Saturday, 18 February 2017

Can't make voice call with Siri - Solution

Since the upgrade to iOS 10, I could not get Siri to dial any numbers from my address book.
I changed quite a few of Siri's settings back and forth, but was unable to fix the problem. Resets and restarts would not help either.

What finally helped was a rather unexpected:

  • I switched off the "Dial Assist" function in the "Phone" settings and Siri was able to make calls again.
  • I then switched "Dial assist" back on and Siri could still dial without any issues.

Problem solved.
I can just assume, that some not otherwise accessible parmeter has been set to a valid value when switching Dial Assist off and on.

Sprachwahl mit Siri funktioniert nicht: Lösung

Siri hat ein Problem:

Seit dem Update auf iOS 10 konnte ich per Siri - Sprachwahl nicht mehr wählen. Neustart oder die Änderung von Siri - Einstellungen blieben wirkungslos.

Keine Sache der Einstellung

Die Lösung für dieses Problem liegt nicht in den Siri-Einstellungen, sondern ist unter "Telefon" zu finden:

  • Nachdem ich die Funktion "Wählhilfe" abeschaltet hatte, ging die Sprachwahl.
  • Wählhilfe wie der aktiviert: Siri kann noch wählen.

Ich kann nur spekulieren, daß ein nicht anderweitig zugänglicher Parameter durch das Aus- und einschalten der Wählhilfe korrekt gesetzt wurde.

Friday, 3 February 2017

Using the Nitecore SC2 superb charger

Superb charger

on Nitecore's web pages for the "SC2 superb charger", there is no shortage of superlatives. Charging with "Infinite Intelligence" certainly is the boldest claim.

See for yourself >>> HERE <<< in my review video on YouTube.

Infinite intelligence

So I tried to find out more about the limits of this "active charging with infinite intelligence" thing. Gearbest sent me a unit for review and I put it through a few tests to see how it performs.

First impression

The charger feels quite tough & beefy to the to touch. The kind of plastic that doesn't feel plasticy, but rather reminds of high quality power tools. A good start.

Second impression

But why-oh-why are the settings for the current and max. charge voltage printed on what looks like a sheet of protective film that easily comes off the display.
I'm sure if I don't constantly use that charger, I'll have forgotten what which LED means what after a few days. Nitecore has to do something about that in the next iteration of the SC2.

Automatic battery capacity detection

Now this should be what is at the heart of this ominous infinite intelligence. The traditional way to determine the battery's capacity is to discharge them and measure the capacity that they charge to, possibly adding another discharge/charge cycle. Nitecore's web pages claim that it automatically detects the battery's capacity and sets the charge current accordingly.
So come on SC2, impress me!

Test setup

First, I have to know about my cell's actual capacity. To find that out, I use an improved version of my previously published Arduino battery tester.

Makeshift battery tester

I use four cells for testing:
  1. AWT 18650 35A 3000 mAh IMR cell 
  2. Ultrafire 18650 3000mAh (Really is only 300mAh)
  3. KeepPower 14500 800mAh 
  4. Ultrafire 14500 1200mAh (Really a little over 200 mAh)
With automatic battery capacity detection, The good quality cells AWT and KeepPower cells should charge at a higher rate than the Ultrafires (who in all tests had only a fraction of their nominal capacity, regardless of the charger.)

Size matters

As cells with the same size charge at the same current, I wondered what happened if I make the 14500 appear bigger. So I inserted a spacer with the 14500 cell.
14500 to 18650 converter :-)

Nut&bolt spacer inserted
It charged at 2A. Way above the recommended 0,4-0,8A (Unconfirmed, from reseller pages)

The assumption that bigger cells hold more capacity might on the whole be correct. But we all know that there are good and bad cells and that makes way more of a difference than the size.

The limits of infinite intelligence

There is more that will confuse the charger:
  1. LiFePO4 cells: The charger can't distinguish LiFePO4 cells from Li-Ion cells and would overcharge them. So the maximum charge voltage has to be set manually
  2. 3,8V Li-Ion cells. I've never had or seen any of these, But as they are indistinguishable from a 3.7V cell, The charge voltage needs to be set manually.

Example Charge

While I had initially observed some brief overvoltage conditions, All the voltage (and charge curves I took) did not exhibit that phenomenon.
0,5A charge curve
I did many of the long-term measurements with PC on the USB-Port of the bside ADM20 Multimeter that I quite like. I also got from Gearbest to get a better grip on some problems I suspected with the SC2 charger.
bside ADM20 at work with a current shunt resistor
The multimeter turned out to be quite hackable. But that will be a whole new blog entry & video.

Final word

  • Great charger if you're in a hurry. Very fast and reasonably safe.
  • Supports all currently available battery chemistry types.
  • Sometimes has trouble disabling the protection circuit in KeepPower batteries.
  • Needs help choosing the right battery chemistry.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

High CPU usage on Surface Pro3 running Windows 10

System interrupt uses one CPU core

Windows 8.1

I already had this issue running Windows 8.1 and could work around it, simply disabling the realtek high definition audio driver, that seems to be the docking station's audio system.

Windows 10

The problem came back with Windows 10. But this time disabling drivers did not help.
That should be an "idle" system

What brought the fan to a standstill, however was:
Restarting the Surface Pro 3 while in the docking station.
I don't mean powering it down and switch it back on again. That doesn't do any good. It is the restart that does the trick for me.
A very relaxed CPU
This, of course, is only a very temporary solution. So whenever the fan (which rarely ever stops completely) gets on my nerves, I reboot and things are better for the rest of the day.

Docking station drivers?

I suppose that a driver for the docking station's peripherals causes the problems. But disabling any of them did not cure the problem, so I might be wrong. Can anyone shed more light on that issue?

Monday, 23 January 2017

More work on the TOP-308 IP Camera

Great news on the TOP-308 IP camera

Root access to the camera

Last year I got this Top-308 IP camera and got a little stuck as I couldn't get full access.
Now user Choziro over on the IPCamTalk-Forum has found a great way to get full root access to the Linux OS of the camera.

This is how it is done:

  • Telnet to port 9527 of your camera. (Most likely 9527)
  • log on as "admin" with an empty password
  • type "shell"
  • type "telnetd -f"

The session is more or less stuck at that point, but that does not matter.

  • Now telnet to your camera ( at the default telnet port 23
  • User name is "root"
  • Password is "xmhdipc"
  • You now have a nice busybox shell that behaves much better than on port 9527
Rootshell !

No still images from the camera

Nosing around in the file system showed that there was no obvious way to get a single image from the camera. But that is what I need. So I resorted to letting my Raspberry Pi do that job:

This works both with avidemux and ffmpeg:

avconv -i "rtsp://" -vframes 1 "image.png"

That will capture a single frame from the camera and write it to a file "image.png".
Putting that into the RasPi's crontab could copy an image to a web site.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

How to delete a stuck Thumbs.db file

From time to time Windows users complain that they can't delete folders. The 1st level support people usually think it is some file system permission problem and escalate it to the sysadmin team.

The error message is, that the file is in use. This is almost certainly not the case here.
File in use?
However, it is amazingly easy to fix:
Change the view to "large icons" and back to "details". This apparently rewrites the thumbs.db file.

The thumbs.db file can simply be deleted then.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Trend Micro OfficeScan WebReputation filter gone paranoid

Trend Micro OfficeScan web reputation problems

Safe or sorry

Yesterday users started reporting problems with blocked elements on websites. This also completely blocked sites with Anti-Adblock-features.
Although this banner has now disappeared from TrendMicro's OfficeScan support pages, the problem did not disappear completely.

TrendMicro's info about the problem


There are two three ways to go:

  1. wait it out till TM has fixed it.
    (not an option)
  2. add exceptions for blocked servers manually
    (more secure - more work)
  3. disable web reputation service
    (less work - less secure)

To add exceptions to the filter, navigate to http://YOURTRENDMICROSERVER.YOURDOMAIN:8080/officescan and go to the Web reputation settings:
Agent settings
Here you can manually add exceptions:
By default, the exception list is not avtive. Do don't forget to enable it.
That should fix it for a limited number of sites. You can get a list of blocked sites from the client's web reputation protocol and copy/paste from there.

The other option is to temporarily disable Web Reputation filtering altogether:

Uncheck the activation box for the web reputation service on to disable it globally.