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Friday, April 29, 2011

HOW TO: Add a German Keyboard layout to your Samsung Galaxy Tab (and the Apple Wireless Keyboard)

Yeah,  I am aware of the fact that writing an instruction in English for a German Keyboard layout is a little... stupid.  But... I will still do it. For the sake of humanity and all that shit. I know it is quite a half-assed article.. but maybe it can help someone...

First of all... What will you need?


  • an unlocked, rooted Galaxy Tab, preferably the Euro-Tab Version
  • an Apple Wireless Keyboard (yeah, I know.)


Step 1:
Open rootexplorer on your Tab (or any other filemanager) and navigate to /system/usr/keychars


Check if your Bluetooth HID file is named like that. If it is the correct name, go straight to Step 2b, otherwise follow the instructions at Step 2a.

Step 2:
Download the zipped kcm.bin file here and extract it somewhere on your sd card.

Step 2a
If your file is called differently, then rename the kcm.bin accordingly.
Step 2b
Copy the file and navigate to the /system/usr/keychars folder

IMPORTANT: You should backup the original file! After mounting the filesystem R/W, rename Broadcom_Bluetooth_HID.kcm.bin to Broadcom_Bluetooth_HID.kcm.bin.bak before hitting paste!


Step 3:
Reboot the system / switch off and on again, when you're done and then, if you didn't screw up everything, you should be able to use all the beauty of the German language!

All the credit for modifying the original keymaps go to xcreatir on XDA developers
There are some threads covering this topic:

Bluetooth keyboard and mouse...
Norwegian Apple Wireless Keyboard settings and how to make your own
There you can (probably) find even more keychar thingies (at least I saw norwegian)

If you want to do your own keymaps, you can follow these instructions:
HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN KEYBOARD SETTINGS:
I used a hex editor called UltraEdit on pc to change some symbols in the .kcm.bin-file, and I used the "KeyTest.apk" from github to make out all the scancodes and used them when editing the .kl-layout file in Notepad on the phone.

NB! If you use the hex editor, make sure you always change one symbol at a time and always do backups for each little change. Whenever I did some change that the system didn't like, it would turn to using the "qwerty.kcm.bin" as default, then I could use the backup to make it work again.

This is my first attempt of a sort of contribution to this great forum after
using it for years. Hope that others can use what I have learn't to make
their own settings. I have attached my original and edited settings files,
and a picture of the keyboard with scancodes.
credits for these instructions can be found at:
Thanks qsarklam for that!

I recommend HxD (great hex editor) and if you are looking for KeyTest.apk, it can be found here on github.


One or two things about keyboards. [Part 2]

Finally. After quite a while of testing, I will now reveal the ultimate slim coder-keyboard. Guess what. It is cheap, it is slim and it is from a quite unknown German company.

Perixx Periboard 407



I've never used a better keyboard in my whole life. Yeah, it isn't wireless and you can tell that the prints on the keys might come off soon (the print feels quite cheap) but typing is like heaven on this baby!
The keys are similar to those on a Sony Vaio VPCF1, but way softer while typing... and int isn't so hard on the joints over time. The keyboard is pretty standard... Full QWERTZ/Y, got a function key for the multimedia keys... I also love the distance between the keys, it makes it easy to type, even if you are a little... "unprecise" while typing. You can't adjust the angle, but it feels quite perfect for typing.
Only downside is the fact that the numlock Turns on, every time the computer boots up, so the integrated numpad (UIOJKLM) will fuck up your attempts to login if you don't pay attention. I got this baby for about 12€/16$ (you can order it here from conrad, but it is a German store)
It is available in white and black and it looks awesome too! (but it will collect smudge... at least the black one is in piano-gloss... but that is something that I accept without a second thought)
Best coding/hacking-keyboard ever!

Perixx Periboard 402






The other one I tested but didn't like that much was the Perixx Periboard 402. It has some advantages over the 407, but also some disadvantages...
On the pro-side there we have two USB-Ports on the left and right side of the keyboard, which are very handy if you need to plug in a memory-stick or something else you don't want to crawl around under your desk for. It is also great if you have one of these small wireless dongles for Mice that don't use this bluetooth hocus-pocus. The multimedia/function keys are separately and not integrated into the F-Keys, so you don't have to fiddle around with pressing the wrong buttons etc.
The downside: It feels like rubber... you type on it like it's rubber. Probably it is rubber too... The plastic doesn't feel that great... it constantly gives you this "semi-sticky" feeling... it is kinda... eww.
But the price is quite unbeatable (15€/20$ at conrad) and you can adjust the angle of the keyboard too. You'd have to try it to know if it's right for you.

check out the Perixx (wired mini) product line [here]

Friday, April 22, 2011

[RESOLVED?] Creepy girl mystery easter egg in Portal 2

I found some hints to a creepy girl, hidden in a portrait of cave johnson and caroline
[here]
But in fact, after extracting the tile and blowing up the image, it just seems like a antique wooden statue, not a weird zombie girl... (Instructions how to get to the hidden portrait are found in the source-thread)
You might need to adjust your monitor's contrast and brightness to see the statue.



Thursday, April 21, 2011

Why bullies cost companies and the economy in general millions of dollars


I will write this article in a language that managers will probably understand..  It's all about money.
Most of all companies think that bullied employees should just stop whining and shut up. They are generally treated like they would overreact to everything. At least as long as the managers or bosses haven't been in the same situation at some point.
Why? Because they just don't want to get involved and see these social issues as a waste of time.

That's in fact a huge mistake.

Studies have shown that the ones bullied are the most unselfish and overcontributing employees,  the productive ones that basically are working machines, crunching huge amounts of work. Coworkers who just waste 90% of their time feel guilty because of their own incompetence of unwillingness to do their work properly. No one with an ugly face likes mirrors, so they start to follow certain tactics to distract everyone else from their lack of contribution: they generate a set of false and\or purposely misinterpreted information to blur the image of the productive coworkers.

The bullied individual gets kicked out of the social circle and becomes the new enemy of the group.

What does that mean for the company?

If the victim leaves the company,  total loss. They do not just lose a precious employee, no.  Fact is,  that the percentage of productive personal shifts to the "we'll soon be broke"-side.
If the victim tries to continue with their work, their sense for perfection and the constant attacks of his coworkers result in a steady decline of productivity and workpower.
In the end it is also a total loss, it just takes longer.

Fact is,  that not just average coworkers are bullies. My experience told me that quite a lot of times, the amoral and destructive characters in a company are in leading positions.

My most hated character types.

One of the characters I personally hate the most is the incompetent manager who keeps up the illusion that his lack of leading qualities isn't the reason for most of his projects to fail,  but instead blames it on one of his employees. These people are often very self-confident, at least they try to convince themselves and others that this is the case.  But deep down inside,  they feel guilty and know that they are not management material and are afraid to fail. These people would never admit a mistake,  but rather blame everything on a personal "deamon". They usually have a favorite victim to blame.  I was one of those favorite victims. Some of my Bosses (I would love to name them but at least one of them might have changed,  the other one got kicked out of his leading position,  months after I quit,  so I got my revenge) weren't able to communicate, had no idea how to set goals and esteminate milestones or timelines, burned thousands of euros and blamed everything on me after I basically worked myself to death for these companies. I never heard a thank you. These people are unable to set priorities. Best example: IT was more important for them that I clear my desk so another person could put his pens inside the drawer than me finishing the project which's deadline was on the same day. They've sent me 3 times someone, nagging I should clear my desk while I was working my ass off to get the stuff done that my boss didn't do as he promised. They are also 100% resistant to advices from a minor creature like an employee. If I tell them "It's impossible to do that in this short amount of time" they just told me to shut up because they have studied informatics and I'm way too young to know what I'm talking about. Of course all the projects failed and I got the blame.

The other characters I really really hate is the bitch. The bitch is usually (at least she believes that) very pretty or very ugly. She has issues like a self esteem thing, had an affair she didn't want anyone to know about, has a failed marriage because she works her husband like a puppet or just loves to be with jerks. She could also be lonely because no one really wants to spend time with her, or she's jealous of others. In companies with a large number of women,  you find at least 2 of them and you can bet your ass that they are friends. If you are an average or more extroverted, dominant male coworker like me,  you will probably never encouter them behaving badly. Yes they actually kiss your ass, but beware if you are sensitive or a woman. They form little IT-Groups like in high-school and love to bitch about others. Yeah, exactly. The passive aggressive bitches of your nightmares. They also convince others to avoid contact with you,  tell a whole lot of their imaginary garbage too get rid of unwanted concurrence.
These people are just human waste and sadly, these people are widely accepted in the companies,  because they use psychological tricks and manipulative bullshit to gain the sympathy of others...  they just love to play the victim..  and the real victim gets silenced.
To ensure this little excursion to reality,  I want to add a little quote I heard lately.

Dear gene-pool! 
  Please add chlorine. 
Sincerly yours,
Charles Darwin.



Here is the description of a recent experiment that shows how the interna of companies work:

The experiment was about rating for different types of people.
There were 3 character types
  • Fair (small contribution/small use or large contribution/large use) 
  • Unselfish (large contribution/large use) 
  • Selfish (small contribution/small use)

At first,  people were asked to rate which one would be the most and which one would be the least desireable character-type to be. The result was surprisingly and unsurprising at the same time. The fair type was most desireable for the tested persons,  but least desireable was by far not the selfish one...  no it was the unselfish one. 

The second task was to rate which character types would be the ones which people would want to be in the group with.  They had the chance to chose two of the three by giving them points. The vast majority chose the selfish and the fair type and by that the unselfish character got expelled out of the group,  even if it meant that the balance of the whole group shifted to low contribution and large use of resources.

What does that mean?

It means that people avoid to get under pressure by being measured on the unselfish large contributers which would result in a feeling of guilt and the urge to work harder. That's why they prefer to remain with the selfish people in the group instead of supporting the most productive and valuable member of the group, which in fact,  they basically kicked out.
So if the unselfish contributers get bullied,  no one will help them. And so productivity will suffer,  the company loses money but at least the lazy people are happy.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Some things I just have to say.

In the last decade, I saw a lot of shit going on in companies. I saw coworkers going on vacation during the hot-phase of a project, I saw bosses ripping off their employees. I saw bitches who just got off when they could bully their coworkers. I saw managers who blamed all their own mistakes on the ones who worked the hardest. I saw different departments sabotaging the projects of each other. I saw teamleaders who basically gave a handjob to the investors just to steal the funds of other teams.
I see all that and the only thing I feel is unbearable disgust.
Do you want to know why the economy and companies are so fucked up? Just because of all that. I got bullied and screwed, ripped off, because I can't and won't ever accept that.
Companies die because of selfish, egomaniac bitches and assholes. It is rarely the fault of the employees that a company is broke, but the hard working, honest people are the first ones to be blamed.
One phenomenon I can always find everywhere in society is the -how I call it- "curse of the A-graders". If you constantly work at 100%, people won't appreciate it. They just give you more work. Then you work at 110% and try to do everything flawlessly, like you used to do. After a while, you start being exhausted. Others hate you for your perfection because they feel guilty or fear that you endanger their "I don't care how much I work, I get paid anyway" lifestyle. And they start looking for mistakes. They start to bully you. You are exhausted. The psychological pressure adds to the huge workload and you start making mistakes. The others who are just used to your perfection, punish you for your mistakes and that adds to the almost unbearable pressure. The lazy workers who just do crappy work never get punished, not even for capital mistakes. You get more and more vulnerable and the bullies hit you and hit you. They intrigue and add fuel to the fire by talking in a bad way about you. They kick you out of the social circle and use even that as a weapon. "see, he/she doesn't want to be with us, so he/she must clearly think to be something better!" Even if it was them who kicked you out in the first place, stop talking to you, don't invite you to activities. And if you have a good reason for not being able to attend, for example a Christmas party, they just claim that it is an excuse.
While I'm writing this, I am thinking about publishing the names of all these disgusting people who do that to someone who means the world to me.
All this human garbage, this vomit inducing subjects would deserve to be named, to be revealed to the world, so everyone knows what is going on behind their fake smiles.
These people are the cancer of society. One project that I would like to realize, is a public database of companies and persons who love to torture others. They deserve it. They deserve even worse than that.
I can just hope that one day, they will finally get what they deserve.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Workplace_bullying

HOW TO: Make an iPad that doesn't look like an iPad but Apple will sue you anyway. [Part 2]

Now it's time to piss off some lawyers.

Tools you need:

  • Samsung Galaxy Tab (mine has a slim-case, I never interact with Apple without proper protection)
  • Shitty Apple Stickers of the Macbook you gave to your Ex-Girlfriend
  • a ruler (maybe)


The Crap you need.

Carefully peel the sticker off the carrier-sheet.

Use a ruler to verify that the used fruit is centered.

Apply pressure.
(and don't forget to wash your hands later :-/)

It still doesn't look like an iPad.
It looks a little bit like an old iPhone though. Ewww!

And now: Sue me, bitches.

HOW TO: Make an iPad that doesn't look like an iPad but Apple will sue you anyway. [Part 1]

Here we go. Apple is once again going all "I fucking sue you because you stole my candy" over it's competitors. As we all know, the American Patent system is like Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory for Patent-Trolls.
If you don't know what patent-trolls are, here the official definition

pat·ent troll/ˈpatnt 

trōl/
noun: Shitty company that even has filed patents for vaginae (yeah that's plural of vagina), suing everyone who owns or uses them without paying the troll a ridiculous amount of money, even if they didn't invent it in the first place. 
see also: Technology Pimp. 
So they just have thousands of stupid patents and sue everyone who dares to make a great product based on a similar idea. Even if they have not a working product that is based on their patent. They OWN the idea, even if you never heard of it and came up with it all by yourself, they claim you STOLE it from them.

Here the list of patents their lawsuit is based on:




That's quite a list, huh? (source) And surprisingly, they just started to bash when they saw that Samsung became a threat.
Well there is a good post on  zweipunktnull.org which points out, that Apple should be the last one to say someone stole their design... (Here the article (German, but with lots of pictures)). Apple uses the same books about design-patterns as everyone and one of the most famous designers, who is lots of times mentioned as a reference for great, simple design is Dieter Rams. Rams worked as a designer for Braun and developed a lot of really neat looking Products, long before Steve Jobs stopped shitting in his diapers.



Yeah... that looks damn similar. (more to find here at zweipunktnull)

I have to admit, that lots of similarities between iOS and touchwiz are found if you look for it (try to look for the number 23)  but Apple wasn't the first company with square shaped icons in a raster or that used a shortcut bar for applications. They just issued a shitty patent for it and brag that they invented multitouch and facetime and such.

So, what is the point of suing the company that produces all your precious components for your smartphones? It's quite stupid and short-sighted if you think about the fact that Apple also infringes some of Samsungs patents.

And, in my personal opinion, I can't see any hardware resemblance. The UI has some similar colors and a similar layout but compare these two:
See any similarities?
So, WTF Apple? What are you thinking? Just because you finally realize that your reign is over, you can't just sue everyone else who makes great products. How about improving your own product to keep up with the competition? Or do you just want to stick to your "wow we totally invented something new" policy without having to worry that someone else could make something better? That would be very convenient for you I guess.
And btw: WTF do you want with all that location data?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

HOW TO: Add a second Google Talk account and Sprint-Integration for non-Sprint numbers to your Google Voice Account

First things first: I don't know the benefits of that for you (especially the sprint-thing because I am not an US Citizen), what kind of troubles it could cause and I don't want to cause any trouble for Google (love you guys!). I just want to max out the possibilities...
I think the benefits of two Google Talk accounts are pretty obvious (if you have a business and a private GTalk running), sadly it doesn't work for Google Apps accounts with custom domain.

If you are a US citizen and you have the option to add a second Google Talk account, don't flame me ^^

So, things you need:

  • awesomeness
  • Google Voice account
  • GTalk
  • Google Chrome
Here we go, step by step.

Go to your Google Voice settings page (https://www.google.com/voice/b/0#phones) in chrome and click on "Add another phone"

Right click on the dropdown and select "Inspect element".


Find the option for Gizmo and doubleclick on the value.



Change now the value to "9", which refers to a "Google Talk Account" and press Return.


Now leave the dev-tools-window (don't close it) and enter your info and select Gizmo from the Dropdown.


After that... you might have guessed it... save it.


Now verify the account and everything should be shiny :)

To do the same for a Sprint number... Just change the value of ... for example "mobile" to 10... That worked for me

 Here are some other findings in the code:

("ALLTEL","Alltel","ATT","AT&T","CELL_SOUTH","Cellular South","CRICKET","Cricket","METROPCS","Metro PCS","SPRINT","Sprint","TMOBILE","T-Mobile","USCELLULAR","US Cellular","VERIZON","Verizon")

zDe=zpb("2","Mobile","7","Gizmo","9","Google Chat","1","Home","10","Mobile - Google Voice Enabled","4","VOIP Phone","3","Work");

As you can see, there is also an option for a VOIP number, but I haven't managed to get it working yet. If someone figures out how to get it working, please let me know!

Also interesting: It doesn't say "Sprint"... it says "Mobile - Google Voice Enabled"... Now we can guess what that might mean for the future :D
Enjoy and let me know if it worked!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

One or two things about keyboards. [Part 1]

Yeah, I gotta admit: I am a programmer. Therefore I've quite a fetish when it comes to keyboards.

I simply can't work with a crappy keyboard, so I went through quite some lengths to find a good one.

First: No, I don't really hate a numpad... but if you have a limited workspace, like me, you will go nuts at least the 10000th time, you bump with your mouse on the way too big keyboard.

So you start looking for alternatives.
You might think: Oh, let's check for a wireless solution... probably something from a well known brand... not too expensive... and there you go with the Microsoft Arc Keyboard

Microsoft Arc Keyboard
First things first: It comes with a reaaaaally nice cloth thing to store it somewhere... kinda protective covering. I guess most people throw it away, but it was just too nice to do that, so I kept it. It is not a Bluetooth keyboard, so you get this little transceiver that is cleverly stored under the keyboard itself using a magnet. This can be a pro or con. If you still own floppy disks, don't put this keyboard on top of them.
This thing runs on AAA juice... not quite the money friendliest power-solution (at least here in Austria it isn't), but I haven't had to replace the batteries yet. (not bad, not bad)
So, here are the con's: It is one of those super-shiny-glossy-accessories that you will love at first and damn later, because it attracts fingerprints and smudge like nothing else... and a keyboard is way more difficult to clean than a touchscreen. Second, very uncomfortable fact is, that the keyboard is too flat to be comfortable for typing... It is super-portable, super stable on the desk, but simply too flat on the edges... next problem is the way the keys feel while typing.. I always hat the Impression there was too much friction while I typed. It felt like the keys would start to wear off quickly... not so pleasant. And here is the biggest downside: the d-pad or whatever that should be.
Nightmare.
It is almost impossible to use. I guess it was designed for powerpoint presentations or something like that, because it is as userfriendly as the left and right click buttons on the Acer Aspire One A150.
Drivers are sometimes an issue too, so you might check if you plugged in the transceiver into a different USB port than last time, because sometimes the driver does not load and the keyboard does not work just because of that.
Overall: Nice try... It is definitely a nice keyboard, but not for programmers or people who write a lot... or that use the arrow keys to navigate. I'll still use it for XBMC... But coding? No way.
Uh yeah, before I forget, the price... It is about 33$ on Amazon.com or 33€ on Amazon.de

Second try: The infamous Apple Wireless Keyboard

Yeah I know... "Booo, you bought from the enemy!". I just needed a Bluetooth keyboard that is 100% working with my Samsung Galaxy Tab :-P
Of course it is fancy packaged and smells like Apple things smell... Pairing was easy and even batteries were included.
Yeah it has arrow keys... big plus. But the arrangement of the keys is different & "<" and "^" keys are exchanged (default mapping)... ok, I can live with that. It has a similar typing experience as the Microsoft keyboard... slightly better though, but not so much better that it would justify the 66€ I paid for it... and most annoying thing: no "DEL" key o.O That really sucks. and I mean really really...
I haven't had much time to test the battery-life though, so I'll probably report another time about that :)

So much for the first part... but I'll add a little information another time.