Month: November 2019

Recovering a bricked Netgear router

Netgear provides instructions for using TFTP to write firmware to a basically bricked router (it boots into a recovery mode, indicated by a flashing power light). The instructions are, unfortunately, specific to Windows. To use a Linux computer to recover the router


(1) Plug your computer into the router & unplug everything else, as in the instructions. Hard-code an IP address. Then verify that the router shows up in your arp table:

arp -a

If the router does not appear, add it — you’ll need to get the device MAC address from the sticker on the back of the device.

arp -s ??-??-??-??-??-??

(2) If you don’t already have a TFTP client, install one. Once you have a client, follow the instructions to get the router into recovery mode. On the Linux computer, run “tftp”

You’ll be in a TFTP console. Type binary and hit enter to set the transfer mode to binary. Then use put /path/to/ to upload the firmware file to the device. Wait and proceed with device setup.


Shell Script: Path To Script

We occasionally have to re-home our shell scripts, which means updating any static path values used within scripts. It’s quick enough to build a sed script to convert /old/server/path to /new/server/path, but it’s still extra work.

The dirname command works to provide a dynamic path value, provided you use the fully qualified path to run the script … but it fails spectacularly whens someone runs ./ and you’re trying to use that path in, say, EXTRA_JAVA_OPTS. The “path” is just . — and Java doesn’t have any idea what to do with “-Xbootclasspath/a:./more/path/goes/here.jar”

Voila, realpath gives you the fully qualified file path for /new/server/path/, ./, or even bash … and the dirname of a realpath is the fully qualified path where resides:

DIRNAME=`dirname $(realpath "$0")`
echo ${DIRNAME}

Hopefully next time we’ve got to re-home our batch jobs, it will be a simple scp & sed the old crontab content to use the new paths.

Understanding the law

It irks me how many government officials fail to understand the law (or, at least, make statements that are legally absurd). Today, Devin Nunes says he will sue CNN for defamation. Why? Because CNN reported that a lawyer for Lev Parnas said Parnas knows something about some meetings Nunes scheduled with former Ukrainian prosecutors (and Parnas is willing to testify before Congress).

What’s the requirement for a defamation case? (1) False statement and (2) malicious intent. If Nunes said he intended to sue Parnas, that would be reasonable — still have to prove that the statement was false and uttered with malicious intent, but at least Parnas could have made a maliciously false statement. But a defamation suit against CNN would be an assertion that CNN made up a conversation with Parnas’ lawyers and did so maliciously to harm Nunes.

I’m certain Nunes statement was dramatization — and a way to avoid answering when asked if he did have involvement with the whole Ukraine fiasco. But someone who is responsible for writing laws shouldn’t demonstrate such ignorance of those laws.

Memory upgrade on Flex 3 1580

The vendor specs for a Lenovo Flex 3 1580 say it supports up to 8GB of RAM. There are some forum threads that say the D3CN35WW BIOS update supports up to 16GB, but the vendor spec hasn’t been updated so it’s chancy. I finally decided to chance it – I’ve got a few Docker VMs that I use for development, a Citrix published app that I need to access, and I like to have a dozen tabs open in Firefox. All of this means that I regularly run out of memory.

I ordered a 16GB module from Amazon, installed it … and

It works!


The Fifth and Executive Privilege

Intellectually, I know that invoking one’s Fifth Amendment right is not an admission of guilt. But, any time I hear someone taking the 5th, my subconscious assumption is either that they’re guilty of whatever is being asked or the answer brings up some other admission of guilt. Because, seriously, why refuse to answer if the content of the answer is exculpatory and doesn’t implicate someone important to me?

In the same way, I intellectually know that my subconscious brain went somewhere not legally valid when Dr. Fiona Hill refused to answer a question citing executive privilege. The line of questioning was basically “you’ve been high up on the Russia desk for some time, so you’ve been on a lot of these phone calls with foreign heads of state”, “yes”, “is the content of this (the declassified 25 July phone call with Zelensky) call unusual”, PRIVILEGE! Which only makes me think that demanding personal favors that run counter to national interest (or having favors that run counter to the national interest demanded of him) isn’t unusual.

November Debate

I like the point about putting more effort into turning the 50% of non-voters into voters … between single-issue voters who will never vote for a Democrat & the 30 or whatever percent that seriously think the Trump presidency is perfect, it’s not like there’s a lot of people to be swayed there. The huge pool of people who don’t vote? Offer free childcare & transportation. Get them engaged with some piece of the platform.


“The fragility of his ego stood in the way of national security” … Harris’ assessment of Trump’s interactions with N. Korea is a good quote, and not just about this particular issue.

I want nothing …

So, if I go jack, say, a Lambo … and when the cops show up say I’m heading out to return it … that’s OK?! Because chatting with an Ambassador and telling them he doesn’t want anything from the Ukraine after knowing the whistle-blower complaint is headed to the House isn’t exactly a great defense. Similarly, saying the money got released after the complaint … not exonerating.

Exchange Mail & Calendar In Teams (duct tape approach, not official MS solution)

The Exchange web client renders in the Teams website tab now – Chrome and Chromium-based Edge. I use the nightly build of FireFox and it says ‘Blocked by X-Frame-Options Policy’

This isn’t a way to get new mail notifications in Teams – you’ve got to click over to the tab. But it does let you send a quick message without leaving Teams.

It’s a little inconvenient, though, to have to navigate over to the right channel to find the website tab. You can also create a custom Teams application to access the Exchange website. That’s a little more complicated, but you basically need a manifest.json with static tabs to the inbox and calendar.

Install and open “App Studio” in Teams. Create a new app. Fill in the details — use the generate button to get an app ID. Since you’re not going to publish the app to the Microsoft app store, the info you use isn’t super important … the privacy and terms of use, specifically, aren’t something anyone is going to read.


In the “Capabilities” section, add a personal tab

Add a tab for the mailbox:

If you wish, add a tab for the calendar – I prefer the weekly view, but you can replace “week” with “workweek”, “day”, or “month”.

In the “Test and Distribute”, click “Download”.

You’ll get a zip file that you can side-load (i.e. it’s not an app published across the company). In “Apps”, select “Upload a custom app”

Locate the downloaded ZIP file and open it

Verify that your app looks right – the permissions are base permissions for all apps (we didn’t add anything special)

Click “Add” and you’ll be able to select the new app from the ellipses in Teams.

And you’ll have an app that can access your mailbox

Or a week view of your calendar