Raspberry Pi WIFI under Arch Linux

Hello,

I haven’t seen an updated tutorial on how to get Wireless working with Arch Linux.  So, here is the latest information.  It is actually in the loader if you used NOOBS.  But, a quick search on the web turned few results.

I used the EDIMAX 150Mbps Wireless 802.11b/g/n nano USB Adapter. It was only $10 and works great!

With a fresh install you can do the following:

wifi-menu

You should see the following output:

 

To enable wifi at boot-time issue the following command:

systemctl enable netctl-auto@wlan0

Don’t forget to update your system when you get a chance with:

pacman -Syu

Hope this quick reference helps.

- Chris

 

 

Installing Wireshark/Winpcap on Server Core R2 2008

Today I needed to install winpcap and Wireshark on Windows Server Core 2008 R2. So, here is how I finally accomplished this.

  1. Install WireShark on your local box (x64 only).
  2. Get the winpcap.dll and packet.dll from your Windows\System32 directory and copy it to the new core server in the same location.
  3. Download and install Network Monitor 3.4 (Microsoft’s Wireshark) on the Server Core server.  (This installs the necessary Network Card Driver)
  4. Now install Wireshark on the core server.  WinPcap installation will fail.. That is ok.
  5. cd to Program Files\Wireshark
  6. run Wireshark.exe

That is about it.  I have it up and running on my Server Core box.  Hope this helps someone else!

MSP430 delay function like the Arduino.

I did quite a bit of research on how to accurately delay the MSP430 devices like the Launchpad.

So, in the style of the arduino, I wrote one function that should help you:

It is important to know what your processor is currently running at with these.  It causes them to change based off what your clock is set to.

The MSP430′s have 4 calibrated values when they come to you.  Each chip is different and will have different values in these.  Fortunately, it is easy to set the clock with these two commands when you initialize the chip:

For 16Mhz set them as follows (Remember that the lower you can stand, the better for power).

BCSCTL1 = CALBC1_16MHZ;
DCOCTL = CALDCO_16MHZ;

For 8Mhz change the value to 8MHZ. You also have the option of 4MHZ and 1MHZ.

Keep in mind that 1MHZ is 1 clock cycle per every 1 microsecond.  So, you will not accurately get the delayMicroseconds to delay one clock cycle unless you direcly use the  __delay_cycles(1);  command under 1MHZ.  If you are running at 16Mhz, you would need __delay_cycles(16); for example.

// Delays by the specified Milliseconds

void delay(unsigned int ms)
{
while (ms–)
{
__delay_cycles(16000); // set for 16Mhz change it to 1000 for 1 Mhz
}
}

Delaying by a microsecond can be tricky.  The best way is to just use the __delay_cycles(x) command.  The problem with x is it has to be a constant.  So, if you want to delay by 1 microsecond put in __delay_cycles(1) for 1 MHZ and __delay_cycles(16) for 16MHZ.  Keep in mind that your microseconds will be ate up by every command you put in the program.  For instance a some simple division can eat up 100′s of clock cycles.

City Caller ID – My First Android App

So, I took some time this weekend to develop an Android application.  The application displays the city name and state someone is calling from.  This application is something I’ve wanted on a phone.

Due to a patent that is already on this technology, I had to remove it.

 

 

Acer Aspire 1420P Touch Screen Problem (Dead Zones) – PDC Laptop

My Microsoft PDC Laptop suffered from dead zones on the screen after a few days.  I had a couple options.  One of them being to return the laptop.  The other one was to open it and fix it myself.  Since I am quite impatient, I decided to try and fix it.

I made a video and I put a few steps down on how I fixed the dead zones.

1. Unscrew the two little screws next to the pivot point of the screen.  They are under two rubber nubs.  They are easy to remove with a jewlers screwdriver (I highly suggest using this method).

2. Push around the screen bezel until it pops up.  Do this gently and without a lot of pressure.  It should snap up pretty easy.

3. Unscrew the 4 screws holding the touch screen together.

4. Snap up the little plastic connector on the large ribbon cable in the bottom left of the screen.  You may need to remove a piece of clear tape on it.  (The connector snaps up from the top of it.  It does not slide forward or back).

5. Gently move the screen away from the connector.  There are two little screws on the left hand of the touch screen.  Loosen them and push the metal bar on the screen up away from the connector and retighten those screws.  (This will push the connector in better when it is mounted.

6. Clean the connector with a contact cleaner.  I used tuner cleaner from radio shack.  I’m sure there are alternatives.  (You may omit this step and it could work fine.)

NOTE: When I did this, it would work for an hour.  It wasn’t until I removed the black strip on the top of the connector that it started working again.  (The black strip is on the screen’s connector.  Not the connector on the board!)

7. Push the connector in tight and put snap the connector back down.

8. Screw in the four screen screws.  At this point.  I booted up and tested.  That is up to you.

9. Snap back on the bezel and finish up.

Video:

Function to remove letters from a string in SQL Server

 I found a function at
http://www.softstuff-consulting.com/kbase/showkb.asp?id=56

that removes letters from a varchar in SQL Server.  I found it to be a bit slow for my needs.  So, I made the following function that performs better for me.

alter function NoLetters(@string2number varchar(200)) returns varchar(200)
as
begin
 declare @c int
 declare @num varchar(200)
 set @num = ”
 declare @txtCurrent char(1)
 set @c=1
 while @c<=len(@string2number)
 begin
  set @txtCurrent = substring(@string2number,@c,1)
  if ascii(@txtCurrent) between 48 and 57
   set @num = @num + @txtCurrent

  set @c=@c+1
 end
return @num
end

To use the function it can be added to a print statement like
PRINT dbo.NoLetters(‘ABC1234′)
This will return 1234

 

SABnzbd+ File Handler Beta

SABnzb+ File Handler – Freeware

This program allows you to quickly add an nzb file to your SABnzbd+ Queue.  It will allow you to select a category to download to.

I plan on adding a status line to this program at a later date.  Please enjoy this Alpha.

http://www.threadabort.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/SABnzbdFH.zip

FIOS vs Cable (Cox Communications) part 3 – Follow up

We upgraded our connection to 50/20 (50 mbps down and 20 mbps up).  I must say the results are quite impressive.  For the exact same price (~$90/month) we have a full 50 mpbs!

I had to change my  Router once again though.  I achieved these results with the $99 Dlink DIR-655.  The router seems to handle itself quite well.  I am considering going to a full blown Linux router, but the Dlink seems to be doing nicely.

I have had quite an easy time dealing with Verizon Support.  Their techs do not treat me like an idiot.  I asked one tech during the year to release my DHCP since I had a router die without releasing it.  He knew exactly what I wanted and the new router was working within seconds.  Then we had ordered the upgrade for 50/20 and the system was still performing at 30/15.  So we called, and within a short amount of time they found the issue and fixed it.

Before I obtained the DLINK DIR-655, I tried a Linksys WRVS4400N router from Cisco.  I ended up returning this router due to the Download on the speedtest sites maxing at 15-20 mbps.  That router looks nice and performs poorly.  I would stay away from it.

Dell m1530 grainy LCD/Display

 

I have never had so many things wrong with one laptop.  After lots of eye strain I decided that I needed to research why my laptop was so hard to read under dim lighting conditions.  I have had Toshiba’s and HP’s that never shared this problem.  I found several forums talking about grainy screens on the Dell XPS m1530.  I had spent a lot on the two laptops that my wife and I wanted.  I expect some quality.  These were my first Dell laptops (and could be my last).  The lcd screen is dim, grainy, and unclear!

Here is some of the most important information I compiled from all the forums:

WSXGA+ 1680×1050 Panels
LG Philips LPLF300 – Dell P/N: XK309 – Size: 15.4″ – Experience: Not Grainy
Samsung SEC3350 – Dell P/N: RW985 – Size: 15.4″ – Experience: Grainy

WSXGA/WXGA+ 1440×900 Panels
AU Optronics AUO2077 – Dell P/N: GU429 – Size: 15.4″ – Experience: Grainy
Samsung SEC3157 – Dell P/N: Unknown – Size: 15.4″ – Experience: Some Grain
LG Philips LPLDF00 – Dell P/N: XP059 – Size: 15.4″ – Experience: Not Grainy

Samsung SEC4457 – Dell P/N: Unknown – Size: 14.1″ – Experience: Grainy

WXGA 1280×800 Panels
AU Optronics (Model Unknown) – Dell P/N: UX303 – Size: 14.1″ – Experience: Unknown
LG Philips LPL0000 – Dell P/N: WR362 – Size: 14.1″ – Experience: Not Grainy

Don’t wait on the screen.  Get it replaced.  My dell is barely 3 months old and I have already had the motherboard replaced and a new CPU.  The laptop looks good; but, it feels flimsy.  I wouldn’t recommend it anymore.

Some pictures of the differences:

 

Here is the transcript from the online chat I had with tech support.  I only included the important parts:


Session Started with Agent (Dell Rep 1)
Agent (Dell Rep 1): “Thank you for contacting Dell XPS Premium Support. My name is ….  and my rep ID number is XXXXXXX. How may I help you today?”
ThreadAbort: “Hello, my laptop screen is grainy and hurts my eyes.”
ThreadAbort: “There is something wrong with it.”
Session Started with Agent (Dell Rep 2)
Agent (Dell Rep 2): “Hello and welcome to the Dell XPS experience. My name is …. . How may I assist you today?”
ThreadAbort: “Hello, my laptop screen is grainy and hurts my eyes.”
Agent (Dell Rep 2): “I’m sorry that you have this issue, please don’t worry I’ll try my best to help you resolve this.”
ThreadAbort: “Ok”
Agent (Dell Rep 2): “Please allow me 2 to 3 minutes to pull up your account information. In the meantime, may I have the phone number(s) to reach you incase of a follow-up?”
ThreadAbort: “1-XXX-XXX-XXXX”
Agent (Dell Rep 2): “Thank you.”
Agent (Dell Rep 2): “Thank you for staying connected.”
Agent (Dell Rep 2): “As I can see from the records, you need assistance with the XPS 1530 with an operating system as Windows Vista Ultimate. Am I correct?”
ThreadAbort: “yes”
Agent (Dell Rep 2): “Since when are you facing this issue”
ThreadAbort: “since I got this laptop. It is hurting my eyes more and more. I thought I could live with it. But, now it just bothers me too much.”
Agent (Dell Rep 2): “Is the issue with the same system we are chatting on?”
ThreadAbort: “yes. I have it hooked to an external monitor”
Agent (Dell Rep 2): “Okay.”
Agent (Dell Rep 2): “I can connect to your computer remotely, with your permission and check with a few settings on it.”
ThreadAbort: “ok. if you like. But, I am a computer expert and know that this LCD is grainy and of poor quality.”
ThreadAbort: “it looks fantastic on my external monitor”
ThreadAbort: “btw.”
Agent (Dell Rep 2): “I appreciate your expertise, Christopher.”
Agent (Dell Rep 2): “Did you try to update the BIOS and checked if that made any difference?”
ThreadAbort: “yes, I am running A08. The latest”
Agent (Dell Rep 2): “Okay.”
Agent (Dell Rep 2): “Christopher, please give me a minute here while I check with my supervisor if I can replace the LCD for you.”
ThreadAbort: “thanks …”
Agent (Dell Rep 2): “You are welcome, Christopher.”
Agent (Dell Rep 2): “Thank you for your patience, Christopher.”
Agent (Dell Rep 2): “I have managed to take my supervisor’s approval and I will go ahead and replace the LCD for you.”
ThreadAbort: “thank you. That would be very helpful!”
Agent (Dell Rep 2): “My pleasure!”
Agent (Dell Rep 2): “I will go-ahead and create a dispatch. Would you please verify the shipping address?”
ThreadAbort: …
Agent (Dell Rep 2): “Thank you.”
Agent (Dell Rep 2): “Could you please give me 2-3 minutes while I create a dispatch for the part? I will give you the details after that.”
ThreadAbort: “sure. Thanks.”
Agent (Dell Rep 2): “You are welcome,”
Agent (Dell Rep 2): “Christopher, I can send you a service technician to replace the LCD. is that okay?”
ThreadAbort: “sure. I can do it myself. But, a service tech is fine too. :)
Agent (Dell Rep 2): “All right. I will send a service technician :)
ThreadAbort: “sounds good.”
Agent (Dell Rep 2): “Thank you for your patience.”
Agent (Dell Rep 2): “I have created the dispatch. Please make a note of your dispatch number. The dispatch number # is XXXXXXX.”
ThreadAbort: “ok. Got it.”
Agent (Dell Rep 2): “The service technician will come down to your place to replace the part within 3-5 business days.”
Agent (Dell Rep 2): “Christopher, the service technician will give you a call tomorrow or day after and will set an appointment with you.”
ThreadAbort: “great. Thanks …!”
Agent (Dell Rep 2): “My pleasure.”

 


 

As you can see, my experience with the online chat mode was great.  I hate calling Dell though, I get bounced around the world.

Some more information at:

http://forum.notebookreview.com/archive/index.php/t-206929.html
http://forum.notebookreview.com/archive/index.php/t-211817.html

Be sure to vote up this idea:
http://www.ideastorm.com/article/show/76031/Higher_quality_lcd_screens_for_XPS_M1530

 

Dell m1530 no longer turns on

Well, I’ve had the dell for a month or two and it already required an entire motherboard replacement.  If you tried to turn it on, the blue light on the power would come on for a second.  Nothing else would turn on.

After contacting dell support, the guy said a tech would have to look at it.  He said his computer went down at dell and that he would have to call me the next day.  I never got a call.  So, I tried again in a few days.  The tech had me remove the hard drive and the lan card.  He then claimed it was the motherboard and was going to send one out with a tech.

The good news is that the computer works again.  The bad news is I am extremely worried about the quality of my new m1530.  It died in less than a couple months of ownership!  I have never had another brand with an issue like that.

Another issue I had with Dell was with when I bought it.  I chose Dell Financing due to the Zero percent financing if I paid it off in a year.  I figured that would be a great idea since it costs nothing to me.  So, I patiently watched my order status move from order made to processing.  It sat there for a week and then one part of my order got cancelled!  It was the LoJack part, so that didn’t bother me because it was something I didn’t want for free.  I called them, since they didn’t bother to call me.  Bounced through about 10 people in their system.  To find later that they thought my order was fraud without even picking up a phone to call or having something that asked me to call.

Finally a rep talked to me and asked me everything that made me feel uncomfortable.  Personal information and such.  That guy could have taken all this information and lived as me. 

Needless to say, this will be the last time I purchase from this company.  They simply need to have some midwest call centers that solve problems at one person in 10 minutes then bouncing me around for 2-3 hours and making me curse Dell.

UPDATE: title change.