Jul 28 2009

Going Quad?

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 1:39 am

I still can’t decide whether or not to give Windows 7 a try just yet. With XP Pro, Vista and Ubuntu currently forming my tri-boot setup, I don’t know whether I’d really end up spending enough time with it to justify the installation. I definitely need to check how it writes to the existing, or perhaps uses a new second stage bootstrap loader type thingy (I just double checked that I had the right term in my head).
From friends comments and reviews, Windows 7 software developments may make it worth the hassle, and most seem to view 7 vs. Vista as the equivalent of Windows XP vs. Windows Millenium (Me). If it is anything like 50% of the difference found in those two OSs, I’ll be very interested.

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Jan 12 2009

Belated 2009 Greetings

Category: Friends,Personal,Weather,WiFi,Windows Mobile,WordPressChrisM @ 3:36 pm

Wow, no posts in almost 12 days. That has to be improved upon, sorry. The (somewhat predictable) reasons for my online muteness were recovering from Christmas, seeing in the New Year, travelling around meeting friends and family, some of whom we hadn’t crossed paths with in a couple of years, friends coming over to sunny Wales to see the house for the first time, oh and also maintaining, repairing and improving four different PCs. Getting used to Vista from a technical support point of view has taken time, but I at least no longer involuntarily shudder when I hear the OS’ name 😉
After flashing my TyTn II (Kaiser) to a custom WM6.1 ROM (it was working boringly reliably, something had to be tweaked/modded 😉 ) and getting TomTom, music and voice commands to work whilst in the car, I installed Ubuntu onto Ira’s laptop (dual-boot obviously, didn’t think the love of my life would appreciate me nuking her Windows install), finally got around to properly securing the wireless network at home in Clydach, got the PCs all happily working as far as UPnP was concerned. This needed to be sorted as the internet radio I recvd. for Xmas could also play files on the LAN, and I was having issues just using normal folder sharing on a couple of the Vista machines.
Ante natal classes have been an interesting and mostly informative process, it is hard to believe we are now probably less than a month away from seeing our daughter’s face for the first time 🙂 We now have a lot of the items new borns need, and even the pushchair/pram/car-seat optimus prime styled transforming thingy has turned up. Ira has done some more photo shoots with John, obviously centred around the theme of pregnancy/new life etc. See previous posts for the last published examples – though hopefully John will get around to adding new posts to his blog, and new photos to the gallery soon. Which reminds me, don’t forget to check out ConJoinery if you are in need of carpentry or joinery skills… when Con came over here for a few days, we got around to setting up a quick blog to promote his work, and showcase previous projects. It obviously still need more content, but the basic framework of WordPress 2.7 and useful plugins are in place.
After all that I finally noticed that this site is once again down to a PageRank of 0 (see many previous posts regarding Google and post links-for-money issues. Anyway, I now know why there is a lot less work around again. From n/a to a 2, then up to 4, spanked by google down to a 0, recovered to 2, then back once more to 0. As the only thing this alters for the worse is the potential income for this domain, I’m not crying into my cereal. The unique visitor numbers per day has been steadily bouncing between 250 and 600 a day, even when no fresh content has been added, so I know the search engine traffic, and regular repeat visitors have carried on regardless. It is a little strange to find out which of your posts are popular, and the search terms people googled to get there. If you’ve not already enabled AWStats on your site, it might be worth popping along to your CPanel interface and turning it on…

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Jul 16 2008

PPP Weren’t Down!

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 2:33 am

I meant to update the situation since my PayPerPost And SocialSpark Down Again? post. It turns out the problem was at my end, as many other sites were also not available. The sites resolved OK, but they just hung with the connection established, not even timing out. After running through the obvious preliminary checks, I asked Ira to contact our pseduo-ISP, and check what the problem was. Nothing at all apparently, the fault must lie with our setup.

I sent this letter, and was happy to receive a reply, quite quickly, on a Saturday afternoon!

(his name removed),

I believe you spoke to my wife, Irina, earlier today. These are the details of the problems we have, I look forward to hearing the solution.

Are our current internet problems because we are on the restricted speed connection right now, as we’ve gone over 10Gb?

This has been happening since Wednesday, possibly one or two days before that.

Problems include…

1) The following sites not working –


None of those sites will load, it just states ‘waiting for (name of site)’ constantly. All sites load if I use a web proxy service to test them.
Other sites load ok, the ones given are just examples I’ve noticed so far.

2) MSN Messenger can not connect, but Skype is OK.

3) BitTorrents cause complete failure with the internet connection – ALL downloads/uploads, not just torrents will stop for 10-20 seconds, start again for 10 seconds, then fail again in a loop. This has always been the case, not just since Wednesday.

Attempts to repair or specifically identify the problem…

Confirmed that no proxy server is set, Automatically Detect Settings unchecked, used both FireFox, Internet Explorer 7, Pocket Internet Explorer and NetFront.
I tried the same things on my wife’s laptop, with both a wired LAN connection and WiFi. Exact same problems occur.
I tried the same things on my PDA, using WiFi. Exact same problems occur.
I obviously tried restarting the PCs & the router (a Netgear DG834PN).
I checked the MTU is not set too high (currently 1492) and therefore causing strange fragmentation problems.
I removed the DNS servers I had assigned (OpenDNS, as the ones in this country are quite bad), and used the default ones supplied by Bazis, as well as defining the router itself as the DNS server (which would only cause the PC to use the default Bazis ones anyway). This was done both on the PC and the router itself.

The problems remain.

These issues occur on three different devices, with different DNS servers set, I believe the fault lies with either your or Kazakh Telecoms network hardware.
I did not think that resetting the TCP/IP protocol stack would be worth doing, as all three devices would be very unlikely to suffer from the same problem at the same time.

I used to work for an ISP in Britain, as a Senior Technical Support Agent, so I hope I have told you all the information you need to fix this problem. If there are other tests you want me to carry out, please tell me.

If you have a modem that you want to test in this flat to confirm the fault is not here, I would be happy to help.

Chris Merriman

Once I actually read their reply, I wasn’t exactly over the moon…


Reinstall operating system Windows
or restore her(it) with help of the load disk. Probably after attacks virus she conked…
Earlier beside me was such problem, was not opened mail on www.yahoo.com
If you want that I came to you home and has tested on my notebook, I with joy to you will come…

About 10 GB… There is quota In Kazakhtelekom to speed on loading more 10Gb.
You it is necessary to call me 688-907

Krasnikov (name removed)!

I should point out straight away that they said they didn’t speak English (not a problem, it is to be assumed in this country), but I really hoped the letter I’d sent would give them enough information to not get a ‘reinstall Windows’ reply. Anyway, at some point last Saturday something happened that caused the sites to work again. Whether it was something corrected at Bazis, or further on up the line with Megaline (the real ISP) noticing that some of their hardware wasn’t working, I’m not sure. Anyway, sent this reply…

Thanks for your advice.

Reinstalling Windows really is a last ditch ‘fix’ for any computer problem. The fact that these sites did not work on THREE different devices (XP desktop, Vista laptop, Windows Mobile 6 PDA) indicates this would not have done anything to remedy situation. All three devices are confirmed as virus, trojan, spyware, adware and, in general, malware free. I’ve not encountered any viruses in the last 15 years that prevented that sort of range of sites from loading.

Luckily, at some point during Saturday afternoon, something was fixed somewhere, and the sites worked again. Perhaps Megaline had a routing problem or flakey hardware that is now fixed?
Anyway, I’ll wait until the end of the month, when I get my ‘normal’ speeds again (I understand the 10Gb limit, it is laughably small, but I understand it), before retesting to see if BitTorrents still cause catastrophic failures for all internet based traffic.

Thank you for replying,

Chris Merriman

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Dec 12 2007

Vista Locks Outs Dropped

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 2:51 am

On to a slightly more serious matter now, as Microsoft have announced they will dropping their much-loathed kill switch, that locks out users should their Windows Vista installation be found to be pirated. Whilst the theory held water, and you can see why it was implemented, too many users complaining about being locked out of their legally paid for install caused a lot of mad press for Microsoft.
Windows will still need to be activated (unless your OEM system has a BIOS recognised by m/soft, and so bypasses this stage), but Microsoft have promised that no further complete lock outs will occur. Some users, who have flashed their motherboard’s BIOS to fool Vista into believing all is OK, are not overly concerned.

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Jul 14 2007

BBC Set To Talk Over Open Source Software

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 4:00 am

For Brits who pay for a TV licence, there will be a service launched at the end of this month that will allow them to watch TV programs from the previous week, and keep them stored for up to 30 days in most instances.
Unfortunately, the initial release will only work on PCs with Windows XP, and some people are claiming this gives Microsoft an unfair advantage. Although the BBC is hoping to bring out a version for Macs soon, it looks as though Vista PCs and mobile devices will have to wait a little longer. I was not able to source any information about plans for Linux based computers.
If the iPlayer application/service was open source, it seems more likely that porting it to other platforms would take less time, though some people fear this would make it easier to bypass the DRM (digital rights management) contained within iPlayer, that stops downloads from working after a set time, and presumably blocks anyone other than the original licence player’s PC from being able to play the videos.

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