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Archive for June, 2009

Outage - suspended!

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

You may have noticed if you visited between 8.30 - 21:00 on 30 June 2009, my website was suspended by the hosting company.

Overnight, a script went bad causing the CPU on the server to exceed my allowed 10%, and hence my hosting was immediately suspended. No warning was issued, just suspension.

I had noticed my website was not functioning correctly on the 30 June 2009, as previously reported, and this script was removed, the strange thing is this script has been running correctly for the last 30 days without issue. I hope it doesn’t occur again, it caused me a massive headache.

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Good Morning World!

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

Blue Delphinium

Blue Delphinium

Geranium

Geranium

Cheery flower for this mornings post. Blue Delphinium and Geraniums growing in the front garden border.

Sorry about the cane!

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andysworld! fault - blog stopped working!

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

I don’t know why, late last night at approx 12.00GMT the blog just stopped working! Maybe I need to put more money in the meter! I just found it down this morning at 6.30am.

Currently trying to work out why, I’ve not changed any running code for ages.

It looks like a backup module I use to backup databases and posts has stopped functioning, maybe due to the size of posts and stuff it’s trying to backup on the backend.

Whoops, sorry folks, and things were just getting exciting around here!

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Unlocking a 3 USB Modem (ZTE MF627)

Monday, June 29th, 2009

Important: Re-flashing of the ZTE MF627 USB Modem MUST be done on Windows XP ONLY. If you try it on another OS, you’ll brick it! (break it!)

This is the procedure I’ve now done twice!

1. Download this file from here. This contains replacement firmware, and will replace the software on the USB modem.
2. The file is a RAR archive (similar to a ZIP). So you’ll need an extraction tool to handle this file and extract the contents. e.g. winrar.
3. Extract the contents of the above file to a directory e.g. c:flash.
4. DO NOT USE A USB HUB FOR THE FLASH UPGRADE. (you’ve been warned!).MAKE SURE YOU’VE GOT PC ATTACHED TO A UPS OR USE A LAPTOP CONNECTED TO MAINS. (Enough credit in your electricity meter etc). THE FLASH UPDATE ON AVERAGE TAKES APPROXIMATELY 18-20 MINUTES TO COMPLETE, SOME COMPUTERS CAN TAKE UP TO 46 MINUTES. THIS IS A VERY LONG DANGEROUS TIME, IF IT FAILS IT WILL BRICK YOU USB MODEM. (aka stuff it!). It’s also probably a good idea to stop all other Windows XP application as well!
5. Install the software that comes with the USB modem dongle. After inserting the USB modem into your Windows XP computers’ USB port, Windows XP will do the plug N play thing, and install all the drivers, it will then Autorun the software installation and install the 3Connect GUI.
6. Unplug, and re-insert the usb modem, to check drivers are correctly loaded.
7. Select Start->Control Panel->System->Device Manager, Expand the modems section, you should see a ZTE modem.
8. Run FlashUpdate.exe in the c:\flash directory. (don’t worry that the update states is for the MF626, if you query the modem using Hayes AT commands, you’ll see this is a MF626, it’s just the MF627 is a black/green version OEMed for ‘3′)
9. The updater scans serial ports looking for the modem, when it finds the Diagnostic port, the Download Button un-greys. (you may need to maximize the application to see the Download box).
10. Wait for approximately 20 minutes. (see above) It will eventually announce when it’s completed and the Cost it took in minutes!
11. In the first few seconds, it disables autorun, and resets the modem, and waits 50 seconds before it re-appears again on the USB bus, so don’t be tempted to flash under VMware! So you should here it disconnect and re-connect to the PC (bing bong Windows XP sound!).
12. Your 3 ZTE MF627 USB Modem dongle is now been unlocked from 3 and you can put any network’s data SIM in it.
13. You’ll need to install different Connection Management software in the c:flash directory.
14. Once that’s been installed, create a new Profile for your Network Provider.

Not that this is a big issue, but I’ve noticed that using another SIM (other than 3), the light always stays in ROAM mode (solid/flashing red) rather than Green = GPRS, Blue = 3G/HSDPA.

The Telstra/3Connect connection manager software is able to correctly tell, whether you are connected at GPRS or 3G/HSDPA. You can still use your 3 SIM correctly with the 3 Connect software after flashing, but the 3Connect software will only work with a 3 SIM.

Luckily there are software programs that can over-ride this lock. I’ve used the following procedure to over-ride the lock in a 3 USB Modem (ZTE MF627) and replace the 3 SIM Card with an ASDA SIM Card. Your mileage may vary, and I will not be held responsible if this procedure fails, and turns your 3 USB Modem into a brick (breaks it!).

UPDATE (12 Dec 09) :- I originally thought that using a non-3 (three) SIM caused the ZTE MF627 to flash RED. This is not the case, RED Simply means GPRS mode!

For details on software please make a 10 GBP donation via PayPal and by return I’ll send you the software to unlock your MF627. The donation pays for the hosting of this website, and thousands of hits and free information I’ve provided on unlocking Three Mobile Modems.


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Andy’s prize Hostas - use Slug Gone by Grow Aid

Monday, June 29th, 2009

I’ve had a few emails about what type of Hosta, I have in my garden. So I’ve taken a few pictures of each plant and displayed it’s name for easy identification. I have a total of five different Hosta plants, two are a blue variety which are supposed to be slug and snail resistant - this is why I bough them (it’s not true!). I did have a sixth plant Hosta ‘Wide Brim’,but before I discovered Slug Gone by Grow Aid Ltd the slugs and snails ate and killed it. This plant and Hosta ‘fortunei Francee’ both have won RHS Awards of Garden Merit, but that doesn’t exclude them from being eaten by slugs and snails - hardy doesn’t mean slug and snail resistant.

Despite the Gardeners’ World 2009 Reader Awards voting the Hosta into the 3rd place as the Nations most hated garden plant, I like them. Maybe it’s because people who purchase these plants hate them because they look awful after the slugs and snails have attacked and eaten the plant! They’ve obviously not discovered Slug Gone by Grow Aid Ltd.

I’ve now been using this organic product for three years, and have fantastic results in my garden. I previously blogged about it here and here. It was only available mail order, but I’m now see-ing it appear in more and more garden centers. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time, and it will be in B&Q. If your local Garden Centre doesn’t stock it - REQUEST IT - stop using chemical slug pellets in your garden today!(rant mode off!) Otherwise order on-line at Slug Gone by Grow Aid Ltd, and tell Brian I sent you!!!

If you don’t believe me look at my prize hostas, “proof is in the pudding” and I’ve tried everything. If I don’t use Slug Gone, the slugs and snails in my garden eat it!

Click each thumbnail to view larger picture.

Blog Posts in 2007

http://andysworld.org.uk/2007/05/10/cottage-garden-border/

http://andysworld.org.uk/2007/05/15/cottage-garden-border-re-visited/

I’m not associated with Slug Gone or Grow Aid Ltd in anyway, I’d just like to recommend, an excellent organic product to fellow organic gardeners and Hosta growers. Your mileage may vary, it works for me in my garden.

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Planting out Impatiens ‘Blue Sky’™ Busy Lizzie

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

Time to plant out the trays of Impatiens ‘Blue Sky’™ Busy Lizzie. Actually Lindsey planted them out, whilst I attended to tomatoe plants.

Impatiens Busy Lizzie 'Blue Sky'™

Impatiens Busy Lizzie 'Blue Sky'™

Impatiens Busy Lizzie 'Blue Sky'™

Impatiens Busy Lizzie 'Blue Sky'™

Impatiens Busy Lizzie 'Blue Sky'™

Impatiens Busy Lizzie 'Blue Sky'™

Impatiens Busy Lizzie 'Blue Sky'™

Impatiens Busy Lizzie 'Blue Sky'™

All planted up, My elderly neighbour looked on whilst I gave Lindsey planting instructions. So I gave my neighbour a plant, to plant out.

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Chilli plants

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

I’ve now planted out all my tomatoe plants, so the porch is empty except the chilli plants and butternut squash seeds I’ve just planted.

butternut squash seeds planted

butternut squash seeds planted

Although my early tomatoe plants did very well this year in the porch early on, too much light has caused them to bolt, and become very thin and long, I’m not too sure If I’m going to have another disaster, last year, the cold in the green house was causing them issues, this year, the heat was right in the porch, but too much light, so next year I think I’m going to have to grow on early, and transfer them to the greenhouse under cover.

But the chilli plants love the heat and light in the porch, so maybe next year, I’ll just grow chillis!

Anyway I hoping I get some chillis off these plants for making chilli for Paul/Sally and David when he visits in his new Nissan GT-R!

eh, David pictures of the last but one car… (not the Fiat!). I preferred this one to the VW EOS, isn’t that a hairdressers car? (no offense intended to hairdressers!)

Subaru Impreza

Subaru Impreza

Subaru Impreza under the bonnet

Subaru Impreza under the bonnet

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Tilda in the clover

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

Tilly (Tilda) in the clover, lawn needs cutting again…

Tilda in the clover

Tilda in the clover

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Pruning out suckers - Rosa filipes ‘Kiftsgate’

Friday, June 26th, 2009

We purchased a climbing rose from R.V.Roger Ltd Rose Nursery, Pickering last year, to add some colour to the magnolia tree in the summer, after the tree had long since flowered in the spring. The climber we purchased is called Rosa filipes ‘Kiftsgate’, described as a huge and very vigorous climbing and scrambling rose; with creamy-white scented flowers. We’ve been regularly checking on it’s progress last winter, and early spring waiting for it to flower, within the last few weeks the plant suddenly started to put on massive growth, which comparing the growth with the rest of the plant, I suspect this was a sucker from the host plant, which has grown from beneath the graft.

Sucker below graft

Sucker below graft

close up of sucker below graft?

close up of sucker below graft?

I debated long and hard, and on inspection I think it’s a sucker, so proceeded to cut it off.

sucker removed

sucker removed

It’s almost four feet in length.

after - sucker removed

after - sucker removed

So I removed it, and also pruned out some other black wood. I chopped the sucker up into small lengths, and potted up in the greenhouse, and we will see if they root! (well it’s worth a try!)

sucker planted out in greenhouse

sucker planted out in greenhouse

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Goodbye Michael!

Friday, June 26th, 2009

to my generation, our Elvis!

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