Saturday, December 22, 2012

[Tech Tips] How to open Youtube in Pakistan without proxy?

Its been around 3 months since Youtube was banned in Pakistan, supposedly in the wake of the anti-Muslim film Innocence of Muslims. When the film's trailer got released a load of cavemen came bawling about on the street asking to block Youtube. The government, in its signatory response, decided to block access to Youtube for an indefinite period citing the presence of blasphemous content.

The radical conservatives whose actions catalyzed this extreme response, if researched, would make up only around 2-3% of Pakistan's internet populace. This goes on to show the disproportion of the government's response; shutting down access to the world's premier video sharing site where millions of Pakistanis used to watch educational and entertainment videos.

Well, this ban didn't only lead to negatives. There are some positives as well. The use of free internet proxies like Hotspot and Spotflux flourished in the country, effectively lending government's censorship drive rudderless. Also, local video sharing websites like sprang up much like how the ban on Facebook, back in 2010, lead to Muslim Facebook. However, these websites are an alternative at most, I don't think they will be able to keep up once Youtube is unbanned like MFB faded into obscurity once people had regained access to Facebook.

So, now let's get to the crux of the article, how to access Youtube without those slow and pesky proxy softwares. Hotspot for one, is hated, because they just bombard you with a hell load of ads meanwhile giving abysmal speeds. Spotflux is better, it is faster and doesn't have any weird advertisement windows popping up left and right. Still, nothing beats the convenience of circumventing the turning on proxy part for accessing Youtube - you don't have sit around waiting to connect to the proxy server!
I discovered this procedure by chance, it goes like this:

1) Right-click on the internet icon in the system icons portion of the taskbar. (highlighted in yellow)

2) Select Open Network and Sharing Center.
3) Select Local Area Network.

4) Click on the Properties button. Make sure you are the administrator of your computer before doing so.

5) Double-click on Internet Protocol Version 4 in the list.

6) Click on the Use the following DNS server addresses radio button, if not selected, and enter and in their respective fields. These are Google's own DNS servers. Press OK on this window and the one that was open before [the previous one would automatically come up one you press OK on the first one.].

7) Now the first part is done, in the second portion you will apply these DNS settings to your router. If you don't go through this step Youtube would open but not stream.
8) Open your router's setting page by typing your router's address in your browser window. I use PTCL's router which has the address TP-Link routers have either the address or

9) Once you have entered the address you will be prompted for the username and password. If you haven't changed it, although it is recommended that you do, the combination will be admin/admin for both PTCL and TP-Link routers.
10) (for PTCL router) Then select Advanced Setup followed by DNS and enter the DNS addresses again. Save and reboot the router from Mangement.

11) (for TP-Link router) Go to DHCP then select DHCP settings. Enter and in the primary and secondary DNS fields respectively. Save and then restart your router.

Finally access Youtube using the https:// protocol like
Remember the simple http protocol won't work!
Enjoy, do let me know in the comments below how this panned out for you!‎

Sunday, December 16, 2012

[Tech Tips] Hitman: Absolution Crash Fixes


Agent 47. Oh, how much we have missed you. Yes, the silent assassin is back but, unfortunately, with him are a load of crashes and glitches.

I will try to help you people get around the most common ones.

#1 "DirectX 11 failed to initialize"
Hitman: Absolution is one of the first games that actually requires Windows 7 Service Pack 1 to be installed on your machine in order to run the game. If you don't have this SP1 then when you double click the Hitman: Absolution shortcut\executable, this error pops up:

To get around this go to this link and download the the highlighted Service Pack 1 version (see below). Then mount the downloaded .iso image via Daemon Tools or any other image mounting application. You can also burn this image on a DVD.
Download this version.
After mounting the image and accessing the setup within, follow the onscreen instructions and allow the installation to finish. The setup will take approximately an hour to complete and your computer will restart a couple of time during the process.

After you have installed this service pack, the above error will go away.

Also make sure that your graphics card drivers are up-to-date. If not, then you can download the newest drivers from Nvidia or ATI's website, depending upon the make of your graphics card.

#2 Fatal DirectX Errors
There are two fatal DirectX errors that I have seen with Hitman: Absolution...

Both of these errors happen in-game and the game crashes afterwards. I have found that these errors are related to a faulty implementation of Screen Space Ambient Occlusion (SSAO), an advanced graphic rendering technique that calculates how light will bounce off of various graphics within a game. So you will have to turn it off in the graphics menu of Hitman: Absolution. For added stability, I also recommend to turn off the related Depth of Field option. Doing these two will make sure these in-game crashes are kept at bay. However, keep on a look out for a patch from the developers that addresses this issue.
You can access the graphics menu of Hitman: Absolution by selecting Options at the startup screen.

Turn off both these options for a crash free gameplay.
If you are experiencing a problem other than the ones listed then please feel free to leave a comment and I will look into providing a fix for it.

Hope this helps!


Sunday, July 08, 2012

[In Review] Coke Studio: Best Songs

Season 5

Coke Studio is back with was bang this summer and once again Rohail Hyatt knocked us all out with some killer tunes. Coke Studio really is proving to be a benchmark in Pakistani music, and further still in subcontinental music.

The first episode of this season of Coke Studio premiered on more than two dozen TV and Radio channels nationwide on Saturday, May 12th, and the season ended this July 7th. Here we will be looking at the best Coke Studio had to offer this season.

1. Charkha Nolakha

Atif Aslam collaborated with the upcoming rock band Qayaas to churn out a classic. This song is based upon Bulley Shah's kalam and with the level of Punjabi that exudes from it, captions come in real handy. Basically the track is about the preciousness of a dedicated life. Charkha means a spinning wheel while nolakha means priceless. Here charkha is figuratively used as life.
Atif Aslam carries the song really well and does justice to it. His co-vocalist, however, finds it difficult to carry this heavy Punjabi and sometimes fails to pronounce the word correctly. However, the music on the track is absolutely brilliant, especially the unique undertone of Led Zeppelin's Kashmir. Also, the track's tempo changing is impeccable.
This song can be termed as a fusion in the true sense as Atif Aslam's smooth tones are amalgamated with Jaswal's brazen vocals. The latter really adds great highs to the song with his rock screams. A must listen and I am not hesitant in saying this that it just might be the Alif Allah of this season.

2. Ishq Aap Bhi Awalla

The ultra-modern Meesha Shafi and the provincial Chakwal Group came together to give an enchanting performance in the second episode of the season. The group from the Salt Range give a haunting chorus of an account of a woman in love that is down by the stream to fetch some water. Add to it the contrasting style of Shafi's and you have a number that you can listen to repeatedly. This song is omnipresent at weddings in the region and Coke Studio's presentation aims at widening its popularity circle. I couldn't help but notice the group's ability to sing in an incessant unison, with nuances of each member's own distinct timbre.
For someone raised and educated in a city, Shafi does great justice to the Punjabi verses of the song and sings with just the right amount of ebb and flow.

3. Khabaram Raseeda

The acclaimed qawal duo of Farid Ayaz and Abu Muhammad returned these season and gave another rollicking performance. They sing with great verve and emotion and impart a physical meaning to this Persian kalaam of Amir Khusro's. The kalaam revolves around a worldly imagery of the beloved that is juxtaposed against the love for God. It is mesmerizing to listen and the alaaps manage to penetrate your soul, leaving you begging for more. A good part of the qawalli conjures up psychedelic images, speaking volumes about the singing prowess of the duo. Also the fact that the qawalli is 16 minutes long doesn't weigh on a listener. It's so soothing that it draws you into a cocoon of it's own, a cocoon where you temporarily severe your connection with the outside world. True sufism.
This kind of treatment of qawalli will do wonders in bringing its lost fame back as it is more geared towards the inclinations of the younger generation.

4. Pere Pavandi San

This was one of the most refreshing and interesting track of this season. It is based upon Shah Abdul Latif Bithai's poetic rendition of  the famous Sindhi folk tale of Sassi and Punno. The poem talks about the frantic and painstaking search of Sassi for her newlywed groom, Punnu, who is intoxicated and taken away by his brothers to his abode in Makran, Baluchistan. The chorus is about Sassi's plight and how she is beseeching Punnu's brother to let him stay a night with her in Bhambore, Sindh. The piece of poetry can be thought of as a symbolic search of God.
Tahir Mithu's voice really adds to the beauty of this work and he syncs flawlessly with the funky tunes that are infused in this song. This song also speaks volumes about the sweetness and richness of the Sindhi language.

5. Nindya Ke Par

Uzair Jaswal, in recent months, have skyrocketed to the forefront of Pakistani music. The center piece of this achievement was his soulful number Tere Bin which has garnered over 2 million views on Youtube. A Coke Studio call seemed imminent and he didn't disappoint. Blending his romantic number with NFAK's evergeen, Tere Bin Nayi Lagda Dil Mera, proved an ultimate winner.
Jaswal's vocals, though a little on the higher side, complimented both tracks rather well. Especially, the last couple of minutes of Nindya Ke Par really reach out to the soul. I am sure a lot of wretched hearts will relate to the longing in Jaswal's voice.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

[Tech Tips] Max Payne 3 Crash Fixes


So it has been over eight years since we last blasted thugs and munched pain-killers with the gritty Max Payne and finally the third edition of the acclaimed series is out. It is getting rave reviews everywhere and after playing the first few chapters (obviously after overcoming the hell load of crashes and errors), I, too can vouch for the veracity of these reviews. MP 3 is one hell of a game.

Sadly though, there have been a lot of problems encountered by people while trying to play the cracked version of this game. Lets look into solving them so that you don't have to wait a while longer to get into Max's shoes!!

#1 Game crashes on double-clicking the executable or doesn't start at all. Or starts checking for updates.
These kind of errors/crashes are caused by the game checking online for the authenticity of your installation and subsequently looking for updates. Well, you don't have the original game, so it crashes understandably.

To counter this:
  • Add both PlayMaxPayne3.exe and MaxPayne3.exe to your firewall's (Windows, Zone Alarm, ESET etc) blocked list. Don't allow them to communicate over the internet.
You get this dialog if your game is trying to access the internet.
  • Well I can't list specific procedures for the whole lot of these firewalls so you just google your query and you will get a good bunch of tutorials.
  • As a quick tip, however you can switch your third-party firewall to interactive filtering mode and then double-click on the PlayMaxPayne3.exe.
  • Your firewall will now ask for your consent, you should disallow the communication for both the executables and then make it remember your choice as a rule (there is normally a checkbox there for this option).
An example screen shot of an interactive firewall filtering prompt (you obviously have nothing to do with the Bing Client :p).

  • If all goes well then you will see the following dialog on your screen.
  • Click Offline Mode to play!

#2 The game hangs on main screen and then crashes.  (Link Fixed)
This is a fairly simple hurdle to overcome. It is caused by the absence of or the absence of the correct version of Rockstar Games Social Club (who the hell needs it anyway!). The required version is and can be found here (pass: relegated007).
This is MP 3's main screen. If you don't have the correct RGSC application installed, you won't get past here.
  • Install this version.
  • After you have installed this go to: C:\Users\User_Name\Documents\Rockstar Games\Social Club\profiles and make sure that you have these two things there:
This folder (folder name might be different) and .dat file should be there in the profile folder for the game to work.
  • If not then go to your Max Payne 3 installation directory (the one with the executables in it), there is a copy of the profile folder there. Copy its contents to the previously mentioned location.

#3 The game crashes/goes non-responsive during or after the first chapter.
This is a technical fault that somehow got overlooked during beta-testing. A patch was released within a few days of the launch of the game to address this issue. Install Update 1 ( if you have got the initial version ( You can download it from here (pass:
You might have to replace the files manually (copy and paste).

#4 You get "The dynamic library gsrld.dll failed to load..." error upon clicking the executable. 
Link Updated February 22, 2014
The EmbedUpload link provides you a list of filehosts where this file is live. I'd recommend BillionUploads or Uptobox for download. If you are facing problems try copy-pasting the link EmbedUpload provides rather than clicking it because then a couple of windows open and if you have a pop-up blocker on your browser then the link to the actual filehost may not open.

There were some issues with the initially released Reloaded crack and you can get this error on some machines. Download this fixed crack instead (pass: relegated007) and overwrite the existing one. Some other files will have to be replaced too.

#5 Error\Failure in Profile Creation
Follow the procedure in #2 and then move on to #4.

These were the errors that I encountered myself and have thus posted the solutions for them after working them out. If you are experiencing a problem other than the ones listed then please feel free to leave a comment and I will look into providing a fix for it.

Hope this helps!


Sunday, April 22, 2012

What Happened to Bhoja Air Flight 213?

Friday's air-crash in Hussainabad near the Benazir Bhutto International Airport was the second worst aviation disaster in the history of Pakistan (behind 2010's Airblue crash). 127 lives ended in a matter of second, 127 dreams ended unrealized.

Apart from possible technical and human errors, a few other possible theories can be put forward to account for this terrible air-crash.


A microburst often causes aircraft to crash when they are attempting to land. It is an extremely powerful gust of air that, once hitting the ground, spreads in all directions. As the aircraft is coming in to land, the pilots try to slow the plane to an appropriate speed. When the microburst hits, the pilots will see a large spike in their airspeed, caused by the force of the headwind created by the microburst. A pilot inexperienced with microbursts would try to decrease the speed. The plane would then travel through the microburst, and fly into the tailwind, causing a sudden decrease in the amount of air flowing across the wings. The decrease in airflow over the wings of the aircraft causes a drop in the amount of lift produced. This decrease in lift combined with a strong downward flow of air can cause the thrust required to remain at altitude to exceed what is available.

This might explain the sudden 950 foot drop that the aircraft underwent prior to the incident.

Debilitating Weather Conditions

The weather was ominious that day.
The Pakistan Meteorological Department had issued two separate warnings to the Civil Aviation Authority of Pakistan( CAAP) about possible, hazardous flying conditions. According to Director General Pak Met, Arif Mahmood, the warnings included "wind gusts approaching 100 kph and low visibility due to heavy rain and cloud cover". He further stated that "the aircraft should never have been given the permission to land at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport but instead should have been redirected to Allama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore."

The Civil Aviation Authority of Pakistan's head, Nadeem Yousafzai, downplayed the importance of the met office's warnings and said that they were not enough to close down an entire airport.

Pilot Error

The tires did not burst.
Eyewitnesses state that they saw the aircraft hit an open field, bounce back upwards and then explode in mid-air. The negligible damage to the surrounding homes supports this theory because if the aircraft had landed and then exploded then the damage would have been extreme. The radius through which the debris and the bodies were found was also just a shade over 1 kilometer. Another fact that propagators of this theory use to supports their notion is the relatively pristine state of the tires. Normally, if an aircraft impacts the ground like that, the resulting g-forces destroy the tires. However the point to note here is that the involved aircraft was a Boeing 737 that had a retractable landing gear.
Retractable Landing Gear

What is not accounted for here are the tire marks found in the area. This means that the pilot had attempted to land in the area first. A little distance from the initial landing site are some destroyed trees and an impact crater. Near the impact crater is a roughly formed ramp which the doomed aircraft might have encountered and this might explain the 'bouncing back'.

The tire-tracks mean that the landing gear was opened.
The impact-crater just ahead of the tire-tracks.
Normally, after the pertinent control tower has communicated the required information to the pilot, the final decision about landing is upon his/her own discretion. Being a private airline pilot, Mr. Afridi, might have considered the losses Bhoja Air might have borne if the jet were to be redirected to another airport (parking fees, fuel expenses, passenger services etc) and might have decided against it. The private airline companies in Pakistan, emphasize a lot on profits and thus the degenerating service and passenger safety (This is the second major private airline crash in Pakistan in the last two years, both being the top two worst aviation disasters in the country's history).

The altitude of the aircraft was also reported as exceedingly low and the sound of its engines as a deafening thunder by the local populace. A point to note here is that, all the aircrafts that take-off from or land at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport pass over this locale.

Technical Fault

Some eyewitnesses, especially those that were traveling on the nearby Islamabad Expressway, report a fire blazing in one of the engines that gradually started to envelope the whole plane. The plane was described by some, as a blazing ball of fire. This might explain the badly charred pieces of the airplane. However, it is premature to say what exactly caused this fire, if it ever existed that is.

The co-pilot of the doomed flight was the last person to communicate with the ATC Tower. Three minutes before the crash he exclaimed: "I have lost control over the airplane!" and after that the communication link was broken

Interestingly, a preliminary investigation by the CAAP yields that the plane exploded in mid-air because it was flying too fast and too low. According to statistics made available the plane was flying at an altitude of 200 feet when it would have been at 1200 feet or more. It was also flying exceedingly fast for a plane that is to land in less than 4 minutes (500 kph).
Location of the crash, the road that runs through the image is the Islamabad Expressway.