Category: Gear

Juniper WiFi and Chromecast

Juniper WiFi and Chromecast

Had a problem getting the Google Chromecast to associate with my Juniper WLC100 Controller.

First though, when setting up the Chromecast, your “configuration device” i.e. either your computer or tablet or phone, will change its wifi configuration several times during the setup, so be prepared to lose internet access at times. I decided to use my Samsung Galaxy S4 instead of my WiFi.

The unfortunate thing with Juniper is that WiFi has never been their strong suit. They purchased the really horrible Nortel WiFi assets in 2001. They redeemed themselves with their purchase of Trapeze Networks, but really Trapeze was third place in the controller-based WiFi, with Airespace as the leader (purchased by Cisco and now the center of Cisco’s WiFi product), and Aruba as the best of breed that wasn’t Cisco. And now Juniper has done a mea culpa and has in essence, bailed on Trapeze by collaborating with Aruba.

Because of Junipers ever present lack of a Junos Enterprise WiFi product (the CLI on the WLC is still Trapeze’s), there’s really no effort spent in documenting and supporting the product.

The Chromecast seems to use Multicast for its discovery process. Cisco documents this and how to get things to work on their controllers. I took this as an indication that the WLC probably was blocking the broadcast-based Multicast.

To get the Chromecast to associate

1) On the GUI, go to Wireless->Services, and turn on Multicast Conversion on your SSID:

Multicast conversion
Enable/Disable Multicast to Unicast conversion.

2) Apply, OK, then System->VLANs and turn off IGMP enabled on the VLAN.

It seems counter-intuitive, but because the Multicast used by Google isn’t a “True” multicast, you have to turn off all the help on the network devices to do address this issue.

Oh, and another thing; try not to stream from a WiFi connected device if you can avoid it. The quality will be bad because you’re using 3x the WiFi bandwidth (From the internet to you, then from you to the AP to then to the Chromecast.) Try using something connected via Wired Ethernet if you can.


Multi-Display + Multi-Head in Linux == Big Mess

Multi-Display + Multi-Head in Linux == Big Mess

I apologize in advance if this post is a bit ranty, but it goes to point out the fundamental flaws in the Linux desktop architecture and why Linux will never replace Windows as a true desktop OS of the masses.

The underlying problem is the graphical user interface itself, known as XOrg, X11, Xwindows, etc. Because of a drive for a “one install fits everything” model, the 25 year old software has support for hardware that hasn’t been seen for 25 years.

With requirements like that, there’s little room for monumental improvement. For example, in 2007, the world was told that Xinerama (an extension that makes multiple screens easy) was being depricated and would be replaced with RandR. However, even in the brand new X11R7.7, RandR still did not have multiple GPU support, and Xinerama is still required.

The next issue is the support for proprietary video drivers. Such support requires a multi-level approach to patching that any non-linux system administrator would easily falter and installing them. The issue is a licensing issue, not a functionality issue. It’s much easier to download and install under the covers and have an end user click a License acceptance term box than what is required to install these drivers.

I heard yesterday that Gabe Newell (of Valve/Steam/Portal/Team Fortress 2/etc) ripped Windows 8 and wants to run more games on linux.

Gabe, if you’re going to run more games on linux, you need to do something about the GUI in Linux. To do this, you’re going to have to accomplish one of 3 things:

  1. Start up a 4th competing GPU company with open-sourced hardware/software that can compete with NVidia, ATI and Intel
  2. Convince NVidia and ATI to truly open-source their drivers.
  3. Replace XOrg/XWindows/X with something that truly can compete.

To show the difficulty here, I’m documenting my hell with trying to get a Multi-GPU Multi-Display Desktop up and running.

My desktop is a Dell Optiplex Gx 980 Tower . I have two ATI Radeon HD3450 cards installed, with 4 displays total, two per card.

For ease of use, Ubuntu 12.04LTS is the OS of choice.

First Step: Install off Ubuntu LiveDVD 12.04 downloaded from Burned this to a DVD. Rebooted.

Choosing to Download updates while installing, and install third-party software. Then chose to install one big fat partition. Chose Timezone, English Keyboard. Created my user and computer name. Chose not to import anything from my last attempt at this; Fresh Install! Rebooting.

After Rebooting, Ubuntu/X has only put video on two of of the monitors.
I then removed network-manager, hard set my IP address the old-fashioned way, and then got to making a normal machine. Got rid up cups, which seems to be a herculean task as Ubuntu wants to install gobs of HP drivers. Then installed openssh-server so that I can connect to this machine from my laptop.

At this point in time I finally logged into the GUI front end, as all the previous work was done at the console. Except now Ubuntu wanted to send an error report back to Canonical. Seems like aptd crashed, and seems to be a known issue. Since the bug seems to be fixed in a newer version, I used updated manager to update the machine – 370 packages need updating. Because it seemed to update the kernel, I rebooted.

Task #1: Make it such that the 2 displays I have are not displaying the same thing. Using the Unity desktop, I began by looking under System Settings. There’s a nice thing there fore displays. This was simple for me to take off the screen mirroring, but it still only detected two displays.

So I decided to do what an inexperienced person might do; search thru the Ubuntu Software Center to see if there was something there for multiple GPUs. While some applications come up in an App-Store like way, the majority of packages are basically extended apt-cache information; hardly usable for a normal user.

Oh, and during this time, Compiz crashed. This was the first issue to come up due to my non-standard setup. Compiz is software that uses OpenGL to provide pretty things for GUIs (drop shadows, etc). Segfault-Crash; having to do with edge detection, so I’m assuming it was supposed to detect when the mouse pointer moved over a window to do something graphical.

Since I couldn’t find anything immediate in the settings, I ventured to click on “Additional Drivers.” To my amazement, it told me that no proprietary drivers were in use, but that I could activate the ATI/AMD FGLRX driver. So I did, with no expectations that they’d actually install. This way I was not surprised when it didn’t. “Sorry, installation of this driver failed. Please have a look at the log file for details: /var/log/jockey.log”

At this point in time, your normal desktop user bails, since /var/log/jockey.log has no meaning to them, and if they just happen to figure out how to pull up the file in a textfile viewer. So, when it spits out “DEBUG: XorgDriverHandler(%s, %s).enabled(): No driver set, not checking” that barely qualifies for “Hey this didn’t work, fix it.” Of course, %s %s is a bad bad issue in any text output, seems like someone didn’t have anything to pass in a printf line, or screwed up and forgot to actually pass any variables.

Since that didn’t work, I then activated the non-post-release updates driver. This actually installed with a “You need to restart the computer to activate this driver.”

Everything Starts Going Bad…

After rebooting, X had decided to re-mirror my displays again. So, then I went back into System Settings, and un-mirrored them and hit apply. And at this point, started my long slog into the problems that is XWindows.

A display box said “The selected configuration for displays could not be applied required virtual size does not fit available size: requested=(2560, 1024), minimum=(320,200), maximum=(1280,1280)” Adding insult to injury, clicking OK gets “Failed to apply configuration: %s GDBus.Error:org.gtk.GDBus.UnmappedGError.Quark._gnome_2drr_2derror_2dquark.Code3: requested virtual size does not fit available size: requested=(2560,1024), minimum=(320,200), maximum=(1280,1280).” Note again, the %s.

So, back to Additional Drivers. Hey, the ATI/AMD FGLRX graphics driver is activated and currently in use. Maybe this time I can activate the post-release updates driver… Nope, “/sys/module/fglrx_updates/drivers does not exist, cannot rebind fglrx_updates driver”

So at this point in time, a normal user now has a broken install, and something that can’t run but a single display. Regardless of me having two GPUs, this issue affects any ATI user with dual monitors.

I then did what any normal person would do: Google!
First Link: States I need to run the Catalyst Control Center. Found it in Unity, using the search.

Started it up, Told it to Muliple-Display desktop with display(s) 2. And… Reboot. Who ever said you never had to reboot in Linux.

Back into System Settings, And ‘lo and behold, I’ve now got non-mirrored displays. Oh, and Compiz Crashed again.

So, now I’ve got two monitors, again, but not 4.

Dmesg shows that Linux at least detects my two cards:
[ 1.791232] vgaarb: bridge control possible 0000:02:00.0
[ 1.791233] vgaarb: bridge control possible 0000:01:00.0

And the fglrx driver does see both devices:
[ 13.206517] [fglrx] vendor: 1002 device: 95c5 count: 1
[ 13.206520] [fglrx] vendor: 1002 device: 95c5 count: 2

[ 13.207209] pci 0000:01:00.0: enabling device (0002 -> 0003)
[ 13.207217] pci 0000:01:00.0: PCI INT A -> GSI 16 (level, low) -> IRQ 16
[ 13.207256] [fglrx] ioport: bar 4, base 0xcc00, size: 0x100
[ 13.207263] pci 0000:02:00.0: PCI INT A -> GSI 16 (level, low) -> IRQ 16
[ 13.207269] pci 0000:02:00.0: setting latency timer to 64

Using the Catalyst Control Center, there, next to the two display icons was a card icon. So I enabled that. This got me video on my other two monitors. System settings, Displays… Only two monitors. Back into CCC. All 4 monitors detected. Change Display properties, locations of monitors… Reboot.

I now have 4 monitors lit, but am unable to drag applications or “extend the desktop” to the other two. Can’t do it in CCC, can’t do it in Display properties. After installing and uninstalling both myunity and unsettings, I decided to go old school and see about turning Xinerama on. This was greyed out in CCC, so I figured I would hand-edit my xorg.conf file to override this.

At this point in time, I now have 4 monitors with Unity able to address all 4 of them. Easy right?

Sit Long And Prosper

Sit Long And Prosper

I had hooked up the scanner (along with the cassette tape player and the VCR deck) so I could digitize some of the goods / pictures / videos that my mom had collected / taken / performed in…

Things like, oh,
Duke Ellington Program
a Duke Ellington Program from 1966, or a video of her doing karaoke from 1991, or some of the 100s of thousands (yes, at least 6 figures of pictures) she took.

I took the time to resort some of the things she had kept for me, I found my ticket from the Star Trek 25th Anniversary Marathon… Sit Long and Propsper!

Picking a streaming media device

Picking a streaming media device

For the past couple of years, I’ve been patiently sitting on the sideline with regards to choosing a streaming media player. Yes, I know I can build my own HTPC and join the DIY crowd, however building and maintaining an HTPC is not something I want to spend my spare time doing; I’d rather pay someone to do so by buying a commercial product.

The commercial streaming market has matured and settled down in the past 2 years. Previously you had to have faith in unknown manufacturers with wonky GUIs and questionable reliability, and now you have the big internet players involved on most fronts: Google, Apple, Netflix, Western Digital, etc.

My reticence to get into the market is that my requirements haven’t changed, but have been difficulty to find in a single solution:

  1. Network File Sharing: I already have a server PC with a Raid-5 array that I use for archiving the growing amount of DSLR RAW files, as well as 720p HD video taken with my Nikon D90. Whatever device must have the ability to use a network file sharing protocol that is not HTTP and does not use UPNP for file streaming.
  2. Netflix: Device must be able to stream Netflix.
  3. Hulu/Hulu Plus: Should be able to stream Hulu.
  4. Amazon Video on Demand: My wife has gotten hooked on AVoD, and since we are now Prime members, it’s free to stream.
  5. Codec Support: The device should handle AVI/MPEG/MKV/DIVX/XVID/MP3/etc. It should not be a one-trick pony that requires re-encoding on the fly.

So I set out to gather the true information to make my decision…

Read More Read More

Curse you Infiniti!

Curse you Infiniti!

There I was, within two weeks of getting ready to FINALLY buy the G37S 6MT… And they go and release the changes to the 2010 model lineup. GAH!

2010 Infiniti G37 Coupe
For the 2009 model year, the G37 Coupe lineup expanded with the addition of
a new G37x Coupe AWD model featuring Infiniti’s “intelligent” ATTESA ETS
® all-wheel drive system. For 2010, the major enhancements are found
inside the seductively styled G Coupe body – with revised colors and
model/option package content.

The 2010 G Coupe is available in four models – G37 Coupe, G37 Coupe
Journey, G37S Coupe Sport 6MT and G37x Coupe AWD. Every G37 Coupe
comes equipped with a standard 3.7-liter VQ-series V6 with VVEL (for
Variable Valve Event and Lift) rated at 330 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque.
The engine is backed by a choice of an electronically controlled 7-speed
automatic transmission with available magnesium paddle shifters or a
responsive 6-speed manual transmission.

The G37 Coupe’s advanced platform and chassis also includes an available
4-Wheel Active Steer system (4WAS), which helps improve vehicle handling
performance by adjusting both the front steering gear ratios and the rear
suspension geometry according to steering input and vehicle speed. Braking
and handling is targeted to be among the best in the luxury sport coupe class.
The G37 Coupe also includes an extensive list of available technology
features, including a touch screen navigation system with XM NavTraffic®
Real-Time Traffic information (XM® subscription required, sold separately),
RearView Monitor and an available 11-speaker Infiniti Studio on Wheels™ by
Bose® audio system with 24-bit Burr Brown DAC, 3-way door speaker arrays
with 10-inch woofers and a 9.3GB Music Box Hard Drive.

The 2010 Infiniti G37 Coupe goes on sale in January 2010.

Changes for 2010 include:
Revised interior colors and new aluminum interior trim appearance
New white gauge color scheme
New center console design with revised lower center stack on automatic
transmission equipped models
New available next generation Infiniti Hard Drive Navigation System with
all-new features, including higher resolution graphics, Zagat Survey®
restaurant reviews, XM Weather® reports (in addition to XM
NavTraffic®), Speed Limited Advisories and fastest-route-calculation
based on statistical traffic data (XM® subscription required, sold
New available Spanish language support for navigation displays and
Voice Recognition functions
New rain-sensing wipers
New available Advanced Climate Control System (ACCS) –
automatically shuts outside air vents when exhaust fumes are detected,
while its Grape Polyphenol Filter removes airborne allergens from the
cabin and the Plasmacluster™ air purifier uses charged ions to help
reduce or neutralize airborne germs
HomeLink® Universal Transceiver and Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone
System added to the Journey model
Heated seats and heated outside mirrors added to the Journey model
RearView Monitor now standard on the Journey model
2GB Music Box Flash Memory Music Server added to the Premium
Revised 18-inch wheel color (lighter)
One new exterior color

RC5 Cuda

RC5 Cuda

Glad to see the folks over at D.Net finally got someone to compile up an Nvidia CUDA RC5 Client (Currently in Pre-release).

Compared to the PS3, lets just say, it’s almost twice as fast as a PS3, which was 10 times as fast as my Core2Duo.

Running currently on my 8800GT, I’m getting 286mkeys/sec, which means it plows thru an RC5-72 block in approx 15 seconds. At just over 1 trillion blocks to search in the total key space (for a 100% keyspace span), you’re still looking at 523,000 GPU years. If all the folk who were active yesterday ran a single 8800GT computer, it would still take 133 years.

However, retail sales of the 8800GT were 3080 in October 2008, and the client doesn’t just run on 8800GTs, it’ll run on all the newer Nvidia cards.

One would hope that ATI’s Stream computing would be the next step here as well.

When we first started the RC5-56 challenge in April 1997, we were looking at 22 years until completion. We finished in 212 days.

Moore’s law may be starting to lag when considered against the CPU, but in terms of transistors and ability to compute, but the law keeps being met.



Just a reminder for you folks out there:

Since this year is getting a leap second added to the end, the LI bits on the NTP packets you receive should be a 01. Most properly crafted NTP clients understand this. Some wonder vendors panic when the LI bits are not 00.

As a reminder (From

Structure of the NTP Data packet

Cryptosum LI VN Mode Strat Poll Prec

LI = leap indicator
VN = version number
Strat = Stratum (0-15)
Poll = poll intervall

Prec = Precision

Root Delay
Root Dispersion
Reference Identifier
Reference Timestamp (64)
Originate Timestamp (64)
Receive Timestamp (64)
Transmit Timestamp (64)
Ext. Field 1 Key Identifier (optional)
Ext. Field 2 Message Digest (optional)
Key/Algorithm Identifier
Message Hash (64 or 128)

From the RFC, the Leap Indicator bits:

   Leap Indicator (LI): This is a two-bit code warning of an impending
   leap second to be inserted/deleted in the last minute of the current
   day, with bit 0 and bit 1, respectively, coded as follows:

      LI       Value     Meaning
      00       0         no warning
      01       1         last minute has 61 seconds
      10       2         last minute has 59 seconds)
      11       3         alarm condition (clock not synchronized)

So, your low end consumer grade gear, say a router, or a VOIP TA, or an access point, may be freaking out right now, because the NTP servers they get their time from is sending an LI bits of 01, since 2008 ends with an extra second, it will all be happiness at UTC midnight, when the bits go away.

Epic Newegg Failure

Epic Newegg Failure

Compete Epic Newgg Failure all around.

So, I’m going to Germany And Austria for a Christmas Market tour. 12 days through the Alps and all, Munich, Salzburg, Kremsmunster, Vienna. Really cool.

I decided to get a 32 Gig USB flash drive to store all my pictures I take on (see the NikonD90 page). 43 Gigs plus the 24 gigs in Compact Flash should be enough to store about 3500+ 10MB RAW files.

I ordered from Newegg, since they’re in the same state as I, and I figured the best bet to get next day overnight.

I ordered at 1:34am on Monday morning. Paid $69.99 for the stick, plus $5.95 in tax, and $15.05 in shipping…

Well at 3:45 pm that day, I get the Newegg Black Friday newsletter mailing… Guess what? The stick now is priced at $47.99. Lucky for me, I got promptly on the LiveChat feature and:

3:37:04 PM Yubia
Thank you for waiting. Please note that we do not provide any price protection for the items. However, we are willing to make a one time exception and honor the price difference.

Score one for Newegg… Since I purchased this on my Amex, Amex would have gotten the $22 from Newegg anyway.

So, where’s the Big Fail? Well, today I got my tracking number. Turns out, express overnight shipping really isn’t. Reminder: Newegg’s Warehouse is in NJ, and I live in NJ.

Date/Time                         Activity                                 Location                    
Nov 25, 2008     11:07 AM   Arrived at FedEx location          MEMPHIS, TN
                       10:03 AM   Departed FedEx location           NEWARK, NJ
Nov 24, 2008     10:26 PM   Left FedEx origin facility            EDISON, NJ
                        5:55 PM    Picked up                              EDISON, NJ
                        8:54 AM    Package data transmitted to FedEx

Ship date  		        Nov 24, 2008 	
Estimated delivery 	Nov 28, 2008 by 4:30 PM

Complete utter failure. I could have walked from my home to their facility in the 9 hours it took for them to get FedEx to pick up the package. I’m going to be on a plane and on my way to Munchen before the device even gets here.

Congrats Newegg & Fedex, seems like Amazon & UPS have a new customer.

Digital SLR

Digital SLR

I’m contemplating getting a new camera. The stout Minolta Dimage Z1 that I got in 2002 is a bit old and not really up to snuff anymore. With a planned trip to Germany and Austria for just after Thanksgiving, I plan to have a nice DSLR purchased and some experience in using before leaving for the trip.

The marching order from my wife (she whom holds the purse strings) is that I can spend decent money here, and to get something that may not be top of the line, but is going to last for a while and still be worthwhile 5 years down the road.

I had thought of getting a nice full frame DSLR, like the Canon EOS 5D or the Nikon D700. The Canon is a bit old and long in the tooth, while the Nikon is fresh out of the box new. But the price for a full frame DSLR does not seem to be worth the price both companies want to charge for them. I know that Sony is releasing a new A-900 full frame DSLR (24.6 Megapixels!), but I don’t think I want to plunk down $3k+ for a camera, because I’d like to be able to get some accessories and perhaps a zoom lens as well.

So it comes down to the Canon EOS 50D, the Sony Alpha A700, and the Nikon D90.

I’m edging toward the D90 at the moment. I’ll be watching the deal sites to see if some decent pricing comes down the pike. I think I need to go try out my friend’s 5D though to see how the Canon way goes.

More scratch links:

Lowepro Rover AW II Ebags $140
Tenba 632-313 Shootout Medium Backpack (Black)Tenba Shootout Medium – $190
Naneu Pro UrbanGear U-120 Large Backpack for Laptop / SLR - BlueNaneu Pro U120 – $147
Naneu Pro Alpha – $99
Tamrac Adventure 9 Photo/Computer Backpack (Red/Black)Tamrac Adventure 9 – $140
Lowepro 35092 Primus AW Premium Backpack (Arctic Blue)Lowepro Primus – $200
Lowepro Fastpack 350 Camera/Laptop BackpackLowepro Fastpack – $113
Kata KT D-3N1-30 Sling/Backpack (Black)Kata 3N1 30 – $125