May 192012

This morning, I put my LP-E6 battery for my Canon EOS 7D camera on to charge in the standard LC-E6E charger, but it did not charge at all.

The charger has a single LED which shows the charging state of the battery. While charging, the LED is orange – it flashes once and pauses when the battery is less than 50% charged, twice and a pause when the battery is less than 75% charged and three flashes and a pause when the charge is less than 100%. Once the battery is fully charged, the LED turns green and lights continuously.

*   *   *   *   *  < 50%
**  **  **  ** ** < 75%
*** *** *** *** *** <100%
******************** = Problem!

When I connected the battery, it flashed orange rapidly with no pause.

To fix the problem, I unplugged the charger, I cleaned all four contacts using a dry duster. There are two copper ‘blades’ and two silver ‘bent wire’ contacts. The charger seems to gather lots of dust. I also cleaned the contacts on the battery taking great care not to touch them with anything conductive. The exposed contacts can be rubbed gently with a cloth, but the two slots which connect to the ‘blades’ on the charger are harder to clean. I folded a clean piece of paper in half and gently pushed it into the slots – there was a small amount of fluff which came out of the slots.

When I put the battery on to charge again, it was showing 50% charged and after a few minutes showed 75%.

I hope this will save you spending £75 on a new battery, or £50 or a new charger!

Jun 052011

For the past few days, I have had intermittent sync problems with my Virgin Media router.

The router is a Netgear VMDG280 as supplied by Virgin Media. From time to time, the router falls out of sync: the sync light flashes quickly and the ready light flashes slowly. Web pages are obviously unavailable while the router is in this state.

Rebooting the router does not resolve the problem.

I also have a connection problem with the ‘on demand’ TV service where all interactive services shown as unavailable and there is a flashing heart light on the front of the set top box which apparently indicates there is no network connection available. When attempting to access any on-demand services (movies, catch-up TV etc.) I get a service currently unavailable message.

The router and TV problems do not always happen at the same time.

Since the router and set-top box are both having problems, it would suggest that the problem is not with either of those boxes as both pieces of hardware are unlikely to fail at the same time. Since they do not always exhibit the problem at the same time, the cable from my external wall to the splitter must be ok, the two cables from the splitter are unlikely to have both failed in the same intermittent manner at the same time.

The Virgin Media status screen shows everything is ok in my area.

The non-demand cable TV has been fine for the duration so that would also suggest the cabling is fine.

I was supposed to arrange for an engineer to come out next week, but as the connection is working at the moment I don’t know if he will find any problem, and getting time off work will be a hassle.

Update: I fixed the problem without resorting to an engineer.

Solution: The signal does not seem to be strong enough to cope with the splitters which were installed – either the signal has got weaker since it was installed, or the splitters are dodgy.

The installation was:

Telewest box on the wall in my bedroom with a single cable running about 10m to the living room where it was connected to an (old!) 2-way splitter. A single wire from the splitter ran about 5m round the walls to a second (newer) 2-way splitter. Two cables came from this splitter, one to the modem/router and the other to the set top box.

I don’t know Virgin Media’s rules on repairing the cabling yourself, so you carry out any of the following at your own risk – if in doubt call your cable company for advice.

I tested the incoming signal by moving the router to the telewest box and connecting it with a short coax cable. The router sync’d fine – so everything looked fine to there. I then connected the router to the spare socket on the first splitter and that worked fine too. I then connected the router to the cable going to the input of the second splitter and that also worked fine. My suspicion at this point was the second splitter was dodgy, but I thought it could also be that the long cable and two splitters was too much. Each splitter causes a drop in signal so there is no point in having one in the line if only one output is used.

I bought a new 2-way F Splitter (£5.99) and an F Plug Coupler (£1.89) from Maplin. Replacing the second splitter did not resolve the problem, so I removed the first splitter and connected the two cables with the F Plug Coupler and the heart light stopped flashing. I suspect all I needed was the coupler.

I hope this saves you a day off work waiting for an engineer!

Sep 252010

VMWare make their vSphere Hypervisor free to download and use which is an amazing deal, they also offer a free evaluation of VMWare vSphere which adds extra bells and whistles for enterprise level virtualisation. If you take the evaluation version, you have 60 days until the vSphere client locks down and stops you powering on your virtual machines. At that point, you will either have to pay for a full vSphere licence, or downgrade to the free version again. Of course, they haven’t made it very easy to find out how to do the downgrade!

If your evaluation has expired, your vSphere client should look something like this.

vSphere Client showing expired license

vSphere Client showing expired license

To downgrade to the free version and regain control of your virtual machines, you need to get a new licence number – its free. I have heard reports that the licence key would have been sent to you in the initial email which you received from VMWare when you registered for the evaluation, but I couldn’t find it in any of the emails I had received. The best bet is probably to go ahead and reregister at the download page for ESXi – From the VMWare home page, open the ‘Products’ menu and choose VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi) then click the download button on the left side. Login, or hit the continue button and fill out your information. Once you have completed the registration process you should receive an email with an ‘Activate your VMware ESXi 4.1 License’ link. Click that and you should be presented with your new license number.

New VmWare license number

New VmWare license number

Copy the license number and go into your vSphere client. At the top of the list of virtual machines, highlight your host machine. Go to the configuration tab and choose ‘Licensed Features’ under the software section. Click the small ‘edit’ link at the top right corner.

You should now see your current evaluation license with no license key. Click the ‘Assign a new license to this host’ radio button, click the ‘Enter Key’ button and paste in your new license number. Click ‘OK’

New License entered

New License entered

Check that the new licence key is valid and shows ‘Expires: Never’

You’re done. You should now be able to administer your virtual servers as before. I’m yet to find out what features are missing from the free version compared to the full vSphere version.

Let me know if this works for you!

Sep 112010

When attempting an automatic upgrade of iTunes from version 9 to 10, I got a pop-up saying “Service ‘iPod Service’ (iPod Service) could not be installed. Verify that you have sufficient privileges to install system services.”

The solution I found was to download the installer only and run it manually.  Here’s a step by step guide of the problem you are likely to see. Before carrying this out, please back up your catalogue – I’m not responsible if you lose your music!

1. When installing iTunes, you get an error pop-up “Service ‘iPod Service’ (iPod Service) could not be installed. Verify that you have sufficient privileges to install system services.”

"Service 'iPod Service' (iPod Service) could not be installed. Verify that you have sufficient privileges to install system services."

iTunes Installation Error

2. Without pressing any of the buttons, open the services manager by clicking the start menu, right click ‘computer’ and choose ‘manage’. Navigate through “Services and Applications” then “Services”. Find the iPod Service.

Services control panel

Services control panel

3. You should find that the iPod Service is stopped and disabled. Double click the service to see its properties.

iPod Service Properties

iPod Service Properties

4. If you make any changes to the service (try changing it from ‘Disabled’ to ‘Automatic’ and press apply), you will see that “The specified service has been marked for deletion”.

5. It seems that the service needs to be deleted to allow the new version to be installed, but for some reason it hasn’t. The service will be deleted if you restart your computer though. Did I mention you should back up your catalogue before doing this?

6. Without cancelling the current iTunes installation, restart your computer. If you do cancel the install, iTunes will roll back to where you were before you started the install and the service will not be marked for deletion.

7. After your computer reboots, run the installer again and follow the prompts, it should install fine. In my case, all my music was still there. But if not, you can restore from the backup you took earlier – you did take a back up, didn’t you?!?

I hope this helps you get iTunes 10 installed – let me know how you get on!

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Jul 072009

A quick note on amending the template files for the WordPress ‘Now Reading‘ plug-in to work with the LightWord theme. (Tested on version 2.8 only)

As per Rob’s excellent documentation, the problem is in the following section of the default Now Reading templates:
<div class="content">
<div id="content" class="narrowcolumn primary now-reading">
<div class="post">

I followed his instructions and the problem was solved easily:

  1. Create a now-reading directory in your Lightword theme directory and copy the default templates into the new folder (\wp-content\themes\LightWord\now-reading\)
  2. Edit  author.php, library.php, search.php, single.php and tag.php (sidebar.php already works) as follows:

Once in each file, in the first few lines, change:

<div id="content" class="now-reading primary narrowcolumn">

To read:

<div id="content-body" class="now-reading primary narrowcolumn">

That’s all there is to it. Hopefully this will be of use to someone – if it is, leave me a comment to let me know!