iOS 4 slowing down your 3G/3Gs? How about a Downgrade?


While a lot of people are quite happy with iOS 4 on their iPhone 3G or 3Gs, some are finding that their iDevice seems much slower than it once was. On my iPhone 3G, this was most noticeable when running the iPod app in the background whilst browsing the ‘net or checking emails – the music would skip and stutter as the device struggled to keep everything running smoothly.

After a few weeks of frustration, I decided to take the plunge and roll my iPhone 3G back to iOS (or iPhone OS, as it was known at the time) 3.1.3. The speed difference was immediately noticeable, with every app performing much quicker, with load times improving and seamless music no matter what I was doing in the foreground (even PvZ can’t cause audio skips).

The process for rolling back your iPhone from iOS 4.0 or 4.0.1 to 3.1.3 is pretty simple, and you should be done in a half an hour or so.

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Securing your SSH server

Enabling SSH on your home server – or a virtual private server, if you have one – is a risky affair. An unsecured server is a tempting target for script kiddies who want to test their “skills.” If you’re already running an ssh server, try the following command to see if anyone’s tried to connect to your computer and failed a password check:
user@computer:~$ sudo awk 'gsub(".*sshd.*Failed password for (invalid user )?", "") {print $1}' /var/log/auth.log* | sort | uniq -c | sort -rn | head -5
 11 root
 9 admin
 6 sales
 2 user

So how do you secure your ssh server so that inquisitive people across the globe can’t access and harm your sensitive data?

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Network timeout while downloading iOS 4.0.1?


As with last time, some people are reporting problems while trying to download the 4.0.1 iOS update for their iPhones, where their network connection is interrupted and the download cancels. It’s also painfully slow when you’re in Australia or other third world (as far as internet connections go) countries. If you’re one of these people, you can grab the direct downloads here. They’re all direct links to the Apple servers.

Downloading direct is also a lot faster, especially if you’re using a Firefox add-on called “Down Them All!” which splits downloads into multiple chunks so that instead of being restricted to a single slow download, you can run ten slow downloads concurrently – effectively making your download run ten times as fast.

Once you have the file, connect your iPhone to iTunes 9.2 and perform a backup, then hold the Shift key (Windows) or Option key (Mac) while pressing the Upgrade button and select the firmware you downloaded to begin the upgrade process, or the Restore button if you want to install fresh.

Airvideo on Ubuntu 10.04 the easy way


AirVideo on iPhone

For those of you who don’t know what Airvideo is, it’s a little piece of software which runs on a server in your home and allows you to watch videos on your iPod Touch, iPhone or iPad both in your home via WiFi and when you’re out and about on a 3G network. It transcodes video (including MKV) into something your iDevice can play, then streams it out at the optimal bitrate for the available bandwidth. The server software is free, and the client software is available on the App store for around $2, which is a phenomenal bargain considering what it does.

The server software usually runs on Windows or Mac, but what about people who use Linux as their server operating system?

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PS3 Media Server on Ubuntu 10.04


If you’re like me and you like to reduce the clutter in your loungeroom, but still want to be able to watch all your recorded TV shows and backed up DVDs, PS3 media server(PMS) might be something worth looking at. It’s stupidly easy to get up and running on Windows (i.e. as long as you have java installed you can just click and run), but on Linux it needs an extra step or two.

Many thanks to Mjohns930 over at the forum for his post which was the basis for this howto.

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iPhone – Stay online in Airplane mode


Skype still works

Want to avoid being able to take calls or SMS messages, but still want to be able to use your iPhone for stuff like checking Twitter, acting as your iTunes remote or streaming porn movies with Airvideo?

I suppose you could go in to call forwarding and push all your calls to voicemail, but there’s a delay while it’s trying to send the request to network and that’s annoying. I find this a bit better because it’s quicker, and there’s no “boop-biddy-boop” interference on my computer speakers when I’m sitting at my desk because the 2G radio isn’t ever going to turn on.

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Problems downloading iOS4?


I’m not sure if it’s the fact that I’m using iTunes on Windows or if it’s because I’m with a shitty ISP, but every time I try to download iPhone software I get an error saying that the network connection was reset and the update bombs out.

Instead, I had to directly download the software from Apple’s download server, then hold shift (or option if you’re a mac person) and click on restore. It’ll ask you where your software is you want to use,  and restore from there.

You can even install older versions if you want, although you might need to downgrade your iTunes as well.

iOS 4: iPod Touch 2G, iPod Touch 3G, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3Gs and iPhone 4.

iOS 3.1.3: iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3Gs.

iOS 2.2.1: iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPod Touch, iPod Touch 2G.

iOS 1.1.4: iPhone, iPod Touch.

Backing up your computer with Robocopy


Windows 7 has a great tool called “Windows Backup.” It’s great because it creates a system image, then zips up and copies all files specified to another hard disk or network drive. But what makes this kinda useless is the fact that every time you run the backup, it’ll copy everything over to the hard disk or network location.

So while it may be great for the system image, it’s not the sort of thing I like to do for everything else.  For starters, my computer has about 600Gb of stuff on it, and I don’t want to be copying it all over to my server every night.

That’s where Robocopy comes in.

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Screen Brightness on Lenovo T400


If you’re having the problem on a T400 where you can’t change screen brightness, even after installing all the correct drivers, try the following:

Right click on the green battery on your taskbar, go to ‘Switchable Graphics’ and select ‘Energy Saving.’

You should now be able to change your screen brightness both via the function keys, and automatically via your power profiles.


Update: Turns out this is a bug with the original Bios which was shipped with the T400. Jump on to the Lenovo website and download the updated bios to fix it all up.

Move PuTTY settings to another computer


As an extreme nerd, I spend a lot of time either SSH’d or telnetted in to various servers around the world. I’ve tried a lot of different clients over the years, but nothing comes close to the simplicity and effectiveness of PuTTY. It works, it works well and it’s free. These things combined means it’s always one of the first applications I install on a new Windows machine.

But there’s no config file or list of settings you can simply copy from one machine to another. So how do you take your server list with you?

Simple. Continue reading