ARCHOS Cesium 80 — support?!

Well, it’s that time again. I got something to blargh about.

Keeping it short and to the point: I recently bought a shiny new Archos Cesium 80 tablet with Windows 8.1. All very nice, being able to run w32 apps without any problem. But there’s one bottleneck: it only has 16GB of available disk space. Which is not much, but it should be plenty until you break it down:


Partition 0: Operating system and files – 9GB used; after updates ~10GB (without removing the default additional language packs like Russian and Spanish)
Partition 1: Recovery — 4GB
Partition 2: just the usual bootstuffs — 100MB


So that leaves us with very little workspace. I decided to remove the language packs (by ‘adding’ them and removing them, basically) and to delete the recovery partition. Which I shouldn’t have done: the EFI/GPT scheme doesn’t allow that for some reason, so you get a BSOD 0xc0000225 and no recovery options ofcourse. So I decided after inserting a recovery USB stick with EFI and trying to fix stuff with bcdboot and diskpart (which did not work at all; strangely enough, ‘no operating system’ etc.), and plenty of other methods. Not only that, the touch screen did not work by default in the non-Archos Windows 8.1, so I had to attach a USB hub and a keyboard.

After trying several thousand things, I decided to install Windows 8.1 Pro. And yet again, to my surprise, no drivers anywhere to be found on the entire net. I e-mailed Archos, they just skipped reading and said ‘we do not support this OS’ and that was that.
Terribly enough, no support at all — not even a recovery image or anything like that. So I took a twisted turn, I decided to make a deal with a webshop and ‘buy’ a new tablet: the same one. The plan: get a recovery image and extract all the drivers.

So I did just that. And it works. Here is the recovery image for Windows 8.1 with Bing for Archos C80:
Here are all the drivers (working in Windows 8.1 x86 and Windows 8.1 Pro x86):

And that’s all I got, and here are some interesting links:
Full recovery image(use Win32 Disk Imager to write this to a 16+GB USB stick or network-disk): http://a.eth9.org/

NOTICE: This image is only for use on the Archos 80 Cesium tablet. —
Trying this on a laptop or other type of tablet will cause unwanted results and might corrupt your partition table and EFI-stored Windows serial number if it does not correspond with the type and model if you do a forced install.
After installing this image, you can also upgrade to Windows 10 Home after installing all Windows updates and connecting an external USB stick once again for the installation files (see the Windows 10 Upgrade application (GWX) for moreĀ  information)

Drivers (7z): http://dl.marlon.ws/Media/archos80c.7z

The end?

I guess I’ve come to a point where blogging isn’t a viable hobby anymore. I wonder what to post, sometimes I get an idea and next thing I know I’ve forgotten everything.

Well, I guess this just means there’s a pause now in my blogposts, while I’m focusing on the better things in life. See you soon!

Guide for governments: Resisting Detekt

Ahh, yes. I’ve been reading the news, and somehow it got me to a group called ‘Resist Surveillance’. The group is organized by a few human rights groups, as shown as on their site. The purpose of the software? Detect government spyware by running it and viewing the results (obviously).

This isn’t really anything new, but the software itself is quite interesting. The stand-alone application is 26MB in size, and it looks pretty good. But there are a few buts on this one. First, it dumps debug information into a log file in the same directory; including the results. Second, it starts a webserver on your local system, on a random port (you can actually open it in a web browser — but it obviously won’t ‘work’).

The program also features multiple languages, including German, Italian, Spanish, and Arabic.

So, I ran the software to see if it was any good, but I was quite disappointed. The software threw me multiple errors.
Unsupported

The first one, as seen in the picture: “You are running an unsupported version of Microsoft Windows”.
It seems the developers did not implement the “Windows 8.1 with Media Center” string. Obviously, selecting a compatibility mode (Windows 7), did work.

Or well… it kinda did at first.

internalservererrorohnoes

It surely looks like great software, but I haven’t really had the chance to do anything, except fooling around with the program and looking at the source code.
Eventually, after restarting the software, it finally started scanning. It only scanned the memory and ‘known’ files, it took around a minute before it was done. It gave my new laptop a clean bill of health, but I’m not sure if that’s true.

The concept of this software surely is great, but the software itself just lacks about everything. And because it runs a server on localhost, it’s not that hard for governments to circumvent the program; just implement a function to check for the webserver running, killing it, and set-up some other service. This way, a government could even serve another page saying you won the lottery.

Congratulations on writing the software.

Server migration: what happened?

The migration happened a few weeks ago, offloading my home network and trying to have more uptime. My estimation was 1 day, but it actually took 2 hours or so.

This is a small update of what is migrated to the other/second server (codename HR2):

– ZNC- Statistics generation and caching
– FTP
– Backups

Home server after migration:
– Web (reimu.nl)
– Fileserver/SAMBA
– VPN
– IPv6 routing
– Partial network traffic handler
– Firewall

It may look like some small services that were migrated, but it caused a huge decrease in system loops and downtime. This was primarily because my Pi was not able to handle input/output at a certain level (ex. ZNC is logging, stats. are being generated, backup in progess and clamav is scanning and IPv6 traffic needs to be handled). This was obviously pushing the limits: I have seen loads up to 89.10 on my LCD display: not updating the sysload anymore.

tl;dr: This is just another blog article about some nerdy stuff.

RPi, a new phone, and a new server (soon).

I’ve been away for too long. But I haven’t been sitting like a duck here. Been pretty busy with my new toy, the Raspberry Pi. I also got a new phone.

One of the things I use my Raspberry Pi for, is to notify me on a new SMS or e-mail. It’s in combination with my new Statistics page, which is, hosted on the Pi.

The notifier checks mail on a mailbox. If there is mail (or a SMS) it will beep and show the unread mail count on the webpage.

My new N900 automatically forwards texts to that same mailbox. This has some advantages, especially if you don’t use your phone often.
Here are some pictures of my N900 in action:

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I will also be transferring some elements of this site to another server.
Things like the webmail, the IRC bouncer (currently connected to 5 networks), and some other stuff.

This will probably cause some downtime, so please understand some services will be unavailable for a while (probably a day or so).

Happy 2014!

I have not been very busy with my blog lately. This is mainly because I don’t really have good ideas (or just forget them), or just because I’m distracted (study). I consider my blog my side project, and not really my main area of work.
This is why my blog isn’t updated as frequently as I would like.

I also enabled (no I just disabled it – because it doesn’t work with my things I use) caching via Cloudflare, so everything will be faster and more secure (or so their site says ;) ).

Edit: Just tested it, and it’s bloat unless you want to pay mighty cash.

Anyhow, I want to give all my readers best wishes for 2014!

Windows 8.1: More choice and less clutter.

I’ve installed Windows 8.1 on my main laptop, and it’s even faster (performance) than Windows 8.

Some games (and websites) do not seem to agree though, but I haven’t really installed any games which will drain a lot of performance; let alone to test it. So I’ll just assume that games don’t really work (though, Microsoft recently fixed that issue in an update).

There are a lot of new standard apps installed in 8.1, the most notable one is Skype. It’s not the so-called “Desktop” version of Skype, but the Modern version. I have to say that a lot of bugs in this version have been fixed and it’s more accessible, but I still prefer to use the desktop version.
Another app, called Food & Drinking which is targeted at home cooking users, includes thousands of (online) recipes and very nifty tools. One particularly interesting feature of this application is that you can actually use your hands to slide though the cooking instructions, called “Hands-free mode”.

Hands Free Mode
Hands Free Mode

There is another interesting app, called “Health and Fitness”. This app features advice and tips to keep you healthy, and has integration for apps like HealthVault (more to be added in the future, so it seems) to track your burned calories, have personal advice, and to measure your progress.

It features pictures of hot men and women too.
It features pictures of hot men and women too.

And since last week, Facebook (finally?) published their new Facebook app for 8 & 8.1. This does not really have anything to do with Windows, but it’s still worth to take a look.

You could also take a look at the new customization options for your Start screen.
You can resize the tiles to either elephant big, or to ant tiny now, change the background to match with your Desktop mode, or set whatever color you want to have.

Big icons in 8.1
Big or small? It’s your choice.
Small icons in Windows 8.1
… or just Medium and small.
Colors!
I didn’t know what color to choose, so I went for blue.

The other notable thing in Windows 8.1 is that there is a button.
A button, you ask? Well, it’s called a “Start” button.
People complained about it’s ‘absence’ or rather, ‘hiddenness’ (since it’s still there, but in the corner), so Microsoft added it back. Despite hundreds of users complaining about the return, since “it was much easier” and “it doesn’t take up space”, Microsoft didn’t add a control switch to turn it in “8-mode” button, or rather “old fasion”.

 

 

 

So the button is almost permanent by default, with no option (at least not in Windows) to remove the annoying space filling annoyance. Thus, somebody made a pretty clever application called “StartIsGone”. It’s simple. It injects itself in to the Explorer process, and disables the new code. And automatically bringing back the new (or well, new…) Start ‘button’.

 

If you want something new and something better, I’d recommend Windows 8.1.

My scanner is boxed!

A few months back, I got a scanner from my uncle. It’s an ‘old’ HP scanjet 4470c. I’m using the 64 bits version of Windows 8; and there are no drivers for my little scanner. So I came up with an idea. I used my VirtualBox Windows XP (x86) installation, and installed the drivers on there.

I shared the device with my VirtualBox, which did not work at first. It seems that VirtualBox does not completely work yet with my USB 3.0 ports. So I used my other ports, and the sharing went perfect.

Then I used the software included in the installer from HP. The results were pretty good for a 10 year old scanner:

Mentos Label Back
Click to zoom – Can you read the text?
Mentos Label
The front label.

The standard software was pretty good, simple, but outdated.

But it’s working, so that is not a problem. Also, the quality is way better than my build-in phone camera:

Scanner
Look at the dust! At least it has AF.

The VirtualBox was obviously pretty easy to set up. Installed Windows, shared a folder and the USB device, and actually, all is set-up. This method should work with 90% of all hardware that works with Windows XP, inside the VirtualBox.

Look at the pixels!
Look at the pixels!

Well, this is a new add-on for my 2 printers, one LaserJet from HP, and a Canon PIXMA printer, seen below.

Printers
But these are still supported by the software!

My current hardware is all donated by people who couldn’t get the drivers to work, didn’t need it, or simply because it was broken and they simply said: “Well, if you repair it, keep it.”.

Thanks to all who donated me this stuff, I use it all the time. But well, I’m a geek, so nothing less to expect!

The horrors of the World Wide Web

Most people don’t know what an internet browser is. Heck, most people use Internet Explorer or Safari for that matter. But it’s all thanks to Google people change their minds. Commercials. Everywhere. This isn’t too bad, but it’s bad for the ‘free browser market’. Other browsers (Firefox, Opera) do not have the budget to advertise on such a large scale (worldwide).

There are around 5 popular browsers.
– Internet Explorer
– Firefox
– Google Chrome
– Safari
– Opera

The last one, Opera, introduced version 15. They use Webkit, just like the other zillion other browsers. Why? They are pushed by the market, and their recent change of management did not have a positive effect on the company either. The only popular browsers that do not use Webkit (or a fork) are currently Firefox (Gecko) and Internet Explorer (Trident).

The main feature of Webkit is HTML5. A standard, most people say. But it isn’t actually an official standard for HTML rendering.

Opera had major issues with HTML5, thanks to the CSS prefix ‘-webkit’. Most (popular) websites use either the normal HTML5 CSS (without any prefix, ignored by Webkit browsers), or the prefixed one. And sometimes both, and it will render twice. All because it’s for ‘developers only’, and mostly ignorant people that just use HTML5.

This seems to be a major problem, and something needs to be done about it. The market share of the recent Opera 15 dropped because many features need reprogramming, and are just missing.

Zarmark: Taobao shipping with guarantee

Recently, I found out about a site called ‘Zarmark’. They ship product from a Chinese alternative to eBay, called Taobao, which (normally) doesn’t operate internationally. Zarmark solves this problem by using their own address in China.

At first, I couldn’t find many reviews. I just took the chances and ordered on Zarmark.

First, I went to Taobao combined with Google Translate. I needed some new sunglasses, so I typed sunglasses in Google Translate to Chinese and searching the website with the translated word. After a while I found a cheap set of good sunglasses. All prices are in Chinese Yuan.

I copied the URL as the site instructed. The price was automatically calculated, and I didn’t need to convert the currencies via XE or Google. Then, I added money to my account, ordering the product, and just wait.

The sunglasses order
The sunglasses order

It took 3 days to arrive at their office. Then, a second payment needed to be made, for international shipping. This was around $3 in my case. Then, it took 3 weeks before it was in the Netherlands. The tracking number was included.

The package came wrapped in normal packaging, and there was an additional box in it, including the domestic shipping stickers. The quality was pretty good, and was taped pretty well.

Sunglasses - 2 Sunglasses