch files:-

      Demux using ProjectX:-

      

      rem "Demux.bat"   rem Define output folder:- set outpath="c:\ProjectXfiles"   java -jar C:\ProjectX\projectx.jar %1 -ini C:\ProjectX\x.ini -out %outpath%\ pause

     

    If you don't already have a "C:\ProjectXfiles" folder then create one or change the above "outpath= " line to suit.

    The "-ini C:\ProjectX\x.ini" is optional, use "x.ini" file to define certain ProjectX refinements such as Mpeg2Schnitt IDD support etc.

      To use demux.bat from the command line:-

      demux moviefile.mpg
      

     

      Here is the D-Rmux.Bat file:-

      

      rem "D-Rmux.Bat"   rem Define output and temporary folders:- set drive=C: set outpath=\TV set PjXoutpath=\ProjectXfiles   rem Demux %drive% java -jar C:\ProjectX\projectx.jar %1 -out "%PjXoutpath%" if errorlevel==1 goto done   rem Remux cd "%PjXoutpath%" set soundfile=0 if exist "%~n1.mp2" set soundfile="%~n1.mp2" if exist "%~n1.ac3" set soundfile="%~n1.ac3" if %soundfile%==0 goto nosound   c:\mplex\mplex -f 8 -o "%outpath%\%~n1.mpg" "%~n1.mpv" %soundfile% goto done   :nosound @echo off echo Can't find a "%~n1.ac3" nor a "%~n1.mp2"   :done pause

     

    If you don't already have a "C:\TV" folder then create one or change the above "outpath= " line to suit.

     

    Mplex.exe is a utility used to multiplex (re-mux) a video and sound file to make a .mpg
    Put it into a folder c:\mplex

      To use D-Rmux.bat from the command line:-

      D-Rmux moviefile.mpg
    

     

     

     

     

     

     


    David Dorling May 05, 2016
    PC Repair and Service
    Contact us