Tag Archives: apple

Disabling DHCP on an Airport Extreme Router

Disabling DHCP on an Airport Extreme Router

I’ve been testing an Airport Extreme Router and found that I couldn’t disable using it as a DHCP server. Well, actually if it’s in bridge mode it won’t be a DHCP server but I wanted it as a router, not a bridge.

I using what are the current Airport Extreme and Airport Utility. The Airport Utility version is 6.3.2 (632.3). The Airport Extreme shows a version of 7.7.3 (which I assume is the firmware but it just says version) and the part number is ME918LL/A. It is the current model at the time of this post (July 2014).

The three router modes are:

Available router modes

Available router modes

I wanted to use it as a NAT router but without DHCP. I already have a DHCP server I want to keep (my Synology NAS). I couldn’t really turn off DHCP but there was an easy enough way to get around this limitiation.

The short instructions are summarized in the screenshot below (details later).
Configuration to prevent DHCP addresses
1. Set a small DHCP range using IP addresses that aren’t used by the real DHCP server or any other device on the network. (Actually, it can probably duplicate another device but this is cleaner.) In the screenshot I used 192.168.1.253 to 192.168.1.254. I had to use two addresses, the same beginning and ending addresses weren’t allowed.
2. Create dummy DHCP reservations for each of the IP addresses. The MAC addresses don’t have to be real.

Detailed Instructions

  1. Open the Airport Extreme Utility and go to the Network tab and click the Network Options button.
    Airport Extreme network tab
  2. Set a DHCP range that’s appropriate for your network. Use addresses that aren’t used by any of your computers or other DHCP ranges. (In theory none of these addresses should be used, but keeping things valid will avoid problems.) Save the screen and you’ll be back on the network tab.
    DHCP range
  3. Click the “+” sign under “DHCP Reservations.
    Click the + to add the DHCP reservations
  4. Type in a description, make sure “MAC Address” is selected for “Reserve Address By” and type an dummy Mac address. I just type the number “1” (or 2) until it stops me. The save the information.
    Screenshot of the DHCP reservation
  5. Repeat step 4 for all IPs in the DHCP range. The Airport Utility will prefill an unreserved IP in the range so you don’t need to keep track.
  6. Save everything all the way out and your Airport Extreme will restart.

In the end the Airport Extreme is still running a DHCP server, except it doesn’t have any IP addresses to hand out so the “real” DHCP will be the only one to respond.

 

Picture of the Verizon iPhone

iOS6 Upgrade

Picture of the Verizon iPhoneUnless you’ve been on a desert island you know iOS6 is out now.

I upgraded both my iPhone 4S and iPad 3 on Thursday. While not completely uneventful it was relatively smooth. There were related Mountain Lion and Apple application upgrades on my Macs. In my case, it was iPhoto and Aperture that were upgraded. It took most of the evening to get everything upgraded although most of that was spent waiting, either for downloads or installs. I updated my iDevices directly, over wireless, rather than through iTunes. There’s also been a steady stream of iOS app upgrades since then.

So far I only had one real app problem, the UPS app crashed when trying to paste in tracking numbers. But that was fixed a couple days later with an upgrade.

My most serious problem is that my iPad 3 can no longer sync to iTunes over wireless. It just says it can’t find the computer when I tell it to sync. Of course, other apps can see the computer and transfer files to and from it. And my iPhone syncs to iTunes just fine. I’ve done the normal troubleshooting (reboots, re-enter settings, try a second wireless network, etc…) but haven’t dug into it. I don’t sync too often. iCloud backups work just fine.

Apple’s taking a lot of grief over the new Maps app. Based on the examples given it appears justified. The U.S. maps seem better than the rest of the world. They have the street I live on, they just don’t extend it as far as my house. Of course, my street closely parallels a second street once it reaches me, separated by a line of trees. The local directions seem fine. I already have another app I use for turn-by-turn so I haven’t tried the built in maps app for that. I never really used the old Google Maps app very much so the change is mostly unnoticed by me.

I like the “Do Not Disturb” feature, although I already keep most notifications off all the time anyway. I do wish there was a way to allow certain apps to alert all the time. Similar to the way “Favorite” callers aren’t blocked by DND. Guess we have to leave something for Apple to add in iOS 7.

The new Passbook started off by annoying me. It bumped an icon off my home screen to make room for itself. Then it didn’t properly link to the iTunes store  (which was the only action it would try to do) until I did this fix. Once I got into it I was underwhelmed by needing to install each vendors own iOS6 app to use passbook. The only other way to get info into Passbook was a 3rd party website. While it’s probably OK, the security implications limit its use.

I liked the clock app, especially on my iPad where it easily shows multiple times across the world. But I knew the clock face looked familiar.

I never found much use for Siri. I was more frustrating than useful. Being able to open apps by voice is a nice addition. Of course, the apps have to be pronounceable and real words, which isn’t always the case. (I’m looking at you Waze.) I may give Siri another tryout.

I can’t say I have an desire to get the iPhone 5. Sure, its better than th 4S that I have, but not so much better. The only hardware feature I would want is LTE, but for what I use the iPhone for now it’s not a big deal. My iPad has LTE so I can tether to it in a pinch. I also tend to do more web surfing on the iPad rather than the iPhone. My contract is up at the end of November which may be a good time shop for a phone. I’m not ruling out the iPhone 4S but it will be a tough sell. If I decide to stick with the iPhone I may just stick with the 4S for another year.

Anyone else upgraded to iOS6? How’d it go?

Image of Lion From OS X Lion

OS X Lion and More New Stuff From Apple

Image of Lion From OS X LionIt’s tough to write about Apple’s new OS without a bad pun slipping through but I’ll try. Feel free to reach through the screen and slap me if one slips through. I wasn’t too excited about Lion in the lead up to it’s release, but once it was out I became more interested and  just finished installing it on this PC.

I got my hands on Lion last month for a little while and was basically frustrated. The reverse scrolling (but Apple says it’s “natural”) annoyed me and I turned it off since I knew my time was limited and I wouldn’t get used to it. I suspect I’ll be frustrated with it but am going to try sticking with it. I may give up since my desktop uses a scroll mouse and it’s completely frustrating on that. At least it makes some sense on a track pad. Still, been doing it this way for ever, why change now?

The other problem I had was with Spaces but I figured I was missing something since Spaces seemed to not exist in the form I knew it. I was missing something (not sure what) but Spaces is fine on this machine and works the way I’m used to using it.

I installed OS X 10.7 on my MacBook Air since the OS seems designed for it. Plus, it’s the least risky install as almost everything is plain vanilla without customization. I’ve been getting software updates for the last couple weeks, all claiming to make the software compatible with Lion. So while I still hadn’t done a thorough app review I was pretty confident.

The only problem I expected was with Microsoft Live Mesh, but Microsoft pushed out an update this morning (before I installed Lion) and it’s working fine. While I use Mesh on the Air it’s not critical and I could go without it. The upgrade only identified one app as having compatibility problems and it moved it to a new, out of the way directory. That app was Sugar Sync. To be fair I had stopped using it and it was probably an older version on the computer.  It never runs so it won’t update.

The upgrade was a bit disconcerting in that there wasn’t much to do. I bought/downloaded Lion on my Mac Mini and then stopped the install. I copied the installer to my Windows Home Server so I wouldn’t have to download it again, Then I simply copied it to my MacBook Air and ran the install. I agreed to the license but didn’t have to do much else. It rebooted to repartition the drive then did the install. I wasn’t paying much attention but it finished in under an hour (It told me it would take 35 minutes but I’ve no idea if that estimate was right).

It saved my Spaces configuration which made me happy. I’ve also successfully started and used VirtualBox (My VMs were fine – using one now), SpiderOak, TextExpander. Path Finder, Caffeine, Microsoft Live Mesh, ScreenFloat and probably others I can’t remember. I don’t claim they’re perfect, only that there were no problems in my normal use over a couple hours.

I’m not sure when I’ll upgrade my other Macs. My desktop Mac Mini uses Synergy which might have problems (rumor of some minor issues). Making it worse, I had problems getting Synergy going and I’m not using the latest version. So I’ll have to allow time to either troubleshoot it or roll back. As for my iMac that sits in the bedroom – I use Front Row on it and that goes away with Lion. Some early hacks to bring it over where broken with an iTunes update. I do have another app which I never bothered to install since FR was good enough for my limited needs.I’ll have to dig it out as all I want is something that can handle a remote.

I cringe every time I hear that Lion is the “IOS’ification” of Macs. That implies Apple is trying to make the Mac a big phone, the reverse of Microsoft’s (failed) attempt to make Windows phone look like a Windows Desktop. While Apple is certainly changing and simplifying the OS and there are features taken from iOS I don’t see them making it like the iPhone/iPad. That doesn’t mean I’ll like all the changes. They are certainly trying to make apps “just work” and avoid concepts like file and folder systems. They didn’t change the file system, but they are moving their own apps to not caring about structure. Hell, Finder has “All My Files” as a sidebar selection.

MacBook Air

The MacBook Air is easily my favorite computer.  Naturally Apple has announced new one. Even though my Air was bought this year I ordered it’s replacement. As a friend of mine says, if I don’t spend the money the government with eventually take it. My Air out performs it’s specs thanks to the SSD and I can’t say I’ve got any performance complaints. What made me push the buy button is the backlit keyboard. I use this a lot and often have to turn on a light (or carry a laptop light) simply for the keyboard.

And I was again sucked in by Apple’s marketing prowess. With my iPad, previous MacBook and my current Air I managed to stick with base models, unlike earlier purchases where I typically bought one level down from top of the line. With the Air I went right up the chain to the top of the line, I knew I needed help when I said “the i7 is only $100 more”. I did make one mistake there (only I didn’t cancel). I thought the i7 had hyper-threading while the i5 did not. It appears the i5 in the Air has hyper-threading. So my my remaining argument is that it’s for future-proofing.

The new Air is scheduled to arrive sometime next week and I’m looking forward to it.

There are some downsides to the Air but they don’t affect me:

  • Memory is limited to 4 GB (and if you get the stock 2 GB it’s not upgradeable – at least not simply by buying some chips.). I’ve had great performance with 2 GB, due to the SSD. So while 4 GB seems like a low ceiling, I’m not expecting issues with my expected usage.
  • It’s motherboard graphics only so memory is shared. Again, for what I do graphics performance has been fine. Although I’ll probably do more photo work and a little video. I’m not expecting problems.
  • It’s an SSD drive so relatively small capacity. My current Air has a 128 GB drive and I’m using about 1/2. I don’t have an iTunes library on here (the library is on my Windows Home Server) so that saves space. I do copy video over when I travel so that can take a few more GB depending on the length of the trip. In theory SSD’s can wear out based on usage. What this translates to in real-life I can’t say. I don’t do anything to limit writes to the drive so I may find out.

There are also the intangibles. The i7 probably stretches the cooling abilities to the max. I’m hoping that the new Air is enough like the old one so Apple has all the manufacturing and design kinks worked out. But I wouldn’t be surprised to hear of issues. Seems to happen with all new Apple hardware. Just hope it’s not me. At least I work near one Apple store and drive by a second on the way home so warranty service should be easy enough.

Other Shiny Stuff

Apple rally wants us to use the cloud (their cloud I’m sure). They’ve dropped DVD drives from their Mac Mini. I really like the looks of the Mac Mini and making it smaller may be a good thing for some. I often hear of them being put in small spaces or mounted in back of a TV. Still, I frequently use the DVD drive on my current Mini. Not for software, but to rip or watch DVDs. Yea, I know, I have iTunes – why have physical media? I still haven’t bought into using iTunes for video purchases/rentals. It’ll be easy for me to avoid a Mac Mini upgrade.

I really like the looks of the new 27” monitor and am lusting for one despite not having seen on in real life. But I still have my original 20” Apple monitor and it works well. While expensive, other monitors that look as good as Apple Monitors (to me) are also pretty expensive (but still cheaper). This one adds the ability to function as a bit of a docking station which is kind of nice. But what I’d really want is a monitor with a slot in back where my Air can be docked and out of the way while I use the monitor and attached keyboard/mouse. Less desk real estate this way. If this monitor had that I’d probably be trying to scrounge up another grand before the bill for it came it.

Anyone else upgraded to Lion or a new Mac yet? What do you think of it?

Picture of the Verizon iPhone

Why I Got The Verizon iPhone

Iphone picture

Continuing the disturbing trend I started with the iPad, I pre-ordered the Verizon iPhone once it was available. There was a lot written about whether or not there would be a rush to the Verizon iPhone once it became available. I guess you could say I was part of the rush so I might as well get specific as to why. First, I didn’t leave AT&T. I’ve been a long time Verizon customer and used a Motorola Droid with them. While I don’t view Verizon as a customer focused company when it comes to their policies, I’ve always had a good experience dealing with their customer service and have always found their network reliable. Back when I was an AT&T customer it was a nightmare so going to them for an iPhone was not in the cards, even if they’ve changed.

So comparisons between the AT&T and Verizon network, such as simultaneous calls and data are moot for me. I’ve been happy with the Verizon network. I’ve been less than thrilled with the Motorola Droid. It’s been a solid phone but I’ve never trusted the app environment. So I pretty stuck with apps from companies who’s services  already used. I’ve never purchased a paid app or downloaded free ones to experiment. There are a couple free apps I downloaded based on recommendations I trusted but I was still using my iPod Touch for many apps. When it comes to phones I just want something solid that will work so leaving the Android platform wasn’t a hard decision. While I can intellectually discriminate about Apples “we know best” attitude and sometimes find it irksome, in this case it’s better suited to my needs.

So, my next phone was going to be an iPhone once it became available. There was still a reason not to get the hone yet – there will probably be an iPhone 5 in a few months. I’ve always felt that waiting for the latest tech meant waiting forever, although I admit it seems like it will be quick. I’ve never needed the latest phone tech and there’s nothing I’ve heard of related to the iPhone 5 that would make me want one (sure, it will be “better”). A bit of a bigger issue might be iPhone 6. Depending on the upgrade policies I might have to wait until after it’s been out a couple months. Oh well.

I will get a cost savings by buying now. I currently have a Verizon MiFi that I use as a hotspot. I switched that to the iPhone hotspot. While the Droid could do USB tethering (at an additional cost) I wanted WiFi for multiple devices. The MiFi was $60 a month, the iPhone hotspot will be $20 a month. I’ll get less data, but based on my history it will be enough.

The Ordering & Setup Process

Despite some reports of website problems a couple hours into the ordering process I didn’t have any issues. Choosing sleep over gadget I didn’t set my alarm to wake up for the 3AM start time. I woke up about 5AM and had no problem placing the order online. It was smooth and went right through. I ordered the 32GB model.

The phone was delivered by UPS about 11am Monday morning so at lunch I hooked it up to iTunes to activate it. I’ve already had a Verizon account and had the latest version of iTunes on my Mac. Activation was also straight forward. The only hitch was when I accepted the agreement nothing seemed to happen. It took another couple unresponsive clicks to realized the phone itself was saying it was activated. Since I could clear the screen I stopped and started iTunes and the second phase of the setup continued. I don’t think the problem was a capacity thing. Either a poor process design by Apple (unthinkable!) or a problem with my PC.  Other than that things were smooth.

I set things up not to sync automatically (my typical setting for iDevices) and went through and picked what I wanted on the phone. I was good to go.

First Impressions

I haven’t done any formal testing, rather I just started using it. As expected it’s replaced my iPod Touch which will either be sold or passed along to relatives. I had though I might need to keep it for music and video since I’m paranoid about my phone battery running low. So far I’ve been impressed with the battery performance. I haven’t done any formal tests, but it’s clearly better than my Droid. To get through a full day I’d often have to manage the wireless, bluetooth and GPS settings so they’d only be used when necessary. A day is from when I walk up to when I go to bed as I only want to charge at night. There were times th Droid didn’t make it, even though rarely used it for audio or video. The iPhone has been stellar, despite being used much more frequently. I haven’t had to manage wireless, bluetooth or GPS.

It’s a subjective impression, but the iPhone feels better in my hand than the Droid so it’s easier to type on. “Easier” is a relative term, it’s still a small keyboard. It also feels like a more solid device but that could be because the Droid has a slide out keyboard. The screen is much easier for me to read than my Droid, but that’s to be expected with newer technology and I’d probably say the same for any new phone.

The one thing I will miss is the Google Turn-by-Turn directions. I don’t need use the GPS routing a lot so I liked that the Droid made it easy and uncomplicated. The screen was clear as was the speech. This was all free and built-in on the Droid. It’s a add-on for the iPhone. I still haven’t looked for a replacement, but browsing the apps store tells me a replacement will be pricey.

As far as the apps, it’s mainly things I already had on my iPad or iPod Touch so there wasn’t much new there. But it’s nice to have them all on the phone which is always with me. I’d often not have the apps with me since carrying the Touch and my phone was cumbersome.

In Conclusion

So, overall, I like the iPhone. I was eligible for the upgrade and I didn’t have to jump carriers and don’t even consider another carrier, let alone AT&T. Add to that the $40 a month I’ll save by dropping the MiFi and the upgrade made sense. The iPhone’s not perfect and Verizon isn’t either, but it’s been a step up from my Droid. I don’t need to have the latest phone so I have no problem upgrading now despite the looming iPhone 5.

As for call quality it’s been fine, comparable to my Droid. I’ve never had an issue with dropped calls with Verizon and so far that trend has continued during the short time I’ve had the iPhone. Apparently Consumer Reports says there’s still an antennae problem. Maybe there is, but I’ve used the phone without a case and haven’t had any call quality problems while holding the phone normally.

All-in-all, I’m happy with the Verizon iPhone.

fireworks

The OS Quest Trail Log # 53: Attack of the SATA Ports Edition

As is typical, July has been a slow month in front of the computer and therefore on the quest. During the month I’ve had two minor, but annoying problems. The first was that one drive in my Windows Home Server wasn’t reporting SMART info, although seemed to be working fine otherwise. The second was a problem with a PC I was building – when it was powered on it would freeze when looking for the hard drives. Turning it off and immediately back on would resolve the problem after which it would run just fine.

In the case of the Windows Home Server the problem started after I did some hard drive maintenance and re-arrangement awhile back. Since I had pulled and re-arranged all the drive cables I figured it was a bad cable. So I spent some time last Saturday doing some troubleshooting. The bottom line is that SATA ports 5 and up had the problem, ports 1 through 4 were fine. Everything else seemed to be fine with the port but I rearranged the drives so I have only four internal drives and have four external. At one point I had retired the external bays to save power and space, but they slowly came back and are now here to stay. At least until Vail (WHS version 2) is released and I build or upgrade my rig for that.

The PC I was building ended up having a similar problem. I had figured it would be a hard drive issue since the problem started when I added the drive. But first I switched the cable to another SATA port and the problem went away. A little more troubleshooting and the problem was isolated to the port.

In both cases I had spent a lot of time mucking with hard drives in each box. In the case of the WHS this meant moving cables on the motherboard at different times. This was less so on the PC since I was just swapping drives for testing purposes. In the case of the Windows Home Server I know the ports worked in the past, so the problem was probably self inflicted. I can’t say I remember the PC port as ever working since I don’t remember ever using it. Unfortunately both boards are out of warranty. On the plus side I probably won’t need the failed ports during the remaining lifetime of those boxes,

New Software

Microsoft has released a beta for their next release of Microsoft Security Essentials. I’ve installed it on a couple of my test and play machines, It looks and acts a lot like the previous version. Which is good. I’ve been using Security Essentials as the anti-virus for all my PCs because it’s light weight and doesn’t get in the way. The next version seems to continue that tradition and avoids bloat.

I was also able to install it on my Windows 2003 Server box, something the earlier version wouldn’t do. I’ve also seen reports that it installs on Windows Home Server although I haven’t tried that myself. Hopefully this is expended support and not a beta “bug” that will get removed.

I haven’t installed it on my primary Windows Machine since it’s beta, but it seems stable enough to do so. If I see any benefits on my test machines I may go ahead and install it on my primary machine,

Not much else in the way of new software in the past month.

Commentary

I like Apple and Apple products (I’m writing this on an iPad), but the frenzy over iPhone 4 has got me avoiding Apple sites and news. I’m not an iPhone hater. If the iPhone was on Verizon when I upgrade my phone earlier this year I would surely have gotten the iPhone instead on my Droid. If the iPhone was on any network other than AT&T I would certainly have looked into switching networks, so I don’t hate the iPhone.

Enough already, the hype over iPhone 4 and the hype over it’s problems have sent me looking for iPhone free zones. But this isn’t one of those zones:

  1. Apple is now the leader in the smart phone market, if not in market share (numbers are easy to manipulate) but certainly in mindshare. Apple has always had a reality distortion field that gets them more press than a company their size usually warrants. So everything Apple gets hyped. Combine that with the fact that many people like to see market leaders fail, and news that makes Apple look bad gets twice the hype.
  2. Apple has two iPhone issues, only one of which is the grip of death issue. One is the proximity sensor issue that hasn’t gotten much press. The second  is the antenna issue which has blanketed the press and was the subject of Apple’s press conference.
  3. If either of these issues make the phone unusable for you then you have 30 days to return the phone for a full refund from both AT&T and Apple. Now is a great time to try and iPhone if your considering it. Just don’t drop it or lose the box & contents.
  4. Apples claims of “all phones do this” and the videos they’ve been posting don’t endear Apple to me. It comes across as a schoolyard slap fight and Apple comes across as having a product no better than the other guys. There’s a lot to like about the iPhone (at least based on my iPod Touch experience), so why say you are like other smart phones?
  5. I’m sure some survey will say that all these iPhone problems are making people reconsider. Now doubt there are some people out there who may reconsider buying an iPhone. But I’m also just as sure that the iPhone will continue to break sales records and continue to dominate mindshare.
  6. If the iPhone goes to Verizon it will be on my shortlist when it comes time to renew my contract, If that day was today I’d be getting one, but I’ll stop short of predicting my future actions. (Plus my own prediction is no Verizon iPhone, at least not while Verizon is still CDMA.)

Along the lines of people liking to see market leaders fail, first there was the hype back when Apple’s market capitalization exceeded Microsoft’s. This past week there’s was the hype when it appeared Apple’s revenue would exceed Microsoft’s. Apple’s revenue is still lower than Microsoft’s and Microsoft’s market cap popped above Apple last week (but is again lower).

I have two problems with these stories. Both numbers are meaningless as a comparison between companies. Microsoft still makes a ton more in profits than Apple does. That’s the number that matters. A company can have tons of revenue and still lose money. Market cap is perceived value (in as much as stock can by hyped or beaten down). While market cap may bring bragging rights and some prestige, it only benefits those who bought stock as the price rose.

My second problem with these comparisons is that Microsoft and Apple are not similar companies. Yes, they compete is some markets, but their primary markets are different.

Apple is a consumer products company. Microsoft is a software company that makes most of it’s money from the enterprise and through oem’s. Apple doesn’t even really compete with Microsoft in computers. Apple sells hardware that runs their own OS and software. Microsoft doesn’t sell hardware, only software. Hence the greater profit margins for Microsoft since they only sell bits and don’t need to deal with expenses associated with hardware.

Microsoft has tried to compete with Apple in music players and phones so there’s going to be comparisons. But Microsoft’s revenue and profits come from the enterprise and software platforms, Apple’s revenue and profits come from consumer electronics. Seems to me Apple is more like Sony and even more like Dell than Microsoft.

While it may be fun to think about Ballmer going nuts that Apple’s market cap exceeds Microsoft’s, it doesn’t mean much. Both companies make tons of money and they make most of it in different sandboxes.

End of Commentary

That ends the commentary and hopefully I’ll get back to having some PC fun on the quest. August will continue the dog days of summer, so probably not much quest activity next month either, but we’ll see.