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TF2 Idle Skip TF2 file validation in Steam Windows 7

When I first installed TF2 some time ago on a Windows 7 install, it exhibited this behaviour for me. The problem as it turns out was with my hard disk. By defragmenting my disk and my game, I managed to resolve the issue. You can try defragmenting the game files in Steam through the Local Files tab of Team Fortress 2’s Properties page in the Steam Library, but I found using the OS’s defragmentation tool was necessary if I recall. I’d recommend doing both just to be safe. You may need to validate files manually after this, but it should hopefully be the last time. At the time, there were no bad sectors reported and the hard drive was less than a year old, but fast-forward a year or two and that hard disk died on me so this may be an early indication of a problem with the hard disk that you may want to look into.

I used Auslogics Disk Defrag and highly reccomend it. It worked faster than the OS defrag option.

Fix InsightBB / Time Warner Slow Youtube Throttling

Summary, Drop these commands in your command prompt on windows Vista/7

netsh advfirewall firewall add rule name=”YoutubeHTTP1″ protocol=TCP localport=80 action=block dir=IN remoteip=173.194.55.0/24

netsh advfirewall firewall add rule name=”YoutubeHTTP2″ protocol=TCP localport=80 action=block dir=IN remoteip=206.111.0.0/16

Enjoy. The incredible thing is now I’m not even seeing any delay when switching to 1080p, I used to see a complete refresh and then a pause. Why do these commands create a better streaming experience? TimeWarner/Insight is throttling downloads from servers that host cached videos. By rejecting these IP address ranges you will force the video to be served to you directly. This harnesses the full download speed of your internet connection. Other people can dive into the complexity much better than I ever could, but that’s the overall theme.

Run a Command as Administrator from the Windows 7 / Vista Run box

If you are a command line junkie like me, and have been testing out Windows 7 or Vista… one of the first things you’ll notice is that there is no way to run a command from the run box in “Administrator” mode. Until now.
To try this out, go to the run box and type in something (cmd, for example)
Now instead of hitting the Enter key, use Ctrl+Shift + Enter. You will be prompted with the obnoxious User Account Control dialog… but it will then open up a command prompt in Administrator mode.
Hint: You can use Alt + C to quickly close the User Account Control dialog in Vista, or Alt+Y in Windows 7.

Complete guide to using TF2Idle

First of all, you will need:
Steam accounts to idle on. You can create new accounts here.
Sandboxie so you can run multiple Steam accounts. A full version is needed to run multiple sandboxes.
(optional) A Steam Dev API key for an account which contains a purchased game. This will be used to access steam backpacks so you can see your drops happening.

All my instructions are written assuming you will be running 8 idle accounts, and are running Windows 7. XP and earlier OSs do not have the mklink command available for making the symlinks needed to save a ton of hard drive space. I’ve also written it assuming you have Steam installed in c:Program Files (x86)Steam and you put all your idle steam copies in C:idle if you have these in different places, you will need to change the below info accordingly.

Preparations:

Firstly, you need Steam installed and TF2 downloaded and playable. If you’re idling then you no doubt already have an active account and play the game, so will already have this.
(I’m not sure if these parts are needed, but I saw that tf2idle checked for an idle.cfg so I did some googling and found this:)
Go to your steamappsusernameteam fortress 2tfcfg folder and create a new text file. Name it idle.cfg (Make sure it isn’t idle.cfg.txt turn on the showing of file extensions if you aren’t sure, google if you need to know how) and paste in the following:

fps_max 30
r_rootlod 2
r_lod 2
mat_picmip 2
threadpool_affinity 0
mat_aaquality 0
mat_bumpmap 0
mat_antialias 0
mat_reducefillrate 1
mat_specular 0
r_shadowrendertotexture 0
r_waterforceexpensive 0
mat_hdr_level 0
mat_hdr_enabled 0
mat_hdr_level 0
mat_hdr_manual_tonemap_rate 0
mat_aaquality 0
mat_use_compressed_hdr_textures 0
mat_disable_bloom 1
mat_bloomscale 0

Also, open up your server.cfg and add the following:

hostname "Valve Loves Idlers"
fps_max 30
rcon_password typeapasswordhere
sv_password typeapasswordhere
sv_minrate 13000
sv_maxrate 13000
sv_minupdaterate 20
sv_maxupdaterate 20
sv_mincmdrate 20
sv_maxcmdrate 20
sv_region 255
mp_waitingforplayers_cancel 1
mp_disable_respawn_times 1
mp_timelimit 9999
mp_allowspectators 1
mp_idledealmethod 0
mp_idlemaxtime 9999
sv_pure 2

*End of possibly unneeded stuff*

In your steamapps folder, create a new folder containing the username of each account you are going to idle with. Go into your original one, and copy the ‘team fortress 2’ folder, and paste it into each of these named folders. 

Create a folder to contain all the copies of steam needed for the sandboxes. For me, I simply made a folder in the root, c:idle
In this folder, create a new folder, and give it a simple name with a number at the end to help differentiate it. I named mine steam1 to steam8. Into the steam1 folder, copy the contents of your normal Steam folder, minus the steamapps folder, as that will be a huge folder. Once you have the steam1 folder, I simply copy+pasted it 7 more times into the folder, renaming each folder so I had 8 steam folders.
Each of these folders needs a symlink to your steamapps folder. This makes it appear that there is a copy of the steamapps folder in each of these steam installs, when in fact they are all automatically redirected to your base steam install. This means that you don’t need 8 copies of the ~10Gb of TF2 files for each sandbox.
Open up a command prompt (Not sure if you need admin rights, but run it as an admin just in case), and navigate to the first idle steam folder (c:idlesteam1 for me)
Once there type the following:
mklink /D steamapps “C:Program Files (x86)SteamSteamapps”

Now if you go to the steam1 folder, you will see what appears to be a shortcut to the steamapps folder, double click it and you go there, but the address bar still shows it as being in the steam1 folder, which is what we want.
You will need to repeat this for each idle steam folder you have, you can’t simply copy+paste the steamapps symlink. Use the command prompt to go to the steam2 folder, run the mklink again, and so on for all the idle accounts you want.

Now all that is prepared, you need to install Sandboxie, which is a program that will allow us to run multiple instances of Steam. Once installed, on the menu go Sandbox>Create new sandbox. Give it a name, don’t bother copying the settings.
Once created, right click it and go to Sandbox Settings.
In there, you need to go to the restrictions>Drop Rights option, and unsure it is unchecked
Next go to the Resource Access>File Access>Full Access, and add the root folder of the drive that contains Steam, and the drive which will contain all the sandbox files (If they are both on the same drive then you don’t need to add it twice)
Now, create more sandboxes, one for each account you will be idling with. With these, copy the settings from one of your previously made sandboxes so you don’t need to go into the settings for each one. Giving them all simple names is strongly advised.

Finally, run TF2Idle. I put it into c:idle so I had everything in the same place, but it doesn’t matter where it goes. Its a stand alone exe, no installing, though it does make its own cfg file, and will make error files to check if there are problems, so its nice to have it separated.
Hit the ‘add account’ button and it will bring up a simple screen. Your steam username and password are self explanatory. You will need to log into the Steam community page with each account to create a vanity ID, which is required for item tracking.
In the Sandbox Name, this needs to be the name of one of the sandboxes you created earlier in sandboxie. The sandbox path needs to be the root directory of one of the idle steam folders you created. For instance C:idleSteam1
You don’t need any of the other options, so just hit ok and your account will be listed there. Repeat this process for each account you want to idle with, remembering you need a different sandbox name and sandbox path for each account.

Once all the account settings have been made, in TF2Idle go file>settings
In the TF2 tab, the steam install location and sandboxie install location should have been filled automatically, but point it the right way if not. Enter the Steam API key obtained right at the top to allow you to track the drops into all of your accounts. The API key can be from any account, it just needs to have a game tied to it to be able to generate the key.
The backpack viewer is optionally used as a way to view details on an item that has dropped. Leave the idle launch settings how it is, and I would advise increasing the account launch delay to ~120 seconds, as this gives each account time to create a server and get through any CPU/ram intensive tasks before the next one tries. And you aren’t going to miss a couple of minutes not idling.
Any other settings are optional. In the TF2Idle tab you can select to encript the config file, as this otherwise contains the steam account usernames and passwords in plaintext.


And you’re done! For the first time running, I would select one account at a time (orange icon if selected, grey if not by default), and hit the ‘start idling’ button. This will launch steam through sandboxie, and you will eventually get a command prompt full of text as the game runs in text mode. For reference, mine looks like this. The important thing is that it contains the ‘<account name> connected’ line near the bottom, as this shows you have connected fine. Once it looks ok, unselect the first and select the second, and start idling again (You don’t need to close the first one). Repeat this for all of the accounts, until they are all idling. Once they started up ok, next time you can just select them all and hit the start idling button and it will do all this automatically, but for the first time I find it better to start them manually so you can spot any problems.

Once they are all idling you can hit the ‘terminate sandbox’ to obviously stop them idling.
Otherwise, you can hit the ‘drop log view’ to see the drops, though first you will need to click ‘add accounts’. This should bring up a message for each account confirming that it has started logging the drops. Then you can sit back and watch as the list slowly fills up with all your free items. 
And now you’re idling!

References:
This thread for the .cfg contents

Questions or comments? Ask here! Everything I’ve just posted comes from searching various forums and threads trying to work out how exactly to get this working, so I hope this proves useful to some of you. And in the end, all credit goes to Moussekateer for actually making TF2Idle in the first place!
And remember, free TF2 accounts can only find weapons, no hats. And you can’t trade either, you’ll need to buy a copy of TF2/buy something from the Mann Co store if you want to get the top drops and start shifting them over to your main account.

Here’s some pictures of my setup:
http://i.imgur.com/KFoqQ.jpg – Idle folder containing 8 physical copies of the steam folder, bar the steamapps folder.
http://i.imgur.com/hhFsj.jpg – Inside one of the steam folders, showing the mklink steamapps
http://i.imgur.com/LAmCw.jpg – Inside the steamapps folder, account names blanked out.
http://i.imgur.com/TZZIi.jpg – TF2 idle settings, API key blanked out
http://i.imgur.com/R6CrP.jpg – More TF2 idle settings, details blanked out
http://i.imgur.com/yYPUv.jpg – 8 named sandboxes
http://i.imgur.com/gtPBn.jpg – Sandboxie full access

How to Disable Easy Install in VMware Player 3.0

The VMware Player 3.0 Easy Install is pretty useful but in certain cases, we want it disabled. Inside VMware Player settings, there is not an option to disable Easy Install so here is a quick trick/tip to by pass:
  1. First start VMware Player
     
  2. Create A New Virtual Machine
     
  3. Select the option “I will install the operating system later”

     
  4. Once done, your new virtual machine will be added to your virtual library, under Home.

     
  5. Double click on your new Virtual Machine to start it.
     
  6. It will next say the OS is not installed and provide an option to insert the OS installation media.

     
  7. Simply click on Change CD/DVD Settings to select your media then Restart VM!
Hope you like it!

How to transfer photos from a Game Boy Camera to a computer (in Linux)

A few days ago, I found a Flickr group thread that was prac­ti­cally beg­ging for my input. It read some­thing like “Hey Everett, you’re sur­pris­ingly enough not the only per­son out there with these two inter­ests (one obscure and the other semi-so). Would you be will­ing to help out quite pos­si­bly the only other per­son in the world who cares about these things?”
Not only was I like, “Heck  yeah!,” but I decided that this was wor­thy of blog­ging, in case a third indi­vid­ual hap­pens to develop these inter­ests. (If this is you, welcome!)
So, in case you find your­self want­ing to get crappy pho­tos—a term I use most affec­tion­ately — like these:
  
off of one of these:
red Game Boy Camera
and you use Linux:
(I kid!)
…like I do, read on.
The hard­ware I’m using to down­load pho­tos over USB is Smart­Boy USB car­tridge reader (which is made by these peo­ple). And there just so hap­pens to be a great open-source pro­gram for facil­i­tat­ing this task using this device (or a sim­i­lar car­tridge reader): gbcflsh.
So what’s the prob­lem? gbcflsh is only dis­trib­uted as source, and the source fails to com­pile under recent releases of Ubuntu. I con­tacted the devel­op­ers of gbcflsh, and one gave me some sug­ges­tions for fix­ing the source code. They have yet to pub­lish the fixed source, so I’ll doc­u­ment how I got it to compile.
(If you don’t care about this, just grab the binary I made: gbcflsh32-bit, 1.1 MB, md5sum: 85b185706c3d5fe45b7787787f8510bd)
  1. Down­load and extract the source code.
  2. Install the fol­low­ing pack­ages:
    gcc 4.3.3, qt4-dev-tools, libftdi-dev
  3. Focus on the fol­low­ing files:
    src/Logic.cpp
    src/ReadFlashThread.cpp
    src/ReadRamThread.cpp
    src/WriteFlashThread.cpp
    src/WriteRamThread.cpp
  4. Add the fol­low­ing to the bot­tom of the #include sec­tion of each file:
    #include <cst­dio>
  5. That’s it! Com­pile it like you already know how to do (which I won’t get into here).
gbcflshWhen you run gbcflsh (you’ll need to do so as root, by the way), it’ll look a lit­tle bit like what you see to the right. Select the vis­i­ble options (USB, Auto, Ram: 128KB) and click “Read RAM.”
If all goes well, you’ll end up with the con­tents of your camera’s RAM in the form of a .sav file. Great! The hard part is behind us, but we’re not quite done yet.
Next, you’ll need a pro­gram that will extract pho­tos from the save file. I believe there are a few, but they all seem to be for Win­dows. For­tu­nately, the one I use works per­fectly under WinegbcameradumpIt’s called GBCameraDump.exe, and it can cur­rently be foundhere. Down­load it, run it via Wine and select the .sav file you got from gbcflsh. You’ll have some­thing that looks like this screen­shot (except hope­fully with bet­ter photos).
I would also advise you to — if this sort of thing mat­ters to you — check the order of the saved images. They’re likely to be out of order due to, it seems, the way Nin­tendo decided to han­dle the sav­ing of images to the car­tridge. (Also, you’re likely to find some pho­tos you thought were deleted, which may come as a surprise.)
So there you have it: how to get pho­tos off of this cam­era of the past, using the oper­at­ing sys­tem of the (sigh) future.

How To Use wget With Username and Password for FTP / HTTP File Retrieval

Q. How do I use wget ftp / http client tool to download files from password protected web page?

A. wget command supports username and password combo for both FTP and HTTP file retrieval.
Pass following option to wget command:
–user=userName: Your FTP/HTTP username
–password=passWord : Your HTTP/FTP password
These parameters can be overridden using the –ftp-user and –ftp-password options for FTP connections and the –http-user and –http-password options for HTTP connections.
Download a file called foo.pdf from theos.in:
$ wget --user=vivek --password='myPassword' http://theos.in/protected/area/foo.pdf

    MSC (Microsoft System Console) List

    Console
    Description
    azman.msc
    Authentication Manager
    certmgr.msc
    Certificate Manager
    comexp.msc
    Component Services (COM+) Administration
    compmgmt.msc
    Computer Management (contains several  other consoles, for example, DiskMgmt.Msc)
    devmgmt.msc
    Device Manager
    diskmgmt.msc
    Disk Management
    eventvwr.msc
    Event Viewer
    fsmgmt.msc
    Shared Folders Management
    gpedit.msc
    Group Policy Editor
    lusrmgr.msc
    Local Users and Groups
    NAPCLCFG.msc
    Network Access Protocol Client Configuration
    perfmon.msc
    Performance Monitor
    printmanagement.msc
    Print Management
    rsop.msc
    Resultant Set Of Policy
    SecPol.msc
    Security Policy Editor ( a subset of Group Policy)
    Services.msc
    Services manager
    TaskSchd.msc
    Task Scheduler
    tpm.msc
    Trusted Platform Module
    WF.msc
    Windows Firewall with Advanced Security
    Shortcut for: Control Panel | Windows Firewall | Advanced Settings (on left in Task Pane)
    WMImgmt.msc
    Windows Management Instrumentation Control