Netflix Debug / Diagnostic / Hidden Feature Keys

Here are some hidden options for the desktop (in your browser) Netflix player. It is possible that they can disable or remove these.

Don’t forget people: the following shortcuts (switch Option for Alt for Mac) toggle information displays on/off when the player is NOT in full-screen mode. The displays will remain on, however, if full-screen mode is activated.

Ctrl+Shift+Alt+M – Menu; includes loading custom .dfxp sub-title files.

Ctrl+Shift+Alt+C – Codes; frame rate plus other (unknown to me) info. Also makes the other overlays green.

Ctrl+Shift+Alt+D – Display A/V Stats on-screen

Ctrl+Shift+Alt+L – Logging window

Ctrl+Shift+Alt+P – Player info

Ctrl+Shift+Alt+R – toggle color Rotation for overlays in Chrome; probably a debugging feature.

Ctrl+Shift+Alt+S – current Streaming bit-rate and manual bit-rate selection

iTunes Tricks and Fixing Syncing issues

I recently had a problem syncing my iPhone 5. It would get to step 2 and iTunes would freeze. I was able to do a backup but syncing purchased apps was impossible. After following every possible support forum post someone finally mentioned that the library might be corrupt.

I then went through the process of creating a new library. When you recreate your library it will forget everything that is synced to your iDevices but it will still recognize the devices themselves. You will need to make sure they are in a good state so that you can sync them back to the computer.

Change the Library used by iTunes – Hold CTRL key when launching the application.
Run iTunes in Safe Mode – Hold CTRL+SHIFT

PSA – Every time you post a photo of your credit card god kills a kitten.

PSA – Every time you post a photo of your credit card god kills a kitten.

I know its exciting when you get that new debit / credit card. It has that cute photo of your dog, or maybe your kid or even your favorite sports team. And I know it’s hard to contain your excitement to just your friends and family that are within arms length and all you want to do is show the world. So you post a pic of it on twitter or facebook or name any other social networking service. Now someone has your card number, full name, photo and probably knows a lot about your habits (thanks to you posting it on twitter).

There is even a dedicated twitter account for retweeting such photos. Check it out https://twitter.com/NeedADebitCard and before you start pointing fingres at the NeedADebitCard twitter account remember they are just retweeting what people have already posted publicly.

Though this also applies to concert tickets or anything else with a barcode / serial number. You should never post that stuff online. It’s less of an issue after the event is over but if its a season ticket holder account number someone could use that to hijack your account.

SSH into a Synology NAS using a keypair

or How to Login to your Synology NAS via SSH with a keypair instead of a password.

Required Software

Putty –  http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/download.html

Config File Editor – Install on Synology using Package Center. Add this URL as a package source: http://packages.quadrat4.de/
(
how to add a new package source http://www.synology.com/support/tutorials_show.php?q_id=500#t2.2 )
This is optional, you can use ‘vi’ instead to edit the ssh config.

 

Overview

  1. Generate the keypair using putty
  2. Edit the ssh config on your Synology NAS
  3. Upload your public key to the NAS
  4. Profit!

Generate the keypair using putty

We are going to use Puttygen.exe to generate a public and private key. The public key will be added to the authorized keys file on the NAS. The private key is what you will use to login. This will be your new “password”.

  1. Launch puttygen.exe
  2. Type of key to generate “SSH-2 RSA”
  3. Generate the Key and leave PuttyGen open
  4. Save the Public and Private keys in a safe place.

Edit the SSH Config on your Synology NAS

Now we need to edit the SSH config file. You can either SSH into the NAS as root or use the Config File Editor you installed earlier. If you SSH in the file is located at  ”/etc/ssh/sshd_config” if you are using the Config File Editor select sshd from the dropdown.

Look for these 2 lines

#PubkeyAuthentication yes
#AuthorizedKeysFile      .ssh/authorized_keys

Remove the # (hashtag) so they become

PubkeyAuthentication yes
AuthorizedKeysFile      .ssh/authorized_keys

Other values worth setting.

Change the max login attempts

MaxAuthTries 2

Allow TCP Forwarding

AllowTcpForwarding yes

Disable Password authentication (only do this AFTER you have keypair login working.)

PasswordAuthentication no

 

Upload your public key to the NAS

To upload your public key you will need to SSH into your NAS using putty.exe as root (or whichever user you want to enable SSH Keypair login for). Run the following commands from the terminal, ignore the lines that being with # (hashtag)

#cd to /root (this is the users home directory)
cd /root
#create the .ssh folder
mkdir .ssh
#create the authorized_keys file
touch .ssh/authorized_keys

#edit the autorized_keys file
vi .ssh/authorized_keys

#add your public key to the file – copy it out of puttygen.exe
#your public key will look something like

ssh-rsa A__a whole bunch of random characters___bw== rsa-key-20130718

#save the file. exit VI
#change the permissions on the authorized_keys file

chmod 700 /root/.ssh

chmod 644 /root/.ssh/authorized_keys

#disconnect the SSH session

 

Test your settings

Now we are going to use putty.exe to test that we can login with our ssh key.

 #launch putty.exe
#use the following settings.

Connection type: SSH
username: root (or whichever user you setup the key for)
Connection->SSH->Auth->Private Key # Your private key file you created at the beginning of this article.

#press the OPEN button

You should now have logged in to your Synology without having to give a password.

If you are able to successfully login with the private key then you can now disable password login.

NES / SNES Ports to USB

I wanted to have a single box that had both NES and SNES ports with a single USB cable to connect them all to the PC. The benefit of having a USB hub inside would allow me to put a flash drive inside with emulators and roms on it.

 

Equipment:

  • Broken NES
  • Broken SNES
  • USB Hub
  • 26 gauge wire
  • RetroZone NES/SNES USB Kit (4) http://www.retrousb.com/product_info.php?cPath=21&products_id=44

 

Other tools:

  • Screw driver
  • Soldering Iron
  • Glue gun
  • Dremel (variable speed – works best for plastic)
  • ePoxy glue

 

The hardest part of converting the NES/SNES controller inputs to USB Joystick inputs was solved by the RetroZone’s NES/SNES USB kit. The kit comes with a USB cable and PCB with the necessary parts already soldered on. They have easy to use wiring diagrams on the website.

The Retro kit came with the PCB and USB cable soldered together.  To save time and give me more options if I decide to take this apart at a later time I left them attached. This did mean I had to coil up a bunch of extra wires but the spacious room inside the NES made this pretty easy.

I tested each component as I finished them, which helped in finding wiring problems easier. Which is something I did run into with the SNES ports. To test if the port was working correctly I plugged it into the PC, then plugged the appropriate controller into the port. Then I open the “Game Controllers” app (built into Windows), go to the properties of the game pad (RetroZone Kits show up as “Retr”) and there you can see the X/Y Axis and the different buttons. Here is the button number to controller button mapping:

NES

  1. B
  2. A
  3. Select
  4. Start

SNES

  1. Y
  2. B
  3. Select
  4. Start
  5. X
  6. A
  7. L
  8. R

The SNES ports fit almost perfectly in the cartridge slot of the NES. I used a dremel to carve out some of the plastic from the NES lid. The plastic around the cartridge slot gives the SNES ports pretty good support for inserting and removing the SNES controllers. Later (after wiring them up) I used glue to hold them in place.

 

I chose to wire up the NES ports first. It was pretty easy because all of the wires were color coded. I cut the connector off the end and removed the blue and purple wires. The pins pull right out of the NES connector with a pair of needle nose pliers. I tinned the wires (add a little solder before actually soldering and letting it cool) and added solder to the pads on the Retro PCB. This makes soldering the wire to the Retro PCB board significantly easier.

 

 

The SNES ports were soldered to a PCB board. The pinouts weren’t labeled or color coded so I used this (http://www.gamefaqs.com/snes/916396-snes/faqs/5395) wiring guide to match the pinout with the wire color that the Retro kit diagram had. I used 26 gauge wire to connect the SNES ports to the Retro Kit. Again tinning the wirings and the Retro Kit’s solder pads before actually soldering them together helped. I wired up the first port (player 1) and plugged it into my PC. It worked perfectly, something I wasn’t expecting was the power led (which is on the same PCB as the SNES controller ports) lit up. Then I wired up the second port (player 2).

While testing the SNES ports this time, nothing worked correctly. The player 1 port didn’t work at all and the player 2 port was having all kinds of cross talk between the buttons (the A button was being registered as button 1 & 2 being pressed). This can happen if you miss wire one of the ports. I double checked all the wiring and everything was good. Then I started looking at the traces on the PCB board. That’s when I noticed that some of the wires on the ports were connected via the traces on the PCB. Luckily all the traces were on the side of the board that was exposed. So I took my dremel and used it to scrape the traces off. That did the trick and now both of the ports are working.

 

 

Now its time to put it all together. First I glued the SNES ports into the lid. I used epoxy and hot glue to get them to stay. I put the metal piece underneath the SNES ports and was going to screw it into place for added support but decided against it. I didn’t have the appropriate screws and didn’t want to risk them poking up through the lid. I put the RetroZone Kit in an anti-static bag to keep it from shorting. I taped the extra wire to the lid and left enough slack so I could remove the lid and set it next to the base without unplugging the USB cables from the USB hub.

 

Next I used epoxy to hold the USB hub in place in the base of the NES. I made sure to position it so the ports would be accessible and connection in the back. It is a powered USB hub but I didn’t need the power cable because the gamepads and flash drive don’t draw that much power. I did leave the power port exposed in case I needed to add it later. I wrapped the USB cable coming out of the Hub around a plastic post to keep it from being ripped out or from yanking on the hub. I also zipped tied it to the back of the NES where it was coming out of.

The NES ports were easiest to install, then just went back into the spot they came out of. I wrapped up and taped the extra wire to the base.

Then I screwed the case back together, just using 4 screws instead of 6.


The final step was to make sure I didn’t mess anything up when putting it back together. All four ports worked, now its time to play some games.

Be wary of your search results.

I needed to update Adobe Flash on my computer. I fire up my browser and type in the search bar “adobe flash”.  The search engines are usually faster at finding the product’s download page as compared to looking for it on the companies website.

It wasn’t the search results but the ads that caught my eye. When I searched on Bing I was shown 8 ads. Five of them went to a website offering a download for Adobe Flash but none of them were owned by Adobe. From what I can tell these websites are not malicious, instead they are attempting to drive traffic to their ad covered pages. It is also my understanding that Bing scans these sites to help prevent malicious content from being delivered to your PC.

Google was different. It alternated between zero and one ad. The ad they did show was owned by Adobe and for CS5.5. Just a few weeks ago I did see other ads being served up by Google when searching for “adobe flash”. I am uncertain as to why they are no longer being displayed.

So be careful when searching on the internet. Check the web address before you click. Only download programs from the companies website or a trusted source. If you want to update a program but aren’t sure where to get it from, phone a friend or call your local computer specialist.

Circuit City wants my SSN

I recently made a purchase from Circuit City, it was for under $100 dollars. And I saw this message at the “Thank You for your purchase” screen.

Circuit City wants the last 4 digits of my SSN

I can’t imagine why but for some reason Circuit City wants to know the last 4 digits of my SSN. They claim its to identify me and expedite my order. I guess my Name, Mailing Address, Billing Address, Phone Number, Email Address and Credit Card number isn’t enough to identify me. There is no chance in hell I would give Circuit City or any other business (except a financial institution) my social security number.

You should always question when a company wants to know any personal information about you. Don’t just hand it over. Just think of the security questions you get asked when calling your bank or credit card company. Whats your birthday? Mothers maiden name? Name of your first pet? Last 4 digits of your social? Some of this information can be found in public record and the rest right from Facebook. Well almost, hopefully your social security number is listed on Facebook.

All I am saying is be careful who you give your information too and what information you give them. Keep a list of places that have your information and what information they might have. This way you will know what was leaked when the company reports that it “lost” a laptop with your information on it.

Surprise.exe

I received a phone call the other day from a friend, now referred to as John He said he kept getting a popup on his screen saying that he was infected with a virus and for the low price of $79.99 this program would remove it. John then started to tell me about this email he received, from someone he knew and he was expecting this person to send him a file. I saw this email, and it looked something like this:

From: luigi
To: john
Subject: i think you will like this
Body:

http://Url.to.surprise.exe

There are a couple things wrong with this picture,
1. The subject is non-descript.
2. The body contained only a link (url) in this case to the virus

If you receive an email like this, I would not click on the link. Even if it is suppose to be a hilarious video of some kid getting attacked by the family cat.

And what happened to him after he downloaded and ran the file sure was a surprise to him. John had 2 anti-virus programs on his computer. Microsoft Security Essentials which we will call MSE for short and Malwarebytes Free Version. MSE did not prevent the installation of this program, however it did find the trojan that Suprise.exe tried to install. Malwarebytes did successfully find and remove the program.

Be very careful with what links you click on. If you think it might be a virus reply to the email and ask your friend if they had intended to send you that email. Its better to be sure then have to worry if your data is safe. John was lucky that he had someone he could call and that the virus didn’t delete any of his data.

References:
Microsoft Security Essentials -http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials/
Malwarebytes – http://www.malwarebytes.org/