Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Macrium Reflect Mysterious Opening Windows - Solved!

I love Macrium Reflect - not denying that.  It works very well for imaging drives (except when it doesn't - but that's usually a hardware issue with the drive itself).

But lately it's been acting weird for me.  A few times a day, I would notice that there was a nearly empty window that had opened itself up and only had a "close" button.

Today I finally took the time to use the drop down menu at the top and realized that it was a window opened by a certain hotkey combination - alt-ctrl-m.

This may not be a common one for many of you, but I use that combo a few times a day to <comment> in Google Sheets.

I just unchecked the "use hotkey" radio box, and I anticipate all should be well with the world again.

Thursday, 18 April 2019

What to do when .gdoc and .gsheet no longer open correctly.

Okay, so here's a problem I've had for a long time and only just ciphered out this morning.

I use Dropbox for most of my file syncronizing needs.  It is very frustrating to use - I don't approve of some of the business decisions they have made as a company, they have killed off several useful features (currently the predicted time of sync), and they don't have a good way to share plans with family.

But I also really enjoy using Google Docs - it's very helpful to not have to have an office suite installed on my smaller computers, and the instant syncronizing of spreadsheets and documents is a real boon.

I would have switched to Google Drive last week, if only they offered a 1TB package similar to what Dropbox does...  Instead, they jump from 200GB (too little) to 2TB (too much) - I need that Goldilocks zone!

Anyway, I keep Google Backup and Sync running in the background so I have a local copy of my documents - they would be pretty devastating to lose if something ever happened to my Google Account.  I also like to organize the documents on my local drive to help keep them clear in my head.

The issue I had was that sometimes I'd see a document locally and want to open it from my drive, rather than try to use the web-based documents interface, which isn't very intuitive for an old-timer like me.

Somehow the association must have broken at some point, and of course, I tried to open them with Chrome - a natural assumption, as you view and manipulate them in Chrome.  Unfortunately, they wouldn't open.  You'd get a cryptic address that CONTAINED the online address for the file, with other settings, but didn't actually OPEN the file.

Google searches were surprisingly unhelpful!  Hence this post to help anyone out...

Change the association for .gdoc and .gsheet from Chrome to Google Backup and Sync!  It then passes along the proper address to Chrome anyway and things work as expected.

So in file explorer, you right click, scroll down to "open with..." and on the next screen, first make sure you check the box "always use this programme to open files of this type" and then select backup and sync as the programme to open with.  If it isn't immediately displayed, select the more option, and if it still isn't there, then select that you will search for a programme, and drill down to the backup and sync executable (C:\Program Files\Google\Drive\googledrivesync.exe on my machine).

It's as simple as dat!  (Simple, but not easy - at least for me, and seemingly many, many others...)

Friday, 18 January 2019

Problems Imaging a microSD card with Win32DiskImager or balenaEtcher- Access is Denied Error 5. Bonus Safe Mode From Windows 10 Easy Access.

So I dusted off our RetroPie and was trying to reimage the microSD card in it.  Should have been easy-peasy, but instead, it was very frustrating.  I tried using the recommended "balenaEtcher" but got nowhere but unhelpful "denied" type errors.  I also tried using the tried and true Win32DiskImager and still received the same messages.

I puzzled over it a few hours, repartitioning, reformatting, trying to use my phone or camera to low level format the card, using different SD to USB adapters and different cards, all to no avail.

Then I contemplated that perhaps Windows 10 was doing fritzy stuff in the background with the card.

A quick reboot into safe mode, and things worked just fine.  It is annoying, and takes twice as long to do, but it works.

Safe mode in most versions of Windows wasn't challenging to access by tapping F8 while booting up.  Windows 10 has changed that, so it's easiest to get access by holding down the Windows key and pressing "R" (for run).  Then type in "msconfig" and tap enter.  Select the "boot" tab, and then check the box for "Safe Boot".

Apply/OK (what purpose does having two keys serve?) and you're all set.  Reboot your system, image your card, and reboot again!

Friday, 4 January 2019

Accessing Hidden Advanced Settings on a Linksys EA9200 Router

I'm having a few regrets about supplying this router to a client.  It seems to have some spotty connection issues, so I've swapped it for an Asus and brought it home to test on my own home network.

It was very disheartening to realize that it doesn't support any third party firmware (no DD-WRT, OpenWRT or Tomato?!)

In the meantime, I wanted to play with some of the more advanced settings on it to suit my own situation - and low and behold, they've not provided access to those settings for owners by any documented manner.

Fortunately, I did find a reference to similar models having a "hidden" advanced settings screen that does indeed work on this model too.

When you hit up the home screen of the web interface, simply substitute "advanced-wireless" for "home" in the address bar, and you'll be all set.

Enjoy!  If I discover anything earth shattering, I'll try to report back.

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Getting a Canon ImageRUNNER ADVANCE C2225 to Scan to Email

Ugh, this is another of those tales of hours spent trying to cipher out cryptic and unintuitive interfaces that are way too unnecessarily complicated.

This multifunction machine was operating correctly at one location, but once moved ten minutes down the road, the scan to email function completely ceased operation.

It's also really, really frustrating that this machine just fails to send, with next to no feedback as to why.

So, let's dive in and see what happened here.

We moved the machine from one township to another.  Once moved, all local functions were fine, but getting it to scan to email no longer worked.  The outgoing scans simply came back as "NG" on the log screen.

My first mistake - not asking for "details" right away - and then mistake two - not realizing that the "details" page, when consulted, still was really useless.  You get a three digit error code and nothing else.  Here is the link for deciphering these error codes.

For starters, to make any changes either on the panel, or the web-based interface, you need to log in to the machine as an admin.  The default admin name and password are both "7654321" - it will nag you to change these every time you log in.  Be ready to skip this unless you are sure you want to swap them out.  In my case, it was a SOHO, so there wasn't really a concern about locking down these settings.

Next up, you will need to consult your ISP about their outgoing SMTP ports - in our case, it was a fairly benign 587, but the scanner didn't default to that.  I'll be jiggered if it's nearly impossible to find where to change that setting.  You need to press the Settings/Registration button, quickly followed by 2 and 8 simultaneously, then Settings/Registration button once again.  Then choose mode.  Then choose copier (?), then choose option, then choose Network, then press <Level 1> so that it switched to <Level 2>.

Whew, then clicking directly on SMTPTXPN you can enter in a new port.

Press the Reset button to work your way back out of this menu.

Next up, I will relate the settings that worked for us, not necessarily what will work for you, but it should get you closer.

Now on the regular menu, hit up the Settings/Registration button again, and log in.  Use the defaults if it hasn't been changed, otherwise, you're on your own.

Then Functions, Send, and Communication Settings.

On the first screen, enter your email address and SMTP server.  POP RX is off, SMTP RX is on.

Next, SMTP TX is on, SMTP RX is on, POP should be greyed out.

Next, SMTP Authentication is on, display auth. screen is off, and the others are greyed out.  Username is the full email address, and password is the email password.

That should be it.  It took me pretty much a full day to finally get this just so.  Hopefully it helps someone out there?

If it does fail, the error codes may be of limited use.  Mine were throwing POP errors until I disabled all the POP settings and worked just with SMTP.  It was mostly luck that got me here.


Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Dealing with a SURFboard Cable Modem (Arris SB6141)

So I had a nice wifi setup that ticked along for a couple of months with no complaints.  It was a bit unusual, but nothing terrifically so.

Shaw communications had supplied a SURFboard cable modem, which fed into a Linksys EA9200 router, which then supplied wifi to the household, as well as fed into some TP-Link AV500 power adapters to head upstairs and allow for a hard-wired VoIP box to be installed.

After a few months, some new doors were installed, and suddenly the wifi signal was weak and dropping constantly.  The doors were upgraded from glass to solid, fire proof doors (this was a multi-unit house), and so I can only suspect that that was part of the problem.

In any case, I thought maybe I could swap around things slightly, and move the router upstairs into the office of one unit, where it was directly over the main room of the lower unit.

Unfortunately, as soon as I got upstairs, no internet.

Hypothesis - does the powerline adapter somehow not work with the cable modem directly?

Test - plug another inexpensive router into the cable modem first, then the powerline adapter, then the router - kludgy, but one does what one must.

Result - cable modem switched from blue downstream connection light to red, and no internet.

Test Two - plug in my laptop directly to cable modem and see if it's just how the router is configured (even though I did a factory reset on the router).

Result - same as above, red light instead of blue, and no internet.

Bring the original modem back downstairs, plug it in - blue light, and internet.  In fact, that's exactly how it played out.  ONLY the original modem worked with the cable modem, anything else was "blacklisted" with a red light.

Much head scratching and call to tech support (with escalation) finally revealed the awful truth -

The red flashing light on a SURFboard modem does NOT indicate a problem - but rather that you are not using a 1GB capable device, and have switched to 100MB or whatever - not an issue for these cable connections where you're getting from between 5MB and 10MB connections anyway.

Shaw communications cable modem only gives out ONE SINGLE IP ADDRESS via DHCP.  You can only have one device hooked up to it asking for an IP, and then IT has to also be a DHCP server for everything else downstream.

Shaw communications cable modem will only give out a new IP address if it is fully power cycled.

That explains pretty much everything - except my initial problem, which I attribute to me being too impatient with the router, which admittedly takes a few minutes to reboot and connect to the modem at the best of times.

Otherwise - if you try to change any device hooked directly to the modem, you MUST power cycle the modem.  This is not intuitive, as every other router/modem that I'm aware of is easily able to ascertain that a device has been swapped, and re-assign it a new IP.

Long story short - did you try turning it off and on again?

Friday, 23 November 2018

Pantum M6550NW Scanning from the Panel

This printer has given me much blog fodder!

So once this printer is finally connected to your wifi, you can install the accompanying software to initiate scans from your computer.  Unfortunately, I keep my printer in the next room, and would much prefer to scan from the printer and then collect it on the computer later.

This isn't too bad for one page at a time, but if you want to scan multiple documents but not use the sheet feeder, that's a fair amount of shoe leather you would be wearing out.

The printer panel has several "Scan To" options...  PC, email, and FTP.

PC appears to really only work with a USB connection.  Feel free to let me know if I'm wrong on that count.

email looked promising.  I own my own domain, so I created a "printer@xxxxxx.yyy" email address and then used the print server to set that up under "Network settings" - "Protocol Settings" - "SMTP".  The printer tested the connection and said it worked fine.  I then headed down to "Machinery settings" - "Address Book" - "E-mail address book" and added my own email address to the listing there.

Back on the printer panel, I asked to to scan to email, and it it choked out with a "no connection" message.  Very unhelpful.

Finally, I decided to try the FTP option.  You could set up an FTP server on your own computer using FileZilla, but I already have a spare hard disc plugged in to my router and it was a simple matter to create a directory on that drive called "scans" and make it accessible even to anonymous logins.

Back on the print server, "Network settings" - "Protocol Settings" - "FTP"

You can create a "New" FTP entry.  The "Service name" is just a reference for yourself.  "FTP server" I used - the IP address of my router.  The tricky one for me was "FTP subcatalog" - eventually I discovered that I had to enter "NAS/scans".  N.B. that there is no leading slashes or trailing slashes.

"Port" is 21, and "Login name" is anonymous.

Boom!  Works right away from the device panel - no more need to initiate a scan from the computer and go back and forth.  I can just fill the folder on the router with scans and THEN retrieve them from the computer.