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How To: Get Netflix Picture in Picture Mode on Pre-iOS 9.3.2 Devices

June 14, 2016

After Apple announced Picture in Picture mode for iOS in iOS 9, it has become a extremely useful feature for those who like to multitask as they work on their iOS device. Most entertainment apps finally caught up over the following months by adding PiP support to their apps, however Netflix still didn’t offer this feature, albeit more difficult as they weren’t using the stock iOS video player. This all changed today when Netflix announced their latest app update with the addition of PiP but only for devices running the latest 9.3.2 firmware. Knowing that the PiP APIs were introduced back in 9.0, I decided to take a look and see if this version restriction can be bypassed and it can for anyone running a jailbroken device.
Netflix iOS

If you are running a jailbroken device then following these instructions should enable the feature for you without any issues, however as always follow the instructions carefully and any damage caused is entirely your responsibility. This has only been tested on iOS 9.1, but should work on any 9.x firmware.

  1. Install OpenSSH or MTerminal
  2. Log in or SSH into your iOS device as root (default password is alpine)
  3. If you are planning to keep OpenSSH installed on your device then please change your root password, instructions on how to do so can be found here.
  4. Navigate to the following directory: /System/Library/CoreServices/
  5. If you are using SSH then use your preferred editor to open SystemVersion.plist, I used nano to edit the file.
  6. If you are using MTerminal then you will need to install your preferred editor on Cydia.
  7. Open the file and navigate down to the ProductBuildVersion key and change the string value to 13F72.
  8. Go down to the Product Version key and change the string value to 9.3.2, as shown below.
    Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 20.08.12
  9. Now save and exit out of the editor, uninstall OpenSSH if you don’t plan on using it again. (Note: if you are using Pangu 9.0.x Untether then it will try to uninstall this when using Cydia as it thinks the system version is in fact 9.3.2 and therefore unsupported)
  10. Reboot your device, it will appear as if you have upgraded your device and ask you to log into iCloud, however everything is still in tact and you are still running the original version of the OS.
  11. Ensure you are on the latest version of the Netflix app and choose a title to watch, press the home button and now you should have a PiP view of the title.

PiP Mode on iOS 9.1

 

 

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How To: Hack Blackboard to Show Your Grades

June 7, 2016

blackboard-newAlthough Blackboard the VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) is known for it’s bugs here and there, one that is either down to user error or an issue with the platform is the My Grades tab disappearing from module shells, this simple hack has come in very useful in the past as it allows you to check your grades as long as they have been published without waiting for the My Grades tab to be enabled. There are valid reasons why this tab will sometimes be hidden, such as marks not being moderated and finalised at board level, depending on the level of education.

To access the My Grades tab for any module it is a simple task of URL manipulation, below is the usual format for the My Grades tab, however do note that it varies based on institution.

https://vle.xxx.ac.uk/webapps/bb-mygrades-bb_bb60/myGrades?course_id=000000_1&stream_name=mygrades&is_stream=false

The two parts that need changing are presented in bold, the first being the institution domain and the second is the course ID, this will be different to the course code but can be found by navigating to the shell for the module you want to get the grades of, you then enter the course ID into the URL and the My Grades page will be shown.

If you know the My Grades tab should be visible, then inform your lecturer of this as it is usually just down to user error that it is not shown at the right time.