Thursday, November 29, 2007

No unicode support in DNS-323 firmware 1.03! *GASP*HORROR*

Up until a few days ago, I've only been toying around with the box by installing fonz's fun_plug and experimenting with the various mods and configurations. Thinking that I've got the hang of it, I decided that its time to move my data in and set it up for "production" use.

Having full confidence in the box, I simply drag and drop the files into the share folders and went about my merry way. Half a day later (yes, it took that long to transfer some 130GB of data over a 100Mbps network), the transfer was completed and I was about to delete the files in the source folders when it struck me to check on the results of the copy.

To my horror, files and folders with chinese characters did not make it across successfully and I ended up with corrupted names instead. What's even worse is that these files cannot be deleted via the Windows GUI or even by telnet!

Did a quick check on google and found out that the current firmware (1.03) does not support unicode! WTF?! Searching the D-link SG support website revealed a beta firmware (1.04b63) that claims to provide support for the thai language. Figuring that since both Thai and Chinese are both East Asian languages, chances of this beta firmware working for me should be rather high.

So I took the plunge, downloaded the firmware, flashed it on my box, reformatted the drives and started the file copy again (while holding my breath and keeping my fingers crossed!). Luckily, things worked out as planned and I am now a happy bunny again :)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The ultimate biometric door lock - Gateman MB740

I have been in the market shopping for a biometric door lock for some time now and have finally decided on the Gateman MB740. A few things I like about it:
  1. Swipe based fingerprint sensor - according to literature, this form of sensor is more secure than traditional static sensing.

  2. No key override - those with a key override (i.e. the biometric lock still has a keyhole which accepts a traditional key) basically expose themselves to one more security risk via the keyhole (e.g. losing the key, key bumping, etc).

  3. Break-in alarm - the lock has a shock sensor and a 80dB alarm (that is loud!) which detects any attempt to damage or force open the door.

  4. Fire alarm - if the lock detects temperature of over 60 degrees Celsius on the inside of the house, it will sound the alarm and release the door lock automatically.(Excellent safety measure!)

  5. Forced lock mode - you can set the lock to ignore attempts to unlock from the inside or outside for added security. (forced locked on outside when you are asleep inside the house, and forced lock on inside when you are away from the house for a long period of time. forced lock on inside even sounds the alarm for good measure!)

  6. Automatic lock mode - automatically locks the deadbolt when the door closes. Never forget to lock the door again!

  7. Remote control - unlock/lock the door from the comfort of your armchair!

Obviously, sophisticated products like this don't come cheap, especially so when it scores pretty high on the looks department too. The retail price starts from S$1500 here in SG and this is for the model without remote option. Looks like I am going to have to dig deep into my wallet for this one...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

No Gigabit Network!! Argg....

Shucks.... My contractor just called and told me that the house does not appear to have a riser and there are too many beams and columns to run the concealed cables between levels. Its either all exposed trunking or nothing at all. Bummer. This is bad news indeed...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

DNS-323 email alert settings

The DNS-323 features an alerting feature where emails are sent from the box automatically under the following conditions:
  • regular intervals reporting disk usage
  • when a volume is full
  • a hard drive has failed
  • the admin password has changed
  • firmware has been upgraded
  • system temperature has exceeded a user-defined limit

Excellent! I did not quite expect monitoring features for such a cheap and home biased device. So I looked through the configuration and figured that its a piece of cake putting in the required fields for my email hosting provider. Note that you will not be able to use any email provider that requires

  1. logging into incoming mail server before sending mail; and/or
  2. mail servers that requires an encrypted connection (e.g. SSL, TLS), and/or
  3. mail servers that uses non-default ports.

However, upon clicking the "Test E-mail" button, all I got was a pop-up window that kept saying "Test E-Mail: Failure". After some digging around the forum, I finally found the problem: You have to set the "Sender E-mail" and "Receiver E-mail" fields to have the same value! Sigh... what's the point of having two fields if you can only input one value there?

Great feature but the implementation really need some more work Dlink...

Friday, November 9, 2007

Life after 32...

Hmm... Life has been so busy (kids, work, and especially the reno at the new house *sigh*) that my 32nd birthday just slipped by. Luckily, a couple of good friends decided to pay tribute by buying me a slice of cake at TCC Great World City... Oh, and just for the record, the cheeze cake is good! Thanks guys!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Gigabit backbone for the house!

Ok. So I've explored various options of home networking setup for my new house but they either don't meet my needs fully (WiFi, HomePlug) or are not available for purchase in retail shops (HomePNA).

Given that I have to repaint the entire house due to wear and tear (the house is seven years old) plus the color combi used by the previous owners was really aweful (more of the latter than former actually), I took the plunge to get my house wired up for Gigabit Ethernet. This is going to cost me some $2k for just 7 network points around the house. Not cheap but at least I no longer have to worry about bandwidth for the next couple of years.

For cable type, I've selected Cat 5e rather than Cat 6 due to cost reasons since there is minimal difference between the two. Initially, I had wanted to prepare for the next gen network (aka 10GBaseT which is supposed to go mainstream in the next 5 years, so I'm told) since I'm unlikely to want to relay cables anytime soon. But that requires the use of Cat 6a type which costs yet another premium.

Well, now that the backbone architecture has been decided, its time to start sourcing for a couple of Gigabit switches and NICs for my PCs!