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OK, so I promised to do a post on how to run the Windows version of the Minecraft server as a psuedo service.

I don’t intend to get into the ins and outs of the server.properties file, see Google for that 😛

To get the bad news out of the way, whilst it does run in a service like mannner, it won’t shut down. You have to kill the javaw.exe or javaw.exe *32 process, then go and set the services to stopped in the services console (Services.msc if you want to run it manually).

It does however run GUI less and allows you to log off the server whilst it remains running. If you also specify different ports, you can have multiple ‘Services’ running and serving up MineCraft. I currently have 2 running happily side by side on slightly different ports.

Bad news out of the way, you can set it to auto start, and it works quite happily, restarting your MineCraft server after a reboot 🙂

So, how do I do this chicanery you ask?

There are only two tools you need TBH, one of which is built into Windows 2003, Windows 2008 and Windows 7, and the other is freely downloadable as it’s part of the Windows 2003 Resource Kit.

Here’s the steps you need, based on my install which has the MineCraft server executable installed into a directory on the E: drive of my server called Minecraft. Don’t forget to replace e:\Minecraftt with your own directory.

1. Create a directory on E: (or whatever drive you’re using) called Minecraft.

2. Download Minecraft_Server.exe to the directory you created at step 1. Run it once to create the file and directory structures it needs.

3. Download srvany.exe to the directory you created in step1. Google it, you can’t fail to find it.

4. Open a command prompt and type the following, ensuring the space is present after the = sign: sc create Minecraft binpath= e:\Minecraft\srvany.exe

5. Hit enter. The base service is now created. Don’t worry if you stuff it up, just type: sc delete Minecraft and it’ll be gone 🙂

6. A little work remains. Execute the comand regedt32.exe from the run box and locate HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Minecraft in the registry.

7. Right click on the Minecraft key, and select ‘New’ then ‘Key’. Name the new key Parameters.

8. Right click on the new created Parameters key, and select ‘New’ and ‘String Value’. Give the new string the value AppDirectory, and give it the value e:\Minecraft

9. Create another new string value called Application with the value e:\Minecraft\Minecraft_Server.exe

10. Create another new string value called AppParameters with the value server.properties

11. Finally execute services.msc from the run box. Locate the Minecraft service you just created and double click on it.

12. In the general tab set the startup type to be Automatic, and on the log on to be Local System Account.

13. Click ‘Start’ and off your Mincraft server goes. Just check for the presence of javaw.exe or javaw.exe *32 in Task Manager.

14. Log off your server, in the knowledge that Mincraft will continue to run whilst you’re away 🙂

15: Go play Minecraft and connect to your server.

One last thing, is that if you do decide you want to run multiple servers, make sure you name the services you create differently i.e. Minecraft, Minecraft2 etc, and set the port in the server.properties file. You’ll also need to create a separate directory with s different containing all the Minecraft files, as you can only run one site per folder. I use e:\Minecraft and e:\Minecraft2.

If you’re having issues with the server.properties file not being read, make sure all the AppDirectory and AppParamters are set correctly. You can also add server.properties to the Start Parameters field of the service.

As I said, it is a sort of pseudo service, in that it doesn’t stop when you stop the service, so you have to kill the process, but it is better than having to stay logged on to your server.

One word of advice if you do end up running more than one server on the same box, is to make a note of the PID of one javaw process so you don’t close the wrong one down by accident.

An export of my Minecraft service reg key is below. You can modify the directory names to suit and import into your registry, just make sure you create the service first.

By the way, only do this if you’re confident you’re not going to stuff up your server, as despte having tested these instructions thoroughly, I can’t be held responsible for what you decide to do to your own server 😛

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Minecraft]
“Type”=dword:00000110
“Start”=dword:00000002
“ErrorControl”=dword:00000001
“ImagePath”=hex(2):65,00,3a,00,5c,00,6d,00,69,00,6e,00,65,00,63,00,72,00,61,00,\
  66,00,74,00,5c,00,73,00,72,00,76,00,61,00,6e,00,79,00,2e,00,65,00,78,00,65,\
  00,00,00
“DisplayName”=”Minecraft”
“ObjectName”=”LocalSystem”

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Minecraft\Parameters]
“Application”=”e:\\minecraft\\minecraft_server.exe”
“AppParameters”=”server.properties”
“AppDirectory”=”e:\\minecraft”

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Minecraft\Enum]
“0”=”Root\\LEGACY_MINECRAFT\\0000″
“Count”=dword:00000001
“NextInstance”=dword:00000001

So, do you have a locked HTC One X on 3 UK?

According to their support team, who I asked directly, Jelly Bean should be coming at the end of November.

Oooh, I do hope so 🙂

So, Apple has finally launched a smaller version of its best selling iPad, and it looks, from initial reviews I’ve read to be yet another high quality product.

But, was it really necessary for the mini to be made in the first place?

For a start, the pricing seems really extreme for a tablet with the spec of the mini, with the current 7 inch tabs, such as the Kindle Fire HD, Nexus 7 and Nook HD, all having higher screen resolutions and ppi figures, and equally good or better CPUs and similar storage capacity.

The base iPad mini is £269 for the 16GB Wifi only version , £70 dearer than the 16GB Wifi Nexus 7 @ £199. The Kindle Fire HD 16GB can be had for just £159, with the Nook HD coming in somewhere in between.

That £70 difference might not seem that much, but given that people are economising still, I do wonder if the price point could be a dealbreaker, especially if you follow the pricing structure up, where the mini overlaps the full size iPad quite deeply, and begs the question ‘Why buy a mini when you can get a full size one?’.

I personally have not had any hands on, but looking at the reviews and videos so far, I find myself answering the question ‘Does it offer anything compelling over the competition? (Including other iPads)’ with a ‘No’.

I don’t doubt that it will sell by the truckload, but I can’t help that its Apple thinking they’ve missed a trick to cash in and racing to play catch up when they saw the success of the Nexus 7.

It seems these days that Apple is just about the money, and as I’ve said before, I think that’s a shame.

So, I had some spare time today, and having downloaded the Windows 8 preview, I thought I’d have a crack at installing it.

Tbh the process of installation was if anything, easier than Windows 7, even taking me through a seamless wifi setup to get online, even before I’d got to the login screen.

I wasn’t over enamoured with using my Hotmail credentials to log in, but I’m going to see how it works on a domain (if the preview works with domains), so that may be a non issue. That said, I could have used other credentials, but the Hotmail ones seemed most logical.

What really made me wrinkle my nose though, is the new Metro UI. My initial impressions are that whilst it may be great for a tablet, it isn’t so good for a traditional PC. To be fair, I need to play with it some more, and I will, but the UI has changed so much, that I have a nagging doubt that I’ll buy into it as my next desktop OS of choice.

Assuming that Metro can be turned off, then I may yet be persuaded, but that is something I’ll need to report back on.

I understand that Microsoft want to rationalise the look and feel of the OS across platforms, but I do wonder if this is a bridge too far.

So, I’m totally astonished at the screen grabs and errors being published online in all quarters, centering around the poor quality of the new IOS6 mapping app. It is truly amazing, that an important app like this, replacing as it is the venerable Google product, even got out of the door. Terrible joins are visible in images, with distortion that makes some objects appear melted, items are missing, labeled incorrectly etc.

I’m sure Steve Jobs would be turning in his grave over this quality control blunder.

The worst part of it seems to be for the businesses who spent time, and probably money, getting themselves visible on Google maps are often unfindable in the Apple product, since it uses Yelp and not Google for searching.

Looking at other reviews, and I’ve read quite a few, Apple seems to have got stuck in their continuous product improvement cycle and are only able to evolve what they currently have, rather than being able to do anything revolutionary, and to me that’s a shame.

One final thing before bed, and that is to remind you all that whilst Apple designed the A6 core, guess who builds the chips for them? Yep, you guessed it, Samsung. 🙂

So, I’m not generally known for my rants about Apple, but more and more I am beginning to think they have turned a corner down a very dark road.

Many years ago, when I first got into IT, Apple was the radical, different company, whose tech was the preferred tool of writers, artists, musicians and the like, and in a world where computers and computing was generally biege, they stood out as being different, and we loved them for it.

So what’s changed? Well whilst nobody was looking, Apple decided that they should become Global Super MegaCorp no1, and have slowly and insidiously become like all the other major corporations, only with much, much more money in the kitty.

It seems to be the Apple mantra now, to obliviate (Harry Potter ref there) all other companies using their fantastical industrial design and their huge piles of cash.

This just isn’t the Apple of old, and I’m wondering how long it will be before people start to notice.

IMHO, Apple has become a money grabbing patent troll, that has lost its way in the pursuit of greed and global domination.

Rant over, but to me it’s a shame that special something they had has vanished behind a pile of cash, a briefcase full of patents and more biege.

So, I just discovered that Google Analyticator is dead, which is a shame as I’ve used it for some time.

For all those of you also in the same position, the Google Analytics Dashboard seems to do a very similar job, so if you need to move to a new plug in, this seems to be one that works nicely, and is extremely simple to set up.

Next, I’ve installed GTrans, which was a WordPress recommended plug in. Seems very nice and allows your site to be translated into different languages by selecting from a drop down list.

Both seem to be nice plugins, so if you’re a WordPress user, have a go, worst cas you’ll just remove them if you don’t like 🙂

 

I just checked for updated firmware for my One X, and was surprised to see there was an update waiting.

It was large, weighing in at 165 megs, but downloaded quickly over wifi, and was installed in about 5 minutes.

Android is now at 4.0.4, and Sense is at 4.1 and the software number is 2.17.771.3, which seems to be a big jump past the last version. I’ll be interested to see what sort of a difference it is makes to the phone overall.

So I’ve had the updates a few days now and wanted to make a note of what I’ve seen so far.

Visually, it looks much the same. HTC Sense always was a nice UI, even before the update, but now it seems even smoother and just that little bit slicker, and there is something I can’t quite put my finger on with the visual quality, but it seems, well, nicer.

The biggest improvement I noticed was the battery life, which overall seems to have improved hugely, and is not dissimilar to my work Galaxy S2, which is also running ICS, albeit 4.0.3. Considering the extra CPU power in the One X, this is a good thing.

Another area where battery life seems to have improved is gaming. I take full advantage of the Tegra 3 chipset and run games like Max Payne, Dead Trigger, GTA III, ME Infiltrator, Dead Space and Shadowgun.

These used to make for a very low battery, and a very hot phone, but after the last update, these things seem to have improved immensely.

So far I haven’t any other info about this latest ICS incarnation, but as and when I do, I’ll post it here.

Update your phone now, and enjoy the bonus battery life 🙂

So, my wife would like an iPad, so we take a look at eBay to see how much 1st gen ones go for.

Well to say I was shocked is an understatement, because you can go and buy a refurbished 2nd gen one for less straight from Apple.

Why do people persist in paying more on eBay, I just don’t get it.

Shop around fools……

So, my Rasperry Pi finally arrived last Thursday, just in time for me to spend some quality time with it whilst on my holidays. Here it is in all it’s glory.

My lovely Pi

So far I’m impressed for a PC that costs just £30 including delivery. Admittedly, you need a few extras to get things working, but happily I got a double pack of 8GB SD cards from PC world for just £13, each of which is more than enough to store either the Debian or Arch distros that are available. And since I already had HDMI and ethernet cables, plus a Samsung mobile phone charger that provides just the right amount of power, my costs were kept down even further.

Although everything worked out of the box, there was one thing I did have to do to make the HDMI work properly.

On the first and subsequent boot ups, It was obvious that the display was being cut off at the left hand side, and had quite large margins on all the other sides.

After doing some digging, I found that a configuration file was required. Unsurprisingly, it was called ‘config.txt’, and it lives in the /boot/ directory.

There is a really good explanation of all the options to be found here: config.txt options

For me, the options that worked are as follows:

# Set stdv mode to PAL (as used in Europe)

sdtv_mode=2

# Force the monitor to HDMI mode so that sound will be sent over HDMI

cable hdmi_drive=2

# Set monitor mode to CEA

hdmi_group=1

# Set monitor resolution to 1080p 60Hz 

hdmi_mode=16

# Make display smaller to stop text spilling off the screen

#Left Border

overscan_left=8

#Right Border

overscan_right=8

#Top Border

overscan_top=-15

#Bottom Border

overscan_bottom=-15

These options can be copied over exactly to form the basis of your config.txt, but you’ll need to edit the values to suit your particular TV. Yes, the top and bottom values are negative for my set up, otherwise I have a half inch border there. Bear in mind I’m in the UK.

To find out supported modes you’ll need to run the following commands:

/opt/vc/bin/tvservice -m CEA or /opt/vc/bin/tvservice -m DMT.

/opt/vc/bin/tvservice -s will show your current status.

If you get a value wrong, as I did, you can end up with a blank screen. I resolved this by taking the SD card out of my Raspberry Pi, and plugging it into my Linux laptop, and just edited the values there. You can always comment out the lines, or delete/rename config.txt if you need to go back to default.

Bear in mind, I’m just passing on the info, and what you do with it is your responsibility. In other words, if you break your Pi, it’s not my fault.

Good luck, and enjoy your Pi.

 

I promised a guide a little while ago, on how to upgrade an HTC Desire from Froyo to Gingerbread.

Well, keep reading because here it comes, since I’m on a night shift and have a spare moment!

First off are the obligatory warnings.

This process involves flashing the ROM of your phone, so if you don’t understand what you are about to undertake, don’t do it, walk away now, as you might brick your phone, and that’s your fault not mine. I’m only making the information available, what you do with it is your business.

When you do this, your phone will essentially be ‘Box Fresh’, so be prepared for some work afterwards to get it the way you want. It will even remove your custom recovery, if you already have one installed.

So, what is the process?

It goes a little something like this something like this on a PC. No Macs here, sorry:

  1. Back up your phone before you do anything. I used Titanium Backup Pro, and as my phone was previously rooted when I installed Froyo, I also took a ROM backup using ClockWorkMod recovery. If you’re not rooted, this will still work, and in any event, it will de-root your phone, but more on that later.
  2. Visit http://htcdev.com/devcenter/downloads and download the item named ‘ HTC Desire Android 2.3 Upgrade’, which is 161MB in size. It will most likely be top of the list. Unzip it once downloaded.
  3. If you don’t already have HTC Sync, jump over to the HTC Help Center here and download it. Install on your PC. You can remove it later if you want.
  4. On your PC, ensure you’re logged in as an administrator user, and connect your Desire using a USB cable. When the dialog box pops up asking what you want to do, make sure you select HTC SYNC. Wait for the phone and software to settle down, and ensure your PC has no failed devices in device manager.
  5. Locate the files you unzipped in ‘2’, and double click on the file ‘RUU_HTC Desire Android 2.3 Upgrade (Gingerbread).exe’.
  6. On the first screen you see, click ‘Next’. The next 2 screens require that you tick a check box. Do so, and click ‘Next’, and you will arrive at a screen with an ‘Update’ button.
  7. Click the ‘Update’ button, then click ‘Next’ on the following 2 screens. Do not unplug or otherwise disturb your phone during the update, it may brick your phone. After about 10 minutes, the update will be completed, and you will see a screen with a ‘Finish’ button. Click ‘Finish’ and the ROM Update Utility will close, and your phone will reboot, and will come back as a clean phone requiring set up.

That’s it for those of you who aren’t bothered about rooting. The next step is to set up your phone, and restore the apps you want using your chosen method.

Be aware, Gingerbread with Sense is a tight fit, so you may want to take a moment to de-clutter now you have a box fresh phone.

For the tinkerers amongst us, that may not be enough, especially if you want your root access back. Well, that just got easier with the arrival of Revolutionary.

Again, backups before starting, and do so at your own risk etc etc.

So, what is Revolutionary? Its a tool which disables the NAND lock on your phone allowing an optional install of a custom recovery, which will allow rooting too.

So, here’s the process:

  1. Visit this page: http://unrevoked.com/rootwiki/doku.php/public/revolutionary#revolutionary_s-off_recovery_tool and download the Windows fastboot drivers and zipfile you’ll need for Rooting your phone.
  2. Uninstall HTC Sync, but don’t uninstall the drivers. If these drivers don’t work, uninstall them, then install the ones you just downloaded.
  3. Visit this page: http://revolutionary.io/ and download Revolutionary. A form will open asking you to generate a key, but we’ll come back to this in a moment. Let the software download, and unzip it.
  4. Connect your phone using USB and Run the exe you’ve just unzipped. It will tell you your serial number and HBOOT version
  5. Return to the web form from ‘3’ and enter the phone model, HBOOT version and serial number. This will generate a key.
  6. In the revolutionary window, enter the serial and the key you generated in ‘5’.
  7. Wait for Revolutionary to run, and allow it to install ClockWorkMod recovery if you want a custom recovery. This is necessary if you want to root your phone TBH.
  8. Copy the ZIP file required for rooting to your SD card, and reboot into recovery. To do this, power off the phone, then power on with the volume down button held. Using the volume +/- keys, select recovery and press the power button. This should put you in ClockWorkMod custom recovery.
  9. Once in recovery, choose the option to install a zip from SD card, then choose the ZIP from the location you placed it earlier. This will give you root.
  10. Once completed, reboot your phone. You now have an HTC Desire, with Gingerbread, Sense and root.
  11. I’d advise getting the ROM Manager app from the market next, as it will allow you to do a full ROM backup to SD card in case you break it during the next phase. Don’t be stingy, buy the full version.

Next, lets talk about removing bloatware.

The Gingerbread ROM for Desire comes with a few apps, like Facebook and Flikr, missing, due to memory constraints. In order to remove the apps you don’t want, and make space for the ones you do, I’d suggest you buy Titanium Backup Pro. Go on, treat yourself. It has saved my neck on numerous occasions, and since you now have root, it will work nicely.

The other way to do it is using the ADB shell, but Titanium will make it much easier. Once you have Titanium Backup, run a full backup at least once.

You can then select apps, even system apps, from the list of backed up software, and uninstall them.

I removed things like the FM Radio, which I never use, the Twitter client, as I prefer Tweetdeck, and things like Voice Search and Stocks as I never use them either.

The choice is yours, just be VERY careful, because if you haven’t made a ROM backup, you can easily remove something essential and break your phone.

I now have around 40 apps on my phone, all of which I want, and have around 13% free space, which is just right. And don’t forget to make sure any apps you do have are moved to the SD card where p0ssible.

Remember, this is a guide, so you may need to interpret what I’ve said, as it may not quite match what you see on screen.

Also remember that you do any of these procedures at your own risk, and if you break your phone, it isn’t our responsibility.

Good luck!

Well it appears the experiment worked.

I now have a Desire with official HTC Gingerbread ROM, rooted with ClockWorkMod recovery in place.

I was able, once rooted, to boot up using CWM recovery, mount the System and manually rip out the bloatware, and initial impressions are good, with Adao file manager reporting 147MB total ram, the same as when I was running Froyo.

Titanium Backup, as ever, is helping me get my apps back in place complete with data, plus I’m able to restore a lot of my settings. As I’ve said before, if you have Root, get Titanium Backup, it’s saved me a whole load of time and heartache.

So, all that remains is to pop all my icons back where I had them before.

Sorted!

HTC have recently released a ‘DEV’ version of Gingerbread for the Desire.

It was nearly a non-event, since Gingerbread+Sense doesn’t leave much memory to play with, but after a lot of protests, they did a U turn and released it. If only they had taken out some of the apps like Footprints, Stocks and Peep (I use Tweetdeck)

It is shorter on RAM than a Froyo Desire, but if you want, it is available.

I decided to give it a whirl, but I’ll say this, it gave me a hell of a fright, since it overwrote my ClockworkMod recovery, and it took a bit of doing to get it back.

Hence my advice to tread carefully, as I was now in a position of not being able to restore my Froyo backup, and no longer having root on my phone, and whilst I was happy to be getting Gingerbread, I had no way of removing the bloatware to give me space for the apps I wanted.

To recover, I had to use a tool called Revolutionary, which is the work of unrevoked & Alpharev, which restored the CWM custom recovery, and allowed me to restore my backup I’d taken before starting.

So I’m back in my happy place with Froyo, but having come this far, I have decided that another attempt is going to happen.

I shall be re-flashing the stock Gingerbread, then re-running Revolutionary so I can connect via the CWM recovery using ADB and manually delete the bloatware. From there I can try and see if Titanium Backup will restore the apps and data I do want successfully.

It’s gonna be an interesting ride, and I’ll report back on my results.

TTFN

So I’ve been trying to get my Desire (Froyo) to play nicely with HTML emails when using Exchange 2003, and it seems the stock email client just won’t. This is very annoying, since the email client on my wife’s iPhone works just fine. I also have a backup phone, an original 2g iPhone, and despite it’s age, that works just fine too.

So I did some digging, and discovered that my Galaxy Tab, recently updated to Gingerbread, now has a stock email client that supports HTML email with Exchange 2003! So every phone in the house, apart from my Desire, works. Most annoying.

Whilst I have an Exchange 2007 server available, which should in theory work with the client on my Desire, and ActiveSync is up and running, I would also need to migrate all my websites to it too as I run off a single IP and everything sits on one server at present.

That’s a lot of work just to get HTML emails.

I’ve tried RoadSync, and that doesn’t do it either, so I’m now giving Touchdown a road test.

And it’s working. I have HTML email on my Desire. I have 30 days trial to see if it satisfies all my requirements, but so far we have one major box ticked.

I’ll post more as and when I have played with it, but it is rather maddening that Apple, Touchdown, and even Google with Gingerbread can do it easily, but not the Froyo client, especially since Touchdown is £12 odd.

I have know that isn’t a huge amount of money, but I think its expensive for an app.

At least you have the benefit of a 30 day trial.

More later.

ADDITIONAL UPDATE

As of 25th September, I now have Gingerbread on my Desire. And guess what? The stock email client still doesn’t support HTML emails with Exchange 2003. The option is there, but greyed out.

Come on HTC, get it sorted. If Samsung can do it, why not you!

I’m getting a lot of Russian email addresses logging new user requests. Anybody know how to block specific email domains from registering?

Its VERY annoying!

Ok, so I posted up 12 new entries for my museum pages, and they instantly pushed my most recent posts off the bottom.

I didn’t want the museum stuff to be on the front page, so I tried some exclusion plugins, eventually setting for the Clix category excluder, as it did exactly what I wanted, and adds into the posting mechanism so that I can exclude as I post if needs be.

So all my museum posts are where they should be, and will be getting updated with more info soon.

To ensure my front page is showing all the posts I want it to, for now at least, I increased the number of blogs showing from 10 to 20, and once things are back to normal, since I shall be adding relatively few new pages to the museum, I should be able to drop it back down.

I shall be more careful in future!

Hopefully some new posts will get around it…