CategoryGuide

How to install Belkin Wireless drivers for Windows 7

I recently ran into trouble using my Belkin Wireless G Plus Mimo dongle on Windows 7 and couldn’t find any guides on how to get it going. I ended up finding a tip in a forum that worked so hopefully this will help anyone else who has this problem.

Step 1:

With the device plugged into the computer, go into the Start Menu, right-click on Computer, and click Properties.

Step 2:

In the window that pops up, click Device Manager.

Step 3:

In the new window, there should be a big list of devices, including the one you want in the Other devices section, listed as Unknown Device.
If there are multiple unknown devices there, you can check which one is the Belkin dongle by right-clicking it and clicking Properties, going to the Details tab, and on that tab you should see something similar to USB\VID_0CF3&PID_3000 when you’re on the right one.

Step 4:

Right-click on the unknown device and click Update Driver Software…, then Browse my computer for driver software and Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer.

Step 5:

Now we are going to choose a device that uses the same hardware as the Belkin device.
Go down the list, select Network adapters and click Next

Step 6:

Select the first Ralink Technology Corp from the Manufacturer list, and then choose RT73 USB Wireless LAN Card in the Network Adapter list.
Then click Yes in the warning window.

Worked for me :)

X-Men trading cards image manipulation

Well today I did some quick manipulation of a scan of 3 trading cards I found on the net and I think it turned out pretty well so I’m sharing it :)

I could have spent more time on it and made it more perfect but as it is it’s a lot better than the version floating around. I used to collect these cards as a boy along with the ’95 and ’96 series, so this image is very cool for me.

So I started out with the original image which is this:

It’s already amazing just because of the art style and printing quality. However some things aren’t lining up, partly because of the printing process – when cards are printed and cut they are usually not exactly lined up, so you miss things on the edges, making it very hard to find 3 cards that line up perfectly. With Photoshop (or a similar program) we can fix some of that.

First, I cut the image into 3 layers so I can vertically resize and move the 3 cards to get them lining up better.

After doing that, Cyclops and his laser were no longer lined up, which seems to be the main goal the original scanner had in mind (and it’s a good idea, too), so I isolated Cyclops’ head and laser and resized them very slightly to line up. I then did a similar thing on the left side.

Next I isolated some parts of the background and resized/rotated them to fit better.

Then I got rid of some artifacts on the joins between the cards using the Clone Stamp tool.

Then I used the Levels tool to make the blacks closer to black and the whites closer to white, to bring it closer to what the artist drew, instead of seeing it as interpreted by the scanner with its light-pollution.

Lastly I cropped the edges which had become uneven from the initial lining up.

The end result:

Like I said at the start, I could have spent more time manipulating all the joins to make it perfect, but this is good enough and maybe this is a useful resource for someone to show how to do quick manipulations.

How to set up automatic authentication with BTGuard via OpenVPN on Windows (Updated 22/12/2011)

Introduction:

I recently started using the BTGuard VPN service and it has taken a lot of fiddling around to make it work in any user-friendly way.
This guide will tell you how to set it up so that you can just start OpenVPN and click “Connect”, then it just works.

Instructions:

  1. Follow the official BTGuard steps from here.
  2. Close OpenVPN.
  3. Create a text file called password.txt and in it, put your username on the first line and your password on the second line.
  4. Go into your OpenVPN config folder (the same one mentioned in the official BTGuard guide) and put password.txt in there.
  5. Change the line “auth-user-pass” to “auth-user-pass password.txt”, and save the file.
    Note: You may need to copy the file to another folder in order to edit it, then copy it back to the config folder. This is due to Windows security.
  6. Download the latest official version of OpenVPN from here and install it.

Now you can simply start OpenVPN, right-click the icon in the system tray and click Connect. It will connect automatically, and automatically re-connect without prompting you for your login information again.

Changelog:

22/12/2011

  • Updated instructions for latest BTGuard configuration

26/07/2011

  • Initial article

How to remove stdrt.exe

Sections:

Introduction:

Today I noticed a little piece of malware running in the background which apparently just takes up CPU cycles (around 20% for me) and wastes bandwidth by downloading things.
I’m not sure what it downloads, because my firewall blocked its connection. Some people say it downloads more malware but I don’t know for sure. Either way it’s probably not something you want ;)

So I ran the programs that usually work (MalwareBytes, SuperAntiSpyware and Spybot) but none of them removed it. MalwareBytes said it was going to but it kept reappearing after a restart.

So, I did a search around the net and found how to remove it, but it was buried several posts in on a forum thread, so I thought I should make this guide to be more straight-forward than that.

Note that this fix works for most versions of Windows (XP, 2000, Vista and 7) but I made it on Windows 7, so the steps may be slightly different for other versions of Windows. It should still be straight-forward, though.

Am I Infected?

To see if you are infected with it, open Task Manager (ctrl+alt+del then click Start Task Manager), make sure you’re on the Processes tab, then click the Show processes from all users button at the bottom of that window.
Make sure the list is sorted by Image Name and see if stdrt.exe is listed there. If it isn’t there, congratulations! If you see it, follow the instructions below.

Step 1:

Download ComboFix as Combo-Fix.exe (not ComboFix.exe which is the default) and remember where you saved it.

Step 2:

Boot into Safe Mode.
To do this, restart the computer and as it is starting up, keep pushing F8 until you come to an option screen. Use the arrow keys to select Safe Mode and push Enter.

Step 3:

When Windows is loaded, find your Combo-Fix.exe and run it. Now just read the prompts and click accordingly, it’s a straight-forward process.
When it is finished cleaning your computer it will automatically restart it.
After that restart, it will take a few more minutes to finish up, so don’t use the computer until it is done.
Voila!

Thanks:

Artreid from the VistaHeads forum for the post that inspired this one.

Installing Sphinx 0.9.9 from MacPorts

Sphinx 0.9.9 is now available through MacPorts. If you want MacPorts but haven’t got it head on over here.

Install Sphinx

For a new install use the following commands:

sudo port -d selfupdate #this updates the PortFile tree and index
sudo port install sphinx

If you have an older version this should upgrade to 0.9.9

sudo port -d selfupdate  #this updates the PortFile tree and index
sudo port upgrade outdated  #upgrades

Check install

If you don’t remember choosing a different directory on install then you will find MacPorts related stuff (including Sphinx) in /opt/local/

Ensure /opt/local/bin is in $PATH

echo "${PATH//:/$'\n'}"  #display all dirs on path on a separate line

To check the installation here are some commands:

which searchd
which indexer
searchd -h

Setting up config

If this is a fresh install you may need to copy the distribution config from sphinx.conf.dist to sphinx.conf. There is also a file without comments called sphinx-min.conf.dist

cd /opt/local/etc/sphinx/

if [ ! -f sphinx.conf ]
then
sudo cp sphinx.conf.dist sphinx.conf
fi

sudo open sphinx.conf #open the config

port gohome sphinx #opens sphinx homepage

Docs and php API

If you are working with php there is a api file here sphinxapi.php with some docs here

For help setting up indexes here are the Sphinx docs http://sphinxsearch.com/docs/current.html

Some helpful commands for when you are playing around with your sources and indexes.

#watch as connections come in
sudo searchd --console
#this will reindex all and send a signal to the running searchd process to rotate updated indexes automatically
sudo indexer --all --rotate

Convert videos to 60fps (Updated 27 Sep 2014)

Sections:

Introduction:

Many modern TVs now include an extra frames feature, usually either 120Hz or 240Hz. This just means they take the source video, which is usually between 24-30FPS, and add new, interpolated frames between the original frames that make the motion look much more smooth.

High framerate (HFR at 48fps) was used in The Hobbit and will be used in upcoming films like the Avatar sequels, so why not watch all your movies at higher framerates?

A lot of people don’t realize this, but 99% of TVs made before this feature was introduced are actually capable of displaying 50FPS and 60FPS, and of course most LCD monitors display 60FPS as well.

This tutorial will allow you to convert videos of any framerate to higher framerates; 25FPS becomes 50FPS and 24/30FPS becomes 60FPS by default, or you can specify whichever framerate you want.

This script offers greater quality than any televisions I have seen.

I’m sure many people will want to see how well this script works, so here’s a comparison:
Original File
Converted File

Note: This can now be done in realtime using Universal Media Server!

Purpose:

This post provides instructions on how to easily convert any video to 60FPS, which allows you to take advantage of this feature of modern TVs on your computer monitor or TV without actually buying anything.

Step 1:

The files needed for this step are found in this zip folder (~3MB).

Run and install the file AviSynth.exe.
It is an early version of AviSynth 2.6 that is more stable and faster for multithreading than 2.5 releases.

Download and install MeGUI, run it, let it update all the things it wants to and import all of the presets.

Optional Tip: If you want MeGUI to update to the very latest stuff (at your own risk) you can push ctrl+s, go to the Extra Configuration tab, and in the Auto Update section select “Use development update server”

Close MeGUI and extract the files in the tools folder from our zip file into your MeGUI tools folder, which for most people will be either C:\Program Files (x86)\MeGUI\tools\ or C:\Program Files\MeGUI\tools\.

Step 2:

Download and install MKVToolnix.
When that is installed, run MKVMerge (Start Menu -> All Programs -> MKVToolnix -> mkvmerge GUI).

You will also need codecs installed. If you don’t already have them I recommend K-Lite Mega Codec Pack. If you install K-Lite, make sure to select “Profile 9: Lots of Stuff” during installation.

Step 3:

Start MeGUI again. You should be left with a window that looks similar to this:

step3

Step 4:

Push ctrl+r, or go to Tools -> AVS Script Creator.
Now you should see something like this:

step4

Step 5:

Click the Config button next to Avisynth profile.
It should look like this:

Step 6:

Click the New button down the bottom and type 60FPS in the name box, so it should look like this:

Step 7:

Now for the script that will do the actual 60FPS conversion.
Just copy and paste the following code into the text input area.

Setmemorymax(512)
SetMTMode(3,4)
PluginPath = "C:\Program Files (x86)\MeGUI\tools\avisynth_plugin\"
LoadPlugin(PluginPath+"svpflow1.dll")
LoadPlugin(PluginPath+"svpflow2.dll")
Import(PluginPath+"InterFrame2.avsi")
<input>.ConvertToYV12()
SetMTMode(2)
<deinterlace>
<crop>
<denoise>
<resize>
InterFrame(Cores=4)

Important note #1: Make sure the path on the third line is correct.
For example, if you are running 32-bit Windows, you will need to modify the path to “Program Files” instead.

Important note #2: You should change the number “4” in the script (on lines 2 and 13) to your number of CPU cores. If you don’t know how many cores your CPU has just Google your CPU and you should be able to find the specs somewhere, or 4 should be fine anyway.

Important note #3: If you have a video card, you can increase the speed and quality of the script by adding “GPU=true” to the script.
So InterFrame(Cores=4) would turn into InterFrame(Cores=4, GPU=true)

Important note #4: This script always outputs either 50FPS or 59.94FPS (60FPS) for compatibility reasons. If you want to always double the framerate instead, so that for example 23.976FPS turns into 47.952FPS (48FPS), you can use the “FrameDouble” parameter.
So InterFrame(Cores=4) would turn into InterFrame(Cores=4, FrameDouble=true)

So now your window should look similar to this (with different text):

Step 7

Step 8:

Click the Extra Setup tab and make sure “Prefer DSS2 over DirectShowSource” is checked.

Optional tip #1: You might also want to choose your preferred resizer. For aspect-ratio changes (like from 720×576 to 720×480) a neutral filter like Spline36 will be nice. For actual resizing (like from 1920×1080 to 1280×720) a sharp filter like Spline64 will be best. I usually just leave it on Spline36. Make sure to untick the checkbox on the option after you change the default resizer, otherwise it will always be used by default which is often unnecessary.

Optional tip #2: I recommend changing the “MOD value used for resizing” to mod4. This gives the best balance between compatibility (a lot of devices like PS3 don’t have good mod2 support) and aspect ratio accuracy (the higher the MOD value, the more likely the aspect ratio is to be skewed more heavily).

Now it should look something like this:

Step7rev3

Then just click the Update button then the OK button

Step 9:

Now we’re back to the AviSynth script creator window and now that we have our 60FPS AviSynth template made and selected, it’s time to choose which video we want. Just click the button next to Video Input up the top of the window and find your video, then click Open.
A window will pop up with buttons, click the option on the right, usually either “DirectShowSource” or “AviSource”.
A window will pop up to show you the video, you can just close that.
Now you should see something like this:

Step9

Step 10:

Click the Save button. The video preview window might pop up again, you can close it again.

Step 11:

Now is the time when you need to choose the quality of the video and audio.

If you don’t know what to do here, something quick and easy is to just use CRF, which means you let the codec decide on the bitrates itself. So you can click the “Config” button next to the “Encoder settings” dropdown when you have a x264 option selected, then just enter a number between 16-20 in the “Quality” input box. 16 means your video will be almost exactly the same quality as the source, while 20 will look good too while taking up less space. Personally I use 16 for everything because why not? :)

So when you have your quality, click Queue in the Video encoding section.

Step 12:

Now your video is ready for conversion.
Now just go to the Queue tab and click Start down the bottom, then wait for it to finish.

Step 13:

The final step is to add your audio and/or subtitles from the original file to the converted file. This process uses muxing, not conversion, so there is no quality loss.
For this we will use the program we installed earlier, MKVMerge.
So run that and drag the converted file into that program, then do the same with the original file. If you can’t drag them on, you can use the add button instead.
Now you have several items in the Tracks, chapters and tags section. You just need to untick the ones you don’t want. Usually you will want to leave them all selected except for the original video track, as I’ve done in the following example:

Finally, set the Output filename down the bottom of the window and click Start muxing.
When that is done, you have your final video!

Final Thoughts:

This might seem like a long process, but actually it is only long once. Since we have now made templates, the process for the videos from now on will be much faster; instead of entering the script each time, now you can just make sure your 60FPS AviSynth script is selected.

This file can now be played just like any other video. I personally watch videos on my TV which is linked up to my computer using the awesome, free program called Universal Media Server, and that handles these 60FPS videos perfectly with no configuration.

Any comments are appreciated. If you can think of an improvement to the script, or to the process, or if you just found it useful and want to say thanks, please do leave a comment. I would love to know that it’s being used.

If you want to donate to help me with server costs and time spent keeping this article updated, you can do so here with my thanks :)





FAQ:

  • How can I fix random crashing of vfw4x264.exe?
    This probably means you are encoding a file using an input mode other than DSS2, which can happen if the clip is .m2ts or .dga (blu-ray) or another uncommon format.
    You can fix it by changing the 2 in the second line of the script to either 3, 4, 5 or just removing that line (try them in that order, since the options get progressively slower)
  • The option “Prefer DSS2 over DirectShowSource” is disabled. or
    I get an error like “can’t load avss.dll”.
    This means your computer is missing Haali Media Splitter. You can download it here or as part of a K-Lite Mega Codec Pack and the error should go away after you install it. If you install K-Lite, make sure to select “Profile 9: Lots of Stuff” during installation.
  • The file stops encoding after 99%.
    This usually indicates a codec configuration issue. Try installing/reinstalling K-Lite Mega Codec Pack, and make sure to let it select its preferred defaults (not “quick upgrade”)
  • Can I customize the output framerate to make it 48FPS, 75FPS, 120FPS, or anything else?
    Yes, you can choose any framerate you want. It is best to choose a framerate that is divisible in some way with the original video, but even that is your choice. You just need to add the options “NewNum” and “NewDen”, like this:
    InterFrame(NewNum=48000,NewDen=1001)
    NewNum stands for “New Numerator” and NewDen stands for “New Denominator”. In general, with NTSC material the NewDen should be 1001 and the NewNum should be 1000x your desired framerate (so for 48FPS you want 48000 and 1001) while for PAL content you might just want something like NewNum=75,NewDen=1 to output 75FPS content.
  • The output seems choppy, can I make it smoother?
    Yes, by default we output a video that sacrifices a little smoothness in order to reduce errors, but different people’s eyes pick up on different things so it can all be a matter of taste. You can try the InterFrame “Smooth” tuning, like this:
    InterFrame(Tuning=”Smooth”)
  • Why isn’t the GPU being used much in GPU mode?
    Only some things are done with the GPU in GPU mode, it’s still mostly done by CPU but helped by GPU.
  • Why is the video still the original framerate after running it through MKVMerge?
    You probably selected the wrong tracks in MKVMerge so you’re getting the original video track instead of the new one; make sure you untick the original video stream before muxing.
  • Why does MeGUI give an error “SVSmoothFPS: unable to load library given in ‘compose’ […svpflow_gpu.dll]
    Try re-installing your video card drivers.

Thanks:

Widezu69 for providing the original AviSynth script that I used as a base.
Fizick for MVTools, the library that does all the work, and SVP for the modifications to MVTools that make it even better for our purposes.
Everyone on various forums for their feedback, this is really a community effort.

Changelog:

27/09/2014:

  • Updated InterFrame to 2.6.0
  • Added a tip about using framedoubling mode
  • Updated most images to reflect the minor changes to MeGUI
  • Minor improvements to instructions

22/07/2014:

  • Added more items to the FAQ

10/07/2014:

  • Added more items to the FAQ
  • Shortened the changelog to only the latest 3 changes by default

20/05/2014:

  • Updated instructions
  • Added more tips
  • Added to and updated the FAQ
  • Updated the link to MKVToolnix to always point to the latest version

Click here to display the rest of the changelog

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