Tag Archives: Tips

Make Connectify work with Avast

Recently I updated Connectify to version 3.1 and it just stopped working.

After sometime of trial and error I found out that Avast Antivirus(I have Avast Internet Security) was blocking some essential ports which Avast uses.

Basically what needs to be done are two things:

  1. Enable the Internet Sharing mode in the Firewall settings

    Enable Sharing Mode

  2. Enable some Firewall packet rules for the application ConnectifyNetServices.exe

    Enable some Packet Rules

That’s set, your ready Smile go ahead and try it.


How to save on Mobile bills in Syria

Just wanted to share a few tips about reducing your mobile bill.

So far we got two Mobile providers in Syria which are almost identical. SyriaTel and MTN.


It is not just in Syria, but in a lot of countries Mobile companies still charges a lot for SMS despite how simple it is.

Lately I noticed that MTN and SyriaTel are offering good bundles to reduce the SMS cost.

So I advice all the people who uses SMS to pick one of the offers below. It will even reduce your mobile bill while using SMS instead of calling πŸ™‚ I think the 100 SMS is sweet.


Send SMS with the code to number 1220:

Messages Price Saving Code
25 SMS 50 SYP %67 Ψ± 25
100 SMS 100 SYP %83 Ψ± 100
3000 SMS 1500 SYP %92 Ψ± 3000


To subscribe call *111# and choose package number:

Messages Price
25 SMS 50 SYP
100 SMS 100 SYP
Unlimited 1500 SYP



While I still think that the GPRS cost is very high, the bundles are still a way to save some money if you need to use GPRS.


Send SMS with the code to number 1221:

Messages Price Saving Code
3MB 50 SYP %33 Ψ¬ 3
5MB 75 SYP %40 Ψ¬ 5
12MB 150 SYP %50 Ψ¬ 12
25MB 250 SYP %60 Ψ¬ 25


To subscribe call *111# and choose package number:

Messages Price
3MB 50 SYP
5MB 75 SYP
12MB 150 SYP
25MB 250 SYP


Well that’s set for now, hope you like it πŸ™‚


Closing unnecessary Windows Services for more RAM

After upgrading my old machine, I started installing my Development tools. One of the tools I use is Microsoft SQL Server 2008 for creating Databases and Business Intelligence. From my experience that tool is not very CPU or RAM friendly πŸ™‚ . It runs a lot of services like the Reporting service, Integration Services…etc.

I didn’t want these services to hog the computer for normal usage, so I created a simple batch file to close these unnecessary service.

To create a batch file just create a new empty text file and rename it to have the extension .bat.

In my batch file I’m shutting down MS SQL Server services and VMWare services:

net stop VMAuthdService
net stop VMnetDHCP
net stop “VMware NAT Service”
net stop “VMUSBArbService”
net stop SQLWriter
net stop SQLBrowser
net stop SQLAgent$MSSQLSERVER2008
net stop MSSQLFDLauncher$MSSQLSERVER2008
net stop MsDtsServer100
net stop ReportServer$MSSQLSERVER2008

Note that the SQL Services’ names are probably different on your machine. It depends on what did you call your Database’s instance name.

Here is a list of SQL Server services names.

To start the services again, just create another batch file and use “net start” instead of “net stop”.


Upgrading an old PC

I remember the day I received my AMD Athlon 64 PC, I was ecstatic! Taking photos of it from the inside and outside. Man I was so proud of it.

It had an MSI K8T Neo-FIS2R motherboard, 512MB DDR RAM, GeForce Fx 5200 128MB and an AMD Athlon 64 3200+ processor.

I got it in the 2004 and it was top of the line. Now we are in the 2010 and it’s been almost 7 years.

My hope was to make it able to run Windows 7 and let me do my Development job smoothly and let my dear wife enjoy some games on it (The Sims 3 πŸ™‚ ).

Windows 7 min RAM requirements is around 1 GB. RAM Upgrade is a must. I wasn’t sure what type of RAM I should get, so I was glad to get help from Crucial System Scanner Tool to detect my motherboard model and suggest the correct memory upgrade. So I went ahead and got extra 2 GB RAM to have a total of 2.5 GB of RAM (Yummy!). Costed around $75.

I know my graphics card is probably old for Windows 7, but I wanted to try and see if it could work.

I inserted Windows 7 installation DVD and restarted the computer to boot from the DVD and do the installation. It gave me an error message saying “CDBOOT: Cannot boot from CD – Code: 5“. WHAT! WHY? I’ve just installed a fresh 2GB RAM for you man, don’t fail me! πŸ™ After researching online about this issue it was clear that Windows 7 installation DVD had an issue to boot with my old MSI motherboard. Lucky me I found a workaround this issue by patching the installation DVD using the instructions found here which worked like a charm πŸ™‚

The installation was a breeze. The system rebooted and everything was working. Sound, Graphics..etc. Yuppie! Wait a minute, the graphics doesn’t look clear and my external Wifi USB is not working too. Ugh. Windows 7 Aero effect isn’t working. Went to nVidia web site and downloaded the driver, also visited Linksys site to download the driver for the external WiFi USB WUSBF54g. I found a good advice on the net that I could just use WiFi driver files instead of installing Linksys application which wasn’t compatible with Windows 7.

After installing the drivers my WLAN was working and also Windows 7 Aero effect worked! Everything is working.

I installed the new Visual Studio 2010 and then the Windows Phone 7 development tools to see how things are working. The application was launched quickly, actually any application launches quickly, but moving the windows around is so annoying, slow and jumpy. So my RAM wasn’t enough? I checked the RAM and %20 only was used. It is now obvious that this is because of my graphic card.

My graphic card should be put to rest. Its fan was noisy anyway.

The hunt for a new graphic card started, and with it I remembered the exciting feeling I used to have looking for a good kind of RAM, graphic cards and other computer components.

The max my motherboard can handle is AGP 8x, so after researching I chose my new graphic card MSI NX6200AX 256MB DDR2 which can also run The Sims 3 πŸ˜› . Costed me around $37.

So now for around $100 I have revived my old machine and made it work pretty well πŸ˜€


Synaptic or apt-get through a proxy

If you are like me behind a Microsoft ISA server proxy on a domain network or any other type of proxy, you will find problems getting the Linux applications Synaptic package manager or apt-get to work.

The best way I came across to solve this issue is to use a software called ntlmaps.

This application is a proxy software that allows you to authenticate via an MS Proxy Server using the proprietary NTLM protocol. This is useful when you start getting error “Error 407 Proxy Authentication Required” which drove me crazy the whole day!

I’m using Ubuntu as my Linux OS. If you were able to make Firefox work so you can go to http://packages.ubuntu.com/ , select your Ubuntu edition , browse all packages and look for ntlmaps, download it and install it.

After that open the file /etc/ntlmaps/server.cfg and make sure you fill the parameters correctly such as the Listening port (The port to use in the proxy) NT_HOSTNAME (Which is the Domain Controller’s computer name on the network) and NT_Domain.

After that configure the Network proxy to use your new proxy for example:

Good luck πŸ˜‰


Handle Date formats problems in .NET

Recently I faced a problem when I was deploying a project on a remote server.

Locally my ASP.Net web application was working like breeze, but when I deployed it on a remote server the problem appeared. When the user try to generate a report selecting a date range and hit go, the user gets an error message “String was not recognized as a valid DateTime”.

The report is consisted of two Calendars with “dd/MM/yyyy” date format, a Grid View and a Text box to filter the grid. I used the Visual Studio to create the GridView which takes the Select parameters from both Calendars when binding. The date column in the MS SQL Server 2005 is of DateTime format and it shows like “31/05/ 2009 11:10:00 AM”.

So obviously there is a misunderstanding of the date entered, which means a difference in the Culture environment. I tried changing the regional settings of the server to match local machines settings, but that didn’t work; still the same error. I also tried to force the Culture info in the web.config, but that also didn’t work for me!

Then I was only left with formatting the date manually to the server’s taste πŸ™‚

To do that, I used the Selecting event of the SQL Data Source to modify the parameter data before going to the Database. Note that if your case is with updating or deleting, .Net also has those events for you to use.

So I used the following function to convert the date format of my Calendar which is “dd/MM/yyyy” to whatever the machine likes πŸ™‚ (Is compatible with).

Public Shared Function ConvertToDate(ByVal dateString As String, ByRef result As DateTime) As Boolean

‘Here is the date format you desire to use

Dim supportedFormats() As String = New String() {“dd/MM/yyyy”}

‘Now it will be converted to what the machine supports

result = DateTime.ParseExact(dateString, supportedFormats,System.Globalization.CultureInfo.CurrentCulture, System.Globalization.DateTimeStyles.None)

Return True
Catch ex As Exception
Return False
End Try
End Function

And from the Selecting event of the SQL Data Source:

Protected Sub SqlDataSource1_Selecting(ByVal sender As Object, ByVal e As System.Web.UI.WebControls.SqlDataSourceSelectingEventArgs) Handles SqlDataSource1.Selecting

Dim d1, d2 As Date

If txtFrom.Text <> “” And txtTo.Text <> “” Then

ConvertToDate(txtFrom.Text, d1)
ConvertToDate(txtTo.Text, d2)

e.Command.Parameters.Item(0).Value = d1

e.Command.Parameters.Item(1).Value = d2
End If
End Sub

I just wanted to share this, I hope this would help πŸ˜‰