19 July 2017

642. Garmin GPSMap 64S and the weirdest hardware bug...

Last year I bought a Garmin GPSMap 64S (https://www.ryda.com.au/garmin-gpsmap-64s-handheld-gps) and while it has objectively made my life a lot more amazing (being able to just walk, without having to look for often hard-to-find maps before and printing them, gives you a great sense of freedom), it comes with a weird bug.

If you change the batteries (runs on 2xAA), you might not be able to turn it back on. I did some troubleshooting:
* If you change the batteries quickly -- within 5-10 minutes -- it would turn back on
* Otherwise the only way to turn the GPS back on was to plug it into your computer -- or another power source such as a phone battery bank -- using the USB cable

I sent the device back to Ryda, but when they tested it they had no issues turning it back on. Egg + Face.

Well, I finally figured it out -- it all comes down to how you put the batteries back in.

Right before Left

If you put the device face down as shown in the photo, you need to put the RIGHT battery in BEFORE the LEFT one, and the device will start fine.

If you put the left battery in before the right one, you'll need to hook the GPS up via the USB cable to a power source to start it.

WHY it's like that, and whether it's a manufacturing defect only present in my device, I don't know. I'm just happy that it's working consistently now.

641. Rant: Why is it so hard to comment on blogspot?

I'd like to respond to people who leave comments on my posts, but for some reason it's become so difficult that I normally never get around to it.

Although firefox and chrome hasn't worked for commenting for a long time (in spite of turning off adblockers, cookie blockers etc.) Epiphany ('Web' in Gnome 3) used to do the trick. Not even that works properly anymore -- I was forced to post as anonymous in the end, rather than using my google account.

The steady march of progress...

PS Thanks to everyone who posts feedback. I do read everything and appreciate that you take the time to leave comments. I just might not be able to respond...

29 June 2017

640. nordvpn with network-manager-openvpn-gnome (on debian 8), and speeds

So you've signed up for nordvpn, e.g. because you can't live without ABC for Kids and you're exiled to Europe. Unfortunately, while you can connect to a server using

sudo openvpn au35.nordvpn.com.udp1194.ovpn
you're having little luck using network-manager-openvpn-gnome, and the nordvpn official step-by-step guide isn't bleeding working.

Well, here's how to do it:
1. Go to network settings and add a new connection. Click on VPN:
The select import from file.
Select the file:

This will import some, but not all, of the settings.

You'll need to select the .crt file:
And then click on advanced. Got to the TLS Authentication tab:

You need to select 'Use additional TLS authentication' and select the tls.key. The key direction should be 1 (it's in the ovpn file)

Either way, the connection using the gnome network manager seems a lot less stable than what you get using openvpn in the terminal.

So, will it work for streaming? Not really, from what I can see. I do admittedly have a really crappy connection even w/o vpn, and I'm doing this over wifi. Here are results using google speed test:

No VPN: 6.36/9.75 Mbps Up/Down
uk32 (udp): 1.79/7.89
au10 (udp): 3.94/2.85 -- first try
au32 (tcp): 0.86(!)/0.96
us621 (udp): 0.47(!)/3.22
au10 (udp): 1.13/1.45 -- second try
No VPN: 7.53/2.96 -- second try

These are just random servers. There may be higher speed ones out there. Also, note how living in an area with a high concentration of students can cause large variations in your speeds in general.
Update: I ran a couple of tests from work where I have a /fast/ ethernet connection. I did it using Okla:
No VPN: 94.09/94.08 -- first try
No VPN: 94.10/94.02 -- second try
ch7 (udp): 87.95/87.87
au10(udp): 0.53/0.75 -- even just running the test took ages

Another fun little trick when using openvpn in the terminal is -- if you're not concerned about protecting your username/password -- to follow this post: https://my.hostvpn.com/knowledgebase/22/Save-Password-in-OpenVPN-for-Automatic-Login.html

After creating your auth.txt file, in the folder with your .ovpn files, do
sed -i 's/auth-user-pass/auth-user-pass auth.txt/' *.ovpn

Now you can switch vpns quickly and happily.