Archive for the ‘Gadgets’ Category

Slow boot time on Veracrypt

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

Re-encrypting my work laptop harddrive.
Veracrypt is the successor to Truecrypt and its code has been community-vetted to insure there are no ‘back doors’ in it (and its security can be independently verified).

The only downside it has is that by default, it uses a rather high header key derivation iteration value (a lot higher than truecrypt). Meaning that it can take several minutes to boot your laptop. This is a frequent complaint by new Veracrypt users.

The workaround is simple. As long as you use a password that is longer than 20 characters, you are allowed to reduce the amount of iterations substantially by using a lower multiplier value (called a PIM), that you type in at boot time after your password. The multiplayer may be as low as 1, which will more or less instantly mount your boot partition.

For the purposes of theft-risk-reduction by common criminals, this is probably more than enough protection. However, if you are seeking to thwart the NSA which may try to brute-force your password using a server farm for 5 years, it may not be 😉

VCP, Kindle and the thrill of finding the perfect place for awesome technology

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

The next few weeks I will be in study mode.
Next week a 5 day classroom course for VMware vSphere 4.1: Install, Configure & Manage
The week after that its 3 days VMware vSphere 4: Manage for Performance
Then some exam training and on the 25th the VCP4 exam. I am exited and nervous, as I have not studies for an exam or cert for a long time. But I am also confident as I understand a lot of the material already.

In preparation for this I have been gathering some white papers, been reading up on some things and have also been looking for a good book also. I was in the tram today paging through the Kindle app for the Android, and it struck me that the Amazon sphere would be the right place to consume this kind of stuff.  I have the Kindle app on my Ipad, my Phone and on 2 PC’s (I don’t yet own an actual Kindle) and the fact that I can pick up wherever I left off, wherever I am and when I have some time spare, appealed to me.

It’s a relief that I can actually find a good use for all these kindle outputs because I was stuck in the dilemma between the physical and the virtual. I will soon be receiving my first leather bound book from Easton Press, but for a while I felt torn between the superior convenience of ebooks, and the wish to have a proper physical book collection. But I realize now I can split the difference; educational books work a lot better as ebooks. So I can find good an honest use for both the old and new at the same time.  This is greatly fulfilling to me somehow.  I now even have a reason to get a Kindle.. perhaps.

Still in the tram I bought Scott Lowe’s Mastering VSphere 4, Kindle edition, and directed Amazon to send it to all my devices. By the time I got home, it was already downloaded onto my Ipad.


I used to collect a large amount of the MSPress books, but was saddened when I realized that most of them would become obsolete. Getting the ebook versions of these kinds of books might not necessarily be that much cheaper (mastering VSphere 4 set me back $41), but at least its not a waste of paper!
For a long time I justified buying these books by saying that I would rather read from my hand that from the screen, and this is actually true. But The Ipad and Kindle are convenient enough (and even my Android phone is, to be honest), that I cant justify wasting the trees on this kind of book anymore.

I was also thrilled to discover that some of the old Battletech novels are being re-released as Kindle versions. It was impossible to get your hands on, for example, the Blood of Kerensky trilogy in paperback form, it has been out of print for so long. I read most of the novels until Darkage started, but I never got my hands on some of the oldest titles. I hope they bring them all back! What a rich universe to re-discover!

My Android app’s and finally a decent Jabber client: Jabiru

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

Here are 2 videos I made of how I currently use my G1. I show off some apps and how they work.
I am especially happy with finally finding a descent Jabber client with conference support. (specifically: xep-0045 support)

The app is called jabiru and is quite simple, fast, nice and compact. You can find it on the Android marketplace.

With this I can now finally chat in my regular chatroom, the wowcast chat on Bindpoint, which is not actually a Jabber chat at all, but is exposed as such. (I am hoping that they will also expose their chat system as IRC at some point).

Video one: (click here if you cant see the video below)

Video two, Jabiru connecting to Bindpoint: (click here if you cant see the video below)

Android XMPP/Jabber xep-0045 support, and the Talkonaut team on why Android sucks

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

Talkonaut is a pretty cool XMPP/Jabber application for mobile platforms. Its based around a paid Googletalk-to-Voip gateway service developed by Evgeny Korolenko and Ruslan Zalata called Gtalk-to-Voip

I have been using Talkonaut for some time for its Multi-IM support, it will connect not only to Gtalk and other generic Jabber services, but also MSN. This was of course very useful.

Now recently, I have been using a new and in-development chat system called Bindpoint, and have been hanging out in the chat channel dedicated to the Wowcast podcast, on that system. (this is the chat windows you see in my sidebar on the blog, though I correct to it via the Pidgin client).

Recently, the start-up behind Bindpoint, AOEware, created a Jabber bridge. I immediately starting looking for Jabber clients that supported the xep-0045 extensions to Jabber, which is what the Jabber chat-room function is built around, if people so choose to implement it.

Talkonaut is one of the few, if not only mobile client that I am currently aware of, that supports these extensions, and thus supports multi-user Jabber chat rooms.

For a short time, I very happily used Talkonaut in this way, to chat with my friends in the Wowcast Bindpoint channel, on my old HTC Universal Windows mobile 5-based phone.

However, as you know, I recently got myself a G1, which has the Android OS on it.

Now there are a few Jabber clients out there for Android, most notably the built-in IM application that is there mainly to support Gtalk, but also the Meebo multi-IM client is popular. However, Meebo does not support multi-user Jabber chat rooms.

In fact, I have not been able to find a single decent Android multi-IM or Jabber client, that supports the xep-oo45 extentions, at all!

So I decided to mail the Talkonaut team, to see if they had an Android version of their client in development (hoping perhaps, to get into a private beta or some such). I exchanged a few very interesting emails with Ruslan Zalata, and they are reposted below with permission:


Hello Robert,
Thanks for using Talkonaut. Unfortunetly Androind is very crappy platform based on Java which prohibits low-lever audio access (no full-duplex), and has no audio codecs. This means, we are unable to implement our main feature – VoIP calling, hence we cannot make any profit from this platform. So, until Google “fixes” these issues, we won’t start porting Talkonaut to Android. Hope you understand our position.

Me and some other guys already addressed these voip related questions on Android devepolment forum, there followed no response from Google. I believe they do afraid of mobile carriers who treat voip as a death pill to their business, and that is really true :-). So, in near fure we don’t expect voip possibilities on Android.
What’s more amazing is that Google removed XMPP/Jabber from basic setup of Android by request form T-Mobile. Seems carriers develop same attitude towards IM messegers as they are “stealing” SMS profit from them.

As for iPhone, i think it’s bit better platform, because of:
1. It is based on real BSD Unix (Darwin), but not Java machine running under Linux like in Android.
2. It was cracked (jail-broken) and you can install any application which can have access to any device feature, including hardware codecs, low-level duplex audio, low-level networking, etc.
We are currently working on version of Talkonaut for jail-broken iPhones both 1.0 and 2.0.
Standard (not jail-broken) iPhone is same sort of crap as Android – they are both fascist systems made to tie up users to some certain set of services/companies. One more platform in this row is BREW from Qualcomm.
In this regards, Symbian S60 and Windows Mobile are two independent platforms which will be first choise for developers in near future. Besides, they are well spread, well documented and have a large scale of third-party libraries developed for them aready.


I was impressed by Ruslan’s honesty and I can completely understand their reasons for not pursuing Android at this time.

What I find discouraging is how Google seems to have, in this example, again bowed to the Mobile carriers. The Android OS is suppose to be an open one, and I thought that would mean there would be more or less no restrictions on what could be developed for it.

I also saw that the same limitation is to blame for the lack of any home-brewed video recorders for the G1 (explained here), a seriously lacking feature, as unforgivable to my mind as the Iphone’s lack of copy-paste or background applications.

So despite the openness of the platform, we are still depending on Google and whatever concessions they made with their mobile partners.

In the meantime, I am still looking for an Android client with xep-0045 Jabber support, so I can chat with my Bindpoint friends on the go.

Back to GSPlayer for my PDA Audio

Tuesday, February 21st, 2006

I have had my HTC Universal for a few months now, and while its still a very cool device, I cant get round how crappy Media Player 10 is.

The user interface is horrible,  it wont sync my playlists like its suppose to, building a new playlist on the fly it too cumbersome a process, as is the  using the interface in general, it wont play some mp3 encodings, and every morning, after loading up my playlist and leaving for work, it will suddenly stop playing 10 minutes into the first mp3.

On top of all that, if you pause an MP3, stow away the device, then turn it back on at the end of the day, not only will it cancel the playing of the current track, it will actually mark it as problematic in the playlist (with a little exclamation mark), and proceed to the next track. It will refuse to play that file, until you go and re-add it manually to the playlist.

I tolarated this up to a point, but yesterday I got so fed up of having to pull it out once again to mess with it, in the middle of the crowded street, that this morning I went in search of an alternative free media player for Windows Mobile 2005.

Its funny.  For my original MDA I installed GSPlayer, a free, opensource, but highly customizable MP3 player made by Y.Nagamidori.

After spending about an hour looking around the net for software for Windows Mobile 2005, it seems that there isn’t much around.  Purely by coincidence, I ran back into GSPlayer, and its developer has a Beta of a WM05 version!

Funny how things work out eh.

Go check it out, I highly recommend it!

– MP3 playback using the MAD 0.15.0b
– Ogg Vorbis playback
– Wave format playback
– HTTP streaming playback (MP3 / Ogg Vorbis)
– SHOUTcast streaming playback (MP3 / Ogg Vorbis)
– ID3 v1/v1.1 support
– PLS/M3U playlist support
– 10 bands equalizer (MP3 playback only)
– Surround / Bassboost effects
– Reverb / Echo effects
– Skin support
– Hardware button mapping
– Noiseless playback (See decoder tab in options dialog)
– Sleep Timer
– Hold (Lock hardware buttons)

– PocketPC / PocketPC2002 / WM2003 / WM2003SE / 2005 (beta) support