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Tech the halls - shadows of echoes of memories of songs
j4
j4
Tech the halls
On my own in the house for the first time these hols, surrounded by glittering piles of shiny tech, I've finally found the motivation to try to set up my SonyEricsson P900 to talk to my computer. (I've only had the P900 for about 8 months, so this is something of a record for me in terms of getting round to configuring things.) First things first, install the software on the two CDs that came with the phone... that's the two PC CDs. Hmm.

Never mind, eh; Macs are clever, so I'll just use iSync to do its clever stuff... except that iSync can't see any devices within range, despite the fact that Bluetooth file sharing was eventually persuaded to see my phone once I told it that it was an 'other device' rather than a phone (though it still can't see any files on it).

What am I doing wrong?

The other tech task I'd planned to get done today was to transfer some files from a mac floppy disk to my laptop. Easy! ... Except that the mac with a floppy drive isn't on the network and doesn't have a USB port, and the PC (which also isn't on the network) which has a floppy drive and a USB port won't read this (rather ancient) vintage of mac disk. Maybe I'll get bored enough yet that I'll try to find a more recent mac/PC floppy disk, transfer the files from one disk to the other on the mac, then use the PC to read the newer disk... or maybe I'll wait till I get back to Cambridge, where I have an external USB floppy drive for the mac.

Meanwhile, while wireless network and BROADBAND are very much appreciated, it's irritating that the built-in firewall here seems to block anything useful (ssh, telnet, ftp). This means that I can only get to chiark (where all my mail is) via mindterm, which is okay except that due to some as yet undiagnosed terminal weirdness tab doesn't work. Which means I can't tab to the next new mail (in an inbox with 1772 mails in it, this is actually something of a problem) and I can't tab-complete anything. Annoying.

In other news: not only do I appear to have no network-fu, I seem to have lost all my elite gamer-fu. sion_a bought me the Sonic Mega Collection for Christmas, and I have been hedgehogging the telly to fuel my videogame addiction ever since. However I completely FAILED to finish Sonic 2 despite having 12 lives at the start of Death Egg Zone, and I can't even get past the Labyrinth Zone boss on original Sonic. And I can't unlock Sonic Spinball until I've finished one or more of the first three games! My left thumb is blistered, I'm seeing gold rings in front of my eyes, but the evil Doctor Robotnik remains unvanquished. I'll get you next time, Robotnik, just see if I don't...
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simont From: simont Date: December 27th, 2004 04:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
the built-in firewall here seems to block anything useful (ssh, telnet, ftp). This means that I can only get to chiark (where all my mail is) via mindterm

That's odd: MindTerm is an SSH client. If it works, then the firewall can't be blocking all SSH; so if other SSH clients don't work, there must be some other more subtle reason why.

My first thought was that perhaps chiark's MindTerm was configured to connect to ssh443.chiark.greenend.org.uk port 443, so as to appear like an HTTPS connection and fool firewalls, but (looking at the chiark MindTerm page) apparently not. On the other hand, it might be worth trying that with your normal SSH client...
j4 From: j4 Date: December 27th, 2004 05:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
MindTerm is an SSH client.

Oh, er, good point. *looks confused*

Your magic port 443 thing looked like it was going to work: it connected and asked me for a password ... but then it hung.
j4 From: j4 Date: December 28th, 2004 12:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Further info, in case this helps a diagnosis*: my sister says that the outgoing connection is working fine, but the server that's being connected to is trying to send something back, & it's that that's not getting through. *handwave*

(Er, that's my handwave, not hers; she knows what she's talking about, but I don't, so I'm possibly misrepresenting the situation... sorry.)

* not that I'm expecting you to do remote network support! so feel free to ignore this...
simont From: simont Date: December 28th, 2004 08:44 am (UTC) (Link)
There is one thing that's been persistently springing to mind. I've never seen it happen myself, but every time someone on comp.security.ssh posts about mysterious problems with SSH connections, the local FAQ guru usually posts a link to http://www.snailbook.com/faq/mtu-mismatch.auto.html. Apparently the basic deal is that SSH tends to give rise to larger TCP packets than most other protocols and this can expose firewall bugs which you'd otherwise not have noticed.

OTOH, since it recommends changing the server configuration, this may not be optimally useful to you either, especially if your sister is correct in saying that the problem is with chiark sending stuff back...
j4 From: j4 Date: December 28th, 2004 09:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for the link -- sounds complicated... to be honest I don't think I really understand what's happening where. I don't know if Lorna's correct but what she says fits the symptoms -- I get as far as the password prompt, type in a password and hit return, and that's when it hangs. So that suggests to me (not that I know anything! :-) that it's the return whatsits that's not getting through (unless for some reason the password isn't being sent properly, but then wouldn't that just give an error of some kind? ... I have no idea, as you can probably tell...).

On the other hand the possibility of reconfiguring the firewall here is about as unlikely as that of reconfiguring chiark, so I suspect it's a moot point. :-/
imc From: imc Date: December 29th, 2004 06:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
That reference gives a very plausible explanation (in fact one of my former colleagues wrote a broken ipchains script which drops fragmented packets and he still seems to be supplying systems with this on them).

There's a second common explanation for MTU-related network problems of this kind, which is that the firewall blocks incoming ICMP packets. What normally happens if you send too large a packet is that the objecting router sends back a ICMP packet saying fragmentation is required, and your machine responds by lowering its MTU for that route. If the firewall is blocking ICMP then this message doesn't get across and your machine carries on sending large packets, all of which end up in a black hole. This explanation fits the "chiark sending something back" scenario, except that as far as I can tell the route from cable.ntl.com (i.e., my machine) to chiark has an MTU of 1500 which is usually the maximum possible. (If it affected more than just chiark then you wouldn't be able to post long LiveJournal posts.)

However, if it is that, and your local firewall isn't dropping fragmented packets, then you can fix the problem by lowering your own MTU even if you can't change anything on the firewall.
burkesworks From: burkesworks Date: December 27th, 2004 04:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well Jan, it so happens that I've brought my trusty old PowerBook 1400 with me to Leicester, seeing as Maureen's keyboard has conked out and it's not easy trying to get hold of an iMac keyboard on Boxing Day. Want to borrow it on Wednesday when at the pub?
j4 From: j4 Date: December 27th, 2004 05:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
If you mean for the floppy-disk-reading, nah, it's probably not worth you dragging the PowerBook to the pub for that! -- there's no urgency, it was just some old stuff I was going to look through. But thanks for the offer!
brrm From: brrm Date: December 27th, 2004 04:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've had a Powerbook and a P900 talking - however, I've still not got 'browse device' to work - let me know if you do. :)
You can send individual files by using "Send as" -> bluetooth on the phone. This is a complete pain, though, as it seems that files can only be sent one at a time this way - not very practical for 20 photos!
iSync definitely sees my P900 as a 'phone', though, hmm. Maybe we shall have to apply my big torch to Morris *and* Sonyericsson fettling when we get the chance. :)
j4 From: j4 Date: December 27th, 2004 05:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Gah, I don't want to send individual files; I want to get my calendar/contacts/etc. backed up somewhere. And photos. And, well, everything!

Googling around, however, it looks as though P900/Mac compatibility is a known problem. Guess I should have done that googling before buying the phone... :-(
brrm From: brrm Date: December 27th, 2004 06:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Calendar & contact synchronisation certainly works on mine.
j4 From: j4 Date: December 28th, 2004 12:23 am (UTC) (Link)
Ah -- okay, then, how? I guess I'm being dense but I can't see how to do it. & the phone manuals are no help (actually I think there's a more detailed manual than the ones I have with me, but if so it's in Cambridge and I'm not).

The USB cradle thingy doesn't work with the mac either. :-/
brrm From: brrm Date: December 28th, 2004 12:40 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm afraid I'd be more help if my work Powerbook (only machine normally in my house that's bluetooth-capable) wasn't still at work
due to its reluctance to work at the moment (RAM issues) :(. Still, from
memory, I don't recall anything more unusual than telling the phone to
be discoverable, then choosing 'Configure device' or whatever it is in
the Mac's bluetooth menu, choosing 'Shinyphone' and typing the code on
the phone. The cradle is indeed useless with a Mac, I'd forgotten about that. But
once you've set up the phone, OSX will ask you if you want to pair it
with iCal and Address Book.
I might be able to give you more helpful advice tomorrow or the next day, when I'm in contact with my parents and their bluetooth-capable Powerbook. I'll let you know. :)
j4 From: j4 Date: December 28th, 2004 09:59 am (UTC) (Link)
It doesn't give me an option of pairing it with iCal (which I don't use anyway so that wouldn't be much use at the moment, though I suppose I could start using it if it was going to be useful), only Address Book. But then when I've gone through the setup thing, it just says "Congratulations! You've set this up!" and doesn't tell you how to actually sync them. Or does it do that automatically? Or what? Am I just being dim?
brrm From: brrm Date: December 28th, 2004 11:24 am (UTC) (Link)
Open /Applications/iSync and choose Devices->Add device (unless it is already there - again, navigating blind because I have no bluetooth on this poor old PB :) ). Then just press the sync button. I'm not sure how you configure how often syncing happens - that may be an option when you add a device to iSync.
j4 From: j4 Date: December 28th, 2004 10:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
No, like I said, iSync can't see any devices -- even though I've paired the devices, even though Bluetooth thingy can see it, iSync can't see it. And I have been accepting updates for basically everything. :-/
brrm From: brrm Date: December 28th, 2004 11:43 am (UTC) (Link)
It's just occurred to me that support for the P900 may have been added in a later version of iSync - have you been accepting the updates for it in Software Update?
crazyscot From: crazyscot Date: December 27th, 2004 07:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ahh, memories of hours wasted in my teenage years in front of the Mega Drive. There are multiple paths through the second half or so of Labyrinth 3, some of them are more plausible (in terms of not drowning) than others. Death Egg is a right royal pain, especially as there are no rings; both baddies follow set patterns, but there's always the extremely dangerous tendency to try to get that extra hit in against Robotnik when he's low down, quite often leads to gnashing of teeth etc ...
j4 From: j4 Date: December 28th, 2004 12:29 am (UTC) (Link)
I did Labyrinth 3!! I got to Scrap Brain 3 and then just kept dying because there are just TOO MANY spikes and drownings and ball-and-chains and things that pop up and smack you when you have no rings. My eyes hurt now. 8-)

All the bosses follow set patterns (though I can't get my head round the pattern in Death Egg -- I know there is a pattern but I can't seem to get it fixed in my head ... mind you I wouldn't've actually won anyway if I had finished it then because I didn't have enough Chaos Emeralds) but some of them are less evil than others. And I guess at least with Labyrinth you don't have to actually fight Robotnik at the end of that bloody awful scramble up the narrow chimney with spikes coming out of the sides and water rising beneath you...

The silly thing is I finished Sonic 2 (and I'm pretty sure I finished original Sonic as well) as a teenager when my sister had the MegaDrive. So I should be able to do it again now, unless my reflexes are already slowing with age... which is a depressing thought. :-/
crazyscot From: crazyscot Date: December 28th, 2004 10:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Practice! :-) Last time I had a Sonic kick (a couple of years ago) I didn't have to search very far to find cartridge images online, and the PC-based emulators all had snapshot and restore capability...
boyofbadgers From: boyofbadgers Date: December 27th, 2004 09:50 pm (UTC) (Link)

p900 woes

You are almost certainly not doing anything wrong. The supported device recognition in iSync is a series of unpleasant hacks which were really only designed to distinguish between the three or four different types of Symbian phones available at the time it was written. This time being long before the p900 was released. However, providing Apple and SE haven't done anything seriously loopy in the meantime it should still work. That it doesn't, and that the Mac BT stack isn't recognising your phone as a phone, suggests to me that the phone side BT has been changed in an unpleasant way. There might be a workaround, but I'd need to have a play with you phone to find out.

As far as browsing is concerned, you're completely out of luck, as Apple never got anyone to write mac software talk to the Symbian device side protocols properly.

Um, sorry this isn't very helpful.
j4 From: j4 Date: December 28th, 2004 12:30 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: p900 woes

Um, sorry this isn't very helpful.

Well, it's kind of reassuring to know that they're known problems & it isn't just me being dim. :-)
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