Identifying LAN chipset on your desktop or laptop

So you have some problem with your (wired) ethernet connection now, and you do not know the name of your LAN chipset so that you can at least ask someone how to fix it, or search for solutions online. Common reasons would be reqiuring reinstall of drivers after you do a fresh install of Windows on your computer, or if you have a faulty driver update etc.

There are many ways to identify your LAN chipset make (model number) and manufacturer name, with everything from using a tiny software utility to unscrewing and opening your computer casing (for those using desktops). Here, I’ve listed methods from the easiest (and quickest) to the hardest, in order. Try the first one, if it does not work, simply move on to the next.

Some basics: there are two types of network interface controller (NIC) chips: those built into the motherboards, ie. integrated solutions, and dedicated NICs that are plugged into a PCI slot on the motherboard. The former is more common, and always used on laptops and most branded desktops, while the latter is usually found on enthusiast-assembled computers.

If yours is an integrated chip, you need to find your motherboard manufacturer and visit their website for the networking drivers. If it is a dedicated NIC, visit the manufacturer’s site, and look for the appropriate driver download link.

Below are various methods to identify your wired networking chipset brand and model.

Identifying ethernet adapter

  1. This is a bit of a no-brainer – if you bought a branded computer, refer to its manual for details. If you assembled the computer yourselves, try the other methods listed below.
  2. If you bought a laptop, search online your “ specs” and look at the networking specs. If you need drivers, you can just search for the drivers on the laptop manufacturer’s site with the model no.
  3. Using Device Manager:
    Hit start and type “Device Manager”, and open it. In the window that comes up, double click “Network Adapters” to expand it. You can see a list of network adapters on your system. This list would usually include Wifi, ethernet or LAN chipset, Bluetooth network and any virtual networks you have created. You can identify the your LAN chipset manufacturer name from this list by usually eliminating all the irrelevant chipsets (like Bluetooth and Wifi). For example, my laptop’s chipset is made by Realtek, as can be observed from the screenshot to the right.Now, you need to download software that will identify the model number of the part you need drivers for. Most manufacturers provide such software on their websites. For example, Intel provides a chipset identification utility.
  4. Use system information utility:
    Use a system utility like Everest Home Edition (free) or CPUID PC Wizard. These are tools that give details about almost all hardware components in your computer.
  5. The last resort is to open up your computer and look at the network card. It will have some identifying number. Note it down, and search online with it to find the model and manufactuer details.

Download popular iOS game Temple Run for Android

After Angry Birds Space, another big game will be released on Android this month – Temple Run. It is a popular running game on Apple iOS devices (iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad), and is coming to Android on March 27.

Imangi Studios, developers of Temple Run, has announced the release date. The game has been eagerly anticipated by Android gaming fans, and will no doubt be well received.

Temple Run .apk file

Temple Run is now available on Android! Get it for free from Google Play Store. Or, hit the link below to download the apk setup file.

Download Temple Run apk installer

If you own an older or low end Android device with an ARM v6 processor, try these unofficial ARM v6 ports modified to work on these older devices: Temple Run apk link 1, link 2, link 3.

These have been reported to be working by many users. Let us know in comments how it works for you!

For those of you complaining that the game is slow and buggy: let me remind you that this is the first release by its developers, who have been releasing games exclusively for iOS for several months. Give them a few weeks, and I am sure they will iron out all the bugs in the Android version.

About Temple Run game

Temple Run is a running game, originally exclusive to Apple iOS devices. It was released as a 99c game, and later made free (supported by in-game purchases). It became hugely popular and topped the iOS App Store free apps list. It is developed by a tiny studio, consisting of husband-wife team Keith Shepherd and Natalia Luckyanova (programmers) and game designer Kiril Tchangov.

The game sees you play explorers who steal a precious idol from an ancient temple. The game revolves around escaping the troubles that befall the explorers when they try to steal the temple treasures. Various obstacles are encountered, and some demonic monkeys chase the player. Game play involves avoiding obstacles by jumping, ducking or turning. While running, players can get various powerups, coins, bonuses and unlocks to enhance their gameplay. Players can also buy these powerups and bonuses in the game store, which is how the game developers make money.

Scoring is based on distance survived and coins collected.

Temple Run was originally announced for a February 2012 release, but got pushed to a March 27 date.

Temple Run tips, tricks and cheats

There are various websites that provide cheats, tips and tricks for the game. Aptly named Temple Run Cheat is one such website.

Temple Run fan sites

Like any popular game with a massive fan following, Temple Run also has dedicated fan sites where obsessed players discuss tips, tactics and various information about the games. Example: Temple

Fix “bind() to failed (98: Address already in use)” nginx error

Recently, I have been buying VPSes with various companies to test setting up a light, fast and efficient Linux box to run some of my sites.

The typical install is Debian or Ubuntu, with the LNMP stack (Linux, nginx, MySQL and PHP). I chose nginx over Apache due to its much lower resource usage and the ability to handle much more parallel connections, should traffic spikes to the sites arise.

I realize that using plain old Apache with full caching (W3 Total Cache) is an option, but I prefer to let my sites run dynamically so that some specific plugins and code work properly (they won’t, if the site is cached).

With the choice of software decided, I installed the LEMP stack and tried to set up sites on the VPS box I had. One error that I came across was, “bind() to failed (98: Address already in use)”, after I installed nginx, edited the necessary configuration files (nginx.conf among others) and restarted the nginx server using the /etc/init.d/nginx restart command.

I tried restarting the server, and even installed the VPS from scratch, but the error did not go away. Some poking around on the server (which included examining running processes etc.) made me realize that the error was caused by Apache being bound to the port. During the LEMP stack setup, I had not removed the Apache version that was bundled with the Debian/Ubuntu template installed from the VPS management page.

The solution was easy – stop or remove the Apache software. Since I did not need Apache 2, I issued apt-get remove apache2 to uninstall it on Debian or Ubuntu servers. Alternatively, you can power down Apache 2 first, by the command sudo service apache2 stop. If you uninstalled apache2, reboot the server once and nginx should be humming along nicely.

Force Firefox to update after newer version is downloaded

For the last two major versions of Mozilla Firefox on Windows 7, I have been getting a “Software Update Failed. The update could not be installed. Please make sure there are no other copies of Firefox running on your computer, and then restart Firefox to try again” error. Windows Vista users seem to have encountered the same Firefox update bug too.

When a major Firefox version was released, I hit About > Check for Updates and let the download finish. However, restarting Firefox did not update it to the newer version. Every time I restarted Firefox, I would get the above mentioned error stating that software update has failed.

The error message tells you to ensure that Firefox is not running on your system (ie. quit it completely) and restart it for the upgrade.

Fixing Firefox update bug

Follow these steps to get Firefox to update to a newer version that you downloaded already via “Check for Updates”:

  1. Close all Firefox windows. To ensure Firefox is completely killed, open Task Manager and look for any firefox.exe processes and kill them (there shouldn’t be any left if you closed all Firefox windows anyway).
  2. Open Firefox as administrator. To do so, hit Windows Start Menu, type firefox in the search box, and when Firefox appears, right click > “Run as administrator”. When User Account Control asks for permission, hit Continue.

If this does not work for you, download the latest Firefox exe file from Mozilla website and update it manually. There is also another hack to force an upgrade, that involves removing a few update-related files from various folders in the Firefox install directory, but it would be easier to just use one of the two above methods, so I am not listing it here. If you’re interested in the more complicated hack, let me know by comments and I’ll add it here.

Apps to read .mobi, .html, chm, .doc, .epub, .pdf ebooks on Android

Many owners of Android tablets and phones use their devices to read books. Using the built-in programs of your device (if you have any) isn’t always a good idea, but with the right apps reading from a tablet or a smartphone can be a real pleasure.

But which are those “right” apps? After all, Android Market has a big number of such programs, and trying all of them to find the best ones can be a real waste of time. Well, anyway, I’ve already tested most reading apps available from Android Market, and in this article I’ll try to sort out the best ones among them.

1. Aldiko Book Reader

Aldiko is one of the most famous ebook readers for Android devices, available in both free and paid ($2.99) versions; I guess even those who’re not really interested in ebooks have heard about this app at least once. Aldiko can’t boast a big number of supported file formats, but it can work with PDF and EPUB documents, which is a rather rare thing.

Aldiko has a nicely designed interface and a shelf – you can import the files from your SD card or phone’s memory to it. The app also offers two different modes – day (the usual one) and night (white text on black screen), and a number of options to lock the orientation, adjust the brightness, font and margins and so on.
Basically, Aldiko Book Reader is an easy-to-use ebook reading app for both Android smartphones and tablets, perfect for everyone who’s looking for a simple and light program.

2. Moon+ Reader

Moon+ Reader is one of two reading apps I frequently use on my Samsung Galaxy S2. One of the most useful features it has is the ability to automatically scan your phone’s memory and SD card to import the books to the shelf. It supports a big number of file formats including .txt, .html, .epub, .umd, .fb2 and .chm; it can also extract the books from .zip archives, which can also be very handy sometimes.

The app has 11 pre-installed themes to customize the background, fonts and brightness; day/night and outdoor/indoor themes are also included. There’s also a funny animation of turning pages, but it seems to slow the app down, so I think it’s better to deactivate it.

I use the free version of the app, but if you want a pro version that supports the Text-To-Speech technology and is ad-free, you can buy it for only $4.69.

3. Cool Reader

Cool Reader is my most favorite ebook reading app, and I use it even more often than the Moon+ Reader, since it’s really cool. It supports a huge number of file formats (including .fb2, .doc, .txt, .rtf, .html, .chm, .tcr, .pdb, .epub, .prc, .mobi and many others), it doesn’t have any main interface or shelves – it’s just designed for reading, nothing else.

Cool Reader offers a big choice of backgrounds (more than 50) for your books, but I think the default one (old book) is the best – your eyes don’t get tired when you look at it, and you can read for hours. The font type and size can also be changed if necessary, and there is a huge number of other useful features like taking notes, looking words up in a dictionary, jumping to one of the pages (or to some “percent” of the book) and many others.

Cool Reader can be downloaded for free, but you can donate $1-10 to the developer to support him.

These were the best ebook readers I’ve stumbled upon during the last months, and I hope this little list was useful for you. Android Market offers good comic book readers, too, but we’ll discuss them in a different article later.

Download Angry Birds Space game

“One small fling for a bird,
one quantum leap for birdkind”

is how the Angry Birds Space site introduces you to their new game.

Indeed, Angry Birds Space could be a quantum leap for the popular game franchise – it is only the second major release of Angry Birds. The plot has moved on from birds trying to recover eggs from pigs on Earth. The new setting is the moon, which they tease adequately in the images and videos on their website.

This time, Angry Birds will feature tie-ups with NASA and National Geographic Channel (space and wild animals?). More details will be revealed on March 8 by Rovio, the game’s creators.

Download Angry Birds Space apk installer file

Angry Birds Space is available for free on the Google Play Store (link), but if you need the .apk setup file for some reason, get it from the download link below. Note that this might not always be the latest version of Angry Birds Space, and it is best to install it directly from Google Play Store (formerly Android Market). Use the setup file below only as a last resort if you cannot install it directly from Play Store.

Download Angry Birds Space apk file

Angry Birds Space Ad free apk download

Annoyed with the huge ads on Angry Birds Space? Try these apk installer files that are ad-free versions of the popular Rovio game.
Download Angry Birds Space ad free apk

About Angry Birds

Angry Birds is a wildly popular puzzle game, primarily designed for touchscreen mobile phones. It debuted in December 2009, and in just a year, has been 500 million times on possibly every device you could imagine – iPhone, iPad, Android phones, Blackberry, Symbian, Windows Phone, Playstation Portable and even smaller platforms like Maemo and WebOS. Recently, Angry Birds was released as a web app on Google Chrome too.

Rovio, makers of Angry Birds, have followed a “keep users happy and rewards will follow” strategy, by releasing a flood of free updates to the game. Every minor update brings more levels, and some are even holiday themed (Christmas and Halloween specials).

Angry Birds Space: Launch date

Update: Angry Birds has been released! Get the game from links above.

It will be released on March 22 – check back as we add more information about the game, more videos and screenshots, and direct download links for every possible platforms.

Angry Birds Space: Storyline

The new game follows angrybirds into space after their eggs were stolen by a giant claw. The game introduces new physics that is a result of zero-gravity in space.

The birds are weightless and free-flying, and if shot in a straight line, it will affect other objects it comes across in its trajectory. This introduces a new level of gameplay previously unseen in Angry Birds, as gamers now have to contend with many more calculations and interferences while playing this game.

Levels are named Pig Bang, Cold Cuts, Danger Zone and EggSteroids. In typical Angry Birds fashion, more levels and content will be added rapidly.

There is a total of 60 levels, with Danger Zone being the hardest with 30 levels.

Launch device

Angry Birds Space will debut on Samsung’s flagship Android smartphone, the 5.3″ monster phone. It is the biggest and most powerful Android phone to date, and both the game and the phone will get heavy publicity with this tie-up. Smart move by Rovio and Samsung (more so the latter), I would say.

Angry Birds Space wallpaper

If you are a fan of Angry Birds, you can even get the official HD wallpaper from the Space website (click on image below to load full HD wallpaper).

Play Angry Birds with a real slingshot!

As proof of Angry Birds’ incredible popularity, mbed has a page on building a real wooden slingshot to play Angry Birds with. Tired of playing on the touchscreen or mouse all the time? You might want to make one of these. If Angry Birds keeps growing at current rates, we could see this and all other crazy accessories for the game being sold.

Google Chrome beta for Android: Review, screenshots and full .apk setup file

Ever since Android rose up to be one of the top mobile OSes and Chrome became the most popular ‘alternative’ browser, one question that everyone has been asking is, why does Android not ship with a version of Chrome for mobile.

I personally found this question rather silly, as Google would want Chrome on Android built-in more than anyone else. It was pretty obvious that the reason they did not have a mobile version of Chrome browser was because much work had to be done to make it function just right on a mobile phone. There are so many things to take care of – user experience, aesthetics, and most importantly – performance – so that it does not turn out to be bloated (remember Firefox on mobile?).

Google Chrome for Android has a limited release today – for devices running Android 4.0 only, in the following countries:

Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Spain, United States, United Kingdom.

India was not in the list of countries announced officially, but has been verified to be available. It is possible that Chrome is available in countries other than the above too – you might want to try it.

If you have an Android 4.0 device, you can install Chrome beta from the market link below. If you are one of those unlucky souls living in a country that is not supported yet, hit the second download link for a Chrome for Android beta .apk file.

Chrome for Android beta on Market

Download Chrome beta for Android 4.0

Chrome beta uses new technology available in Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich”, which unfortunately means that the 98% Android users running version 2.3 Gingerbread will not be able to use Chrome. Since the APIs used by Chrome is built into ICS, this means that no amount of hacking by the talented Android devs around the world will get Chrome on pre-ICS Android devices.

Google Chrome beta for Android will focus on everything that made Chrome for PCs such a hit – quick startup, fast page loads and rendering, extensions and stability.

Among Chrome’s features are new tab management, new UI, Chrome cloud synchronisation features, better bookmarking, incognito mode (found in desktop version of Chrome), and a “Link Preview” to click a link in a mass of text. Signing in to Chrome with the Google ID you use on your desktop gives you access to your desktop bookmarks, tabs etc. Google seems intent to unify the Chrome browsing experience across mobile and desktop.

Chrome is a thorough upgrade from the default browser on Android 4, and it will likely be the default in the next version of Android. The UI is not a copy of desktop Chrome, but rather designed for mobile, with its smaller screens and fat thumbs.

Chrome for Android screenshot walkthrough

Upon installing Chrome, it asks whether you want to sign in to your Google account. If you hit yes, it proceeds to sync your bookmarks, history and other settings to your Android mobile.

Tab management on Chrome is innovative and really slick – the little animations when you open a new tab, switch to another tab etc. are pleasing on the eye.

As is evident from above screenshots, the UI of Chrome is minimalistic and clean – blending very well into the general design language of Android 4 ICS. But it manages to retain visual elements of the desktop version of Chrome too.

Publish your website / blog post links to Facebook fan page automatically

Social media is rivalling search in many website niches, and increasingly, webmasters and bloggers are making websites geared towards attracting as much referral traffic from social media, as they do from search and direct traffic.

SEO was the king in pre-social era, but now, with the advent of Facebook, Twitter, Stumbleupon and others, social media optimization is getting just as important. One of the best ways to optimise your website towards getting visitors from them is to maintain a constant presence on the social media sites, publish regular updates, interesting links etc.

If you have several websites, or if you work only part time on your website, then updating your social media accounts daily can be a real chore, and reduce the amount of productive time available to you to actually work on publishing content. A smarter way would be to use tools to auto-publish links to your content, without any work on the webmaster’s part.

RSS Graffiti publishes links to your Facebook fan page

There are a lot of apps to publish links to your content on your Facebook user time line. But if you are like me, you like to avoid spamming your friends and non-techie friends with links, and instead prefer to publish the links only to a dedicated Facebook fan page for your site.

RSS Graffiti is a Facebook app that scans your website feed every few minutes, and updates your fan page (and, optionally, your user activity feed too). All it requires is a website that has a valid RSS feed. Thus, any websites with RSS feeds (not just blogs) can use RSS Graffiti.

For example, a shopping website could have an RSS feed with item title, description and images (all of which can be used in Facebook fan page updates) of new items on the website. A gallery or design inspiration website could have a feed of the latest user submitted images. The possibilities are endless.

The app is easy to use and highly configurable. You have to first give it permission to publish content to your pages. You can specify the format of publishing links on your fan page, where it should link back to, whether to display images etc.

From the above two screenshots, you can see that I have disabled publishing to my personal timeline, and enabled it for the website fan page on Facebook.

The best part about using RSS Graffiti is that you can focus all your actual site marketing on your fan page, notifying your readers of new content etc, without being blocked by other users or banned for spam. This is particularly useful if you have multiple websites, and/or publish several articles each day.

I hate seeing too many article links on my Facebook timeline, and would much rather prefer that it be available only on a specific page that I can access, edit and modify any time. This keeps your timeline cleaner, and also helps in branding purposes (associate your content only with your fan page, not you).

WindowsBackend object has no attribute iso_path error in Wubi Ubuntu installation

After almost a year of not using Ubuntu, I tried out Ubuntu 11.10, codenamed Oneiric Ocelot (what’s up with the harder-to-spell names?). Since this was a trial run, to see how things had changed, I decided to install Ubuntu from within Windows, using the Wubi (Windows based Ubuntu) installer.

Wubi installs Ubuntu in a folder on your existing Windows partition, and can be uninstalled any time by hitting uninstall on your Windows programs list. It is an easy and intuitive way to try (and even stick with) Ubuntu for beginners.

I have been an on-and-off user of Ubuntu since version 6 (still have my Edgy discs somewhere!), and installing Ubuntu by partitioning discs, the ‘normal’ way is not hard. However, the reason I chose to go with Wubi was to test all the hardware – previous versions did not play with my laptop hardware too well. Sadly, the situation is not much improved even now.

Instead of burning a disc, I mounted the Ubuntu .iso file on MagicDisc (read how to mount any .iso disc images without burning a disc), and proceeded to install it from there. That is when this error popped up:

‘WindowsBackend’ object has no attribute ‘iso_path’

As is usual when I hit a tech issue, I searched online for possible solutions. The most common answer was that the .iso file is corrupt. This can be seen in the error logs too (see my log screenshot below).

The log file is located at C:\Users\sumesh\AppData\Local\Temp\wubi-11.10-rev241 – that last word can change. In that file was the following error, showing an invalid md5 hash, which indicated a less-than-perfect iso file:

01-28 21:00 ERROR CommonBackend: Invalid md5 for ISO
H:\ubuntu\install\installation.iso (c396dd0f97bd122691bdb92d7e68fde5 !=

The obvious solution was to redownload the file, but before wasting 2 GB of my precious bandwidth, I tried the Wubi.exe installer I had in my hard drive (which, coincidentally, I downloaded a couple of days earlier). This way, you do not have to redownload the file. Here are the steps:

  1. Eject the disc (or disc image, in my case). Exit any virtual disc program like Magicdisc.
  2. Place the wubi.exe file and the .iso file in the same folder.
  3. Double-click and run wubi.exe to start the installation.

It seems that the file was fine, and the error was caused by mounting the disc image file in a virtual drive.

“Could not lock /var/lib/dpkg/lock’ error on Ubuntu

In Ubuntu, you can install programs and packages in three ways – terminal commands (sudo apt-get install), Synaptic package manager (which does not come installed by default anymore) and Ubuntu Software Center (which is the preferred way of installing apps on Ubuntu now).

One common issue I have faced while using Terminal and/or Synaptic and Software Center is the administrator lock error.

E: Could not get lock /var/lib/dpkg/lock – open (11 Resource temporarily unavailable)
E: Unable to lock the administration directory (/var/lib/dpkg/)

This error happens if more than one app tries to hold the lock. The quick fix to this is to close all programs that may use admin lock (package managers, terminal, update manager and Software Center), then try again.

Sometimes, this may not work. You can try this command in terminal to find what is running

ps -e | grep -e apt -e adept | grep -v grep

You can force the lock to be removed, then attempt the operation again. Issue the command below to remove the lock by force (note that this may cause issues for whichever program was holding the lock).

sudo rm /var/lib/dpkg/lock
sudo rm /var/cache/apt/archives/lock

Another cause for this error is running apt-get/aptitude without sudo command. This means that the command is not granted root permission, which in turn does not allow the lock because it does not have the necessary privilege. Running the above command to clear locks is pointless in such cases. What you need to do, instead, is run the command with sudo in front, so as to grant it the right permissions.

In searching for fixes online while I found some commands that remove the lock, but do not prevent system stability issues or interrupt installation or processes.

sudo fuser -cuk /var/lib/dpkg/lock; sudo rm -f /var/lib/dpkg/lock
sudo fuser -cuk /var/cache/apt/archives/lock; sudo rm -f /var/cache/apt/archives/lock

Do NOT issue the above commands, it turned out to be a bad idea for me because it caused the system to kill all processes, including Firefox and other apps that would not cause any admin locks. Use it at your own risk, and I personally would not recommend it.

Another cause for the admin lock error is the Ubuntu update manager checking for updates at system startup (if you have set it to be so). That goes on in the background, and if you start using Synaptic immediately after startup, this error may pop up. Try it a few minutes after startup.