Enable Multitouch(two-fingers) on Synaptics trackpad on Linux

This could be your Trackpad

This could be your Trackpad

Very few people know that every synaptics trackpad supports multitouch and as long as your OS supports it  you can always use multitouch to enhance your computers interface. Apple has patented several UI design elements ,hence has inhibited Windows and Linux to come out with similar UI elements like pinch and zoom, scroll etc.   

microsoft-windows-vista-logoIf you are using Windows xp, vista or Windows 7 then click here

signature_color_high_res_0 Install Synaptics driver  in ubuntu

apt-get install  xserver-xorg-input-synaptics 

Now  edit your xorg.conf file

sudo vi /etc/X11/xorg.conf

find the input section

Section “InputDevice” Identifier “Synaptics Touchpad”

Add these lines in it

Option “HorizEdgeScroll” “on”

Option “VertEdgeScroll” “on”
Option “VertTwoFingerScroll” “on
Option “HorizTwoFingerScroll” “on”
Option “CornerCoasting” “on”
Option “PalmDetect” “on”
Option “CircularScrolling” “on”
Option “CircScrollTrigger” “3”

 

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Enable Multitouch(two-fingers) on Synaptics trackpad for Windows xp/Vista/7

This could be your Trackpad

This could be your Trackpad

Very few people know that every synaptics trackpad supports multitouch and as long as your OS supports it you can always use multitouch to enhance your computers interface. Apple has patented several UI design elements ,hence has inhibited Windows and Linux to come out with similar UI elements like pinch and zoom, scroll etc.

 
linux-online-incIf you are using Linux and want to setup multitouch then click here 

signature_color_high_res_0

You only need a patched driver to enable multitouch features in synaptics. Download the latest driver from here

Download links (for XP/Vista 32/64-bit):
http://www.sendspace.com/file/9n9c6i
http://mihd.net/42vtopk

This driver is made from an outdated driver of synaptics. So you may have to uninstall your existing driver

  1. Go to Add-Remove Software. 
  2. Find and uninstall synaptic driver
  3. Reboot

Extract the zip file(touchpad_synaptics_v10.2.4_vistax32x64_xpx32x64_modded_build2.zip) to a folder

Install selected driver.

This driver is not signed. Hence windows will issue a warning. Do not install this driver on your production machine. This is a development build and using it may crash your system

Now you can  enable these 3 features on your Windows Desktop using Synaptic Options. Go to bottom right in your Windows taskbar to select synaptics tray icon or search synaptic in control panel. Then select Synaptic touchpad in Device Settings. 

  1. Multitouch scrolling : You will be able to scroll using 2/3 fingers. The scrolling is not as smooth as mac (shucks!!) but works equivalent to page up and page down. Here is how to enable it in Synaptics Options. You can configure what each direction will cause.
    Two finger Gestures -> Top/Bottom/Left/Right
  2. Chiral Motion : This technique is very useful for precise scrolling. Whenever you wish to scroll just slide two fingers downwards(or upwards) and then you can move your fingers in clockwise or anticlockwise order to continue scrolling.This is a much more precise way of scrolling but you need to get used to it. Here is how to enable it in Synaptics Options
    Virtual Scrolling -> Enable Chiral motion scrolling
  3. Momentum : This grants your mouse momentum so if you drag your mouse and leave it. It will travel some more distance depending on the speed of your drag. This is quite cool for some time, but very difficult to handle and impractical. Still somthing cooool to show off :). . Here is how to enable it in Synaptics Options
       Pointer Motion -> Momentum -> Enable Momentum
  4.  

 

UPDATE: The driver has not functioned for some laptops. It is suited only for some laptops. If you have installed this driver, do let us know in the comments if this worked for you. Thanks!!!

Hyper-V: problems and solutions

Windows Server 2008

Hyper-V is the new hypervisor based virtualization solution from Microsoft. The product is targeted mainly for the data centers for server consolidation. I have been using it since the day it became RTM and am really impressed by its performance and stability. There are some minor issues which is acceptable as the product is still young. I have a Intel Core 2 6420, which has the Intel-VT extension required for Hyper-V and 4 GB of ram sufficient enough for running a single guest. Hyper-V is supported only on windows 2008 server 64 bit edition.

Installation Steps

These are the installation steps for installing Hyper-V

  1. Check if your processor supports either Intel-VT or AMD Pacifica extensions.
  2. Install Windows 2008 server 64 bit edition.
  3. Install all the updates.
  4. Add the role Hyper-V using server manager.
  5. Install updates for the Hyper-V role.

Now you are all set to install you guest operating system. Run the Hyper-V manager application to manage your guest operating systems. Create a new virtual machine and setup different properties like memory, number of processors etc.. If you are planning to install your guest operating system from network make sure that you add a legacy network adapter as the guest operating system wont be having drivers at install time for the normal network adapter. Once you are done installing the guest operating system install the integration services from the settings menu of that virtual machine. Installation of integration services is highly required for better performance and also getting remote desktop to work.

Issues

1) No audio on the virtual machine. How to listen to your favorite mp3’s ?

The first thing that you might notice is the lack of Audio device. Hyper-V is for running multiple servers on a single physical machine. Not many people play mp3’s on a production server, I suppose. So how do we get audio to work on your virtual machine ???

The solution is simple. Don’t use the hyper-v manager to connect to the guest operating system. Instead enable remote desktop on the guest machine and use mstsc to connect to the guest. If you are using windows 2003 as the guest you still find that the audio doesn’t work. There are couple of setting that you need to make to get audio to work. First thing is to change the windows audio service startup to automatic from disabled and start the service. This can be done by running services.msc from the run dialog. Next, you have to fire tscc.msc from the run dialog to change a couple of terminal services settings. In the connection tab, double click on the Rdp-tcp row to get the properties tab. Unselect the “Audio Mapping” option there and save the settings. Remember you have to logout from that session and start a new session for the settings to take effect. Of course simpler thing would be to reboot the guest. Connect again to the guest and enjoy your favorite mp3’s …..

2) Unreadable/fuzzy  text on LCD monitors if you are using remote desktop

So you think you solved your hyper-v problems by connecting using mstsc instead of the hyper-v manager,  then maybe you are using a CRT monitor or you have never seen cleartype in action. Yes, font smoothing doesn’t work with RDP if you have either windows XP or windows 2003 as the guest OS. And if you have a LCD monitor like me, you know how much pain in the *** it is to work on a LCD without font smoothing. So now you have to fix this cleartype issue.

Microsoft has finally issued a Hot fix for this feature at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/946633. Download the fix and install it. You have to reboot the machine for the fix to work. Also make sure the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows\TSEnableFontSmoothing is set to 1.

3) Strange cursor problem and fix

Also, when I used to connect to guest machine using the hyper-v manager instead of remote desktop client, I faced a weird problem with my mouse cursor. After using the guest machine for sometime may be a couple of hours the mouse pointer becomes fixed meaning that it doesn’t change depending on the thing beneath it. It sometimes becomes a wait cursor, sometimes a small dot and like that. This is quite frustrating while you try to re-size windows or frames as you cannot make whether you are at the proper point to re-size the window. Luckily after using remote desktop to connect to the host this problem also is solved.

Hope these solutions fix some of your hyper-v problems.

Technorati Blog search site is down!!

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MPEG 4 Part -2 / AVI video codec performance review: Divx vs Xvid which is better?

MPEG-4 Part 2 is a video compression technology developed by MPEG. It belongs to the MPEG-4 ISO/IEC standard (ISO/IEC 14496-2). It is a discrete cosine transform compression standard, similar to previous standards such as MPEG-1 and MPEG-2. Several popular codecs including DivX, Xvid and Nero Digital are implementations of this standard.

If you were looking for MP4/Mpeg4 Part 10  CoreAVC vs FFmpeg video codec performance review then click here

Codecs:

Though there are several codecs that perform the encoding owing to the universal use of this encoding in dvds, common implementations are Nero, Divx, Xvid etc. Among these arguably the most popular codecs are Xvid and Divx. We will be seeing side by side comparison of both in the article. You can find both codecs individual history on their wiki pages. I find the history of Divx quite amusing,They adopted their name Divx to mock a company that used to charge users for viewing by the hour and themselves used spyware in their later version hence becoming a subject of mockery. You might have already noticed that “Xvid” is “Divx” backwards.

I will talk of decoding performance here. Decoding probably makes much more sense to a normal user as encoding is done by few but everybody decodes videos. Decoding is quite a subjective criteria hence besides my own comments I have also attached screenshots that allow the user to make his/her own judgment. The codecs were taken from Final build site.

Xvid
Xvid Logo
There is a very good chance that any video that you come across is encoded with Xvid. Across my search of encoders I found Xvid is the most preferred one for encoding. Its opensource hence free, much more configurable hence lets you draw the last byte’s worth. Though it seems logical that if video is encoded with encoder its respective decoder should also be the best, however I found the results didn’t fare as I expected.

Divx
Divx Logo

The good old closed source version. Divx is costly and costing is on per PC basis hence encoding costly. Decoding can be done for free using their web player. The pro version is not free however there are other ways of using the codec in Media Player classic shipped with Klite Codec as explained below.

Here is the screenshot of Gspot codec analyzation. This provides the codec information with which the file was encoded in:

GSPOT Screenshot of Sherlock Holmes Important things that can be highlighted from the Gspot codec is

1. Video Encoding was done by Divx version 5.1.1

2. Audio Encoding was done by MPEG-1 Layer 3 more popularly known as MP3

3. The default resolution is 352×272 and should be judged at that resolution

Further information can also be seen from the screenshot

PS: you can also use other codec information utils like AVI codec etc.

Following are the screenshots taken from the video with different filters(All the left screenshots are Divx and right ones are Xvid)
Divx Filter with Sherlock Holmes

Xvid filter with Sherlock Holmes

Screenshot with Divx Filter

Screenshot with Xvid Filter

Click the pics and view them at full-size and compare them. As the videos clearly depicted the Divx Filter far outperforms Xvid Filter in visual apeal.

There is a very important decoder that I have not mentioned here, that is the FFmpeg decoder(default decoder in most open players like mplayer, media player classic and vlc). This decoder generally uses libavcodec to decode the media files and even though the performance is not as good as the above decoders but it is good enough but the difference in CPU usage is extreme. Ex for a normal movie where Divx and Xvid take as much as 25-30% CPU usage, FFmpeg will take barely 10-15%. So if its quality you are looking for then look no further than Divx but for performance nobody matches FFmpeg

So overall the results are quite ambigous. If you are looking for quality then Divx, for free encoding/decoding Xvid and for decoding performance FFmpeg . You can download the filters from here, and you can learn how to switch your filter from here. So what are you going to do with your player???

MP4/ HD video codec performance review: CoreAVC vs FFmpeg which is better ?

MPEG-4 is used for AV data for web (streaming media) and CD distribution, voice (telephone, videophone) and broadcast television applications.MPEG-4 adds new features such as (extended) VRML support for 3D rendering, object-oriented composite files (including audio, video and VRML objects), support for externally-specified Digital Rights Management and various types of interactivity. AAC (Advanced Audio Codec) was standardized as an adjunct to MPEG-2 (as Part 7) before MPEG-4 was issued.The key parts to be aware of are MPEG-4 part 2 (MPEG-4 SP/ASP, used by codecs such as DivX, Xvid, Nero Digital and 3ivx and by Quicktime 6) and MPEG-4 part 10 (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, used by the x264 codec, by Nero Digital AVC, by Quicktime 7, and by next-gen DVD formats like HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc).

If you were looking for MPEG 4 Part 2/ AVI video codec performance review: Divx vs Xvid then click here

Codecs:

As told previously 2 parts of MPEG-4 format are popular. There are several codecs available that implement  MPEG-4 with different level of perfection, popular ones are Quicktime(Part 10), FFmpeg(Part 10), Xvid(Part 2), Divx(Part 2) and CoreAVC(Part 10). After consulting several forums, I found 2 of those very talked about CoreAVC and FFmpeg. I have compared the 2 codecs below.

FFmpeg
FFmpeg Logo
Whether you are a codec geek or not, this is the most probable codec that you have been using since time  immemorial.  Its free, opensource, can allow a lot of tweaking, plays a major number of containers and codecs. I will try not to go beyond H.264 in this article but one thing is for sure, whether you are using CoreAVC or not, you definitely have to use FFmpeg due to its overwhelmingly large number of codec compatibility.

CoreAVC
CoreAVC or Corecodec Logo
Its a closed source alternative for decoding H.264, infact its one of the accepted formats for Blue-ray. When it came out it astonished everyone with the sheer speed and performance outputs. Its known to exceed several hardware implementations (reminds me of John Carmack implementation of square root in Quake 3 which was faster than FPU). Corecodec people call it the fastest codec on earth.(and I am nobody to argue).

Left one is CoreAVC and right is FFmpeg

x264 encoded movie Sunshine decoded with CoreAVC

x264 encoded movie Sunshine decoded with CoreAVC

x264 encoded movie Sunshine decoded with CoreAVC

x264 encoded movie Sunshine decoded with CoreAVC
x264 encoded movie Sunshine decoded with CoreAVC

x264 encoded movie Sunshine decoded with CoreAVC

Doesnt take a rocket scientist to notice that better one. However when I discussed this on outside forums, I faced considerable shouting and screaming so I did more tweaking and testing and found another bit of information that convinced me to use CoreAVC for good.
Left is CoreAVC and right is FFmpeg.
Top is W/O post processing and bottom is with Post Processing

CPU usage between FFmpeg and CoreAVC
Cpu Cycles with CoreAVC
CPU cycles consumption when using FFmpeg codec
Difference between CPU usage when using FFmpeg and CoreAVC is huge. It can be seen from the above CPU usage or by seeing CPU cycles consumption . Considering that I have a Core 2 duo system with 1.8Ghz this difference is a substantial one, infact with preprocessing the player hung at 100% cpu usage in FFmpeg.

I found out to my amazement that Corecodecs are actually the fastest codecs in the world. I used all possible codecs at my disposal(VLC, ffmpeg, quicktime, windows media player and Nero) but CoreAVC not only gave better performance compared to all of them but also astonishingly smooth one at that. I ran it on 1080p trailer of 10000BC on MPC using quicktime alternative(had to rename .mov to .hdmov to use coreAVC) and performance was mind boggling.
Bottomline, I’d suggest you one thing. just go right now to Final build site and download the coreavc format and start using it. You can find out how to do that here.

How to change/install Media Player Classic codec filter

If you are dissatisfied with the codec used by your Media Player classic to decode your videos you can easily switch them to other codecs.

Step 1:

Decide the codec you wanna use. There are considerable number of guides available on this on the net. I have found doom9 forum quite helpful and informative.

MPEG 4 part 2/ AVI codec review: Divx vs Xvid here

H.264/ MP4/ HD codec review: CoreAVC vs FFmpeg here

Step 2:

Download the codec. Though there are several sites that provide opensource codecs for free, there are few that provide closed source too.  I have found Final build site to be quite good and provides almost all codecs. If you dont have any codecs at all I do suggest you to install Klite codec Pack and have some basic codecs to start with.

Step 3:

If you have started using Media Player classic without any change then you are most probably using FFmpeg codecs. These are very good codecs and use libavcodec for most of the decoding. It decodes most formats however not all of them perfectly. Now that you have your new filter installed.

  1. Open the options window in media player classic(by pressing ‘o’ or through right click menu )
  2. Go to External filters option. Now in the right side of the window select Add Filter
  3. You will get an elaborate window with a plethora of options. Select your codec
    1. If your codec is not available there you will have to put a little more stress. Open the folder that your codec installed in.
    2. find a file with .ax extension in that folder and put it in filters folder inside Klite Codec Pack folder
    3. Now you should click browse in the bottom left of codec window and select the filter inside filters folder. You can browse to select ax file from the folder it was installed but needlessly adds a dependency.
  4. After selecting that filter go the right of the window and click Prefer among the 3 options(prefer, block and merit)

Eureka your filter is changed, you have a better video already!!!