Samsung Galaxy tablets and phones: Able to connect to wifi but no internet? One solution is here!

With Samsung Galaxy, and possibly other devices, phones and tablets, if your date and time are off by more than a few hours, you won’t be able access the internet even though you’re able to connect to the wifi.  Before you reset your device back to factory settings, check the time and date!

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Drobo Mini

I really want a Drobo Mini 🙂

Drobo Usage

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DROBO: Nice to see after moving 1TB of movies to an Ubuntu Server 12.04.1 RAID 5 Samba share :)

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How to convert videos/movies for the VTech Innotab using FFMPEG (SOLVED)

The VTech Innotab is a young children’s tablet for learning. When I picked up two of them from the local Target, we installed the six free games but was rather disappointed with the video capabilities listed in the manual:

  • File Type: AVI
  • Resolution: 480 x 272
  • Video Codec: MJPEG
  • Video Bit rate: 2400kbps
  • Frame rate: 15fps
  • Audio Sampling Rate: 22.05kHz
  • Audio Channel: Mono
  • Audio Encoder: PCM

MJPEG is a very poor codec as it produces quite large files and tends to be very blocky with any type of motion. After a bit of research, I discovered that the Innotab would accept MPEG4 video but the audio still had to be PCM mono. So the MPEG4 video file specification:

  • File Type: AVI
  • Resolution: 480 x 272
  • Video Codec: MPEG4 with a video tag of “XVID”
  • Video Bit rate: variable or a maximum of 3000kbps
  • Frame rate: 29.997fps
  • Audio Sampling Rate: 22.05kHz
  • Audio Channel: Mono
  • Audio Encoder: PCM

I chose to use ffmpeg as it is available on all major platforms. There are a few steps that need to be performed to create a working video:

Convert the video. We use “-1” for the height as we want to keep the aspect of the original video

ffmpeg -i "input.wmv" -r 65535/2733 -vcodec mpeg4 -vtag XVID -q:v 8 -vf "scale=480:-1" -an -y "video_out.mp4"

Extract the audio to mp3 format. This is necessary as the pcm_s16le codec is very finicky on the audio input

ffmpeg -i "input.wmv" -r 65535/2733 -vn -c:a libmp3lame -ar 22050 -ac 1 -ab 128k -y "audio_out.mp3"

Increase the volume (if necessary). Change the “10” if it is too loud or quiet

mp3gain -g 10 "audio_out.mp3"

Convert the mp3 to PCM and combine with the video to produce the avi file

ffmpeg -i "video_out.mp4" -i "audio_out.mp3" -r 65535/2733 -vcodec copy -map 0:0 -c:a pcm_s16le -ar 22050 -ac 1 -map 1:0 -y video_ready_for_innotab.avi

HINT: you get three free games for each Innotab device but the games, ebooks, etc are tied to the VTech account not to each device. This allows you to save $$ if you have more than one Innotab device.

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Western Digital’s Firmware 1.04.10 blocks PlayOn Media Server (workaround)

Western Digital released firmware upgrade 1.04.10 yesterday (November 27th) for the Western Digital WD TV Live Network-ready HD Media Player and Western Digital WD TV Live Plus HD Media Player.  This caused the media players (little boxes that hook up to the tv) to no longer see some network media servers such as Playon from MediaMall Technologies.

There is currently no fix but we do have a workaround:  downgrade the firmware to 1.03.49.  Don’t worry it is very easy.

  1. Download the firmware from Western Digital
  2. Unzip the file to a USB thumb drive (make sure you put it in the top directory)
  3. Insert the thumb drive into the WD box
  4. Press the Home button (blue button)
  5. Upgrade the firmware (note that the version number displayed for the old firmware will show up as a larger number – this is necessary for it to downgrade the firmware)
  6. That’s it
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Going Green in California – Why can’t I go green in Chicago?

Two of my best friends, Ryan & Anna Lubke, just went completely green.  No, not like the Incredible Hulk, but as in going off of the electric grid in California.  Due to silly laws in Chicago, my family can’t do much to go green.

Going Green

Ryan Lubke
Ryan Lubke

Thursday Jan 01, 2009

I’m not one to normally post much of anything personal on the web, however, since several co-workers found my family’s new situation interesting, I thought I might share.

This year my family and I are going green(er).  Specificially, we’ve moved into a house that is off the grid meaning the house doesn’t use the typical public utilities (i.e. city water, electric, etc).

read more…

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GeekBrief.tv: Check out the USB drive -> NAS adapter ($55) and the free Microsoft PowerPoint -> Flash software

Thanks to the all knowing Cali Lewis for hosting GeekBrief.tv!

The Addonics NAS Adapter turns a USB drive in NAS, and it only costs $55.

If you do a lot of Powerpoint presentations, you’ll be happy to hear about iSpring Free. It turns the presentation into a Flash movie that you can embed into a blog post and share.

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Ubuntu 8.10, a tethered Windows Mobile 6 cell phone via USB, Firefox and Pidgin Messenger

To tether a Windows Mobile 6 cell phone (make sure you have a data plan that allows tethering), you will need to install a few things:

sudo aptitude install subversion build-essential linux-headers-`uname -r`

Once those are installed, we need to download and build the latest usb-rndis-lite code:

svn co http://synce.svn.sourceforge.net/svnroot/synce/trunk/usb-rndis-lite
cd usb-rndis-lite/
make
##  remove the existing usb-rndis drivers with clean.sh
sudo ./clean.sh
sudo make install

Before you plug in the cell phone, you will need to blacklist the rndis_wlan kernel module:

sudo echo "blacklist rndis_wlan" >> /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist
sudo rmmod rndis_wlan

Plug in your cell phone. If you type “dmesg”, you will see something like the following:

[  152.312099] usb 4-1: new full speed USB device using uhci_hcd and address 3
[  152.500604] usb 4-1: configuration #1 chosen from 1 choice
[  154.138352] rndis0: register 'rndis_host' at usb-0000:00:1d.3-1, RNDIS device (SynCE patched), 80:00:60:0f:e8:00
[  164.441074] rndis0: no IPv6 routers present

This is showing that the phone was found. Let’s take a look at the list of interfaces using ifconfig:

....
rndis0    Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 80:00:60:0f:e8:00  
          inet addr:169.254.2.2  Bcast:169.254.2.255  Mask:255.255.255.0
          inet6 addr: fe80::8200:60ff:fe0f:e800/64 Scope:Link
          UP BROADCAST RUNNING MULTICAST  MTU:8050  Metric:1
          RX packets:29 errors:46 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:23
          TX packets:51 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000 
          RX bytes:2097 (2.0 KB)  TX bytes:9146 (9.1 KB)

On the phone, turn on Internet Connection Sharing and connect via USB. Wait a few seconds (obtaining an ip address can take up to a minute or so) then issue the ifconfig command again:

....
rndis0    Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 80:00:60:0f:e8:00  
          inet addr:192.168.0.102  Bcast:192.168.0.255  Mask:255.255.255.0
          inet6 addr: fe80::8200:60ff:fe0f:e800/64 Scope:Link
          UP BROADCAST RUNNING MULTICAST  MTU:8050  Metric:1
          RX packets:8113 errors:13535 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:6766
          TX packets:8643 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000 
          RX bytes:6063101 (6.0 MB)  TX bytes:1890604 (1.8 MB)

Yay! We are connected.

In order to use Firefox, Pidgin or any other software that uses Network Manager, you need to stop the Network Manager daemon:

sudo /etc/init.d/NetworkManager stop

You will be able to use your applications again 🙂

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FW (MAKE): Robert Bruce Thompson on the demise of the chemistry set


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It’s sad that we have become so terrified of litigation that we safe-tify the world that we simply dumbify ourselves and our children.

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LMAO! Logitech Remote “disasters”

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