• Category Archives Technology
  • Technology and Software Development

  • RipRunner – a free (as in Open Source) 911 Fire Fighter communication suite

    For the past number of years I have been a volunteer fire fighter at the Salmon Valley Volunteer Fire Hall near Prince George, BC. As with many halls, I noticed the technology options are fairly slim and the Radio communication system (Depending on your location) can be quite poor.

    As a software developer, I decided to put together something that would improve the communication at our Fire Hall and provide my solution free to all other Fire Halls who desire to use it.

    I have published all of the source code along with installation instructions on github located at the link below:

    here

    The solutions consists of PHP code for the server, and a few SMS providers to handle mobile notifications as well as an experimental Android app (which does not require SMS but uses the free service Google Cloud Messaging).


  • The Tech Kings – Scammers

    Warning to anyone buying software on the internet. http://www.thetechkings.ca/ (.com etc..) is a scammer. They advertise as an authorized Adobe Reseller (among other things) and they are NOT. I just went through a process with paypal to get my money back as they sold me a license key that is already assigned to someone else. I also confirmed with Adobe that they are NOT an authorized reseller. There are many sites like this out there and not sure why companies like Adobe don’t have them shutdown, but beware. You can always check if they are truly what they say they are. In my case it was hard since there was no prior reports that I could find that these guys were not legit. For example after doing a google street view I saw that their ‘headquarters’ was an apartment building in Brooklyn and not what they advertised on their website.

    I contacted ‘The Tech Kings’ after this chat and they did not answer me. I proceeded to make a dispute on paypal to get my money back citing the adobe response as well as google street view showing their ‘head quarters’ was an apartment building not a business.

    Google Street View

    My chat transcript with adobe support:

    Mark Vejvoda: Your order have been upgraded free of charge to Adobe Design Premium CS5.5
    Mark Vejvoda: it says that in the emaiul i posted above
    Laishram: I am sorry, the serial number is already registered under someone else name
    Laishram: And please be informed that the educational version software ownership cannot be transferred.
    Laishram: Please contact the reseller from where you have purchased in regards to the issue that you are facing/.
    Mark Vejvoda: can you confirm that The Tech Kings is a legit adobe partner?
    Mark Vejvoda: http://www.thetechkings.ca/
    Mark Vejvoda: they show the adobe logo at the top
    Mark Vejvoda: an authorized reseller
    Mark Vejvoda: hello?
    Laishram: Could you please confirm the name of the person with whom the serial number is registered?
    Mark Vejvoda: it should be me
    Mark Vejvoda: Mark Vejvoda
    Laishram: I am sorry to inform you that the Tech Kings are not an authorize resellers. For product purchased from resellers, you need to contact them in regards to any issues.
    Mark Vejvoda: they are scammers?
    Mark Vejvoda: see the logo at the top of their site
    Mark Vejvoda: your logo
    Laishram: .Please contact them in regards to any further issues.
    Mark Vejvoda: ok can you double confirm they are NOT resellers
    Laishram: An educational software's ownership cannot be transferred.
    Mark Vejvoda: i did not purchase education version
    Mark Vejvoda: so again.. can you double confirm that this company is not an authorixzed adobe resller?
    Laishram: The serial number you have provided is an educational version and is already activated on Jun 7, 2012. Please contact them if you have any issues.
    Laishram: Is there anything else I can help you with?
    Mark Vejvoda: ok, at this point yes you can
    Mark Vejvoda: CAN YOU DOUBLE CONFIRM that http://www.thetechkings.ca/ is NOT and authorizer adobe resller
    Laishram: I am sorry, we do not provide support to customers who purchased the software's from unauthorized resellers.
    Mark Vejvoda: so they are not authorized correct?
    Laishram: Yes, they are not, An authorize resellers will not sell educational software that is already registered under someone else name/.
    Mark Vejvoda: ok thank you


  • Java applet debugging – multiple java consoles and havok!

    To spare you the sanity, if you need to debug your java applets, since JDK 1.4 there is a new syntax required in the runtime parameters in the control panel applet side:

    New format:

    -agentlib:jdwp=transport=dt_socket,address=5555,server=y,suspend=n

    Old Evil format:

    -Xdebug -Xnoagent -Xrunjdwp:transport=dt_socket,address=5555,server=y,suspend=n

    There is a bug with the -XDebug parameter that causes multiple java consoles to open for each applet you load and thus you cannot connect to the right JVM session (most of the time) and you lose your mind trying to determine what is going on. You can connect to the debugger but stepping through breakpoints does not work.


  • VirtualBox – Windows XP Guest – how to update from single to multi-core so XP recognizes them?

    If you have a copy of Windows XP (in my case installed as a virtual machine on a Linux Host) and you installed XP with only 1 CPU, you’ll be sad to notice that telling virtualbox (or upgrading your CPU to multi-core if not using VirtualBox) will not in itself allow XP to see the extra cores! To fix that, follow these steps (taken from this URL: http://www.notebookforums.com/t/183802/enable-dual-core-support-in-a-windows-xp-single-core-install):

    Hal / NToskrnl replacement:
    a. Make a directory called DUO on C:\
    b. Copy halmacpi.dll (search your C:\ drive for this) to C:\DUO then rename it to hal.dll
    c. Copy ntkrnlmp.exe (search your C:\ drive for this) to C:\DUO then rename it to ntoskrnl.exe
    d. Make a batch file called go2core.cmd and put this in the file.
    
    C:
    CD\windows\system32
    REN hal.dll hal.old
    copy C:\Duo\hal.dll C:\windows\system32
    REN ntoskrnl.exe ntoskrnl.old
    copy C:\Duo\ntoskrnl.exe c:\windows\system32
    
    e. Run Go2Core.cmd from C:\duo directory.
    f. Reboot and you should now see two processors in Task manager


  • Le Pan II tablet upgrade to ICS (Ice Cream Sandwich) the brute force method

    If you’re like my son, happily using his Le Pan II tablet because it sports awesome hardware and offers great performance. Unfortunately while trying many new programs from the google app store he was finding that many were NOT working. This lead to debate in the family as to whether or not the Motorola Xoom tablet was better than the Le Pan II simply because it did not create so many compatibility problems. Let me assure you the Le Pan II ia a great tablet and upgrading to ICS solved most of my sons compatibility issues while offering greatly improved performance (he was a happy camper).

    The process of upgrading to ICS however was NOT EASY and following the useless instructions from Le Pan was equally useless. For example when press Volume + and Power buttons we NEVER could get into fastboot mode, and selecting the ICS zip file from the tablets About / System update screen only gave signature invalid errors on reboot (hold the lock button to reboot back to normal mode if that happens).

    1. So first download the ICS firmware from:

    2. Unzip it in either Windows XP or higher (Yes thats right Le Pan only supports Windows for this update process, how evilly convenient) in your root of C:\

    3. In Control Panel (in Windows) select the Add new hardware option, select All or whatever option it takes so you can tell Windows to install from a disk, then navigate to the AnyData folder that is in the extracted folder in C:\ and Windows will install the Any Data driver (THIS IS REQUIRED AS IT ALLOWS DIRECT COMMUNICATION WITH THE TABLET VIA USB)

    4. Reboot your windows computer

    5. Ensure your tablet has Development USB mode enabled (not sure why but we had to do this or the Anydata driver did not find the tablet properly) and reboot the tablet

    6. Once the tablet has rebooted and is at the main screen, open a command prompt in your Windows Machine (make sure the tablet is connected via the usb cable) and enter the Extracted folder from step 2 but this time NOT the any data fodler but the other folder which contains a .cmd file (Release_LePanII_v406_Secured_Fused_06272012_user_fastboot). From this folder run:

    adb devices

    and you should see a device show up under the listing title. If not reinstall the USB driver and ensure the tablet has USB debugging enabled. NExt execute the following command from the windows command prompt:

    adb reboot bootloader

    You should see the tablet reboot in fastboot mode (the words fastboot mode display on the tablet in the top left corner within 30 seconds)

    from the same command prompt run:

    flash_all_with_new_partition.cmd

    When this command finishes your tablet will reboot and finish the ICS install (and will ask for system setting info on reboot)

    Done!