The musings of an IT Consultant


October 31, 2010  8:54 PM

Tethering for iPhone 4



Posted by: Raj Perumal
Cydia, iPhone 4, jailbreak, jailbroken, MyWi 4.0, tether, tethering

Hi folks, so if you are like me, you find yourself at client sites and without Internet access a lot because you aren’t allowed to plug your company laptop into the network. So how do you get Internet access if you have an iPhone?

Well jailbreak it of course! Then which app should you use? MyWi 4.0! What it does is creates a wifi hotspot out of your iPhone. Then you can just connect to the hotspot like you would any other hot spot.

How were browsing speeds through 3g? They were insane! I have to say I was very impressed with the speed of tethering. You can even configure WEP encryption for your tethering session. I’d like to see a WPA2 version come out. Hopefully we’ll see something like that in the future.

-RP

October 31, 2010  8:36 PM

USB Port on new Cisco devices



Posted by: Raj Perumal
Cisco USB Console, Windows

Hi folks! So with the new Cisco devices out now, the question has been asked, what is that USB port for?

This is Cisco’s new USB console port. This allows console access without a normal Cisco console cable although that is still an option.

For Windows users you will have to install a driver to make this work. You can read more about how to implement Cisco USB console access here.

-RP


October 31, 2010  8:30 PM

iPhone multiple backups in iTunes for Windows 7



Posted by: Raj Perumal
iPhone, iTunes, multiple backups

Hi folks! So as I mentioned in my previous post, you need to keep multiple backups in iTunes. So how do you do this?

Well here you go:

  1. Go to the following folder: C:\Users\YOURUSERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup
  2. Rename your backup folder by adding a name to the end of it like a date or something like that
  3. Go into the folder and edit info.plist in wordpad.
  4. Go to the Display Name section and below that edit the part between <string>Raj’s iPhone</string>
  5. Type in something like <string>Backup Oct-31-2010</string>
  6. Save the file
  7. Open iTunes
  8. Connect your iPhone to your computer and wait for it to show up in iTunes
  9. Right click your iPhone in iTunes and select restore from backup
  10. You will now see your backup showing up in the list
  11. Click on sync to backup your iPhone, it won’t overwrite the last one, it will create a new one
  12. To keep the new one, start again at step 1.

That’s it!

I recommend doing this everytime you make any sort of change on your phone. This way if you accidently install a bad app or toast your iPhone, you can restore to the last known good state.

-RP


October 31, 2010  8:23 PM

More info on iPhone battery drain issues



Posted by: Raj Perumal
iPhone 4, iPhone backup, iPhone battery drain, super fast battery drain

Hi folks! Now that I’ve been an iPhone user for a bit, I have some more info on the iPhone battery issues that people have experienced with the iPhone 4.

You see there are some very common reasons to experience battery drain as follows:

  • Bluetooth on
  • WiFi on
  • Apps with push notifications constantly going on
  • VoIP and SMS based apps
  • Resource intensive apps such as 3d games and video/audio
  • Bugs

After checking on all of the above items and if you have everything turned off and you are still getting super fast battery drain, it’s most likely a bug. Sometimes there can be an app that has caused some sort of exception and caused a zombie process to spawn creating some form of resource leak which is draining your battery. In these situations there is only one thing you can do. You have to re-do your phone.

To do this, go into iTunes, and tell it to restore your phone. Then when it asks you if you want to restore as a new iPhone or restore from backup, choose “restore as a new iPhone”. This will completely wipe your phone and re-do it from scratch. At that point you can then re-select all items you want to sync and then manual setup your email etc in your phone again. Of course doing this loses any saved settings from before but it’s almost guaranteed to fix your battery drain problem.

This highlights an important item of note – always backup your phone (by choosing “sync” in iTunes), and always keep multiple backups.

-RP


October 31, 2010  8:08 PM

Jumbo Frames and Switch Support



Posted by: Raj Perumal
2510G, 2910AL, HP, iSCSI, jumbo frames, per port, per vlan, ProCurve Networking, SAN

Hi folks! So you’ve decided to install a new iSCSI based SAN in your environment and realize your existing switch doesn’t support jumbo frames. What do you do?

Well you could just go out and buy a new switch to support just the iSCSI or you can stop and think for a second. You see you can buy two kinds of switches. Ones that support jumbo frames but it’s set on a global basis, or ones that support per port jumbo frames.

What’s the difference? Well if you want to use the switch for other things, you want a switch that supports per port jumbo frames so you only have to turn it on for the ports that are belonging to your iSCSI vlan.

If your switch is completely dedicated to iSCSI then a switch that only supports jumbo frames globally is fine.

One of my favorite per port supported jumbo frames switches is the HP ProCurve 2910AL. This switch does everything I need for iSCSI and is also layer 3 capable. If you only need layer 2 capability then you can go with the HP ProCurve 2510G.

-RP


October 31, 2010  8:01 PM

The importance of firmware updates



Posted by: Raj Perumal
bugs, exploits, firewall, firmware, network equipment, router, switch, updates

Hi folks, more often than not I see people deploying new network equipment or servers without firmware updates. What’s up with that?

As a good best practice it only makes sense to update the firmware on devices. These firmware updates usually patch lots of security holes and other bugs. People tend to be quite religious about doing windows updates but then forget about doing firmware updates to their network hardware.

Believe it or not, doing firmware updates to your firewall or switch can save you in the long run from some sort of crazy exploit. You should always keep up to date on the latest updates in firmware available for your equipment and adopt a policy to keep these devices up to date.

If you have devices that can’t go down due to firmware updates then it’s important to architect your network so it’s redundant so these firmware updates can still happen regularly.

-RP


October 31, 2010  7:57 PM

USB to Serial converter for laptops



Posted by: Raj Perumal
cisco switch, CLI, rollover cable, router, usb to serial

Hi folks, for those of you that do a lot of switch and router configuration, you’ll notice that new laptops nowadays are lacking serial ports.

So what do you do? Well you can go and buy a usb to serial converter but they aren’t all created equally. It’s hard to find a reliable converter out there these days. I personally use a product from Gold-X (gxmu-1200) that works great.

I have used it for years and it works in Windows 7 and even works in VMware workstation. You can check it out here.

-RP


October 31, 2010  7:34 PM

Jailbreaking legal with iPhone in US now



Posted by: Raj Perumal
iPhone, jailbreak, Limera1n

Hi everyone, unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve heard that there is an exception in the DMCA that jailbreaking is now legal.

This is great news for iPhone users. You are no longer restricted to using a device that you paid for with your hard earned money the way Apple wants you to use it.

Now don’t get me wrong here, i’m not advocating piracy or anything like that. What i’m talking about is the ability to use your iPhone for legal uses like the ability to have one touch access to turn on and off your bluetooth or wireless without having to drill down through multiple menus.

By jailbreaking your phone becomes a lot more usuable in my opinion. You can jailbreak using Limera1n and away you go!

You can now jailbreak your iPhone 4 with iOS 4.1 using Limera1n!

-RP


September 30, 2010  9:28 PM

Battery life on the iPhone



Posted by: Raj Perumal
battery life, iPhone 4, multitasking

Hi folks! So last but not least on my review of the iPhone, is battery life. So far battery life has been great and it allows me to use it as both for apps and as a phone without killing the battery completely.

However, there is one point I want to mention. Many iPhone 4 users aren’t use to the multitasking and are leaving apps open. They don’t know how to close the apps and they are all running in the background. This continues to happen even through reboots of the iPhone.

This ends up causing the iPhone to run down it’s battery extremely fast and get very hot to the touch. This is because the iPhone ends up running literally every app that the user has ever clicked on and has forgotten to close. So how do you close these apps?

Double click the iPhone 4′s home button and it will bring up a task bar with icons. These are icons of every app that is currently running. To close them, select an icon by touching it and holding your finger there. This will cause the icons to start jiggling around and a minus sign in a circle will be displayed next to the icon. Then just click on the minus sign and it will close the app. Do this for all apps you don’t need running. I would encourage you to close all apps all the time and only leave them running if you are using them.

This will extend your battery life for quite a while!

-RP


September 30, 2010  9:21 PM

VoIP on your iPhone



Posted by: Raj Perumal
Apple, Asterisk, Bria, Cisco, iPhone, VoIP

So one of the many services my company provides in IT is Voice Solutions. We provide both Cisco and Asterisk VoIP solutions. So imagine my happiness when I found this great soft phone app for iPhone!

The app is called Bria and it is just great. What it allows me to do is login to my phone number in our Asterisk VoIP system on my iPhone and then I can make and receive calls using my business number instead of my cell number.

Because the iPhone multitasks, it will even ring when the app is closed. I found the app was great in terms of voice quality but it did drain a lot of battery power. We’ll have to see how it evolves. But for now I would have to say it’s completely usable and it even works on 3G not just on wireless.

You can read more about it here.

-RP


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