Use your Android Phone as a Wireless Adapter for your Computer

So my Linux install going messed up somehow and I was left with no wireless driver installed. I know that you can use Android phones to USB tether mobile data (e.g. 3G/4G/LTE) but I didn’t know that you can do the same over WiFi!



Now while in OSX I’m pretty sure it worked out of the box previously, it seems that you need now need to download the HoRNDIS driver. With Linux (Ubuntu) it worked out of the box and in my previous usage of USB tethering, Windows should work automatically as well.

Windows 7 – Touch Gestures

Ever since the iPhone came out there seems to be a resurgence with touch technology and in particular multi-touch technology. From full all-in-one PC systems like the HP TouchSmart that I’ve seen in Netcom and the MSI WindTop to now the Acer T230H Touch Screen Panel monitor (seen at both Concepts and Netcom). Not knowing what Windows 7 with offered in terms of touch features I looked it up and came across “Using touch gestures” on Microsoft’s Windows 7 microsite (“My favorite ways to use Windows Touch” by John Swenson is also a good read for those considering using a touchscreen)

The main features are:

  • Flicks: basically navigating a page by flicking your finger upwards or downwards as normally seen on iPhones
  • Press and hold: press and holding down on the screen will act as a right click and it will pop-up the context menu
  • Windows Touch Gestures: Pan, Zoom, Rotate, Press and Tap. The first 3 are all similar to Apple’s trackpad multi-touch trackpads gestures but the “Press and Tap” gesture seems new and interesting. In order to activate “Press & Tap” you have to “Press the item with one finger, then quickly tap with another finger, while continuing to press the item with the first finger.”: if you just tap the shortcut menu will appear, if you tap and hold it will be treated as a right click. I’m not sure how well this works in usage and how helpful the shortcut menu is but it is something new and worth exploring
  • The last feature is related to the taskbar: tap the icon in the taskbar and flick upwards and it will show the window menu and jump list

Basically these features aren’t all that great to me, and I feel most of them work on devices with smaller screens and not so much with larger screens. But to all touch enthusiast this should be a good starting point for Windows. Most manufacturers will make their own touch software that runs on top of Windows and provides a more touch friendly experience but they will most likely stick to a multimedia focus or just for goofing around and nothing too productive

Windows XP DPI Registry Fix

The other day I ran into a laptop where the desktop looks like the following screenshot.

Tiny Text and System Icons

Click on the picture to view the full resolution for the image. The text is too small and as you can see there are 3 rows of icons in the system tray! The system tray is the default size and it can fit 3 rows of icons when it can normally only have 1. Tried clicking on “Advanced” button in the “Display Properties” Tab (shown below) and a DLL crashed.

Display Properties Dialog Box

Tried Changing things in the “Advanced Appearance” dialog and managed to make things more usable but it did not solve the problem.

Advanced Appearance Dialog Box

Then it dawned on me that it may be the DPI settings, which can only be accessed when clicking the “Advanced” button to get the graphics card advanced dialog box. But since it crashed I had to get an alternative fix

General Tab of Graphics Card Advanced Dialog Box

After some Googling I found this and modified the registry as follows:

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\FontDPI]

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Fonts]
"Courier 10,12,15 (VGA res)"="COURE.FON"
"MS Serif 8,10,12,14,18,24 (VGA res)"="SERIFE.FON"
"MS Sans Serif 8,10,12,14,18,24 (VGA res)"="SSERIFE.FON"
"Small Fonts (VGA res)"="SMALLE.FON"

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\GRE_Initialize]

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Hardware Profiles001\Software\Fonts]

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Hardware Profiles\Current\Software\Fonts]

Rebooted and viola! Back to business as per normal

Offline Installers

Have you ever started to download an application and after downloading it you realized that what you downloaded wasn’t the application but a downloader application. I’ve always disliked this as it requires an Internet connection and isn’t an installer that I can just pass around to friends. So this post is dedicated to getting those full installers.

Google Chrome: Download page
Basically add “?standalone=1″ to the end of the URL of the download page that shows the Terms of Service

Live Essentials: Download page (On the download page, there is a column on the right with a “Try again” button. On pressing this button you will get the full download)

AVG: Download page

  1. On the initial download page, go to the bottom and where you can download the file direct from AVG servers.
  2. On the following page there is a link for the offline version (linked above) which is the complete installer

Skype: Direct Download | Download Page
Instead of the regular installer look for the business version that includes the MSI installer

Java runtime:
Click the “all Java downloads here” link on the Java download page

Playing Nice with Filesystems

If you have played around with any 2 of the 3 major operating systems (Windows, OS X and Linux) and start transferring files to and from external hard disk you will probably run into an issue with the type of filesystem you choose for your hard disk. Windows likes NTFS, OS X likes HFS and Linux likes ext. As you can see none of them are the same. Being different is not so much an issue, but being compatible and accessible to all is.

Based on default system settings:

  • NTFS is readable on all operating systems, but not writable on OS X. Most modern Linux distributions can write to NTFS drives
  • HFS is readable on OS X and modern Linux distributions, and not writable on Windows or Linux
  • ext is only readable on Linux and not writable on Windows or OS X.

or to put it based on operating system

  • Windows can only read and write to NTFS, nothing else
  • OS X can read and write to HFS and read NTFS
  • Linux can read and write to ext and NTFS and read HFS

Take note that there is also the older FAT32 filesystem that is fully supported for reading and writing by all operating systems but due to limitations of FAT32, I rather not consider this. Basically the main issues with FAT32 is that the maximum file size is 4GB and the maximum partition size is 32GB (actually Windows can’t format a FAT32 partition greater than 32GB but can read FAT32 partitions of more than 32GB. Use GParted or just filter this Google search to be able to create and format a partition of 32GB). If these are limitations you can deal with, for the sake for interoperability stick with FAT32.

Now to solve the problem of support for each filesystem in each operating system:


  • OS X: NTFS-3G + MacFUSE
  • Linux: NTFS-3G
  • I’ve been using NTFS-3G in Linux for many years and haven’t had any problems with it and so far it’s working well with OS X too
  • On another note if the NTFS drive is not unmounted properly or there are some issues with the file system integrity, it is necessary to use Windows scan disk to rectify the problem. Thus this requires a copy of Windows to fix the filesystem.


  • Windows: Ext2 Installable File System for Windows
  • OS X: Mac OS X Ext2 filesystem
  • I’ve had issues of only being able to mount an ext2 partition in Linux and it gave a mount error in Windows and OS X and was due to an inode issue as new Linux distributions create the file system with inodes of 256 bytes but Ext2 fs only supports the older version with 128 bytes. And the only solution is to back up the files, and reformat partition with inodes of 128 bytes (-I 128) and restore the files.
  • Filesystem integrity issues should be able to be fixed with “fsck” from a Linux distribution / live CD. The great thing about this is that you can get a Linux distribution for free and this recovery can be done with out any strings attached.


  • Windows: MacDrive (US$50, read and write), Paragon HFS for Windows (read only)
  • Linux: Enabling HFS writing in Ubuntu
  • Note: I have not personally tested these so I cannot give first hand experience of how well it works or what issues can be had with this.
  • I believe that HFS+ journal
  • I would believe any filesystem repairs would have to be done in OS X (similar to NTFS and Windows) and if so this enforces that you have OS X at hand, and in order to have OS X you must have Apple hardware or a Hackintosh either way this is very restrictive.

So it is pretty easy to get full read and write support of all 3 default file systems on the 3 major OS’s but there are issues. So far I’m inclined to stick with ext2/ext3 just due to the fact that it has no restrictions in terms of filesystem repair. I’ve had many NTFS issues related to damaged filesystems that required Windows and the inconvenience of taking the drive out of my box to find a Windows box was too much.

Deleting Windows Services

In the process of installing MySQL I ran into a few errors leaving me with an added service that didn’t work. So now had to remove it:

In a command prompt (Start > Run > type "cmd", enter), type the following:

sc delete serviceName


  • Ensure you use the Service Name, not the Display Name, i.e. in the

    Service Name vs Display Name
  • Ensure the service is stopped
    • Go to Service listing. This can be done in the following ways:
    • Start > Run > type "services.msc", enter

    • Right click "My Computer" (XP) or "Computer" (Vista onwards)

      > Manage > Services and Applications (in left pane) > Services
  • Find the service and stop it
  • This was done on Windows 7 RC, thus item names may differ in XP / Vista