Archive for the ‘PC’ Category

NSLU2 wouldn’t boot on new network

September 5, 2014

When I got a new router, the slug wouldn’t show up on the network. It seemed to boot OK occasionally, but would never appear as an attached device and I couldn’t reach it at all. A bit of investigation revealed that as it has a fixed IP address (, and the new router DHCP address range was 192.168.1.XXX, it would never be able to register on the network! Apparently you can reset the slug’s IP address to the default ( by holding in the reset button until the unit beeps once, but that didn’t work for me. Plugging the slug back into my old router proved that it was still able to boot, but although I could now access it, I couldn’t change the fixed IP address – I kept getting an “Error: fail to get disk information” message whenever I tried to change anything. I eventually solved this by booting the slug with no disks attached. I was then able to change from fixed IP to DHCP; then, connected the slug to my new router, and this time it booted and showed up on the new network! It now had the default IP of, and I was able to log in and revert it to fixed IP with this new address. Finally, rebooted with the drives connected and it was back up and running!


Echofon: undoing the mess

July 6, 2011

I’ve been a fan of the Firefox addon Echofon for years now, for me it’s the only way to use twitter. I find it invaluable, and also use the companion iPhone app. So I was somewhat dismayed when naan studio released version 2.0, which totally ruined the main things that made Echofon so usable for me.

Echofon 2.0+ no longer displays a count of unread tweets in the status bar. The icon is just grey if there are none, or blue if there are any. How many? You have no idea unless you click on it. I treat my tweets a bit like email, texts, or RSS feeds – I like to know how many I have to catch up on, so I hate this. I hate it so much, it would give me sufficient cause to uninstall Echofon immediately. But it wasn’t the only thing they managed to screw up.

The window is now absolutely terrible at keeping up with your unread tweets, too! They tried to implement a new system – kind of like the “scroll down/click to load more messages” functionality that is becoming increasingly common on the web. But here, it doesn’t work properly. It keeps skipping back and forth in the timeline, and jumping you back up to the top if a new tweet comes in. This means you hardly ever get to catch up on a long backlog of unread tweets.

I was all set to give Echofon the boot, until I realised I might be able to revert back to an older version… and after some finagling, I did indeed manage just that! There are a few caveats though, I have had to jump through some hoops to get it (and keep it) working, and it’s got to the point where I thought it might be worthwhile writing it all down. It might be useful to someone else, or I might forget how to do it myself! :-p

First things first: the last pre-2.0 version of Echofon that was released was For some reason, it was never put up for download from the Firefox addons page, or from naan studios’ own site; fortunately, you can get it here.

Version supports Firefox 4. Unfortunately, every time you start Firefox, it’s going to want to update Echofon – so we need to turn off checking for updates. I spent ages looking for how to do this, and none of the methods I found worked – turns out they were for Firefox 3.x, and Firefox 4.x has made things much easier! Just go to Tools > Add-ons > Extensions, right-click on Echofon, and select Show More Information. Down where it says Automatic Updates, set them to Off. Firefox will now no longer bug you about updating to the rubbish 2.0+ version!

Of course, now we’re on Firefox 5.x (or even 6.x) now, and unfortunately doesn’t work with anything post 4.x…. Or at least, it doesn’t without some further fiddling!

The first thing I did was to simply change the maximum version of Firefox that it would run with manually. (Note that I don’t actually know if this step is still required; the next step might take care of it, so you might want to skip this bit and only come back if you need to.) Open the Echofon folder inside your Firefox profile folder (this can usually be found in Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\xxxxxxxx.default\extensions\ In there you should find a file called install.rdf. Open that using Wordpad, and look for the string 4.0.*. Change that from 4.0.* to 5.0.* and Echofon will run in Firefox 5!

Unfortunately, it will run, but it won’t work in Firefox 5. However, there is a further modification we can carry out. By borrowing some files from the latest, rubbish version of Echofon, we can make it work! I found out about this method by trawling through the review section of the Echofon addon page; a guy called Ramoks posted a link to this page. It has instructions in Russian and English; I’m going to replicate the instructions here, just in case that page goes walkabout, but credit for the procedure should not go to me!

1. Setup Echofon (you should have already done this)
2. Download the latest version of Echofon from here (right-click on the download link and choose “Save link as…” to avoid Firefox trying to install it!)
3. Unpack the file you just downloaded using a program such as WinRAR, 7-zip or WinZip
4. Go to the folder \echofon_for_twitter-2.0.8-fx\platform\WINNT
5. Copy folders “5” and “6”
6. Paste these folders in the folder Firefox\Profiles\xxxxxxxx.default\extensions\\platform\WINNT
7. In the folder find the file “chrome.manifest” and edit it with Wordpad. Before the lines beginning “locale twitternotifier ar…” add the text:

# Firefox 5
binary-component platform/WINNT/5/echofon.dll ABI=WINNT_x86-msvc appversion>=5.0
# Firefox 6
binary-component platform/WINNT/6/echofon.dll ABI=WINNT_x86-msvc appversion>=6.0a2

8. Save the file. Restart Firefox.

…and that should be you up and running with a non-ruined version of Echofon! Enjoy!

EDIT: Actually, not quite. I’ve found it works for reading tweets only, it won’t post my tweets. However, it does seem that naan studio have finally added unread count back in Echofon 2.1, so maybe I can go back to using the latest version and the above info becomes redundant… Here’s hoping!

iPhone Tethering on Windows – WITHOUT iTunes

October 28, 2009

I’d never really been that interested in tethering until very recently, when I realised it would be quite handy when I’m away from home on business. So, I decided to try and set it up.

First off, as I’m jailbroken, I thought getting an app from Cydia might be the most straightforward route. I investigated MyWi, which sounded ideal, but it requires the RockApp, and I don’t want that anywhere near my iPhone. Next, I thought PDANet would do the trick – and it probably would have done, had my iPhone established a proper ad-hoc wireless connection with my laptop. Unfortunately, I have limited connectivity (it works for SSH, but not for anything else) and that was a no-go. USB connection would have worked… except I neglected to bring my USB cable with me. Nothing but fail, then.

The next time I was away from home, I decided I would give the native tethering a shot. I’m currently still on firmware 3.0, so the mobile configs method at enabled the tethering option on my iPhone. Plugging it into my laptop, however, did nothing but bring up the photo wizard – no sign of any network connectivity on the laptop. A bit of further research uncovered that, for USB tethering on Windows, iTunes must be installed. What? I just want to plug my iPhone in and have it work, thanks! I don’t want to install a 70MB+ program that I’ll never use on the laptop just to enable tethering! Plus, the whole point of needing to tether is that I don’t have the internet on the laptop – so how am I supposed to download iTunes?

Fortunately, a bit more research on my iPhone turned up some very handy information on the Whirlpool forums. It seems that some clever chaps had worked out they could extract the necessary iPhone drivers from the iTunes installation package, and only install those! The file was still 15MB, but that didn’t take too long to download on my iPhone. I SSH’d it over to the laptop, installed it, and (after sorting out a few peculiar networking issues particular to my laptop) bingo! Tethering worked! 😀

Here’s a direct link to the installation file, just in case the thread on Whirlpool disappears.

Another way I could have achieved tethering was via Bluetooth – that doesn’t require any drivers at all on the laptop. However, I had forgotten my Bluetooth adapter as well.

Using Netgear WGT624v3 as a Wireless Bridge

June 8, 2009

I love repurposing old equipment to save buying expensive new gear. One of the things that has always bugged me is why on earth wireless bridges cost so much, when wireless routers are so cheaply available?

If you have ethernet-enabled equipment you want to connect to your wireless network (e.g. games consoles, Slingboxes, DVR’s etc), a better option than buying a dedicated wireless bridge (or “wireless gaming adapter”) for a premium price is to buy a cheap router or access point that can be configured to operate as a wireless bridge.

(Another benefit is that dedicated adapters often only support a single ethernet device; a reconfigured router may support many!)

This was the option I took when I wanted to get my original-flavour Xbox hooked up to the internet. I started out with a D-Link DWL900AP+ many years ago, but that was only a wireless ‘b’ device and therefore no good for video streaming. When I found out that the Netgear WGT624v3 could be configured as a wireless bridge, I jumped at the chance to get one.

It took some time to get working – hey, nothing ever comes easily where computers are concerned, does it? But eventually, I had the 624 up and running in client mode, providing my Xbox with a wireless connection!

I had, however, been unable to get wireless bridge mode working. I gave up on it in the end, since client mode served my needs. It had one slight issue – if left idle the 624 would eventually lose the connection, and require rebooting. This wasn’t really a problem for me – I only ever required the connection when streaming to my Xbox, so I would just switch the 624 on when I wanted to use it, and leave it off most of the time.

That was fine until I acquired a Slingbox, anyway. The idea of mobile TV on my iPhone, with full control of my DVR, was something I couldn’t resist. Unfortunately, the 624 in client mode just couldn’t cope, for the following reasons:

1. Even with the Slingbox staying online, the 624 would still eventually lose connection to the network. That makes client mode useless for a device that requires a constant connection.

2. With the Slingbox online, my Xbox couldn’t get a connection, and vice versa. It turns out that in client mode, only a single device can be served by the 624.

So, it became obvious that if I was to achieve my aim, I was going to have to revisit the 624 configuration process and get bridge mode working. From my previous research, I knew it was possible – I had seen posts by several people who were successfully connecting multiple devices to their 624’s. I had to figure out why bridge mode wasn’t working for me.

Trawling through the thread on the Netgear forums once again, I eventually stumbled upon a post that put me on the right track. Previously, the anecdotal evidence had been that the command set remoteWbr APS_MAC_ADDRESS was required; however, any attempt to apply this command failed, with an “invalid parameter” error. cameo91’s post correctly gave the command as add remoteWbr APS_MAC_ADDRESS instead. Following the directions from cameo91’s post, the WGT624 accepted the input happily!

The next step was to get my router (a Netgear DG834G) talking to the 624 in WDS mode. Fortunately, I knew this was possible – I had seen on the Netgear forums that recent revisions of the DG834G firmware had added WDS support. I also found this guide which confirmed that my router would function as I required it to in WDS mode, along with instructions on how to enable it.

Now I have it all set up, the Xbox and Slingbox both happily coexist attached to the 624 simultaneously. Also, I haven’t seen it drop the connection yet – it seems bridge mode may be more reliable than client mode, which is a positive reason for using it even if you’re not connecting more than one device to the 624.

I thought it might be useful to others who wanted to get their WGT624’s up and running in bridge mode if I made a few notes on the process. Since BeatJunkie’s original tutorial is fairly well written and organised in numbered sections, I’ve decided to make some easily referred to annotations rather than reproduce the whole thing.

Section 3: If you’ve been through this process before with the WGT624 (e.g. had it running in client mode), you may well have turned off DHCP in its settings. If you then have trouble establishing a connection to the WGT624 on subsequent reconfiguration attempts, there are a few possible solutions you can try.

If you disconnect your PC from your router, you will have problems as your IP settings will be lost, and you won’t be able to connect directly to anything. So directly connecting your PC to the 624 via LAN cable may not be an option, unless you have two network ports, or can connect to your router wirelessly (do you have a USB wireless adapter lying around? This worked for me).

Connecting the 624 to the router via LAN cable may also work.

The tutorial states that the 624 must be connected via LAN cable – however, on my final attempt at configuring bridge mode, I could not connect via cable for love nor money. I tried all the methods which had worked for me previously with no success. Finally, I decided to try it via wireless, just for the sake of it – and to my surprise, it worked! So, be prepared to try everything – and don’t give up if it appears hopeless.

Section 4: I believe you need to turn off DHCP on the WGT624 as well as entering the SSID and encryption settings. You don’t want two devices trying to provide IP addresses for your network – the router should be doing all that.

Section 14: I’m not sure if the set remoteAP command is still required, but it doesn’t seem to hurt. After that, enter add remoteWbr APS_MAC_ADDRESS in the same manner.

Section 15: Instead of set oper sta, enter set oper wbr. Following that, you must also enter set WDS enable.

Note: a couple of useful commands you can type are help (which lists all the commands you can enter) and get config (which lists the current configuration – although for some reason, get config and get WDS report different statuses for the WDS setting.)

Now you’re done with setting up the WGT624, you just have to enable WDS on your router. Obviously this will very by model and manufacturer. If your router doesn’t support WDS, check to see if there is a firmware update that adds it. I will provide some notes on enabling WDS support on the DG834G.

Firstly, check if you already have the option – login to your DG834G, and look down the left hand side for an Advanced Wireless Settings section. (I’ve been burned before when upgrading firmware just to have the latest version, and finding key features broken by the “update” – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it is my motto now!) If you don’t have Advanced Wireless Settings, you’re going to have to upgrade.

Head over to Netgear’s site, and find the downloads section for your model (I won’t link to it as there are different versions of the DG834G, and if I linked you to the wrong one it could be disastrous!). Download the latest firmware, unzip it (if necessary) and follow the instructions on Netgear’s site for upgrading the firmware.

After the DG834G finishes upgrading itself, log out of the router configuration page. I spent AGES hunting for the Advanced Wireless Settings section… it doesn’t show up unless you refresh the admin panel. Colour me embarrassed. When you log back in, you should see the Advanced Wireless Settings section, so click on it.

Select Enable Wireless Bridging and Repeating, then Repeater with Wireless Client Association. Enter the MAC address of your WGT624 in the table, then apply the settings. Note: if your settings vanish and are not saved, reboot the router then try again – although it supposedly reboots after the firmware upgrade, I found I had to reboot it again before the WDS settings page worked!

Once you’ve done this, your WGT624 and anything connected to it should appear in the Attached Devices section of your DG834G. You’re done!

Hewlett Packard Rant

October 25, 2008

A little while ago, my household needed a new multi-function printer, to cope with the intense printing and copying demands that primary school teachers place upon the beleaguered home IT equipment. My wish-list of functions was as follows:

  • Network/wifi enabled (to print straight from the laptop)
  • Double-sided printing (to save paper and labour)
  • Cheap ink (natch)

To cut a long story short(er), the first one I found that really satisfied all requirements was the Hewlett Packard C6280. Now, I had promised myself that I would never buy another HP printer after the trials we had with the previous one, but it seemed that nothing else was really available that ticked the most important boxes, so I bit the bullet and ordered it.

The first one delivered was faulty – guess that should have been a sign. One replacement later and it was all up and running. Things seemed to be going well – it was great not having to crouch down by the printer, hunting for cables, or cajoling it into please not devouring half a stack of paper and subsequently choking on it. Individual ink cartridges didn’t really deliver much of a saving on ink costs which was a disappointment, and not doing double sided printing but inexplicably not copying was frustrating. But on the whole, not too shabby.

However, I soon noticed that our PC had slowed to an absolute crawl. Task Manager showed that the CPU was constantly at 100% usage, with about 11 instances of svchost.exe running! I searched the internet for weeks, trying to find out what could be wrong. I disabled all unnecessary services to no effect. I had resigned myself to a full reformat and clean XP installation, when I tried one more thing… and lo and behold, I found that HP was to blame.

It seems that the “HP Network Devices Support” service has serious flaws. It keeps checking for the printer on the network – and checking, and checking, and checking… eating up your CPU constantly. The solution? Change the service from “automatic” to “manual” startup, as follows:

Go to Start > Run > type in “services.msc”.
Scroll down and right click on “HP Network Device Support” service.
In the Startup pulldown menu, change “Automatic” to “Manual”.
Click Apply and close.
Restart computer.

That finally sorted the CPU usage issue, and my PC began behaving properly again! Since it now appeared to be worth using for basic tasks once more, I thought I’d have a go at scanning some pictures in using the blighted HP device. Surely that would work, right? Wrong. Hp’s own scanning software refused to start, preferring to crash the PC. And using the TWAIN import function within other programs didn’t work, either. I had about given up attempting to get any useful functionality out of the C6280 beyond printing, when I noticed the annoying status monitor in the system tray, performing its usual retarded antics of telling me the printer was connected when it wasn’t, or vice versa, and failing to supply me with any meaningful information whatsoever. I did a bit of research, and found that by disabling hpqtra08.exe, it would no longer load at startup and annoy me. And lo and behold, all of a sudden TWAIN scanning started to work…

HP software. What a load of old crap. I can’t believe that it caused so many problems for me, and that the only way to get the product working properly (not to mention un-crippling my PC!) was to disable most of the bundled software!