Configuring the Audi MMI WiFi hot-spot

If you want to use the Audi MMI WiFi hot-spot to route data over your phone’s 4G/LTE connection rather than the embedded (eSIM), there are a couple things you need to know.

Firstly, the eSIM does not come with the ability to route hotspot data over the cars connection unless you buy a data bundle – but most people already have data bundled into their mobile phone contract, so why would you want to buy a separate bundle?

If you try it you might see something like this:

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Secondly, if you want to use your phone’s connection, the steps you need to follow are going to be different depending on what type of phone you have. I have a Samsung Galaxy A5 which is for personal use, but I also have an iPhone 6s which is my work phone. So I have both phones paired with the MMI but the Samsung is the primary phone and the iPhone is the additional phone. The current crop of Samsung phones support the rSAP Bluetooth profile (Remote SIM Access Profile), which makes it much easier to share the phone’s data plan. iPhone’s do not support rSAP, so a different approach has to be taken, such as enabling the wifi hotspot on the iPhone and connecting devices to it, but I think this is an inferior solution as it drains the battery and you also have to remember to turn it on and off. Using rSAP means the car will automatically connect to the phone and the kids tablets/phones will automatically connect to the car’s wifi – a much more elegant solution.

If you want to use a Samsung or other phone that supports rSAP, then you might need to make a change in the connection manager to get it to work. If you open up the connection manager you might see something similar to this:

image

Move the jog wheel to the right to bring up the options for the primary phone (assuming you have a Samsung or other rSAP device paired as as the primary phone):

image

Select “Display Bluetooth profiles”:

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If “Car phone” says “Not connected” then the phone is currently connected using the Handsfree Bluetooth profile, AFAIK this does not support data sharing. Select “Car phone” and your phone should now connect via rSAP, and you will see this message:

image

If you select “Yes” then the rSAP connection will be aborted and the phone will remain connected via the Handsfree profile and the WiFi hotspot won’t work. You need to select “No” – this will route all data through your phone, including Audi connect services such as navigation data. You should then see something like this:

image

And notice in the bottom left corner you now only see one SIM card signal strength (because the eSIM is now disabled – in earlier pics above you will see two signal strengths, one for the eSIM, the other for your primary phone):

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Connection manager should also show the phone being used for “Data connection” rather than “connect SIM”:

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If you connect to the WiFi with a phone or tablet you should now be able to browse the web, access YouTube, Spotify etc.:

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Now just have to hope the kids don’t get travel sick!

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Posted in Computers and Internet, Mobile telephony/computing, Motoring | Leave a comment

Installing racadm on CentOS 6

I needed to install Dell’s racadm utility on CentOS recently. The bundles that you can get from Dell only seem to support RHEL, and whilst CentOS is supposed to be compatible, the Dell installer unfortunately performs an O/S level check and exits if it can’t detect RHEL.

So that left me with the option of installing the necessary files manually. Unfortunately the server I was using didn’t have internet access (it’s on a management network), so tools like wget and yum were useless. After a bit of digging around, I identified a tarball to use here:

http://www.dell.com/support/home/us/en/04/Drivers/DriversDetails?driverId=T7VD0

I extracted the files and changed into the sub-directory: ./dell/linux/rac/RHEL6/x86_64

These are the files:

-rwxrwxrwx 1 504 504 1487016 Jan 25 2017 libsmbios-2.3.1-2372.10488.el6.x86_64.rpm
-rwxrwxrwx 1 504 504 108852 Jan 25 2017 smbios-utils-bin-2.3.1-2372.10488.el6.x86_64.rpm
-rwxrwxrwx 1 504 504 54048 Jan 25 2017 srvadmin-argtable2-8.5.0-2372.10488.el6.x86_64.rpm
-rwxrwxrwx 1 504 504 668984 Jan 25 2017 srvadmin-deng-8.5.0-2372.10488.el6.x86_64.rpm
-rwxrwxrwx 1 504 504 43520 Jan 25 2017 srvadmin-deng-snmp-8.5.0-2372.10488.el6.x86_64.rpm
-rwxrwxrwx 1 504 504 1145768 Jan 25 2017 srvadmin-hapi-8.5.0-2372.10488.el6.x86_64.rpm
-rwxrwxrwx 1 504 504 3052 Jan 25 2017 srvadmin-idrac7-8.5.0-2372.10488.el6.x86_64.rpm
-rwxrwxrwx 1 504 504 678876 Jan 25 2017 srvadmin-idracadm7-8.5.0-2372.10488.el6.x86_64.rpm
-rwxrwxrwx 1 504 504 847392 Jan 25 2017 srvadmin-idracadm-8.5.0-2372.10488.el6.x86_64.rpm
-rwxrwxrwx 1 504 504 183344 Jan 25 2017 srvadmin-idrac-ivmcli-8.5.0-2372.10488.el6.x86_64.rpm
-rwxrwxrwx 1 504 504 59976 Jan 25 2017 srvadmin-idrac-snmp-8.5.0-2372.10488.el6.x86_64.rpm
-rwxrwxrwx 1 504 504 1273128 Jan 25 2017 srvadmin-idrac-vmcli-8.5.0-2372.10488.el6.x86_64.rpm
-rwxrwxrwx 1 504 504 4347156 Jan 25 2017 srvadmin-isvc-8.5.0-2372.10488.el6.x86_64.rpm
-rwxrwxrwx 1 504 504 364064 Jan 25 2017 srvadmin-isvc-snmp-8.5.0-2372.10488.el6.x86_64.rpm
-rwxrwxrwx 1 504 504 2370876 Jan 25 2017 srvadmin-omacs-8.5.0-2372.10488.el6.x86_64.rpm
-rwxrwxrwx 1 504 504 1561944 Jan 25 2017 srvadmin-omcommon-8.5.0-2372.10488.el6.x86_64.rpm
-rwxrwxrwx 1 504 504 36716 Jan 25 2017 srvadmin-omilcore-8.5.0-2372.10488.el6.x86_64.rpm
-rwxrwxrwx 1 504 504 292576 Jan 25 2017 srvadmin-racadm4-8.5.0-2372.10488.el6.x86_64.rpm
-rwxrwxrwx 1 504 504 600744 Jan 25 2017 srvadmin-racadm5-8.5.0-2372.10488.el6.x86_64.rpm
-rwxrwxrwx 1 504 504 32852 Jan 25 2017 srvadmin-rac-components-8.5.0-2372.10488.el6.x86_64.rpm
-rwxrwxrwx 1 504 504 30292 Jan 25 2017 srvadmin-racdrsc-8.5.0-2372.10488.el6.x86_64.rpm

Next, I found another post that said which rpm’s were needed to install racadm, so I followed that as follows:

# rpm -i libsmbios-2.3.1-2372.10488.el6.x86_64.rpm
# rpm -i smbios-utils-bin-2.3.1-2372.10488.el6.x86_64.rpm
# rpm -i srvadmin-argtable2-8.5.0-2372.10488.el6.x86_64.rpm
# rpm -i srvadmin-omilcore-8.5.0-2372.10488.el6.x86_64.rpm
error: Failed dependencies:
 pciutils is needed by srvadmin-omilcore-8.5.0-2372.10488.el6.x86_64

At this point I had to source the pciutils rpm in order to resolve a dependency – I found it here:

https://centos.pkgs.org/6/centos-x86_64/pciutils-3.1.10-4.el6.x86_64.rpm.html

# rpm -i ../../../../pciutils-3.1.10-4.el6.x86_64.rpm

Then I was able to continue installing the Dell packages:

# rpm -i srvadmin-omilcore-8.5.0-2372.10488.el6.x86_64.rpm
**********************************************************
 After the install process completes, you may need
 to log out and then log in again to reset the PATH
 variable to access the Server Administrator CLI utilities

**********************************************************
# rpm -i srvadmin-hapi-8.5.0-2372.10488.el6.x86_64.rpm
# rpm -i srvadmin-deng-8.5.0-2372.10488.el6.x86_64.rpm
# rpm -i srvadmin-idracadm-8.5.0-2372.10488.el6.x86_64.rpm
# rpm -i srvadmin-idracadm7-8.5.0-2372.10488.el6.x86_64.rpm

Finally I logged out and back in as su, and sure enough racadm was now available and I was able to connect to multiple iDRAC’s in our environment.

Here is the output of the help command to serve as a reference:

# racadm -r 10.247.1.21 -u root -p calvin help
Security Alert: Certificate is invalid - self signed certificate
Continuing execution. Use -S option for racadm to stop execution on certificate-related errors.

help [subcommand] -- display usage summary for a subcommand
 arp -- display the networking ARP table
 clearasrscreen -- clear the last ASR (crash) screen
 closessn -- close a session
 clrraclog -- clear the RAC log
 clrsel -- clear the System Event Log (SEL)
 config -- modify RAC configuration properties
 coredump -- display the last RAC coredump
 coredumpdelete -- delete the last RAC coredump
 fwupdate -- update the RAC firmware
 getconfig -- display RAC configuration properties
 getled -- Get the state of the LED on a module.
 getniccfg -- display current network settings
 getraclog -- display the RAC log
 getractime -- display the current RAC time
 getsel -- display records from the System Event Log (SEL)
 getssninfo -- display session information
 getsvctag -- display service tag information
 getsysinfo -- display general RAC and system information
 gettracelog -- display the RAC diagnostic trace log
 getversion -- Display the current version details
 getuscversion -- display the current USC version details
 ifconfig -- display network interface information
 kmcselfsignedcertgen -- generate self signed certificate for KMC Server
 krbkeytabupload -- upload kerberose keytab file to the RAC
 netstat -- display routing table and network statistics
 ping -- send ICMP echo packets on the network
 ping6 -- send ICMP echo packets on the network
 racdump -- display RAC diagnostic information
 racreset -- perform a RAC reset operation
 racresetcfg -- restore the RAC configuration to factory defaults
 remoteimage -- make a remote ISO image available to the server
 serveraction -- perform system power management operations
 setniccfg -- modify network configuration properties
 setled -- Set the state of the LED on a module.
 sshpkauth -- manage SSH PK authentication keys on the RAC
 sslcertupload -- upload an SSL certificate to the RAC
 sslcertdownload -- download an SSL certificate from the RAC
 sslcertview -- view SSL certificate information
 sslcsrgen -- generate a certificate CSR from the RAC
 sslkeyupload -- upload an SSL key to the RAC
 sslresetcfg -- resets the web certificate to default and restarts the web server.
 testemail -- test RAC e-mail notifications
 testkmsconnectivity -- test KMSConnectivity
 testtrap -- test RAC SNMP trap notifications
 usercertupload -- upload an user certificate to the DRAC
 usercertview -- view user certificate information
 vflashpartition -- manage partitions on the vFlash SD card
 vflashsd -- perform vFlash SD Card initialization
 vmdisconnect -- disconnect Virtual Media connections
 vmkey -- perform vFlash operations

There’s probably other, easier ways to do this, but it worked for me.

I hope this helps someone. 🙂

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Oracle, stop trying to install crapware with Java updates!

If Oracle really want people to keep their Java installations up to date, they really must stop trying to trick people into installing crapware, it’s no wonder that whenever I visit my elderly Mum I find her laptop infested will all sorts of crud, her browser had about 5 different toolbars installed last time I visited and there were so many ads popping up that I suspected her laptop had been compromised with some ad-serving junk (note: it had!).

java crapware

Now it looks like Oracle has finally stopped trying to install the Ask! toolbar, but sadly they are still trying to foist other crap from Amazon onto us, which means more crud on my Mum’s laptop to get rid of.

Why do they insist on doing this? I mean Oracle is not exactly short of cash, and there are many elderly people who simply will not understand what the check boxes mean and will just click “Next” regardless.

I also think it is unforgivable to muck about with people’s search engine settings, my Mum is quite happy to use Google and will find it very confusing and frustrating to suddenly find herself using Amazon’s search engine.

For Christ’s sake Oracle, this isn’t necessary, STOP IT!

Posted in Computers and Internet | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Blocking PPI claims management company phone numbers

Like many people in the UK, I regularly get called on one of my mobile phones from a PPI or accident claims management company. This is incredibly annoying but the latest round of calls are using identifiable caller-id numbers – I suspect this is because many people will simply not answer unknown or withheld numbers.

The phone that predominantly gets called is running Android Kitkat and shows the rough geographical area where the call originated, and it’s generally some obscure location within the UK that has no meaning to me, so I normally do not answer and just let the calls ring through to my voicemail.

But I recently discovered the blacklist feature that is buried deep in Android. On another phone (Samsung) it is called a reject list, and also seems to have a different way of reaching it, but every time I get called I have been adding the number to the blacklist and have built up a nice little list now that is starting to yield dividends, as I am starting to get Android notifications that the blacklist is blocking calls from some of these numbers. Result!

So if you want to pre-emptively create a blacklist to block these calls, rather than waiting to be called, simply add the following list of numbers to your blacklist. This is by no means exhaustive, but it works for me and I will add more to this list as I collect them – please, if you discover a PPI number that is not on this list, feel free leave a comment and I will add it. Thanks.

Number Date added
01143032988 01/04/2016
01293344620 01/04/2016
01347722059 01/04/2016
01362788090 01/04/2016
01442509072 01/04/2016
01483608845 01/04/2016
01579212168 01/04/2016
01670432126 01/04/2016
01722580297 01/04/2016
08454290081 01/04/2016

Thinking about this a bit more there must be a cleverer way to do this, and it looks like this app (Should I Answer?) may well do the trick, so I’ll load this on and see if it helps. Stay tuned for the results! Smile

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Adding a second wifi antenna to Acer Idea 500/510

I upgraded the Wifi card in my Acer Idea 510 some time ago to a 802.11n model that supports 300mbps, but for some time I have known that I have not been getting the full performance from this card, mainly because it has been operating with only 1 antenna connected. This would often result in stuttering and buffering when trying to play 1080p movies over the wifi from my NAS. To get the full performance from this card requires connecting a second antenna, but there is only one available on the Acer Idea.

Then I stumbled across a post on avforums where some chap had added a second antenna and it got me thinking “of course why not?!” Smile

First I needed an RP-SMA pigtail and extra antenna, I got these both from Amazon for about 3 quid all-in including postage (all the way from China)!…

I originally drilled a 6mm hole in the back of the case but found it wasn’t big enough, so opened it up to 6.5mm. I did this carefully using a hand drill, drilling from the outside to the inside so that the drill bit would pull the swarf back up the bit and out of the case. I stuck a sticky label loosely behind where I was going to drill to collect any swarf that ended up inside the case, in order to prevent it dropping onto the motherboard. This worked fine for me but you do have to be extremely careful if you are going to do this without removing the motherboard, you don’t want to short something out when you power it back on!

You can see in the following pics where I drilled the hole between the LAN port and TV antenna connectors and screwed in the connector, you can also see all the swarf on the table and the sticky labels I used to collect any remnants inside the case:

20160224_193303[1]

Here’s a pic from behind:

20160224_193409[1]

Here you can see both pigtails connected to the upgraded Wifi card:

20160224_193425[1]

In this pic you can see both antennas connected, the newer one is much bigger than the stock one, I might order another one so they match:

20160224_194306[1]

Finally I did a quick performance test by copying a large movie across to my NAS and I got around 9MB/s, which is about triple what I was getting before:

20160224_194732[1]

Another test involved playing a 1080p MP4 file directly from my NAS over the wifi, sure enough it played fine, whereas before it would stutter and buffer.

Mission accomplished! Smile

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DRAC 5 “Error when reading from SSL Socket”

I had this error this morning, it has something to do with later versions of Java disabling support for SSLv3, I know there have been some serious SSL vulnerabilities of late so it may be related to that.

Anyway, it seems that in order to get the remote KVM console redirection working with DRAC 5, you have to enable SSLv3. To do this find the java.security file on your system and edit it. I found it in C:\Program Files (x86)\Java\jre1.8.0_66\lib\security.

Search for the line that starts “jdk.tls.disabledAlgorithms” and comment it out by putting a hash at the start. Save the file. The line ended up looking like this in my java.security file:

#jdk.tls.disabledAlgorithms=SSLv3, RC4, DH keySize < 768

Now try your remote console again and hopefully it’ll work.

Posted in Computers and Internet | 2 Comments

Upgrade to 2TB HDD in Sky+ HD Box (Amstrad DRX890)

Like many people, I was finding the default HDD size in the Amstrad DRX890 Sky+ HD box to be a bit small. Too many HD recordings were taking up too much space and it was a constant battle to watch stuff in order to free up enough room to record new stuff! I regularly ran out of space when recording the F1 Grand Prix on Sky Sport F1HD.

So I finally bit the bullet and decided to embark on an upgrade. As usual I had to read pages and pages of forum posts, and couldn’t really find anything that just told me how to do it.

So here is my experience!

After a bit of research I settled on a 2TB Seagate Pipeline HDD model no. ST2000VM003. This drive runs at 5900 RPM and seems to be a good compromise between speed, economy and noise. Some people had said that other faster drives were either too noisy or drew too much current and placed too much strain on the Sky box’s PSU.

I was a little concerned after ordering it as I stumbled across some forum posts (e.g. here) that said people had also been having problems with this drive, but others had said they had managed to get it working okay after using a jumper to set the drive to SATA-II (3.0 Gbps) mode rather than leaving the drive set at it’s default SATA-III (6.0 Gbps) mode.

NOTE: Since this article was written the Seagate drive has failed and I lost all recordings stored upon it. I have since replaced the Seagate with a WD AV-GP WD20EURS, which is working fine and doesn’t require any jumper configuration. The rest of this article still refers to the Seagate drive but I can’t recommend it, I would go for the WD drive if you can, specifically the AV-GP version, which I gather is optimised for video streaming applications.

When the drive turned up, I noticed it was a bit fatter than the drive that came out of the Sky box and on the label it said it drew more current than the old drive (0.55A vs 0.316A). So straight away I was a little worried that this wouldn’t work!

image

20151119_133410

Old drive on the left, new drive on the right.

To give me the best chance of this working, I decided to jumper the drive straight away and not bother trying it without, it’s such a faff taking the Sky box apart that I didn’t want to keep doing it just to have to put the jumper on later if it didn’t work.

Trying to track down info about how to jumper the drive was quite hard, the docs for this drive says the SATA mode can be set in software and doesn’t say anything about jumper settings, but if you look hard enough there are instructions for jumpering older, smaller Seagate drives, so I just used the same process. You will have to find a jumper from somewhere, I was lucky I had one on an old laptop drive I no longer needed, so used that. You have to jumper the two pins that are farthest away from the SATA connector.

image

Jumpering the drive

So I already had my Sky box in bits, there’s various guides on the net if you google it. Note, you don’t have to remove the back panel nor the little circuit board on the top.

Next step involved copying all the programmes off the old HDD. I was originally going to use Sky Copy Plus, but this doesn’t seem to be compatible with the latest version of Sky+ (something called “Darwin”), so I opted for some other software called ExPVR – it does cost £20 but it’s worth it.

Also I purchased a USB 3 SATA drive caddy so I could just plug it into my laptop and copy everything off it. This one from ORICO here worked a treat.

If you do use ExPVR, you just need to select all the programmes and create a drive image. I didn’t have enough room locally so stored it on my NAS – it did take a few hours. Also it reported an error, it seems the version I downloaded (v3.9.12) is not bang up to date for the latest Sky+ planner, however, everything copied across and it all worked a treat.

expvr error

After copying everything back onto the new drive, I put the Sky box all back together, as you can see from the pic, although the drive is thicker, it still fits fine.

20151119_142101

The new drive installed and ready for action.

Finally I plugged it back in, turned it on and checked how much space was free. Whereas before I only had about 15% free, now I have 88% free. Result!

20151119_144208

There have been people reporting failures and weird issues after running this drive for a little while, so I will report back here if I experience any issues.

Posted in Computers and Internet, Entertainment, Gadgets | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments