Category: Hardware

I’ve been battling a problem with the new Plesk server I purchased with 1&1 IONOS. Everything in Linux and Plesk looked correct but I could not connect via FTP/FTPS as port 21 remained blocked no matter what I did. It turned out the problem was with the 1&1 IONOS dashboard.

Once you login, select “Servers & Cloud” and then click “Select” on your server. This will take you to the server settings panel. Now select Network->Firewall Policies. At the bottom of the list of ports click the “Add Predefined Values” dropdown and select “FTP Plesk” which will add both the active and passive ports. The final step is to click the green tick icon next to the new rows it added and then wait for the server status to show it has finished setting it up.

That’s it! Because this is a new server it has the latest Plesk which already has both passive and active ports setup so once the IONOS dashboard was sorted out then everything worked. You can check this guide if you need to setup your Plesk firewall.

Working on a hardware problem and I had to find the ohms (Ω) for the various Noctua Fan Resistors.  Found everything I needed but didn’t see a single source for them all so thought it might help others if I compiled it all into one place:

  • Classic Black LNA 50Ω (source)
  • Classic Blue ULNA 81Ω (source)
  • NA-RC6 81.4Ω (source)
  • NA-RC7 50Ω (source)
  • NA-RC8 150Ω (source is an email reply to me from Noctua: “the NA-RC8 is a 150 Ohms ressistor”)
  • NA-RC9 100Ω (source)
  • NA-RC10 51Ω (source)
  • NA-RC11 98Ω (source)
  • NA-RC12 147.5Ω (source)

I think that title gets a +5 on the geek scale! So, I’ve tried to do this before with my old HTC HD2 and had mixed results. The problem I had back then was that MyPhoneExplorer would get launched when any USB device was connected, not just the phone. As you can imagine that was a bit annoying. Now I have a shiny new Samsung Galaxy Note I thought it was a good time to take another stab.

What is the goal? I use a free application called MyPhoneExplorer (MPE) to sync Outlook 2010 x32 with my phone. I sync my contacts, calendar, notes, tasks and custom directories. It works really well but you have to connect the phone and then manually load MyPhoneExplorer. That’s means loading it from the start menu and then clicking the multi-sync option. How much effort is that?! Ok, not much but it’s more than I can be bothered doing each time. The goal is to get MPE to load automatically when the phone is connected, do an automatic multi-sync and then close MPE. Took me like an hour to work it out and searching the depths of the interweb it seems nobody else on the planet has posted how to do this so I felt it would be a nice thing to share.

Continue reading “MyPhoneExplorer Android Auto Sync via Windows Task Manager”

I only jumped on the dual monitor bandwagon a few months ago but now I see how hard it is to go back to a single display. I decided that the next “new” thing to try out was 3D and I also wanted a better monitor than my old 24″ Samsung Syncmaster 245B. The problem was that I couldn’t find a monitor with its 1920×1200 resolution at the same size and with 3D. Then out of the blue I stumbled across the Acer HN274H 27″ 3D 120Hz LCD Monitor. There are lots of reviews about it but there are lots of things that are not covered by most people. This is my first hand review as someone that has used it for a week on a daily basis for work and gaming.

Continue reading “I Bought An Acer HN274H 27″ 3D Monitor!”

So after all the hassle I went through to finally get Bad Company 2 working properly AMD have gone and done it again, they spoilt my game!

I had it all tweaked out and running smoothly, the last big hurdle for me was the screen going black during game-play which obviously, totally kills things as you can’t see what you’re doing. Yesterday I upgraded to the new 11.3 AMD Catalyst drivers. What a disaster. The game will no longer load at my 1920×1200 60Hz resolution. Instead it keeps forcing itself into 59Hz mode. No biggie on its own but for some reason when the level starts loading the screen starts to shake. It makes the game totally unplayable.

I spent a few hours testing out various setting combinations to find something that works and as usual, I thought I’d post my findings here for others to check out.

Continue reading “AMD Catalyst 11.3 Kills Bad Company 2”

Previously I have described how I got my AIM RC118 MCE remote working with XBMC and my Harmony One. Today I decided it was time to put the final touches on it all.

A few things have been bugging me so I made a list of what I’d like sorting out:

  • The top row of buttons does not work, Pictures, Radio, Music and Video.
  • The color buttons seem to be doing the job of the 4 buttons just mentioned.
  • It would be nice to have a button to go back to the home screen.
  • Have a button that when pressed would shut down XBMC and reload it again. I noticed that playback performance would suck when I tried to view a video after leaving XBMC running for a few days. A quick app restart sorted it so it’s this kind of functionality I want to bind to a single button press.

So it doesn’t seem like a lot to ask but it just took me over a couple of hours to sort out.

Continue reading “Final touches of my XBMC Setup”

I switched from using a crappy D-Link WDTV-Live to using HDMI over ethernet with IR pass through so that I could use XBMC. Bought an AIM RC118 MCE remote from Maplins that works fine with the system. It is very responsive.

I tried to set it up on my Harmony One remote as I have with other remotes but this one was undetected. Well it was and it wasn’t. The Harmony software didn’t recognise it at first and asked me to input a few buttons from the original remote. After about 4-5 buttons it then said it knew the rest already and that was it. When I tested it though the remote was extremely sluggish slow. It would take 3-4 button presses to get a response. I’ve tweaked it as much as I can and have reached a point where I am moderately happy with it. I thought I’d cover what I did here so others can try it out.

Installing the Aim IR605A/Q Receiver
To be honest Windows XP actually hated the AIM remote receiver and refused to install it. Out of the box the receiver works fine with Vista and Windows 7 as it is supported natively. Not so in XP. I downloaded the Update Rollup 2 for eHome Infrared Receiver for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 (KB912024) and tried to install that. After unpacking the files it would close saying that I had the wrong version of Windows as it was looking for the Media Center edition.

The simple fix is to cheat and manually grab the drivers out of the installers temp directory. Run the installer again and when you get the error popup, don’t click OK. Instead open My Computer and go to your C: drive. You will see a directory with a long alpha-numeric title. That is the temp one used by the eHome installer. Inside there is a directory called SP2QPE, copy that to your desktop. Now when you connect the MCE receiver and it prompts you to install drivers just point it to that directory and let it install the uncertified drivers. You will now have the device installed on the system.

All is still not well though as for me, nothing would happen when I’d press the remote buttons whilst XBMC was loaded. I got around that by using MediaPortals IR Server Suite. It auto-detected that I had an MCE remote hooked up. You can test the remote out by using IR Server Suites debug client utility and it’s Listen then Learn options. In the MCE plugin settings for IR Suite I told it to override the hardcoded buttons as without this the number pad and directional controls would not work.

Tweaking the Aim RC6 RC118 remote settings for the Harmony One
I’ve done a bunch of searching and it seems the Harmony One remote has a few short comings, one of these is that it has a minimum duration of 300ms for each transmission. On top of that it adds several user configurable delays as well as a repeat frequency. It took quite a bit of testing to get something workable, around 4 hours went into this and a lot of running up and down stairs!

The first step after the initial setup is complete is to re-learn the directional buttons. In XBMC you will be using up and down a lot to navigate. I read that if you do RAW learning then you will have an extra delay added onto the command that you can do nothing about. Just use the normal learning option. So on the Devices tab click Settings on your remotes tile menu. Then choose “Learn infared commands”. On the next page scroll down to DirectionLeft, DirectionRight, DirectionUp and DirectionDown, tick them all and then choose to re-learn them. Follow the onscreen process. Once that has completed just ok your way through all the confirmation screens, leave the remote connected. The way I see it is that at the start the software said it did not recognise the remote. Later it suddenly decides it does recognise it and you are supposed to trust that it will pick the best profile. By learning these keys myself I know for a fact that they are correct.

Now it’s time to adjust the repeat value. We do this before changing the delays as a side-effect of changing the repeat value is that the Harmony app automatically adjusts the delays without telling you. So start on the Devices tab. Select the “Troubleshoot” option for your remote control, then “Server responds to some commands either too many times or only occasionally.” on the next page. I set it to 3. Run through the “Update Device” procedure to get it onto the actual Harmony Remote. Again though, don’t bother disconnecting it yet. Using values of 4 or 5 meant that it would jump to many times. So I would scroll up once and it would actually scroll up twice.

Now back on the Devices tab choose the “Settings” option for your remote and then the “Adjust the delays (speed settings)” option. I set “Power On Delay”, “Inter-key Delay”, “Input Delay” and “Inter-Device Delay” to 0.

Now you can do the “Update Remote” option and disconnect it. The Harmony One still has a slow responce compared to the AIM RC118 remote but it is usable. I read that some other universal remotes don’t have the bad response time and that Logitech have stated that they can’t do anything about it with this remote. I’m not sure if the problem exists with their newer 900 model but I’m not going to spend £200 to find out ?

Edit: The proper solution!
So this is actually the second edit I’ve made in two days. Last night I posted that I had given up and reverted back to the original remote instead of the Harmony One. The delay was to random and sometimes it would seem to of stopped responding. I thought I’d filled the remotes command buffer and was freaking it out. So today I spent an hour or two searching for a better remote and to be frank, I couldn’t find one. I checked out Sonys lineup and Philips range and nothing seemed as good. They sure look nice but when you start googling “Philips Pronto Problem” you start to find lots of complaints and people saying how happy they are they switched to a Harmony One.

I decided to edit the Harmony settings and remove the MCE stuff since I wouldn’t be using it, but then I stopped myself and decided to have one more go. Repeat value wise I went with 1 as anything higher or lower meant it jumped to far or not at all. Once that was settled I then changed all my delays to 100. Too many people reported problems with 0 and since my main problem was that it was too slow I didn’t want to go higher like 500 which was the default. 100 seemed the most responsive without the buttons over-reacting. That pretty much got me back to the state I was in last night.

That’s when something interesting happened. I decided to break it all down into chunks. My media server is upstairs and my TV is downstairs. I use HDMI + Optical + IR over ethernet to send and receive signals in both directions, well video and sound down to TV and remote IR back up. I have the little IR broadcaster from the HDMI/ethernet extender sat about 10cm away from the AIM IR receiver dongle in the back of the server. So back to the interesting bit. I tried using the Harmony directly aimed at the AIM receiver with XBMC open and it worked. As in it worked flawlessly. When I tried that at the start it didn’t work properly at all and showed the same behaviour as I saw downstairs. My hunch at this point was that the delay and repeat values were incorrect to start with and really did require tweaking. This meant I had actually been struggling with two problems but not realised it. Now the first problem of the settings was sorted out it meant I was left with the second problem. If the remote worked upstairs but not downstairs then it indicates a problem with the IR over ethernet part of the equation.

I started searching for problems with IR extenders and slow responsiveness in general. A couple of times I found references to the signal strength sometimes overloading the receivers. Do you see where I’m going with this? I hope so! Remember earlier when I said “I have the little IR broadcaster from the HDMI/ethernet extender sat about 10cm away from the AIM IR receiver dongle in the back of the server” well it turns out that 10cm was the cause of my second problem. I think the Harmony One is sending a much stronger signal than the AIM RC6 remote. Because I put the extenders transmitter so close to the servers receiver it was getting overloaded. Well that was my hunch so I moved the two as far apart as I could (about 50cm) and went to test it. Awesome response time now. It does flid out if you go nuts and tap the button like 20 times quickly but I normally use Page Up and Page Down for navigation and then just a few Up and Downs to finish my nav.

So there you have it, a combination of the Harmony remotes delay and repeat values along with the IR receiver and transmitter being to close together. Now I’m a happy chappy. Tomorrow or later tonight I’ll start customising the button setup. Very happy chappy ?

So I’ve been a long term Battlefield 2142 player and recently switched over to Bad Company 2. It is well nice but there are quite a few things that are different than 2142, I’m talking in both a game play sense and a game engine sense. I made a post about migrating from BF2142 to BFBC2 as it might save someone from a lot of mistakes that I made. Anyhow, today’s post is about how to get Bad Company 2 running awesomely with an Ati 4870 X2 graphics card.

Continue reading “ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 and Battlefield Bad Company 2”

So I bought a Western Digital Elements 1TB External Drive the other day and proceeded to copy loads of video content onto it. Turns out I should of checked it first as it came formatted with NTFS from the factory. Turns out XBoxes can’t read NTFS, only Fat32 or HFS+ (Mac format). So I just wasted two days of copying and converting data to an XBox readable format only to find out it doesn’t like the actual file system ARGH!

XP and Vista refused to format the drive to Fat32 due to its capacity, the only option either of them gave me was NTFS or exFat. I tried several things [read: wasted a lot of time] but in the end I got it sorted. Here’s the list of things that didn’t work as well as what finally did work.

Continue reading “Western Digital Elements 1TB External Drive Meets My XBox 360”

When I got my phone I installed the WWE 1.66 firmware. As default this has an old version of Google Maps installed as well as a trial edition of CoPilot 8. There is also an application called Footprints that lets you take pictures with the phone and it automatically geo-tags them. Once you’ve done that you can then choose to “Show on map” which opens CoPilot and does as it suggests. What’s wrong with that? Well CoPilot isn’t free and I for one don’t intend to pay for navigation software I’ll rarely use. Rarely does not mean never though and so I thought it would be nice to switch from CoPilot to Google Maps. Turns out this isn’t so straight forward. There isn’t a simple dropdown list of choices. I had to do a bit of googling but eventually got it working using a combination of techniques I found. I thought I’d condense them all into one place for any other happy go trotters ?

Continue reading “HTC HD2 Footprints and Google Maps Integration”