GoDaddy DNS is Down For Many

09 December, 2014 00:48 CST6CDT

GoDaddy DNS is having a SERVFAIL (failed lookup) when resolving domain names using ns* nameservers.  The problem itself lies within the ans(*) DNS servers that resolve the ns* nameserver's IP address.

I first noticed this on the evening of December 8th when failed to work as a plugin on one of this host's websites.  I verified GoDaddy's DNS failure with four separate source IP addresses.  As of December 9th 1:00 AM CST the problem is still pending a fix.  If you are using a caching nameserver, you may not notice this issue until the DNS cache expires.

Their has been mentions of DDoS attacks on Google nameservers to lookup GoDaddy sites in which GoDaddy blocked, however this is not the case at the present time (GoDaddy blocking Google DNS).  @GoDaddyHelp on Twitter responded to concerns at 12:17 AM - 9 Dec 2014 with "Some users are reporting connection issues, but we are not showing any errors on our side. We're collecting information & 1/2".  Classic!

Article & Comments Tags: Software

It is Squirrel Thursday! - Feasting on Squirrel

27 November, 2014 03:10 CST6CDT

Fat SquirrelIf your Chestnuts aren't roasting upon an open fire, this evil and fat squirrel probably snatched them from you and munched with a red eye of delight. We have witnessed them hang by the nuts steeling food from those of other nature, as shown here: Hanging In There.

Thanksgiving is time to give thanks to what may be good to you, like shelter and food. You would be kind to add meat into the food category and also give thanks to pellet guns as you strike off a life of a street crossing neighborhood four legged from hell.

Not everyone enjoys squirrel, or nut stuffed squirrel for the holiday dining table but keep in mind that they can be drained and used in a cranberry sauce for additional structure and cohesion. If you are not kind to both squirrel meat nor cranberry, you could kindly drop off a fat-evil-four-legged-squirrel and leave it where it rests as a sign of the merry seasons.

Article & Comments Tags: Squirrel Thursday

A Look at the Smok Tech eGo Mega Dual Coil Cartomizer

25 November, 2014 14:20 CST6CDT

Smok Tech eGo Mega Dual Coil CartomizerThose whom don't want the mess of an e-cig tank or for those whom find that their current tanks or cartomizers are void of flavor may find the eGo Mega Dual Coil Cartomizer from Smok Tech offers a no mess, no leak, flavorful vaping experience.

These Mega cartomizers hold about 5mL of juice and may be filled several times making them a long life competitor to tanks. These are dual coil cartomizers that let out a plume of vapor and flavor. They do get a bit warm if you chain vape but they still don't take much of a hit on the battery life.

The tip is rubber and flat tipped. Unlike the Smileomizer that I had previously reviewed, this tip feels more natural in relation to traditional drip tips. The tip is flexible so it will fit in your pocket without breaking and it will not leak. The Smok Mega Dual Coil Cartomizer is metal, not plastic.

While I still prefer my Aspire BDC tanks to cartomizers, I keep a few of these eGo cartomizers on hand for older batteries that don't have enough push which tanks now require in this day of vaping. This one shown in the picture is 1.6 ohm and black. I tend to pick up the stainless steel version when it is available – this is a personal preference as I use mostly black batteries.

A year ago I was writing...

Google Play Sprint Carrier Billing Solution
HOWTO: Enable Intel VT-x Virtualization on a Sony Vaio VGN-SZ330P Laptop
It is Squirrel Thursday! - Hanging In There

Article & Comments Tags: E-Cigs

Guide to ROOT on the Envizen EM63TX

21 October, 2014 06:18 CST6CDT

In conjunction with the Envizen EM63 TX (EM63TX) Reviewed article I will outline the steps needed to be taken in order to root the EM63TX Android tablet.

The user itz420 on the XDA Developers Forum announced that a Chinese rooting application VROOT version 1.7.9 was able to successfully root the EM63TX tablet.  VRoot is a Chinese rooting application for various Android devices.  This user also noted that more recent releases of VRoot were unsuccessful.  However, if you were to install a more recent version with an English installer, and then install the working VRoot Chinese application provided by the above URL (1.7.9), you will be able to use the 1.7.9 root libraries with an English interface.  I would imagine their is a system registry key to change the language used by VRoot.

You need to enable the 'Developer Options' by tapping on the 'Build Number' several times in 'About Tablet' in the system settings.  Developer options will show USB debugging already enabled however it is not.  You will need to toggle this option to enable USB debugging.  You must also make sure you can install an APK from an unknown source and that you do not verify applications in the 'Security' menu in settings.

The VRoot process for the Envizen is a click through process.  This rooting tool will install 'su', Superuser.apk, an interface for a Chinese website, and a cache optimizer application.  These applications with the exception of the 'su' binary are in the Chinese writing language.  The web page gateway and cache optimizer applications may be removed after root access is obtained.

The 'Superuser' application used to manage user based root permissions is in Chinese.  I wanted to have a more conventional root with an English interface on the tablet so I followed the instructions from MrW0lf: Remove/Replace Chinese VRoot superuser with SuperSU.  The version 2 zip file [mirror] available on worked flawlessly.  Simply unzip to the sdcard root directory, use a terminal emulator and type 'su' to grant and use root privileges, and issue the command 'sh /sdcard/mrw/'.  After replacing the Superuser permission system with SuperSU and installing an updated 'su' binary, you can then remove any VRoot related applications and data that you may like to.  This script attempts to automatically remove as much VRoot related data as possible.  Cheers!

A year ago I was writing...

Google Announces Freedom of Expression Tools
When Nothing Comes To Mind

Article & Comments Tags: Software

The Envizen EM63 TX (EM63TX) Reviewed 7 inch Android HD Quad Core Tablet

08 October, 2014 21:34 CST6CDT

Envizen Digital and Emdoor Digital has just released a 7” quad-core Cortex powered tablet, the EM63 TX into the retail space. The EM63 TX is a budget friendly Android tablet priced at $59.00 that goes above and beyond the previous EM63T model in both hardware specifications and performance.

The EM63 TX sports a quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 processor with a 1.3 GHz clock speed. This processor will handle most intensive CPU demanding applications you may use. The CPU scaling governor 'hotplug' is used by default for those of you interested in CPU scaling, scheduling, and power consumption. The tablet has 1 GB of RAM, more than most mid-range and some high end Android tablets making this CPU & RAM combination a competitor.

This tablet uses an ARM Mali 450 MP GPU capable of 1080p HD video playback on the 7” 600x1024 resolution 160 dpi display or external monitor attached with an HDMI connection. The GPU uses OpenGL ES 2.0 for 3D rendering with performance not too far below an Adreno 320 on a virtual scale. When the navigation buttons are shown, the reported resolution is 1024x552 in landscape mode and 500x976 in the portrait orientation.

The EM63 TX show 16 GB of internal flash with the firmware using 7.26 GB. 1.32 GB of internal storage is available for applications and data. While the available internal storage is lacking in space, the tablet provides an additional 3.69 GB from an internal non-accessible USB device for additional user storage. This is an interesting storage configuration by all means. You may add an additional external USB storage device in addition to the internal USB storage type. In addition their is a micro SD card slot supporting up to 32 GB of removable storage.

Here is a rundown of the EM63 TX specifications:

  • Quad-Core Cortex@1.3GHz
  • 7-inch Multi-touch Screen (600*1024)
  • 8 GB of advertised Internal Flash Memory
  • 1 GB of RAM
  • Front and Back 0.3 Megapixel Cameras
  • 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and FM Receiver Radios
  • I/O Ports For: Earphone, Micro USB, HDMI output, and Micro SD
  • One 8 ohm 1 Watt Internal Speaker and One Internal Microphone
  • 2000mAH Li-ion Battery
  • Weighs in at 0.59 pounds with the Dimensions 7.42” x 4.26” x 0.32”

The following accessories come with the tablet:

  • USB Charger (1500 mA)
  • Micro USB Cable
  • User Manual
  • Service Card(s)

The battery life is much better than expected. I was able to get over 6 hours of continuous moderate to heavy use with the integrated 2000mAH battery.

The screen has an almost unbearable glare for the first day or two of using the device. The reflection has an almost metal like quality. Deep black reflects and literally hurts the eyes. This could be a chemical wash byproduct of some type. This particular screen problem is getting better the more the tablet is used.

The screen brightness levels available are beyond what any normal environment would require. I needed to change the screen brightness to absolute 0 in order to look at the display without a headache.

The EM63 TX uses a Six-Axis Accelerometer for screen orientation. This sensor is an MPU-6880. Rotating the device for changing the orientation fails without a large force of movement.

The sides of the tablet are grooved from half its thickness from the bottom to the top of the screen for grip support. This sharp side grip hurts the fingers after extended use. It appears as though a completed model would have had a rubber-band like material fill in this gap from the center of the depth to the screen level. I assume this grip strip is missing to cut costs and bring the device down to the $59 range.

The Envizen EM63 TX comes stock with Android 4.4.2 KitKat and with a build date of September 15, 2014, less than a month old from this review. While this Android build will hold together for general use, it is a mess in many places especially where the company performed any software customization. It appears as though some aspects of the system are borrowed from Cyanogenmod such as the application privacy feature for instance.

In the system menu the screen-shot menu item is entitled 'ScreenshotSettings' with no space and the menu icon is the only non white menu icon in the system menu. These hurried customizations can be spotted in other areas across the platform.

The tablet uses the default KitKat launcher however applications moved to SD card are not displayed on the work spaces even after waiting for the external storage to be scanned. I recommend switching to a 3rd party launcher such as Nova Launcher.

The internal USB storage and SD storage devices are available for read and write operations. In the storage menu you are given the choice of the write device, either USB or SD. I have found that after choosing any write device, Android still uses the SD card for applications if you choose to move them off the system partition. However, if USB is not the write device, write access by the user is forbidden by the new Android KitKat permissions unless the method uses a new API call. While this option is confusing, it is nice to read and write to both the USB and SD storage while the USB write option is selected. I assume cost of hardware and manufacturing lead to the dedicated integrated USB storage device lowering the price and putting it in the inexpensive class of tablets.

USB debugging is enabled by default and disabling it fails. USB debugging remains enabled even after attempting to disable ADB access in the developer options menu. The manual specifies that USB debugging is needed for MTP and Mass Storage access. Mounting modern Android storage devices as mass storage is becoming rare these days. It appears this OS build is using a workaround for the missing by default KitKat mass storage capability with an ISO file located in the system partition referred to by “Linux File-CD Gadget USB Device”.

You may connect the tablet to a computer using mass storage, MTP, PTP, USB power for charging, or 'CONNECT AS CD-ROM'. The connect as CD-ROM describes itself as an option to “Show a virtual CD-ROM containing some useful software.”. When using this option a CD-ROM device is made available and accessible with the contents showing just one file, 'Micro-USB_1_01.pdf'. This one file is a PDF entitled “Universal Serial Bus Micro USB Cables and Connectors Specification”. It is a highly technical USB specifications document, wow.

The developer, and I probably used the singularity for the person who developed this ROM correctly, left a mess of a file system. Their are personal files scattered all over the root partition and left bread crumb trails of good ideas that were toyed with however never completed. The trust level of this Android tablet is not where I would like it to be.

The MediaTek Wi-Fi firmware has the known 'NVRAM WARNING: Err = 0x10' fault in addition to random Wi-Fi MAC address creation each time the Wi-Fi adapter is powered on. No, the random MAC is unfortunately not a feature. Their are resources available to help fix these firmware issues however you either have to root the EM63 TX or the use a programming mode that is not for the light of heart.

The Bluetooth FTP profile is missing and only OBEX push is available for Bluetooth file transfers. I use ES File Explorer's Bluetooth FTP server for working around this unexpected missing profile.

The Envizen EM63 TX is the epitome of 'you get what you pay for'. I am paranoid the engineer will attempt to hunt down his development machine and I am waiting for a possible knock on the door. I wouldn't know what advice to give the individual if that were to happen.

A year ago I was writing...

Pre Octoberfest Maple Leaf Parade in La Crosse Wisconsin
It is Squirrel Thursday? - The Damn Humans

Article & Comments (1) Tags: Technology

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