Using DSL + WiMax Together

A few months ago, I signed up for Clear WiMax. I decided to keep my Bellsouth ADSL connection as I have received notices from Clear that my ‘unlimited’ connection was being over-utilized.

I tried to combine both ADSL and WiMax connections by putting a switch on the WAN port of my router and assigning static IPs to the two connections. By using route tables inside the router I was able to direct high-usage traffic over one connection and route all other traffic over the other. This works good- except that when I put both connections to static IPs, I create double-NATs and I run into issues when trying to open ports to internal systems:


Furthermore, after trying a few different Open-WRT firmware versions (Tomato, Gargoyle, DD-WRT) I found that routing inside my WRT54GL to not always work as I wanted it to.

After several failed attempts, I came up with another idea: I disabled DHCP on the WiMax modem, gave it a static IP on my local network and plugged it into the LAN side of my router:


I then added outbound static routes on my PC to all direct traffic for GigaNews and BackBlaze to the WiMax modem:

route add –p mask
route add –p mask
route add –p mask
route add –p mask

These routes direct all outbound traffic for my blackblaze client (, and and GigaNews ( over the WiMax connection. All other traffic is passed to the default gateway and out to BellSouth.

I am using NetLimiter to monitor my bandwidth usage and restricting GigaNews downloads to about 6Mbps in NewsLeecher (I can still remove the cap and jump up to about 9Mbps if I an in a hurry for a specific article)- which appears to have stopped the ‘excessive usage’ emails/calls from Clear support.

On other hosts on my network I can leave Bellsouth as default or add the above routes if I want to connect in a similar manner.

I was also having some strange issues with the Gargoyle firmware was not automatically connecting via PPPoE, but the latest firmware and setting my MTU to 1500 appears to have resolved this.

On another note: the WiMax connection does not appear to be an asymmetrical connection; on my Bellsouth ADSL line, my download bandwidth decreases as my upload bandwidth is utilized- this is not the case with WiMax.

Now I am able to access a cumulative 12Mbps down/1Mbps up on my PC. In theory, I could break out the WiMax mobile and connect it to a 3G router and have a 3rd route- but I am not going to push my luck too much with Clear… :)


Windows 2008 and Hyper-V

I decided to play around with Microsoft’s version of virtualization on my old AMD Phenom II x4 940 (3.0Ghz x 4) system. It parried it with a Gigabyte GA-MA790X-UD4P and 8GB of generic DDR2 RAM. For the boot drive I used a 300GB WD Velociraptor and for the data drive I purchased a Seagate 1.5TB drive.

Windows 2008 installed with no problems on the system- but when I went to add the Hyper-V services, the system would no longer boot into windows. I would see the ‘starting windows’ logo and then a black screen and no disk activity.

The latest beta BIOS for my motherboard resolved this issue. I flashed the BIOS and Windows was able to finish configuration of Hyper-V on the next boot.

The Hyper-V manager that is included with Windows 2008 is fairly feature lacking:


To get the advanced features for Hyper-V management, you will need to download and install System Center Virtual Machine Manager:


Either interface will allow creation of virtual machines, taking snapshots and basic configuration. With the SCVMM you can clone VMs, convert VMs, and use ‘libraries’ which can be used to store disk images, ISOs and templates. SCVMM also allows management of multiple Hyper-V servers and the ability to move VMs between different hosts and storage locations.

One very interesting feature of SCVMM is the ability to create a virtual machine from a physical machine- while the target machine is still powered on; I have tried against a few different Windows XP and Windows 7 clients and verified this can be done without powering off the machine that is being cloned.

Creating a Windows 2008 VM is easy. Older OSes (Win2003) need to have the ‘virtual guest (integration) services’ installed to enable mouse usage inside the VM (as well as other features). This does not appear to work with non-Windows operating systems (such as Linux) as when I attempted to install it to a powered off Ubuntu host as i received an ‘unable to determine boot device’ error in SCVMM- so no Linux VMs for Windows Hyper-V!

I also had issues with a NIC driver a new Windows 2003 x64; it appeared as an unknown ‘network adaptor’ in device manager. A search on the internet indicated that a ‘synthetic NIC’ driver was installed with with virtual integration components (virtual guest integration services) and there were no drivers for a ‘physical virtual NIC’. I shut down the VM, removed the associated NIC and added a new NIC. It was detected as a ‘Microsoft Virtual Machine Bus Network Adaptor’ and was now usable as a NIC.

Hyper-V performance on a quad core 3.0GHz Phenom II with 8GB of RAM is fairly good. I think ACHI along with a 32MB cache on the 1.5TB hard drive helps with disk performance.

So now I am building a Win2008, Win2003, XP and Windows 7 systems to use as clients in a domain to test out Exchange 2010 along with SCCM and SCOM…

Looks like it will be a fun Thanksgiving Holiday! :)


Samsung CL65

Today I returned a very disappointing Casio EX-FS10 to Fry’s. To wave the 15% restocking fee, I had to use the return credit to towards the purchase of another digital camera. I was looking at a Canon SD940IS, but I found that they just started stocking the Samsung CL65 (also known as the ST1000 in Europe). This camera is the peak of camera all nerdy desires: Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS and 3.5” touch screen all integrated into one slim 12.2MP package with 5x optical zoom! Oh- and it has an accelerometer as well…


I opened the camera in the parking lot at Fry’s and ran into one stumbling block; the camera uses MicroSD instead of normal SD. This limits me to the speed of memory as the fastest microSDHC I have seen is class 6 (vs class 10 for SDHC)- and larger capacity MicroSHDC cards are much slower (class 2 for 16GB). Not a major issue, but it made the accompanying 8GB SHDC card I purchased fairly useless…

The camera is very solid feeling; all metal faceplate and a large glass LCD back panel. It also has a minimal amount of buttons: power, shutter, zoom and play are the only physical buttons- all other settings are done via the touch screen- or by tilting the camera to use the accelerometer.

The touch screen is a 1,154k pixel screen and uses audible feedback for screen presses.

One only other item I was not very pleased with is the proprietary USB cable: it looks like something I would expect with a Sony or Archos device. A second issue with the USB cable is that it is only 2’ long- which means it is difficult to charge from a wall outlet.

The camera packaging contains:

  • Samsung CL65 Camera
  • Samsung SLB-11A Battery
  • Wrist lanyard
  • USB Cable
  • Wall-to-USB charger adaptor
  • CD with PDF manuals
  • Quick start and warrant guides

I have taken a few dozen test shots, and all of them have turned out incredibly nice- even while taking pictures in full zoom mode while travelling at 60mph on the Interstate:


Indoor shots are very sharp and show a lot of detail that is normally lost with point-and-shoot cameras.


Overall I am very impressed with the photo quality and photo features.

The startup time to shot ready is less than 2 seconds. shot-to-shot with no flash is about 4 seconds (fairly fast). Flash recharge time is about 8 seconds. The battery is a Samsung SLB-11A battery (3.8v, 1130mAh).

The integrated GPS can GeoTag photos by inserting the longitude/latitude coordinates in the EXIF info of the JPEG. Files can be transferred from the camera via USB cable, WiFi or Bluetooth.

Plugging the camera into a PC initiates a virtual CD-ROM via camera firmware which autoruns (if enabled) the Samsung Intelli-Studio software. This software is a basic file transfer software/photo editor/sharing software that does a decent job. The Inteli-Studio software can upload pictures to Flickr, videos to YouTube or just share via email.

The wireless menu is accessible via the touch screen and pulls up the ‘wireless networking’ transfer menu. Transfer options are via the internet, email, camera-to-camera, home share, DLNA or Bluetooth transfer:


Internet transfers can be sent to Picasa, FaceBook, YouTube or Samsung imaging web sites. Strangely, Flickr (the one I primarily use) is not an option directly from the camera- it is only available via the desktop software:


Often used email addresses can be added in the camera memory for email transfers, or addresses can be typed as needed for email sending.

Camera to camera appears to be a Bluetooth file transfer but does not require a permanent pairing.

I was unable to find any information on the home share transfer; I assume this will transfer files to a SMB file share or a DLNA share.

The DLNA transfer will let the user push an image (no video) from the camera to a DNLA device. In my scenario, I was able to push images to my TV or to my DirecTV receiver.

Bluetooth requires a PIN code each time a transfer session is established, and I believe that only one image can be transferred at a time. I was able to pair and transfer images to my Motorola Droid with no problem.

The wireless response is fairly slow; it takes about 9 seconds to bring up the wireless networking menu, and then another 50 seconds to initially connect to your wireless access point (after entering WEP/WPA key). Leaving the ‘Web’ menu and opening the ‘email’ menu takes another 10-15 seconds as the camera must re-establish a connection to the wireless access point. Hopefully these times will be addressed with a future firmware update.

There are six shooting modes:

  1. Auto
    Partial auto mode; still have options for focus area, face detection and image quality & size.
  2. Smart Auto
    Auto everything; only options are image size (12MP, 10MP, etc)
  3. Movie
    720p HQ, 720p std, 640x480, 320x240 and 320x340 Web (30 second clip) mode
  4. Dual IS
    Uses both optical and digital image stabilization
  5. Scene
    Beauty Shot, Frame Guide, Night, Portrait, Children, Landscape, Close Up, Text, Sunset, Dawn, Backlight, Fireworks, Beach & Snow
  6. Programmed Mode
    Allows exposure, white balance, ISO, metering mode, and sharpness/contrast/saturation settings.

On the autofocus settings, there are options for multi AF or one touch shooting. The later mode allows focus to a point specified by touching the screen; holding your finger for about 2 seconds takes a picture. In autofocus mode there are several face detection modes: normal, self-portrait, and smile shot (automatically takes a picture when a smile is detected). there are also options for blink detection and smart face recognition. there is a ‘five star’ setting that will allow you to take 5 shots at different angles for face recognition (I actually haven’t figured this option out yet).

Overall, I am very happy with this camera. It is very quick to shoot and to take a second shot. The battery life is decent (more than enough for a night out). The picture quality is very good and the LCD is a beautiful display to show them to friends. The proprietary cable is a downer, but I ordered a spare battery and external charger from eBay to eliminate the need to carry this cable around for recharging (an 8MB microSD will hold about 1100 12MP images, so I probably won’t worry about needing to pull off images to free up space).

I would recommend this camera to anyone that wants a small point-and-shoot camera that is fairly easy to use and yet features some advanced settings. The connectivity and GPS are added features that will appeal to the more tech savvy crowd- and so far no other camera I have found offers all of these features in one package.

Here are a few of the other menu settings:


Warner DVD2Blu

Remember the old Red2Blu offer from Warner Brothers allowing HD DVD users to trade in their defunct media for the surviving format? Now they are offering DVD owners a similar deal- albeit at a slightly higher price ($8 - $10 per disc):


Surprisingly, most of the Blu-Ray’s offered are from the catalog of movies that sell for $10 - $15 at BestBuy/Fry’s/Amazon. (i.e. You won’t be getting the Harry Potter discs for less than $25/each).

I did a few choice comparisons to see the price savings:

Title DVD2Blu Amazon
Dark City $7.95 $9.99
Final Destination $7.95 $9.99
Oceans Thirteen $9.95 $14.49
Pan’s Labyrinth $9.95 $17.99
Wedding Crashers $7.95 $9.99

The Warner DVD2Blu upgrade can save $2-$8 per disc. On the $2/disc side, I would probably rather keep the old DVD copy (for this trade-in offer you must mail in the DVD disc) and buy a Blu-Ray copy from Amazon (although I have given up collecting physical discs).

I think this is just another sign of the end of physical media; it will soon be on the endangered list with newspapers.

Ironic that Sony finally ‘wins’ a media format war and everyone is rapidly moving to digital distribution (even Sony with their new PSP games).


Casio EX-FS10 Review

The Casio Exilim EX-FS10 is a very compact 9.1MP point-and-shoot camera that promises high-speed video capture up to 1000fps. It can also capture up to 30fps burst of pictures at 6MP that will allow you to review and select the image(s) that look the best. It has a 2.5” LCD, a 3x optical zoom and retails for about $200 at most stores.

With all the above features, the camera sounds like a really good deal. After using the camera, it is useless as the video/photo quality in any setting other than direct sunlight is a good deal worse than the photo quality of a $30 child’s toy camera imported from China.

It does offer some interesting features:

  • EyeFi Support: keeps power to the SD card to allow EyeFi WiFi uploads
  • Slow-Motion mode: Buffers pictures and plays them back in ‘slow motion’ once the button is pressed so can get the right shot.
  • Face Detection
  • Continuous Auto Focus
  • 3x optical zoom

Photos Quality:

One issue with indoor burst mode photographs is that the flash is not usable- which can be expected as I have never seen a flash on a point-and-shoot camera that could handle a 30fps strobe. That said, the 30fps burst mode is fairly unstable indoors. It is also important to note that you are limited to a maximum of 6MP resolution in burst mode.

Indoor test lighting: four (4) 60W incandescent bulbs (in my ceiling fan) supplemented by a 75W halogen desk lamp.

The Casio EX-FS10 is set by default to ‘auto 3-30fps’- with it being closer to 3fps with indoor lighting. This is a sample of photos taken on full auto high-speed settings:

CIMG0019 CIMG0017 CIMG0018

I tried lowering the photo settings to 640x480 and the auto mode increased the fps- but the blurring is still very apparent.

I had to go into the menu and manually set the camera for and indoor 30fps test:

Most of the blurring is resolved at 30fps, but the image is very under-exposed.

The flash is only usable for single-shot 9MP indoor shots. The quality of which is still fairly questionable as there is still quite of bit of grain/noise in darker areas of the photos.

Video Quality:

The EX-FS10 has six video recording modes; two normal modes (30fps) and four high-speed modes:

HD 1280x720 30fps
STD 640x470 30fps
High Speed Mode 1 480x360 210fps
High Speed Mode 2 224x168 420fps
High Speed Mode 3 224x64 1000fps
High Speed Mode 4 480x360 20-210fps

The last mode allows toggling between 30fps and 210fps by clicking left/right on the control pad.

Audio recording is disabled in all of the high speed recording modes.

The high speed video options was one of the primary reasons I purchased the camera; and it was the most disappointing aspects as well. The lighting conditions are the same as for the photos (specified above)

The ‘HD’ video recording mode when used indoors shows much more grain and noise than I would expect:

EX-FS10 HD Indoor Test Sample

The camera does auto-focus during video (so long as ‘Continuous Focus’ was enabled in the settings), but zoom is disabled (this is typical for most digital cameras).

I tried a video on the ‘best’ high speed setting under the same lighting conditions:

EX-FS10 High Speed Indoor Test Sample

YouTube did a little ‘noise reduction’, so there was a little more video quality available on-screen:


I went into this expecting sub-standard video quality due to indoor lighting- and I was surprisingly even more disappointed at the resulting video. The video quality of the high-speed setting is so dark that the first sample video I uploaded to youtube came out a a completely black screen.

The high speed video mode is complexly useless indoors- unless you are carrying around a few 500 Watt halogen flood lights to direct at the subject you are trying to video.

All said, the EX-FS10 is fairly unusable indoors save as a standard 9.1MP single shot camera. I would assume it is very good at high speed photography/video outdoors in a scenario with direct sunlight. If the indoor conditions are any indicator, I would wager that this will be a very poor performer on overcast days or in shaded areas (or morning/evening settings).

If you are looking for a decent point-and-shoot camera for indoor photography/videos, this is not the one you are looking for. There are a plethora of other cameras in this price range that offer much better single-shot quality than this device. This camera was designed for the avid outdoors man that doesn’t go into wooded areas and doesn't go around water (the camera is definitely not waterproof).

I almost forgot to comment on the battery life: abysmal! I took about 20 9MP photos with flash, about 15 minutes with of video, and about five 30fps photo sets and the camera shut down down due to a dead battery. Not very good performance from an cameras that is already very disappointing.

This device is going back to Fry's tomorrow- and I will be raising all kinds of Hell if they try to charge me a restocking fee on this piece of crap!


Verizon xMas Commercials

It looks like Verizon has found a pretty good marketing play:


Windows 7 & P55 USB Issues

I have seen a few articles (Apple Forums, Engadget Mobile) about sync problems with iTunes and iPhones/iPods on Windows 7 with P55 chipset motherboards

I was also getting the ‘unknown error occurred (0xE8000065)’ when trying to sync my iPhone, but enabling C1E support (Enhanced halt state) in the BIOS seems to have resolved my problems with with synching. (BIOS release 0711 for the Asus P7P55E-Deluxe has this option enabled in default settings- release 0606 did not).

However- I am also having issues with other USB devices that I did not have prior to upgrading to a P55 chipset. My Logitech Harmony remote will not sync and my USB headset will not work as long as I have then plugged into a USB port on the motherboard- but plugging them into a PCI USB card works correctly.

Hopefully the latest chipset driver from Intel will resolve these issues (but P55 is not listed as supported under this driver?)…


Enabling AHCI in Windows 7

Most modern motherboard with integrated SATA controllers offer a few options for accessing connected drives- usually these choices are ATA, RAID or AHCI.

ATA is a basic interface and it works well with older operating systems (such Windows XP). This emulation is good as you generally don’t need to load additional controller drivers while installing windows (F6 during bootup)

RAID offers different disc configurations for redundancy and/or performance- and generally requires a driver to setup Windows.

Advanced Host Controller Interface (ACHI) is a newer implantation that allows for SATA drive hot plug and supports native command queuing (NCQ). This can have some performance benefits to Widows Vista/7. Most board that support SATA II drives will have this option- it should definitely be an option on the Intel x58 and P55 motherboards…

I found some info about converting an ATA install to AHCI on I Think Different and the PC Perspective forums.

If you installed Windows 7 on an ATA configured drive (like I did), you don’t need to re-install the OS again; a small registry tweak will enable the AHCI driver and Windows will re-detect the drive on next boot up.

The registry key is located in:


The Key is a reg_dword named ‘start’. In non-AHCI system, this is set to ‘3’. To enable the AHCI driver, this needs to be changed to ‘0’.


After the above change is made, make sure all of your data is backed up, reboot into BIOS and change the SATA controller from IDE to ACHI. Reboot back into Windows 7, let windows re-detect the drive, reboot again and you should be using AHCI! :)