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22
May

How to change menu of a Sony camera (J1 type of SLT alpha A37, A55, A57, A58, A65, A77, A99) from japanese to other language – Part 2

In this part I will explain how to put back all parts of the firmware and where to modify the checksums to have a valid .dat file. (Part 1 is to be found here)

As you remember the FDAT_FW part of the FDAT section (after decrypting it) is a simple tar archive which you can openup using tar tools under linux (I used openSUSE). If you try to use the same tar utilility to put the archive back you will observe that the new tar archive is not identical with the original one.

I had to modify the source of the tar utility and compile it anew. The source code for tar 1.26 is at http://www.gnu.org/software/tar/#releases. The changes are needed in the create.c file in src directory (comment lines 1889 to 1897 — see picture bellow).

Wih this modified tar utility and having the changes performed on the files (as described in Part 1) you tar back the directory structure as following:

tar -tf original_FDAT_FW_file | /usr/local/bin/tar -H ustar –no-recursion  -b 5 -cf new_FDAT_FW_file -C location_where_directory structure_is -T -

The first tar command will read the table of contents (TOC) in the original FDAT_FW and organize the TOC for the new tar archive in the same way.

The header (512 byte long) from the FDAT section has to be also modified to increase the fw version number. The version number is to be found at offset 0×20 (minor version) and 0×21 (major version). After increasing the count of the minor version the checksum of the header have to be modified as well. The checksum starts at offser ox08 and is 4 bytes long but written in reverse order as seen in the picture bellow (is the checksum of the header without the first 12 bytes).

Glue now together the header, the CROMFS part and the new tar archive and you have a FDAT section ready to be encrypted (AES for gen2 cameras).

After encryption you have to know the new size of the FDAT section (this have to be written just before the section in the final .dat file). Put together all the sections of the .dat file (header, DATV, PROV, UDID, new FDAT, DEND) and do modify the last 4 bytes to match the CRC of the new created file (see picture on Part 1).

You have now a new .dat file ready to upload to your camera.

On the first camera start after new fw has been uploaded the language will still be Japanese. You have to go to the last menu item on the camera menu and perform a camera reset to the factory settings. This step will read the configuration file from /0110_backup/SYSAVIP-DSLR/PS_UUG and will take the J1 file (J1 is fixed in an eprom inside the camera) which by now is holding the configuration for another region.

Happy moding and don’t blame me if you brick your camera.

22
May

How to change menu of a Sony camera (J1 type of SLT alpha A37, A55, A57, A58, A65, A77, A99) from japanese to other language – Part 1

As you may (not) know, many cameras from Sony sold in Japan have this strange feature of allowing only menus in Japanese language. I received such a camera (Sony alpha 65)  and nor I or my friend in Japan were aware of this limitation. He bought for me a J1 type camera. Since the transport was not cheap (had to use UPS as being the only post service accepting at that time lithium-ion batteries in the parcel) I decided to not send back the camera after discovering that the only menus available are in Japanese language. I looked for a way of ‘moding’ the camera to show menus in some other language which will be easier to read (English :) – since I was not set to learn Japanese). For generation 2 type of cameras from Sony (among them Sony alpha 55, 65, 77) I found no ready hack or firmware mod which will accomplish this and therefore I had to start from scratch.

In the end I managed changing the language on a japan only (J1) sony slt-a65. On the first successful mod I ended up with Russian language. On the second try I got English and I stopped there.

Here is how I managed to do that but please be aware that there is always a risk or permanently damaging your camera.

Sony is using for their cameras an embedded Linux which is open source and you can find the kernels and packages on Sony website on developer section – Source Code Distribution Service (for example some of them):

Kernel:

Packages:

  • sony-target-srel-busybox-1.13.4-06000007di1.src.rpm
  • sony-target-srel-dosfstools-2.11-06000005.src.rpm
  • sony-target-srel-e2fsprogs-1.40.8-06000006.src.rpm
  • sony-target-srel-hostname-2.95-06000005.src.rpm
  • sony-target-srel-procps-3.2.7-06000006.src.rpm

When you run the FW update software from Sony (e.g. Update_SLTA65V105.exe) this will unpack in some directory (eventually in the windows temp) showing following structure:

In the Resource directory you will find the actual firmware as a big .dat file which is unique for all cameras of a certain type (therefore it has all the languages included):

I have chosen to do unpacking and repacking of the .dat file on linux for easy keeping file attributes intact. I installed an openSUSE 11 on a virtual machine and worked as root using Mono-IDE for writing C code (packing and unpacking the dat file) and Okteta Hex-editor for easy computing of CRC checksums and modification of files at bit level.

The dat file is structured as following:

8 bytes header,

4 bytes 01 00 00 00,

4 bytes holding the size of the DATV section,

DATV section,

4 bytes 01 00 00 00,

4 bytes with the size of the PROV section,

PROV section,

4 bytes 01 00 00 00,

4 bytes with the size of the UDID section,

UDID section,

4 bytes 02 00 00 00,

4 bytes with the size of the FDAT section

FDAT section (actual firmware),

4 bytes with the size of DEND section

DEND section,

4 bytes CRC checksum of the whole file without DEND section (including it’s size) as seen on the following image: (THIS YOU HAVE TO CHANGE ACORDINGLY IF YOU HAVE MADE MODIFICATIONS TO THE DAT FILE !!!!)

 

I cut every section of the dat file and save them in separate files. The FDAT section is the actual firmware. This part is encrypted (with SHA1 for generation 1 cameras and AES for gen 2 cameras). I would not post any decryption keys here but you can find a decriptor for this somwhere else (google is your friend).

After you decrypt the FDAT section (let out the first 4 bytes which is the name of the section – FDAT) you end up with something like this:

The decoded FDAT file has three sections:

A header 512 bytes long, a CROMFS boot partition 124*1024 bytes long (for a65) and the rest which is a tar archive (I called it FDAT_FW) holding the files for the camera. By opening this tar archive with

tar -xf  your_FDAT_FW_file  -C

you get to see the files like following (example for a65):

You can proceed further and decompress the partition images (nflash3, nflash8 … ) found under /0700_part_image/dev but this is not needed for getting the language hack working.

Under /0110_backup/SYSAVIP-DSLR/PS_UUG you will find a set of configuration files for different regions.

Each region supports a set of languages as shown in the following table.

Languages supported by different camera regions (* = Standard, + = supported, – = not supported):

Language \ Model J1 (JPN) U2, CA2, AU2 CEE2 (CEE) CEE4 CEE5, CEH E32, HK1, JE3, TW6 CN2 KR2
Japanese * - - - - - - -
Englisch - * + + * * + +
French - + + + + - - -
German - - + + + - - -
Spanisch - + + * + + + +
Italian - + + + + - - -
Portuguese - - + + + + + +
Dutch - - + + + - - -
Rusian - - * + + - - -
Swedisch - - + + + - - -
Danisch - - + + + - - -
Norwegisch - - + + + - - -
Finisch (Suomi) - - + + + - - -
Polisch - - + + + - - -
Czech - - + + + - - -
Hungarian - - + + + - - -
Chinese (traditionell) - + - - - + + +
Chinese (vereinfacht) - + - - - + * +
Arabic - - - - - + + +
Thai - - - - - + + +
Korean - - - - - + + *
Persian - - - - - + + +

J1 type cameras are missing the menu option for changing the language therefore with the method described here you will only get instead Japanese a language which is a standard language for a region. Therefore only English, Spanish, Russian, Chinese and Korean are possible.

The idea is simple: swap the 01000000_CX86800_J1.bin file with one who has the standard language you want to have (e.g. 21000000_CX86801_CEE2.bin for Russian or 21000000_CX86801_CEE4.bin for Spanish). You will also have to swap some numbers in /0111_backup_sum/backup file. This file stores the checksums of all files in the backup directory (second column values inside the file).

After putting the dat file back from the modified pieces (I will describe how in the second part of this post), with modifying all the checksums accordingly (and also the fw version) you can upload the fw to the camera. On the first camera start after new fw has been uploaded the language will still be Japanese. You have to go to the last menu item on the camera menu and perform a camera reset to the factory settings. This step will read the configuration file from /0110_backup/SYSAVIP-DSLR/PS_UUG and will take the J1 file (J1 is fixed in an eprom inside the camera) which by now is holding the configuration for another region.

How to reasemble the .dat file and change the fw version number can be found here.

 

 

17
Mar

The Internet is a supervised State

Bruce Schneier, an American mathematician and expert in the field of online safety, called the internet a “supervised state” and accuses the large companies which collect data on users that the level of monitoring has increased dramatically.
Users spied on everywhere
Schneier has said to CNN  that “the Internet is a supervised State”. Even if we admit it or not, even if we want it or not, we’re watched. We are followed on Google pages and pages where Google has access to (those using Google analytics, google+ etc.), Facebook is doing the same, Apple monitors iPad and iPhone. A reporter using a tool called Collusion to see who is tracking him, found out that 105 companies have collected data about him over 35 hours.  The American cryptographer is criticizing that spying on users and creating of a user profile is correlated with other data about that user. For example, Facebook can relate online behavior with the consumer habits in real life for the stores to know better what to offer to customers, depending on their preferences. There is continuous surveillance. We are all watched, all the time, and the data is stored forever. It is a supervised state and it is more than even George Orwell has dreamed of.  No matter how many protection layers you try to use, surveillance arrangements are far too many and complex:  the internet, e-mail, web browsers, mobile phones, social networks, search engines. All have become necessities, and it’s not realistic to refuse to use them because we’re spied on. There is no free market today. The consumers have no viable alternative. All companies that provide internet service are interested to spy on their users. Visiting a site it will know for sure who you really are. There are plenty of ways we can be tracked even without cookies. An experiment at Carnegie Mellon filmed students on campus and they were then identified by comparing their image with the public images available on Facebok. We’re done. Welcome to a world where Google knows exactly what type of porn you’re watching and knows more about your interests than your wife. Welcome to a world where your mobile operator always knows where you are. Say goodbye to private conversations on email, SMS or on social networks.
You can read the whole CNN interview here.
You might be interested also reading this.
2
Jan

How to use Facebook to promote your Business

facebookCatching the trend of people is called promoting business. Facebook is one of the best social networking sites with more than half a billion visitors and is familiar with almost all age groups. It can be chosen as a source of promoting your business where people from different streams visit Facebook. This is where you can take advantage of Facebook for your business promotion. No wonders on how to use it for advertising your service. There are many ways to use social networking sites, some of them are below:

Create your ads: Choose a Page on which you would like to promote your ad and post it. There should a clear description about your service. You can also hire a professional to design an ad. If you are running out of funds, payday loans serve you here as they are instant loans.

Connect with people: Try to reach people who are not connected to your Page. Before that, you need to design your ad including body text, image and headline. Involve your other presenters by tagging them and asking them to talk about it. Try giving them some posts with information, links and images.

Promote your Page: Publish a specific post which gives you better spread and increase your chance of assignment in the news feed. You can share your business events on your Timeline with a fascinating image.

Advanced Options: Make sure that all your requests and creative options should be in one place. It will allow you to choose the basic requirements of the audience you want to target.

Reach the apt customers: Before moving further in reaching your customers, it is always advisable to have an idea of the perfect customer you want to reach. You will have an opportunity to select the specific audience for your ads and sponsored stories.

Promoting, rating and planning: Below are some of the steps with which you need to be clear:

·         You should name your drive, select your budget and set a date to schedule your program.

·         You will be charged for some impressions unless you choose advanced options, which was said earlier.

·         Your ad will be shown to people to help reach your goal when the impressions are optimized on your ad.

·         You would never pay more than your actual cost to reach your customers to help you succeed your goal.

The other way to use Facebook as a promoting source is testing your multiple ads. Examine your ads which help you to determine what made your viewers respond well. Test the different graphics used for the same group of customers to find which tactic is working better.

Multiple forms of ads: Creating multiple forms of your ads would help your product or service noticeable to a number of people at a specified ad space.

Contests and special apps: You can run contests and have special apps that give your Page some competitions and signals. Few companies use Facebook Offers in their Facebook marketing techniques which are available through Pages.

Finally, maintain groups like

  • Social groups
  • Networking groups
  • Niche-focused groups
  • School groups
  • Groups of coaching clients

Author Bio:

I am Maria Jones from USA. I’m into Finance who had experience in writing quality guest posts. Catch me @financeport

 

6
Jun

Free Logos Quiz App for iOS and Android (inclusive walkthrough)

Probably you have already played the new hype app game which is now available for both iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod, Mac) as well as android devices.

This is quiz game full of fun that consists on guessing the names of hundreds of logos from different companies. To achieve this you have a lot of clues which you can use to help you complete the game. You can also ask your friends if you don’t know the answer! Challenge them to see who know more logos!

With the free game app “Logos Quiz Game” you can test your knowledge of brand logos.

Logos Quiz Level 1 android

Whether car brands, apparel labels, television stations, film studios, fast-food chains or airlines  - the “Logos Quiz Game” offers a variety of brand symbols from all categories. The logos are partially modified (missing parts) such that the manufacturers and companies are hard to guess in some cases.

With increasing level, however, there is no particular increase in difficulty – but that is a good thing, because even if the majority of well-known brands such as eBay, BMW, Facebook or Starbucks are not difficult to guess, the lesser-known brands such as Dragon, Lincoln or Dacia will make advancing to the next levels harder (each level requires a specified number of brands to be recognized correctly).

With the offered tips in difficult cases you can move forward but you earn your tips by correctly answering a certain number of logos or by buying additional ones on the in-app purchasing.

The update to version 1.3.0 has brought new levels with 70 fresh logos in stock, but unfortunately, deletes all the scores and brings in annoying advertising, which can be removed only for 2$. Very bad!

Conclusion: The free “Logos Quiz Game” offers fun for everyone. Once you’re under the spell of the puzzle game, you cannot stay back and you’ll try to get more points and a higher level. The newly added advertising disturbs very badly.

Note: This application requires iOS 4.0 or higher.

Here is the download link for iPhone, iPod and iPad – (download link) .

The android version can be found here – (download link) .

Note: This application requires Android OS 2.1 or higher.

If you find it hard to advance to the next levels, not knowing which brand stays behind a certain logo you can check the ready available Logos Quiz Answer lists. You can find them for example here:

For Android:

Logos Quiz Game Answers (Android) Level 1

Logos Quiz Game Answers (Android) Level 2

Logos Quiz Game Answers (Android) Level 3

Logos Quiz Game Answers (Android) Level 4

Logos Quiz Game Answers (Android) Level 5

Logos Quiz Game Answers (Android) Level 6

Logos Quiz Game Answers (Android) Level 7

Logos Quiz Game Answers (Android) Level 8

For iOS:

Logos Quiz Game Answers (iPhone, iPad, iPod) Level 1

Logos Quiz Game Answers (iPhone, iPad, iPod) Level 2

Logos Quiz Game Answers (iPhone, iPad, iPod) Level 3

Logos Quiz Game Answers (iPhone, iPad, iPod) Level 4

Logos Quiz Game Answers (iPhone, iPad, iPod) Level 5

Logos Quiz Game Answers (iPhone, iPad, iPod) Level 6

Logos Quiz Game Answers (iPhone, iPad, iPod) Level 7

Logos Quiz Game Answers (iPhone, iPad, iPod) Level 8

Logos Quiz Game Answers (iPhone, iPad, iPod) Level 9

28
May

Make it hard for Google and Facebook to track you (Is it possible?)

If someone, you do not personally know, is all the time following you while you are taking a walk on the street, while drinking a beer with friends in the pub – you name it, you’ll probably became nervous and start to wonder. Who is and what the person wants from you and why they do it? In the virtual world this is unfortunately very normal – even if you ‘should’ not notice it – because tracking you is done in a very unobtrusive way. From time to time you log-in into Google or Facebook or MS … and from then on you can be easily tracked all over the web.
Modern browsers have tabs – they look like little labels that were previously mounted on index cards and are usually found above the browser window (yeah like you do not know what I am talking about :) . With tabs you can open multiple web pages simultaneously hold and switch between them easily. That’s nice but you should remember that all these tabs are part of a single application and ‘communication’ between them exists behind the scene with the help of cookies.

The browser is a single application and the pages you are visiting are setting on your hard drive cookies. They can be ‘first-party cookies’ which are set by the site domain listed in the address bar and ‘third-party cookies’ which come from other domain sources that have items, such as ads, images, buttons etc. embedded on the page. Depending on your browser, you can control which types of cookies you allow, but most of the users are surfing with standard settings which allow all cookies to be set.

Therefore once you identified to a service (Google, Facebook etc.) even if you log-out there will still be a cookie identifying you. By accessing another site which has a Facebook like button on it or which is using AdSense, Google plus or Google analytics the cookie can be read back by their owner (e.g. Facebook, Google) and voila!- even you are not being login they know who you are.

In case you are not allowing third party cookies there are other methods which by using your browser identification (type, version, plugins installed etc.) combined with OS signature and an approximate localization via GeoIP can make an almost unique identifier which has a chance larger than 90% to identify you (also without the use of cookies).

There is much money involved in advertising (good converting advertising) and consequently there has been a lot of effort put in user tracking.

Why would you want not being tracked? No idea. Actually this tracking is mainly used for increasing the user experience while surfing. But if you are a little paranoid regarding ‘privacy’ this ‘big brother’ attitude of large companies in internet might scary you.

Now, one should first of all ask how the two services mentioned here, Google and Facebook make their money, because to operate websites and services daily accessed by hundreds of millions of people, requires a network of data centers distributed around the world. Years ago in 2009 Google has provided some insight into the structure of its network. Only a small computer center has been shown that consisted of 45 containers, each with 1160 servers – these are alone 52 200 computers that run around the clock. The power consumption alone is huge. Such an infrastructure must be financed, of course, and this is by using the data of the users – that being YOU.

Why do they do that?

One way this information is put at good use is for targeted advertising – depending on the interests, passion and personal situation of the user. Also important to say that hardly a company invests money in advertising if it cannot target a pre-defined group of people.
With the information we provide to Google and Facebook by our data (personal information, searches, emails) and behavior (websites we surf, time of day … or night when we go online, locations and their dynamics) they can show us “targeted” advertising.

Follow up on this thematic will come soon giving you practical tips on how to actively influence the privacy of your life in internet.

15
May

Google Added Research Tool To Google Docs

Recently Google has added the research tool to Google Docs allowing writers to quickly search about a term or a word and paste it’s link, cite it or view the preview of the webpage. You can also search for images and paste them into your Google document with just drag-and-drop facility. Research tool also allows you to search for quotes. Now writing to documents is much more easier.

Here is a screenshot of the Research tools introductory screen.

google docs research tool

 

While researching you can also change the option either to search for all types of content or only for free to use, share or modify and commercial content. Image inserting option is really very cool and it will surely kill the hectic process of opening another tab, searching for the image, downloading it to PC and then uploading it to Google Docs. With Google Docs research tool the writing processes has been set on fire and people can write much more and much authentic in very less time. It is also capable of displaying Google Maps for the places. You can insert the Google map with just one click. Search for a place and click Insert and Google map widget will be there on your document.

Stay tuned for more usages of this research tool. See you around!

13
Feb

How To Change Windows 7 Logon Screen

Love Windows 7? Good. Great. Well being Ubuntu user I really love open source for their ability to get customized in the way we (developers) want. Well if you are on Windows you have advantage over Ubuntu by having a wide range of applications.

Many of these applications help you tweak your system to a certain level. Tweaking Windows 7 logon screen is no more a difficult task. Lots of applications are present but very some of them are easier and handy. One of them is Windows 7 Logon Screen Tweaker. Its a portable app that allows you to completely change the look of your Windows 7 logon.

You can change the background color, background sound and the button right after the text field. It also allows you to remove some button like Easy of Access button, thus providing you the ability to have a complete new look on boot up.

How to download it? You can download it by visiting this page. Scroll down unless screenshot ends and you see the word Download. Right below it are two links that you can copy and paste in web browser’s address bar to start the downloading process. Enjoy tweaking Windows 7 logon screen.

13
Feb

How To Stop YouTube Videos From Playing Automatically

This article will teach you how you can stop YouTube videos from starting automatically. This thing happens when we open a YouTube video in a new tab to play it later in the near future but it starts buffering and playing automatically. Quit annoying when you are already listening to a song and a new song starts playing in the background.

Well here is a solution for Firefox and Chrome users. There is an add-on and an extension available which can stop this automated start. For Mozilla Firefox the add-on name is YouTube AutoPlay Stopper. Add-on installs without any problem and after its installation you can open as much YouTube tabs as possible without worrying about their auto buffering and playing.

Same in the case with Chrome. Chrome users can use the extension YouTube Autoplay disabled (better search on Chrome Web Store if link doesn’t work). This extension smoothly handles autoplaying of YouTube videos. Once installed feel free to open YouTube videos in the new tab. They won’t start without your permission.

This default playing of videos automatically is good but it is sometimes annoying and very harmful for Internet users with limited downloading or small bandwidth. I hope these two techniques will be enough for YouTubers get rid of this feature.

13
Feb

Schedule Emails In Gmail With Boomerang For Gmail

You must be wondering how Gmail can not have such a basic functionality in his architecture? Well Gmail really doesn’t posses anything like schedule. However there exist ways to schedule emails in Gmail. One of the obvious ways is to use a desktop email client like Mozilla Thunderbird but more convenient option is to add boomerang in your web browser. Boomerang is available for Chrome, Firefox and Safari and it works fine with Gmail and Google Apps.

With Boomerang installed in your web browser you can schedule emails, return messages to inbox, have a message back into your inbox, send recurring messages, add notes to your boomeranged messages, schedule messages using any smartphone or tablet.

After installing extension or add-on in the browser open Gmail. If you have already opened it then reload the page. After few seconds Boomerang for Gmail will start its starting wizard telling you about how cool Boomerang is. Now when it is finished click on compose and you will see an additional icon in your Gmail interface with a colorful boomerang. Clicking on this icon will drop down a menu giving you many easy-to-choose options to schedule your emails. You can also choose recurring message at the bottom of the menu.

Once you have scheduled emails you can manage them by clicking Boomerang, at top right corner of the Gmail near your name, and then scheduled messages.

Boomerang is an easy to use extension that brings most basic and fundamental feature to Gmail. Its a dream come true and a must-have extension if you deal with emails a lot.