MonthDecember 2009

Why People Can’t Join Your Listchecker Games

There are just a handful of common reasons why people can’t join your Listchecker games.  LC does a good job in telling you with its log that opens up along with the program.  Obviously when it says “Game hosted with success”, you have no problems, but there will be times where it says “CD key in use” or “Failed to create game”.  That error almost always has to do with someone else already using the game name.  So changing that will definitely make it work.

However, LC won’t tell you that your Warcraft III port is blocked.  Google a port scanner tool and have it scan your Warcraft port (default 6112).  Also make sure that the LC config file has the same port that you forwarded.  The game port that you set in-game have no bearing on the LC port.  The only requirement is that it must be different than the LC port, but that port number is not important for hosting games.

The last issue is quite obscure.  I ran into an issue where one of my friends couldn’t join my game, but everybody else could.  Warcraft simply gave him a gray screen.  I immediately thought that it was a problem on their end and not mine.  However, upon closer inspection, it appears that if I set my LC hosting port to default, everybody can join.  The reason I didn’t use the default port is because someone else was using the 6112 port and I couldn’t forward the same port on multiple computers.  I don’t really know why that is, but it works beautifully.

Invalid Filename

Yesterday when I was trying to install something, Windows kept complaining that my setup file had an “invalid filename”.  Apparently it was because the path to the file had an illegal character (squared symbol) in it.  Don’t know how it ended up there, but I got rid of it and it worked.

Accessing the P1i Hidden Services Menu

The service menus on the P1i allow the user to see information about their phone, diagnostic tests for different features, and formatting the internal disk.

To be specific, here are all the options that are included:

  • Services information
    • Model information – what model your phone is (mine just says P1i)
    • Software information – PDA, phone, and Bluetooth software version, and CDA version
    • Hardware information – IMEI number
    • SIM locks – I’m guessing this tells you whether your phone is locked or unlocked (reasonable assumption)
    • Configuration – Speech codec rate, and GSM bands
  • Services tests
    • Display – shows abunch of weird lines and colors to see if colors look right I guess
    • Camera – shows an image of the front and rear camera
    • Touchscreen – gives a blank drawing canvas to test the stylus
    • Illumination – screen brightness
    • LED’s – lights up the light near the phone charger port red and green
    • Keyboard – lets you type different keys and reads your input
    • Vibrator – vibrates the phone letting you know that function still works
    • Speakers – makes sounds with the front and rear speakers
    • Microphone – records sounds
    • FM radio – didn’t try this one, since I didn’t have my handsfree with me
    • Memory Stick – tells you if its attached
  • Format internal disk – it is what it says

Accessing the Services Menu

  1. Go to the Main Menu
  2. Select Phone
  3. Select Phone again.  Once you do this, it will show a blank space for typing a number
  4. Turn the jog dial up once, then type a *
  5. Turn the jog dial down twice, then type a *
  6. Turn the jog dial down once, then type another *
  7. The services menu will now open

Installing P1i Themes

  1. Connect phone to computer in File Transfer mode.
  2. Copy/move the theme file to the memory card
  3. Navigate to the file using the File Manager and execute it.
  4. Install the theme and then apply it when it asks you to
  5. Alternatively you can go to the Control Panel > Themes to activate.

Stitches Popped Out Again

So there I was, eating my lunch, when I had accidentally pushed a piece of food to the left side of my mouth, the site of the gum graft that I’ve had recently.  The fried fish instantly popped the stitches right off.  From past experience, this has always led to bleeding, except this time, it happened very late in the healing process.  I have my fingers crossed hoping that it’s not gonna bleed again.  My periodontist says its only a problem if it bleeds.  So lets hope it doesn’t.

My Brief Experience with iPodLinux and Rockbox

Sometime in 2005 I saw a video of someone playing Half-Life on an iPod and I thought it was kind of cool that it was possible.  I found out that the person was running Linux on their iPod with id Software’s Doom installed (a version ported to the iPod).  I also found out that Linux on an iPod comes in two flavors: iPodLinux and Rockbox.  I decided to try both.  I started with iPodLinux.

iPod Linux

The installation of iPodLinux requires the user to download the source code from their Subversion Repository and then compile it.  There were binaries available for download, but those were two years out of date.  Downloading the source code required the installation of an SVN client, and compiling the source code required the installation of Qt with MinGW.  I ran into a slight snag here as the installation guide on their site neglected to tell me that Qt would not set the system environment variables needed in order for me to follow the instructions in the guide as is.  Typing “qmake” kept giving me “qmake is not recognized” error in the Windows command line.  Once I set up the environment variables, I was able to compile the source code.

After compiling the code, I went onto installation.  Whenever I tried to install iPodLinux, the installer would close while trying to partition my iPod.  As a result, my iPod was left half partitioned with no OS.  I had to restore my iPod with iTunes every time this happened.  I figured it was because I was using Windows 7 Pro x64.  Even after setting compatibility options and running as administrator, the installer wouldn’t work.  I then repeated everything I had done so far on a Windows XP Pro machine and was finally able to install iPodLinux.

The next step was to boot the OS for the first time.  While loading the different modules, the OS would complain about how some modules were didn’t exist or my iPod had run out of memory.  Then the iPod later got stuck while initializing some module called “MPDc”.  So what I tried to do next was to install iPodLinux without this module.  Stupidly enough, the installer refused to let me uncheck any of the options while clearly stating that I could uncheck certain ones if I didn’t want them.  What I don’t get is why I’m getting all these errors with my iPod when the developers state that my 5th gen iPod Video is supported.  Maybe I’m missing something?

Then I found out about the ZeroSlackr Project, which is supposed to provide a “simple, coherent, easy-to-use and newbie friendly method of installing iPodLinux on iPods”.  After downloading, first thing I did was look at the readme’s to see how to install it.  I opened up the readme and it gave me the worst formatting I’d ever seen in a text file.  There were no line breaks.  Rather than searching through this wall of text I just looked up how to install it on Google.  I opened the batch file included with the install files and it gave me a message saying installation successful and that I could now boot ZeroSlackr from my iPod.  I took out the iPod and booted it up just to see no option for ZeroSlackr in the Bootloader.  Maybe I did something wrong.

I also tried a program called iPod Manager 2.0.5, but it didn’t even open no matter how many times I tried to open it.

Afterward, I figure I could use a program to see the ext2 partition that iPodLinux makes and delete the modules manually from there.  Browsing the iPodLinux forums and Google searches led me to a program called LTOOLS.  It was supposedly able to let me modify the ext2 partition.  No luck with that either.  I kept getting stopped by the “Windows could not find file specified” error whenever  I tried to look in the ext2 partition.  Next program I tried was Ext2 IFS for Windows.  I’ve used this program successfully in the past to grab files from my Ubuntu partition.  For some reason this program didn’t work either.  Luckily using my Ubuntu 8.04 Live CD to open the ext2 partition on the iPod worked for me.  The ext2 and the FAT32 partition appeared right away in Ubuntu and all I had to do was do a “gksudo nautilus” to delete the files I didn’t want.

After removing the problematic modules, I finally loaded up the OS.  However, the moment I selected any menu option, the iPod would freeze.  I waited about 30 seconds with no response.  This problem is probably quite beyond me so I stopped here.

Rockbox

The thing I liked the most out of Rockbox is that the installation of it worked, without any hassles.  All I did was download it, double click, follow the instructions and then bam it worked.  It also installs without requiring you to partition your iPod to ext2.  As a result, I could access the Rockbox files easily within Windows.  I loaded up iTunes and it was still able to sync my stuff onto it.

Once I synced my music onto the iPod again, I tried playing music with it.  Without looking at the manual, I could not use my library as one huge playlist.  I find that if using the interface on an mp3 player needs a manual for people to know whats going on, its probably too complex.  Take the iPod interface for example.  It is very intuitive.  There was virtually no learning curve in figuring out how to use it.

Another thing that really annoyed me on Rockbox is that even after setting the language options, I still was not able to see Chinese ID3 tags on songs.  How am I supposed to be able to choose a song if I can’t see the title?

What I did like about Rockbox are the apps.  I know iPodLinux has them too, but seeing that I never got past the freezing problem, I couldn’t try them out.  My favorite was RockDoom.  Being able to play a classic game like that on an iPod made me feel a bit nostalgic.

Conclusions

iPodLinux needs a little bit more work in making installation of the OS easier.  To be specific, their documentation needs to add solutions for problems like the one I mentioned before.  It should also let people uncheck things in the installer.  And most important of all, it should work without freezing up all the time.  If all 5th gen iPod Videos are standard, then if I have a problem on mine, wouldn’t that mean everyone else’s 5G iPod will have problems with it?

Really, I liked everything about Rockbox except its interface and its lack of support for seeing Chinese characters.  I was even able to play a Counter-Strike mod for RockDoom.  I thought that was fantastic.

There are probably also some fixes out there that I don’t know about that can solve my problems, but seeing that I only used iPodLinux and Rockbox so briefly, I probably never came across those fixes.  I also feel that the sorts of problems I had should not need fixes, but rather they shouldn’t occur at all.

Qt Environment Variables

A long time ago I had come across a project that involved porting Linux on the iPod called iPodLinux (read more at the link).  It basically adds additional functionality than that of regular iPods such as the use of third party apps such as gameboy and NES emulators.  Seeing that I like to mess with these things, I decided to try it out.  According to their website,

iPodLinux currently works on all iPod generations with the exception of the 2nd/3rd/4th generation iPod nano, 6th generation iPod classic, all iPod shuffles and the iPod Touch. Donations always help when it comes to supporting new hardware. Progress can be tracked on the Project Status.

The installation of iPodLinux is somewhat tedious.  They recommend that you download the source code and compile them yourself (instructions on the site), which is what I’m doing right now.  Compiling the source code requires a program called Qt.  I downloaded the Qt4 + MinGW installer to compile the code.  However, when trying to compile the code using “qmake”, Windows did not let me run the program.

Apparently the source of the problem is that my environment variables were not set properly.

The environment variables settings page can be found in Control Panel > System > Advanced System Settings > Environment Variables.  Click the New… button.

Here are the required environment variables:

Variable Name: PATH (should exist already)
Variable Value: C:MinGWbin and C:Qt4.x.xbin

Variable Name: QTDIR
Variable Value: C:Qt4.x.x (whatever your version is)

Variable Name: QMAKESPEC
Variable Value: win32-g++

Connecting a Sony Ericsson P1i to a Windows 7 x64 Computer in Phone Mode

You need to get a driver package, google for “p1_usb_signed_drivers” (p1_usb_signed_drivers.rar).
Note for myself: I’ve sent an e-mail to myself with these drivers as an attachment in case I can’t find them later.

This assumes that: 1. you don’t have any drivers installed, 2. you don’t have PC Suite installed. Otherwise you may need to do the steps differently.

  1. Install PC Suite for Sony Ericsson from their support site, the version for your device, and restart.
  2. Connect your phone to the USB cable and let it install the wrong drivers that it does automatically automatically.
  3. Uninstall old drivers (very important, in device manager uninstall and check the “delete drivers” checkbox on: “Ports Com&LPT->Sony Ericsson … something”, “Universal Serial Bus Controllers->Sony Ericsson … somethin” (there should be 2 listed))
  4. Disconnect your phone from USB
  5. Restart Windows
  6. Unpack the p1_usb_signed_drivers package
  7. Right click the setup.exe and choose “Vista” compatibility mode, apply.
  8. Right click the setup.exe and choose run as administrator and install
    (If there are any errors with this driver package you will have to uninstall and reinstall it and reboot until it works, and maybe try other compatibility modes)
  9. If the drivers were successfully installed, disconnect from the Internet, so that it doesn’t automatically download wrong drivers when you connect your phone.
  10. Once disconnected from the Internet, connect your phone, and it should find the drivers and the mrouter driver.

You may need to do the steps differently if you don’t have the drivers already installed, or PC suite already installed.

Source: http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en/w7itproappcompat/thread/47fe4ea2-7d73-4615-9a7e-5f5dd4ff8546

UPDATE (Dec 7/ 09):  For me, this method was kind of on and off.  I used this method and it worked, but then after I reinstalled the firmware on my phone, PC Suite was no longer able to identify my phone anymore.  I uninstalled the drivers from device manager, and let Windows 7 install my drivers for again and it worked.  I guess I can’t really narrow down which method works, but this is worth a shot I guess for those who are looking for solutions

FAILED TO LOAD RESOURCE Error When Installing Sony Ericsson PC Suite

Apparently, you can use WinRAR to extract the contents out of the exe file and it’ll give you a couple of setup files (32 and 64 bit setup files) and some dll’s. Once I did that, the error disappeared. I don’t really know how that would have affected anything in the first place, but then again, errors are generally bad…

For some reason when I tried installing this program using the 64 bit setup file, the installation would always fail. I guess I’ll stick with the 32 bit version.

I wonder if this technique can be applied to other exe files…

iPod Only Plays Sound on One Side

Recently I’ve had this problem where my iPod would only play sound on the right side headphone. Most people would probably think that the headphones were broken, which is what I thought too. I went to try my iPod with different speakers and still had the same problem. Clearly it was because of the iPod. I decided to open up my iPod and see. Refer to this post on how to open up an iPod Video 5th Gen.

Once I opened it up, it looked like this:

The problem with mine was that the one of the two orange ribbon cables was too loosely connected to the iPod’s circuit board.  Refer to the image.  When the iPod is freshly opened, the hard drive (the blue thing) should be covering the circuit board.  As noted in the picture, the orange ribbon goes through that little gap.  What I noticed is that as I wiggle around that cable, my left speaker would start playing sounds.  Once I found the “sweet spot”, I immediately stuffed cut up bits of a rubber band into the gap until I could jam up that spot well enough to prevent the orange cable from moving.  I don’t have a picture of what it looks like after it was fixed, and I don’t really feel like grabbing the screwdriver to open it up again.

UPDATE (Jan 5, 2010):

This is what it looks like fixed:

Notice the two bits of green rubber band filling up that slot.

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