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Friday, June 18, 2010

Unlocking PSP 3003


Last week I had to help my nephew unlock his new PSP 3003. Here are the details, hoping it would help someone else too :)

First of all PSP 3003 is non-hackable (permanently). But still there are work arounds. There is a hack called ChickHen, run ChickHen and then load the cracked firmware in ChickHen (loading directly will brick your PSP), and after this you will be able to load games from ISO files. Else PSP will let you play games only from the UMD, meaning you will have to buy the original version of the games. If you unlock PSP, you can download games as ISO files, copy to your mem card and run from it.

Check here first whether your PSP model can be hacked and how:

Step 1 - Download & Install ChickHen
Follow the instructions here:

Step 2 - Run ChickHen
This is very tricky, it is quite hard to load the ChickHen. Most of the times, the PSP will just shutdown while loading ChickHen. I had to do the following to get it to load, after numerous unsuccessful tries:
1) Create two extra gifs (just copy any two gifs and rename to ChickHENe.gif, ChickHENf.gif), to the ChickHEN folder
2) I found this step from a video, couldn't find it in any website... 
   a) When you open the Images -> Memory Stick, wait till the thumbnail/preview come on the ChickHEN folder, before you open it 
      b) Open ChickHEN folder, scroll all the way to the bottom
    c) Keep doing left-right-left-right.... (flick the left and right controls) continously until it pause and loads ChickHEN

Step 3 - Download, copy and load cracked firmware (5.03 GEN-A/B/C)
Follow the instructions here:

Step 4 - Load the game ISO and enjoy!!!!

Note: This is not a permanent hack. If you shutdown (power off) your PSP, you will have to start again from Step 2 (Run ChickHen). So use stand by (instead of power off) and make sure you don't run out of battery completely ;-)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

BSNL 3G: Settings and Speed Check

3G is the current buzz word all around India. BSNL introduced it first and rest are following soon. Auctions are almost done and most of the major providers like Airtel, Vodafone etc should be launching it by 3Q-4Q 2010.

I bought the 3G SIM from BSNL, but since number portability is not yet implemented and also because BSNL is notorious for lousy network and call quality, I am going to stick with Airtel as my primary phone. I will keep 3G as my backup internet connection and also to try out the 3G features on my new Samsung Galaxy Spica (GT-I5700).  Here is how to turn on 3G and use the BSNL 3G network

1) Make sure your phone is set to work on 3G network:
In some phones you have to select "WCDMA" (UMTS) in network mode settings. In Spica, 3G is turned on automatically as long as you haven't disabled it specifically. To disable 3G:  Settings -> Wireless & networks -> Mobile Networks -> Use only 2G networks (saves battery)

You should see "3G" written somewhere on your phone screen if it is connected to 3G network.

2) Create a new connection profile:
Now depending upon the phone, goto Connection settings, there create new connection profile and you are only required to specify APN and you are done. APN stands for "ACCESS POINT NAME" .  In Spica, Settings -> Wireless & networks -> Mobile Networks ->Access Point Names -> New APN

You are required to specify following APN for BSNL 3G settings:
APN = bsnlnet (that's it, leave rest everything as it is)

Most of the phones should connect to 3G when you save and exist, else try restarting the phone.

I compared the 3G speed (Bangalore) vs 1mbps Airtel broadband via WiFi
As you can see above, the max I got for download is 381 kbps and upload of 359 kbps. Not as expected, but still a huge leap over the gprs/edge (~40 kbps).

It is not yet time to disconnect your broadband, but you can definitely consider 3G as your backup connection and for emergency connectivity while travelling!

More info:

Sunday, May 16, 2010

How to capture screen of Samsung Spica (or any Android Mobile)

Initially I used to struggle a lot with my digital camera for getting some screenshots of the Samsung Spica smart phone, but later learnt that it can be done very easily using the android SDK tools itself.

Following are the steps:

1) Download & install Android SDK

2) Connect your phone using the USB Cable. Make sure following settings are turned on:
USB Debugging : Settings -> Applications -> Development

3) Open "ddms" in \tools
eg: android-sdk-windows\tools\ddms.bat
DDMS =  Dalvik Debug Monitor Service

4) Your phone should now appear in DDMS as shown above. Select the phone, and then goto Device -> Screen capture (or Ctrl+S)

5) Use the handset to navigate to whatever screen you want a shot of, press “Refresh” and hit the “Save” button


More info:

Friday, May 14, 2010

Virtual Machines & Snapshots

Recently I was getting a lot of errors on my VMWare ESXi 3.5 server, that there is not enough space for the redo log etc. When I created the VMs, there was enough space left on the VM Server and suddenly I am out of space and all my VMs are either complaining or not working. Did some dig up and found that some snapshots were created, which was never committed and hence they were growing and eating all my disk space! I always thought the snapshot takes only a little space and it is a one time cost. But only now I came to know that creating a snapshot keeps on consuming more disk space to preserve the previous state and to keep note of the deltas that happened there after. So if you created a snapshot, either revert or delete(commit) it soon, unless you must retain the snapshot and have plans to revert to it. I recovered around 150GB or more after deleting all my snapshots..

Screenshot of datastore, with snapshots:

Screenshot, after removing snapshots:

Understanding Snapshots
Snapshots let you preserve the state of a virtual machine so you can return to the same state repeatedly. A snapshot captures the entire state of a virtual machine at the time you take the snapshot. This includes:
•  Memory State – Contents of the virtual machine’s memory
•  Settings State – Virtual machine settings
•  Disk State – State of all the virtual machine’s virtual disks

Snapshots operate on individual virtual machines. In a team of virtual machines, taking a snapshot preserves the state of only the active virtual machine. When you revert to a snapshot, you return these items to the state they were in at the time you took that snapshot. If you want the virtual machine to be suspended, powered on, or powered off when you start it, ensure it is in the state you want when you take that snapshot.
Snapshots let you revert repeatedly to the same state without creating multiple virtual machines. With snapshots, you create backup and restore positions in a linear process. You can also preserve a baseline before diverging a virtual machine in a process tree.

Snapshots can be used as restoration points during a linear or iterative process, such as installing update packages, or during a branching process, such as installing different versions of a program. Taking snapshots ensures that each installation begins from an identical baseline.

Multiple Snapshots
“Multiple snapshots” refers to the ability to create more than one snapshot of the same virtual machine. To take snapshots of multiple virtual machines, for example, taking snapshots for all members of a team, requires that you take a separate snapshot of each team member.

Multiple snapshots are not just a new way of saving your virtual machines. With multiple snapshots, you can save many positions to accommodate many kinds of work processes.

Although you can take snapshots to 32 levels, the time it takes to commit or delete those snapshots increases as the levels get deeper. The required time is directly proportional to the amount of data (committed or deleted) and the virtual machine’s RAM size.

Managing a Snapshot
The Snapshot Manager lets you review all snapshots for the active virtual machine and act on them directly.
In addition to the Snapshot tree, the Snapshot Manager dialog box contains the following areas:
•  Details displays the selected snapshot’s name and description. These fields are blank if you have not selected a snapshot.
•  Command buttons: Go to, Delete, Delete All, Edit
•  You are here icon represents the current operational state of the virtual machine. The icon is always selected and visible when you open the Snapshot Manager. You cannot go to or select the You are here state because it represents the current and active state.

The You are here icon represents a state that is never a snapshot itself but rather the virtual machine state after the parent snapshot has been taken. A snapshot is always a static record of a virtual machine state. The You are here state can be operational and changing. Even when you create a snapshot of a powered off or suspended virtual machine, the state is not identical to the snapshot.

To go to a snapshot
1.  Select a snapshot by clicking it.
2.  Click the Go to button to restore the virtual machine to the snapshot.
     The Go to command lets you restore the state of any snapshot.
3.  Click Yes in the confirmation dialog box.
4.  Click Close to exit the Snapshot Manager.

To permanently remove a snapshot from VirtualCenter
1.  Select a snapshot by clicking it.
     Note: Clicking Delete commits the snapshot data to the parent and removes the selected snapshot.
2.  Click the Delete button.
3.  Click Yes in the confirmation dialog box.
4.  Click Close to exit the Snapshot Manager.

To delete all snapshots
Note: Clicking Delete All commits all the immediate snapshots before the You are here current active state to the base disk and removes all existing snapshots for that virtual machine.
1.  Click the Delete All button to permanently remove all snapshots.
2.  Click Yes in the confirmation dialog box.
3.  Click Close to exit the Snapshot Manager.

Snapshots are not meant for long term, so make a decision soon and based on the decision either merge the snapshot(delete will merge & commit) or revert to previous state. Never use snapshot for backup, as the files are inter-dependent and if any of them is gone, whole VM is gone. Too many snapshots negatively impacts the performance of a virtual machine; and a single snapshot can take up as much disk space as the virtual machine itself

More info:


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Free VMWare Server - VMWare ESXi

I am an ardent fan of virtualization and has been following this technology since more than 10 years now! You may have noticed other posts on this technology in this blog already. Gone are the days of dual or multi boots. Why do you want go thru the pain of restarting your machine every time just to access the other operating system.

VMWare has a bunch of lovely options for you! Virtualize is the key word! Crawling (slow) virtual machines are a thing of past (ya, it used to be painfully slow before, make this technology kind of useless, especially on low-end hardware). The latest breed are "almost" comparable to real hardware performance. If you want to try your hands on virtualization, check out one of the following free (yes, totally free) options from VMWare:

1) VMWare Player:
Just play your VM like you play a movie. Great if you want to try a new OS or bring up an OS for casual use! Just load your VM, start it and you are ready to roll! Needs a host OS like Windows to run this. Perfect for desktop/laptop users.

2) VMWare Server:
A little more advanced than VMWare Player, more features, more customization. Remote management of VMs possible. Use this if you want to host it on a server and then access it remotely. Needs a host OS like Windows or Linux.

3) VMWare ESXi Server:
If you want more performance and has better hardware, then you should go for this instead of the above. This is a bare-metal hypervisor (means, doesn't need any host OS, therefore direct access to hardware and way too faster and lighter). Install this directly onto your server (as your base OS) and it gives you everything you need for a software enthusiastic, developer, tester or even a small business! It is a carrot from VMWare to get you to try this (and fall in love with and get addicted to it), with an upgrade path to their other licensed advanced products.

Only catch is some missing advanced features and a cap on physical and virtual hardware.

Comparisons between ESXi (Free) vs licensed products (ESX etc)

VMware ESX and ESXi 4.0 Comparison (latest version)
VMware ESX and ESXi 3.5 Comparison




WebSphere (WAS) Password Recovery

Many a times you might have come across scenarios like you don't remember the passoword of the newly installed WebSphere Application Server (WAS) or you installed it a while back and totally forgot the userid, password or both! Same can be used if you screw up the security configuration too. Here is a lifesaver tip!

Turn off WebSphere Application Server global security from outside the administrative console so that you can access admin console. To do so you can either change the security.xml file of WAS or use the wsadmin tool for it.

Using WAS command-line client wsadmin (run with root privileges):
1) Open a connection to local WAS in offline mode (else you would need to login)
wsadmin -conntype NONE

2) Turn off global security
wsadmin> securityoff

3) Save
wsadmin> $AdminConfig save

Disable security by modifying the security.xml file(s)
1) The security.xml file is located under WSAS_install_root/AppServer/config/cells/cellname. Always store a copy of the security.xml file in a temporary directory before making any changes

2) Open the security.xml file and search for the very first occurrence of enabled="true". This is located inside the tag.

3) Change enabled="true" to enabled="false", then save the file.

You must restart the server for the change to take effect!

Server admins, secure your WAS server installation (tighter OS security) to prevent unauthorized access ;-)

More info:

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Mobile Phone Secret Codes

IMEI number:*#06#
Software version:*#9999#albo*#0837#
Net Monitor:*#0324#
Chaning LCD contrast:*#0523#
Memory info:*#0377#albo*#0246#            

Factory Reset (removes SIMLOCK):

Reset CUSTOM memory:*2767*2878#
Battery state:*#9998*228#
Alarm beeper:*#9998*289#
Vibra test:*#9998*842#                  
IMEI number:*#06# 
Software version:*#0000#lub*#9999#
Simlock info:*#92702689#
Enhanced Full Rate:*3370#[#3370#off]
Half Rate:*4720#
Provider lock status:#pw+1234567890+1
Network lock status:#pw+1234567890+2
Provider lock status:#pw+1234567890+3
SimCard lock status:#pw+1234567890+4

1234567890 - MasterCode which is generated from IMEI
IMEI number:*#06#
Software version:*#8377466#        

More info:,unlock,subpage_id,free_codes.html,unlock,subpage_id,kody+sieciowe.html

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Samsung Spica (i5700) Android 2.1 update

Bought the new Samsung Spica (aka Galaxy Lite) i5700 yesterday. Amazing phone, great features, quite affordable and cost-effective (<13k in India)

Phone-spec Summary:
OS: Android (1.5)
Processor: 800 MHz
Screen: 3.2" TFT Full Touch
Camera: 3 MP AutoFocus
Internal Mem (User): 200 MB
External Mem: 2 GB Free, expandable upto 32GB microSD

Other main features: WiFi, 3G, A-GPS, BlueTooth, DivxPlayer, Accelerometer etc 

Cons: No hardware keyboard, No camera cover, No Radio(FM), 3G is HSDPA (max 3.6Mbps), No TV out, No Video Calls and a little short on inbuilt memory!

Android rocks, but 1.5 is too old and the latest is 2.1. Also 1.5 doesn't support Bluetooth file transfer (OBEX). Although here and there are a few glitches, it is mostly because of the software. Android 2.1 just got officially announced, but it is not available everywhere. They are doing it region by region, starting with some parts of Europe like Germany. Another major issue of Android 1.5 is that the phone is not supported by the software that it comes with (NPS -New PC Studio).... quite weird, huh?!  I tried different versions of PC Studio as well as Kies (newer version, to replace PC Studio in a while), but Kies kept on saying the device is not supported. Even though PC Studio detects the phone as i5700, it gives a message that only 'Update Service' will be supported. Well, even the update service doesn't work though :-(

Because of all the issues of Android 1.5 and hearing all the great features of Android 2.1, I was being restless to upgrade to this ASAP. After lots of googling, reading, researching, trials and many long frustrating hours later, I managed to do it!. Yep, my phone now is now an Ã‰clair (code for 2.1).

I will share the steps here, hoping it would help many frustrated people like me who desperately want to upgrade to 2.1 and don't want to wait till Samsung fixes their software and release the official firmware upgrade!!!

WARNING: These steps should be done by a professional only. I am not responsible for anything that MAY happen to your phone, because of your error or software issues!!!

Step 1) Since you can't install the latest firmware through any of the Samsung provided software (NPS, Kies), we will have to do it the hard way. You need the following to proceed:
  a) Firmware updater (Odin Multi Downloader v4.03)
  b) The firmware (Android 2.1), get the latest from here (~90MB):
      I used version (I570EXXJCB, 2010 March)
      You can find more info on what is I570EXXJCB here:
      In short, XX - Locale code (languages supported)
      eg: XX = Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom 

Step 2) Backup your data, remove your SIM & SD Card

Step 3) Do a hard reset by typing *2767*3855#  on the phone. All your data, apps and settings will be erased and phone will be reset to factory defaults. This MUST be done for detecting and connecting your phone correctly by Odin. 
Step 4) Switch off your phone. Start up in "Download" mode by pressing following keys together "Volume Down + Camera + Power On)

You should see the following on your phone

If you have already installed Kies or NPS, the phone will be detected automatically and necessary drivers will be installed by windows. The drivers for this mode vs normal mode are different. In case your phone is not detected, you should download the USB drivers and manually install it.

USB Drivers: 

Another thing you have to make sure is that Kies or NPS is not running (even in background, check your tray/task manager). If any of these are running, it might prevent Odin from detecting and connecting to the phone. 

If you have all the right drivers, you will see the Samsung phone under USB and Modems in Windows Device Manager

Step 5) Start Odin and connect to the phone.
This is kinda tricky. Find yourself lucky if you get it right on the first try. It took me many tries to get the phone detected and connect. See below:

<1> setup connection...
[ A LONG WAIT... ~ 5 mins, disconnected phone]
<1> e - dll cannot setup connection with the target.
<0> Destroy instant..
<0> Killed timer

Odin detected the phone, but is not able to connect. In case you come across such an issue (if no progress bar/no logs for like >2 min), you can just disconnect the phone and reboot (remove battery and put back). I thought the first time that my phone is gone!

You may have to reboot/reset phone and also reboot your windows a few times to get it right! If the phone is detected, you will see a COM port with yellow indicator as show above.

Step 6) Odin config and flashing:
Most of the new firmware packages are just one single tar file (unzip 
If there are multiple tars, configure BOOT, PHONE, PDA, CSC according to tar names. Otherwise just give the only tar in 'One Package' and enable the 'One Package' check box. You have to give OPS in both cases, follow the instructions in the site where you downloaded firmware, I used the "spica_jc3.rar"

Disable(uncheck) 'Debug' if enabled, cross your fingers... pray for a moment and click "START" :-)

You can see the logs in the "Message" area and a progress bar comes in the connected Port.

In pic above, flashing in progress

In pic above, flashing over... now restarting phone.....

Phone will restart and you can see the home screen with an initializing message if everything goes successfully!!!

Note: I570EXXJCB is European and the default language is German

Do the following to change it to English:
Click on the options/menu (left top) button, a menu will come
Click on the settings menu (right bottom) - Einstellungen
Scroll down and select Region settings – Gebietsschema und Text
Select Language setting - Gebietsschema auswahlen
Select – English (United States)

Viola, you are done!!!

Odin log... if successful...

Download Start...
<0> Create File...
<1> StartThread Detected : 1
<2> StartThread Detected : 0
<3> StartThread Detected : 0
<4> StartThread Detected : 0
<5> StartThread Detected : 0
<6> StartThread Detected : 0
<7> StartThread Detected : 0
<8> StartThread Detected : 0
<1> setup connection...
<1> odin mode.. check plcatform verification.
<1> START!!!
<1> check download environment.
<1> zImage download..
<1> 1/5 Finished.
<1> datafs.rfs download..
<1> 2/5 Finished.
<1> factoryfs.rfs download..
<1> 3/5 Finished.
<1> cache.rfs download..
<1> 4/5 Finished.
<1> modem.bin download..
<1> 5/5 Finished.
<1> reset pda..
<0> Started Timer
<1> Close serial port and wait until rebooting.
<1> PASS!!!
<0> Destroy instant

<0> Killed timer

Now Kies identifies and support i5700 (funny, right)... :-)

I tried upgrading the firmware again with Kies, but didn't work for now. Have to wait see, perhaps I don't have access to the official release yet...

Some pics of Android 2.1 on i5700...

All the best to the early adopters ;-)

NOTE: Click on the images to see them wholly, bigger and better!


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