Jun 19 2009

Just read excellent article …

Category: TweetsChrisM @ 2:48 am

Just read excellent article on dual booting in PCW (UK) June 09 edition.Wish I’d read it before setting up XP/Vista/Ubuntu last week 🙂

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Jun 07 2009

Weekend Update

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 5:03 pm

We are over at the in-laws right now, packing up our stuff to take home. Hopefully we’ll be meeting up with Walton to take Anna to the park, and perhaps grab a bite to eat.
The Xbox updates are still not appearing regularly or in order, so I’ll need to work on that. The entrecard widget will be removed when the current advertiser’s slot is complete, as I find the scheme is no longer generating anything like enough traffic to be worth it. Also Bluehost seem to have reliability and speed problems once more, this last week, so I seriously need to look into alternative hosting companies.
Anyway, Anna is doing just fine, our main PC has just been upgraded/complicated to triple-booting Vista now, as well as XP and Ubuntu, and I really appreciate the air-con we have back in our flat – Kazakhstan is warming up pretty well already.

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Jan 21 2009

Waiting For A Foreign Dawn

Category: Friends,PersonalChrisM @ 9:11 pm

The last few days I have been trying to sort out Dave’s laptop. Unfortunately, he is in Astana, which makes technical support a little difficult. With the assistance of LogMeIn, we discovered that his old install of XP was shot. We put a new customised one on, and discovered that this too was not a stable platform to operate on. Unfortunately, we didn’t get far enough this evening for me to be able to carry on with this new OS install, as there is still no network connectivity. As David is using our flat, where ChrisK+GF live, he has a curfew to follow, and so had to leave this evening (as it was already a lot later over there).

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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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Jun 04 2008

PC No Longer In Pieces :-)

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 4:44 am

As I mentioned previously, our main PC had a major failure with the hard drive that had Windows and all the apps on it. It is most probably just a coincidence, but this occurred directly after I updated my on board audio drivers. Upon rebooting, I was presented with an error message stating that HAL.DLL was corrupted. Not a problem, I’ll drop into Safe Mode and find which CAB the file is compressed within on the XP Install CD, expand it and drop it into place. Another reboot bought up multiple file corruptions, including BOOT.INI . As the hard drive was only 40Gb, and was already second hand, I decided now would be a good time to finally insert the 500Gb drive I got for Christmas from Mum. Having fitted the drive in (not as easy as before, as there were still another three internal drives attached), and installed XP, I discovered that the install process had decided to make the boot drive L: ! This caused issues with some driver installation programs, and I discovered that the Windows Disk Management util could only reassign letters to non-OS install drives. So, using a few different utils, I recovered the faulty hard drive to the point that it could be read again, and rescued every directory I could. In the end, I only lost my Firefox bookmarks, in terms of important non-backed up data, so all that was left was another OS install, hardware and their respective drivers to be added on at a time, and now that I have 500Gb to play with for just programs, all the programs I could lay my hands on to install.
Anyway, things are now settled down enough for me to return to my normal routine on this PC, so thanks to those people that were patient enough to wait for me to respond to e-mails and comments.

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May 31 2008

Slowly Getting There…

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 7:06 pm

I have finally recovered as much data as possible from the corrupted hard drive, and due to the last install of XP deciding that my new main hard drive (with the OS on it) should be L: , I’ve opted for another fresh install of XP. Anyway, normal service should resume in a few days time. To those that have commented, I’ve approved all the non-spammy ones,and will try to reply soon.


Mar 16 2007

The End Is Nigh…

Category: Internet Connections,PersonalChrisM @ 6:05 pm

Unfortunately, since I ended up re-installing XP just prior to getting my ADSL connection working & therefore downloading a lot of updates, I’ve used up my 700 meg quota this month, so I’m back to dial up for the rest of the month 🙁

Not many UK friends seem to be reading this blog right now anyway, judging from the IP addresses of visitors, so you’ll probably only end up asking my why I disappeared the next time I’m on-line in Messenger, but it was worth a shot.

Before I forget, if anyone knows :
a) Where Windows Update downloads are stored, and if you can simply copy them across from one install of XP to another, to save downloading them all over again
b) Why I’m unable to remember a simple list of two things whilst typing out the first
then PLEASE leave a comment below….

Finally, thank you to the random blokes from Britain who kept me & Ira entertained last night on Skype – I’d just used the ‘Skype-Me’ mode for the first time, and they were looking for people on-line from strange countries to talk to. I’m apparently 46% chav & 31% emo, according to the questionnaires they sent links for!

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Nov 07 2006

Been A Bit Lax At Posting Recently

Category: Friends,PersonalChrisM @ 10:43 pm

Apologies. I’ve been a little distracted re-building a PC for a friend. I had everything just right, all working, and secure (he had stability & security issues that couldn’t be sorted out without a re-install of XP). The final update was to bring the BIOS up to date – it had had a few revisions in 14 months. Unfortunately, for the first time ever, I appear to have killed the BIOS whilst flashing it. The board is supposed to have a 2nd BIOS that gets used if the first is fried, but it hasn’t come into play, no amount of keypresses or floppy disks with binary images & flashing programs have helped. As I did the damage, I’m using up the last of my birthday money to replace the motherboard. Except, of course, that particular model isn’t stocked any more, so I’m trying to find a suitable upgrade for him.
On a more positive note, my brother and dad are hopefully coming over to visit us, around New Year time, and Losha, may be coming with us to the UK for Xmas 🙂

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Nov 02 2006

New Experience

Category: Friends,PersonalChrisM @ 10:45 am

A friend dropped their PC off today, to sort two issues…

First was easy enough, their portable (USB) hard drive required more juice than his motherboard/PSU could supply. Unfortunately, the drive didn’t come with a separate AC/DC power supply, although it sports a socket for such a transformer. Given the state of finding normal power/audio/video accessories over here, I’ve suggested an easier solution, but less expensive than grabbing a new PSU for the PC. I double checked, and as long as it is of the powered, rather than passive, variety, a new USB hub should solve the problem. Unusual for a USB hub to be the solution to a problem, rather than the cause, but there we go. This way, the USB is only used for data to/from the PC, the power is supplied completely separately by the hub itself.

Next we have a fun issue, where, seemingly at random, the windows GUI flips out and reverts to Windows 98 flat style. No particular software or activity seems to trigger it, so I finally got round to obtaining a Russian Windows XP disc, and will have a go at restoring explorer.exe and ntoskrnl.exe to their original states. If all else goes wrong, he hasn’t reinstalled XP since he got the PC, and some of his friends pride themselves on their l33t hacking & ‘virus’ writing skills, so I’m backing up his entire personal data collection over night (damn D-Link router runs @ 100MBit, not 1GBit, I’m now too lazy to disconnect and patch up direct one to one…) Also running anti virus scans on full depth once xfer is complete.

Had a nice meal and drink with him and his parents (friends with the in-laws), and introduced them to Angel Delight (Andy & KZBlog, you know your days are numbered :P). Already got Igor hooked up to Marmite…

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