Posts Tagged ‘software’

Remove pre-installed HP, Dell, Asus, Acer, Toshiba not needed default vendor software on a new bought PC notebook quickly with Decrap My Computer

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

remove-default-unneded-software-from-manufacturer-hp-asus-acer-dell-toshiba
While browsing today and looking for software to clean up all the spy software from my corporate HP laptop, I've come across an interesting tool called Decrap which aims at removing Bloatware from a Windows PC / notebook

So what is Bloatware ?

The term Bloatware (also called jokingly crapware) is term is the one that was coined to describe, the default pre-installed software that comes to you together with Windows pre-installed OS by the hardware manufacturer.
I'm sure anyone who bought brand new branded PC or laptop over the last 10 years have already suffered the unwanted and unnecessery
bunch of software that comes pre-installed freeware programs aiming to help you in your daily work but in reality just slowing down your PC
and showing annoying popups or at best keeping useless in Windows system apptray.

Let me give you an example:

Cleanup (Remove) common ASUS, HP, Dell default  installed unneded (Bloatware) software

Many users may want to uninstall ASUS Crapware software such as ASUS Tutor, ASUS LifeFrame3, ASUS WebStorage and ASUSVibe.

Like Asus, HP computers often come preloaded with useless software from factory, example for this is HP Customer Service enhancements, HP Update, HP Total Care Setup and ProtectSmart.

If you buy Dell PC notebook soon you'll discover that there are several preloaded software (often unnecessery software) such as Dell Stage, Dell Digital Delivery and Dell DataSafe.

Toshiba computers and notebooks contain pre-loeaded "crapware" software from Toshiba.
Just to mention a few of those: Toshiba Disc Creator, Toshiba ReelTime, Service Station, Bulletin Board and Toshiba Assist.

Often there are fingerprint reader programs, Wi-Fi connection managers, Bluetooth managers, Audio Management sofware and other third party vendor software which tend to be not working as good as others softwares from third vendor, so Decrap is to help you to identify and remove these too in a easy GUI manner.

Non-experienced Computer users often leave the bloatware to hang around for even years and only if some relative that is an IT involved person / sysadmin / Even once you're aware that the Bloatware is on the system the ordinary user is hard to remove it as he is scared not to break the system.
Besides that fften this bloatware just soft comes so much integrated into Windows that removing it costs hours of tries and research online on
all the Bloatware components and even then could mislead you so you break the PC. programmer etc. comes home of such users finds out about the happily existing of the useless software on the notebook.


So here is Decrap My Computer coming at place aiming to help to remove the unnecessery Hardware vendor software in few easy (Click, Click, Click Next ..) steps.

decrap-my-computer-clean-up-bloatware-crapware-on-windows-laptop-main-gui

Then decrap does silently all the complex operations and suggestions to make the HP, Dell, Asus, Toshiba manufacturer prebundled software to be stopped and uninstalled.
Decrap My Computer is a freeware, lightweight and easy to use and lets you safely remove crapware and bloatware, or any software, from any Windows PC.

Even for Old computers, Decrap comes handy for the unexperienced avarage user who used his laptop with this useless  default vendors programs silently killing the performance respectively user experience for years.

Using Decrap is quite intuitive PC is scanned for Bloatware and then after a backup Windows Restore Point is offered you're offered to review and Uninstall the unwanted softwares. There is also an automatic mode but those one still could be a bit dangerous, so use the automatic mode only on multiple machines with the same model  / brand notebooks that comes prebundled with same sofware after testing and confirming the automatic mode on 1 initial machine will not break up some needed functionality.

decrap-your-pc-clean-up-windows-from-hp-dell-toshiba-asus-bloatware-unuseful-programs

Here is few screenshots of the tool in action:
decrap-choose-what-default-laptop-manufacturer-software-you-want-to-clean-from-new-bought-pc

decrap-choose-what-default-laptop-manufacturer-software-you-want-to-clean-from-new-bought-pc-1

decrap-choose-what-default-laptop-manufacturer-software-you-want-to-clean-from-new-bought

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Must have software on freshly installed windows – Essential Software after fresh Windows install

Friday, March 18th, 2016

Install-update-multiple-programs-applications-at-once-using-ninite

If you're into IT industry even if you don't like installing frequently Windows or you're completely Linux / BSD user, you will certainly have a lot of friends which will want help from you to re-install or fix their Windows 7 / 8 / 10 OS. At least this is the case with me every year, I'm kinda of obliged to install fresh windowses on new bought friends or relatives notebooks / desktop PCs.

Of course according to for whom the new Windows OS installed the preferrences of necessery software varies, however more or less there is sort of standard list of Windows Software which is used daily by most of Avarage Computer user, such as:
 

I tend to install on New Windows installs and thus I have more or less systematized the process.

I try to usually stick to free software where possible for each of the above categories as a Free Software enthusiast and luckily nowadays there is a lot of non-priprietary or at least free as in beer software available out there.

For Windows sysadmins or College and other public institutions networks including multiple of Windows Computers which are not inside a domain and also for people in computer repair shops where daily dozens of windows pre-installs or a set of software Automatic updates are  necessery make sure to take a look at Ninite

ninite-automate-windows-program-deploy-and-update-on-new-windows-os-openoffice-screenshot

As official website introduces Ninite:

Ninite – Install and Update All Your Programs at Once

Of course as Ninite is used by organizations as NASA, Harvard Medical School etc. it is likely the tool might reports your installed list of Windows software and various other Win PC statistical data to Ninite developers and most likely NSA, but this probably doesn't much matter as this is probably by the moment you choose to have installed a Windows OS on your PC.

ninite-choises-to-build-an-install-package-with-useful-essential-windows-software-screenshot
 

For Windows System Administrators managing small and middle sized network PCs that are not inside a Domain Controller, Ninite could definitely save hours and at cases even days of boring install and maintainance work. HP Enterprise or HP Inc. Employees or ex-employees would definitely love Ninite, because what Ninite does is pretty much like the well known HP Internal Tool PC COE.

Ninite could also prepare an installer containing multiple applications based on the choice on Ninite's website, so that's also a great thing especially if you need to deploy a different type of Users PCs (Scientific / Gamers / Working etc.)

Perhaps there are also other useful things to install on a new fresh Windows installations, if you're using something I'm missing let me know in comments.

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How to deb upgrade PHP 5.3.3-7 / MySQL Server 5.1 to PHP 5.4.37 MySQL 5.5 Server on Debian 6.0 / 7.0 Squeeze / Wheezy GNU / Linux

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

how-to-deb-upgrade-mysql-server-5.1-to-mysql-5.5-php-5.3-to-php-5.4-5.5-upgrade-howto-on-old-stable-debian-squeeze-wheezy

I've been still running Debian Squeeze 6.0 GNU / Linux on few of the Linux / Apache / MySQL servers I'm administrating and those servers are running few Wordperss / Joomla websites which lately face severe MySQL performance issues. I tried to optimize using various mysql performance optimization scripts such as mysql-tuner.pl, Tuning-primer.sh and Percona Toolkit – a collection of advanced command-line tools for system administrators and tech / support staff to perform a variety of MySQL and system tasks that are too difficult or complex to perform manually. Though with above tools and some my.cnf tunizations I managed to achieve positive performance improvement results with above optimizations, still I didn't like how MyQSL served queries and since the SQL server is already about 5 years old (running version 5.1) and the PHP on sever is still at 5.3 branch, I was advised by my dear colleague Anatoliy to try version update as a mean to improve SQLserver performance. I took seriously the suggestion to try upgrade as a mean to resolve performance issues in this article I will explain in short what I had to do to make MySQL upgrade a success

Of course to try keep deb installed software versions as fresh as possible possible deb packagse, I'm already using Debian Back Ports (for those who hear it a first time Debian Backports is a special repository for Stable versioned Debian Desktop and Servers  – supporting stable releases of Debian Linux) which allows you to keep install packages versions less outdated (than default installable software which usually are way behind latest stable package versions with 2-5 years).

If you happen to administer Stable Debian servers and you never used BackPorts I warmly recommend it as it often includes security patches of packages part of Debian stable releases that reached End Of Support (EOS) and already too old even for security updates to be issued by respective Debian Long Term Suport (LTS) repositories.

If you're like me and still in situation to manage remotely Debian 6.0 Squeeze and its the first time you hear about BackPorts and Debian LTShttps://wiki.debian.org/LTS/ to start using those two add to your /etc/apt/sources.list below 3 lines

Open with vim editor and press shift+G to go to last line of file and then press I to enter INSERT mode, once you're done to save, press (ESC) then press : and type x! in short key combination for exit and save setting in vim is 
 

Esc + :x! 

 

debian-server:~# vim /etc/apt/sources.list
deb http://http.debian.net/debian squeeze-lts main contrib non-free
deb-src http://http.debian.net/debian squeeze-lts main contrib non-free
deb http://http.debian.net/debian-backports squeeze-backports main

If you haven't been added a security updates line in /etc/apt/sources.list make sure you add also:

 

deb http://security.debian.org/ squeeze/updates main contrib non-free
deb-src http://security.debian.org/ squeeze/updates main contrib non-free


Then to apply latest security updates and packages from LTS / Backports repository run the usual:

 

debian-server:~# apt-get update && apt-get –yes upgrade
….

If you need to search a package or install something from just added backports repository use:

 

debian-server:~# apt-cache -t squeeze-backports search "mysql-server"
auth2db – Powerful and eye-candy IDS logger, log viewer and alert generator
torrentflux – web based, feature-rich BitTorrent download manager
cacti – Frontend to rrdtool for monitoring systems and services
mysql-server-5.1 – MySQL database server binaries and system database setup
mysql-server-core-5.1 – MySQL database server binaries
mysql-server – MySQL database server (metapackage depending on the latest version)

 

To install specific packages only with all their dependencies from Backports while keeping rest of packages from Debian Stable:

 

debian-server:~# apt-get install -t squeeze-backports "package_name"

In same way you can also search or install specific packages from LTS repo:

 

debian-server:~# apt-get search -t squeeze-lts "package_name"

debian-server:~# apt-get install -t squeeze-lts "package_name"

Latest mysql available from Debian BackPorts and LTS is still quite old 5.1.73-1+deb6u1 therefore I made an extensive research online on how can I easily update MySQL 5.1 to MySQL 5.5 / 5.6 on Debian Stable Linux.
 

Luckily there were already DotDeb deb repositories for Debian LAMP (Linux / Apache  / MySQL / PHP / Nginx ) running servers prepared in order to keep the essential Webserver services up2date even long after distro official support is over. I learned about existence of this repo thanks to a Ryan Tate's post who updates his LAMP stack on TurnKey Linux which by the way is based on slightly modified official stable Debian Linux releases packages

To start using DotDeb repos add in /etc/apt/sources.list (depending whereh you're on Squeeze or Wheeze Debian):

 

deb http://packages.dotdeb.org squeeze all
deb-src http://packages.dotdeb.org squeeze all

or for Debian Wheezy add repos:

 

deb http://packages.dotdeb.org wheezy all
deb-src http://packages.dotdeb.org wheezy all

 

I was updating my DebianLatest MySQL / PHP / Apache release to Latest ones on (6.0.4) Squeeze so added above squeeze repos:

Before refreshing list of package repositories, to authenticate repos issue:

 

debian-server:~# wget -q http://www.dotdeb.org/dotdeb.gpg
debian-server:~# apt-key add dotdeb.gpg

Once again to update my packages from newly added DodDeb repository

 

debian-server:~# apt-get update

Before running the SQL upgrade to insure myself, I dumped all databases with:

 

debian-server:~# mysqldump -u root -p -A > /root/dump.sql

Finally I was brave enough to run apt-get dist-upgrade to update with latest LAMP packages

 

debian-server:~# apt-get dist-upgrade
Reading package lists… Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information… Done
Calculating upgrade… Done
The following packages will be REMOVED:
  mysql-client-5.1 mysql-server mysql-server-5.1
The following NEW packages will be installed:
  libaio1 libmysqlclient18 mysql-client-5.5 mysql-client-core-5.5 python-chardet python-debian
The following packages will be upgraded:
  curl krb5-multidev libapache2-mod-php5 libc-bin libc-dev-bin libc6 libc6-dev libc6-i386 libcurl3 libcurl3-gnutls libcurl4-openssl-dev libevent-1.4-2
  libgssapi-krb5-2 libgssrpc4 libjasper1 libk5crypto3 libkadm5clnt-mit7 libkadm5srv-mit7 libkdb5-4 libkrb5-3 libkrb5-dev libkrb53 libkrb5support0 libmysqlclient-dev
  libxml2 libxml2-dev locales mysql-client mysql-common ntp ntpdate php-pear php5 php5-cgi php5-cli php5-common php5-curl php5-dev php5-gd php5-imagick php5-mcrypt
  php5-mysql php5-odbc php5-recode php5-sybase php5-xmlrpc php5-xsl python-reportbug reportbug unzip

50 upgraded, 6 newly installed, 3 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
Need to get 51.7 MB of archives.
After this operation, 1,926 kB of additional disk space will be used.
Do you want to continue [Y/n]? Y

As you see from above output above command updates Apache webservers / PHP and PHP related modules, however it doesn't update MySQL installed version, to update also MySQL server 5.1 to MySQL server 5.5

 

debian-server:~#  apt-get install –yes mysql-server mysql-server-5.5

You will be prompted with the usual Debian ncurses text blue interface to set a root password to mysql server, just set it the same as it used to be on old upgraded MySQL 5.1 server.

Well now see whether mysql has properly restarted with ps auxwwf

 

debian-server:~#  ps axuwwf|grep -i sql
root     22971  0.0  0.0 112360   884 pts/11   S+   15:50   0:00  |                   \_ grep -i sql
root     19436  0.0  0.0 115464  1556 pts/1    S    12:53   0:00 /bin/sh /usr/bin/mysqld_safe
mysql    19837  4.0  2.3 728192 194552 pts/1   Sl   12:53   7:12  \_ /usr/sbin/mysqld –basedir=/usr –datadir=/var/lib/mysql –plugin-dir=/usr/lib/mysql/plugin –user=mysql –pid-file=/var/run/mysqld/mysqld.pid –socket=/var/run/mysqld/mysqld.sock –port=3306
root     19838  0.0  0.0 110112   700 pts/1    S    12:53   0:00  \_ logger -t mysqld -p daemon.error

In my case it was running, however if it fails to run try to debug what is going wrong on initialization by manually executing init script /etc/init.d/mysql stop; /etc/init.d/mysql start and look for errors. You can also manually try to run mysqld_safe from console if it is not running run:

 

debian-server:~# /usr/bin/mysqld_safe &

This should give you a good hint on why it is failing to run
 

One more thing left is to check whether php modules load correctly to do so issue:

 

debian-server:~# php -v
Failed loading /usr/lib/php5/20090626/xcache.so:  /usr/lib/php5/20090626/xcache.so: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

Failed loading /usr/lib/php5/20090626/xdebug.so:  /usr/lib/php5/20090626/xdebug.so: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory


You will likely get an exception (error) like above.
To solve the error, reinstall xcache and xcache-debug debs

 

debian-server:~# apt-get purge php5-xcache php5-xdebug

Now PHP + MySQL + Apache environment should be running much smootly.

debian-squeeze-wheeze-update-install-mysql-sevver5.55-620x344-howto

Upgrading the MySQL server / PHP library to MySQL server 5.6 / PHP 5.5 on Wheeze Linux is done in very much analogous ways all you have to do is change the repositories with above wheeze 7.0 ones and to follow the process as described in this article. I haven't tested update on Wheezy yet, so if you happen to try my article with wheezy reports and got a positive upgrade result please drop a comment.

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Install TorrentFlux Bit Torrent Web management interface on Debian / Ubuntu Linux

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

torrent flux logo
Torrentflux
is web based, feature-rich BitTorrent download manager.
Torrentflux is a must have installed server software for anyone who does regular torrent downloads and want to access the downloads from anywhere on the internet.

TorrentFlux is a PHP based BitTorrent controller that runs on a web
 server. It can manage all of your BitTorrent downloads from anywhere
 through a convenient and easy-to-use web interface.
 .
 TorrentFlux uses a MySQL database to manage the downloads.

 TorrentFlux enables you to run BitTorrent downloads unattended on a monitor-less or remote server 24 hours a day, while still maintaining complete control from any web browser. Now you can control your  downloading on your firewall, or keep up with downloads while on  vacation. It uses the BitTornado client to download files, and also  requires a web server with PHP.
 
 Some of the Torrentflux features:

   * Upload Torrents via URL or File Upload
   * Start, Stop, and Delete Torrents with ease
   * Advanced Torrent start options (ports, speeds, etc.)
   * Multi-user interface
   * RSS Feeds, download Torrents files with a click
   * Run several torrents at once
   * View Download Progress of all torrents at a glance
   * View drive space at a glance
   * View Torrent file meta information
   * Built-in User management and Security
   * Private Messaging
   * Themes (selectable per user)
   * Upload History

 

Before installing Bittorrent you will need to have a running version of Debian, Ubuntu or any other debian derivative (though it can easily be run on any Linux distro). To install AMP (Apache MySQL Server, PHP) you can follow first part of my previous article Installing Usual PHP Apache MySQL for new Debian GNU / Linux installs.

So what for is TorrentFlux Useful?
Torrenflux is precious and must have if you have to access filtered torrent from outside of your homecountry and you have a running server already in your home country in that I was using TorrentFlux to access Bulgarian Zamunda.Net Torrent Tracker from Holland and was downloading first movies from the Bulgarian Torrent Tracker to my Fluxbox installed on my Dobrich home router and then used FTP to transfer movies to the Netherlands. Talking about many people choose to also install VSFTP and use it together with Torrentflux …

1. Install TorrentFlux and its dependencies (BitTornado, Bittorrent, Zip, Unzip, Bzip etc.) the "Debian Way"


On my Debian 7 Wheezy home machine  I run

apt-get install –yes bzip2 php5-gd php5-cli unrar-free grep python net-tools mawk wget unzip cksfv vlc-nox uudeview python-crypto libxml-simple-perl libxml-dom-perl libdbd-mysql-perl bittorrent bittornado


a) Install TorrentFlux the Debian Way

apt-get install –yes torrentflux


You will be prompted with a coule of screens, to set a new MySQL database user and password and SQL database, as well as offered to restart Apache to make Torrentflux accessible like as on below screenshots.

configuring-torrentflux-debian-linux-screenshot-2


configuring-torrentflux-debian-linux-screenshot 3

configuring-torrentflux-debian-linux-screenshot-4

To make new installed torrentflux accessible from web you will either have to configure it via some new Apache VirtualHost or make a symbolic link to /usr/share/torrentflux/www :
 

cd /var/www/
ln -sf /usr/share/torrentflux/www/ torrentflux


That's all you're all done to access torrentflux either access it via your default configured webserver domain name or via localhost if you're logged in to same pc where installing.

http://www.your-domain.com/torrentflux

or

http://127.0.0.1/torrentflux

configuring-torrentflux-after-first-login-in-web-debian-linux

2. Install latest Torrentflux version from source

Alternatively if you want to have the latest version (because the Debian version is part of the stable distribution is a little bit outdated you will have to fetch Torrentflux-b4rt and unarchive it:

cd /tmp/
wget http://download.berlios.de/tf-b4rt/torrentflux-b4rt_1.0-beta2.tar.bz2

tar -xjf torrentflux-b4rt_1.0-beta2.tar.bz2

mv torrentflux-b4rt_1.0-beta2 /opt/torrentflux

Then to make torrentflux visible from web server I had to create a symbolic link to installation directory:
 

ln -sf /opt/torrentflux/html /var/www/torrentflux

For further initial configuration its necessery to make Torrentflux config writtable by www-data (the user with which Apache is running on Debian).

 

chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/torrentflux/inc/config/


Next it its required to create somewhere download folder where TorrentFlux will keep downloaded Torrents

mkdir /var/lib/torrentflux


Apache HTTP server will have to have write ther:

chown -R www-data:www-data /var/lib/torrentflux


If you already haven't restarted Apache earlier in installing TorrentFlux pre-requirements, you will have to do it now:

 

/etc/init.d/apache2 restart


As TorrentFlux depends on its MySQL backend, we need to also create manually TorrentFlux database username and a password
 

export SQL_DB='torrentflux';
TFLUXSQL_USERNAME='torrentflux';
TFLUX_SQL_PWD='any-secret-password';

echo "CREATE DATABASE IF NOT EXISTS $SQL_DB DEFAULT CHARACTER SET utf8 DEFAULT COLLATE utf8_unicode_ci"
| mysql –user=root –password

echo "GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON $SQL_DB.*
TO $TFLUXSQL_USERNAME@localhost
IDENTIFIED BY $TFLUX_SQL_PWD;" | mysql –user=root –password

 

Substitute with your Database, Username and Password above shell variables – $SQL_DB, $TFLUX_USERNAME, $TFLUX_SQL_PWD

To configure TorrentFlux access it in browser:

http://your-domain.com/torrentflux
 

By accessing it for a first time, you will redirected to setup.php, in case something goes wrong and yuo're not redirected (probably some mod_rewrite issues add setup.php to url – e.g., acess –

http://your-domain.com/torrentflux/setup.php

I will not enter details, about Web config, because everything there is pretty clear.

Just in short – you will have to now choose:

Choose Database
Choose Database Information of database (put in the exact name of TorrentFlux databse previously created)
Uncheck the box for "Create new database"
Choose as a download location upper created directory – /var/lib/torrentflux

If you get an error on software dependencies screen for missing unrar – just install it
VLC may show an error as well, that's not a problem because VLC is probably not to be used.
Finally after completion of all, you will get an error that setup.php cannot be deleted.
 

To prevent, someone to re-configure it through http://your-domain/torrentflux/setup.php URL remove setup.php


rm /var/www/torrentflux/setup.php

To prevent someone rewrite anything in config file from web we have to revert back config/ folder not to be writable by Apache


chown -R root:root /var/www/torrentflux/inc/config/

Now in browser to access torrentflux type:


http://ipofyourbox/torrentflux

/torrentflux should redirect you to login.php if for some reason it doesn't type it manually in URL.

First account you will login is the super user account, you can allow multiple users to use it by adding multiple accounts.

torrentflux-install-on-debian-ubuntu-gnu-linux-web-management-torrent-interface

As you will see there is plety of configuration options to play with.

You will definitely want to look in Server Page, some very important page to look is the Transfer Page – from there you can adjust the bandwidth of your connection on 100Mbit network this would be 12500 – to use the maximum possible connection provided by your ISP set the max bandwidth to 0. You have the option to also set a default bittorrent client, by default this will be bittornado.


If you have troubles downloading from TorrentTrackers make sure your router is configured to forward port 49160 to 49300

Now if you have a lot of storage create accounts also for your friends and enjoy torrentflux 🙂
 

 

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Run 2 and more Skypes simultaneously on Mac OS X – Run multiple Skype acccounts on same Mac

Saturday, June 21st, 2014

run-2-and-more-skypes-simultaneously-on-mac-os-x-multiple-skype-account-login-on-mac
For people running Mac OS X, the question of 
how is it possible to use 2 skype accounts in parallel on Mac probably makes good sense?

I don't own a Mac notebook and thefore I'm a Mac newbie, however, I'm into situation where I and my wife Svetlana went (for 3 days) to my hometown Dobrich and we have with us only her Mac OS X powered Mac Book air.

 

One user is already logged in Skype, (my wife) is expecting some relatives and friends to contact us and  same time I had to login to check few servers via ssh and discuss some server downtime issues from yesterday in Skype .
Thus we
need 2 skype instances to run separately on her Macbook air powered PC with Mac OS X Leopard
 

Earlier I've blogged how to make 2 and more Skype accounts work simultaneously on one Windows PC because I had to set it up for a company, in this short article I will explain how is possible to run many skype clients on Mac OS X.

 

1. Open Mac Terminal from Finder

finder-terminal-screenshot-mac-os-x-leopard-run-many-skypes-mac-os

2. In Terminal run the first Skype Instance

Type in Terminal:

open /Applications/Skype.app/Contents/MacOS/Skype

3. Run Second Skype instance

In older Skype Mac OS versions, I read the

/secondary

Skype command option was there and could be used to run a second parallel skype instance on Mac, however in newer releases this option was removed and if you try to invoke it warning window pops up saying an instance is already running.

mac-os-x-you-have-another-copy-of-skype-running-screenshot

To get around the issue and run the second Skype, quickest way is to run another Skype client under privileged user through sudo command (this is unsecure – but anyways as Mac OS is proprietary and we don't have access to code and probably there are tons of spy and report software integrated into the OS, it doesn't really matter.)

mac-os-x-skype-run-screenshot-pic

To get around the issue and run the second Skype, quickest way is to run another Skype client under privileged user through sudo command (this is unsecure – but anyways as Mac OS is proprietary and we don't have access to code and probably there are tons of spy and report software integrated into the OS, it doesn't really matter.)

4. Script it into 2nd_skype.sh for later use

To run and use two parallel skypes regularly it might be useful to make shell script out of it and place it somewhere, 2nd_skype.sh script should be something like:


#!/bin/bash
open /Applications/Skype.app/Contents/MacOS/Skype
sudo /Applications/Skype.app/Contents/MacOS/Skype

Then make the script executable with:

chmod a+x 2nd_skype.sh

5. Run more than 2 Skypes (Run multiple Skypes on same Mac PC hack)

There is another "hack" method with deleting the Skype.pid (Process ID). Skype recognize where it is running by checking its Skype.pid on start up.

Deleting the pid after each next Skype client launch,  allow the user to run as many Skypes as you want on Mac OS X but it is not clear for how long it time it will work.

rm -f ~/Library/Application Support/Skype/Skype.pid

Then launch again Skype in background from Mac Terminal

open -nW '/Application/Skype.app' &

In case if you wonder why the open command is used, since above line could be run also directly and Skype will pop-up, by using open command you instruct the program to detach itself from Terminal from which it run, so later if Terminal is closed Skype app. will not terminate.

Another approach is to create, a many users lets say 5 users and use the Skype sudo run method each client with a separate user.

sudo user1 /Applications/Skype.app/Contents/MacOS/Skype
sudo user2 /Applications/Skype.app/Contents/MacOS/Skype
sudo user3 /Applications/Skype.app/Contents/MacOS/Skype
sudo user4 /Applications/Skype.app/Contents/MacOS/Skype

sudo user5 /Applications/Skype.app/Contents/MacOS/Skype

I enclose the script with the custom icon (Skype) ready to be launched and Voila, on script launch Skype multiple login prompts pops up.

For the lazy ones who don't want to tamper with writting scripts or doing hacks to run Skype multiple times on Mac there is even a Multi Skype Launcher app for Mac.

 


 

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What is VT-x (Intel Virtualization) and AMD V (AMD Virtualization)

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

what-is-vt-x-inel-amd-virtualization-amd-v
As I'm lately educating myself in field of Virtualziation and Virtual Machines, the interesting question poped up What is Virtualization on a Hardware Level and what are Intel's and AMD technologies supporting it?

 

  • Intel Virtualialization (Vt-x)

Is Intel's hardware assistance for processors running virtualization platforms. Intel's Virtualization for short is know as VT-x. Intel VT-x extensions are probably the best recognized extensions, adding migration, priority and memory handling capabilities to a wide range of Intel processors.
Intel VT includes series of extensions for hardware virtualization adding virtualization support to Intel chipsets, so that Virtual Machines could assign specific I/O Devices. Intel VT includes a series of extensions for hardware virtualization Intel Virtualization is better described here.
 

  • AMD-V (AMD virtualization)


Is a set of hardware extensions for the X86 processor architecture. Advanced Micro Dynamics (AMD) designed the extensions to perform repetitive tasks normally performed by software and improve resource use and virtual machine (VM) performance. Early virtualization efforts relied on software emulation to replace hardware functionality. But software emulation can be a slow and inefficient process. Because many virtualization tasks were handled through software, VM behavior and resource control were often poor, resulting in unacceptable VM performance on the server. AMD Virtualization (AMD-V) technology was first announced in 2004 and added to AMD's Pacifica 64-bit x86 processor designs. By 2006, AMD's Athlon 64 X2 and Athlon 64 FX processors appeared with AMD-V technology, and today, the technology is available on Turion 64 X2, second- and third-generation Opteron, Phenom and Phenom II processors. Just like with Intel Virtualization AMD-V Technology enables extra hardware support for assignment of specifics I/O on per virtualized OS. AMD V Virtualization is described more thoroughly here

 

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How to Turn Off, Suppress PHP Notices and Warnings – PHP error handling levels via php.ini and PHP source code

Friday, April 25th, 2014

php-logo-disable-warnings-and-notices-in-php-through-htaccess-php-ini-and-php-code

PHP Notices are common to occur after PHP version upgrades or where an obsolete PHP code is moved from Old version PHP to new version. This is common error in web software using Frameworks which have been abandoned by developers.

Having PHP Notices to appear on a webpage is pretty ugly and give a lot of information which might be used by malicious crackers to try to break your site thus it is always a good idea to disable PHP Notices. There are plenty of ways to disable PHP Notices

The easiest way to disable it is globally in all Webserver PHP library via php.ini (/etc/php.ini) open it and make sure display_errors is disabled:

display_errors = 0

or

display_errors = Off

Note that that some claim in PHP 5.3 setting display_errors to Off will not work as expected. Anyways to make sure where your loaded PHP Version display_errors is ON or OFF use phpinfo();

It is also possible to disable PHP Notices and error reporting straight from PHP code you need code like:

 

<?php
// Turn off all error reporting
error_reporting(0);
?>

 

or through code:

 

ini_set('display_errors',0);


PHP has different levels of error reporting, here is complete list of possible error handling variables:

 

 

 

<?php
// Report simple running errors

error_reporting(E_ERROR | E_WARNING | E_PARSE);

// Reporting E_NOTICE can be good too (to report uninitialized
// variables or catch variable name misspellings …)

error_reporting(E_ERROR | E_WARNING | E_PARSE | E_NOTICE);

// Report all errors except E_NOTICE
// This is the default value set in php.ini

error_reporting(E_ALL ^ E_NOTICE);
// Report all PHP errors (see changelog)

error_reporting(E_ALL);
// Report all PHP errors error_reporting(-1);
// Same as error_reporting(E_ALL);

ini_set('error_reporting', E_ALL); ?>

The level of logging could be tuned on Debian Linux via /etc/php5/apache2/php.ini or if necessary to set PHP log level in PHP CLI through /etc/php5/cli/php.ini with:

error_reporting = E_ALL & ~E_NOTICE

 

If you need to remove to remove exact warning or notices from PHP without changing the way  PHPLib behaves is to set @ infront of variable or function that is causing NOTICES or WARNING:
For example:
 

@yourFunctionHere();
@var = …;


Its also possible to Disable PHP Notices and Warnings using .htaccess file (useful in shared hosting where you don't have access to global php.ini), here is how:

# PHP error handling for development servers
php_flag display_startup_errors off
php_flag display_errors off
php_flag html_errors off
php_flag log_errors on
php_flag ignore_repeated_errors off
php_flag ignore_repeated_source off
php_flag report_memleaks on
php_flag track_errors on
php_value docref_root 0
php_value docref_ext 0
php_value error_log /home/path/public_html/domain/php_errors.log
php_value error_reporting -1
php_value log_errors_max_len 0

This way though PHP Notices and Warnings will be suppressed errors will get logged into php_error.log

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Best Windows tools to Test (Benchmark) Hard Drives, SSD Drives and RAID Storage Controllers

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

atto-windows-hard-disk-benchmark-freeware-tool-screenshot-check-hard-disk-speed-windows
Disk Benchmarking is very useful for people involved in Graphic Design, 3D modelling, system admins  and anyone willing to squeeze maximum of his PC hardware.

If you want to do some benchmarking on newly built Windows server targetting Hard Disk performance, just bought a new hard SSD (Solid State Drives) and you want to test how well Hard Drive I/O operations behave or you want to see a regular HDD benchmarking of group of MS Windows PCs and plan hardware optiomization, check out ATTO Disk Benchmark.

So why exactly ATTO Benchmark? – Cause it is one of the best Windows Free Benchmark tools on the internet.

ATTO is a widely-accepted Disk Benchmark freeware utility to help measure storage system performance. ATTO though being freeware is among top tools utilized in industry. It is very useful in comparing different Hard Disk vendors speed, measure Windows storage systems performance with various transfer sizes and test lengths for reads and writes.

ATTO Disk Benchmark is used by manufacturers of Hardware RAID controllers, its precious tool to test Windows storage controllers, host bus adapters (HBAs).

Here is ATTO Benchmark tool specifications (quote from their webstie):
 

  • Transfer sizes from 512KB to 8MB
  • Transfer lengths from 64KB to 2GB
  • Support for overlapped I/O
  • Supports a variety of queue depths
  • I/O comparisons with various test patterns
  • Timed mode allows continuous testing
  • Non-destructive performance measurement on formatted drives
  • Transfer sizes from 512KB to 8MB
  • Transfer lengths from 64KB to 2GB
  • Support for overlapped I/O
  • Supports a variety of queue depths
  • I/O comparisons with various test patterns
  • Timed mode allows continuous testing
  • Non-destructive performance measurement on formatted drives
  • – See more at: http://www.attotech.com/disk-benchmark/#sthash.rRlgSTOE.dpuf

Here is mirrored latest version of ATTO Disk for Download. Once you get your HDD statistics you will probably want to compare to other people results. On  TomsHardware's world famous Hardware geek site there are plenty of Hard Drives performance Charts

Of course there are other GUI alternatives to ATTO Benchmark one historically famous is NBench

NBench

nbench_benchmark_windows_hard-drive-cpu-and-memory

Nbench is nice little benchmarking program for Windows NT. Nbench reports the following components of performance:

CPU speed: integer and floating operations/sec
L1 and L2 cache speeds: MB/sec
main memory speed: MB/sec
disk read and write speeds: MB/sec

SMP systems and multi-tasking OS efficiency can be tested using up to 20 separate threads of execution.

For Console Geeks or Windows server admins there are also some ports of famous *NIX Hard Disk Benchmarking tools:

NTiogen

NTiogen benchmark was written by Symbios Logic, It's Windows NT port of their popular UNIX benchmark IOGEN. NTIOGEN is the parent processes that spawns the specified number of IOGEN processes that actually do the I/O.
The program will display as output the number of processes, the average response time, the number of I/O operations per second, and the number of KBytes per second. You can download mirror copy of Ntiogen here


There are plenty of other GUI and Console HDD Benchmarking Win Tools, i.e.:

IOMeter (ex-developed by Intel and now abandoned available as open source available on SourceForge)

iometer-benchmark-disk-storage-speed-windows
 

Bench32 – Comprehensive benchmark that measures overall system performance under Windows NT or Windows 95, now obsolete not developed anymore abandoned by producer company.

ThreadMark32 – capable of bench (ex developed and supported by ADAPTEC) but also already unsupported

IOZone – filesystem benchmark tool. The benchmark generates and measures a variety of file operations. Iozone has been ported to many machines and runs under many operating systems.
 

N! B! Important note to make here is above suggested tools will provide you more realistic results than the proprietary vendor tools shipped by your hardware vendor. Using proprietary software produced by a single vendor makes it impossible to analyze and compare different hardwares, above HDD benchmarking tools are for "open systems", e.g. nomatter what the hardware producer is produced results can be checked against each other.
Another thing to consider is even though if you use any of above tools to test and compare two storage devices still results will be partially imaginary, its always best to conduct tests in Real Working Application Environments. If you're planning to launch a new services structure always test it first and don't rely on preliminary returned soft benchmarks.

if you know some other useful benchmarking software i'm missing please share.

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Save data from failing hard disk on Linux – Rescuing data from failing disk with bad blocks

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

save-data-from-failing-hard-drive-data-recovery-badblocks-linux_1.jpg
Sooner or later your Linux Desktop or Linux server hard drive will start breaking up, whether you have a hardware or software RAID 1, 6 or 10 you can  and good hard disk health monitoring software you can react on time but sometimes as admins we have to take care of old servers which either have RAID 0 or missing RAID configuration and or disk firmware is unable to recognize failing blocks on time and remap them. Thus it is quite useful to have techniques to save data from failing hard disk drives with physical badblocks.

With ddrescue tool there is still hope for your Linux data though disk is full of unrecoverable I/O errors.

apt-cache show ddrescue
 

apt-cache show ddrescue|grep -i description -A 12

Description: copy data from one file or block device to another
 dd_rescue is a tool to help you to save data from crashed
 partition. Like dd, dd_rescue does copy data from one file or
 block device to another. But dd_rescue does not abort on errors
 on the input file (unless you specify a maximum error number).
 It uses two block sizes, a large (soft) block size and a small
 (hard) block size. In case of errors, the size falls back to the
 small one and is promoted again after a while without errors.
 If the copying process is interrupted by the user it is possible
 to continue at any position later. It also does not truncate
 the output file (unless asked to). It allows you to start from
 the end of a file and move backwards as well. dd_rescue does
 not provide character conversions.

 

To use ddrescue for saving data first thing is to shutdown the Linux host boot the system with a Rescue LiveCD like SystemRescueCD – (Linux system rescue disk), Knoppix (Most famous bootable LiveCD / LiveDVD), Ubuntu Rescue Remix or BackTrack LiveCD – (A security centered "hackers" distro which can be used also for forensics and data recovery), then mount the failing disk (I assume disk is still mountable :). Note that it is very important to mount the disk as read only, because any write operation on hard drive increases chance that it completely becomes unusable before saving your data!

To make backup of your whole hard disk data to secondary mounted disk into /mnt/second_disk

# mkdir /mnt/second_disk/rescue
# mount /dev/sda2 /mnt/second_disk/rescue
# dd_rescue -d -r 10 /dev/sda1 /mnt/second_disk/rescue/backup.img
# mount -o loop /mnt/second_disk/rescue/backup.img

In above example change /dev/sda2 to whatever your hard drive device is named.

Whether you have already an identical secondary drive attached to the Linux host and you would like to copy whole failing Linux partition (/dev/sda) to the identical drive (/dev/sdb) issue:

ddrescue -d -f -r3 /dev/sda /dev/sdb /media/PNY_usb/rescue.logfile

If you got just a few unreadable files and you would like to recover only them then run ddrescue just on the damaged files:

ddrescue -d –R -r 100 /damaged/disk/some_dir/damaged_file /mnt/secondary_disk/some_dir/recoveredfile

-d instructs to use direct I/O
-R retrims the error area on each retry
-r 100 sets the retry limit to 100 (tries to read data 100 times before resign)

Of course this is not always working as on some HDDs recovery is impossible due to hard physical damages, if above command can't recover a file in 10 attempts it is very likely that it never succeeds …

A small note to make here is that there is another tool dd_rescue (make sure you don't confuse them) – which is also for recovery but GNU ddrescue performs better with recovery.
How ddrescue works is it keeps track of the bad sectors, and go back and try to do a slow read of that data in order to read them.
By the way BSD users would happy to know there is ddrescue port already, so data recovery on BSDs *NIX filesystems if you're a Windows user you can use ddrescue to recover data too via Cygwin.
Of course final data recovery is also very much into God's hands so before launching ddrescue, don't forget to say a prayer 🙂

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