Why is Ronald D. Moore’s Battlestar Galactica one of the best TV shows ever?

January 19th, 2014 No comments

Here are two reasons (there are many more):

this http://vimeo.com/51598991

and this http://vimeo.com/51466779

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Categories: Non-technical Tags: , ,

Be Broadband Firmware upgrade for users with a static IP and non-default config

March 3rd, 2013 No comments

This weekend I attempted the Be Broadband mandatory router firmware upgrade (which appears to be linked to Be’s sale to Sky :-().

I thought I’d relate my experience of that here so that folks have “all the information in one place”. The process was pretty much smooth but those of us geeky enough to have a static IP, custom DHCP range, port-forwards and other config changes might (will?) run into minor niggles.

First thing to note is that Be Broadband have actually organized things nicely and you should have an email or two with your static IP, links to firmware and an installation guide. However read on to see my approach…

Now I love bullet points and my process with be in that format with a few asides here and there.

Here we go:

  • Essentially I followed this:

https://www.bethere.co.uk/web/beportal/single-static-update-instructions#q2

And that boiled down to:

  • boot into Debian Linux laptop and attach wired connection to router
  • backup user config to file (important! needed for diff later)
  • download new firmware

It was at this point that I realized that the firmware upgrade required running an .exe on Windows. I somehow expected to be able to upload the firmware to the router via the web GUI 🙁 So…

  • download flasher from this guide:

http://beusergroup.co.uk/technotes/index.php/Modem_Firmware

It’s written for Windows BUT there is actually upgrade instructions on how you can use Linux instead:

http://beusergroup.co.uk/technotes/index.php/Modem_Firmware#Linux_and_other_Unixes

Be warned that it involves setting up local TFTP and BootP servers. I’m secure enough in my geekyness to have done that (I have done so in the past to setup Cisco VOIP phones) but in the real-world of lack-of-time and family commitments I just dual-booted into Windows (also my notes for all this were synced in Dropbox – nice).

  • boot into Windows

Ensure flasher and firmware is downloaded (again!)

Now just in case, have both these open in browser tabs (and/or save web page locally) in case of net outage:
https://www.bethere.co.uk/web/beportal/techguides_installing_bebox_firmware
http://beusergroup.co.uk/technotes/index.php/Modem_Firmware

Note the “bethere” link above has some nice friendly screenshots.

  • extract flasher software
  • ensure thompson router connected via wired NOT wireless
  • extract bin file from firmware archive

Note that the flasher software will look in “TGUPGv7201/Builds” by default but you can point it to where ever you downloaded it to.

  • proceed with flash

screenshots from that process:

Thomson Home Install Wizard_2013-03-02_13-05-58

Thomson Home Install Wizard_2013-03-02_13-06-23

After flash router will be on http://192.168.1.254 and the user/pass will be “Administrator/<router serial>”

In my case some of the config could not be restored for some reason…
(eg. it worked but gave a non-fatal error about not being able to restore some of the config.)

Thomson Home Install Wizard_2013-03-02_13-10-36

Note that I didn’t have to provide the new static IP anywhere, the router assumed it after the upgrade and the ATM connection completed.

I now had a situation with working internet but the router was running with default settings. The router may need a reboot just to make sure everything is OK (I didn’t need to but did it as a basic check).

  • diff the configs and reconfigure router

Now this was the time consuming part and I had forgotten at how “rudimentary” the GUI is compared to something like SmoothWall Express or pfSense.

Anyway, I wanted to reconfigure the router as I has diverged from the default in a few ways.

My approach to this was to download the new config and rename it, examine the diffs:

$ diff -u <original config>.ini <new config>.ini

There’s quite a few changes in the new config, looks like they have simplified some settings and are using aliases for services and such.

From memory this was the stuff I re-configured:

– turn off UPNP
– add debian uk ntp pool
– wi-fi setup: restore ssid, g-only, reset wi-fi passphrase (but best to disable wi-fi here, reenable later in last step)
– change LAN IP and DHCP pool
(do this by `Home Network > Interfaces > LocalNetwork > Configure`)
– set <my personal DHCP range>.1 as LAN interface IP
– (At this point I turned off wi-fi as family was complaining about internet going up/down!)
– set laptop wired nic as <DHCP address>.100 manually
– The default DHCP 1.0/24 range still in dhcp pool, reboot router to ensure no devices have a 0.1/24 dhcp range address
– when router back, you will be able to delete the 0.1/24 pool (named “LAN_private”)

create new firewall ruleset based on “standard” ruleset.

– add port forward(s) from outside

This is best done by first setting a name to the server via the “home network”
do this via `Home > Toolbox > Game & Application Sharing`
click `Create a new game or application` and add application `ssh-custom` or whatever.
then go to `Home > Toolbox > Game & Application Sharing` and assign to server name.

  • change external DNS provider as static IP has changed
  • change any intrusion prevention rules and whitelists given new static IP
  • Now turn on all your computers so they get new DHCP addresses.

I was using some static internal addresses as I run a local DNS server but this time I set detected devices to use DHCP and always use the same IP based on Mac address.

I also set device type eg. desktop, laptop, phone…

Shame no “server” icon 🙂

  • save router config now and keep somewhere safe

All Done! (I hope)

Now there has been some discussion on Google+ among my peers on what the sale to Sky will mean for Be and it’s pretty damn good standard of service. Some folks are thinking of jumping to the more geeky (but costly) ISP such as Zen or Andrews & Arnold and some have said that Sky is “not that bad actually”.

We’ll be watching…

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What is the best Android ROM for HTC Desire?

April 10th, 2012 2 comments

So, I’ve tried many ROMs for my HTC Desire but the latest, Oxygen, has to be the best. If you have a HTC Desire and are looking to give it a new lease of life then I would highly recommend it. Also rooting your phone is easier than ever thanks to Unrevoked.

I formerly used AOSP which is a fairly vanilla Froyo ROM but very stable. I used this ROM for pretty much the last year. However with my upgrade date for my contract due later this year, and the release of quad-core phones throughout 2012, I started to look at custom ROMs again rather than feel jealous about the shiny new models. And to be honest with you – all I use my phone for is to get at GMail, Calender, Remember-the-Milk, Reddit and WhatsApp – no gaming (like I have the time), no video playback (I like battery life for communicating with people), no music playback (I have the excellent Sansa Clip+ thanks). So I figured I can save some cash by keeping the phone and going to a SIM-only contract when it expires. Yeah, new phones have promising stuff like NFC but AFAICT there is no commonplace infrastructure for that yet – hopefully in 2014 when I am ready to upgrade 🙂

So back to selecting a ROM: I first tried CyanogenMod 7.1 (probably the custom ROM most people know about) which installed smoothly. However two problems became apparent – a shockingly fast battery drain and unreliable screen auto-rotate (I think the latter might be due to accelerometer driver problems). Thankfully trackball-wake worked otherwise it would not have lasted the two weeks I ran it for. Both of those problems cannot be sustained so I looked around with the words “stable”, “bug free” with “HTC Desire ROM” and found Oxygen which is based on Gingerbread.

I now have what is almost like a new phone – it’s fast, stable and looks smart. For me there are just two small issues – no trackball wake and no way to disable the photo shutter sound – everything else is cool. If you want to install via Clockwork ROM then it will not work, there is currently a broken link to Oxygen. Instead follow this guide and grab version 2.3.2.

Thank you very, very much Oxygen developers/maintainers – enjoy!

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