Posts

  • How to ask a question

  • I have helped out with a few different subjects on a few different IRC channels and even some forums. This was created because it seems that people find asking a question very difficult, so this is a short how-to-ask-a-question guide.

    IMPORTANT NOTICE: Always ask yourself… “What information do I want to know?”, once you know the answer to this question, ask the question that will get you that information. For further understanding, read below…

    Google it!

    Educated questions are far better, try and google your issue first before you ask in public, as you may end up humiliating yourself.

    RTFM

    Now, are you sure you read the manual?

    Read it again just in case you missed something, BEFORE you ask your question.

    Is it a question?

    One way to ensure people know you are asking a question is to put a question mark (?) at the end of your sentence.

    This will ensure that people are aware you are asking a question, and not just making a statement.

    To most this will seem obvious, but sometimes it is overlooked.

    Don’t ask to ask Just ask!

    If you have a question just ask it, don’t ask to ask.

    Don’t take surveys

    Questions starting with (but not limited to) the following are bad:

    • Anybody use…
    • Anybody know…

    You can bet somebody will know, or at least point you in the right direction… so just ask your question!

    Moving the goal posts is not allowed

    Example:

    How many men are there?

    < About 10

    No, How many men are there in the UK?

    Avoid this by asking your question with all the requirements and specification in the first place.

    **Try it first/Make a test case

    **

    Have you actually tried to do what you’re asking about yourself first? Try it out, make a test case. Tell whoever you’re asking that you have tried it, show them what you tried, and tell them the results.

    Have you made a test case? Making a test case will make it far easier for you to identify the problem.

    Use your own domain/website

    If you need help and it involves use of your domain, use your domain, or if you are using a hypothetical example, use one of the example domains (such as example.com) as according to RFC 2606.

    It’s simple really, use your own domain, or the example one.

    Showing us your domain/website can help us help you in many more ways than you think.

    We’re not out to get you, so just tell us, save the guessing.

    If it looks like a fish, smells like a fish…

    Chances are it’s a fish. Avoid stupid questions by assuming the obvious. Only when you are still unsure should you ask.

    Do not use private messaging without permission

    The reason for this is that more than one person may be able to help you. If one person shows explicit interest and requests you to private message them, only then should you do so.

    If your question is long…

    Always try and make it as concise as possible.

    Remember a picture speaks a thousand words, try a screenshot.

    If all else fails, use a paste bin!

    Remember…

    Always be polite and say thanks where due.

    Help is a privilege not a right.

    If you find the solution, let us know so others can benefit.

    Further reading

    Note: Only leave comments about this article, don’t ask questions here. Thanks.

  • How to add/remove words in the firefox custom spell check dictionary

  • I added a word to my Mozilla Firefox spell check personal dictionary by mistake the other day, and could not figure out how to remove it. Firefox seriously lacks custom dictionary management.

    To open your profile directory do the following or use the “Open Profile Folder Firefox Add-on“…

    Simply go to Start -> Run, enter:

    %APPDATA%\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\

    Locate the profile you’re using (usually default.something).

    Then, inside the folder you will find a file named “persdict.dat”.

    Open that, and there you have it, your custom list of words.

    Edit it how you like save, and restart Firefox.

    All done!

  • Changing your Windows XP Product Key

  • Its not very often I have to do this, but sometimes I do because I end up purchasing a bunch of matching machines, loading the software onto one, and ghosting to the rest.

    So here’s a short guide on how to change your Windows XP serial number or product key.

    Here’s the batch file I created to achieve the task. Simply create a new file called “changekey.bat”, and enter the following:

    @echo off

    echo.

    echo Select “Yes I want to telephone a customer service representative to activate windows”,

    echo click “Next”, then click “Change Product Key”, now enter your new key, then click “Update”.

    @echo REGEDIT4 > %TEMP%\oobetimer.reg

    @echo [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\WPAEvents] » %TEMP%\oobetimer.reg

    @echo “OOBETimer”=hex:ff,ff,ff,ff,ff,ff,ff » %TEMP%\oobetimer.reg

    @regedit /s %TEMP%\oobetimer.reg

    @del %TEMP%\oobetimer.reg

    %SYSTEMROOT%\system32\oobe\msoobe /a

    That’s it!

    change_winxp_key.txt

  • Free Stuff

  • I love free stuff, it's probably why I like open source so much…

    I think we must all like free stuff, so I have decided to gather a few sites together that offer up-to-date free stuff.

    There’s all sorts of junk you can get for free, mostly by filling in a form online with your details.

    There are usually limited ties too, most of the time its purely a case of a product awareness campaign.

    Here are a few sites you can try:

    • TheFreeSite.com – This site has been around for years, probably the most renowned. However it does seem to have grown quite uncontrollably large, offers free online services as well as products, lacks frequent updates, and is targeted at the US population. (US based)
    • Freebie Forum – This forum has over 1500 active members. You can usually find free stuff fairly quickly. (UK)
    • Bob’s Free Stuff Forum – A very cool populated forum, offering live up-to-date stuff for free. There’s over 10,000 members on this forum. (UK)
    • Money Saving Expert.com Freebies – This is a heavily populated forum by people always looking to save money, you can expect to find good stuff as soon as it’s known here. (UK)
    • FreeUKStuff.com – Kinda cool, offers you quite a good selection, you can make comments too, but you must be a member, membership is free. (UK)
    • freebiesblog.net – Freebie blog site. (US based)
    • FreeStuffChannel – Freebie site with RSS feed. (US based)
    • FreeGrabber – Another freebie site blog with RSS feed. (US based)
    • Free Stuff Exchange Forum – This is only a small forum, but can sometimes offer some good stuff. (UK)
    • Free-Stuff – A site updated 3 times per week apparently. (UK)
    • Freebiersclub – Members only, but its pretty awsum! (UK)
    • Free Stuff Junction Site List – A list of freebie sites. (UK)
    • Find more free stuff on DMOZ

    Enjoy your free junk!

    1136377208
  • PSP firmware and homebrew

  • I decided to go all out, and purchase possibly the best media device out there. The Sony Playstation Portable.

    Don’t get me wrong, the thing that appealed to me most about the PSP was the fact it could connect to the internet via WIFI.

    My first question was “I wonder what else this can do”.

    After a quick search I began to find lots of details on the PSP, including details on homebrew applications.

    I soon discovered that the homebrew software would only run on certain firmware versions of the PSP.

    I checked out the firmware version on my PSP and discovered it was running firmware ‘2.50’.

    One thing I quickly learned was NOT to upgrade to the latest 3.11 firmware provided by Sony using the Network Update. In fact if you wish to use any homebrew software ever, its recommended that you do not upgrade past 3.03 of the regular firmware provided by Sony.

    I also discovered that someone under the name of “Dark_Alex” had written a homebrew firmware known as “open edition”, which is effectively a modified version of the official sony firmware.

    I discovered that to install the very latest (which is 3.10 OE A’ at the time of writing) I needed firmware 1.50 installed on my PSP. I discovered that the reason for this is that this firmware is the most flexible, known in the PSP homebrew scene as the golden firmware.

    I began investigating various “downgrading” methods. It seems that there is only one way to downgrade from firmware 2.50/2.60 and that is to own an unpatched version of “GTA: Liberty City Stories”, which contains firmware 2.00, which you can downgrade to. Unfortunately I do not have this game.

    I discovered that there was another way. I could use a game I have which contains firmware 2.71, and downgrade using an auto installer from that firmware to firmware 1.50, this was the best option.

    The game I used was called “The Ark of Napishtim”, which contained “PSP Update ver 2.71”, that allowed me to upgrade from firmware 2.50 to firmware version to 2.71.

    Once I had 2.71 successfully installed I simply located a copy of “Downgrader2.71FULL.exe“, run this and follow the on-screen instructions. (PS, the part that talks about the red screen, if you don’t get the red screen, restart your PSP and keep trying, it works eventually).

    Once I had successfully downgraded to firmware 1.50, I was able to use “3.10 OE-A Winstaller.exe” to upgrade to the latest open edition homebrew firmware.

    The great thing about the open edition firmware is it allows you to run any PSP homebrew software under the latest firmware by putting it in your regular GAME folder, or as the 1.50 firmware by placing it in a folder named GAME150. This also means you are always able to downgrade from the latest homebrew firmware to firmware 1.50.

    The next thing to do was to upgrade to 3.10 OE A’ (rev A2) homebrew firmware, which has some minor bug fixes. Its simply a case of downloading this, extracting, placing the directory in the GAME folder on your PSP/flash card, and running it on your PSP.

    Also see PSP-Vault.com for more information on PSP firmware and homebrew. They have some fantastic graphs and more useful information.

    Thanks to this I was able to try out the following homebrew software:

    • PSP Radio – I have so far been unable to connect this to my WIFI[<p class="lead"> I decided to go all out, and purchase possibly the best media device out there. The Sony Playstation Portable.

    </p>

    Don’t get me wrong, the thing that appealed to me most about the PSP was the fact it could connect to the internet via WIFI.

    My first question was “I wonder what else this can do”.

    After a quick search I began to find lots of details on the PSP, including details on homebrew applications.

    I soon discovered that the homebrew software would only run on certain firmware versions of the PSP.

    I checked out the firmware version on my PSP and discovered it was running firmware ‘2.50’.

    One thing I quickly learned was NOT to upgrade to the latest 3.11 firmware provided by Sony using the Network Update. In fact if you wish to use any homebrew software ever, its recommended that you do not upgrade past 3.03 of the regular firmware provided by Sony.

    I also discovered that someone under the name of “Dark_Alex” had written a homebrew firmware known as “open edition”, which is effectively a modified version of the official sony firmware.

    I discovered that to install the very latest (which is 3.10 OE A’ at the time of writing) I needed firmware 1.50 installed on my PSP. I discovered that the reason for this is that this firmware is the most flexible, known in the PSP homebrew scene as the golden firmware.

    I began investigating various “downgrading” methods. It seems that there is only one way to downgrade from firmware 2.50/2.60 and that is to own an unpatched version of “GTA: Liberty City Stories”, which contains firmware 2.00, which you can downgrade to. Unfortunately I do not have this game.

    I discovered that there was another way. I could use a game I have which contains firmware 2.71, and downgrade using an auto installer from that firmware to firmware 1.50, this was the best option.

    The game I used was called “The Ark of Napishtim”, which contained “PSP Update ver 2.71”, that allowed me to upgrade from firmware 2.50 to firmware version to 2.71.

    Once I had 2.71 successfully installed I simply located a copy of “Downgrader2.71FULL.exe“, run this and follow the on-screen instructions. (PS, the part that talks about the red screen, if you don’t get the red screen, restart your PSP and keep trying, it works eventually).

    Once I had successfully downgraded to firmware 1.50, I was able to use “3.10 OE-A Winstaller.exe” to upgrade to the latest open edition homebrew firmware.

    The great thing about the open edition firmware is it allows you to run any PSP homebrew software under the latest firmware by putting it in your regular GAME folder, or as the 1.50 firmware by placing it in a folder named GAME150. This also means you are always able to downgrade from the latest homebrew firmware to firmware 1.50.

    The next thing to do was to upgrade to 3.10 OE A’ (rev A2) homebrew firmware, which has some minor bug fixes. Its simply a case of downloading this, extracting, placing the directory in the GAME folder on your PSP/flash card, and running it on your PSP.

    Also see PSP-Vault.com for more information on PSP firmware and homebrew. They have some fantastic graphs and more useful information.

    Thanks to this I was able to try out the following homebrew software:

    • PSP Radio – I have so far been unable to connect this to my WIFI](http://www.google.com/search?q=pspvnc-v1.2.3.zip)
    • PSPVNC – This thing is great, I can view my PC from anywhere in my house!
    • Pimp Streamer – This thing is amazing! You can stream your media from your PC onto your PSP

    One thing I must point out is that I DO NOT support or promote piracy, if you like the games buy them.

    Piracy is the reason Sony has locked down their recent firmware so you are unable to run homebrew software. It’s a real shame that Sony’s paranoia about piracy means that PSP owners are unable to write or use homebrew software applications on devices that run the latest firmware.

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