Stop paying Rapidshare, get Mipony instead

Mipony v1.1.2Mipony is a very nice download manager, which can be real lifesaver then it comes to getting files out of free host sites such as Megaupload, Rapidshare, Hotfile, Easy-share, Gigasize, Mediafire, Depositefiles, Filefactory, Uploading, 4shared, and others — complete list can be found here. Captcha screens, of course, will appear as usual, but you won’t have to see any advertising associated with those sites. For big files (like images or movies) you can keep it running overnight, it will properly put all the file pieces in line to download one after another. The latest version is 1.1.2, download it here.

Here’s some screenshots of the program below (click to enlarge).

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How to ensure you get quality music files from internet

Music which is available in the internet is not always of best quality, even if it is available in rich and fat OGG, FLAC, or WAV formats. Some people may fake the files to have higher filesharing rating, by converting them from mp3 sources. Free audio files editor Audacity can help you quickly check the track authenticity — at least indirectly.

Audacity interface

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Hung BIOS because of badly formatted hard drive

I had a real problem today. I was trying to install a Windows 7 64-bit on my computer from scratch, with wiping the first partition of the hard drive. Installation DVD was found in the internet and not verified after burning… So, during installation I suddenly noticed that BIOS splash screen is hung after first PC restart. I forced it to restart again — same story. BIOS was getting stuck after showing a message about the hard drive SMART status is OK. There was no way to load BIOS or the system. I have Barracuda 7200.12 SATA 3Gb/s 1TB Hard Drive (ST31000528AS), quite new, it would be too pessimistic to think it was damaged. I unplugged the Serial ATA cable from the motherboard, and BIOS was booting again. My assumption was that Windows 7 installation somehow misplaced the MBR or something. So I would need some tools to restore the booting hard drive ability. But the real problem was that because of that defect PC would not boot even at the BIOS stage. I was trapped: I need a PC to fix the hard drive, but PC cannot stand this faulty hard drive. If I boot without the Barracuda, I have no chance to plug the disc afterwards. What to do?

I started exploring other motherboard options (I have an old but very functional ASUS motherboard) and I found Silicon Image SATARaid Controller I’ve never used before. That controller could also work as a SATA port, if selected in the BIOS. I plugged my Barracuda in the socket and refreshed the BIOS. The BIOS was booting normally. Now I would need to find a way to fix the hard drive. Windows 7 installation DVD was not good for that purpose, its recovery tools could not see the drive connected thru raid controller. I used my Lenovo Y510 notebook to goggle a free bootable cd. And I’ve found a beautiful piece of software called Ultimate Boot CD. It has tons of good stuff to check and repair issues related to BIOS, CPU, Boot Management, Data Recovery, Disk Wiping and Cloning. So, I Downloaded 300 Mb ISO image and burt it.

Ultimate Boot CD v.5.0.3

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Find best shared web hosting thru DNS Changes statistics

It is not easy to find a good and affordable web-hosting. One big difficulty is advertising clutter we are surrounded with. You search with Internet as a tool and that tool is based on web-hosting, meaning it is everywhere. It is like discussing Chinese people in China — seems like the right place, but probably too much. If you simply type in Google or Bing “web hosting” you may get a link like this: Top 10 Web Hosting — Best Web Hosts 2010. Would you trust this information?

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How to ensure fastest Wi-Fi connection for home network

It is important to use your Wi-Fi equipment effectively, so you can enjoy fast and reliable data transfer over your network. The first thing to check is to make sure that other Wi-Fi networks in the neighborhood do not interfere with your home one. How to do that? We can use any Wi-Fi scanner, but I recommend to have a look at free inSSIDer from METAGEEK. Install and run it than select your wireless adaptor and press button “Start scanning”. You should see something like that on the screenshot over time:


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Windows 7 — The best, expensive, and free

As I wrote many times, Windows 7 (and Windows Vista before) is incredibly popular software, which is the fact. But I think Microsoft deliberately makes it available for crackers in a very hidden way. By doing this, Microsoft can kill two birds with one shot: people who buy software and the ones who don’t — both run the latest superior operating system — Windows 7. My point — one population will never merge with another one completely, so if you really restrict the illegal use, you will loose the other half. You’re only interested when everybody is using your software, because then there will be no real alternative. Linux? It is a free headache in short. Apple? That is a good example of those who want to exclude the dark side. Pirated Leopard is a very rare animal. Result? Look at their market share. Microsoft makes it in a very wise way: they say they fight piracy and they do, but in reality they leave back door open. So, you could ask: Well, how about that activation stuff and genuine software program? That really works, however the workaround is very simple.


The idea has become possible due to specific OEM activation mechanism (SLP): If the OS can match three things together (OEM information in SLIC table from BIOS + digital certificate (file) + product number), then the activation happens automatically and instantly. The first part is the most tricky one, because it is hardware driven, i.e. depends on PC manufacturer, all the rest can be simply copied, given the System Locked Preinstallation keys are common for one OEM (ASUS could use one product key for many-many computers, for instance). So what hackers did, they introduced a program loader that puts appropriate OEM info into memory before Windows boots.

Here is a very good explanation of the method, ironically called The Official Windows 7 Repository. Let me quote: “Activators, also known as loaders, add a script on the boot partition (Linux Grub boot loader (GRLDR)) which will put OEM information (SLIC 2.1) into memory before Windows starts. This way Windows thinks that the SLIC 2.1 come from the BIOS (which is false). Activators also install a certificate and an OEM SLP key to activate Windows”.

Windows Loader by Daz is the most popular activator which is kept steadily updated (last version is 1.9.2)

Windows Loader by Daz

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Troubles with Adobe CS products licenses

There are many troubles tagged with license term you can expect while using Adobe Products, such as Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Fireworks or others. That applies to Adobe CS3, CS4, and CS5.5 lines with some exceptions. Whether you are using the software legally or illegally here is some tricks and advises to overcome the problem. Of course, sometimes reinstalling can fix them all, but not always. Some people dare to reinstall the OS, but that’s an extreme case. Below please see the most common three license-related issues in Adobe products — AMT subsystem failure, Error “Licensing for this product has expired”, and error #16 — and selected solutions.

Adobe Joker

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Tweak Windows Firewall

Easy guide to tweak Windows Firewall (also applicable for Windows 7)

Windows FirewallAs Microsoft says: “The default behavior of the Windows [Vista] Firewall is to: Block all incoming traffic unless it is solicited or it matches a configured rule. Allow all outgoing traffic unless it matches a configured rule.”

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Overview of Windows Vista Workarounds

/First published in 2007/

With that level of magnitude of popularity which is given for most Microsoft products, it is inevitable for Windows Vista to be cracked. There are two main reasons for that: first — there will be always people who do not want or cannot afford to pay the price, second — there are always people who are doing reverse engineering for fun. These two things are connected. You can call it piracy, but in a way it is no more than a “technical dance.” And as any dance it does not have any particular purpose or goal to achieve. I mean one crack is never enough. You can blame users for using these workarounds, but in my opinion, ultimately it is only a fuel to keep the enormous flame of Windows popularity. Continue reading “Overview of Windows Vista Workarounds”

Break Free Your Digital Editions

/ First published in 2008 — Please see 2011 update here /

Decrypt Adobe ADEPT-encrypted PDF files, AKA Digital Editions

I recently bought an Adobe Digital Edition of a decent book titled “Mastering CSS with Dreamweaver CS4” from Peachpit (if you decide to buy something there, do not forget to register—you will get a good instant discount as a member).

The book is fine, but I hate this DRM stuff as I need to access my books sometimes on a casual machine and that is impossible unless you install Adobe™ Digital Editions and activate it via Adobe’s DRM Activator site (for some reason it is called “Eden”, there is no sign of Eden there at all!). So I decided to find a way to overcome and remove DRM protection from Adobe pdf file, not for sharing this book, but for my convenience.

Digital Editions

After an extended search, I found a way, and everybody can repeat the same sequence. So far, this protection (ADEPT encryption) was considered to be officially unbreakable, but it seems not anymore. Continue reading “Break Free Your Digital Editions”