Thursday, August 28, 2014

Updated my HiMedia Q5II Android TV box firmware to Caidy Custom Mango Hi Q v1.0.7

The official Mango Hi Q v1.0.7 for HiMedia Q5II Android TV box has been released about a month ago. It comes with some known bugs, and some bloatware that is undeletable.

I have chosen to update my HiMedia Q5II with the Caidy Custom firmware v1.0.7 which is lighter (by removing unnecessary components from the official firmware, including the bloatware) and with several enhancements and bug fixes.

Caidy Custom firmware v1.0.7 is available for the following models of HiMedia Android TV box:

  • EMMC version: HD600AII, Q5II, Q12, Q15, Q9
  • NAND version: HD600AII, Q5II
You can download this Caidy Custom firmware v1.0.7 for HiMedia TV boxes here.

Make sure you download the firmware that matches with the model number of your HiMedia Q-series dual core Android TV box. If the label on your box has the wording of "eMMC" (which is the newer version sold to the market since November 2013 onwards), download the firmware for EMMC version. Otherwise, download the firmware for non-EMMC version.

The update process is pretty simple. Just put the downloaded file in a USB thumb drive, then plug the USB thumb drive into one of the USB port of the HiMedia TV box, and perform the update from System Settings option.
I have to warn you that you will very likely encounter data lost during the firmware update process, as this update will factory reset your HiMedia TV box. Make sure you copy out and/or backup your apps and settings before you perform the firmware update.

After update, this is how your screen will look like. Note that the icons in the middle bar is fully user configurable.

If you want to add in Google Play Store, which is not included in this version of firmware, you can download the Gapp_V2.exe installation file here.

Put the file in a Windows computer within the same local network with your HiMedia TV box. Make sure your HiMedia TV box is switched on, then execute Gapp_V2.exe from your Windows computer.

The password is "newer1".

When prompted, key in the IP address of your HiMedia TV box, and press . Don't worry if you can't see the Chinese words on the console box, you just need to key in the right IP address, and Google Play Store should be installed to your HiMedia TV box when the process ended.

If you want to install YouTube, search for "YouTube for TV" in your Google Play Store.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Obtain read and write access to Linux ext4 partition from Windows using Paragon ExtFS

If you have an SD card or an external harddisk or any other storage which is formatted in Linux native ext2/ext3/ext4 partition, and you want to mount and have full read/write access to it from Windows, here is the solution! Better still, it is free for personal use!

Paragon ExtFS for Windows is a small utility that enable you to gain both the read and write access to ext2/ext3/ext4 file systems, which is not recognized nor accessible by stock Windows OS.

This is particularly useful when you want to use your Windows computer to read, write, delete, rename, move, or copy file in your SD card or external harddisk or any other storage that is formatted with the ext2/ext3/ext4 file system.

You can download Paragon ExtFS for Windows here.

You need to register on their website in order to obtain the Product Key and Serial Number required during installation. Don't worry, this product is free for personal use, and the information will be emailed to you without any charge.

When it is running, by can automatically detect the partition with the ext2/ext3/ext4 file system, and by default will auto-mount it as a storage drive.

The drive will be seamlessly accessible by Windows.

Note that Windows detected my 16GB SD Card with Ext4 file system and assigned it to Drive E. However, Drive E is inaccessible, and Windows will ask you to format it if you try to access to it, resulting in total data lost if you choose to format it to a Windows recognizable file system (FAT32/NTFS/exFAT).

Paragon ExtFS mounted it as Drive F, which is fully accessible just like other drives.

When you right click on Drive F and look into its Properties, you will notice that its file system is shown as DOKAN.

You can click here to learn more about the Dokan file system driver.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Updated the BIOS of my Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro laptop to Version 38

I have just updated the BIOS of my Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro laptop from Version 31 to Version 38.

You can download the latest BIOS update utility of Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro from their support website here.

Beside BIOS update, you can also download the driver update files from that website as well.

The BIOS update is pretty straightforward. Make sure that the battery level of the laptop is at least 80%, and it is plugged on to the AC power supply. Then, run the BIOS Update Utility.


The new BIOS will be flashed with the InsydeFlash utility from Windows 8.1. After that, the system will reboot itself, and the BIOS update will be performed.

You will eventually reach to a state that the keyboard backlit of the laptop is on, and the screen is blank. Wait for a while, then long press the power key of the laptop to switch it off. When you switch it on again, the new BIOS is now up and running.

There is no data lost for this BIOS update. Even the BIOS settings and passwords remain after the update.

Updated my HTC One (M7) to Android 4.4.3 (KitKat) with Sense 6.0

My HTC One (M7) received its OTA update from Android 4.4.2 (KitKat) to Android 4.4.3 (KitKat) yesterday (24 August 2014).

It seems that this update focuses on security fixes, particularly the fix for OpenSSL vulnerabilities (Heartbleed Bug and some other bugs).

Visually, there is no noticeable change from the previous version. The Software Information section in the phone informs us that:
  • Android version updated from 4.4.2 to 4.4.3
  • HTC Sense version updated from 5.5 to 6.0
  • Software number updated from 4.20.707.6 to 6.13.707.1
  • HTC SDK API level updated from 5.69 to 6.25
  • Kernel version remains as 3.4.10

Monday, August 18, 2014

How to get into the BIOS Setup Utility screen of Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro laptop

In order to get into the BIOS Setup Utility screen of Lenovo Ideapad series of laptops, you need to locate for a button called the Novo Button on the laptop.

In the case of Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro ultrabook, this Novo button is a small round button located beside the Power button.

While is laptop is powered off, press and hold this Novo button for a few seconds, and you should be able to see the Novo Button Menu with 4 options:
  • Normal Startup
  • BIOS Setup
  • Boot Menu
  • System Recovery
Select the 2nd option namely "BIOS Setup" and press . There you are, the BIOS Setup Utility screen of Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro!

In this BIOS Setup Utility, you can view some of the hardware information of the laptop, including its serial number. Most importantly, you can setup the BIOS passwords (administrator and user) and also the harddisk password here as a basic security measure to protect the data in your laptop.

My Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro 13-3332 multimode ultrabook laptop

I was searching for a new laptop suitable for home use recently. My selection criteria are:

  • Portable lightweight ultrabook not more than 1.4kg
  • Convertible to tablet with multitouch screen
  • At least 4GB RAM
  • Using SSD storage
  • Windows 8.1 operating system
  • Price slightly more than RM3000 (for optimum income tax relief)
I ended up with Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro 13-3332 (3332 is grey and 3333 is orange) multimode ultrabook laptop which has the following specs:
  • Intel Core i5-4200U processor
  • Integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000
  • Intel Wireless-N 7260 2x2 2.4Ghz 300Mbps WiFi adapter
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • 13.3" QHD+ (3200x1800) LED screen with 10 points multitouch sensor
  • 8GB RAM
  • 128GB Samsung SSD
  • 2 USB ports
  • Keyboard with backlit
  • 2 years limited International Warranty Service (IWS)
  • Light weight of 1.39kg
I like the premium feeling of this Lenovo laptop, from the moment of its unboxing. The material used in its packaging, and the care taken to protect it in the box is really good. Even the sleeve that comes together with the laptop looks nice and classy.

The key unique selling point of this Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro laptop is of course its 360-degree flip-and-fold design. It is said to be a 75% laptop and 25% tablet, easily convertible into one of its 4 modes of Laptop, Stand, Tablet and Tent.

Its keyboard will only function in Laptop mode, and will be automatically locked in the other 3 modes. I find the keyboard a bit cramped, confined by its 13.3" form factor. I like the backlit feature of this keyboard, beautifully illuminating the keys in dark condition.

Tent mode has a small footbase and good for doing one-to-one presentation, small group discussion, watching movie, etc.

Tablet mode turns it into a 13.3" tablet, powered by the full 64-bit Windows 8.1 operating system.

I can't find any practical use of Stand mode yet. Stand mode is just like Laptop mode without the keyboard in front.

Its QHD+ 3200x1800 super-high resolution screen is superb. But having too high resolution sometimes is not good too. At that high resolution on a relatively small screen of 13.3", the font size need to be enlarged 250% or else will be too small to read and/or touch. However, certain applications are not well tested with this quad HD resolution, and might appear small, or the text overlapping after the 250% enlargement.

I ended up scaling it down to the HD resolution of 1920x1080 (1080p) with 125% font size enlargement setting, and all the applications look OK with this lower resolution (yet better than the 1366x768 resolution in many other laptops in the market).

With this lower screen resolution, its battery life improved too.

This Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro supports motion control and voice control, something fancy to play around with.

Being an ultrabook, this laptop only has 2 USB ports (1 USB 2.0 and another USB 3.0) and doesn't have a CD/DVD drive. Nowadays, we can easily use either USB thumbdrive or external harddisk to replace the CD/DVD, so not a big deal without the CD/DVD drive.

The storage capacity of its 128GB SSD is a bit small. In fact, quite a large portion of it already allocated as recovery partitions and some other system usage, leaving even smaller usable capacity of around 100GB only. Anyhow, this kind of storage capacity is still sufficient for normal use.

There is one important thing that I would like to warn all the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro buyers. This laptop sold in Malaysia comes with 2 years international warranty, but if you don't register your purchase with Lenovo, its warranty actually started from the date when Lenovo shipped it to the distributor. That date is printed on its box, and could be a few months before your purchase.

You can check for its warranty information with the Lenovo Companion apps, which you can find in the Metro screen of the Windows 8.1 in your laptop. You can also check this warranty information online by visiting to:

To update the warranty start and end date of your Lenovo laptop, you just need to send an email to  their Services Sales Registration team at with information of your laptop model number, serial number, date of purchase and attach with proof of purchase (the sales invoice). I received their reply with warranty date updated within 2 hours after I sent out my email to them.

I have been using this Lenovo multimode ultrabook laptop for more than a week now, my experience with it has been wonderful.

There is a higher end version of Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro with Intel i7 processor and 256GB SDD, but the price is also a bit high for that model.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

4 channel RC Skywalker quadcopter aerocraft drone

My kid has a new toy, a remote control (RC) Skywalker quadcopter aerocraft drone which I bought at the price of RM110.

This is an ideal RC drone for beginners, as the quadcopter is protected by its cage, so that it is less likely to hit on something and break its blade(s). In the event of a crash landing, it is cushioned by the cage too.

With this kind of design, it can be set to flying mode or rolling mode by adjusting its battery position. In rolling mode, its cage acts as its wheel.

This is its remote control system.

The drone operates on a 3.7V 300mAh rechargeable battery, while its remote control system operates on some AA size batteries. Each charge can last the drone to fly for about 6-10 minutes. When its battery gone weak, the drone is intelligent enough to gradually land itself instead of a sudden crash.

The left RC stick controls its flying height and facing direction, while the right RC stick controls its movement (forward, backward, turn left, turn right). You can also see there are several fine tuning switches to adjust its position.

To take off, gently push the left RC stick upwards. Landing is more challenging. You cannot land too fast and have to slowly pull the left RC stick backwards, or else it will have a sudden drop and crash. Landing on a designated spot will need some practice, but it is not that difficult.

The more challenging part is when there is wind blowing. You'll need to control the drone to counter the wind and fly according to your desired direction.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Enhance Windows 8.1 usability with Classic Shell 4.1.0

I have replaced the IObit Start Menu 8 in my Windows 8.1 PCs with Classic Shell 4.1.0.

Classic Shell 4.1.0 is more stable, and more feature rich than IObit Start Menu 8. The Classic Start Menu in Classic Shell 4.1.0 can also display properly in high screen resolution of 3200x1800, but the IObit Start Menu 8 appears tiny in such high resolution screen.

You can download Classic Shell for free here.

The key component of Classic Shell is Classic Start Menu, which brings back the Windows Start Menu in Windows 8/8.1 similar to IObit Start Menu 8.

There are many settings you can play around in Classic Start Menu 4.1.0.

Besides, Classic Shell also includes Classic Explorer which will add a handy toolbar to Windows Explorer.

This Classic Explorer toolbar is configurable too.

The 3rd component is Classic IE, which adds the following functions to Internet Explorer:
  • Adds a caption to the title bar so you can see the full title of the page
  • Shows the security zone in the status bar
  • Shows the loading progress in the status bar

  • Gyro-sensing fly air mouse with mini QWERTY wireless keyboard

    I find that using the remote control of my HiMedia Q5II Android 3D smart TV + media player box to navigate its screen sometimes has some inconvenience, especially when I need to do typing using the on screen soft keyboard, or I have to navigate in mouse cursor mode.

    This inconvenience can be reduced by installing HiControl in my Android smartphone and/or tablet, and making use of the Android device's touch screen to perform the soft keyboard typing and also the point-and-click action.

    Recently, I bought a gyro-sensing fly air mouse with mini QWERTY wireless keyboard to work together with the remote control of the HiMedia Q5II box to have much better control to the system. It cost less than RM70.

    The size of this gadget is about the same as the remote control, as shown below.

    In order to use this fly air mouse-keyboard gadget, I just need to plug its USB dongle into on of the USB slot of my HiMedia Q5II box. It is plug and play and can automatically perform the necessary wireless pairing, then it can immediately function.

    This gadget turns into an air mouse when I press on the Android key at its center. The mouse cursor will shows on the TV screen, which I can control by hand movement.

    In any text input area, this gadget becomes handy with its QWERTY keyboard. Note that the original HiMedia remote control is still handy when come to typing numbers, and both of these 2 devices can work side-by-side.

    This gadget can also perform sound volume control just like the remote control. The remote control is still important, especially when come to turning on and turning off the TV box.

    Beside being a better input device that compliment the remote control, some of the TV games are designed to work with fly air mouse, making it the preferred game control device.

    During idle and when the TV box is switched off, this gadget will bring itself into sleep mode, conserving its battery usage.

    Friday, August 8, 2014

    Logitech Wireless Mouse M525 - my second wireless mouse

    I have just purchased a new laptop for my household, and decided to get the Logitech Wireless Mouse M525 as its input device companion.

    This is the second wireless mouse I bought for my household computers. I have a good experience with my first wireless mouse, the Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 4000, except that it has a relatively short battery life of about 3-4 months only, despite I have a good habit to switch off the mouse everytime I shutdown my PC to conserve the mouse's battery usage.

    This Logitech Wireless Mouse M525 is about the same size with Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 4000. Its scroll wheel and buttons are also functioning as good as Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 4000, and both can work very well on glossy surface.

    However, the Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 4000 has an additional left button, which I seldom use. The housing and cover material of Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 4000 also looks more premium and has better feel. The cover of Logitech Wireless Mouse M525 is just too plastic.

    It is also easier to stow the USB transceiver at the bottom of Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 4000. You need to open up the front cover of Logitech Wireless Mouse M525 to store its Unifying receiver into the mouse. The Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 4000 power on/off switch is easier to slide too.

    Anyhow, the Logitech Wireless Mouse M525 also has many pros against Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 4000. It claims to be able to have 3-year battery life! It will turn itself into smart sleeping mode while it is idling, to conserve the battery usage.

    It can operate with either one or two batteries. Additional battery will give longer battery life, at the slight trade off of making the mouse weight heavier.

    The mouse comes with 2 GP Alkaline AA batteries, which I've put aside, and use the Energizer brand instead.

    The mouse can work immediately in Windows 7/8 once you plug the Logitech Unifying receiver into the computer's USB port and switch on the Logitech Wireless Mouse M525.

    I'd recommend you to download and install the Logitech Setpoint software to get the best of this Logitech Wireless Mouse M525. Visit to to download.

    Beside Logitech Setpoint, you can also download and install the Logitech Unifying software which lets you perform pairing and unpairing Logitech devices with the Logitech Unifying receiver. If you are using Windows 7, you can also download the Flow Scroll software to get a smoother scrolling experience in web browsers such as Google Chrome and Microsoft Internet Explorer.

    There are 2 types of installer available in the website. The Smart Installer with a smaller file size, and the Full Installer. I'd advise you to get the Full Installer. I tried the Smart Installer, which took a long time to run until I cancelled it.

    The Logitech Unifying receiver can pair up with up to 6 supported Logitech wireless devices. The paired devices will show up in Logitech Unifying software. You can check for their status, battery condition, and even perform firmware update with the software.

    The Logitech Setpoint software has more function than the Microsoft Mouse and Keyboard Center used by the Microsoft wireless mouse.

    There is a Game Mode Settings section for better gaming experience with the mouse. You can also configure the mouse to have application specific button settings.

    The Setpoint software can also show the mouse's battery usage condition.

    The Logitech Setpoint icon in Windows Taskbar notification area is also showing the battery condition in the mouse.

    In addition, it can also show the keyboard Caps Lock, Num Lock and Scroll Lock status, a handy feature for laptops that don't have any LED or indicator to show whether these keys are toggled on or not.

    Thursday, August 7, 2014

    My first purchase experience with Tesco Online Shopping

    Tesco is my favourite hypermarket for grocery shopping. Usually, I'll go to their physical store near my house.

    Tesco Online Shopping service has been made available to my area for quite some times. Now they are having promotion to provide free delivery service (normally they'll charge for RM10 delivery fee) and also free potato chips as gift to online shoppers.

    I just need to select the items to purchase from their website, tell them the delivery address, book a delivery time slot, and confirm the order. Payment will be made with credit card only when I receive the goods.

    They sent out a confirmation email to me within seconds after the order was placed. I was allowed to make changes to the order or to cancel the order one day before the delivery is due.

    Their delivery man called me to confirm there will be person waiting at home during the delivery time slot. The delivery van arrived pretty punctual. I was told that 2 of the items I ordered are out of stock. The rest of the items arrived in good condition, together with the free gift. I was charged for the actual amount and paid with on credit card on the spot.

    Buying with Tesco Online Shopping save me time and effort to have to go to their physical store. I also no need to worry about the long payment queue at the store's cashier counter. It is really convenient.

    However, here are a few drawbacks:
    • The nearest delivery time slot might not be available. In this case, you might need to pick for a time slot that require you to wait for some times before you receive the goods.
    • Tesco Clubcard vouchers and coupons cannot be applied for online purchase yet.
    • I am not sure whether the Tesco Clubcard points collection is applicable for online purchase or not. There is no place to key-in Clubcard number during online purchase, and there is no device to swipe the Clubcard for points collection during goods receipt.
    • I was not informed about the goods that are out of stock, until their delivery man arrived at my doorstep and inform me so.
    After all, this is a good experience of grocery shopping with Tesco Online.

    Hint: Click on the "Older Posts" link to continue reading, or click here for a listing of all my past 3 months articles.