21 February 2017

published older posts

i had imported my older posts from my wordpress blog into this blog in the middle of last year. but when i had imported them, the publish dates all ended up being the day of import rather than the original date. so, i spend a few hours this past sunday getting the dates fixed by hand.

i resized all the pictures to fit the format of the current theme. i still need to fix a few links in several posts to have them reference other posts within this blog now. i'll tackle that later.

i'm also considering hosting my own site again using mezzanine (python). that might take some time to set up as i learn the environment. until then, i'm here!

14 February 2017

return of the 5GHz

i finally was up and running on saturday with a new and different router to provide mock manor with 5GHz frequencies. streaming video is noticeably slower over 2.4GHz. i opted for a netgear nighthawk x4s. someone i work with has talked this router line up.

the setup was easy and all is good. i actually like the design on the router, specifically the lights on the front kinda top of the router. my others had a flatter face on the front which hid them a little.

now, i still have a little follow up with linksys about getting the wrt-1900acs working. they had contacted me about working through some steps to get it working. there is probably a chance to get it back to a happy firmware version. i just need to plug it in and troubleshoot it. if i can get it working, it will be my backup router.

in my many years of working with routers, i've not had this much trouble with these devices. and my queries with others surfaced two independent responses for pfsense and unifi devices. i even looked at some more high end hardware feeling that now might be the time for something like that. however, i don't have the closet in which i can install a rack to mount a switch or other metal.

i hope this concludes this adventure.

08 February 2017

bad routers continued

after last night's rant which included a few frustrated posts on twitter, i received a reply from linksys's support account, @linksyscares. i responded with some information but never really heard back from them.

in the course of my checking, i realized that v1 firmware on my v2 wrt-1900acs router. i had never used a file to flash the firmware. i opted for the automatic stuff. so, this v1 firmware was on it out of the box. hope, maybe!

i got home, downloaded the v2 firmware, and did the hard reset on the router to dump the dd-wrt. i got the firmware installed after a little bit of wrestling and proceeded to start the configuration. this is where things got bad again.

the wrt-1900acs with the right firmware continued it pattern of restarting every few minutes. i never actually got the setup completed because the restarts would stymie my attempts to adjust any settings. after spending yet another hour of this repeated madness, i shut down the linksys, powered up the asus, and will now wait until my replacement netgear nighthawk arrives tomorrow to (hopefully) put an end to this horrible experience.

i really had hope there might be a positive end to this with linksys. asus has been average when responding to email but never on twitter. the lack of follow up after two tweets from @linksyscares made me think i would have it resolved better than ordering more hardware. they seemed sincere.

but now, i need to go play some xbox. i think i can do this with a hardline even. draw your own conclusions here. i know what mine are.

07 February 2017

reliable routers?

these are the horror stories you only hear about in other blogs but your own.

i have an asus rt-ac87u router which i have been mostly happy with for over a year now. middle to late last year, the firmware update on the router caused it to just drop the internet connection randomly. not the whole network or a restart, but just the connection to my internet modem.

last night (or early this morning, rather), i woke up for other reasons, but i watched as i was browsing on my phone the network switch from my 5GHz network to LTE. ugh! but i'll deal with it in the morning. 

i woke up and started a few things around the house. i rebooted the router to find no restoration of that band. (the 2.4GHz band was fine.) i didn't have time to deal with it then, so i set aside for when i got home. i was thinking it was the radio for 5GHz.

and upon entering my house, i started the effort to replace the router with a backup device of exactly the same make and model. needless to say, the results were exactly the same. after upgrading to the latest firmware, the 5GHz band disappeared. i am now not thinking it's hardware. so, i flash an earlier version. same problem. i flash the latest merlin image. i do get a new option to enable the radio, but the 5GHz led just flashes at me like it's confused about what to do. it shows up on the available wifi lists, but you can't really connect to it.

i pull out my linksys wrt-1900acs, which i had purchased when the firmware problem on two asus routers was dropping my internet connection. it seemed like it would work for the foreseeable future. oh, look! a firmware update. i update...and it started a reboot cycle which is worse than the asus.

i plugged the asus back in, pulled a copy of dd-wrt down for the linksys, and installed it. after the configuration was good, i thought i was set. all seemed to be working. i fired up the xbox and midway through my second crucible match in destiny, the router reset. seems the cycle persisted through the dd-wrt image as well.

three routers of two different brands go belly up in one night. i think these are high odds, but i have lost respect and confidence in both these companies. i mean, asus: if the firmware is to blame for the 5GHz radio failing--and it think that it is--then why? how could this not somehow come up in testing? there is a whole thread about asus routers suffering from this problem. and no remedy?

and linksys: the reboot cycle is a known problem for you too. why is it not fixed already? all the info about how to deal with this is about six months old. why is there not a solution?

i guess the solution is to buy another router. this has been a very expensive lesson in product review. and it's not even over yet! i am normally very loyal, to a fault even. but in an age when a good network connection has become a dependency, i need to find one that will be there for the long haul.

i am disappointed.

28 July 2016

nas server update complete

i attempted to build a network storage device a few years ago complete with raid5. it would be the one place i would store all the photos i was taking since i started a bit of amateur photography.

but i failed to set put this server on a ups, which after a few brown outs and possible a black out or two, damaged the raid configuration enough to render the server useless.

it sat like that for while.

then i picked up the project again this year. i replaced several components and most of the hard drives.

current configuration:

  • 3 seagate 2TB drives
  • 2 hitachi 2TB drives
  • 1 seagate 250GB drive (for the operating system)

i rebuilt the array by hand rather than using centos install wizardry. and i wish i had started with hitatchi drives since i had to replace a few of seagates due to failed sectors. i would also have found a mSATA adapter since my motherboard doesn't include one and put the centos 7 on it giving me one more drive for the raid.

i'm running four of the five drives in an active raid while one of them remains a spare. (i should consider that mSATA adapter and transfer my op sys to it.)

to avoid losing more data, i created a crashplan account and am backing up data on this raid to that location. it will be my off-site storage solution.

i need to put the panels back on the rig and set it aside to do its job. oh, and i do have this server on a nice ups this time. no more power-related damage going forward.

18 July 2016

asus router firmware update screwed up my internet

i am a fan of asus. been using their products for a long time now. i purchased their RT-AC87U router over netgear's nighthawk because of price and a perceived understanding of their grasp on technology. and the router did fine...until a few months ago.

i use an arris cable modem and decided to upgrade to a faster model. shortly after, i started having dropped internet connections. my internal network was fine but my line to the internet would just go away.
i jumped through all the reconnect hoops every isp has you do. sometimes it would resolve quickly, other times it wouldn't.

finally, i called a tech out to house to check lines. he found no problems. i ended up switching my cable modem back to my old one. but problems still persisted.
the last straw was this past weekend when i came home to the same troubles. i had purchased a second RT-AC87U as a backup. i promptly installed it and got it all configured. one of the steps was to upgrade the firmware. all was good again.

until twenty-four hours later. this time, i could get no resolution. as i thought back, it occurred to me that i had probably upgraded the firmware on my previous router before connections started failing.

here's the catch, though: the asus firmware was not letting me downgrade. a recent fcc ruling that prohibits router manufacturers from letting custom firmware to be installed has worked its way into the real world. because custom firmware allows for boosting wifi radio signal strength, it poses a threat to national security and stuff. apparently, asus modified their latest firmware to prevent downgrading or flashing any custom firmware. (reference: http://www.snbforums.com/threads/asus-firmware-will-change-the-verification-method.32357/)

but the problem is their latest firmware has flaws which drop my internet link too. i have that broken firmware on two routers i cannot use as main routers. i will probably just make them range extensions since the internal networking still is unhindered. it's just very expensive.

if you have this router, don't upgrade the firmware if you haven't. keep it where it is. until asus addresses this problem, your upgrade could make your connection to the tubes unusable.

what did i replace it with? the linksys WRT1900ACS, which allows for open source firmware installs. (this is why: http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2016/05/linksys-wrt-routers-wont-block-open-source-firmware-despite-fcc-rules/)

02 July 2015

nexus 5 replaced

a couple of week before heading on vacation, i started having problems with my nexus 5. it had been trouble-free up until this point. then one fateful tuesday, all that changed.

my n5 started randomly rebooting. since i had manually flashed the latest version of lollipop (5.1.1), i considered it might have been something a little glitchy with how that had been done. i was doubtful, but as the frequency of the restarts increased i did a quick google search for cause and fix.

one suggestion was to clear the cache partition. i booted into recovery and wiped my cache out. it didn’t seem to have an effect. by the time i was driving home, it was consistently rebooting…and it just failed to start.

i got home and plugged the phone in for a standard power feed. it would boot for about one second then recycle. it wasn’t even long enough to get into the bootloader. without power, it wouldn’t boot.

i did quick surgery on it, taking the back off, unplugging the battery, and reattaching it. it acted like it had plugged it in (one second start up) and then nothing.

i had ordered a new battery for it from amazon, but it was set to arrive (from china) later in the month. i quick ordered another in case the battery was the issue somehow.

then i started to wonder if the battery was not the problem, would i have a working mobile device with me on vacation. i asked google support about things. they only cover it for a year, and this nexus 5 was a 18 months old. they suggested i contact lg, who manufactures the phone. i checked their support agreement, and i wasn’t sure they were going to cover the reason this was a problem.

i went to ebay to search for a used replacement. after poking around, i discovered a few in good condition which could hold me over until later this year when the next generation of the nexus 5 would be released.

after about five days of back and forth with a few sellers, i bagged a good black nexus 5 with 32gb storage (just like my original).

i did the transfer of all my stuff after, of course, unlocking the phone and dropping a new recovery image on it including root access. i have the device which i hope will last me until october (maybe october…or november).