Sunday, February 20, 2022

VMware Audio Latency

 I was having a problem with audio latency in VMware Workstation on my Windows 10 guest.  I found an article that helped me fix it.

Ever since I changed to using Windows 10 in my VMware Fusion virtual machine, I've struggled with a fair bit of latency and audio problems when using the standard HDAudio device. Changing the buffer time didn't make a huge difference, but now I've found a way to install the VMaudio driver and revert to the old es1371 audio device so I can lower the latency. This makes my Windows 10 run like my Windows 7 VM latency-wise, and I figured everyone else could use this info, so here goes (note: This worked for me, but I'm not responsible if your audio breaks):
NB: Whenever something is between quotes, assume that everything between the quotes has to be copied or executed. If there are quotes within the quotes, you do have to include those when you copy the text.
1. While it's shut down and VMware fusion is closed, back up your virtual machine by storing a copy of your .vmwarevm package somewhere else, just in case you need to revert later.
2. Boot up your virtual machine.
3. Go to the menu bar > Virtual Machine >Reinstall VMware Tools, and dismiss the auto-play notification or the setup dialog if they appear.
4. Open up a command prompt (windows key+r, then type "cmd")
5. I like to type "D:" to get to my cd-drive, but you can also type the path directly. Run this command on the drive your VMware tools install is mounted:
"setup64 /a"
press enter.
6. Follow the instructions on screen, and extract to a folder of your choosing.
7. Using Windows explorer, go to the directory where you extracted the VMware tools. Within this directory navigate to the following path:
"VMware\VMware Tools\VMware\Drivers\audio\Vista"
8. Locate the file "vmaudio.inf", and press shift+f10 (or right click) on it.
9. Find "install" in the context menu, and press enter on it. Follow the on screen instructions.
10. Shut down your virtual machine and quit VMware fusion. Now it's time to edit your .vmx file
11. In the mac finder, locate your .vmwarevm package, and bring up the context menu. Navigate to "show package contents".
12. Locate your "<name of virtual machine>.vmx" file.
13. Bring up the context menu, find "open with" and open it in your favorite text editor. Text edit will do.
14. You have to change 2 lines in this file. If the line "sound.virtualDev = "hdaudio"" is present, change it to "sound.virtualDev = "es1371""
Next, add this line if it is not already present, and experiment with the buffer length. I find that 30 is a good number: pciSound.playBuffer = "30""
Finally, if you already tweaked the sound.bufferTime parameter with the new hdaudio device, I'm not sure it makes a difference or not. You can possibly leave it there, but I deleted it. Then save your .vmx-file
15. Go into fusion, and boot your machine. Hopefully it should now be much more responsive.

Accessed 2022-02-19

Friday, September 10, 2021

We Need to Teach Critical Thinking Again

One thing most people don’t realize about tech people that are roughly my age (plus or minus five years, let’s say) is how many of the dark corners of the internet we’ve been exposed to.  From 4chan to torrent sites, we’ve had access to content that most people don’t even know exists, and we’ve had this access a lot longer than they have even had the opportunity.

Back when TiVo was new and most people watched broadcast TV according to a schedule, we were recording and uploading our shows to the internet, region controls be damned.  Occasionally, I’d log into a torrent site and see some crazy conspiracy video about how we didn’t really land on the moon, or that the Jews did 9/11.  Now, people are all concerned that content like this is poisoning people’s minds.  Well, that’s because most people today have zero critical thinking skills and their opinions are assigned to them.  So if they watch a conspiracy video, they just automatically believe or reject it.  Maybe some parts of the video are legitimate, but oftentimes, there are many untruths, be they lies or simply someone who was misinformed.

The last few years have made me aware of just how easy it is to manipulate people, and it is truly frustrating to see it in action.  But that’s what happens when you have a public education system.  The state doesn’t teach you things that the state doesn’t want you to know, like your rights, or how to be fiscally responsible, or how to recognize when you’re being lied to.  It’s not going to change until people unplug and start reading books.  Most people won’t ever be able to think for themselves, and that’s by design.

We need some kind of school choice, and with technology today, that should be easier than ever.  State education controls require students to be able to pass standardized tests, and that is where our public schools curricula originate.  We can make videos on the same topics that get taught over and over again, but we also need to inspire a sense of curiosity in our kids so that they will seek out new knowledge that isn’t spoon-fed to them.  I don’t know how to get most people to do this, though, because they seem completely uninterested in doing so.

Friday, April 2, 2021

Virtualbox Crashing when pulling up the Optical Drives Menu

 I'm still running an old version of Virtualbox (5.2.20), which is probably unsupported at this point.  One day, it started crashing whenever I had a VM open and went to Devices, Optical Drives.

The problem was that one of the ISOs I had mounted previously was on a network file server that didn't exist anymore.  I tried editing various VBox XML files, but they kept refreshing and including the old ISO file.

What I ended up doing was I temporarily changed another file server's IP to that of the old file server and I put an ISO file with the same name in the previous location.  Virtualbox seemed happy with this.  However, I wasn't able to find a good way to clear the recent ISO files list, so I tried the brute-force method: I mounted several other ISOs until it dropped off the list of recent ISO files.

After changing my file server's IP back, everything worked fine again.

I figured this out by using Process Monitor to figure out what the Virtualbox process was accessing.  When I saw it trying to pull up network paths, I ran Wireshark to see what was happening when it tried to access the server that wasn't there anymore.

Monday, October 14, 2019

The Tech Industry

I’m not sure I quite know how to put into words how I feel about the tech industry lately.  I used to always want the latest gear, and be constantly on the hunt for new hardware that would make my games run faster and look better.  Now it seems, everything has just stagnated.

In 1997, I bought a $500 scanner – considered low-cost at the time.  I bought it because my friend’s dad had one and I thought it would be cool to be able to scan documents and photos.  But I didn’t take very many pictures or have all that much to scan.  This turned out to be my first major purchase that was a total flop, and I started being much more careful about how I spent my money from then on.

I think the real change came around 2005 though.  That was the year that DirectX 9 games came out – Half-Life 2, Quake 4, etc.  Those were really the last new games that I would play until about 2012.  I spent a lot of time playing CS:Source, but a lot less time playing video games in general.

Graphics also began to stagnate, and a lot of that was because of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 being around for so long.  It wasn’t until the upgraded versions of those consoles came out that there were real improvements.  Not that it really mattered, because by 2004, it seemed like things were just “good enough.”

A lot had changed in my life by then besides gaming too.  I had gone through college and started working, so I had less time and other priorities.  It seems like I have lost a lot of my creativity too.  But now it seems like software is something that you rent.  You’ll never get to play your old games after a few years, and definitely not in their original form, before they were broken with a bunch of patches.

Friday, April 12, 2019


Exclusive: How a Russian firm helped catch an alleged NSA data thief


The 2016 arrest of a former National Security Agency contractor charged with a massive theft of classified data began with an unlikely source: a tip from a Russian cybersecurity firm that the U.S. government has called a threat to the country.

Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab turned Harold T. Martin III in to the NSA after receiving strange Twitter messages in 2016 from an account linked to him, according to two people with knowledge of the investigation. They spoke with POLITICO on condition of anonymity because they’re not authorized to discuss the case.
Although Kaspersky has worked with U.S. law enforcement and security firms for years to track hackers, the company's relationship with the government began to grow tense around 2012 as it exposed a series of covert NSA spy kits and hacking operations after finding the previously unknown spy software on customers’ machines. The company has exposed more U.S. spy operations than any other cybersecurity firm in the last six years, and has in turn become a hacking target of spy agencies itself for its success in exposing not only NSA operations but those of Israel, the United Kingdom and France.
But the collection of files helped fuel U.S. allegations that Kaspersky itself poses a security threat. That’s because, unknown to Kaspersky at the time, Israel had hacked the company’s network in 2014, and in 2015 quietly told U.S. officials that it saw Russian intelligence operatives siphon the tools from Pho's machine with Kaspersky's cooperation or knowledge, using its antivirus software. The public only learned about this allegation in 2017 when anonymous sources leaked it to reporters. But no evidence backing this claim has ever been made public, and nobody has explained how the Israelis knew the extraction was not just part of standard infection analysis and cleanup.
[Regarding Harold Martin's Twitter account]
The Kaspersky researcher didn't respond to the Twitter sender after this. Instead, he and colleagues conducted some online sleuthing and were able to easily unmask the sender's identity.

A Google search on the Twitter handle found someone using the same Hal999999999 username on a personal ad seeking female sex partners...A different search led them to a LinkedIn profile for Hal Martin, described as a researcher in Annapolis Junction and "technical advisor and investigator on offensive cyber issues." The LinkedIn profile didn't mention the NSA, but said Martin worked as a consultant or contractor “for various cyber related initiatives” across the Defense Department and intelligence community.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Guide to using GPS with Airodump CSV Tools

There is an Android app included that will capture GPS coordinates from your Android device and save them to a file. Airodump CSV Tools will read this file to determine the GPS coordinates for the APs end devices in your airodump .csv file(s). Run it before you run airodump-ng and stop it after you stop airodump-ng for best results.

To improve its accuracy, you can run this program frequently while you run Airodump ( does this once every five seconds). Doing so will keep the list of maximum power levels for each AP and end device in the files [prefix]-appower.csv and [prefix]-stapower.csv. After doing this, copy the GPS file from your Android device and run csvtools again, with the same -w [prefix] and csv file name, and specify the GPS file with -g.

GPS Example:
  1.     Start the GPS app on your phone.
  2.     Enter this in terminal 1: airodump-ng mon0 --output-format=csv -w packets
  3.     Enter this in terminal 2: ./
  4.     Drive around and find some APs
  5.     Stop the apps in terminal 1 and 2.
  6.     Stop the Android app.
  7.     Copy the GPS file from your phone to your computer.
  8.     Run this: csvtools -w test -g [gpsfile] packets-01.csv
  9.     This will generate test.kml, which can be opened in Google Earth.

Airodump CSV Tools v0.6 Released

After more than two years, I have released a new version of Airodump CSV tools.  It features many bug fixes, speed improvements, and a couple of new options.

Now on Github.

VMware Audio Latency

 I was having a problem with audio latency in VMware Workstation on my Windows 10 guest.  I found an article that helped me fix it. Ever sin...