Category Archives: General Info

AMD/ATI HDMI No Sound Fix

Some persons like myself have ATI/AMD graphics cards with HDMI output. At times you may end up with a monitor (or TV) that has HDMI in and you can use the speakers on the monitor (or TV) for sound. Problem is, after some update of the driver you may find that the sound suddenly stops working. If you had sound before or just installed the latest driver and suddenly have no sound, here is something to try.

Please note that this is a last resort. One of the first things you should try is locating an older graphics driver online then installing that. If that still doesn’t work then you may proceed with the 8 steps below.

STEP 1

Open the sound properties for your playback devices. Do so by right-clicking on the volume icon in your taskbar then going to PLAYBACK DEVICES.

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STEP 2

Click on your HDMI device and then go to PROPERTIES. If you have more than one HDMI device just ensure it’s the correct one afterwards by checking if it says ATI or AMD.

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STEP  3

Click again on PROPERTIES on the next window.

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STEP 4

If applicable, click on the CHANGE SETTINGS option in the next window.

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STEP 5

Click on the DRIVER tab and look for one of two options. If you have the ROLL BACK DRIVER option then chances are you had the sound working before. If that option is not clickable, then you probably just installed the latest driver. At this point you click on ROLL BACK DRIVER if it’s available and then OK on the remaining windows then test your sound. If you don’t have the ROLL BACK DRIVER option (or it didn’t work) then move on to clicking the UPDATE DRIVER option then going to STEP 6.

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STEP 6

Click on the option that says BROWSE MY COMPUTER FOR DRIVER SOFTWARE.

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STEP 7

Click on the option that says LET ME PICK.

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STEP 8

Finally, you should see multiple drivers available. Note the version numbers – in my list there are 4 versions available. Two of them are 7.12 while the other two are 6.1. Make a note of the last digits in each and the dates. At this point you may try from the oldest version to the newest.

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After completion you should be able to hear sound from your HDMI device.

BLU Studio 5.5 De-Brick / General Flashing

Intro

Recently I had an issue where a friend got a virus on his phone. Usual thing – saw some post about increasing his followers online on some social media thing, couldn’t resist, got the virus on his phone. Originally he took the device to a phone store and paid to get it sorted out – they didn’t do a good job. Virus was still on his phone. And so began the hunt.

Getting In

There are a lot of sites and threads online about fixing this issue. Basically, this phone uses a MediaTek chipset which can be flashed or firmware updated using Smart Phone Flash Tool (SP Flash Tool). There are different versions of this tool out with the most popular ones being version 3.X and 5.X depending on your needs / phone. So let’s go a bit further into what needed to be done and how I got it sorted.

Sites & Theory

So I found a number of sites as I said. One of the more popular ones would be XDA.

http://forum.xda-developers.com/android/help/blu-studio-5-5-d610a-unbrick-help-t3090885

In that thread persons wanted a solution but none were confirmed. The one provided was helpful, but nobody confirmed it. Next I found a Google Plus post.

https://plus.google.com/111407788156930060467/posts/UmEHWGK2jXv

This seemed more promising, and the person seemed very helpful. Many persons thanked him, but it still didn’t work for me. Why?

My theory is that various phone manufacturers use the same chipset, and in the case of BLU, they release different versions of the phone with slight differences. Either you have to find a BASE ROM or one that works SPECIFICALLY with your model.

The Fix (Part 1)

Now this is what you probably came here for. I’m not going to go into too much detail as I expect you to have some knowledge on the subject. So………..

  1. Obtain correct firmware for your phone.
  2. Connect bricked (or working) phone.
  3. Install appropriate drivers to flash the device.
  4. Place phone in “download mode” if applicable.
  5. Run SP Flash Tool.
  6. Connect phone.

That about covers it. Files that I used specifically for the D610A that I fixed are available in the MEGA link below.

https://mega.nz/#F!pNUTkZIb!9B8bPn8PxWGfkmIMe8PnvQ

Below is also another link with instructions on how to use SP Flash Tool on just about any device.

http://www.blogtechtips.com/2015/03/30/how-to-use-smart-phone-flash-tool-to-flash-any-blu-smartphone/

The Fix (Part 2)

In my case a second part was required. This is in case you find after flashing that you have no signal on your SIM or have checked and have no IMEI. So. Here’s that set of instructions.

  1. Check IMEI status in settings or by dialing *#06# (GSM code doesn’t work on all phones).
    • If IMEI is invalid proceed. If it shows your IMEI then do nothing further.
  2. If your IMEI is invalid or blank, watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnJr7RQa2Kk
    • This will involve accessing the engineering screen for your phone.
    • GSM code is *#*#3646633#*#* (doesn’t work on all phones).
    • Download the appropriate tool for your phone if the GSM code doesn’t work.
    • Location from engineering mode is “Connectivity – CDS Information – Radio Information”. From there go to either Phone 1 or Phone 2″
    • The commands are below, but ensure you reboot after sending each and check back the IMEI.
    • The command to send is “AT +EGMR=1,7,”new-imei”” for SIM1 and “AT +EGMR=1,10,”new-imei”” for SIM2.
  3. Once the IMEI is confirmed you may use the phone normally.

And that ends the method used to fix the BLU Studio 5.5 (D610A). The files I used may or may not work for your phone. If you find that it worked then GREAT! If it doesn’t work, try one of the other firmware files that may be found online. Another site to try for firmware files would be GSMHOSTING.

http://forum.gsmhosting.com/vbb/f606/all-blu-mobile-flash-files-firmwares-tools-1874408/

These instructions may work for other phones with similar problems. Hopefully this information helps you to get your phone (or your friend/family/customer) back up and running.

Please note that I did not use the “BLU Phone Driver.exe” which was packaged in the “Blu Studio 5.5 Stock ROM.rar” file.

Windows 7/8/10 Can’t Find Installed Program

Have you ever gotten this as an issue?

“Windows cannot find ‘C:\Program Files (x86)\Program\ProgramName.exe”

For example:

“Windows cannot find ‘C:\Program Files (x86)\TeamViewer\TeamViewer.exe”

While I’ve seen it before I’ve not had the need to fix it until recently.

So I did some digging and came upon this as a solution.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options

delete the key labeled “teamviewer.exe”

this also applies to windows cannot find skype.exe,just replace teamviewer.exe with skype.exe…

This probably also applies to other programs with the same problem.

The information was found at the link below and the credit goes to the user that posted the info – RickRosendaal

Hopefully this helps everyone else that may have come across issues like this.

http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_10-files/solved-windows-cannot-find-cprogram-files/5b3fe4fc-5ade-4616-89ad-8d2fb4076be0

Phone Credit Scam

There has been an increase in the number of text messages that you will get these days from persons claiming that they
accidentally sent you credit and are asking you to send it back. You will get this from persons on both mobile networks. I don’t know if it makes much sense to report these individuals since our local services – law and mobile – either don’t care or don’t have the resources in place to deal with these types of fraudulent activities.

This post is intended to help you identify what a scammer’s text will look like versus one that’s actually from your phone company.

SCAM TEXTS

Screenshot_20160208-074930

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DISSECTING THE TEXT

These scam texts can basically be broken down like so:

Screenshot_20160208-074930

With these texts above you will notice that they’ve typed out the full message that you might receive from the provider. Below you will see what an actual text from your service provider will look like.

ACTUAL SERVICE PROVIDER SMS

Screenshot_20160208-080037

While it is possible that you may have actually received some credit on your phone the best way to know is by checking. Simply dial *120# from your handset to see whether or not you have additional credit. This only works if you knew how much credit you originally had. Still – the SMS you get (text message) should show your current balance. Just make sure it matches.

Shopping With USD Cards

INTRODUCTION

Jamaicans have been shopping online for some time now and this has given birth to various shipping companies. These companies will give you a US address that you can ship your items to once purchased. Some companies may even allow you to use their card (at a higher rate) to buy your things online. This information applies specifically to Jamaicans but may also be used for other countries.

THE PROBLEM

Visa Debit cards are becoming the norm with various banks and this means everyone can shop online. That’s good, but the bad is the exchange rate. Unless you have a USD account your price for USD$1 may range from JMD$127-JMD$135. I kid you not. The exchange rate is set by the vendor – not the bank and their daily exchange rate – and you will then also have to pay the bank a conversion fee. This makes no sense if you use your card locally as you’ll have to pay the conversion fee for local purchases, and some banks don’t allow you to have an additional card.

THE SOLUTION (PART A)

Use a second bank with a USD account and card strictly for online purchases. This allows you to buy USD at a lower rate from the bank and do your purchases in USD. But – there’s another problem. If you only use your card then that’s great! But sometimes vendors or services (like Amazon and PayPal) may detect that your account / card is located in another country and attempt to help you by offering to convert the USD to your home currency. This brings us to:

THE SOLUTION (PART B)

First you need to get to the checkout section of your purchase. For this we will be using eBay and PayPal since Amazon is somewhat more straightforward. For Amazon just tell it to bill you in USD and not in JMD.

So – for eBay/PayPal you first need to get to the point where you’re going to checkout.

Checkout 01You’ll get your total in USD and then the highlighted section will show you your total according to their conversion rate in your local currency. You don’t want this. You want it in USD to avoid additional fees of converting to JMD. So. There’s a small X in the right corner of the highlighted area. Click it or click on the little balloon icon in the bottom left of the highlighted area to show the next section.

Checkout 02This will now show you the conversion rate and there will be a small down arrow that you need to click.

Checkout 03Once you click that small arrow you’ll see an option that says “USE CREDIT CARD EXCHANGE RATE” – click on that.

Checkout 04Once done you will notice that the total is displayed in USD only and there is no JMD (local currency) listed anymore. This will allow the transaction to take place in USD which will not incur any additional fees for conversion.

If you don’t do this process you’ll end up paying more as the currency will be converted from USD to JMD then back to USD and you’ll be billed for each conversion plus have to pay at a higher rate when going back to USD.

Hopefully this will help when making your purchase online.

Android OS “Marshmallow” (6.0–6.0.1) Storage

There’s been so many different Android OSes that it’s easy to get cavities once you sink your teeth into them. They’re all candy-type names. Kit-Kat and Lollipop are probably the most popular ones these days, but Marshmallow is getting more popular.

The reason I’m posting this is due to the lack of information I found online – yeah that’s possible – about the storage options. When you first setup Marshmallow you get prompted about how you should setup your storage card if one is present. The options include PORTABLE and INTERNAL. This was confusing until I found some more information through some deeper searching. Sections in RED were added by me to the original information. Source link below table.

Portable Card Internal Storage
Select this mode if you frequently swap your SD card between devices, use your SD card for media storage only. Select this mode if you want to completely extend your device storage with the card, and need the card to store large applications, games, and their data.
You have a Class 2, 4, or 6 card. You have a high-speed card (UHS-1) [Class 10 or higher]
If you frequently swap cards, use SD card to transfer content between devices and do not download many large app, we recommend configuring your card as “portable”. If you want to store large games on the card, if your device storage is always filling up, and you plan to always keep this card in the device, we recommend keeping your card as internal.
Only pictures and media can be stored on the card.Downloaded applications, their data, is always internal. they can not be moved to the card.The card is readable by other devices. (another phone, Mac, PC, digital camera)

Content on the card is not encrypted by default.

The card will NOT be reformatted when Portable storage is selected.

The SD card can become your device primary storageDownloaded applications, their data and media can be moved to the cardThe card is not readable by other devices. (another phone, Mac, PC, digital camera)

The card is always encrypted, and can not be decrypted on any other device. [This can be bad if the phone crashes]

The card will be formatted when Portable storage is selected.

 

SOURCE: https://motorola-global-portal.custhelp.com/app/answers/prod_answer_detail/a_id/109134/p/1449,9582

The main thing there is the third set. If your SD card stays in your phone all the time – like with most of the recent phones – then it’s probably for you. If you don’t remove the card from the phone and always access it using a USB cable then setting it up as INTERNAL is best.

!!!PLEASE NOTE!!!

Once you setup the card as INTERNAL any and all information that was on it will be lost. If you have anything on it that you don’t want to lose create a backup first. Copy it to your PC/laptop and then setup the card. Once done you may copy the information back using the cable.

As stated above – if the phone crashes and you lose access to the card then all data is lost.

If you use CWM or TWRP and copy things to your SD card before flashing then you can’t do that if you setup the card as INTERNAL. This is because the SD card will only be decrypted by the OS and not by the recovery.

Overall this is good for privacy but bad if something goes wrong with the device. Use with caution and do backups.

Torrenting & Seedboxes

INTRODUCTION

This is intended to be a quick guide to what torrents are and how to use a seedbox.

Torrents as they’re commonly called (BitTorrent I believe is the correct name) are seen as small files that you download which then allows you to get much larger files. While these are used (primarily) to distribute files that are questionable, the BT protocol can be used to distribute open-source and legal files as well. One such open project can be found at the Blender Foundation where multiple open projects using Blender can be seen. Some of the repositories are over 100GB and the files are much more quickly acquired using BitTorrent.

HOW IT WORKS

Essentially you connect to multiple persons online that have the same file. Their collective bandwidth is shared to give you the file much faster than if you only connected to one person. This protocol also supports error checking of the files transferred – so the chance of you downloading the files and there being corruption is greatly minimized.

PRIVATE TRACKERS AND RATIOS

While there are multiple torrent sites online,  you may also find some that are private. These can only be accessed through an invite from an existing member or if they allow free signups at certain special events or times of the year. These sites are established primarily on the premise of sharing. This means that you can’t just download a torrent then remove it once it’s finished. You are required to seed (share) the file until you have uploaded as much as you’ve downloaded. So if you downloaded 1GB you should seed back 1GB. This promotes sharing in the community. If you downloaded 1GB and uploaded 1GB then your ratio would be 1.0. If you downloaded 1GB and uploaded 1.5GB then your ratio would be 1.5. If you uploaded 2GB then your ratio would be 2.0.

Most private trackers start you off with an amount and then expect you to keep it that way or better. This means seeding things for a longer period of time to have a ratio above 2.0 & holding the files longer on your PC/laptop. The solution to this if you want to share more with your private tracker community – or the open source community if you’re a developer – is by renting a seedbox.

SEEDBOXES

A seedbox is essentially a service where you pay for an external source to download your torrents. The interface is accessed through a website which may look like a torrent application (uTorrent for example) and the usage is fairly simple.

  • Download the TORRENT file to your PC/laptop.
  • Upload the TORRENT file to the seedbox.
  • Let the seedbox download the actual file (usually faster than your home connection).
  • Download the files from your seedbox through HTTP or FTP interfaces.

Downloading from your seedbox does not affect your ratio. Depending on the service you decide to use there will be instructions to access your seedbox and even stream directly from it. So if you downloaded Big Buck Bunny for example, you could stream the files directly from your seedbox to VLC, MPC-HC or any other player that you prefer.

BEST PRACTICES

While there are a lot of variables to actually using BitTorrent there are a few things that are considered best practices:

  • Seed back what you downloaded. Aim for a 1.0 ratio or higher.
    • This means giving as much as you got. Helps the community and if you’re on a private tracker it will help your status and ratio.
  • Don’t max your bandwidth.
    • If you’re not going to use a seedbox don’t leave the torrent application to decide everything. By default it will max your bandwidth and cause issues like slow browsing or other problems for you and other users if your connection is shared.
    • A general rule is to not exceed 75% of your upload bandwidth. Set the parameters in your torrent client.

For more details on what your settings should be like for a local client, see the wiki section on VUZE.

http://wiki.vuze.com/w/Good_settings

FLOW AVS Remote Control Programming

Download Searchable PDF For Remote Programming

There’s been a lot of changes with the local Jamaican telecoms and cable services. Currently the largest one is FLOW – which was purchased by Liberty Global recently. One of their services is AVS which stands for Advanced Video Service. This is similar to FIOS provided by Verizon – where you can pause live TV and record things in the cloud. All seems really good except that on the older service the universal remote provided seemed better. Most persons that have this service installed don’t even have the basic function of turning on/off their television and the technicians don’t seem to know how.

Until we figure out or find out how to access more functions from the remote we’re gonna help you at least use it to turn your TV on/off. Doing this can make things a little easier – just use the volume control on the cable box instead of your TV. This means setting the TV at an acceptable volume beforehand but, at least you won’t have to be using two remotes.

First have your TV on. The set top box (cable box) doesn’t need to be on. Press and hold the OK key on the FLOW cable box remote then press the TV power button (top right) once. The TV power button should now remain lit red. Press the power button repeatedly until your TV powers off. Then press any of the directional keys around the OK button. The code should now be stored and the remote should power on/off your TV.

Once we find any other information on this device we will update the post.

*UPDATE*

We spoke with other users of the service and found that the remote actually does have a document but it seems that some of the technicians don’t read it. Here are the basic instructions. We will attach a PDF of the actual document at a later time.

So yes – the instructions are there. And I didn’t even find the info online. Weird.

So – let’s put the info online.

TV PROGRAMMING – BRAND CODE
This will be listed after. It’s a lot. I’ll probably scan the paper to PDF.

TV PROGRAMMING – AUTO
Turn the TV on. Hold the OK button and the TV POWER button for 3 seconds. The TV button will light up and stay on. Point it at the TV and wait – it will automatically be transmitting a power signal. Once the TV turns off press any key on the remote (except the SET button) and that will stop the auto search. Press the TV POWER button again and once the TV turns on it is set.

TV PROGRAMMING – MANUAL
Turn the TV on. Hold the OK button and the TV POWER button for 3 seconds. The TV button will light up and stay on. Point it at the TV and press the TV POWER button once every 2 seconds. Once the TV turns off press nothing on the remote until the TV POWER light on the remote goes off. The remote is now programmed.

VOLUME PRIORITY
The volume is set to the cable box (STB – Set Top Box) by default. To change it to/from the TV press and hold the OK button and the volume up button (+) at the same time. Each time this is done it will switch between TV volume and STB volume.

Download Searchable PDF For Remote Programming

Winamp Returns

Some persons may remember in 2013 that Winamp had shut down.

http://techcrunch.com/2013/11/20/after-15-years-of-whipping-the-llamas-ass-winamp-shuts-down/

Since then the days of easily, quickly (and freely) skinning your audio player went out the window. Personally I never used Winamp to organize music – just play, but it did have some very nice features. I even had some skins that exactly matched my wallpapers or fit into certain sections of the screen.

While some functions in Winamp are replaced by functions in your OS, there are persons that would still love to go back to their familiar player that had excellent functions. On that note I have good news: Winamp seems to be making a comeback.

http://www.winamp.com/

The new site looks good but they are working on it. Things moved quickly and while this may be old news it’s not known by some. So – here is a quote from Wikipedia.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winamp#Acquisition_by_Radionomy

On November 20, 2013, AOL announced that on December 20, 2013, it would shut down Winamp.com, and the software would no longer be available for download, nor supported by the company after that date. The following day, an unofficial report surfaced that Microsoft was in talks with AOL to acquire Nullsoft. Despite AOL’s announcement, the Winamp site was not shut down as planned, and on January 14, 2014, it was officially announced that Belgian online radio aggregator Radionomy had bought the Nullsoft brand, which includes Winamp and Shoutcast. No financial details were publicly announced.However, TechCrunch has reported that the sale of Winamp and Shoutcast is worth between $5 and $10 million, with AOL taking a 12% stake (a financial, not strategic, investment) in Radionomy in the process.

The program is still being worked on, but you can still get their application to download from within their forums.

http://forums.winamp.com/showthread.php?t=374929

Personally I’m looking forward to the finished product, but so far it brings me back to a time when music was easier to play – playlists were easier to manage and skinning my player was a piece of cake.