heyrick1973 -at- yahoo -dot- co -dot uk

Livebox FAILs

So I turn on my computer to write this, and my WiFi refuses to connect. I check my phone, it tries and gets disconnected immediately.

I should probably have written this before. So, without any further ado, if you have a Livebox 1.2 Mini (that's the smaller book-shaped one), the following symptoms might occur:

  • Equipment attempting to connect gets kicked off.
  • Equipment is connected, but allocated an IP address lower than 192.168.1.10 (the 192.168.1 part won't change).
  • Downloads are unusually slow.
  • It just seems dead.
The solution to all of these is not to fiddle with your computer, especially don't try to "Connect" if the WiFi shows there is a network available (you'll be asked to enter the really long security key, twice, and it wouldn't work anyway). Instead unplug the Livebox, count to ten, plug it back in (and wait Ages while it restarts).

DO NOT use the reboot button. You might have noticed that button has no effect when the Livebox freezes, so I don't think it is wired up to any sort of RESET signal, hence a reset will not be as entire as it ought to be. Unplug the thing, it's the best way.

The specific exception here is if your IP address is 192.254.x.x - that is an "APIPA" address given by your computer itself when the DHCP fails. To put that into English, when your computer first connects to the Livebox, it says "Say, what should I call myself?" to which the Livebox will reply "You are henceforth to be known as 192.168.1.12 and if you need to look up anything, ask me, I'm 192.168.1.1.". If that part of the process fails (weak signal, microwave oven interference, etc), then your computer will assign an apparently bogus address.

The best method is therefore:

  1. Try "Repair" on the WiFi configuration. This will disable and reenable the WiFi interface, and attempt to re-establish a connection.
  2. If that does not work, unplug and reconnect the Livebox.
  3. If that does not work, power down and unplug everything. Then restart the Livebox, and then the computers when the Livebox is up.
  4. If that does not work, you'll need to call a Geek.

This nonsense has been experienced with a French Livebox Mini running firmware sip-fr-7.2.9.8. It may, or may not, apply to other Liveboxen and/or models for other countries.
It's a shame you can't schedule for the thing to reboot every morning at 5am, that would sort out a lot of the behavioural quirks.

 

On a related note - if your Livebox seems to be okay and getting a good signal yet suffers apparently random losses of synchronisation (the '@' light flashes red for no reason), then unplug the telephone line (as in, the incoming line, not the VoIP output) from both the Livebox and the phone socket. Pull out the ADSL filter.

Re-insert the filter, take it out, put it in again. Reinsert the phone line into the ADSL filter, take it out, put it back. Finally, do likewise with the phone socket on the side of the Livebox (insert, remove, reinsert).

Back in the old days, phone connections used to be tinned wire screwed down tightly. In more modern times, the sockets are a lot more flexible but will lead to situations where it is a metal bar (in the socket) resting on a lug (in the plug). As these things are angled, they never lie flat and your total contact area between plug and socket may be only marginally larger then the head of a pin. A little bit of dampness, or other airborne contamination, can cause the contacts to be less than they should be.

You might like to experiment with switch contact cleaner if you can get some - but it is at your own discretion. Don't use surgical spirit (not pure) or WD40 (etc).

 

I had to reboot my Neuros OSD yesterday. I had a timed recording set, but the channel the film was on caused the satellite receiver to keep rebooting itself. Okay, it was "movies4men" so I consider this to be a self-imposed bull$#!+ filter. Either way, my OSD's uptime was 43 days. Compare to the Livebox that I don't think has made it more than a week without needing a kick in the ass.

 

Peach pie

You can buy premade pastry circles (rolled up in greaseproof paper). So I bought a standard roll, a puff pastry roll, a tin of peaches...

I pressed the normal pastry into an 8" cake tin. The edges were lined with foil (to keep the sides up) and the base was pricked with a plastic fork. This was put into a pre-warmed oven (180°C) for about ten minutes.

Taking that out of the oven, I went around the sides and pressed the excess dough around the edges where some had sunk, but also to build up the sides. I added peaches, and a little blob of apricot jam into each peach. Crushed peaches (basically smashing up what was left in the tin with a knife) was strewn around to fill the gaps.
A light layer of brown sugar was passed over everything.

Peach pie, innards

The puff pastry was applied to the top, with excess removed, and edges pressed into the base pastry.

The whole lot was placed into the oven, now cranked up to 200°C. You'll need to time it yourself - it took me about 40 minutes, but I'm using a dopey little countertop electric thing. You want a nice brown crust, but to also smell the peaches. If you can't smell, it probably isn't cooked inside. If your oven is as small/naff as mine, you will want to pop some alu foil over the top once it starts to brown, or you'll have an incinerated lid by the time the base is ready. [oh, how I wish for a 'real' oven!]

When it is ready, take it out and let it cool for about 10 minutes. Once you've done that, you can either serve it from the cake tin (not recommended if you'll be using knives) or turn it out onto a dish.
Now turning out the pie is a game of skill. You will need two large ceramic plates. Place a plate on top of the cake tin and flip the whole lot over. Now lift away the cake tin. Immediately place the second plate on top and flip once more.

Peach pie, served

Problems! The main problem, perhaps the only problem, was that the filling was way too moist. Given the turning out splashed peach juice all over the place, I think that's something that will need to be looked at.

So for next time, I'm going to modify my recipe as follows:

  • The peaches will be pre-cooked in the microwave (just drop 'em into a plastic tub and heat 'em up). That should draw off excess juice.
  • The filling gunk will be brewed up and thickened in a saucepan with a few spoonfuls of semolina.
  • It's very peach, but I think it might do from a dash of vanilla.

It wasn't a total disaster (much!), the basic concept is sound, it's just the filling needs to be looked into.

Actually, for the next attempt I plan to use black cherries. It'll soon be Sakura Season (roll on springtime!) so a damn fine cherry pie (as Dale Cooper [Twin Peaks] used to say) would be nice. That, with a Sakura tea, would really hit the spot.

What to do with pastry offcutsAs for the offcuts of pastry - I rolled 'em up with a little amount of cheese in the centre - mini croissants! These, just chuck 'em in the oven alongside (or after if you have a small oven) and cook until nicely browned.
 

RISC OS musings

Mom is wanting me to look to buying a replacement car (and tying me up for another four years of loan - though to be honest it seems mind-numbing to think the last three have already passed). I hope, however, to find some cash to put together my JTAG interface to play with the 'dead' OSD.

No, I had not forgotten, but - look - I seem to be on permanent night shift now, so what did I do this weekend? I baked a pie, I watched Mōretsu Pirates, and I pretty much slept or stared aimlessly at the ceiling for the rest of the time. These hours, it's playing havoc with my already flimsy concentration. But the hope is still there. To get down to some solid coding. To probe and recover the ARM box (assuming the hardware itself is intact) and to push the U-Boot back into it. From there, it ought to be able to flash itself. But, more than that, I ought to be able to tweak U-Boot such that if "riscos" exists on the current SD card, load it into RAM and begin execution. That ought to be a patch up from the existing "recovery reflash" code. Although, sadly, many Neuros upgrades include a copy of U-Boot, so if the flash fails while writing that, it's a bricked device.

It looks like Linux starts with a data table, SVC mode, I-D caches on, MMU off. RISC OS wants base memory and caches/MMU off, so a few lines of code should get the job done. I'll need to look at the specifics, but the first two projects, once the box has been revived (and this in itself is A Big Thing) is to write a "riscos" that simply spits numbers to the serial port. Then write one that displays junk on the display. Luckily it's a fairly hardwired system (we can more or less ignore Flash, memory is always 64MiB, it's an ARM926, SD/CF/USB/Ethernet, and a framebuffer that is 640x480 to composite video output. All of this can be written in as assumptions; however I would prefer to keep some of it a little vague so as to leave open the possibility of using my other PVR too (as the OSD, only no SD/CF/Ethernet). Different NVRAM/RTC too, though to be honest it might be a disassemble job to figure out how to talk to either.

Well, that's all for now. Just thinking aloud.

 

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Rob, 30th January 2012, 14:56
"It's a shame you can't schedule for the thing to reboot every morning at 5am, that would sort out a lot of the behavioural quirks." ... that's what plug-in timers are for ... :-)

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