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Archive for April, 2012

Tutorial on how to flash the Telkom Mega 105WR

April 21, 2012 2 comments

In my previous post here, I detailed how I flashed the firmware of my old Telkom Meaga router. Per a request in the comments to that post, I’m writing a quick tutorial on how to flash your Telkom Mega. Please be aware that flashing the device with the RouterTech firmware will invalidate any remaining warranty on the router, and there is a chance you can brick the router.

Do as follows:

  1. Register at routertech.org and sign in. Follow the download links to where you are able to download the firmware. For the Telkom Mega 105WR, you will want to download the “routertech-ar7wrd-1350A-pspboot-firmware-4ports-20120130” or similar file, depending on the date. Unzip this file to a folder anywhere.
  2. Login in to the Mega 105WR’s web page. Click the Advanced menu button at the top and then on Restore to Default on the left hand side of the page. This will reset the router to factory defaults. This is a required step.
  3. Alternatively, press and hold the physical reset button on the back of the router for about 30 seconds. This will do the same thing as step 2, and is useful if you can’t get into the router’s web management page.
  4. You should now be able to log into the router’s web page at http://10.0.0.2 Once there, click on the Advanced button on the top, and then click Firmware Upgrade on the left hand side of the page.
  5. Click the Browse button to find the RouterTech firmware.
  6. Chose the “RouterTech_3.7.1B_1350A_20120130_2.97_AR7WRD_psbl_firmware.upgrade” file in the root of the unzipped folder from step 1.
  7. Click on the Update Gateway button.
  8. Walk away from your PC, or play cards for roughly 10 minutes. DO NOT attempt to do anything on the router, ping it and so forth.
  9. After 10 minutes, refresh your computer’s IP address. It should now be in the 192.168.1.x range. If this is so, then the firmware has been flashed correctly.
  10.   Log into the router’s web page at http://192.168.1.1 The default user name and password is Admin/Admin
  11.   Click on the Advanced Menu button at the top, then on Restore to Default. The router will factory reset again. This is the last time you will need to do this step.
  12.   To make the LED lights on the front work properly, you will need to change the LED configuration file. Go to the System button on the top menu, and then RT Configurations on the left. When you see the option to change the LED configuration file, use the bewan 700 (or something similar, the name escapes me right now) model. Restart the router when asked, and you are done.

Now you can further configure the router as you need. All the options of the old Mega firmware are there, along with plenty of other options. I must stress that I haven’t yet let the Mega run for extended periods, so I can’t tell if the RouterTech firmware will fix the problems the original firmware had. Still, it’s worth a shot and it may help you out. I’m always open to feedback.

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Mass Effect 3 review

Last week I finished up Mass Effect 3, and I thought I would post my thoughts on the game here. I’m not going to score the game in a traditional way, but rather give my thoughts in ugly, bad and good point form. ME3 is a highly subjective game, and depending on how you played the previous games, most of the outcomes will differ from player to player.

The Ugly:

  • The character importer is severely broken. If you customised the face of your Commander Shepard in the previous games, there is a very high chance that when you import him/her into ME3 your face will either look very different or will fail to appear at all. I can understand that BioWare worked on improving the graphics in ME3, but to have your custom Shep face not available immediately breaks immersion. Very poor form BioWare, and the 1.02 patch does not resolve the problem!
  • The endings ruin everything that was built up over 5 years. It’s too short, too full of holes and feels incredibly rushed. It poses far too many questions that deserve answers, being the end of the trilogy.

The Bad:

  • If you play on a PC, EA’s Origin service is required. Depending on how you view it, this could be a non issue or a massive pain. Origin is a lot like Steam, though I find it to start up faster and be more responsive. Still, it’s a bit intrusive to have the service forced on you.
  • Multiplayer can be buggy. MP is a lot of fun with the right team, but sometimes it glitches really badly. Apparently the MP section is peer to peer hosted, so if your hosting player is on a slow connection, strange things can and do happen. It’s also frustrating when you get disconnected right near the end of great match.
  • Enemies are repetitive! There are only 3 types in the entire game, and they get boring after a while. The previous 2 ME games had a lot more variety.

The Good:

  • There are some truly epic moments in the game. Some characters get a wonderful ending that leaves you emotionally wrecked. These missions are truly the BioWare standard of old!
  • Graphics seem to have been spruced up again. ME3 is no Crysis, but it’s come a long way since the first game. Also, crying seems a lot more natural now and not like the oil slick effect from ME2.
  • Ashley is back. She’s my favourite character and love interest, so it’s great to have her back.
  • Great squad dynamics. The smaller squad makes the game feel a bit more like ME1, where you could get to know your team mates quite well, unlike ME2 where there were up to 12 members. Banter is great, and the team mates generally work together very well.

Overall, Mass Effect 3 is a very good game with many fantastic moments, but it is also rough around the edges in many places. There was a massive leak of the game’s contents in November last year which forced BioWare to make a lot of last minute changes. I’m sure that impacted quite a bit on the game as well, and could go a way to explaining the nature of the endings.

BioWare have announced an Extended Cut that will come as free DLC in “Summer 2012.” They won’t change the endings, but they intend the EC to flesh out the choice you make, as well as provide closure. If BioWare pull this off, then at least it will go some way to helping us accept our Shepard’s fate in the end.

Until then, I will leave it at this: Mass Effect 3 is a fine game in most of its areas, but as a complete package, it falls short of Mass Effect 2. I hope that further DLC as well as the Extended Cut will flesh out the game to the level of ME2.

Is this the last we’ll see of Commander Shepard? Probably and sadly so. I just can’t see how Shep will feature in future games after the Reapers. Will it be the last Mass Effect game? Unlikely – Electronic Arts knows when they have a gold franchise, and I am sure that they will push for more games to be made in the universe in the future.

RouterTech firmware for Telkom Mega 105WR

April 7, 2012 5 comments

Quite some time ago I wrote two posts on the Telkom Mega 105WR router, which you can read here and here. After the second post, I ended up purchasing a Netgear router, which has worked like a charm since the day it arrived. The Mega ended up being put back in its box and packed away for a year and a half.

This past week, I retrieved the Mega from its shelf to attempt something interesting: flash an alternate firmware onto the device. Telkom/2C Telecoms never released another firmware for the device, and since the router was no longer under any warranty, it made sense to experiment on it.

I can’t remember how I originally heard about the RouterTech 3rd party firmware, but I thought I’d give it a shot this week. I downloaded the Router Upgrade Check program and confirmed that the Mega could be flashed with the new firmware. The Mega’s internals are identical to a wide range of routers that were built on Texas Instruments’ AR7 platform.

After registering on the RouterTech site, I downloaded the firmware and followed the instructions. The flash itself took about 7-8 minutes, though it’s a bit tough to tell when the process is done as the router changes from a 10.0.0.x IP to 192.168.1.1 after the flash. The best way to check if it’s done is to see if your network card has gotten a new 192.168.1.x IP address.

Once logged in, the firmware felt pretty familiar. It’s similar in layout to the Mega’s original firmware, but there appears to be a lot more features. The web GUI is a bit bright with its orange colour scheme, but apart from that it works as expected. After the flash, the LED lights on the router were not working properly, but if you change the setting to the BeWan 700 LED configuration, the LED lights work correctly.

I plugged the router into the ADSL line and created a connection. That also worked without issue. WiFi also works with no problems so far.

The only way I could truly test the device to see if the RouterTech firmware has fixed the problems I had with the Mega would be to let it run for a week or two continuously to test stability. Either way, it’s nice to know that I have a spare router now, in case something goes wrong.

My thanks go out to everyone who made the firmware possible. It’s always nice to be able to resurrect a seemingly dead piece of equipment and make it useful again.