So I recently did something I swore I would never do… I finally got on board with Telstra, for internet access. I’ve had a mobile service with Telstra for nearly 20 years, but I’ve always used a separate carrier for my internet access. This week, that changed.

When the Telstra Smart Modem (with 4G) arrived, as per the order and the propaganda, I expected to be able to fire that bad boy up and get internet access straight away via 4G, while I waited a few days for my ADSL to be connected. Nope.

Firstly, my Smart Modem wasn’t even configured with my ADSL/NBN credentials, of which I didn’t even know until after the ADSL had been connected. Note: The Smart Modem refers to all connectivity now as ‘Broadband’. Don’t be worried if you don’t see ‘ADSL’ or ‘NBN’ anywhere as we progress further. In fact, wherever I say ‘ADSL’ or ‘NBN’ think ‘Broadband’.

For anyone wondering, your ADSL/NBN credentials are the username sent to you and password you set, previous to the Smart Modem being delivered. I found my username in an email (it was a typical @bigpond.com username with an annoying number in it) and there was a link to follow to set my password (you can choose to have it emailed to you or sent to your mobile as an SMS). I nearly missed the email because it just looked like another piece of Telstra propaganda marketing. If you think you should have yours by now, go check your email, all of them (from Telstra), carefully. Don’t forget to check your Junk Mail or Spam if you can’t see it anywhere else!

If you want to know if the credentials you have are correct, click here: https://www.my.telstra.com.au/myaccount/home and see if you can login with them. Don’t worry about what you do or do not see once you are logged in. So long as you can login successfully, the credentials you have are correct.

You can configure the ADSL/NBN credentials by logging into the Smart Modem from a browser using the Smart Modem’s IP Address (obviously you’ll need to be connected to the Smart Modem’s Wi-Fi or via a network cable). For me, that IP Address was: 192.168.0.1. Unless you have already set a new admin password, by default, you can configure the whole device without any further credentials. In other words, if you’re doing this for the first time, it won’t ask you for an ‘admin’ password. In your browser, enter: http://192.168.0.1.

To configure your ADSL/NBN credentials, once logged into the Smart Modem, go to the Broadband page and under the PPPoE Settings heading, enter your username and password. In my case, this was the username and password I configured previous to receiving my Smart Modem (see above), which, until now, I thought was just my Telstra billing account. It actually turned out that they attached my new internet service to my existing Telstra mobile account. How convenient! It would have also been nice to have been told that. This explains why when I logged into the Telstra portal (see link above) with my ADSL/NBN credentials, I didn’t see anything attached to my account (like an internet service)…. I digress.

With the ADSL/NBN credentials configured, the ADSL service (later it will be NBN when it’s provisioned in my area) came to life and internet access was up and running. Obviously, if you’ve purchased an NBN service instead, your NBN service will now be up. FYI: Unless you have a fibre to the home (FTTH) service, your NBN service will more than likely use your telephone line. Don’t worry, you haven’t been duped, it’s not super fast ADSL, it just uses the same cables/wires in the ground.

Now, 4G access. Physically disconnect the ADSL/NBN and the 4G service should kick in right? Nope.

In fact, when I logged into the Smart Modem and had a look at the ‘Advanced’ –> Mobile settings, it looked like the 4G service didn’t work. I actually suspected my Smart Modem was faulty. Turns out it wasn’t. Firstly, to view the Mobile settings, as explained above, login to the Smart Modem. By default, you’re in ‘Basic’ view. On the right hand side at the top, there’s an icon (a spanner and a screw driver) called Advanced. Click it. Now you’ll see an arrangement of boxes for the many features of the Smart Modem. We’re interested in Mobile.

OK, this is where it gets a little tricky. If you’ve had your Smart Modem switched on for a while, like me, you’ll see a message to the effect of: No Device detected (or No Device connected). I actually considered the possibility that I was supposed to have a 4G dongle attached (there is a USB port) or that maybe the SIM card was faulty or not activated and so on. To resolve this, you can do one of potentially two or more things (depending on how creative you are). You can keep refreshing the ‘Advanced’ view until the Mobile box shows a message to the effect of: Configuring Device (or Connecting), or you can just restart the Smart Modem with the ADSL/NBN physically disconnected. Once you’re able to get the ‘Advanced’ view, Mobile showing a message to the effect of: Configuring Device (or something similar), click Mobile.

You’ll need to work kind of quickly (don’t panic though, you can always try this more than once), as eventually the Smart Modem does give up trying to connect the 4G service if it fails too many times. When this happens, all of the options under Mobile are hidden and a message (red text on a red background) is displayed indicating the device is not connected.

You’ll now be on the Configuration tab. You can actually see a message in the middle of the screen (orange text on yellow background…) to the effect of: You must select the telstra.hybrid profile for your backup service to work. Just like me, you’ll be thinking “that’s already selected!”, as you can see that it is selected, directly below that message! Don’t worry about the SIM and Diagnostics tabs for now. Click the Profiles tab. Click the [Add new profile] button.

In the Name field, enter telstra.hybrid2 (it can be anything really). In the APN field, you must enter telstra.hybrid. In the PDP Type field, select IPv4v6. In the Username field, enter your ADSL/NBN username. In the Password field, enter your ADSL/NBN password.  In the Authentication Type field, select None. Click the [Add]/[+] button and then click the [Close] button. Click Mobile again. On the Configuration tab, click the edit icon (it looks like a little pencil on a notepad) under the Interfaces heading (its kind of in the middle of the screen, to the right). You’ll see the Linked Profile field becomes a selection list. Click it and select telstra.hybrid2 (or whatever you named it above). Click the [Tick] button (it’s an icon that looks like a check mark) and then click the [Close] button.

Wait 1-5 minutes (no longer, really) and you should see your Mobile service come to life. You’ll know, as you’ll be able to access the internet 😉 also, in the ‘Advanced’ view, Mobile, you’ll see messages to the effect of: Status: Connected, Radio Type: LTE and Quality: Good. Now is a good time to go back and take a look at the SIM and Diagnostics tabs if you’re so inclined. There’s nothing to do or configure. They are just informational. If something was to ever happen to the SIM card, it could be useful to have the ICCID and the IMSI recorded somewhere. Up to you.

We’re almost done. The profile you created above, isn’t actually necessary. Apart from calling it telstra.hybrid2 (or whatever you called it) it’s identical to the existing telstra.hybrid (without the username and password, also not needed) Using the same steps, let’s switch the Mobile configuration back to the telstra.hybrid profile.

In the ‘Advanced’ view, click Mobile. On the Configuration tab, click the edit icon (it looks like a little pencil on a notepad) under the Interfaces heading (its kind of in the middle of the screen, to the right). You’ll see the Linked Profile field becomes a selection list. Click it and select telstra.hybrid. Click the [Tick] button (it’s an icon that looks like a check mark) and then click the [Close] button.

Wait 1-5 minutes (no longer, really) and you should see your Mobile service come back to life. You’ll know, as you’ll be able to access the internet again 😉 also, in the ‘Advanced’ view, Mobile, you’ll see messages to the effect of: Status: Connected, Radio Type: LTE and Quality: Good.

Last but not least, the profile you created, can now be deleted. In the ‘Advanced’ view, click Mobile. Click the Profiles tab. To the right of the profile you created previously, you’ll see an [Edit] button and a [Delete]/[X] button. Click the [Delete]/[X] button. Click the [Close] button.

That’s it, you’re done! Obviously, this is a bug/glitch in the matrix in the Smart Modem software, as simply switching the profile between telstra.hybrid and telstra.internet, you would think, would work / have the same effect, saving you from creating the additional profile. It doesn’t. For some reason, creating another identical profile and switching between it and the profile you need to use, does the trick. Let’s not forget the fact that it should have just worked out of the box and I shouldn’t have had to try all kinds of trickery to get it working…

P.S. This could have been one of those ‘techie aura’ moments, as I was on the phone to Telstra (in the queue and only just answered by a representative) when I tried the above steps and it came to life. The Telstra representative did not tell me to do any of the above. In fact, they advised me not to use the 4G internet except for when the ADSL/NBN is truly down, as the ADSL/NBN will be “faster” then the 4G internet. In my case (ADSL), the 4G internet is faster 😉

I tried to build this SDK on more variants of linux than I care to admit. It only works successfully out of the box on Ubuntu. Specifically, Ubuntu 12.04.5.  I compiled this for use with my AR Drone 2, but I don’t see why it couldn’t be used with the AR Drone as well. There’s nothing here that makes the SDK specific to either model.

  1. Download Ubuntu 12.04.5 32bit. It probably works with 64bit (although I didn’t test it), if you really must use 64bit.
  2. Either install Ubuntu 12.04.5 alongside (dual boot) with another operating system, or in a virtual machine. I installed it in a VMware Fusion virtual machine on macOS. The Ubuntu operating system is agnostic, so it doesn’t really matter how you choose to virtualise it, if you do.
    1. Don’t install Ubuntu 12.04.5 updates during the installation process (leave the option unticked).
    2. Don’t install updates or upgrade Ubuntu to the next release when asked after the first login.
  3. Download the SDK (or copy it from somewhere to the Desktop).
  4. Open a terminal and change to your Desktop directory.
    1. # cd Desktop
  5. Unzip the SDK.
    1. # unzip ARDrone_SDK_2_0_1.zip
  6. Change to the ARDrone_SDK_2_0_1 directory
    1. # cd ARDrone_SDL_2_0_1 directory
  7. Run the following command (using sudo) to compile and install dependencies.
    1. # sudo ARDroneLib/Soft/Build/check_dependencencies.sh
      1. You’ll be asked to confirm installation of some packages, be sure to say Yes (y).
  8. Run the following command (using sudo) to compile the linux binaries.
    1. # cd Examples\Linux
    2. # sudo make
      1. Wait for the SDK binaries to be compiled
  9. The binaries are built in /home/<username>/Desktop/ARDrone_SDL_2_0_1/Examples/Linux/Build/Release/. Move them to you desktop and make them accessible as follows.
    1. # sudo mv /home/<username>/Desktop/ARDrone_SDL_2_0_1/Examples/Linux/Build/Release/ /home/<username>/Desktop/ARDroneApps
    2. # sudo chown -R <username>:<username> /home/<username>/Desktop/ARDroneApps
  10. Run the apps! You’ll need to be connected to your AR Drone 2 WiFi network first of course. Make sure you don’t have the Free Flight app open on any smart phones or tablets at the same time, as this will interfere with communications between your computer and your drone.
    1. # cd /home/<username>/Desktop/ARDroneApps
    2. # ./ardrone_navigation
    3. # ./linux_sdk_demo
    4. # ./linux_video_demo
    5. # ./sym_ardrone_testing_tool

After spending almost three hours trying to get Bioshock (the first game) working on my Windows 10 computer (upgraded from Windows 7), I determined that the issue was related to the initialisation of the audio device (regardless of what the audio device actually is / was). I’ve got a Creative Sound Blaster Audigy sound card, an onboard Realtek HD Audio sound card, the NVIDIA audio controller (courtesy of my NVIDIA GTX 560), Total Recorder audio drivers, e2eSoft audio drivers and a Logitech G930 gaming headset. No matter what combination of default devices etc that I tried, nothing ever worked.

Two things did work though.

  1. Disabling all the sound devices (in the Windows Device Manager and the Sound / Recording options)
  2. Starting the game with the -nosound switch (added to the launch options for Bioshock, on steam).

So that pretty much nailed it down. After a little more research on the internet, I discovered an audio initialisation was carried out at the very beginning of the execution of the game, during the developer intro.

Here’s another switch: -nointro.

Apparently the sound device initialization carried out at the very start, is simply used for displaying the developer intro. When you start the actual game, a separate audio initialisation is carried out.

Who needs to see the developer intro every time they start the game? I certainly don’t.

So I added this to the launch options for Bioshock, on steam

  • -nointro

Started the game, no issues. Set my resolution to max, changed my audio to 7.1 (to suit my Logitech G930) and off I went to Rapture!

No other changes, no compatibility mode, no run as administrator, no additional drivers (I’m not using / have never used OpenAL, Rapture3D) installed and no changes to Bioshock configuration files.

Of course, if you have a non-steam version of the game, you could create a shortcut to the bioshock.exe file and add -nointro to the end of the Target line, in the properties of the shortcut and start the game from the shortcut. Did I mention the word shortcut ;-P

This may not work for everyone, as I’ve seen some really ridiculous fixes (seriously, stuff that just doesn’t make sense, like plugging headphones into the microphone port) apparently get Bioshock working for others, so consider this solution to be just as crazy as all the others.

Happy to provide assistance with this solution in the comments. Have fun!

I recently needed to be able to use the Cisco VPN Client (I’m specifically referring to version: 5.0.07.0410 on 32bit Windows and version: 5.0.07.0440 on 64bit Windows, although this fix would apply to earlier versions as well) on my Windows 8.1 (32bit Windows) tablet (Acer Iconia), but was not able to connect to my remote VPN endpoint. I kept getting the this error: Reason 440: Driver Failure. I searched this error in Google and tried all sorts of fixes and patches and things from articles everywhere. No matter what I tried (for hours on end), the error message was always the same. Eventually, I just gave up.

Today, I decided to have one more look at the issue. I realized I hadn’t looked somewhere quite obvious; The Windows Event Viewer. Sure enough, under Windows Logs –> System, I found the following error message:

The Cisco Systems Inc. IPSec Driver service failed to start due to the following error: 
Windows cannot verify the digital signature for this file. A recent hardware or software change might have installed a file that is signed incorrectly or damaged, or that might be malicious software from an unknown source.

So, to put it simply, Windows Driver Signature Enforcement (DSE) was at fault. Not the software VPN Client, not DNE, not the drivers, not Windows Update, and not having other VPN clients installed. It was simply DSE.

I tried disabling DSE (and that might be all you have to do), but it turned out I had to go one step further, because I couldn’t disable DSE.

Why?

Well, my tablet has something called ‘Secure Boot’ enabled. When I tried disabling DSE, I received a message telling me it wasn’t possible to disable it because I have Secure Boot enabled. So I did a quick search on how to Disable Secure Boot. I’d gone looking for the setting previously, but couldn’t find it because I had to set a user / system password in the BIOS first. After I set a password, voila! The Secure Boot setting appeared! After disabling Secure Boot, I started Windows 8.1 and was immediately able to use the Cisco VPN Client to connect to my remote VPN endpoint. I didn’t even need to re-install it.

Note: I’m not discrediting all the other articles on the internet and all their work arounds and fixes. They just simply didn’t work for me. If you’re system doesn’t have Secure Boot, than this fix won’t work for you. You’ll either need to disabled DSE or find another solution.

The thing that caught me up, was that I have another PC with Windows 8.1 on it, and all I had to do was install the Cisco VPN client and connect. It just worked straight out of the box. No fixes required. The only difference (other than it being a PC) was that it doesn’t have Secure Boot (older BIOS).