Friday, January 23, 2015

using the web version of whatsapp

The instructions for using the web version are a bit terse: "simply open in Chrome. You'll see a QR code — scan that inside of WhatsApp, and voila. Your phone will need to stay connected to the Internet for the Web client to work".

And how does one "scan that inside of WhatsApp"?

For scanning the QR code, you will need the latest version of WhatsApp on your phone. At this time, WhatsApp Web is available only for Android, Windows Phone, Nokia S60, BlackBerry and BB10 smartphones. With the latest version which supports the web client, if you go to the menu (on Android, by going to the chats screen and clicking on the ... on the top right corner) you will find a Whatsapp Web option. Choosing that option opens up the QR code scanning utility. Initial screen is a help screen which shows what is to be done, click past it and then just frame the QR code within the QR code scanning utility's bounding box. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Li ion battery charging info

An interesting link forwarded by DJD, lots of info, but a bit old, and specific to removable device batteries:

problems with xiaomi mi3

The first problem with the phone has surfaced. Perhaps it is related to the inadvertent water treatment it received.  After a call which I put on speakerphone, when I switched back to earpiece, the earpiece did not work. At first I thought it must be a software problem, so I thought a factory reset, or if that fails, upgrading to a newer ROM (firmware) might solve it, as per this thread.

But no. Upgraded to the latest MIUI 6, but problem persisted.

According to this thread, if the hardware test fails, have to return for repair or replacement. So I dialled  *#*#64663#*#* and did the test, no sound.

Then I thought, if it is a hardware issue, it must be some sort of stuck relay or contact. Gave it a couple of hard whacks with the USB charger connected. And hey-presto - started working :)

Unfortunately the problem keeps resurfacing now, even when I do not put the phone in speaker-phone mode. Occasional hard taps are needed for the earpiece to start working. Sometimes irritating when receiving a call.

problem with virtualdub frameserver maybe due to avisynth directshowsource

When I warped a mov file using the virtualdub frameserver method and GL_warp2avi, found that the video had not completed till the end. Digging in, found that the output frame rate was 25 fps, while the input file had 30 fps. Looks like the directshowsource avisynth method does not correctly report frame rate for some files? Manually setting the frame rate to 30 fps in virtualdub, then creating the frameserver signpost seems to solve the issue.

Edit: The problem seemed to be with ffmpeg reading the Sorenson SVQ3 video codec. Had to use Avidemux to transcode to AVC (x264) and then use directshowsource etc. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

xiaomi mi3 reboot loop

I wanted to downgrade the xiaomi mi3 phone to the firmware customized for India, which is MIUI v5, after the upgrade while trying to solve the earpiece issue. The MIUI 6 had too many China-specific defaults, and even seemed to not work with Airtel's *123# USSD service. When I just downloaded the firmware, copied it to the phone and tried to update using the phone's update tool, choosing the update file using the menu, the phone went into a reboot loop.

Apparently a complete system wipe is needed when downgrading - but not needed for upgrading.

Came out of the reboot loop using the reboot to recovery mode option, by pressing down the power and volume UP button. From there, chose to wipe entire phone, and then it gave option of booting to System 1 or System 2. Booting to System 1 gave a functional phone, but when I tried to install apps, found that it did not have google play services! System 2 was the MIUI 6.

Then I thought of using the method of updating the phone from recovery mode - copied the v5 firmware using USB to the phone's root directory, renamed as and used the recovery mode option to write to System 1. There were some hiccups due to loose contacts in the USB cable. Windows refused to recognize the device with the flaky cable, booted into Ubuntu and did the job.

So, finally back to MIUI v5, but the background and lock screen I had previously seems to be gone - maybe those were flipkart customizations? Anyway, loaded most of the apps I had before, and things seem OK now. 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

free transform tool in GIMP - perspective tool

The perspective tool is the equivalent of Photoshop's free transform. Had to use it to straighten some documents which had been photographed. Camscanner does this sort of thing automatically, very nicely too. Anyway, the perspective tool details were from

Saturday, January 10, 2015

first fraudulent credit card transaction

I had my first fraudulent credit card transaction yesterday. Got a notification sms that some 1300 rupees had been paid to NICOLEBURNS. Immediately called up HDFC credit card customer care, they said if it is not done by me or by my auxiliary card holder, then I should hotlist via HDFC netbanking, and fill up a form for disputing the transaction.

Hotlisting and getting a new card will cost me Rs. 100, it will take a week or two to arrive. The transaction will be investigated, and if I am found right it will be credited back in 45-90 days, that is what the person said. Today I got a mail from HDFC saying that the amount was only authorized and not yet settled, so I will be not charged that amount by the end of the billing cycle. 

Thursday, January 08, 2015

iphone caveats

Caveats for an old jailbroken iPhone 3G which I wrote down for N:

So Skype cannot be installed. Other things to note:
  • If you sync with iTunes DO NOT upgrade the iOS version with iTunes when it says "Newer version available", upgrade will cause the jailbreak to fail. Check the box saying don't show me this again, and hit Cancel. 
  • If you sync with iTunes, if you connect to another computer with iTunes ans sync there, all your music files will be automatically deleted. So, DO NOT sync with other computers if you want to retain your music files.
  • If you wish to transfer files to and from the iphone, copy trans manager is a better iTunes alternative, will not automatically delete.
  • Change the screen time-out using Settings -> General -> Auto-Lock 
  • I used iTunes to change the Phone name, and uninstalled it after use. 

change iphone name

I was tasked with changing the name of an old iphone 3g, ios 4. iOS 5 and above allow direct editing from the phone's Settings -> About page. But for iOS 4, have to do it with iTunes.

Tried to avoid iTunes - my work laptop seems to be supplying less power, so the iPhone doesn't get detected with USB cable. Tried to do it via third-party apps like iFunBox, iSpirit with wifi sync etc - they did not seem to have the renaming phone option.

Tried to edit it via POSIX commands with an ssh shell - from

sysctl -w kern.hostname=NewName
Unfortunately the name did not remain on reboot. Checked some of the plist files, but could not find the appropriate place to edit. 

So, finally folded and used iTunes, USB cable to home laptop and edited. 

Monday, January 05, 2015

audition batch save regions

Reply to a query from AS:

In my version of cool edit pro, older version of adobe audition, the cue list window has a "batch" buttton at the bottom, which allows you to save all regions as files.
In audition, the sequence of steps seems to be like this, somewhat similar:

And merge point markers to make range markers.