Posts filed under Hardware

AVN Fritzbox and the 'Exposed Host' Setting

The Fritzbox 7340 is the only real available VDSL modem/router in the Netherlands. Too bad, since it has some bugs (but what piece of software hasn't???). Fortunately, the router works well, just as long as you use it as the only networking device in your (small) network.

In the last couple of days I've been busy to add the Juniper SRX100 branch firewall to my local home network. The idea was the following:

  • The Fritzbox (FB) will remain the Internet router
  • My web/mail/ssh server is placed behind the SRX100
  • All the individual portforward rules in the Fritzbox are directed to the SRX100 by selecting the 'Exposed Host' in the FB.
Posted on March 11, 2011 and filed under Annoying, Hardware, Internet, Security, Tips'n Tricks.

Enable Juniper SRX Firewall Logging

Juniper started to migrate their firewalls from Netscreen to the Junos environment 'a couple of' months back. The advantage is that there's a universal OS for routers, switches and firewalls. Just like Cisco IOS. The disadvantage is that the Junos OS is being adapted for the firewalls. So the foundations are there, but there are still lots of features missing and bugs are also still abundant.

The bugs are thankfully mostly related to the WebGUI. On the commandlinethe bugs are in the same league as the Cisco, Checkpoint and every other vendor bugs. No piece of software is perfect.

Posted on March 1, 2011 and filed under Annoying, Hardware, Security, Tips'n Tricks, Junos.

Nikon P7000 Review

Nikon Coolpix P7000Some of the readers may know that I used the Panasonic Lumix LX3 as a backup/compact camera for the times a dSLR isn't welcome (or practical). One of the places where a dSLR isn't welcome is your average (pop)concert. The Lumix LX3 was (and still is) an excellent compact camera with astonishing low-light capabilities. The only problem I had with the camera was that the zoom function only went to 60mm (35mm equivalent), and 60mm is a bit short when you're not standing directly in front of the podium....

Posted on December 23, 2010 and filed under Gear, Hardware, Photography, Review.

Dell U2711 27" Monitor Review

Dell U2711 MonitorThanks to some fortunate circumstances I've been able to get a new 27 inch monitor; The Dell U2711 Ultrasharp PremiumColor.

I was in need of a new monitor, since my old 24" Dell 2407WFP has some problems generating proper colors. Something which is quite important when fooling around with photographs on a computer. Another reason is that my the screen wouldn't work 'properly' with my new 27" iMac.

The 27"-er has a whopping resolution of 2560 x 1440 (WQHD), which is 'slightly more' than your average monitor. This monitor has an IPS panel, which is much better in rendering true colors than the old TN display.

The desktop real-estate is enormous (the same as the 27" iMac). Only problem so far is that my mobile devices aren't capable of using the full capacity of this display. Both my MacBook and Windows 7 Dell E6500 (work laptop) only go as high as 1920 x 1200. So I either have have some black borders, or I have to settle for a stretched screen. In both cases; the image is still extremely good. The display will be used as a second display on my 27" iMac.

Posted on December 17, 2010 and filed under Hardware, Review.

Windows Phone 7 Series

Windows Phone 7 SeriesMicrosoft will be shipping a new phone operating system this year. After the Windows Mobile brand, they're switching to an alternate name; Windows Phone 7 Series. And obviously, with a new name comes a new website;

I can't really see why they keep bothering trying to access the phone market. Every single Windows Mobile (or Windows CE as it was called in the old days) device I've owned crashed more frequently than the 'good old' Windows Millennium Edition on an average Sunday. I can't count the number of times that I received a phonecall while doing something else (e.g. playing solitaire, or reading e-mail) and that the call finally went to voicemail. Why? because the phone froze, crashed, or answer button was unresponsive.

Posted on February 15, 2010 and filed under Hardware, Microsoft, Software.

New Fast Nikon 24mm Lens

Nikon 24mm f/1.4G EDNikon is catching up with Canon in regards to the (really) fast prime lenses. They announced a new 24mm f/1.4G ED (link to the techpart)wide-angle lens today. This new lens makes it possible to do low-light photography with a maximum aperture of 1.4. Especially when you're shooting with a low-light monster like the Nikon D700 or D3(x/s).
The lens should also give you a nice depth of field (DoF) when shooting wide open, and being relatively close to your subject. We all know that wide-angle lenses tend to have a large DoF due to wide-angle optic characteristics (et voila).

Posted on February 9, 2010 and filed under Hardware, Photography.

Nikon Scan 4 and Snow Leopard

My dad switched to an iMac a couple of weeks ago. He came from a Windows environment with lots of periferals (RF Mouse, Bluetooth dongle, HP flatbed Scanner, Espon printer, Nikon CoolScan V, HP PDA, etc.). So the challenge was to migrate as many periferals as possible.

Thankfully, most of them worked. Even the old Nikon CoolScan V film scanner worked with the supplied Nikon Scan 4 software, until last Sunday. For some reason the application crashes with a message that the preferences file can't be read (Is another instance of Nikon Scan 4 running??).

It seemed that the Nikon app wasn't shut down properly on one occasion and a lock file was left in the preferences. Removing the lock file solved the issue.
The lock file is located at the following location:

~/Library/Preferences/Nikon/Nikon Scan 4 Prefs.lock

Sidenote: Weird that relatively old propriatary software like the Nikon Scan 4 software works fine, but that more recent (Nikon) software needs special updates to keep working under Snow Leopard. Was Nikon Scan 4 written by people who understand what they were doing (OS sub-version independent)? Or is this just luck?

Posted on November 18, 2009 and filed under Apple, Hardware, Operating Systems, Software.

Western Digital My Passport Essential Review

In the post before this one I had some trouble with a Freecom XXS USB drive. I had no way of fixing it, so it went back to the store (and basically back to Freecom). But since that drive is used for offsite backups I needed a replacement unit, because the return of the old drive could take several weeks.

This time the Western Digital My Passport Essentials 500GB (2.5" USB powered) disk was chosen. A nice small device with lot's of storage capacity.

Western Digital Proprietary Connector on the LeftUpon opening the box I noticed immediately that there's something 'wrong' with this drive. The cable / USB connector is proprietary. The connector is some sort of ultra-mini-USB format. No need to say that of all the USB cables I collected over the years will ever fit. So I need to be extremely careful with the one I got with the drive.

Since I lose stuff (hell, everyone does), you could expect a blog post of me swearing 'bloody hell' (and stuff) when I have lost the cable.... but I won't, just read the rest of this review.

Posted on November 2, 2009 and filed under Annoying, Hardware, Review.

TrueCrypt Bug, or Hardware Failure

For the last couple of years I've been using an offsite backup method. And today the drive I use for that failed on me. My backup program reported that it could write (or read) data to the drive.

Investigation showed that several directories in the TrueCrypt volume were gone!!!!! Thankfully, the data on my Drobo and server were still pristine condition.

Disk Utility and several other tools reported problems with the drive (or at least the TrueCrypt part/volume). So I erased the drive, and re-initialized it. No reports of trouble while I did that. After that I recreated the TrueCrypt volume and restarted the backup to the drive (which takes forever).

All I can do now is wait for the backup to finish, and pray that the house doesn't catch on fire.....

After that a new case for SpinRite.

Posted on October 31, 2009 and filed under Annoying, Hardware, Software.

Additional iPhone Thoughts

Before I go into the imperfections of the iPhone, I must mention that the iPhone is one of the best (smart)phones I've had so far.....My (smartphone) references are the Nokia Communicator, Nokia E61i, Nokia N95. While the PDA experience comes from Psion (to bad that they are gone), and a boatload of crappy/unstable Windows CE/Mobile platforms over the last 10 years.

Every device had its limitations, but the iPhone clearly has the upperhand (at the moment). But there's always room for improvement :-)

Posted on October 22, 2009 and filed under Annoying, Apple, Gadgets, Hardware, iPhone.