10 Years ago…



It is sometimes necessary to reflect on the past J My colleague Hannes Mitchell discovered a few images of some of our infrastructure from the past. The image in this post shows the servers in our data center exactly 10 years ago. In those days we used Hewlett Packard servers running the HP-UX operating system. Many of you may remember the Erudite software we used in those days… It seems like yesterday.





ADSL Router problems (continued…)


This is an update to the post I made yesterday about my ADSL problems. Refer to the post for all the detail. Well, I was pleasantly surprised. It appears that it was not the Firmware update that caused the problems; but in fact a faulty power-supply. What a coincidence… ?

I got to work yesterday morning and looked up the “Support” details for D-Link on the ZA D-Link website. This is after we (me and my IT co-workers) tried everything to access the management interface on the router. Pieter Jordaan, (Senior UNIX Systems Programmer at Sabinet) suggested we give their support a call. It also just happened that D-Link Support is situated in Highveld Business Park in Centurion. 3 Km’s from work. D-Link answered their “Support” line promptly and suggested we bring the router in so they can have a look at it.

Less than 20 minutes later a faulty power-supply was diagnosed. They replaced it free of charge and updated the firmware to the latest revision. They also replaced the router’s WiFi antennae without any cost. In my book this rates as stunning service.

I had a bit of a battle getting the router configured the way it was. Fortunately help was at hand from Telkom ADSL Support. (0800-375-375). What is neat about this number is that you can program your phone so that it dials you back when your position in the queue opens up. No need to hang on for hours. It took me about 15 minutes to speak to an engineer. Despite the fact that they don’t support the D-Link (so they say) they took me through all the steps to get my router configured and Internet connectivity restored! Polite & efficient support.

All ends well. I am happy !

Hennie Rautenbach

ADSL Router problems


Since the start of 2009 I have had endless problems with my ADSL line at home. It must have been down at least a week per month. I followed the ‘patience testing’ route of logging a call. In some cases the calls were closed without anyone showing up to test the line or phoning me to inquire about the symptoms. I decided that the only way to convince Telkom that something is seriously wrong with my line is to have a “record” of calls. So I persist. Saturday a Telkom technician showed up and patiently tested all connections and the quality of the line. He gave it a green light.

We chatted about the symptoms. He looked at the router (refer to the images). It is a D-Link DSL-2640U. He asked me when last I did a firmware upgrade. A what?! He suggested that I update the firmware on the router and see if that solves my problem. Apparently many changes (updates) are made to the exchange infrastructure all the time and it will help to keep the subscribers-side equipment updated too.

So I looked up http://www.d-link.com/ . This D-Link site referred me to http://www.d-link.co.za/. Progress !

I patiently searched the site for a firmware update. However, I firstly checked the router for its firmware revision. All I could see was a very cryptic string of characters and numbers which made no sense whatsoever. The ZA D-Link site listed an update for the software. It is impossible to tell though, whether it is an upgrade or downgrade. The file date-stamp dates back to 2007. I suspected that it would be an upgrade. Unfortunately the download link for the firmware update is broken. Fortunately the site lists a URL for the support FTP site from which you can manually retrieve updates. But, sadly, the file in the download folder differs from the one in the download link. I suppose that explains why the link is broken.

I dug out the dusty router packaging from the store room to find the CD or manual for the router. Both were there, but both only in Russian. I decided to see whether there is a D-Link support site in Russia. Yes, there is such a site indeed. And it hosts several firmware updates. I downloaded the latest one and tried to update the flash image. To cut a long story short, and after reading up quite a bit on the net, it appears that you can only do an upgrade with IE and I used Mozilla Firefox. Lots of time got wasted in the process but I had little else to do. It was a cold, miserable and windy day, best spent indoors.

After the upgrade the router was rebooted and fortunately retained its configuration. It worked marvelously for about 12 hours after the upgrade and then died. Late yesterday it showed a red power light only. I an unable to access its configuration interface. I will read up on the web today to see if there is a fix to this problem but don’t have high hopes. Perhaps you, the reader, can tell me what ADSL router (brand) you recommend. It may be time for an upgrade. I have had a Telkom branded one in the past (until lightning toasted it). I’d prefer something that is not a Telkom branded appliance.

What can you recommend ?

Please reply to this post or email me at: Hennie.Rautenbach[at]gmail.com

Best regards


Wolfram Alpha


The brainchild of Dr Stephen Wolfram, a British physicist, the computational search engine soft launched at the end of last week, but was fully unveiled on Monday.

Wolfram Alpha is a natural search engine, which filters information and data stored in its own vast databases to answer specific search queries. The aim is to return a single search result with the right answer, rather than a list of thousands of web pages which may or may not contain the information requested, as is the case with other search engines, such as Google and Yahoo! This is because Wolfram Alpha doesn’t crawl the web for its answers like Google does. It actually searches its own huge database of factual data.

 (Article sourced from The Telegraph…)


The iPhone and iPod touch interface…

 Apple has filed a patent that could see the iPhone and iPod touch interfaces adjust the size of their elements in response to motion.  The filing, entitled Variable Device Graphical User Interface, describes a self-adjusting user interface that would make it easier to hit the right touch-screen commands when walking, jogging, riding in a car, or at any other time when you’re bouncing up and down or swaying side to side. Read more about this patent here…