Netgear ReadyNAS with MOCA and FIOS: DHCP and WAN access problem and solution

Problem: My ReadyNAS 6 would not pull an IP via DHCP when connected via MOCA. Even when a static IP was assigned, it had no Internet access. With a static IP and the router assigned as gateway it was accessible by all LAN participants, but no WAN – a problem for cloud backup.

Solution: Static IP, Bonded NIC using XOR (even though I don’t have it connected to a managed switch or one that should permit XOR connections) using Layer 2+3 connection.

Update 25 AUG 17: Layer 2 only appears to be faster at switching (no pun intended.) I used 2+3 originally because I expected the Layer 2 association would work for LAN/devices behind the router and IPs for the Internet past the home router would be seen via Layer 3. This worked…intermittently. Layer 2 alone works much more consistently so far.

Facts:

  1. Other PCs (minus VMs – see #4 below) did pull IPs via DHCP when connected either directly to the MOCA bridge (I use the Actiontec ECB6200K02).
  2. There is a mix of MOCA 1.1 and MOCA 2 devices on the LAN, but neither exceeds the total amount of MOCA devices permitted by MOCA standards.
  3. If I connected the ReadyNAS to the wireless bridge connected via AC (5GHz) to the Fios provided wireless router, the ReadyNAS would get an IP via DHCP and could access Internet
  4. (Possibly relevant) my Hyper-V virtual machines also had difficulties pulling IPs or getting WAN/Internet access even with static IPs when going through a switch connected to the MOCA bridge. Again, any stand-alone PCs had no issues, including the machine hosting the VMs
  5. Tried assigning separate static IPs in IPV4 and IPV6 to the two NICs in the ReadyNAS
  6. Tried static routing one NIC to LAN IPs (192.168.1.0) and the other to Internet/WAN (didn’t work)
  7. Tried connecting one NIC to the switch connected to MOCA bridge and the other to the wireless bridge in conjunction with #6 (also didn’t work)
  8. I needed to use the MOCA bridge because it gives me Gbit connectivity to separate building housing the ReadyNAS. The wireless bridge is decent, but at best ~300Mbps and often less.
I do highly recommend these Actiontec coax to Ethernet adapters.

As mentioned, they use MOCA 2.0 with bonded channels to get actual 1000Mb/Gbit speeds between the two buildings. Even over multiple coax splitters, and while using MOCA to get my WAN connection from Frontier (yuck) Fios.

If you already have a MOCA service (i.e. most fiber to the home providers), you probably only need one as your router is pushing information to your TV set boxes via MOCA, and the Actiontec can pair up with it.

If you don’t, you’ll need at least a pair. I only needed one, but they work so well I’m glad I purchased two. The latency and speed really is equivalent to running Ethernet and all the rooms in both buildings (main house and in-law apartment) were already wired with coax but not completely with Ethernet.

 

 

Xbox One controller(s) won’t reconnect wirelessly to Windows 10

Symptom: Xbox One controller connects initially to the wireless adapter, but after turning off or disconnecting they will not reconnect. Requires a reboot to allow controller(s) to reconnect.

Work around:
1. Close Steam until the controller is connected, then restart Steam (if desired.) This was my and the majority of the people with the issue’s solution – See Gabriel Barsali’s post on the 4th page of Xbox One Wireless controller keeps disconnecting.

2. If you have the newer (Xbox One S and later with Bluetooth) controllers, try removing the Bluetooth Xbox Controller adapter from the Bluetooth & other devices window in Settings/Devices. If you disable Bluetooth (or remove the Bluetooth dongle) before removing the Bluetooth Xbox Controller Adapter it will appear “grayed out” in the Bluetooth & other devices window; you can’t delete it without Bluetooth on. (Of course.) This was not my issue, but is a potential solution listed by others.

3. Some feel uninstalling GeForce Experience is required. I have GeForce Experience running and this did not cause a conflict for me. It was definitely a conflict with Steam and the new Steam capability to manage non-Steam controllers.

Run Plex app (Windows 10) from Steam – or how to run a Win 10 app from a shortcut

Update 2: 18 June 2017. Added quotation marks around the command in the batch file to allow for any spaces.

Update 1: 20 NOV 2016: Added a tweak to the batch file before you make it an executable to add some compatibility with Steam and nVidia streaming.

Background: I use the Steam Link to remotely play games on my family room TV. It’s basically a glorified remote desktop/streaming device.

Wouldn’t it be great if it could play Plex remotely so I could watch movies, TV, etc? In order to do this, you have to launch the application you want to view from within Steam. Easy enough for a “traditional” x86 app (i.e. one that is the type “something.exe”) but more difficult to launch a Windows Store application. As anyone who has tried knows, they are not only hidden, but don’t launch with an executable file.

Attempt 1: I tried launching using the shortcut to the Plex app – which sort of worked.

If you want to get a shortcut to any application, Windows Store or traditional, the best way I’ve found is to open the hidden “Applications” folder and create/drag a shortcut. You can open this hidden folder by going to “Run” (shortcut: Windows key + R) and type shell:AppsFolder then hit OK (or press enter.)

I created a shortcut to the Plex app, moved it to my D: drive, and used that shortcut in Steam as a non-Steam app to launch the Plex App. Problem was, although it would launch, it would always have an error box behind it.

Attempt 2 – Et voila!: A bit more complicated, but works very well. Basically you create a batch file that runs the shortcut, and turn the batch file into an executable file.

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Verizon Unlimited plan ads

Okay, I’m not normally one for rants (ed. yeah right) but watching Thursday Night Football lead in and the Verizon commercial comes on.

Unlimited: adjective ˌənˈlimidəd/   

Full Definition of unlimited (source: Merriam-Webster):

  1. 1:  lacking any controls :  unrestricted <unlimited access>

  2. 2:  boundless, infinite <unlimited possibilities>

  3. 3:  not bounded by exceptions :  undefined <the unlimited and unconditional surrender of the enemy — Sir Winston Churchill>

 
Verizon’s definition of unlimited: 
verizonunlimited
Apparently somewhere between 2GB and ~24GB.

NFL on Xbox One

Madden 17. Xbox One. It happens every year.

But this doesn’t:

Bills Xbone

Microsoft has an Xbox One S Madden NFL 17 Custom Console sweepstakes that could win you one of these sweet systems. Or a Dolphins Xbone, but that would probably RROD within a few weeks.

From their site: “We’ve designed 32 unique custom Xbox One S (1TB) consoles – one for each NFL team – and are giving fans a chance to show off their team pride like never before and win one.  So whether you’re a Cheesehead, a 12, a member of Steeler Nation or have your NFL allegiances sworn elsewhere, you’ll have three ways to enter the sweepstakes and claim a custom NFL Xbox One S as a trophy all of your own.”

A “12”? Is that a Seattle fan with an inflated ego? I still don’t get how Texas A&M, even being paid for the use, is okay with that. And really, the Seahags don’t have anywhere close to the best or loudest fanbase. They have to cheat with acoustics in their stadium to sound loud. They’ve won a Super Bowl. But I guess when a team is basically the official team of the company providing the official display for play reviews (yep – the iPad) you don’t get to be just a 10.

Anyhow, go Bills.

 

 

Install Windows using UEFI from a USB flash drive

*Update*

Windows 10 now has a new USB install tool which is supposed to work with UEFI. It is the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool.

It can also be accessed from Microsoft’s Windows 10 page.


Original post below:

If you’ve tried installing Windows in the recent past (since Windows 7), you’ve likely gone the install from USB flash drive route. It is faster and more convenient than DVD, and sometimes necessary as many smaller laptops and hybrid tablets don’t have optical drives. Likely you’ve used the very simple (if now somewhat anachronistically named) Windows 7 USB/DVD Download tool (found HERE). This tool – which works for Windows 8, Windows 10, as well as Server 2008 or Server 2012 and later – creates a bootable USB flash drive and copies the install files from the Windows boot ISO.

All is good if you’re using a legacy BIOS or hybrid BIOS/UEFI. The challenge is when you use a UEFI only. The USB flash drive created by this tool likely will not be recognized as a bootable device by the UEFI boot process. Yay for new and improved technology.

I recommend using the Rufus program with the excellent steps provided by Windows Eight Forums here.

Warning: The first time I did this I followed the instructions and set the file type to FAT32, which is basically required for UEFI to load the drivers needed to boot and install Windows. However, upon selecting the ISO I wanted to use, it changed the file type back to NTFS. I didn’t notice this. I made the drive, went to boot, and nothing. Still didn’t recognize the USB flash drive as a bootable device. When I put the USB stick back into my laptop, I noticed it was NTFS formatted. Odd – I know I selected FAT32 as per the instructions. When going through the creation process again, I saw it make the change.

So make sure after you select the ISO to use for the USB install drive creation that you re-select FAT32 as the format option.

 

 

DD-WRT and iptables – blocking outgoing access to specific IPs

Recently my Malwarebytes informed me one of my programs was trying to reach out to a questionable IP. First, I’m glad I have Malwarebytes installed; it’s free, but I purchased a three-pack lifetime subscription which gets you automatic updates rather than you having to manually update. I didn’t mind manually updating, but it’s situations like this which made me decide to donate to the cause.

Anyhow, while working on cleaning up the malware, I wanted to ensure I wasn’t sending anything to the IP (which happened to originate in China. Big surprise there.)

I have a DD-WRT enabled wireless router, which permits iptable rules. In my case you can temporarily enter the rule in the command prompt under the “Administration” tab in DD-WRT to test it out. The rule goes into effect immediately, but only lasts until the next reboot. So if you want it to be permanent, after you test it out you can write it to the firewall in the same tab.

So here are some key rules you can enter to block outgoing traffic.

1) Block outgoing access to an IP without logging (replace the example IP below with an IP of choice):
iptables -I FORWARD -d 219.151.246.14 -j DROP

2) Block outgoing access to an IP *with* logging (replace the example IP below with an IP of choice):
iptables -I OUTPUT -d 219.151.246.14 -j logdrop

3) List all IPTABLES rules with number of rule that include the FORWARD command (you can replace the FORWARD command with any command you want the rule list to include):
*this is in case you made a mistake, or want to remove a rule you no longer need*
iptables -vnL FORWARD --line-numbers

4) Delete an IPTABLES rule referencing FORWARD by number (replace X with the number of rule you listed in #3 above):
iptables -D FORWARD X

Mouse button / touchpad button response has delay after typing (Windows 8+/Windows 10)

Many people using laptops with touchpads for gaming (even just Facebook) complain about not being able to press keys and move their “player/character” with the touchpad simultaneously.

This is not the same problem.

The problem about being able to (for example) press the “W” key to move forward, while changing direction using the touchpad is typically a driver issue, where the touchpad is disabled automatically when they keyboard is used. The intent is to prevent inadvertent movement of the cursor by the typist if his/her hand accidentally brushes the touchpad while typing. This problem is (relatively) easily fixed by unchecking the “disable touchpad while typing” setting in your touchpad’s settings.

Recently my son noticed on Minecraft that there was a new problem. When he would be using the keypad to move, or even for a half-second after he quit using the keys, the mouse buttons would be non-responsive. This has significant detrimental effect in any player-vs-player (PvP) or first person shooter (FPS) game. (OK – any serious gamer isn’t using a touchpad, but this is Minecraft.)

The answer wasn’t anywhere in the touchpad driver settings. It is a Windows 8 / WIndows 8.1 “fix” for us. (Thankssssss for that.)

The solution is

  1. Go to “Settings” (move your mouse to the upper right corner, then click on the Settings charm),
  2. At the bottom of the screen section for Settings, click on “Change PC Settings.”
  3. Now click on “PC and devices” (should be near the top left in the PC Settings window.
  4. Click on “Mouse and touchpad” (about halfway down the left side settings in the PC and devices window.
  5. On the right, typically the last selection is labeled “Touchpad.” Under there is a sentence that reads ” To help prevent the cursor from accidentally moving while you type, change the delay before clicks work.”  Yeah. Because I’m always banging my keys so hard that I mash the mouse buttons too. Anyhow, change the box below it to “No delay (always on)” to fix this…fix that Microsoft blessed us with.

MouseClickDelay-1024x558

Free SMTP service (no credit card needed) for server emails

I wanted my RocketRAID card and WSUS server to email me with any issues on my RAID array. I don’t run an email server, so I needed to find an SMTP service. I tried Gmail, but it only works if you can enable SSL, which you can’t with those devices.

But I tried SMTP2GO and it works great. 20 emails a day for free, or you can pay $5/month for 2000 emails/month (Pricing examples here: SMTP2GO pricing.)

It suggests port 2525 since some ISPs block outgoing port 25 for home accounts, but you can use ports 2525, 8025, 587 or 25 using the default SMTP settings they give. You can even use port 80 if your ISP really sucks by using SMTP server: port80.smtpcorp.com.