Sunday, October 25, 2009

Our tennis robot!!!

video
Watch our robot moving the ball over the net!!!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Annoying Ads!!! How to get rid of them!

Has anyone of you written e.g. this: 240.132.980.12 instead of e.g. that: www.google.com ? Probably, not. Only the network administrators remember IP numbers and specifically they only know their server IP addresses.
A computer system, however, doesn't understand the address e.g. www.vaslabs.blogspot.com . It needs someone to translate that phrase into a language that can understand. And no one is better than DNS, the Domain Name System. Imagine the dialog below between a browser and the DNS:

Browser: Hey, DNS buddy, they want me to show them the page from www.vaslabs.blogspot.com. Who the hell is he? I don't know anybody called by this name.
DNS: Hi Browser. Don't worry my little friend, www.vaslabs.blogspot.com, is no one but 245.112.30.81.
Browser: Oh!!! I know him! Ok thanks buddy!

A decade ago, things were a little different. The above job, was made by ARPANET, who used an archive called 'hosts' and searching for the site's name in order to match it with the IP. That archive never died, it is still there even on Vista! You can find it in the folder
'C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc'. On Linux, the folder is '/etc'.

So, that's how we are going to work. We are going to avail by this archive in order to eliminate the annoying ads!

In the search bar on vista or the run on XP write 'system32' and press enter. Find the folder drivers and then the folder etc. If you can't find anyone of them, probably is hidden, so you can use the file engineer to find them, or the cmd command 'attrib -h -s "the path of the folder"'. Then find host file. Open it with notepad! So that's the file we are going to edit.

Every ads, even if it's a picture, has a source. To find that source, we right click on the ad and choose properties. A window opens and we find something like this: www.adlog.com/this.add/picture.jpg. So the domain name we don't want is www.adlog.com .

We have found our archive, and the unwanted domain name. We return in the archive hosts and we add this line:
127.0.0.1 www.adlog.com

The IP 127.0.0.1 represents the local host. So every time an advertisment is up to appear, it will fail. A white, empty space is going to replace its position. For better results we put 0.0.0.0 for the best results!

This process offer us the benefits below:
-more bandwith available (i.e. webpages open quicker!)
-no more unwanted or ads we don't want kids to see.
-we don't do the favor of the advertiser to affect our minds :)

PS: Could you think a funny way of using the hosts file? Imagine typing www.yahoo.com and instead of yahoo you see www.google.com . Or something more..................................... :)

Note: On vista you should run notepad as an administrator and find from the notepad the hosts file in order to perform these actions!
By Vasilis Nicolaou

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

How to shut down your pc when it stubbornly denies your commands

Well,first I am going to apologise for my bad english and I hope you'll catch the general idea :)
So, you press the shut down button and you wait... you wait, you wait... and nothing happens... Hopefully there are some ways you can turn off your machine without pressing the reset button...
For a start, you should know that the reason for a shut down failure is because a service denies to terminate itself... This is because the system can't send a terminating command to that service or because the service is not responding. Usually the second. I shall inform you now, that when the first happens it is very difficult to fix the situation... However we are going to try some things...
-First, we are going to reduce the time cpu waits a process to be terminated. This demands a simple registry operation. We press the start button and in the search bar we write 'regedit' and we press enter. The registry opens right in front of us and we follow the path below:
Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Control
On the right window we find WaitToKillService from 20000 (i.e. 20 sec) to 10000(i.e 10 sec)(it's milliseconds. This will save time for the shutdown, but doesn't guarantee anything.
-If the above fails to solve the problem then there is another way we should try.
We press the start button again and in the search bar we write 'cmd' and then press enter.
The Windows Command Prompt opens and waits for our commands.
We are going to use the command shutdown like this:
shutdown /s /t 10 /f
This means shutdown the computer /s (yes shut down it) /t 10 (start the shut down process in 10 seconds) /f (force applications to be terminated).

If you still have problem, then try uninstalling some heavy programs. If nothing happens then a format is recommended or a computer replacement :) I hope that will help the most of you.

By Vasilis Nicolaou