iPhone 4 or 4S – Wi-Fi does not work

I’ve been doing a few iPhone repairs lately and have encountered this problem a few times. The issue is Wi-Fi is set to off and is greyed out in Settings so that it cannot be turned on. Additionally if you view General –> About under Settings, you will see there is no Wi-Fi MAC address shown.

As with most iPhone repairs there is a lot of bad information on the Internet, with suggestions such as suing Apple “because an iOS update did it” (why try anything? Easier to go to court), freezing your iPhone (because water doesn’t condensate), or heating up a large area of your iPhone with a hair dryer (I assume to correct bad solder issues, however you’ll also melt every solder joint and possibly create new problems and/or damage your battery). Morons. Absolute morons.

The problem is actually very simple. Its either software or hardware. You can eliminate a software fault by restoring your firmware. If that fails, you have a hardware issue.

This video shows how to repair a hardware issue. Clearly its beyond the scope of most iNoobs who can afford a thousand dollar phone but can’t afford anything else (such as Apple Care) – and this repair should only be done by a professional. Apple charge around $300 while repair shops can charge half that.

The two causes for a hardware fault I’ve seen are bad solder joints on the Wi-Fi chip or a bad chip that requires replacement.

Windows Update website does not load–0x8024D001

It seems I now experience this error on any new installation of Windows XP. XP has officially been discontinued since April 2013 however many people still use it for systems incompatible with more recent operating systems.

A nice simple fix however is AutoPatcher. After building AutoPatcher with the XP updates, and then running AutoPatcher.exe to install them all, the machine is mostly up to date. Windows Update was replaced with Microsoft Update. The first run of Microsoft Update took a very long time to determine what updates were available (20 min in my case), but it worked fine without throwing error 0x8024D001 again.

Bittorrent Sync

BitTorrent-Sync-logo-256px11I have now totally replaced Dropbox with the new Bittorrent Sync. The main driving factor for me was storage space, however there is the added benefit of having control of all the computers storing data which minimises the potential risk of data being accessed without my permission (such as the NSA).

Dropbox is priced at $100 USD per year for 100GB of disk space. As a comparison, Backupsy offer 250GB for $5 USD per month, or 500GB for $7 USD per month (with a coupon code). A lower cost overall and with the option for monthly payments, and with 5 times the storage.

I found this gem which details an apt repository for Debian Linux variants so that Bittorrent Sync can be installed via apt.

It also seemed an advantage to be able to provide FTP access to selected parts of my sync’ed files with downloads at much faster speeds than my ADSL2+ connections can achieve. It also seemed an advantage to be able to sync specific folders to a web server, without having multiple Dropbox accounts.

The only disadvantages are linux experience is required to maintain a VPS, and the .SyncArchive isn’t as user friendly as the Dropbox website, otherwise they’re virtually the same.

How to obtain a full refund for an item you purchase on eBay

I learnt this little trick today which seems quite alarming. Unfortunately I learnt it the hard way by having to refund a $200 purchase for a customer in the Middle East. A bit of coin to lose but fortunately I only sell items on eBay from my junk bin which incur no cost to me.

eBay Australia offer buyer/seller protection called PayPal Buyer Protection under the PayPal Resolution Centre. However if a seller decides to offer their item worldwide, they’re not just subjected to the Australian rules but the rules of whichever eBay website the buyer chooses to use.

eBay USA offer dispute resolution not just through PayPal but under the eBay branding as well with a Money Back Guarantee, so if you view and purchase an item on ebay.com with your Australian eBay account – the eBay Resolution Center will be made available to you.

The difference in the terms is significant for one small fact – PayPal require a seller to prove only that an item has been shipped. eBay require a seller to prove not only an item was shipped, but it was also delivered. If you buy an item which is shipped without a tracking service, through the eBay Resolution Center the buyer can obtain a full refund by claiming the item never arrived – even if it did, because the seller has no way to prove the item arrived at the buyers address. The US rules can apply even if both the buyer and seller are located in Australia, or the buyer is outside of the USA.

The eBay Money Back Guarantee specifically states:
“We guarantee that you will get the item you ordered or get your money back.

The eBay Money Back Guarantee applies to virtually every item on www.ebay.com.”

The PayPal User Agreement for Australia states:
”S9.9 If the seller presents Proof of Shipment to your address, we may find in their favour even if you did not receive the item.”

Refund also seem to be a common problem for Chinese sellers who typically will refund and ban you from future purchases from their account if you claim an item did not arrive. Alternatively a seller can limit the countries they will ship to, and potentially list the same item in different countries with variations on price and shipping services which unfortunately is a complicated process.

The most alarming detail about all this – if you’re an Australian seller the eBay Seller Centre only refers to PayPal Buyer Protection and make no mention of eBay Buyer Protection or the eBay Money Back Guarantee.

When I spoke to Customer Service about this problem, I was advised I must search their Customer Service portal for “eBay Buyer Protection” and not the “PayPal Buyer Protection” that eBay refers to on their Australian website?! The customer service representative also agreed that this is a significant loophole, and advised that sellers should only ship via services that provide tracking, which eBay fail to mention on their Seller Centre and many sellers do not do.

IMAP vs POP3

imap-pop3A well dated argument this one, when retrieving e-mail from a mail server which protocol is best used?

I’ve been a long standing user of POP3, as many others. The reason this protocol is great is because it allows several devices the ability to download all e-mail messages within a retention period (most e-mail clients call this “Leave messages on the server for x days” in their settings). Storage requirements on the server are kept to a minimum and so is network load.

These reasons made POP3 the protocol of choice, at least in 1996 which is roughly the last time I looked at the issue.

IMAP however stores all messages on the server. Clients either browse the data available on the server, or synchronize with the server so they keep a copy of the same data. As storage is handled by the server, any message sorting on one device applies to all devices and marking of read or unread will also carry across to all devices – as each device is simply viewing data from the IMAP server.

Today computers are readily available and many have a collection of e-mail capable devices (I use 3 myself). Also we live in the era of Internet video so bandwidth and storage in a datacentre is both plentiful and cheap. Processors have probably seen the biggest expansion in cheap availability.

So earlier this year I migrated from POP3 to IMAP. Eventually I uploaded about a decade of old e-mails to my IMAP server. Using ZFS and Courier-IMAP-SSL over two nodes at the server end, I’ve ensured that I have high availability for my e-mail service.

Probably the biggest plus to using IMAP was backups. I already use bacula on my Linux based servers for daily off-site backups and this includes everything in /home. So without any change all my e-mail is backed up and stored off site every day.

Finally using GO Contact Sync Mod and Google Calendar Sync to keep my Microsoft Outlook contacts and calendar in sync with my Android phone – there really is no need to backup anything related to my e-mail at the client end on any computer because everything is either stored with the IMAP server or Google.

Windows 7 ISO Image Downloads from Digital River

Thought I’d blog a complete list as an alternative to the many articles on mydigitallife.

Home Premium x86

Home Premium x64

Professional x86

Professional x64

Ultimate x86

Ultimate x64

Microsoft Office 2010 OPK PV6

You can’t get your hands on the Microsoft OEM Preinstallation Kits unless you’re registered as a Microsoft OEM Partner. I noticed you can’t seem to find this on the net, and well, its probably useful to someone. I also thought I’d conduct an experiment with posting something really big on my blog as a torrent.

So I’ve posted it as a torrent. Enjoy.

Contents:

Get the torrent here – seeds welcome!

Windows 7 Service Pack 1 Does Not Install

I’ve encountered the issue that Service Pack 1 does not install on a Windows 7 machine quite a number of times and I wanted to develop a general troubleshooting guide that would work under all circumstances.

I know this guide works under the following errors:

  • 80246007
  • 80070490
  • 8000222

So here it is:

  1. Check that the date and time is accurate. Probably set Internet Time to sync time with au.pool.ntp.org or the pool.ntp.org cluster for your country
  2. Run MalwareBytes, Avast AntiVirus, or other virus removal tools – be sure there is no infection
  3. Run CCleaner – both file clean up and the registry scan
  4. Run MATS
  5. Run System File Check – open a command prompt with admin privs and execute sfc /scannow
  6. Install KB947821 – System Update Readiness Tool
  7. Attempt installation of SP1 again. If success, fuck this guide off
  8. Try a repair install of Windows. If you don’t have the disc, get one that machines your license here
  9. Attempt installation of SP1 again
  10. Create a new user profile
  11. Re-install all hardware drivers – may come from Intel, AMD, Nvidia, etc.
  12. Attempt installation of SP1 again

WDS for dummies

I thought I’d blog about wireless distribution system. I’ve had limited experiences with it, but it seems these days to be ever more important with the increased use of smart phones as it can be highly annoying jumping between 3G and WiFi because your access point provides inadequate coverage.

WDS provides a WiFi connection from numerous access points and allows for seamless roaming between those access points. As an alternative, running access points without WDS any connected devices will need to establish an entirely new connection when they roam across coverage boundary’s.

I used my existing Dynalink RTA1046VW and added 2x Linksys WRT54G’s I had spare that run DD-WRT and have large indoor omni antennas that push their EiRP up to nearly 4w. With this setup I placed the RTA1046VW in the centre of the home, and one Linksys at the downstairs rear and another at the upstairs front. Good channel selection also helped to see my WiFi works half a block away. This seems important at my home because 3G coverage is barely there. Penetration outside of the building is also an issue as my home is mostly brick so WDS helps with that.

There are several important things with WDS:

Typically you configure WDS nodes as access points if they’re connected to the network by ethernet cable. Repeater is useful if there is no ethernet connection, however only half the bandwidth is available when connected to an access point in this mode.

Each node must be configured with the same SSID, channel, encryption (must be exactly the same cipher) and authentication/passphrase.

In addition to this each node must also be made aware of the wireless MAC addresses of all other WDS nodes.

Playing Asterisk voicemail on Android devices

I got my first Android device last year and ever since getting it I wanted to play back the e-mailed voicemail messages sent by Asterisk’s Comedian Mail voicemail system.

It certainly is possible however your Asterisk rig needs one minor tweak which results in a more compatible codec at a higher bitrate.

In voicemail.conf Asterisk defaults to:

format=g723sf|wav49|wav

You need to attach the wav codec. So you can either:

format=wav|gsm|wav49

AND/OR

attachfmt=wav

And then the best method of e-mailing your Android device is to a Gmail address – as a new message alert will appear instantly in most cases. Don’t bother with the E-mail app – just use the Gmail app.