Posted (Updated ) in Uncategorized

A while back Samsung released a line of relatively cheap “EcoGreen” 2TB hard drives. Being the storage hungry IT nerd that I am, I picked up 2 of the things before finding out their firmware contains a known data write bug requiring a firmware patch best summed up with the following:

“It [the drive] will “forget” to write out its buffer if certan SMART commands are sent to the drive. This is the very definition of silent data corruption.”

Samsung has released a patch but it requires booting into DOS which is incredibly difficult to do on todays floppyless PCs. After a bit of googling I came across the following two solutions to get the job done:

Bootable ISO image

This is the easier solution of the two but it is also the one that didn’t work for me. Michael has created a FreeDOS image with the patch merged in. For the download and installation details, see this post.

Bootable USB image

After trying and failing the above, I settled for a bootable USB image instead. User ZDOS has written up a handy tutorial here which I’ve detailed a bit more in depth below:

  • Download the Windows 98 system files (at the top) and HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool from here and F4EG.exe from here.
  • Install the HP Format Tool and run it with administrator privileges (right click – Run as Administrator).
  • Extract the Windows 98 system files.
  • With the HP Format Tool, format your USB drive (quick format should be enough) as Fat32 making sure you use the Windows 98 system files where it offers.
  • Once done, copy F4EG.exe to your USB drive.
  • Shutdown and unplug all HDDs besides your unpatched Samsung drive
  • Boot your PC and enter the BIOS by pressing Delete during startup. Ensure that your HDDs are set to run in AHCI mode.
  • Reboot either ensuring USB-HDD is selected as your top boot device or press F12 during startup to visit the One Time Boot Device page (results may vary – check your motherboard documentation).
  • You should see a Windows 98 logo flash on the screen for a split second and then a command prompt. In the prompt type F4EG and press enter. Your drive should flash itself.

For plenty more useful information on this issue, I found this forum thread very helpful.

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Posted (Updated ) in Uncategorized

It seems firefox 4 has stupidly removed the option to save tabs on exit however there’s a way to get this very useful functionality back. Here’s how:

  1. Type about:config in the URL/Location/Address bar and press the Enter key
  2. Accept the warning message (promise to be careful)
  3. The preferences page/list will open
  4. Filter = browser.tabs.warnOnClose
  5. If its value is set to false, double-click on it (in the lower panel) to toggle its value to true
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 for these following 3 preferences also:
    • browser.warnOnQuit
    • browser.warnOnRestart
    • browser.showQuitWarn

Taken from mozilla support. A big thank you to user Helper7677 for this solution!

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Posted (Updated ) in Uncategorized

Due to the antics of some douchebag (IP address I’ve had to look into blocking pages based on IP address with .htaccess files. This may come in handy to others out there so I figured I’d write up my findings.

To block everyone except specific IPs here’s what you’ll need (more info):

order deny,allow
deny from all
allow from <ip address>

To apply this restriction only to specific files, wrap the above code in the <File> tag:

<Files wp-login.php>
	order deny,allow
	deny from all
	allow from <ip address>

Thanks to user NuclearMeltdown on the #httpd channel on Freenode for his assistance.

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Posted (Updated ) in Linux, Uncategorized

Firstly the background: I own a HTC Magic (32B) running Cyanogenmod 6.1. My internet connection is 1.5Mbit down, 256k up ADSL. My router is a Billion 7401VGPR3 with strong signal and several PCs connected to it – each with flawless internet.

The issue: Around the time I bought a new Billion 7401VGPR3 router, the phones wifi started performing so badly it became unusable. DNS lookups would take anywhere in the vicinity of 45-60 seconds or often simply time out and once the download did somehow get going, it would also occasionally time out. I figured this was just an issue with the hardware in my phone – being 2+ years old, it’s getting a bit dated by android smartphone standards. I was wrong.

During my recent trip to Japan, I happened to score free wireless in one of the hotels (Ahh free wireless, how I love thee) and the wifi unexpectedly worked perfectly. Puzzled by this, I did a bit of research. As it tuns out, this appears to be a common issue with HTC phones. I came across this thread on the issue.

The fix: A few suggestions were made on how to fix it. One member suggested trying a different router, which I did (A Netgear FWG114P) and suddenly wifi worked fine. This was all the proof I needed that the Billion was the culprit. I switched the encryption scheme on the Billion from WPA2 to WEP 128 as per another users suggestion (yes, yes, I know. Flame me if you must, but I already know) and my Android is now lightning fast again.

Thank you androidforums, I was on the verge of giving up and buying a new phone but now I’m good to go for several more years 🙂

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Posted (Updated ) in Uncategorized

Over the last few days I’ve been working tirelessly on this site – moving it to a new home and adding a server-side syntax highlighter (wp-syntax) as well as various other behind-the-scenes improvements. The result should be a faster and load and better resulting experience while browsing.

That is all.


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Posted (Updated ) in Uncategorized

I installed firefox-4.0 (currently 4.0b8pre) on Ubuntu Maverick RC earlier today and all was going fine and dandy until I had to open a Google Docs spreadsheet. I’d receive a message stating:

The bad news is that Google Docs has just encountered an error.
The good news is that you've helped us find a bug, which we are now looking into.

We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused you.
In the meantime, if you'd like updates on this and other issues, try visiting the Google Docs Help Forum.

Sorry, and thanks for your help!
- The Google Docs Team

I checked documents and they seemed to be fine. It turns out this is an issue with Google not recognising FF4’s user agent string. The easiest way to solve this issue is to type about:config into the address bar and set


to true.

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Posted (Updated ) in Uncategorized

Here’s another little gem for you HTML5 fans out there – link prefetching. Adding the following into a HTML meta or link tag will result in the target being loaded in the background after your current page.

<link rel="prefetch" href="/images/big.jpeg">
<link rel="next" href="2.html">
<meta http-equiv="Link" content="/images/big.jpeg" rel=prefetch">

Both ‘prefetch’ and ‘next’ are accepted.

Here are a few advantages of using this method:

  • It’s HTML compliant
  • It’ll dramatically speed up the resulting page/file if successfully prefetched
  • It doesn’t slow current page load
  • No same-origin restriction – any domain is accepted

There are several limitations to this method that should be noted:

  • Firefox only (for now)
  • Only HTTP protocol is accepted
  • No URLs with querystrings accepted

To learn more about link prefetching check out the Link Prefetching FAQ at Mozilla Developer Center

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Posted (Updated ) in Uncategorized

Let me preface this post by stating that I have the design talent of the average developer – that is to say: none. So when I decided to start learning about CSS3 @font-face I thought I was going to be in for a night of pain; boy was I right.

The post headings on site are rendered in the Museo font using Cufon. Cufon is an amazing piece of JavaScript that allows you to embed fonts into webpages making them visible in all browsers. It works as advertised, however it has a habit of causing pains for visitors on slower connections. For this site, the cufon script is 17.8KB and Museo font package is an added 190.4KB – a hefty download. At this point, the developer in me would declare the benefits not to be worth the drawbacks and scrap it all together. Luckily for all of you though, I’m constantly surrounded by talented designers, namely That Stevens Guy and begrudgingly blindly follow what they tell me to do in that department. So cufon has stayed. Is there a better solution though? Meet @font-face.

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Posted (Updated ) in Uncategorized

It’s been several years since I started work as a web developer and finally I have a site of my own! This has been a long time coming and here’s hoping it won’t dent Australia’s reputation as an marvellous people too badly. I’ll be adding various tutorials to help spread my knowledge – check it […]

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