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Hardware - Mac
 
Jul 09, 2007
 
42


MacBook - 1st impressions

Close ...
These are pretty good machines with the bonus that Windows XP can be run within a Virtual Machine using Parallels Technology software.

Parallels also produce a free app called Parallels Transporter which allows the copying of an XP computer into a VM image which can then be run on the OSX Intel based machines.

GOOD:

LCD display is extremely sharp with good clarity.

Parallels virtualisation software runs very well (haven't tried it on a very cpu intensive app but ordinary stuff is very snappy).

XP boots faster and restarts/resets faster in a VM.

Relatively seamless working (drag & drop) between OSX and XP.

NOT SO GOOD:

The rectangular aspect ratio of the screen gives 1280 x 800 in OSX mode but when using XP within a Parallels windowed VM 1024 x 768 isn't possible - the height usually maxes out at 732. This is a problem when installing/using some graphics processing apps. eg: Adobe Photoshop CS2 requires 1024 x 768 minimum to install and Canon's Digital Photo Professional app will install but not run. Using Coherence Mode/Full Screen Mode will avoid the problem but can be tricky. If CS2 is installed and run in Coherence Mode should it be run in the windowed view the activation will fail as it picks up the display size as being insufficient.

Trackpad tedious to use (IBM Trackpoint was great) - using a Logitech bluetooth rodent with scrollwheel makes things a lot easier.

Used Parallels Desktop for Mac to create VM's to run XP and Linux in. Install straight forward although the boot device needs to be set for CD image first or VM install will fail.

No single Delete key ( can use fn + backspace )
No # key ( at least on a UK MacBook - again use a remapper )

The keyboard on the MB works fine as a UK region under OSX but with the XP VM the mapping wasn't right on a few keys. The ~, #, |,\, , `,£ chrs were in the wrong places.

The fix was to use a wee program called Keyboard Layout Manager Lite (www.klm32.com). The app installs into the CP and lets you create a new layout which then installs itself after a reset of the VM.
The new layout should then be visible under installed services -
CP>Regional and Languages Options>Languages>Details





Random Techo
 
Apr 12, 2007
 
41


Telefunken TV with no sound in the UK

Close ...
Recent experience whilst trying to resurrect an old Telefunken P150C colour TV.

Basically when I moved from NZ to Scotland I took my old 14" TV set with me ( I hate chucking good stuff out) however when it was switched on I got good picture but no sound.

It seems that NZ uses PAL B/G with VHF and UHF whereas the UK uses PAL I with UHF so the sound issue is a typical problem (the sound carrier frequency differs slightly - 6.0 MHz v 5.5 MHz). Luckily I have found that the TV will work fine when used with a Freeview decoder unit (DVB-T) - brilliant!

The old Telefunken remote was a bit worn so I've replaced it with a One for All 4 Universal Remote Control unit (URC7740).

The manual has a list of all the manufacturer remote codes and a later listing is available on the web site also.

Telefunken P150C TV 0109 worked
Digilogic Freeview Sat 1284 worked

Note: There was no listing for the Digilogic unit (DSTB 1000) but the code for Logik worked fine.

All in all I'm quite happy with a set obtained in the 1980's and gives a better picture than all the rubbish LCD and Plasma stuff sold today. Just have to wait for HD TV to arrive.





Wireless/Networking
 
Dec 16, 2006
 
40


BT Home Hub Wireless ADSL Router

Close ...
The BTHomeHub is largely pre-configured by BT to work for the mass market and the web interface is not as open with the settings, etc that most ADSL routers are.

However with a bit of digging around it turns out to relatively OK.

Firstly the Advanced Configuration Help page gives a fairly comprehensive picture of all the details/settings.

Secondly when the Backup option is used a user.ini file can be saved to the hard disk. This contains all the configuration of the router and can of course be restored.

What this means is that it is possible to determine more detail of how the router is set up and (with great care) of course the user.ini can be modified then restored.

In general the hub as supplied has WEP security but only 64 bit and other settings such as SSID broadcast and open access for MAC addresses are a bit loose for good security.

When trying to tighten up some of the settings I got mixed results some of which I will try to explain as I find them.

On the whole however the router appears to be quite good (it apparently is based on a Thomson SpeedTouch unit) and so far all my clients work with it. One thing I am not entirely comfortable with is the fact that the firmware is automatically updated by BT with no option to accept or be able to go back. If this happens it can take up to 10 minutes and the five lights on the hub will be flashing so power must remain on during the process - it can happen at any time so I hope it doesn't occur while I am doing online banking or a convoluted tax form. My hub arrived with 6.1.1.M installed and about 2 days later it went to 6.1.1.R so the moral is always backup a copy of the current configuration in case BT surprises you.

Issues

Problem: The mac access control using the web doesn't work correctly. (applies to 6.1.1.R firmware)

Answer: Basically some parts of the config file (user.ini) are not written correctly by the web interface so using the registration or not allowed options will result in the access control not working.

Within user.ini file -
[ wireless.ini ]

Standard setup access control applied (Allow new stations set to not allowed via web)
macacl config control=lock
macacl add hwaddr=00:0e:35:bd:43:bf permission=allow name=Unknown-00-0e-35-bd-

note: above line was the only data output in the user.ini and it happens that the line is 80 chrs (the magic number!). What seems to occur is the web interface truncates the first entry in the access list (as shown in the above line) and although the other wireless devices are set for allow they are not written into the config file.
It is worth noting that with the above example because the first device mac was known by the hub already access was allowed however after a modified user.ini was restored any lines longer than 80 chrs were truncated and not accepted.

Sample of failed restore of user.ini (modified)
Lines restored -
macacl config control=lock
macacl add hwaddr=00:0e:35:bd:43:bf permission=allow name=Unknown-00-0e-35-bd-
macacl add hwaddr=00:0d:93:94:6b:8b permission=allow name=g4-00-0d-93-94-6b-8b
macacl add hwaddr=00:0c:41:72:f4:80 permission=allow name=p3-00-0c-41-72-f4-80
When the hub reset the first device was not allowed access but the next 2 were OK because the name data was intact.

The following lines were written in the config when backed up.
Lines backed up -
macacl config control=lock
macacl add hwaddr=00:0d:93:94:6b:8b permission=allow name=g4-00-0d-93-94-6b-8b
macacl add hwaddr=00:0c:41:72:f4:80 permission=allow name=p3-00-0c-41-72-f4-80


Modified setup

As it happens the user.ini config file can be edited and then restored to allow the full access list however the length of each add line must not exceed 80 chrs.
I set my hub up with the modified user.ini file (this will reset the time up stats, etc) however if the name for the device had been altered via the web to give a result no longer than 80 chrs in the config file then it should work OK using the web (this would leave the stats intact also).

macacl config control=lock
macacl add hwaddr=00:0e:35:bd:43:bf permission=allow name=tp-00-0e-35-bd-43-bf
macacl add hwaddr=00:0d:93:94:6b:8b permission=allow name=g4-00-0d-93-94-6b-8b
macacl add hwaddr=00:0c:41:72:f4:80 permission=allow name=p3-00-0c-41-72-f4-80

Note: As of firmware version 6.2.2.6 saving/restoring of the config is no longer possible - let's hope the web interface works better!

So far the BTHH has been good but a shame that some of the functionality is being screwed down in later versions. I was hoping to try a USB memory stick in the USB port as a poorman's version of a NAS server. It would also be nice if the web server code inside could accommodate WebDav features as it would be good to have a network available calendar since the hub is always on - could be a challenge for security though!

::::::::::::::::::: Update :::::::::::::::::

With a view to using the HomeHub as a poorman's version of NAS I tried an old 64Mb flash drive in the USB A port and it worked just fine without the hub even needing a reset.
It appears that the hub acts as a Samba server and the drive is mounted as a Samba share.
Details:
Workgroup - BT
Machine/Device - Thomson
SMB/CIFS Shared Volume - BT_7G


From OSX client: Share was visible straight away (OSX likes Samba)

From XP client PC: Initially not seeing the share in Network Neighbourhood. Fix: Wireless NIC required NetBIOS over TCPIP enabled. Showed as BT_7G on Samba Server (Thomson).

Method for accessing configuration (on 6.2.2.6):

Log in to advanced options and select Remote Assistance under System. On this page you can enable the Remote Access for 20mins.

Next you use a browser to go to the URL given (eg: https://82.139.53.76:51003 ) and click through all the certificates. The User is always tech but the password will change. Once through the login add /cgi/b/bandr/ to the URL and this will be the old save/restore page.


::::::::::::::::::: Update :::::::::::::::::

As of 6.2.6C the Remote Assistance has been disabled on the BT HomeHub.

As is the way with the Big Man in control the update was less than flawless.
Basically the Thinkpad would no longer connect with WPA2 and for that matter it wouldn't even connect with no security.
After the big call to a BT 0845 number (customer is charged) there was no conclusion other than to factory reset the hub. This was done and all the devices could again connect to the hub.
Until the 6.2.6C update reliability of the hub had been excellent - just a shame the user can't backup and restore the config and also that I can't charge BT for the inconvenience caused.

Interesting that during the talk with BT they suggested that the BTHH was a consumer service (not business) and why did I not have DHCP enabled and was using static IP's.

Just as a matter of record the BTHH works fine for me with -

Channel 4 specified (apparently CH 1 is preferred if problems occur)
DHCP disabled (static IP's used)
SSID Broadcast disabled (I know for a true hacker this is pointless)
WPA2-PSK used (encryption type is AES-CCMP inherently from the HH)
MAC blocking not used since moving to WPA2
USB Flash Drive
PC XP clients OK on WPA2
OSX clients OK on WPA2 (require full 64bit hex key to connect)

Again the only problems seem to occur when BT do an upgrade in which I would say it's worth just doing a factory reset if there is an issue and save a phone bill!

Just a shame there isn't a configuration dump/print feature to make things a bit quicker.

::::::::::::::::::: Update :::::::::::::::::

Well, spent a bit of time with the HH using 6.2.6E firmware which generally ran OK but the Thinkpad again wouldn't connect to the hub. When on 6.2.6C the Thinkpad also broke and I needed to Factory Reset the HH and then get the Thinkpad to connect however when updated to 6.2.6E it broke again and I couldn't be bothered doing the big Kahuna again. Recently the 6.2.6H load of firmware has been installed which amazingly has fixed the Thinkpad connection problem. Initially using the Intel Troubleshooting tools which allow a directed test of all the steps in connecting I was getting an Authentication failure (formerly the tests would fail on the previous Association step) and the utility said the security key appeared incorrect. Sure enough when the correct key was inserted it worked fine.
The 6.2.6H release was mainly to fix FON issues (which is why non-FON subscribers are slow getting the update) but also upon reading the release notes on the BT site there were also fixes for issues concerning Intel Wireless/Pro 2200BG adapters which is exactly the type the Thinkpad uses. Going by the Intel troubleshooter there must have been an issue affecting the Association process even though the Authentication key was always correct.
The 2200BG driver used in my Thinkpad R51 is version 9.0.4.36 I noticed a few days before the firmware change that the hub Connection time was actually counting down for some reason - I put this down to the fact that the broadband always seems to have periods when 'soft' resets seem to occur and these randomly affect the IP or Volume stats. I suspect that if a customer has a problem then the DSLAM's no doubt get a bump as part of the troubleshooting and this will probably affect other HH's that are accommodated on the unit.
::::::::::::::::::: Update :::::::::::::::::

Firmware version 6.2.6H did indeed solve the Thinkpad issue with the 2200BG fixes. Usefully a track of usage volumes and other stats can be done using a widget (YWE in my case).
Latterly the hub has been replaced with an 802.11N model 2.0 and it appears to work fine. Backup/Restore of the configuration is possible (uses encrypted .bin files) but no WDS is possible. The web management layout is different but seems to have most stuff and I had no problems connecting up the mixed network of clients (so far - sound of wood being hammered in the background!). The only real hassle I have had is that I can't get my statistics widget to grab the data since the required login is a bit more intensive ( it does MD5 summing of the inputs and uses cookies).
Firmware version of the version 2.0 hub is 8.1.F.4





Wireless/Networking
 
Dec 16, 2006
 
39


Belkin G+ MIMO Wireless ADSL Router

Close ...
The Netgear DG834G seemingly went flakey so another router was the quick fix.

The depressing thing with wireless networks is that components don't die in the conventional sense in that a plume of black smoke indicates a terminal expiry or all the appropriate lights fail to shine. In the absence of such wonderful visual indicators of a problem software is the next step and sadly there is very little on the market that truly indicates the source of problems with the wireless connections. Most give cute little generic pictures of components and say there is a problem - wow as if I didn't know. Strange how it is possible to detect as many as 8 networks and not be able to connect to the local AP. The maximum range of operation is c. 10 to 20 metres.

Until the Netgear failed the network consisted of 2 PC's (XP SP1 & 2), 1 ThinkPad (XP SP2) & 1 Powerbook (OSX 10.4) using WEP 128 bit TCP/IP.

Using the Belkin G+ MIMO with WEP 128 bit -

The ThinkPad worked OK (Intel Pro/Wireless 2200BG)
The P3 PC worked OK (Linksys WMP54G)
The P4 PC failed (Belkin F5D7000)
The Powerbook failed (Airport Express)

The F5D7000 card failure was difficult to troubleshoot since when the new WEP settings were applied the PC just froze requiring a reboot. I put this down to the fact that even though it was a Belkin card working with a Belkin router the card was sourced in NZ so maybe a regional difference in software had an effect (notably - other cards from Intel and Linksys were fine).
The card in the P4 PC was replaced with an F5D9050 USB MIMO wireless card and worked well out of the box.

So only the Powerbook remained.
If the WEP was disabled and the network left open the Powerbook could connect OK but not with WEP.

The solution was to try WPA-PSK using TKIP on all machines and initially they all worked fine.

As outlined further up the page it became apparent that the G4 Powerbook would not connect via wireless until the Thinkpad was connected. This appeared to be yet another problem with "wireless" and unfortunately no firmware updates have been issued for the G+ MIMO router.

As above the USB G+ MIMO unit in the P4 whilst connecting OK was very marginal in performance so in went the 100% reliable copper.





Software - XP
 
Nov 10, 2006
 
38


XP Desktop Folder Settings

Close ...
One of the main things that has irked me about XP is the fact that folder windows opened from desktop icons do not retain the position and size parameters - everything is OK then you see that classic screen shimmer and the next time you open an icon the window settings have defaulted ( I tend to like having desktop folder icons for subject groupings a bit like the old Program Manager of 3.11 days eg: Development, Utilities, Webstuff, etc).

Well so far I think the answer has been a tweak to the registry involving the Bags key.

HKEY_CURRENT-USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsShellBags

and

HKEY_CURRENT-USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsShellNoRoamBags

KB article 813711 explains the details - I set the Value to 5000 and so far it seems to work fine.

At this stage there has been no need to delete the keys (they apparently regenerate themselves) and restart windows - just making the changes as per the KB article has been sufficient.

I must say it was getting rather depressing having an OS that couldn't even remember fundamental settings for windows like position and size....





Software - XP
 
Nov 10, 2006
 
37


Frontpage 2003 Installer Issue

Close ...
When starting Acrobat 6.0 the Frontpage installer starts running (since FP 2003 is already installed this is a pain).
Bit of a saga once again when Microsoft is involved ..

Had a fossick around and found -

C:WindowsInstaller containing 4d22d.msi (this is the FP installer dated from the install of FP2003)

I renamed the file (x4d22d.msi) and then next time Acrobat was run I got an error where the FP installer couldn't locate FP11N.MSI

Did a search and located this file in -

N:MSOCacheAll Users90000409-6000-11D3-8CFE-0150048383C9 containing FP11N.MSI

Using Programs>Accessories>System Tools>Disk Cleanup I tried to clean out the MSOCache folder only to find that it got rid of everything except for the FP11N.MSI, SKU117.XML and some other sub folders - so much for the Disk Cleanup (typical CrapOS where stuff can be installed but never cleaned out). I tried the Disk Clean again but it indicated that the Office files were no longer there so the application thought it had done the job but in the real world nothing had really happened.

I renamed the MSOCache folder (xMSOCache) and still had the problem.

Where to from here then ..

Tried the great Microsoft pantheon of knowledge and found a utility called Windows Installer Clean Up Utility (wicuu2.exe). Well the knowledge base article stated caution when using this thing. It advised that the installed files for the application wouldn't be removed only the surplus install files and registry entries.
I installed and ran the utility only to find that FP 2003 had indeed been uninstalled - on a brighter note I no longer had the problem when starting Acrobat.
I think the concept of this utility is that it is only used to clean out Control Panel>Add&Remove Program remnants for previous applications that have not fully uninstalled.

So I installed FP2003 again and this time I said yes to deleting the surplus install files (the installer gives this option). However that would be too easy and of course the MSOCache folder was still there and of course the installer was in the WindowsInstaller folder as well (now called 3b7ad9.msi ) - of course the problem with the Acrobat interaction resurfaced again.

What was weird is that as I was trying the renaming technique on the 3b7ad9.msi file again when I started up Acrobat the FP CD (which I had left in the drive) actually started spinning and then Acrobat launched with no problem. Ever since everything is OK but why I don't know.

It seems the MSOCache folder is created by Office 2003 as a Local Install feature for future repair/re-install of components without requiring the CD and indeed FP2003 did exactly this. However since I still use Office 97 and the only 2003 app I use is FP then maybe the System Tools Disk Clean couldn't handle this (expecting other Office 2003 files/cabs to delete?).

So in summary the MSOCache folder (which in my case is on the N: drive) could not be deleted using the MS recommendations and since they say in BOLD letters not to use Windows Explorer to do it what was a humble user to do .......?

.....I used Windows Explorer to rename the folder (xMSOCache) and after a week with no problems dispatched it into the dustbin of technocracy ....

Another encounter with the "Daddy knows best" regime of MS & XP.





Software - Apps
 
Nov 06, 2006
 
36


HTMLGate application triggers Office 2000 installation process on startup

Close ...
On startup the Office 2000 installation appears and gives -

The feature you are trying to use is on a CD-ROM or other removable disk that is not available.

Insert the 'Microsoft Office 2000 SR-1 Professional' disk and click OK.

If the Office 2000 CD was installed the following error was encountered -

Error 1305. Error reading from file:
D:PFilesVStudioCommonIDEIDE98Resource1033MSENV2UI.DLL.
Verify that the file exists and that you can access it.

The problem was that the HTMLGate app required the HTML Source Editing tool from the Office 2000 suite. This tool was set as install on first use and HTMLGate was obviously the first app on my PC to require this.

The 2nd problem with error 1305 was a bad block on the Office 2000 CDROM so once the Office files were copied to the C: drive and the faulty DLL found elsewhere the Office install proceeded and fixed the issue with HTMLGate on startup.

The XP system and application error logs were useful in showing the bad block issue and the HTML Source Editing calls.





Software - Apps
 
Nov 06, 2006
 
35


Using SyncBack application with DVD-RAM for backup

Close ...
The freeware version of SyncBack is excellent for doing incremental backups and synchronising files/folders.
Initially however I had difficulty getting it to work with my DVD-RAM recorder.

Recorder: LG 4120B (HL-DT-ST DVDRAM GSA-4120B)

Media: Panasonic 4.7G DVD-RAM

OS: XP Pro SP1

Usefully XP will support DVD-RAM as installed however the support is limited.
The MS driver appears to use a version of the MEIUDF.SYS driver which allows read/write in FAT32 format but only read in UDF format.

Using SyncBack with the MS driver didn't work since the SyncBack application requires UDF devices and the XP driver will only write with FAT32.

Luckily I found an LG driver that improves things a bit.

I just ran the setup.exe and the PC needed to reset but afterwards the SyncBack app worked fine


Addendum:

LG = Lucky Goldstar (Korean manufacturer)
MEI = Matsushita Electrical Industries (Panasonic is a brand along with Technics and others)
UDF = Universal Disk Format (types 1.5 and 2.0)
HL-DT-ST = Hitachi LG Data Storage

Location of LG driver: http://www.besy.co.uk/projects/windows/dvd-ram.htm
Details of MS support: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/283588/en-us





Web - X/HTML/PHP/JS/CSS
 
Nov 06, 2006
 
34


W3C Schema for HTMLPad 2006

Close ...
How the intellisense seems to work-
A document is opened and the tag completion list uses the appropriate .ini file in the datamldefs folder. The decision on which file to use is done on the Doctype in the page (if enabled in the options).
eg: If an XHTML 1.1 page is opened then the list will derive from datamldefsXHTML 1.1.ini
If the Doctype is not checked then the list will be dependent on the language specifications selected in the options.

It is to be noted that HTMLPad has only an XHTML 1.0.ini file which bunches the Frameset/Transitional/Strict variations together.
This file also includes the Ruby tags which only appeared in the XHTML 1.1 standard.

To improve this separate ini files for the XHTML 1.0 variants can be used however to be able to select varying ini files the "Use Doctype to switch specification" should not be checked.

Base file used was XHTML 1.1.ini
Location: C:\Program Files\HTMLPad 2006\data\mldefs\

Original W3C file used was xhtml1-strict.xsd
Location: http://www.w3.org/2002/08/xhtml/

Method:

Cut and Paste using the W3C file as original reference.
The xhtml 1.0.ini file supplied is actually a composite of Strict/Transitional/Frameset.
xml:lang is not catered for and also is not in the 1.1 file at all!

File tips:
name,d=<string> ( ,d indicates the attribute as deprecated)
%endtag=0 ( 0 indicates an empty element, shows as green in Auto tag lists)
action,r=<url> ( ,r indicates a required attribute)

Modified XHTML 1.0 Strict file HERE (rename as XHTML 1.0 Strict.ini)

Modified XHTML 1.0 Transitional file HERE (rename as XHTML 1.0 Transitional.ini)

Modified XHTML 1.0 Frameset file HERE (rename as XHTML 1.0 Frameset.ini)

Template Locations

C:\Program Files\HTMLPad 2006\templates\HTML\

Related usage notes:

Adding custom schema.

Markup browser uses markup.dat ( View>Markup Browser )
HTML Language specification uses html.dat ( Options>Preferences>Language Options )

markup.dat (as installed)
HTML 4.01
XHTML 1.0
XHTML 1.1
WML 1.1
DEDI

html.dat (as installed)
HTML 4.01
XHTML 1.0
XHTML 1.1
DEDI

The files specified (except for DEDI) all relate to the as named files in the mldefs folder. There is no file for DEDI.
Maybe DEDI is short for dedicated and is meant for custom schema - I don't know...

Files can be added to both files and will then be shown as options in the appropriate places.

eg:

markup.dat (as modded) html.dat (as modded)
HTML 4.01 HTML 4.01
XHTML 1.0 XHTML 1.0
XHTML 1.1 XHTML 1.1
WML 1.1 DEDI
DEDI XHTML 1.0 Strict
XHTML 1.0 Strict XHTML 1.0 Transitional
XHTML 1.0 Transitional XHTML 1.0 Frameset
XHTML 1.0 Frameset

Quirk:
If the Markup Browser is used and say XHTML 1.0 Strict is selected the tag list will only appear if the same option is selected in the language options. However if any of the default files are selected the tag lists will appear anyway.
If after selecting a custom file another file is then chosen in the markup list the tag list will only show if the file chosen is one of the default ones. If the original custom file is re-selected then the tag list will not appear until the language option
is reapplied for that file.

If the DEDI entry is removed from both dat files the situation remains the same.

It was noticed also that if say the WML 1.1 entry in the markup.dat file was replaced with a custom file then the Markup Browser would still show the tag list for the WML 1.1 file.

It seems that the default file names are written somewhere else as a hard coded reference....





Web - X/HTML/PHP/JS/CSS
 
Nov 06, 2006
 
33


CSS hover box truncated top with Opera 9.x

Close ...
Problem: A CSS hover span is used within a content div which is inside
an outershell div. Outside the outershell div the hover span box works fine
but inside the hover box is truncated at the top. Opera 8.52 renders the hover
ok as do most other browsers (IE, Mozilla, etc).

Basically to fix the issue I had to alter the outershell top: from 25px to 0px
and the content div top; of 2px was changed to margin-top: 22px;

An example of the problem is shown - HERE

This is how the hover renders after the CSS is tweaked - HERE



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