technology and zen of life

“A heisenbug (named after the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle) is a computer bug that disappears or alters its characteristics when an attempt is made to study it.”

Watch Cricket World Cup 2015 online

Disclaimer – This post is purely for academic and curiosity’s sake. This is most likely not legal and should be approached appropriately.

This howto guide is going to be quite technical and I don’t expect the masses to be able to understand it.

Jumping right to it. You need few pieces.

  1. A host in one of the countries that are allowed to view Star Sports. A list can be found here. I am using a t2.micro aws instance in Frankfurt.
  2. An account on starsports.com with cricket subscription. It costs Rs.120($2) if purchased in India and Rs.1200($20) if purchased outside. So if you know anyone in India ask him to buy subscription for you.
  3. Putty for tunneling. PuttyGen for key conversion.
  4. Firefox/Google chrome with proxy settings set to use the tunnel.

I’ll explain each step in detail here. It requires minimal settings and you should be able to get the whole thing up and running in about 10 minutes.

  1. Create an AWS t2.micro instance in frankfurt. It’s in free tier and you should be able to get away with no charges if you keep an eye on the bandwidth usage. Note – While creating the aws instance opt for the key as authentication mechanism. It will prompt you to download a key which you will need later on.
  2. Get an account on startsports.com with world cup package. If you know someone in India you get it for about $2
  3. You should have the key file downloaded in Step#1. Download PuttyGen and follow the Converting Your Private Key Using PuTTYgen instructions on this page
  4. Once you’ve followed the instructions, you should have a new file which has your private key. Download Putty. Follow steps 1 & 2 on this page. Before step 3 perform following steps in putty

In the Category pane, expand Connection, expand SSH, and then select Auth. Complete the following:
i. Click Browse.
ii. Select the .ppk file that you generated for your key pair, and then click Open.
iii. (Optional) If you plan to start this session again later, you can save the session information for future use. Select Session in the Category tree, enter a name for the session in Saved Sessions, and then click Save.
iv. Click Open to start the PuTTY session.

Continue with step 3-8 and you are all set.

Open Firefox and goto http://www.starsports.com/ to watch all the cricket you want.

Note – You can limit the network usage in the video player in the left side, next to play/pause button by clicking on “HD” icon. This way you should be able to stay inside the aws free tier. You are allowed about 15GB network bandwidth with aws. It’s not much when watching videos so keep an eye out for that or you’ll end up spending money there.

Run your laptop a little cooler

Disclaimer – The solutions mentioned in this post can harm your PC/Laptop hardware if proper care is not taken. You’ve been warned.

We all have to face that issue with laptops at some point or another. They heat up! Most of the times it’s the issue with old laptops. Here are few tweaks I use with my laptop to make it run at lower temperatures. I’ve been using few tricks myself and I’ve gotten my laptop from 90°C to 65°C.

It’s to be noted that this guide touches only the directions you can look at. The specifics would depend on your particular hardware and operating system you are working with. So hopefully I’ve given you enough information to start with.

Before trying any or all of these methods you should download a temperature monitor. I use HWMonitor.

1. Laptop Cooler/Laptop Stand/Flat Surfaces (Cooling – 2 to 5°C) – This is what most searches on Google will tell you when you search “laptop too hot” or similar search terms. Pretty standard solution but not the most effective one. Buying a Laptop cooler is useful in a way that if you carry it along with your laptop then your lap ( not laptop) will be quite cooler!

2. Clean that laptop (Cooling – 10 to 12°C) – The results of this method are highly variable depending on how much dust was clogging the vents. The steps are pretty straightforward.

  1. Open up the laptop as much as you can. Usually just removing the back panels covering the vents should do the trick.
  2. Get a vacuum cleaner, set it to blowing (or something similar) mode.
  3. Secure the fans, so they don’t rotate when you are blowing the air.
  4. Blow air from every possible angle.

Repeating it once a year should suffice for most users, unless you live in a very dusty environment.

3. Undervoltling (Cooling – 8 to 10°C) – Read the guide here Undervolting guide. It takes the most time, but the rewards are quite good. Be sure to read and understand it thoroughly before attempting it.

4. Limiting maximum clock speeds(Cooling depends on how much you limit) – In all operating systems there is a way to limit the max scaling or max processor usage. Limiting that would degrade performance of your laptop so it’s a tradeoff between usability and heat emitted by the machine. Start with 5% reduction and keep reducing till you either reach the temperatures you want to run the laptop at or the maximum performance degradation you can live with.

These techniques have helped me immensely over the years to keep my 2007 Sony VIAO laptop alive and kicking!

Watch twitch.tv on Roku/Amazon Fire TV Stick/Chromecast using Plex Media Server

If you are an avid gamer like me who also enjoys watching online tournaments you definitely know about twitch.tv . twitch has become the de facto standard for streaming major tournaments and also used heavily for pro and weekend warrior like me. Recently I bought a TV and was trying to figure out how to watch twitch on my TV. After lots of google-fu I did not find any useful instructions on how to be able to do so. Hence this guide. Let’s get right into it.

The question is How do I watch twitch.tv on my streaming media player?

It’s quite simple, using PLEX Media Server. The streaming media players that I tested it on are Roku 3, Amazon Fire TV Stick & Chromecast.

What do you need?

  1. PC/Laptop/Mac aka the Server
  2. Roku/Fire TV/Chromecast aka the Media Player

Make sure you have both the Server and Media Player on the same network. Typically that would mean that your Server and Media Player are connected to the same wireless/wired network.

Installation

  1. Download & install Plex Media Server on your PC/Laptop.
  2. Install Plex App on your Media Player.

Setup

  1. On the PC/Laptop you installed the Plex Media Server open this link.
  2. In the left pane click on Channels.
  3. Click on Install Channels button.
  4. Find twitch channel in there and install it.
  5. Now, on your Media Player open the Plex App and explore to find the twitch icon.

And you are done! Enjoy watching those epic tournaments on your TV now.

Notes

  1. Make sure you have the devices (Server & Media Player) on the same network.
  2. Do not turn off the Server while using the Plex App on your Media Player.

F.lux or no F.lux and Linux!

I’ve been using a program called F.lux or Flux for over a year now.

The program is based on the research that blue light keeps you awake and alert. Not something that you’d want at night. So this program adapts the display to show warmer colors at night. You can read more about the program on it’s website. Normally flux adapts the colors as the day progresses and night starts but I preferred to keep the colors warm (yellow-ish) all day long. It’s really easy on eyes even for those long hours spent staring at computer screen.

However Flux for linux lacks the features that it’s Windows version offers. Most particularly the options of controlling the color phase during the day time. Also getting it to work on a dual monitor setup was more effort than I intended to spend. So I decided to fore go the program altogether in favor of changing the color profile of the monitor itself.

Most monitors have the color settings that allow you to pick the RGB (Red Green Blue) levels in your monitor. I fiddled around with mine and set the levels of R-100, G-100, B-0. Hence getting the blue component out of the display and achieving the same effect as flux.

Try it out yourself and see if you can adjust to it. I’d suggest using the default settings of flux till you stop noticing the yellow color of the monitor and then moving to yellow color altogether. I’d recommend giving it two weeks of usage before making a decision on if you want to stop using it or not since it feels odd initially and it takes a bit to get used to.

Let us know if it worked out for you!

Notes

Edit – Alisa @ NestMaven has a nice writeup about circadian rhythm. Blue light impacts your sleep cycle. You could read more about it here.

Horizontal Scrolling for MySQL queries in Linux

Everyone who works with databases on a linux terminal faces this issue at some point in time — executing select * on a table with too many columns. And in linux since there is no horizontal scrolling, the output is wrapped and hence completely unusable.

You can use

--pager

property to get rid of that text wrap.
Read the rest of this entry »

How to make your Linux applications use proxy

Hi,

If you are frustrated by Linux and your college’s network, which is windows based or sysadmins can help you with windows only, and sysadmins for a request call, replies as “use Windows”. If you are in a university then I am sure they use that damned( or good) software called as proxy (squid proxy to be specific). And you are a linux newbie then, here are some quick tips for you.

TIP # 1

You want your download manager (wget), updates by apt or aptitude to use a http proxy, you can use the following commands to export proxy to your environment

export http_proxy=http://user:password@proxy:port/

or

export http_proxy=http://proxy:port/

Things to note here are

  • Type the command as it is, don’t leave unnecessary spaces.
  • Username/password is the username and password you use to access the proxy, that is the same password which you type when you access internet using a web-browser. If you don’t use one, then use the second version of the command
  • Proxy and port are the values that are the same as used in your web-browser, or you can ask check them out with your sysadmin, or anyone who has a working internet on the same network.

After you do this you can use apt or aptitude and it will use the http proxy you specified!


TIP # 2
For GNOME users : GNOME allows users to specify a proxy from a GUI, which you can find in

 

Preferences –> Network Proxy

It also allows you to specify username/password, by clicking on “Details”


TIP # 3
Using socks proxy with evolution (the e-mail client)You need a package named tsocks

 

sudo apt-get install tsocks

for Ubuntu users

or you can download it from here, http://tsocks.sourceforge.net

then just type

tsocks evolution

you might want to read the man page for configurations too.

So, that’s it. I hope it makes your life a little easier with Linux on network. Tell us about your experiences of using Linux behind proxies. Remember google search is your best resource!

RSS Reader – Optimize the time spent on internet

RSS Reader, now what is that. Lets take an example.

Say you live in 1930’s.

You like to watch music shows, plays and similar stuff. In order to do so, you will have to keep an eye on the posters or newspapers or keep checking with the theaters to know about the new shows.

Fast forward to 2010.

You are an internet worm, and you like to follow the youtube streams of  Philip Defranco, Ryan, College Humor, and few others. Also you like to read Lifehacker, Techcrunch, CNN and many other similar sites. Throw some comic websites to the list such as XKCD, QC and Geek And Poke

So how do you get along reading all those. Grab a coffee in morning and open all the sites in tabs and read the updates. Or catch an update or two when the boss in not looking at your computer screen at work!

Here is a way to consolidate most of the web updates that you follow, in a single page and only shows the updated content. For current discussion we are going to pick Google Reader. It’s a great web based application which also integrates with Google Buzz and GMail.

Here is a basic video tutorial on how to use Google Reader on firefox. There are many advanced features which I’ll leave you to figure out yourself.

The reason I use Google Reader is I can read the feeds from my home laptop, and it will be marked as read next time I log from office desktop. This synchronization is currently missing from most desktop based RSS readers.

Happy reading!

Dropbox – The magic box!

What is Dropbox?

A video intro from Dropbox ( can see on official site too)

What else you can do with Dropbox

  1. You can share folders between other Dropbox users and have a sharing setup with almost no effort. No more running around from friend’s place to your home just because you forgot to copy a file on USB Drive.
  2. Dropbox saves versions of files which are once uploaded and modified subsequently. Say if you save a homework document after some changes close it. But now you want to revert it back to how it was few hours later, you cannot normally. But by using Dropbox’s web interface you can still do it assuming you saved your homework file in dropbox folder. Just right click on file in your dropbox and select “Dropbox > View Previous Versions….” in the menu.

Download Dropbox from here.

Installation Process

  1. Download and Install it, pretty straightforward there.
  2. You will need to create an dropbox account first.
  3. Give name to the PC. I call my laptop DarK-Laptop and my work PC as Desktop-Office. Giving a good name is important as it will be useful when you are trying to revert back versions of a file.
  4. Create a dropbox folder on your hard disk.

Voila, there you have an automated syncing, sharing and backing up system which just works!

Remember, dropbox syncs, stores and creates versions of only the files in dropbox folder and not outside it.

Give it a try, you will surely find it useful.

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Disclaimer

The views expressed on this blog are personal. We do not claim to be a representative voice of the views of any organisation whatsoever. We are not responsible for the content present on the blogs to which we have linked.Views expressed are solely that of the author and does not reflect a collective opinion of contributors.