TideLog Archive for the “Tech” Category

As it is when shipped retail, this drive is terrible. The drive constantly tries to park its heads, lagging the system, even during copy and move operations. With it being a top end 7200RPM drive, this is unacceptable, especially if like my Clevo, it is installed in a gaming machine. It is the power saving “features” of the firmware that cause it. The drive also exhibits “beeping” symptoms where the voice coils of the arm recieve a high current to wake it up and seek track, the high current effectively turns the coil into a speaker, and it makes a beeping sound. The drive constantly seems to miss beats because of the parking issue, causing the arm to miss and have to be shocked back into place by the controller.

Using tools like HDDScan to disable the APM (Advanced Power Management) and AAM (Advanced Acoustics Management) features aren’t permanent, once the drives are power cycled the issue starts all over again. The drive refuses any permanent disable ATA control commands.

There is a Dell firmware that will get rid of the issue, and take the firmware up to 05SDM1. My Clevo’s laptop’s drive started out with 2SDM1 firmware. The new FW makes the drive visibly quicker. The auto flasher doesn’t work, instead we need to manually force it, I’ll show you how.

1. Download the Seagate Update Utility ISO image, hosted on TideLog, this very blog, by clicking HERE. Extract the ZIP file, you’ll find an ISO file called Seagate Utility.iso.

2. Burn the extracted ISO to a CD-RW or DVD-RW, and restart your computer. When your computer restarts, enter your BIOS and make sure the computer is set to boot from CD.

3. The updater will start on its own, but it will actually fail even though a green screen is shown, you will need to manually force it. It will dump you back at a command prompt, so type:

FDLH -m HOLLIDAY -f 0005SDM1.LOD -i ST9500420AS -b -v

Essentially this line forces the detection of Seagate ST9500420AS drives, and force flashes it, even if the BIOS doesn’t have the Dell asset tag embedded.

4. This works on any machine, including Dell Studio, Asus, my Clevo M571TU, and the M570. Any machine with a Seagate ST9500420AS drive should work fine. Any drives with “GAS” on the end are the same drive but with G-Shock protection.

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This happened to me recently, while I was updating a few Cydia apps. After respringing, all my app store app icons were missing, but using iFile I could see the apps themselves were still installed to usr/mobile/applications.

No amount of respringing, rebooting or complete powering off brought them back and I couldn’t launch them via Terminal. I even tried using the Cydia app Poof! to turn the icons off, respring, then back on again, but nothing worked. What did work though was reinstalling one of my missing apps after backing it up and deleting it, all of a sudden the icon tiles came back, then after a reboot they had their icon pictures again!

Another weird “feature” of a jailbroken Apple toy!

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We all know that PC World are clueless when it really comes down to computer repairs. Charging £40 just to reinstall a driver, or as in the Sky News investigation, £229 just to reseat a memory stick, which should be a 10 second no charge job. When it comes down to their KnowHow scam, it gets worse. They used to be called TechGuys until they got so much bad publicity they had to rebrand and rename.

Here’s the truth about them. They get their staff from an agency called ADECCO. The people they take on have little or no electronics background, and only have about 6 months training with Adecco themselves before being taken on by PC World into their KnowHow scam, and are allowed to roam free on people’s televisions, washing machines and whatnot, with a multimeter that they don’t even really know how to use.

Their staff will come out, for example to fix a washing machine, and NOT know how to fix it (So they should now be called NOT KNOWHOW!!). I once set a TechGuys engineer up by putting faulty bearings in the tub drum of my washing machine, and calling them out. He went through a ton of basic checks, like checking hoses, the motor, and did a basic PAT continuity check, which failed (I know his test was wrong, because I professionally fix washing machines, and fix my own). After an hour he still couldn’t figure it out, after several calls to head office he decided to poke around a bit, then tell me the control PCB had gone, just to get a problem out in the air so he could have the £60 callout and diagnostic fee.

As soon as I came clean about what I’d done, and showed him my NIC-EIC electrical certificate, he soon got the finger when he still asked for £30 callout. He couldn’t get out the door fast enough he was so embarrassed, so fast in fact he left his multimeter behind. Lo and behold the battery LED was flashing, so his multimeter was giving false readings due to lack of power.

They always say a bad workman blames his tools, but in his case both he and his multimeter were wrong, poorly configured and short of power. Avoid the whole of DSG (Dixons Stores Group, including Currys, PC World and Dixons, plus PixMania) like the plague. Their latest KnowHow ads saying they’ll show you how all these new HD 3D TV’s work is just a cover, they don’t even know what 3D or HD even are!! They charge £100 to fit a flatscreen TV bracket, the cost DOESN’T even INCLUDE the bracket! In Kitamura Computers we fit and supply a HIGH QUALITY bracket for as little as £50!!

In my research of Adecco and KnowHow staff, I found out that everything KnowHow do revolves around output quantity, and nothing else, which really I already guessed. Things that are said to the general public might appear this is not so but don’t be fooled. Just go on the web and see their past history. Adecco staff I contacted on the web (remaining anonymous) constantly feared for their jobs if they didn’t meet these quantity targets, and they felt like Big Brother was watching their every move.

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The Sprinter contains a Sentry Key Immobilizer System (SKIS) which has three main components:

1. A transponder circuit in each key fob, with lock/unlock buttons and integral battery.

2. A transponder ring antenna.

3. A Sentry Key Remote Entry Module (SKREEM) which is wired to the van’s high speed CAN (Controller Area Network) where it can talk to the Engine Electronic Control Unit (EECU or ECU).

The system communicates with the Sentry Key Remote Entry Module (SKREEM), using the transponder chip located within the Remote Keyless Entry (RKE) fob. Ignition keys are supplied with the van when it is shipped from the factory. The SKREEM module is located inside the instrument cluster housing, just under the cluster housing cover, at the back of the cluster unit itself.

The transponder ring is plugged into the SKREEM module, where its wire runs from the instrument cluster up to where the ring itself is slotted over the ignition barrel. It is a wireless radio antenna.

Each Sentry Key has a unique transponder identifcation code permanently programmed into it by the manufacturer. Likewise, the Sentry Key Remote Entry Module (SKREEM) has a unique “Secret Key” code programmed into it from the factory too. When a Sentry Key is programmed into the memory of the SKREEM, the SKREEM stores the
transponder identification code from the Sentry Key, and the Sentry Key learns the Secret Key code from the SKREEM. Once the Sentry Key learns the Secret Key code of the SKREEM, it is also permanently programmed into the transponder’s memory.

The Sentry Key’s transponder is within the range of the SKREEM’s transponder ring when it is inserted into the ignition lock cylinder. When the ignition switch is turned to the ON position, the SKREEM communicates with the Sentry Key via a radio frequency (RF) signal. The SKREEM determines if a valid key is present based on the information it receives from the Sentry Key. If a valid key is detected, a message is sent to the Engine Control Unit (ECU) via the Controller Area Network (CAN) data bus and the vehicle is allowed to start or continue running. If an invalid key is received by the ECU or no status at all is communicated, the engine will stall after two (2) seconds of running because the ECU cuts power to the glow plugs and fuel injectors. The indicator light on the key fob will be flashing at this point.

The Sentry Key’s transponder can not be repaired. If it is faulty or damaged, it must be replaced. Common communication problems include:
a. Two transponder keys too close together.
b. Speed Pass too close to transponder key.
c. Solid indicator in the instrument cluster indicating there is a system failure.
d. Loss of ECM communication on the CAN bus, either due to interference or faulty control unit.
e. Failed transponder ring circuit.

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If, like me you’ve changed your internet facing server’s Remote Desktop port to stop Haxors hammering your standard 3389 port, you’ll need to specify it from any client you connect to it from. Microsoft don’t make it obvious on their own client, but many 3rd party ones will have a Port box. The Mocha RDP client I use on my iPhone has such a box.

To do it in Microsoft’s own client, you need to specify your domain or IP as usual, then add a semicolon, then the port number, for example mydomain.com:1234. This works in both Windows XP, Vista and 7. There was no option in the connection options anywhere, so I started experimenting. A lot of services on my company server require specific semicolon and port dances after the URL, so it was the first thing I tried.

Microsoft, PLEASE put a Port box in the per-connection options. It would be easier for multiple connections and saved RDP files. Put a little text reminder in the connection box UI too 😉 It’s fine for home users the way it is default, but corporate users like me who need to change ports to stop server port attacks, and who has several servers all listening on different ports, we need an obvious easy way to set it 🙂

NOTE: Remote Desktop for Mac DOES NOT support custom ports, thanks to my lil lady Kana for that tidbit 😉

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