Replacing the screen on a Microsoft Lumia 640 and similar

By YellowOnline on Friday 20 May 2016 23:32 - Comments (1)
Category: Hardware, Views: 4.122

The glass from the Lumias is pretty good. Mine is barely scratched (in the non-Black Knight meaning) after throwing a bit of a tantrum. Well, actually, after kicking it quite spectacularly 10 meters in the air and it rubbing the asphalt of the Kladow beach side glass-down for a dozen of meters, in one of my totally out of proportion bouts of anger. My taxi was canceled.

But enough about my personality issues: the glass survived wonderfully, but it did have one single scratch running from the left to the right of the screen. I'm not a hipster teenager who likes perforated jeans or shattered-screen iPhones, so I ordered a new screen from Hong Kong for about €25 and replaced my screen. A short manual for the Tweaker. I had a glance at this YouTube video before I ordered, so props to Smart Easy Repair and check it out if you prefer a video version.

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DIY Firewall: Sophos UTM: The Basics

By YellowOnline on Saturday 7 November 2015 14:05 - Comments (15)
Categories: Hardware, Networking, Views: 20.510

Warner Bros extorted €1 000 from me a while ago because of a 3 second upload of Vampire Diaries - that rubbish, of all things ... - from my network. If I wouldn't pay, they threatened to sue me into bankruptcy for the rest of my life with their army of lawyers.

I hope to have my revenge on them, or at least on the bloodhound lawyers they send to me, one day; but in the meantime I just want to avoid this very unfortunate episode from happening again.

Looking for a way to block torrents on my network, that includes myself, my visitors and most of my neighbours, I decided to install a real firewall.

Firewalls are expensive. We're not talking about a software application blocking traffic on specific ports on your computer, but about a dedicated hardware device capable of analyzing in real time all traffic going over it. Most of these devices cost upwards from €500 or even €10 000+, depending whether you need a SOHO product or a full-blown enterprise level firewall. And all of this needs an expensive yearly license on top of the hardware

So what options do "prosumers" have? Well, the Sophos UTM seems to fill that gap. Sophos sells its own hardware for the SOHO market, but made the software free to download plus gives you a full license for up to 50 users for free. That also includes their antivirus for up to 12 users.

Basically, you can build your own hardware, install their image and have a professional, highly customizable firewall with free antivirus on top of it for free. I'm skeptical about altruism from big companies, so I wonder what their long-term strategy is. Getting a bigger share of the market? Anyway, for the time being, this is an unbeatable deal. For protecting my own 5 devices plus server with ESET I paid €200 last year - the server license is 75% of that price. For half the price in hardware as a one-time investment, I've got a lot more bang for my bucks now.

A short overview of its advantages and disadvantages:

  • Full network control
  • Options galore, including your own VPN
  • Dirt-cheap
  • Very documented and community-supported (Astaro forums)
  • You'll need to be knowledgeable about networking or at least ready to invest time in it
  • Expect a performance hit, depending on hardware
  • Wifi not directly manageable, except if you use Sophos Wifi (€€€) - but you can just connect an AP of course
Talking about hardware: the hardware you need for your own UTM can be as heavy as you make it. I kept mine light for both financial and ecological reasons; and because I seldom expect more than 10 concurrent users. Still, a minimal machine will cost you about €300 in parts. Fortunately, I found a great deal on e-bay.

More on my hardware and a step by step guide for getting the Sophos UTM's basic functions working right away. Before continuing, however, be aware that this page contains about 50 (resized) screenshots and you might consider twice before opening it on your mobile phone. :)

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By YellowOnline on Saturday 1 August 2015 12:12 - Comments (6)
Category: Hardware, Views: 16.433

When you want to install Windows 10 you might end up with a dreaded BSOD: MULTIPROCESSOR_CONFIGURATION_NOT_SUPPORTED. Help!

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HP Printer Firmware Update "Not applicable"

By YellowOnline on Thursday 19 March 2015 14:49 - Comments (7)
Category: Hardware, Views: 6.937

Once upon a time, HP was a premium brand. Those days are long gone. If they don't get back on the right track with their consumer printers, they will end up like Olivetti and Tulip eventually in favour of brands like Samsung that are getting a bigger market share every day. A fate I also wish to Creative Labs, whom I have put on my embargo list for the same reason by the way. These brands have been cherishing the fruits of their past reputation much too long.


Just to say I've had with the crappy electronics of HP and with their poor customer support. I've been struggling with my 2 year old printer for a year now because it keeps losing connectivity with the computer by whatever means it is connected (USB/LAN/WLAN). Today is the day I take some time to whether throw it away and buy a different one (not HP, mind you) or to get it working the way it should again. Maybe a firmware might do the trick, so let's download and install it. Should be pretty straightforward. Or not?

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There, I fixed it: Fractal Design Array R2 nl

Door YellowOnline op woensdag 15 augustus 2012 12:16 - Reacties (8)
Categorie: Hardware, Views: 4.473

Omdat vandaag Windows 8 beschikbaar is heb ik gisteren een Windows Server 2012 domein opgezet waar mijn clients zich kunnen op aanloggen met roaming profiles en folder redirection. Een enkele server is voldoende voor mijn thuisnetwerk, maar die moest ik wel even in elkaar steken want mijn Synology is niet gemaakt om Windows op te draaien.

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