Category Archives: Misc

Microsoft live.com Google Authenticator code not accepted :(

I was getting frustrated with live.com (Hotmail as I still call it) and its two factor authentication, it just wouldn’t accept the code from my Authenticator app on my phone.

I re-installed it, fiddled with everything, it just wouldn’t setup again.

It turns out the time on the phone is critical to the generated code, my phone has automatic time sync turned off, so over time, the time was a minute or more out. I set the time correctly (using an internet time server for reference) and the app now links up correctly with live.com.

BT Business Hub 3 and a TP-LINK 150M Wireless N Range Extender Model No. TL-WA750RE @BTBusiness @BTCare

There’s me blaming the BT Business Hub 3… BT even agreed it was a problem with the hub, but I had a problem with my range extender too, so I did my own PD and came to a different conclusion!

The problem:

BT Business Hub 3 giving you the IP of 192.168.0.254 for the DNS, so DNS lookups fail, but using IP address or manually configuring the DNS setting to 192.168.1.254 works.

The cause:

Once I realised the DNS server IP address it was giving was the range extender’s IP address it made a lot of sense, searching around the internet I saw someone mention disabling DHCP on the range extender and that is the fix.

The fix:

Reset range extender to factory defaults

Plug in Ethernet cable

Manually configure IP address: 192.168.0.10, subnet mask 255.255.255.0, default gateway 192.168.0.254.

Go to the admin page http://192.168.0.254/ login using admin, admin.

Exit Quick Setup if it opens

Go to Network -> LAN

Choose Static IP

IP Address: 192.168.0.254

Subnet Mask: 255.255.0.0

Gateway: 192.168.1.254

Save etc

Go back in again.

Go to DHCP -> DHCP Settings

Choose DHCP Server: Disable

Save

Now go configure the Wireless options etc.

Once complete disconnect the cable and try the wireless, it should work now.

This is probably an issue for the BT Home Hub too, but I don’t have one to validate it, regardless, you should turn off the DHCP as shown above, the BT Home Hub is your DHCP server.

Hope that helps.

I consider myself retired at weekends… I relax, potter around the house or garden, but I don’t cycle, so I’m hoping my retirement will be more of the same but with cycling in there too. I’m looking forward to that, my work is generally good, nice people and I enjoy the commute via bicycle, but it all takes up too much time. I never have enough time, retirement will give me time to do whatever I want, that will be nice.

With regards retirement planning, I think the best anyone can do is live within their means, save and pay into a pension (alongside employer). Notice I put pension last, it is and always has been important, but with recent pension issues I would never solely rely on that any longer.

Modern people don’t seem to live within their means, we are well into the credit age.
I have always saved hard and not wasted money on gadgets etc – if you have a fancy mobile phone on contract then you are not me! – nor do I have a fancy car, my car is an aging Hyundai Amica, soon my bicycle will be worth more than my car.

Retirement will happen, I look forward to embracing it or getting a second and third job to pay my crippling debt.

Welshcyclist's Weblog

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All I seem to hear, these days, is talk of retirement and pensions. Quite frankly, it’s getting me down, very probably, because I don’t believe that I have provided adequately enough for our dotage, and it’s far too close. I am sixty-one and a half.

I’m the oldest of 18 plus employees at the power signalbox where I work, by about 8-10 years, the youngest is in his late twenties, the majority 35-45. Retirement and how much pension they’re going to get is a major topic of conversation. Talk about wishing your life away.

Some while ago, I mentioned, in this blog, that I felt retirement was a bit scary. Others commented that it was to be embraced as an opportunity to do the things I have always wanted to do. Well that would be hard, when I still have responsibilities and people who depend on me. Sure, I’d love to drop everything and…

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I want one, can’t afford one, but I want one

It’s been a dream to have a flying car, first off we were promised (yes promised) by science fiction writers of my childhood (and before then) that we’d all be flying our cars by the year 2000. Well, 2000 came and went, nothing extraordinary, 2010 came and went, again nothing to write home about. But now I see if I were rich enough I could have a flying car: Will sales of flying car take off?. I really love the folding mechanism, that’s pretty neat.

What I was wonder about these things is who would test fly one? Test drive, no worries, but test fly?
I think I’ll stick to land based transport for now, besides, the world comes to and end this year in the great flood doesn’t it?

Food tips

Surrey County Council are trying to cut household food waste and there are some interesting tips we can all benefit from:

http://www.lovefoodsurrey.com/questions

I never thought you could freeze cooked rice for a start, even though ready meals are frozen, I assumed it was uncooked rice.

So you want a Media Server? Here’s how to… #music #video #images #linux #mediatomb #samba

Want to share photos, music and videos and not have to sync it to the sky or pay for the privilege?
Then read on…

I have two laptops, a tablet and a capable mobile phone in the house now, so the PC (Windows XP Pro) is sitting idle, “why not turn it into a media server?” I thought, but I didn’t want to shell out for any special software or a newer version of Windows.

It turns out all you need is Ubuntu (or Debian) Linux and nothing else!
It is also free and the recent versions contain MediaTomb; the key piece of software that’s needed.

Get the software

For proof of concept purposes I installed this within Oracle VM VirtualBox (which is free) so I could fiddle without actually destroying my Windows PC installation (yet). So I first downloaded this from https://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Downloads and installed it.
(version 4.1.8 in my case)

Next I downloaded Ubuntu (which is free) from http://www.ubuntu.com/download/ubuntu/download
(version 11.10 32bit in my case, get the 64bit version if you have more than 3.7GB of RAM)

If you want to install on the PC directly then you will need to burn the Ubuntu .ISO image file to a CD or DVD. For an install into VirtualBox I skipped this step.

Install Ubuntu

For PC install you boot from the CD/DVD you’ve burnt; install as you would any operating system.

For VirtualBox, create the VM ready for Ubuntu:

Then start it and select the .ISO image file:

Then follow the installation instructions (for either PC or VirtualBox).

Notes on installation

The only thing I would like to draw attention to is the MP3 plugin, I’d install that:

Configuration and service installation

OK, so MediaTomb isn’t installed as such, so you need to install it, fortunately this is easy.
Select the Ubuntu Software Centre:

Then search for MediaTomb by typing into the search box, it will dynamically search for it, select it like so, then click install:

Once installed you will need to make a couple of configuration changes. Open the Dash:

Then search for terminal:

Click on Terminal to open it.
Then to open the config file in a text editor, type

sudo gedit /etc/mediatomb/config.xml

Now enable the user interface, change the setting for <ui enabled=”no“…> to <ui enabled=”yes“…>.
Next change <virtual-layout type=”builtin“> to <virtual-layout type=”disabled“> otherwise you will get 5 of everything, this is something you can lookup if you want to.
If you want to stream to a PS3 then you will want to enable transcoding, I don’t have one, but the option to change is <transcoding enabled=”no“> to <transcoding enabled=”yes“>.

Save and close.

You can now either restart Ubuntu or restart the service from the command prompt:

sudo /etc/init.d/mediatomb restart

Configure content locations

First off you need somewhere to store the content, so create some new folders and give them appropriate security permissions, to do this open terminal again and type the following:

sudo mkdir /mymediaserver
sudo mkdir /mymediaserver/music
sudo mkdir /mymediaserver/video
sudo mkdir /mymediaserver/images
sudo chmod -R 775 /mymediaserver

The Linux gurus will want to get their filesystems in order, but the rest of us will have one filesystem and this will be fine.

Now register these locations in MediaTomb, search for MediaTomb from the Dash:

Open MediaTomb, it will open in FireFox most probably:

Click Filesystem then expand mymediaserver in the tree:

Now select each subfolder in turn then click the “add as autoscan dir” icon
You will want to choose appropriate settings, but I expect you will want to recursively scan the folder for changes every 30 minutes, like so:

Don’t forget to click Set each time.

Now disable the user interface again.
Open the config file in a text editor again via

sudo gedit /etc/mediatomb/config.xml

Change the setting for <ui enabled=”yes“…> to <ui enabled=”no“…>.

Save and close.

Samba (optional?)

We need some way to get new files into MediaTomb, a Windows File Share is perfect for seamless drag and drop of content, so I’ll go with that. Samba is the service to install, but there are a fair few steps, so keep with me, back in Ubuntu Software Centre search for samba and install the SMB server:

Once installed we add the users, search the Dash for User Accounts:

Open User Accounts:

Click the Unlock button before you start otherwise you won’t be able to make changes.
Click the + (Create a user) button, make it a standard user:

Then click Create. Unfortunately there’s more to do, we next need to enable the user, click on Account disabled:


Select Set a password now (if not already selected).
Enter a password and click Change.
Note: Unfortunately Microsoft have made some changes introduced in Windows 7 Home editions that make using a user name and password beyond the average user (i.e. there is no UI to change this setting), but if the user name and password you use for Windows are configured in Samba then you will be fine, so I will go for this approach for now.
Do this for every user you want, if two PCs have the same logon details then duplication is not required.
Linux is strict on security, so we need these users to be in the same group. To do this open Terminal again and type the following for each user:

sudo usermod -G sambashare <user>

Now to setup the security that Samba needs on the file locations via this sambashare group, type the following:

sudo chown -R :sambashare /mymediaserver

Now to configure Samba, open the config file via:

sudo gedit /etc/samba/smb.conf

Add the lines to the end of the file:

[music]
	path = /mymediaserver/music
	writeable = yes
	browseable = yes
	guest ok = no
	read only = no
	valid users = @sambashare
	force create mode = 0661
	force directory mode = 0775
	force group = sambashare

(repeat that for the other folders as required)

Save and close.

The final piece for Samba is to register the user with Samba via smbpasswd:

sudo smbpasswd -a <user>

Nearly there, just a quick note for VirtualBox, there is a network setting change required.
You will need “Bridged Adapter” and a Promiscuous Mode of “Allow All”:

Restart and verify

You can now either restart Ubuntu or restart the services from the command prompt:

sudo /etc/init.d/mediatomb restart
sudo /etc/init.d/smbd restart

You should be able to see the UPnP work its magic from a Windows machine under the Network part of Windows Explorer:

The MYMEDIASERVER (or indeed whatever you called your machine) – that is Samba working (assuming you configured it)
The MediaTomb – that is MediaTomb working

Add Media (requires Samba)

Open MYMEDIASERVER (or whatever you called it)
And drag and drop the files you want into music, video or images as required.
Note: Depending on settings chosen above it may take some time for the new content to be available through MediaTomb.

Stream it

Open MediaTomb from Windows Explorer / Windows Media player and enjoy

Security notes

The assumptions I’ve made are that you are behind a firewall in a nicely secure private LAN.
All the security settings above are my choice, you should review your security and choose your own options, if you are at all concerned then you need to seek professional help (or an IT professional). Remember to regularly backup your files and verify the backups too.

Windows: Symbolic links, junction points, whatever you want to call them, how to and why #windows

Ever run out of disk space in Windows and want to move things to a different disk, but Windows (or the application) will break?
Yes, in Linux/Unix based systems you’ve got wonderfully simple symbolic links, I’ve always wanted windows to have some of that power. Junction points in the NTFS file system are a way to achieve something close to symbolic links.
First off you need to be an administrator, if you’re user has restricted access then you are doomed. It is also worth pointing out that this isn’t for beginners, care must be taken otherwise you could break your applications or even Windows.

If you have a directory already, move the contents to the other drive. For me let’s call this “C:\dir1\bigdir”, I’ll move that to my drive that has space, “F:\”. It is worth noting that bigdir will remain empty and will be turned into the junction point. Here’s the create junction point syntax (run cmd.exe a.k.a. command prompt with administrative privileges):

CD "C:\dir1"
MOUNTVOL "bigdir" \\?\Volume{XXXXXXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXXXXXXXXXX}\

What is XXXXXXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXXXXXXXXXX ?
Run MOUNTVOL with no arguments and you will get the list of volumes.

You can also use MOUNTVOL to remove a junction point (/D option), the directory you created will remain and appear as before (empty).

So you end up with something that conceptually I’d write as “C:\dir1\bigdir” -> “F:\”.

The limitation of this is you can only link to drives.
If you want to link to a subfolder e.g. “F:\mounted_folders\bigdir” then you will need to download the Windows SDK and use a program called linkd.

For more information see How to create and manipulate NTFS junction points and Microsoft Windows Software Development Kit