Saturday, 26 March 2011

How to Install Netflix on Wii (softmodded)

I just signed up for a 30 day free trial... $8/mo thereafter.  I'm not at all sold on Netflix yet as it doesn't appear to have any of the movies or shows I want to watch.  As a case in point, check out these search terms I ran this afternoon:  Big Bang Theory [any season] (not available), Inception (not available), Sgt. Bilko (not available), The Social Network (not available), House MD (not available) and so on.  Don't get me wrong, Netflix does have a fair collection of titles.  But an ongoing subscription does not seem useful if their collection does not include new releases on film or current tv shows.

But enough about that.  I want to watch Netflix via my 4.2u softmodded Nintendo Wii.  There used to be a Netflix disc which one would insert, load, and log in to Netflix.  The first thing I tried was downloading the disc image and loading on the wii.  Loads fine, but an error message pops up saying the disc application is unsupported and the newer version must be downloaded from the wii Shopping Channel.

Enter problem two: my softmodded wii won't load the Shopping Channel because it's out of date.  I'm prompted to perform a wii system update to get the new Shopping Channel.  Bad idea.  Doing so would render my softmod (and all applications, games, etc.) useless.  The solution to this problem is to manually update only the Shopping Channel.  Below are two methods, though only method 2 worked for me:

*Note: These methods assume your wii is softmodded a la homebrew channel.  If not, see this guide.*

Method 1 - Internet Update (Easier)

This method uses the Multi Mod Manager to perform a network update of the shopping channel.  Your wii must be connected to the internet for this to work.  I tried this method first as it seems easier, but in the end it didn't work for me (not sure why).  A quick internet search shows hundreds of other happy customers.

Open Multi Mod Manager from the Homebrew Channel.  If you don't have it, download from link below and copy the MMM folder inside your /apps directory on SD card or USB stick:

In MMM, select "Load another IOS" and choose 249.  Now go to "Manage Wii Channels" and ensure the Shopping Channel and your wii's region are selected properly.  Install, and return to MMM main menu.

From "IOS Manager" install IOS56, and say no to all patches.  Then, load IOS56-64--v5662 from the Nintendo Servers.  After everything has installed, exit MMM and restart wii.

Method 2 - Manual Offline Update

For this method you will need a WAD manager such as WAD-Manager_v1.7.

First, download these files and place them in the /wad directory on your SD card or USB stick:

Load your WAD manager from the homebrew channel and use IOS249 for a new install.  Say no to NAND emulation and select the source for your /wad directory.  Install IOS56-64-v5662 and then Shopping Channel-NUS-v20.  [EDIT: Shopping Channel is now v21.  See here for instructions]

After either of these methods, exit the installer, reboot the wii and look for the new Shopping Channel icon in place of your old one.  Load, search for Netflix and download!

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Ubuntu: Make SIP Calls Using Empathy

Ubuntu's default chat client, Empathy, supports a myriad of instant messaging protocols.  Unfortunately, SIP isn't included in this list.  If you have an SIP VOIP account (almost any home phone VOIP product) you can get it working in this application in less than 10 minutes.

First, you must install the sofiasip package (it's in the universe repository).  In terminal, type:
sudo apt-get install telepathy-sofiasip
You should now see a new option in the drop-down Accounts list in Empathy, titled SIP.  Simply enter your SIP username and password and you're good to go.  

To make a call, it's just CTRL + M under the Chat file menu, select your SIP account and enter the number in the Contact ID box.

You'll get a window that looks something like the screenshot below, and you're good to go.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Ubuntu: How to Add Gmail to Indicator Applet

Ubuntu's indicator applet is a relatively new, nifty tool for getting rid of all the system bar clutter and organising it in one drop-down menu.  I'd say it's received mixed reviews... But I like it.  By default, it integrates with instant messaging, email, social broadcast and audio programs BUT its email integration only goes so far as Evolution.

I don't use Evolution.  I find it too clunky and prefer my web-based gmail client.  But the indicator applet menu doesn't allow for web-based gmail noitification by default.  To enable, we must install the gm-notify package.  The good news is that it's contained within the universe repository and installation is a piece of cake.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install gm-notify

You will see a new menu item called GMail Notifier Configuration under System > Preferences.  Open it and configure your account:

Once saved, you need only to restart your menubar and all will be well:

killall gnome-panel

Based on my settings, clicking Inbox will open a Google Chrome browser and take me to new mail.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Ubuntu: How to Change Computer Name

My Ubuntu computer used to be named laptop and my other machine was desktop.  That was all fine and dandy until I installed Ubuntu on my wife's laptop.  Now we run into a situation where names are no longer clearly defined.  You may run into a similar situation.  Or you may regret initially naming your system Darth-gr8-hax0r and the like.  Here's how to change your system name:

From terminal, run:

gksudo gedit /etc/hostname

This will open a text file with your system's current name.  Simply replace the old name with a new one, save, close and log out/in or restart your system to show the name name.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

How to Configure Google Chrome for Tor

(This article supposes you already have tor installed on your Ubuntu system.  If not, see How to Install Tor in Ubuntu)

With firefox practically pioneering open source browser technology, it's no surprise that there's a turn-key package for tor browsing in firefox.  But I like google chrome or chromium and there's no tor add-on.  Not to worry, it's fairly easy to make yourself.  Below are 3 completely different ways to get chrome working with tor:

Method 1 - Configure on Launch (best)

This is the best option for a couple reasons: it's easy to setup and it protects the most data.  All you need to do is run the following command from terminal:

google-chrome --proxy-server=";https=;socks=;sock4=;sock5=,ftp=" --incognito

This command line:
- tells chrome to load using proxy settings
- ensures http, https, socks, socksv4 and sockv5 all use localhost port 8118 (
- loads incognito
- goes to for verification

You can substitute any homepage you wish for but it's nice to have positive verification on load.  You may also remove the --incognito option but I recommend you do not.  Incognito ensures your cookies are not seen by visited websites (cookies easily show the website who you are).

If you don't want to remember that command, simply create a launcher and stick it in the Applications > Internet menu next to chrome:

Just remember that, using this method, you must close all instances of chrome before launching with tor.  If you already have chrome open, the open application's settings will override the tor launch.

Method 2 - Switchy! extension (ok)

This method involves adding the Proxy Switchy! extension to chrome and configuring it for tor/non-tor browsing.  It's good because it allows you to turn tor on and off with the push of a button, but is bad because it doesn't hide your cookie data.

To configure, visit the Proxy Switchy! extension page and install to chrome.  After install, open the extension's settings page and configure to speak with tor/polipo.

Create a profile and name it tor.  Configure this profile to use proxy port 8118 for all protocols.  Your settings should look like the image above when finished.  Now move to the General tab and enable Quick Switch and Binary Switch.  I have my default settings as Profile 1 and my Tor settings as Profile 2.  Just hit the extension image in your toolbar to switch back and forth.

Make sure you visit to ensure it's working!

Method 3 - Proxy Location (worst)

This is another easy method but not my favourite, as it requires a manual switch from non-tor to tor (each time) and it doesn't protect your cookie information.  For this method, we will create two profiles (or "locations" as chrome calls them) and tell one to use tor, and the other to use a direct connection.

Tools > Preferences > Under the Hood  will get you to the Network settings.  Open Change Proxy Settings and select New Location from the Location drop-down menu.

Select Manual proxy and add proxy and port 8118. Select the checkbox asking if you want to use the proxy for all protocols, and you're finished (screen should look like above image).  Now you must switch from default to tor profile whenever you wish to browse the net over the tor network. This is a good option for someone who wants to use tor all the time and doesn't keep saved cookie data.

Happy anonymous browsing!

How to Install Tor in Ubuntu

(This article shows you how to install tor in ubuntu.  If you're trying to use tor with Google Chrome, see How to Configure Google Chrome for Tor)

This morning I read an article about a German judge who recently awarded a Subpoena to Sony for hacker geohot's website.  This means that Sony will soon have in its hands a list of IPs who have visited (and downloaded) geohot's PS3 hack.  Sony may even be able to link web traffic IPs with PS3 IPs and take action against PS3 online gamers.  Of course, this is a very bad move by Sony since it attacks users who haven't broken any laws.  But I digress.... this got me thinking about the need for internet privacy.  If you're thinking the same thing, Tor may be for you.

Simply put, the tor project allows users to mask their identity and internet habits by bouncing their web traffic over a number of random nodes located all over the planet.  These nodes are sustained by tor volunteers who donate their spare cpu and bandwidth to the network.  You can read more about it here.  This guide will show you how to install the tor client (not server) on your Ubuntu linux machine.  If you're using another OS, check out these other installation guides

Step 1 - Download tor

Add the tor repository to your sources list:
sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

And add the following code to the file.  Save and exit.
#### Tor project -
deb maverick main

(You may substitute lucid, karmic, jaunty, etc. for maverick if you're running a different version).  Add the necessary keys:

gpg --keyserver --recv 886DDD89
gpg --export A3C4F0F979CAA22CDBA8F512EE8CBC9E886DDD89 | sudo apt-key add -

Install tor via terminal:
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install tor tor-geoipdb

Step 2 - Configure Polipo

If downloading tor didn't also download polipo (it likely did), you must get it manually as it is required for proper proxy:
sudo apt-get install polipo

Now get rid of the default polipo settings and configure for use with tor.  Open the polipo config file:
sudo gedit /etc/polipo/config

 and replace its entire contents with this substitute configuration.  Save, exit, and restart polipo:
/etc/init.d/polipo restart

Step 3 - Use Tor

Now you can configure any application to route its internet traffic through tor.  Just go to proxy settings, and configure HTTP/HTTPS/SOCKS to point to localhost port 8118 (  Remember that you can visit anytime to see if you've configured correctly.

Some applications allow proxy on/proxy off configuration.  Some require you to manually set the proxy each time you wish to use it.  Have a look at Torbutton for Firefox.  It's probably the easiest turn-key solution.  But I use Google Chrome and torbutton doesn't work.  For great detail on this, see my guide on How to Configure Google Chrome for Tor.

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