Showing posts with label tech. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tech. Show all posts


Rooting and modding Samsung Galaxy S2

If you just have to mess with your phone all the time and try out every option and setting, you'll probably have heard about replacing stock software with custom kernels and flashing in mods. This could expand battery life, give you new features and make your phone faster.

It can also render your latest phone investment as useful as a brick. Yeah, brick. That's what they call it when either you or some software you tried to run makes your phone shut down for good and it will never boot up again. So be warned, even though I am about to tell you how to possibly avoid it.


And don't try to be clever, the phone will tell your technician that you installed a custom binary. This feature is called the 'ROM counter'.

  • First of all, some phones are known to have a bad FLASH chip, and this includes most versions of the Samsung Galaxy S2, from what I can read. 
  • Personally I have the GT-I9100 which came with GingerBread 2.3.5. 
  • If you, like me, have Samsung Kies installed (if not, do that NOW) and updated the firmware, you will discover that GingerBread 2.3.5 will be updated to Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.4.

At this point, download the following:

  • Siyah kernel - Will give you a temporary rooted phone. Get the correct version, and put it on your SD card.  (you do need an SD card)
  • ClockWorkRecoveryMod (aka CWM)

There is a particular problem that seems to come with the stock ICS 4.0.4 when you install the 'clockworkrecovery' mod. Therefore, first of all you need to root your phone to be able to actually check your phone. (with Siyah)

You also want the Google Apps extras

  1. At this point, you have to boot up into recovery mode, and wipe the phone and the cache. 
  2. Then, load this binary into the phone. 
  3. When it reboots, it will show you a yellow triangle below the Galaxy logo at bootup, and if you go to Settings->About Phone you will see that the kernel has been replaced. 
  4. If you forget to wipe the cache as well, the phone will not boot. (It is not bricked, just repeat the process.)

Then download an app called eMMC checker from the Play Store. Move CM and Google Apps over to the SDcard.

  1. Download eMMC Brickbug Check from Play Store
  2. Run check. It will probably say 'Insane chip: Yes' and then you must check the memory, for which you need to have the phone already rooted.
  3. If the memory check passes, your phone's flash chip is functioning well enough to flash the ROM, but it will still kill it of you skip to the CWM step now!

Note: Just to be clear, both the memory needs to be OK and the Siyah kernel must be installed or else you will have a dead phone before this tutorial is over.

  1. Boot phone into Recovery Mode. (Home + Vol Up + Power.
  2. Hold until logo appears, release keys.
  3. You will be presented with the recovery menu. Some phones has alternate combinations.


  1. Wipe and factory reset
  2. Wipe cache
  3. Install CM from SDcard
  4. Install Apps from SDcard
  5. Reboot phone

Now, when you reboot, the phone will be a completely different beast. Modded or not, the S2 and S3 are  formidable devices, featuring multi-core CPU and GPU processing, as well as standardized USB connectors, an array of special-purpose sensor chips and last, but not least, a Linux-based operating system to glue it all together. With the right add-ons installed, your phone is essentially a powerful hand-held computer that can be used for a multitude of uses. While the comparison  is not fair, I would guess an S2 outperforms 5 year old laptops.

I think this was everything. Please comment if I missed something.

Anyway, here's the result:


The Useful Utility Page

(Updated 14.09.2012, 05.09.2013)

File utilities:

Teracopy in action.
TeraCopy will copy your files, and also do a md5 check if you want. Integrates with Explorer too. Neat utiliy. not unlike NSIS's copy utility. Unfortunately, sometimes it does bug out when using it as a Shell-integrated copy-replacement. I recommend using this as a stand-alone app.

Locate32 in action, as you can see, it will search network drives too.
Locate32 is the file search utility you have been wanting since they took it away in Windows 7. This is like Windows XP's old file search, only vastly improved. It searches local disks and network mounts by default, but you can make any kind of setup with this program. For example, you can omit certain directories from a search, etc. Also comes in a 64 bit variant. 10/10 would search again.

TrueCrypt's interface.
TrueCrypt is one of the best encryption  packages out there. Protect your files with AES256 and just don't forget the password! Supports hidden volumes withing regular volumes.

Audio utilities

Recording & editing

Reaper for recording, has low latency, comprehensible UI and a good routing/monitoring interface. This is also the only recorder I have at the moment which actually works with my studio setup.
Audacity and CoolEdit for secondary editing. CoolEdit used to be my favourite (now Adobe Audition) but it did not play nice with my hardware this time)
Traders Little Helper + FLAC  and WAV workshop for audio traders.
winLAME - UI for the LAME mp3 codec

Musicians tools

GNU Solfege, for ear training

Playback & codecs

VLC and FooBar2000 for media playback, will probably reinstall WinAmp again purely for the fact that it is the only application I know that rewinds on pressing the arrow keys. (Vital for my guitar practice!)

flac codecs - this is what TLH uses.
OPUS codecs - A new codec

Windows Tweaking

Jumplist-Launcher will give you a custom JumpList on the Start+Menu. A jump+list is the sub+folder that a program creates on the Start-menu to for example let you access your last used files within that app. This utility will let you group and organize a custom Jumplist, to declutter your Start-menu.


Visual SVN Server, sets you up with a working SVN server out of the box. Add and name your repo, and it's ready to go. I personally use this with Eclipse's SVN plugins. This is *actually* an out-of-the box setup, some of the SVN server packs I've seen doesn't actually work :)

TortoiseSVN, the definitive GUI client for SVN operations.

Portable Application Compilations, this is a huge collection of smaller apps and games. 

WSCC, Windows System Controll Centre, a compilation by NirSoft that includes all NirSoft itilities, as well as a comprehensive wrappe of all the SysInternals utilities.


Computer Techie Toolbox Round-Up:

Computer Techie Toolbox Round-Up:

After about a couple of years with little work to do, I've built and refurbished a few computers in the past few months.
Again, better than MacGyver's

Dispensable spare parts
For instance, I used a Pentium 3 to boot a Phenom with a broken pin

  1. Scissors
  2. Wide plyer/wirestripper
  3. Pointed plyer
  4. Wide Philips/flat screwdrivers
  5. Magnifying glass
  6. Multitool pocketknife
  7. The screwdriver that comes with Noctua SE fans
  8. Multi-bit screwdriver

Mini screwdriver set for repairing and cleaning laptops.

Assortment of parts: (Label the boxes!)
  1. Screws, sorted!
  2. Pins
  3. USB sticks (I like to keep special purpose USB sticks separate and labeled)
  4. Flash RAM
  5. Small cables (CrossFire/SLI,molex adapters)
  6. Stickers
  7. Misc++

  1. Pens
  2. CPU cooling paste
  3. Glue
  4. Tape
  5. Antistatic wristband
  6. Q-tips
  7. Other tools!

A straight fan can improve RPM

Keep your rescue and OS disks sorted!
  1. Retail Diagnostic CD's
  2. Retail Driver CD's
  3. Your own accumulated custom driver compilations
  4. Windows/Linux OS CD's
  5. Live distros
  6. Rescue distros
  7. Forensic distros


Gaming: PS2 on HDMI trough your computer!

So you have all these cool PS2 games but you have no hardware that supports a composite cable anymore, do you? No, all you have is HDMI, DVI and maybe VGA. Well there's a reasonable solution to all this!

I got something called EasyCap, which is a capturing device that goes into the a USB2 port. On the installation disk is drivers and Ulead Visual Studio. The serial code is printed on the CD.

Here's how it looks: (the black cable is a S-Video cable)

The only drawback with this cheap device is that the sound capture chip only does 8Khz mono. So what i did was attach a female-to-two-male cable from the PlayStation into my stereo. Here's my Visio skillz for the schematics:

BAM, you get good sound. They look like this: (Obviously they probably need to be longer!)

So far I have not been able to get a widescreen live capture going on in Ulead Visual Studio, but it might be some configuration thing somewhere (The program asks you on startup if you want 16:9). Maybe it is EasyCap that can't do 16:9.

Anyway, the 4:3 picture I got on the 27" 1920x1080 from the humble PS2 was at least very impressive.


Tech: PC building and casemod

PC mechanix

Useful Things you can do to your box:

* Add silencing isolation. Havent done that yet.
* Add special silent PSU fan(s) Not done that either!
* Install a control panel for adjusting fan speeds:

* Add water cooling to the CPU. Water near my CPU? Nope.

* Install heatsinks on RAM and hardisks. Here's my RAM heatsink:

* Generally install as many fans as you can.

 That was my twin top 120mm fans, a rear blue led 120mm fan and lastly an 80mm fan (should have been 140) green led fan on the bottom, and a red led 120mm fan in the front.

Cool but maybe not Useful Things you can do to your box:

* Install neonlight everwhere (bulbs mounted on transparent CPU heaksinks are awesome)
* Use neon-wire in ie. your keyboard
* Make own fan-grills
* Install glass doors/walls: This came standard on my CoolerMaster HAF 922 Tower. I rather prefer heat outtakes on the sides, but this tower has so many outtakes that the glass wall is worth it!


Tech: Win2k/XP folder tricks

Redesign you Explorer! In Win2000 (and I belive XP too), you can customize the look of all your folders. This is great for special folders that you use often. I discovered a little trick with this; if you load in the folder.htt file in a texteditor, you will see that it is just a DHTML wich controls everything in that folder. You can modify this script to do whatever you want; I used it to have a javascript scroller in the webview of some special folders as you can see here:

Tech: Hacking Win2k,XP

Introduction Here is a rundown of some of the most useful utilities and programs. These things are usually the first things I install after a fresh install.
Commandline heaven Out of the box, Windows doesn't provide many commandline tools and possibilities. But you can very easily turn you commandline into an almost linux-like shell. First of all, get this shell extension that lets you enter a directory in commandline mode from anywhere in Explorer. Just unzip and right-click and select Install.
Some small, helpful binaries Now get a package from SourceForge called 'UnxUtils' wich is an archive of *nix utilities ported to Windows. You will get all kinds of neat utilities, like grep, wget, ls, whoami, gunzip, gzip, touch and etc. Unzip these file into some directory (I just made a directory called 'bin' somewhere and unzipped them all there).
Second, get the PSTools Suite package from SysInternals. This is some other neat commandline utils, including psinfo.exe wich is very helpful with revealing things like security patches you have installed, activation status, uptime, etc. Just unzip these into the same dir as UnxUtils.
Third, you can get Microsofts's Windows Resource kit wich also has heaps of utilities. I haven't messed with it yet, as I belive they are mostly meant for server environments.
There are lots of other cool cmdline utils as well (like UPX, unace, nmap) and I just throw them all into the same directory.
Setting it up Now you should add the path to this directory in My Computer->Properties->Advanced->Environment->System Variables in the PATH entry.This will ensure you have access to this bin from anywhere on the system. Make sure all CMD windows are closed before you click apply.
Commandline power
Third, for extended commandline control and batch file programming, get 4DOS(for 9x) or 4NT for XP/2K. This will provide an alternative shell (which will integrate nicely with Explorer menu) you can use to make all kinds of neat scripts and to make a more customizeable command line shell. An example of a script I made with 4NT is here.
Another approach
For the adventurous, you can install the whole Cygwin installation, wich is a *nix emulation layer for Windows. With this you will have access to almost anything *nix has, like the GCC compiler, VIM & EMACS editors and everything else.
Command line compilers If you just want a GCC compiler you can get DJGPP, MinGW or DevCPP (comes with an IDE too, though you do not need to use it.). Note that these compilers does not come with the exact same headers and libs as a true *nix compiler or Cygwin. They are ported to Win32 to be used as native compilers.
Power Tools GUI/System behaviour
A few other tools you will like is the infamous TweakUI wich lets you configure a whole deal of stuff that is really annoying on a freshly installed Windows box. To mention a few things: Remove arrows from shortcuts, configure the 'New' context menu in Explorer and Repair Icons.

Windows Startup Lots of programs (and trojans as well) decides they should be auto-started when entering the Windows desktop, and they usually won't put themself in the startup-menu on the Start-menu. They usually place themself in various spots in the Windows registry. Here you can configure what apps should start. Get Startup Control Panel, one of's range of very useful utilities. There's also an utility included with XP (not sure about 2K, you might need to download it) called MSConfig.(Start Menu->Run->msconfig) This provides further peeking into some system settings and startup programs.
Security Immidiate steps after a fresh OS install
These days, you will want to protect you computer against all sorts of malicious attacks. First and foremost, you must ensure that your system is up to date with the latest Service Packs and security patches (hotfixes). If you do not already have some kind of firewall, either software or hardware, make sure you install that before even connecting the freshly installed computer to the Internet. Use an already secure computer to get a software firewall before connecting to Windows Update for servicepacks/hotfixes. If you don't, you will be infected even before Windows Update manages to patch up your system ! :/ I personally find Zonelab's ZoneAlarm to be helpful and easy to configure. (Get the free Personal edition) You should also disable the Universal Plug and Play service in XP as soon as you install is complete. This service is prone to attacks and also keeps port 5000 open. There's an utility for it here.

Antivirus After this is done, you should get an antivirus package, such as Norton, AVG, FSecure, or Kaspersky. Install now. Most of these AV's has a free version for private use. Wich one you choose would be difficult to say, they all have pro's and cons wich I leave to you to research.
Spyware and popupstoppers Now you should be fairly secure already, but to make it even more secure, get a popupstopper and a spyware remover. Personally I use Panicware's PopupStopper in conjuncton with the Google Toolbar to stop (potentially harmful) pop ups. Finally, you should get spyware removers/blockers such as Lavasoft's AdAware and Patrick M. Kolla's Spybot Search and Destroy. Make sure you get the two plugins as well for Spybot. Make sure you enable the Hosts-file locker and add in the blacklisted URL's that is built into Spybot. Also engage the 'System Lock', (It will leave a process called 'TeaTimer.exe' running, wich acts like a 'firewall' against the system registry, as well as protecting your browser against malicious plugins. You must allow/disallow changes and optionally check off 'Remember this choice' for later)
In my case, in addition to the latest SP and hotfixes, I am currently using 6 programs to ensure online security, ammounting to about 10 megs of RAM usage. That is a cheap price for a fairly secure system. I am never having problems as long as I keep reading news and keeping contact with other security oriented individuals.
In fact, I've been infected only 3 times in my whole computer career, and none of those were the infamous viruses, like Sasser, Blaster, Nimda etc. In two of the cases, I was solely responsible for it myself, by clicking at malicious links on IRC. (Worms that had infected trustworthy people, displaying a unsuspicious URL I was tempted to follow :)
Finetuning your OS First of all, I just want to thank Blackviper for his extensive documents on the fine tuning of Services in both 2K and XP. His site provides even more than that. Blackviper's site is here.Basically he is telling you what services are running in the background and wich of those you can disable to save CPU and memory. (As well as making you system more secure). I've used this site to fine tune both my 2K and XP boxes and it works like a charm.
But be sure to READ IT ALL BEORE MAKING MODIFICATIONS :D You could shut yourself out of your system if you fail his instructions.

Last, I just want to add that you could turn off a whole lot of special GUI effects (especially on XP), like menu fading, window animations etc. This can be done from Control Panel->Screen->Appearance->Effects and Advanced.(Under XP, I don't remember the exact place in 2K but it's possibly the same spot). I belive Blackviper has sections on how to minimize the graphics effects on his site too. This will save CPU and memory, as well as the actual time that these effects uses to show off themselves :D
Well, that's it for now. When you have worked your way trough these steps, you should end up with a faster, secure, versatile and more configurable Windows system.

Credits V1.02
Written by me, July 2004-2010 ©. Comments are welcome at eivind256 at hotmail dot com. Latest version of this document used to be found on it's official site but staghost removed my account. Do you have webspace for me? :D