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Resume and bio of the author Couple of articles related to my hobby - robotics
My impressions about immigration to Australia. In Russian only. Recipes for everyday problems solving
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Andrey Mikhalchuk’s Blog

Technoblog about life

Sep 23, 2008 How did I brick Pleo and returned it back to life.

You’ve probably heard about Pleo – the greenest and coolest dinosaur available on today’s market. My daughter got one for her birthday recently from her loving parents. She enjoyed it for a few days and then just got bored because it was the same moo, mrrr and urf and not much walking at all. Well, two more days of interest were raised with additional downloadable personalities, but that was it.
I tweaked the dino into something more interesting and made it wireless, so you can issue commands to it remotely (via bluetooth). Ok, one more day of fun. Then I wrote something a bit more usable then Dinomite and other tools available from Ugobe website. The development was going well until one day Pleo didn’t wake up …

Sep 11, 2008 “Setup cannot continue because some system files are out of date on your system.”

“Setup cannot continue because some system files are out of date on your system. Click OK if you would like setup to update these files for you now. You will need to restart Windows before you can run setup again. Click cancel to exit setup without updating system files.”

First time I was struggling with the problem when I tried to install Dino-MITE – an excellent program for monitoring ancd controlling home dinosaurs manufactured by Ugobe. Later it appeared that the problem is more common and frequently occures with during the installation of various products written in Visual Basic.

Sep 10, 2008 Problems downloading drivers from hp.com?

I don’t know exactly what causes the problem, but I’m unable to download anything from HP (Hewlett-Packard) website. I tried downloading using multiple FTP clients from different platforms and it appeared that Safari under MacOS can download the files, while Firefox under both Windows and MacOS can’t. Right now I tried to get the same file from two XP computers using FireFox and one was able to download the file, while the other one wasn’t. It’s not about firewall settings and not about passive/active mode. If someone knows the reason and how to fix the problem I’d appreciate a comment on this post.

If anyone else is experiencing the same problems use the following solution: copy the URL of the link you’re trying to download the file from (in FireFox right-click on the link and choose “Copy Link location”), paste the link into the browser’s address line, replace “ftp://” with “http://” and hit enter. This will download the file using HTTP protocol.

Sep 10, 2008 Updating BIOS on ALIX 2 series (fixing “NET: Registered protocol family 16″ boot freeze)

I recently tried to install voyage linux on an ALIX computer and found that versions 5.0 don’t run on it hanging with “NET: Registered protocol family 16″ message during the boot. After quick research I found that “MFGPT workaround” option should be disabled in the bios settings in order to fix the problem.

Unfortunately BIOS versions prior to 0.98d do not have that option, so I had to upgrade the BIOS. The instructions for the upgrade are available at http://pcengines.ch/freedos.htm. For some reason only “LBA Copy” method worked for me, though others report that “File Copy” is the most reliable method. By default LBA is turned off on ALIX, so make sure that you change the bios settings from CHS to LBA. To do so when you see the memory check during the boot press “S” then “L”, “Q”, “Y”. If you don’t do that you’ll be getting something like “.Error!.” or the system will just freeze after “FreeDOS” message, depending on the method you’re using for the FreeDOS installation.

Now format the flash card (For some reason the method didn’t work for me until I reformat the card), write the image, copy the new BIOS files, properly eject the card from the card reader (use the “Safely Remove Hardware” tray icon for that), insert the card into ALIX and boot from it.

I copied the new bios files into directory BIOS, so after boot I need to issue the following commands:

C:\>cd BIOS
C:\BIOS>dir
 Volume in drive C has no label
 Volume Serial Number is 4752-912D

 Directory of C:\BIOS

.                    <DIR>  09-10-08  2:11p
..                   <DIR>  09-10-08  2:11p
ALIX1    BIN       524,288  12-10-07  2:00p
ALIX2    BIN       524,288  12-10-07  2:00p
ALIXBIOS TXT         5,052  12-10-07  2:01p
SB       COM         1,648  08-30-07  2:36a
         4 file(s)      1,055,276 bytes
         2 dir(s)      14,086,144 bytes free
C:\BIOS>sb.com
ALIX flash update (C)2007 PC Engines GmbH
Flash ID = 1 FFFF GPI = FF
Flash ID = 0 9D37 GPI = 01
Reading 512KB flash image alix1.bin................
Compare Erase Program Verify - update OK.
C:\BIOS>


Now power ALIX off and replace the FreeDOS card with Voyage card and enjoy the problem gone.

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