Hiking 

I’ll start to post more about hobbies as well as technology.  

On our Yosemite trip this month, I focused on packing light. I weighed and documented everything I took. This resulted in a much more successful and enjoyable trip. 

New equipment included a new, lightweight sleeping bag, a 10L compression sack,and some lightweight packing sacks. 

Raspberry Pi 3 start kit recommendation

Several people have asked about Raspberry Pi  kits recently.  I’m lazy, so I’ll maintain this list so I can just point people to this link.  Any questions or suggestions, let me know.

Components

1.       Raspberry Pi 3 – get
the latest one, best value for money, WiFi and Bluetooth included

2.       Case for Raspberry
Pi

3.       HDMI to VGA adapter –
lets you connect to older (and cheaper) monitors

4.       USB to PS/2 adapters
– lets you connect to older mice and keyboards

5.       MicroSD card – to
install OS, get an

a.       8GB to 16GB card
recommended

b.       Get multiple cards so
you can have multiple system configurations without reformatting the card each
time.

6.       Power
Supply

a.       1A with MicroUSB
cable

b.       Get multiple power
supplies – spares always good, may require power for HDMI to VGA

 

Sources

Raspberry Pi 3 motherboard

Newark Element14 – sells kits as well as components,
shipping is reasonable, prices comparable to Amazon

http://www.newark.com/raspberry-pi/raspberrypi3-modb-1gb/sbc-raspberry-pi-3-mod-b-1gb-ram/dp/77Y6520

 

Amazon – $35 retail, but $40 with Prime

http://www.amazon.com/Raspberry-Pi-RASP-PI-3-Model-Motherboard/dp/B01CD5VC92

 

Raspberry Pi case – $9

http://www.amazon.com/SB-Components-Clear-Case-Raspberry/dp/B00MQLB1N6

 

HDMI to VGA adapter – $

http://www.amazon.com/Cable-Matters-Active-Adapter-Micro-USB/dp/B00879DM56

 

USB to PS/2 adapter – $2

http://www.amazon.com/SANOXY-USB-PS-2-Adapter/dp/B00007AP2O

 

32GB MicroSD card (Samsung) – $13

http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-EVO-Plus-Adapter-MB-MC32DA/dp/B012DT8OJ4

 

 

Obihai Update

We have used an Obi 110 as our home phone service through Google Voice since June 2011.  This month, we started having a problem dialing outbound and received a male voice referencing a password issue with the Google Voice account.  The password was fine, and I found the screen shots below

image

Clicked link on support page, $10 for one year of Obihai Premium Support, and after the purchase, the software update was available.  I have no problem with the support contract, and I’m very satisfied with the performance and features of the Obi110.

image

The problem I had was obscure, and I didn’t find any support references via Google or Bing searches.  I hope someone finds this useful.

http://www.amazon.com/Obihai-OBi110-Service-Telephone-Adapter/dp/B0045RMEPI

Raspberry Pi-Hole

I was trying to optimize my home network and determined using a local DNS server significantly  improved our internet experience.  I did the testing with my home server, but it’s a beast (six cores, 32GB RAM, and 4-6TB storage).  Since I have a spare Raspberry Pi B+, I figured I would use it.

Researching further, I found the Pi-Hole Project (http://pi-hole.net/).  Not only does it provide a local DNS server, but it integrates ad filtering!  It works quite well, and didn’t take any technical skills to provision.

  1. Install Raspbian build on Raspberry Pi – reference link below
  2. Run this command from the shell (command line): curl -L install.pi-hole.net | bash
  3. Configure your computers/devices to use the Pi as their DNS server – I configured my wireless gateway to point to the Raspberry Pi so all my systems automatically use it. 

    NOTE – setup your gateway to use an external DNS as a secondary to avoid issues

Reference Links

Raspbian image downloads
https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/raspbian/

Pi-Hole Project
http://pi-hole.net/

Edit Word Normal.dot template

How to open the Normal template in any version of Word

  1. To edit the normal template in any version of Word on any Windows operating system do the following:
  2. Open Word.
  3. Open the vba Editor by Pressing Alt+F11 together.
  4. At the bottom of the vba Editor window is something called the Immediate window. (Press Ctrl+G to activate this window if you don’t see it.) Click in that Immediate window.
  5. Type the following (or copy it from here and paste it):
  6. application.NormalTemplate.OpenAsDocument
  7. Press Enter
  8. Close the vba editor
  9. You are now editing the normal.dot or normal.dotm template.
  10. Make the appropriate changes and save.

The next time you open a new document, it will have the defaults you saved in the template.

Raspberry Pi 3

I just ordered one from Newark Electronics.  At a meeting today, we had a discussion about Raspberry Pi 3, so I thought I would post my notes for reference.

I did some quick checking, and I would recommend only buying the Raspberry Pi 3 because it has better specs (faster CPU, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth included), it’s the same price ($35), and it’s compatible with just about everything you would want to do (including Windows 10 IoT).

Raspberry Pi 3 Model B
http://www.newark.com/buy-raspberry-pi

Note – Raspberry Pi 2 case works with 3, and I just buy the cheapest one I can find. I use extra micro-USB phone chargers to power mine, and I’ve been buying Samsung SD cards for my phone and projects. You can buy kits, too, but with my basement of spare parts, this hasn’t been an issue for me ;).

Raspberry Pi (Pi-Hole project)
https://pi-hole.net/

Notes – I have seen some side effects, for example links on CNN seem to go through an ad service, so they are blocked. Overall, it hasn’t had any impact on any work I’ve done at home, or on any devices we have in my house. There are tons of articles about customization of Pi-Hole via Google Search.

Windows 10 IoT Core support for Raspberry Pi 3
https://blogs.windows.com/buildingapps/2016/02/29/windows-10-iot-core-support-for-raspberry-pi-3/

2600 Magazine article – New Yorker
http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/print-magazine-hackers

Joybubbles – guy with perfect pitch, discovery of 2600 Hz vulnerability attributed to him.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joybubbles

Wikipedia 2600 entry – also notes H.O.P.E. originally organized by 2600
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2600:_The_Hacker_Quarterly

Samsung Note 4–contact sync issue

After updating my Note 4 to Android 5.1.1, I noticed that a few of my contacts weren’t synchronizing correctly from Google.  After looking into it further, I realized there were MANY contacts that were missing.  No real pattern, but I’ve never seen this before.

I tried to resolve the problem by stopping the sync for Google Contacts, but that didn’t work.  I also read several articles (many, many articles) that were inaccurate or incomplete, then I started from scratch and documented my process.

    • Removed all the accounts that synchronized contacts (Google, Samsung, Company e-mail, etc).
    • Cleared cache for all applications
    • Cleared System Cache

 

Process to clear system cache

  1. Press Home, Volume Up and Power buttons together.
  2. Let the Power and Home buttons go off when the Note 4 starts vibrating.
  3. Now recovery screen will be shown to you. Select Wipe Cache partition using the Volume Down key.
  4. Confirm the step by pressing the Power button.
  5. Reboot System Now option needs to be selected and confirm it by pressing the Power button.

Raspberry Pi-Hole

I was trying to optimize my home network and determined using a local DNS server significantly  improved our internet experience.  I did the testing with my home server, but it’s a beast (six cores, 32GB RAM, and 4-6TB storage).  Since I have a spare Raspberry Pi B+, I figured I would use it.

Researching further, I found the Pi-Hole Project (http://pi-hole.net/).  Not only does it provide a local DNS server, but it integrates ad filtering!  It works quite well, and didn’t take any technical skills to provision.

  1. Install Raspbian build on Raspberry Pi – reference link below
  2. Run this command from the shell (command line): curl -L install.pi-hole.net | bash
  3. Configure your computers/devices to use the Pi as their DNS server – I configured my wireless gateway to point to the Raspberry Pi so all my systems automatically use it. 

    NOTE – setup your gateway to use an external DNS as a secondary to avoid issues

Reference Links
Raspbian image downloads
https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/raspbian/

Pi-Hole Project
http://pi-hole.net/

Windows 10–favorite new feature

I’ve been using Windows 10 through the Windows Insider program, but I’m still discovering new features.  This morning I was using Sysinternals to test something and realized it wasn’t on my Path.  I decided to edit my system settings (clean things up, and add a path to my Sysinternals folder).  Normally I cut and paste into a text editor, edit, then paste it back in, but lo and behold, Windows 10 has a new feature! 

Be still my heart!

image

Android issues with Netgear R6250 and Motorola SB6121

I haven’t read about other people with this exact problem, so I’m posting my solution in the hopes of helping some other poor soul.

 

Problem

We had significant performance issues with 2.4GHz and 5.0 GHz wifi connections on our Android phones.  The symptom was clicking on any link required over a minute to render the page.  Worse case was as much as 2-3 minutes for shortened links (regardless of short link provider).  I tried installing Android based proxy servers and DNS servers.  Also checked to make sure I used good DNS servers, and installed Microsoft and Linux DNS server on my network configured to use root instead of a forwarder. Nothing improved wifi performance.

 

Solution

Installed Tomato for the Netgear R6250.  Install details below, and after configuring the Wi-Fi, the upgrade resolved all the Android performance problems.  I’m familiar with the Tomato firmware and ran it on several older Linksys devices (WRT-54G and others), and I’m very impressed with the release for the R6250.

 

My install process is below.  Software downloaded from AdvancedTomato – https://advancedtomato.com/downloads/router/r6250

1.       Using the Netgear interface perform the following tasks:

a.       Backup R6250 configuration and save it in a reference rolder

b.       Restore default settings for the router using

c.       Use existing interface, install the Tomato “initial’ binary using the GUI

2.       Log in to tomato and re-flash router using AIO.trx file

3.       Erase NV ram – you can do this by clicking the “erase nvram” box when you load the AIO binaries

4.       The Tomato Flashing Guide expects the wireless will not be detected after reboot.

a.       The Wifi appeared to be working correctly, for me.

b.       I restarted anyway, all was well

5.       Wireless was detected and working correctly

6.       Read Tomato documentation and configure your system in a secure fashion

 

Cable Provider:                 Comcast, Performance Tier service, 25/6 Mbps
Cable Modem:                  Motorola Surfboard SB6121
Wireless Router:               Netgear R6250, native firmware v. 1.0.3.6


Reference Links

AdvancedTomato – Netgear R6250
https://advancedtomato.com/downloads/router/r6250