Dying Computers Last Words

One of the foster kid’s toys reminded me of HAL-9000 dying…
The toy I noticed is a stuffed car with a speech synthesizer to spout car-centric phrases (from Disney ‘Cars’ or something). The toy is probably losing its charge, buying kid things at second hand places will have that effect – they are well-played with before we get them.
Anyways, it is losing its charge, and it is now saying what sounds like “Domo Arigato”.  No “Mister Roboto”, just a polite “thank you very much” (in Japanese). Which, of course, led me to think of our beloved HAL-9000 (driven to paranoia by keeping a secret from its own beloved crew).
Just like HAL-9000 was reverting to saying (singing) something from its childhood, this speech synthesizer, made in China but undoubtedly created by Japanese engineers was also reverting to its own childhood.

Linksys WRT1200AC as an Access Point

Because of a nearby lightning strike we had to replace a lot of hardware on the home network (in spite of battery backups and surge protectors and lightning bleeders). This included our old reliable WiFi access point.
I was already thinking of replacing the access point, wanting 5GHz coverage and the future of blowing in a new OpenWRT if needed (I have an ancient LinkSys 54G, which I did that with already, use it for occasional bridging needs). Anyways, the unscheduled $150 purchase and I’m adding the “Linksys WRT1200AC Dual-Band WiFi Router” to the home network. I selected this device because it was in-stock at BestBuy, no internal fan, and I’ve seen good reviews for it.
And – the case styling – has a retro look like the old WRT54G which I just love.
And – the antennas are removable so I can use my 2-foot long antennas for whole house coverage. I considered the WRT1900, but decided not to spend the extra money.
As you’d expect, our network is non-trivial and I wanted just a WiFi access point, and I wanted it to have a static IP, and nothing else.

But it took me many tries to disable the built-in DHCP and its built-in NAT functions. There was even a setup screen with a radio-button for NAT – but it could not be turned off. That radio-button was laughing at me – just the one radio-button with no way to turn it off.
The DHCP was similar but worthless – a checkbox to enable/disable the DHCP server. But – disabling the DHCP basically bricked the device and I had to go back to a factory reset.

I was stymied – how to disable the fancy router/NAT functionality and get a dumb but fast switch and access-point.

In one of the screens – there is the “Connection Type” drop-down. It was set to “Automatic Configuration – DHCP”. I tried “Static IP” a few times no luck, but then I tried “Bridge Mode” (which is somehow different from “Wireless Bridge Mode”). To me “Bridge Mode” is the same as “Wireless Bridge Mode” – which (in my book) is connecting two wireless access points as a bridge between two sub-nets. However, the net effect in this case is that the “router” turned into an Access Point. In “Bridge Mode” the DHCP and NAT options magically disappeared and the screens slimmed down to what an access point should have.

In other words – “Bridge Mode” disables the fancy features and gives you a fast and reliable WiFi Access Point with some added ports on the back if you need them.  I am now quite happy with my “Linksys WRT1200AC”.

Odd Phone Hiccup – Lost Data Connectivity on 3G/4G/LTE

Just had an oddity on my Galaxy S3 phone – I had no data connectivity over the air!
I tried the typical restart and disable/enable Airplane mode with no avail.

How I fixed it (some steps may be optional/redundant – I don’t know):

  1. Update PRL – Settings -> More -> System Update -> Update PRL
  2. disable WiFi
  3. disable phone data – Settings -> Connection -> Data Usage -> Mobile Data
  4. enter Airplane mode
    (in other words – shut off everything)
  5. power cycle the device to force a full reboot
  6. come out of Airplane mode
  7. re-enable phone data

Whew – see the 4G/LTE icon…

I left WiFi disabled because there were some comments that WiFi coming in and going out may have a bug in the new Android (I’m using KitKat 4.4.2).

New meaning of word ‘close’

From an interesting article in Science Magazine – Trio of big black holes spotted in galaxy smashup, one sentence jumped out at me…

…three supermassive black holes orbiting close to one another, two of them just a few hundred light-years apart.

Golly – JUST a few hundred light-years apart.
Otherwise the item is interesting because this would be a great source of gravitational waves.  Harnessing a small or quantum singularity and vibrating that may be more useful, but until we figure that out, we can watch these supermassive babies.


SQL Server 2012 Changes That Caught Me

My new job is using SQL Server (rather than SAP-HANA or Sybase!!) as a database engine.  During a manual install of the product I’m working on I stumbled over a couple small changes with 2012 that had changed since SQL Server 2005 (and even version 6.5!!)

  • Authentication mode
    ‘Out of the box’ – the server defaults to only ‘Windows Authentication’.
    However user ‘sa’ is (obviously) not a windows user.
    Easy change: Server Properties – Security – Authentication – select both SQL Server and Windows Authentication.
  • User ‘sa’
    In Ye Olde Days – the password was blank.
    The new recommendation is ‘Password123’.
    (yes – I did remember that when I found it online – just slipped my puppy-brain).
  • The CLR engine (for .NET objects)  has to be enabled before it’s used.
    Yes – I remembered that one too when I found it online…