Wednesday, April 13, 2011

TrueCrypt: on the fly encryption

Nowadays, we can carry lots of information with us especially when digital storage device capacity has increased exponentially over the past few years. I remember buying my very first USB drive which capacity only 16MB (year 2001), at the same cost right now (year 2011) I could buy 250GB portable hard drive. With that amount of capacity you have, you could store lots of data be it photos, videos, documents, etc. Some are casual, sharable, some are confidential.

We would like to focus on the confidential data. Do you ever worried the confidential data in your storage devices fall into wrong hands and manipulate your data for their interest. Thus, here I would like to introduce a powerful encryption software but yet very easy to use.

Over the past years, I've tried a few encryption software (free ones). Of course, a famous one until today is GPG or GNU Privacy Guard. Although the encryption is great, out of the question, but the user interface really need improvement (you need programming basic).

TrueCrypt Concept
TrueCrypt is an open source software that allows you to encrypt file on the fly. You can either create an encrypted volume inside your storage device or you can even encrypt the whole partition/drive. The concept of creating an encrypted volume is like you have a drive inside a drive. Let say your USB drive capacity is 4GB, you may create an encrypted volume of 1GB. All you have to do is just to mount the 1GB volume as another drive whenever you want to access read/write/edit the file in the volume.
*Tips: TrueCrypt can run on its own (standalone mode). You can choose the standalone mode by selecting Extract instead of Install during installation. You can copy the executable file (~1.5MB) into your USB drive so that you can carry around together with the encrypted volume.

TrueCrypt Encryption Algorithm
TrueCrypt uses famous encryption algorithm and also able to combine them. During the volume/partition/drive encryption, you can run the benchmark test to see the speed of encryption and decryption for the different algorithm. Below are snapshot on my PC (different PC may have different speed due to vary in specifications):

TrueCrypt and Dropbox (File Sharing)
This encrypted volume, not only great for storing in local devices but also good to store over the Internet such as Dropbox. Although Dropbox already guaranteed AES encryption, but it is unlocked by using your user name and password which can be reset by admin. Thus, I would strongly recommend you encrypt your highly confidential files before placing over the Internet. Remember when you feel convenient that you can access your files from anywhere, anytime, others may do the same to your file.
*Tips: Keep the encrypted volume small just nice to fit all your confidential files (document, photo, etc). The smaller the file, the faster it sync through Internet. FYI, my encrypted volume is just 2 to 5MB and it sync seamlessly all the time.

Due to its high security, the password cannot be reset or retrieved if you have forgotten the password. Thus, always use password that difficult to guess but easier to remember by you only. Alternatively, TrueCrypt allows you to use other files (any format) to use as a keyfile. But then, you must make sure you don't loose or corrupt the file, otherwise you can't open your encrypted volume.

I tested with Windows XP, Windows 7 Ultimate 32-Bit and 64-Bit without any issue.

Download TrueCrypt
Visit TrueCrypt Official Website to download and also read more details on this software. I would recommend this software for your to ensure your confidential data is secured at least when you are looking.

:: aerobrainTech ::

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Shutter Count using Opanda IExif

You can use Opanda IExif to find out what is the shutter count of your DSLR.
* Unfortunately this only works for Nikon and very few models of Canon (20D). If you have more info please comment.

Shutter count is referring to how many times the mirror moves up and down during taking pictures. Thus, this number correspond to the life of the main component of a DSLR which is the mirror assembly. It is crucial to look at this number if you want to decide whether to send to service or you want to but an used DSLR camera body.

This is how to check the shutter count of your DSLR Camera:

Garmin MapSource Installation

Garmin devices have been leading the GPS market since the popularity of GPS navigation has increased from time to time. But, Garmin also has a very useful offline map software (similar to Google Maps online) which called MapSource.

MapSource is shipped together with mapping capable GPS devices such as eTrex. I used MapSource even before the boom of Google Maps happen in 2005. I get the very first copy of MapSource when I bought my Garmin eTrex Vista Cx. Here I will share how to download and install MapSource together with Malaysia & Singapore Map. The best thing about this is its FREE!

Download MapSource Installer (ver 6.16.3) 
* On slower PC you might want to install the older version 6.13.7

Download Malaysia & Singapore Map
* Maps provided by You can check update there.

Do not double-click on the Installer. Instead you need to extract the installer file similar how do you extract zip file. In this case I recommend use 7zip. Download 7zip here or here.
* By using 7zip, you can 'right click' on the Installer file, as shown below:


Open the folder, do not run the 'Setup.exe'. Instead look for 'MSmain.msi'. Double-click 'MSmain.msi'. ('MAIN.msi' for ver 6.13.7)
Follow thru the normal installation. Once it is done, it won't give any notification, but you can verify thru Start Menu. If 'Garmin > MapSource' exist then it is installed.
* You'll receive error or empty page if you run MapSource at this point because no map installed yet.


Run the Map Installer. Follow thru the installation using default setting.
Open MapSource thru Start Menu. The map should appear. If it does not appear. Go to 'View > Switch to Product >'

* Find nearest place
Navigate (Zoom & Pan) the map until state level, ie. Kuala Lumpur.
Go to 'Find > Find Nearest Places...'

* Create Route
Point to any point on the map, 'right click > Begin Route'.
Point to the destination, 'right click > Add to Route'.
Click on the Routes tab on the right pane, and you'll see it calculates the distance.
Double-click the route to open 'Route Properties' where you can see the detail even the directions. You may edit the route by adding other points as well.

MapSource vs Google Maps

Works offline even you don't have internet connection
Easier to find nearest location
Transfer point of interest (POI) to Garmin GPS devices

Map does not auto-update

:: aerobrainTech ::

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

For Sale: WD My Book Live - Home Network Storage

Western Digital (WD) My Book Live 1TB/2TB/3TB NEW!!

Main Features
* Attached to Wifi-Router through Ethernet LAN (1Gb/s)
* Share files, videos, pictures between computers seamlessly
* Access files remotely through Internet from anywhere
* Compatible with Apple Time Machine

* Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7
* Mac OS X Leopard or Snow Leopard
* DLNA/UPnP enabled devices

* Ethernet (1Gb/s max)

Package Includes
* Home network drive
* Ethernet cable
* AC power adapter
* Installation and software CD
* Quick Install Guide

* 3 years

* Product Overview (PDF)

* 1TB - RM479 | SGD | USD | EUR
* 2TB - RM649 | SGD | USD | EUR
* 3TB - RM849 | SGD | USD | EUR


:: aerobrainTech ::