A legend reborn: Microsoft brings back the iconic mouse, the Classic IntelliMouse


My first ever optical mouse was one of these and it was awesome. Nice to see it get a comeback.

Microsoft IntelliMouse. Originally launched in 1996, it became instantly famous with gamers and highly regarded as a great gaming mouse. The IntelliMouse 3.0 had exceptional ergonomics due to its the asymmetric from, and sculpted buttons and finger rests, making it fit perfectly into your hand.

Source: A legend reborn: Microsoft brings back the iconic mouse, the Classic IntelliMouse


Spectre 2.0


More Spectre like goodness in the pipeline. I suspect the Cloud platforms are madly patching their millions of servers as we speak.

And to think, people still like to run their own tin.

If your patching processes haven’t matured this FY (WannaCry, Spectre v1 and now v2) then you’re doing it wrong.

Despite positive first quarter results for 2018, Intel faces continuing issues with its foundries, both with the oft-delayed 10nm, as well as its own modem production in 14nm. Intel revealed in the earnings conference call that volume 10nm manufacturing had been delayed to 2019, without specifying which part of the year.

Source: Intel Foundries Continue to Face Issues and Another Spectre-Like Vulnerability Disclosure May Be Looming

Interesting Railways Documents


Putting this information up here for future keeping. I seem to need to keep referring to these from time to time and it will be handy to have them saved somewhere.

PIR for RailCorp (Now SydneyTrains) Sydenham Signal Box Failure on April 12th.


Presentation on the Stabilisation of the Melbourne Train Control System

Legacy Train Control System Stabilisation

Missing Instant Hotspot on MacOS


One problem that keeps coming back on my MacBook Pro is that the Instant Hotspot option in the WiFi menu (in the menu bar) disappears.

Don’t confuse this with the Personal Hotspot feature of your phone. Instant Hotspot is part of the Continuity suite that uses your AppleID to make your iPhone’s hotspot feature available to your Mac even if the iPhone has the Personal Hotspot turned off.

After spending some time googling around for solutions to the missing option I worked out that I had to be searching for “Instant Hotspot” instead. I then started to get somewhere.

The fix that worked for me was step three from here.

I had to sign out of iCloud on my Mac and then sign back in. I didn’t have to do it on the iPhone.

Ive hit this issue three times now. No idea what the cause was tbh.

Cat5 vs Cat6 Cable: What Are The Differences – FireFold


Saving this one for posterity. I’ve always meant to find something that quickly and easily lets me see the difference. Here it is.

Learn the difference between Cat5 vs Cat6 cables at FireFold Blog. Which cable should you choose for your network? Tested speeds and crosstalk details.

Source: Cat5 vs Cat6 Cable: What Are The Differences – FireFold

Home Internet Monitoring Appliance


My home internet has been pretty flakey of late and I needed a way to monitor the performance of the connection over long periods of time so that I could gather evidence to escalate to my ISP for support and troubleshooting.

Due to the absence of a suitable machine at home to run the tools on I decided to build an Ubuntu VM with smokeping and Cacti. This would allow me to build the environment quickly and then move the VM to a temporary laptop running VMware Workstation at home.

The following steps describe the sequence of events and references I used to complete the work.

Vodafone #Fail & Goodbye

I posted a few months ago about the problems I was having getting a Vodafone (Huawei) K3765 USB dongle to work on Windows 7 64bit. I’m happy to say I resolved the fault however I failed to get the equipment working to my satisfaction.
I had time recently to follow up my case with Vodafone and get the software working on my laptop. I called the Vodafone contact centre on 1555 and got through to Valencia. I gave her my case number and SIM number and put me through right away to the Vodafone contact centre in Tasmania. I was impressed by that, its always a pleasure to speak to local people and for extra bonus the person I spoke to in Tasmania (Sonya) knew her stuff, understood my situation and did many things to try and resolve the problem.
Alas nothing she could think to try would make the dongle work. What I did learn though is that one should always use the software that comes on the USB key and not the software that comes with the dongle on CD-ROM or from the Vodafone website.
During our troubleshooting and the subsequent troubleshooting I did over the course of the following weekend I was able to determine that the cause of the issues appeared to be that Windows considered the drivers for the K3765 to be unsigned and refused to load them. By default Windows 7 64bit will not run unsigned drivers. Sonya had told me that she wasn’t working on the following Monday and that I should expect a call back from one of her work mates on Monday morning.
By 3pm the following Monday I had not had the return call I had been promised. I wended my way through the Vodafone IVR again and ended up speaking to Valencia again. She got me through to Heath in the Tasmanian contact centre. Heath put a lot of effort into troubleshooting and resolving the problems. He had me put Windows 7 into test mode so that it would accept the unsigned drivers. Hardly a satisfactory solution but hey, I’m prepared to try anything at this stage. Unfortunately the solution didn’t resolve the fault. After a reboot and reinstall of the software the same problems persisted. Heaths conclusion at this stage was that a reinstall of Windows 7 was the only way to go.
During the course of the call I had been poking a lot of fun at the reliability and quality of the Huawei brand of equipment and software. Heath was careful to not make any comments about my fun at the expense of Huawei.
I spent a few hours the next day gathering all the CDs and DVDs I would need to complete the reinstall. The day after that I completed my backups and reinstalled Windows. Once the base OS was installed and patched and the vendor drivers were all updated I installed the Vodafone dongle and Vodafone Mobile Connect software that comes with the key (not the CD in the box). Success! Worked first time, no errors, no faults.
From this point I ran through my software installation and patching. Once I had all my tools and apps installed I connected the USB dongle again and it failed to show in Device Manager, only one of its devices showed up. A few reboots and more testing later and my problem had returned. I was not impressed BUT at least I knew now that the cause was something I had installed.
I had a look through the list of installed applications and decided to start troubleshooting by uninstalling all the applications which had a driver component. First one to go was Daemon Tools. That didn’t resolve it. The next to uninstall was VMware Workstation 7.1.3. After a reboot I tested the Vodafone dongle again and it was now working fine.
So, having successfully identified the cause of the failure I had a decision to make. Stick with the Vodafone dongle or use VMware workstation. Hardly a pleasant choice since I use both to do my job.
At the moment I’m still using the Vodafone dongle. With all the ongoing problems Vodafone is having in Australia at the moment the company I work for is about to churn to Telstra Nextgen which hopefully wont have this problem.
The only task that remained was to contact Heath in Tasmania again and let him know my findings so that some other poor Vodafone customer wouldn’t have to suffer my fate. I contacted 1555 again, wended my way through their IVR and ended up speaking to Suraj who, on the quality Vodafone VoiP connected to sunny India, I was sure was telling me his name was Sewerage. I gave Suraj the case number and he tells me that he needs my mobile number and account password to access my history because he cannot use a case number to look up a customers history. I describe the case to him in a nutshell and request connection to the Tasmanian call centre and he tells me that Vodafone doesnt have any call centres in Australia.
At this stage I’m pretty unhappy. I’m going out of my way to help Vodafone and they are giving me the run around. I push on Suraj a little harder and after about 5 minutes on hold I’m talking to Heath. Heath laughs when I explain what just happened. I relay my findings to Heath who expresses gratitude and assures me the notes are going to his supervisor for further action internally.
So, what did I learn from this exercise?
– The software that Vodafone provides with the USB key package on CD isn’t the best software to use.
– Huawei USB keys don’t have a fantastic reputation for reliability and I suspect Vodafone knows this.
– Level 1 Vodafone support/customer service need substantially more training, particularly about what countries do in fact have call centres.
– The software that Huawei provide Vodafone is not compatible with VMware Workstation 7.1.X.
I’m glad that this exercise is over and I’m also glad that my employer has decided to ditch Vodafone as seems to be somewhat of a theme going on in Australia at the moment.