Monday, 19 August 2013

What are the IP addresses of Engin's DNS servers?

This is the list of the Engin DNS servers. Looked all over the Engin website and couldn't find anything about DNS  settings... none of their setup guides mention them, and the only mention of DNS on their website merely explained what it is....

Hopefully these help somebody:


Sunday, 18 August 2013

Setting the time and date on Siemens HiPath / HiCom 3000 / 3550 PABX

This procedure has to be done from the first or second phone on the system - usually they will be the lowest numbered extension, i.e. 11 or 100. The phone must be in the idle state (on-hook, currently displaying the time/date on the screen (albeit incorrectly!)). This works for all 3000 PABX / PBX series (3550, 3500, 3350, 3300, 3750 & 3800) as well as the 2000 series (2030, 2036), and even older models like the HiCom OfficePoint and HiCom OfficePro also called 150 H. And it can be done on any handset model, be it optipoint 500, 400, 420, optiset E or openstage.

  1. Enter the following code to access the main menu: *95 (i.e. star button then 95) (if you get "access denied", you are not using the main console phone, try a different phone)
  2. It will prompt for your username, see below 
  3. It will then prompt you for your password, see below (IF THIS IS THE FIRST TIME ANYONE HAS ATTEMPTED TO USE THIS USERNAME/PASSWORD it will prompt you to enter a NEW password, then prompt you to enter it again - DO NOT PICK A NEW ONE, KEEP THE DEFAULT - so if you were entering as customer level for example, may have to enter 1234 four times total! But next time you will only have to enter it twice. If you stuff up or are not sure, just pickup the handpiece and put it back again, it will exit)
  4. Once you are in, you will be able to browse different menu options using the left and right arrow buttons, it is sometimes best to scroll backwards (left arrow) as time and date are usually the last options in the menu. 
  5. Press the tick/ok key to select time/date when you come to it, and then it will prompt you what format is required. 

  • Username and passwords:

Default customer level username: 1234, password: 1234
Default service level password: 31994, password 31994
Default development level password: 18140815, password 18140815

Default customer level username: 633433, password: 633433
Service/development levels are the same as above

If you can't get any of these working, a last resort is inputting *95 as the username, and not entering a password. So the procedure would be:

  1. Enter *95 in the main phone
  2. It will ask for your username, enter *95
  3. It will ask for your password, don't enter anything, just press tick/ok to the blank
  4. It may then ask for your new password, and then to confirm, just press tick to the blanks DO NOT enter a new password. 
  5. If that works, then you can now get in by using *95/blank as the username/password combination

  • Important things to note:

- If you are having trouble getting in with any of these username/passwords - pick up the handpiece, hang it up again and try the procedure again with a different level username/password. 

- Sometimes the service level password will not have a time and date option. If that's the case, then you will need to use customer or development

- If someone has changed all your default passwords there's not much you can do. Except yell at whoever did it and make them change them back for free. The only reason to do it is to lock you into one servicing centre/technician.

>>> Update, Siemens is now known as Unify.... this document applies from v1 through to v9. Openscape Business Version 1 (also not known as HiPath Version 10) no longer needs to worry about setting time/date manually as it is web based. You can change it by browsing to the URL of the PABX. Although it is still possible to get into the menu and edit the time/date in the manner detailed above!

Setting up adsense for Australian accounts with BSB numbers

When setting up your payment method with adsense, it will request "bank code" and "branch code" as well as your account number.

In Australia we have BSB's and they're a 6 digit string in a xxx-xxx format. 

The first three digits are your bank code, the last three digits are your branch code. 

Monday, 5 August 2013

Adventures in the Solomon Islands - PART 3

(I was going to call this "The Rise of the Eco-Terrorist", but then it descended into war and it seemed more apt for a title like "Clash of the Super Powers".)

There is one group of tourists who are loud, boorish, completely insensitive to others around them and ignorant of other cultures. In Australia we generally call them “Americans”, but here they’re called “Chinese”.

The thing about having your hotel room high on the side of a hill is that the water takes a while to get there and a really long time to get warm. You can turn the tap on for a shower and then make a leisurely breakfast, consume the breakfast, and get halfway through a shave before your shower is ready. There was no time for that this morning though, as we were off on an early morning adventure, so it was cold showers all around and half a slice of banana bread.

At too-early-o’clock in the morning I was heading by boat to a pristine, uninhabited tropical island... with forty strangers. One of which was struggling to piss me off already by standing on his seat behind me, with his hands grasping the back of mine, hovering his head above my own he screamed and shouted, sneezed and coughed. This little round bellied Chinese boy of about ten or eleven kept touching me and bumping me for about an hour. Finally we arrived. It wasn’t what I was expecting when they said things like untouched and unspoiled. For starters there were pagodas, kayaks, a couple of huts, some beach chairs, and a whole lot of chickens. I haven’t seen any seagulls in the Solomons, but chickens quite adequately take their place. They had a racket going on, as soon as you turned your back and headed to the beach, they were on top of your picnic table rifling through your bags. During lunch I was sitting opposite Kate at a picnic table, she got up to get a drink and my eyes followed her for a second. When I turned back I noticed I was now having lunch with a large hen, who was sitting in Kate’s chair, happily pecking away at her plate. It all happened so quickly and quietly that it didn’t even register, it took me a full second before I realized it wasn’t meant to be there and shooed it away.

Apart from the chickens and beach paraphernalia, it was truly a sight to behold. There were jungle islands jutting out of the sea all around us and hovering amongst clouds in the distance. Shallow, bright blue coral-filled waters stretched out around our island 50 meters on all sides. Kate and I were first in there, finding the whole place teeming with aquatic life.

Anyway back to this kid, his sisters, cousins, his father uncle mother and aunt. Back to this brave new world of the nouveau riche Chinese eco-terrorist. I was standing with Kate up to my waist in the beautiful blue water, being as still and quiet as possible, as fish swam past us in and around the coral. I was trying not to get my shirt wet, and trying not to scare the fish, when a Chinese man, bellowing loudly, charged into the water behind me and soaked me through. His children began screaming too. One of the daughters screamed at no one in particular at the very top of her lungs “ITS BEAUU-TIII-FUUL”, repeatedly, for at least three full minutes. The peaceful silence was well and truly shattered. I retreated from the water, and when the “ITS BEAUTIFUL” screaming finally stopped, it was actually beautiful. The silence didn’t last though, a minute or so later a boatful of Americans turned up, dropped anchor, and cranked their stereo.

That’s when it began, a war between two super powers jostling for position of most obnoxious and inconsiderate tourist ever. The Americans kicked it off by blaring some rock and roll cover version of the song “man in the mirror”. The Chinese were not caught off guard though, almost as if he’d expected a challenge, the father had spent the last fifteen minutes gathering every starfish the coral could offer and had waded back to shore. He began hurtling them over-arm like ninja stars into the water around the children. The children did their part by screaming and yelling, and rowing their kayaks straight into the coral and then stabbing their oars heavily into it to un-beach themselves.

The Americans countered by turning up their stereo loud enough that it could be heard across the entire island. The peace that I thought simply shattered, was swept into a pile and crushed under foot into a fine dust.

The Chinese began collecting up the starfish again, this time throwing them ashore to dry out and die within minutes in the hot sun.

The Americans cracked beers and played a dirty trick – they played man in the mirror for a second time, surely the most annoying play they could make.

The Chinese began collecting other specimens, there were literally no starfish left to kill. I couldn’t find a single one on that whole side of the island again. Next to the fifteen or so sad looking dehydrated starfish, a sea-cucumber was now drying out and dying slowly on the sand. They were out there all day, jamming their oars into the coral, looking for more things to kill.

Kate tried to intervene; she put the starfish and sea-cucumber back in the water when the Chinese family weren’t looking. They immediately removed them again. These creatures were going to die, and there was nothing a pesky interfering white woman could do about it.

The Americans sent their kids onto our tour boat to jump from the side whilst playing another song twice in a row and getting progressively drunker and, as a consequence, more loud.

The Chinese cracked some beers as well. Their level of speaking volume didn’t get much louder – it already started at full volume, sounding loud and angry at all times. Shouting back and forth over long distances was also a given. They gave Chinese take-away containers to their kids and sent them forth to wreak further havoc, collecting more specimens, fish, crabs etc. Kate had made the mistake early on of trying to distract the little Chinese boy from destroying coral by telling him to look at a clown fish and its baby near the shore. “Look at Nemo,” she said. There was no such thing as look and not touch for this kid, except in this version of Nemo it was the dad clown fish that went missing and not the son. Perhaps it was in one of those Chinese containers being eaten alive by crabs?

The Americans played “man in the mirror” for a third time. Then to nail it home, they played it a fourth time.

I’m not sure which country won – was it the Americans who came uninvited all the way to this tranquil island, just to drink beer and play music really loudly, whilst the tourists who had each paid $100 to be there tried to enjoy some peace and quiet? Or was it the Chinese who made sure that the next batch of tourists would find the place a little less magic by destroying what they could of the environment?

The chickens didn’t seem to mind, they certainly seemed to like the Chinese father after he knocked over a bin, turned around and said “it’s alright” to himself, and then walked off leaving it for someone else. 

Friday, 2 August 2013

Adventures in the Solomon Islands - PART 2

The guide was telling me something about the movie "The Thin Red Line", but I couldn't hear him, I was too busy dying. 

We had planned a leisurely walk to a waterfall. One of Kate's acquaintances had said it was an "up and downhill stroll -- mostly downhill". It wasn't. All I could work out was that perhaps the guy loved walking so much he'd been filled with endorphins and forgotten how arduous it was, like a woman with one child forgetting the pain completely when planning to have a second. 

It probably hadn't helped that I'd been up half the night before with my second bout of food poisoning in a week.

So there we were, up and down hills like jackrabbits – well to be honest, I hadn’t even gotten to the downhill part yet as I’d almost thrown up on the ascent of the first one. I was literally tensing my stomach and clenching my jaw so I wouldn’t spew. Waves of nausea hit me and I thought I could happily just lie down and die there. The air was thick, heavy, moist and warm, like breathing a creamy soup. I’d stupidly decided it’d be a good idea to eat something in the morning to steel me during the walk, and my one slice of banana bread had had the opposite effect, churning me up inside and making me want to eject it if not for the audience of 6 watching on. The others we were walking with were clearly fitter, they had clothes designed for walking or running for starters, which meant they were far more professional than I. All I had was a pair of boardshorts, some old sneakers and a shirt that proclaimed in engrish that “Japan fish is very beautiful”. They had lycra bits and pieces, reef shoes and water contained inside bladders built into back packs.

It occurred to me then, that this acquaintance who had recommended the walk, also recommended for us not to bring a water bottle as the water in the waterfall was clean. Yet here he was with a 1.5L water bladder built into his backpack, and here I was, breathing my last, desperate to curl into a ball and disappear. Something certainly seemed lost in translation.

By sheer determination, and the fact 3 of the 6 were females my own age, I managed to not throw up, and to lurch my ruined legs forward. I was already ratshit though, all of my strength was purged before the rest of the group had even broken a sweat. I stumbled, I dawdled, I very nearly crawled along in tears and puked like a baby. There were at least 4 more steep hills after that, perhaps 8, or 20, I don’t know. But by the last descent I was simply sitting down and sliding myself along in the mud. It was steep enough that I’m sure it didn’t look quite as pitiful as I felt. So steep in fact most people were sliding down on their haunches by the end of it. Except the guides, they were shoeless and surefooted. You could tell they’d done it a thousand times. Though I doubted they’d seen an attempt as pissweak as mine, they were good about it and merely smiled toothless red betel-nut smiles.

In my defence these hills, or the track rather, required you to often lift your foot as high as it would go to make it to the next step, then to heave yourself up. Of course after the first hill, I was so sore I wobbled about. The guide told me not to go off the track as the whole place is full of foxholes. I wondered what foxes were going to do to me before I nearly fell in one and saw the size of them. They weren’t for foxes at all, the Japanese had dug them in World War 2 to defend against the Americans. I’d expected a small tripping hazard to sprain an ankle, but what I saw was a bottomless pit and the two broken legs that awaited me. What possessed them to make the track right alongside these foxholes I’m not sure – perhaps to show the walkers? They probably hadn’t predicted a wobbly, woefully unfit I.T. technician from Australia when they carved the track I supposed.

On the last descent we went past an unexploded Japanese bomb that I couldn’t bring myself to care about. The tour guide mentioned he’d found a crashed Japanese plane somewhere in the jungle and that he’d carried the bomb all the way here to show the walkers. I staggered on like a zombie mummy whilst the rest marvelled. The waterfall was just ahead. I had reached my goal, I was finished. I didn’t know how I would get out of here, but at least I’d made it.

It turned out there was a cave above, which the water came from, about 400m you could trudge in darkness, before the river plunged below ground and you had to float back out. I opted for lying in the lagoon at the bottom of the waterfall whilst the others explored above with the tour guides and the acquaintance's dog. I was all alone, half dead, floating in the cool water with just my mouth out. I had decided against drinking the water in case there was some dead animal upstream, after the “downhill stroll” proved to be so lamentably inaccurate, I couldn’t bring myself to try out the supposedly “clean water”. Just as well I didn’t too, as after 10 or 15 minutes when my body became cold and cramped and I had to drag myself from the water, I noticed a small log float past. And then another. Except that it wasn’t a log, clearly it was poo. Dog poo.

When they came back I realized that this lagoon and waterfall was just a ledge above another waterfall. They meant to drop down it and swim back along the river. The idea of climbing those hills again did not excite me, but neither did drowning due to my cramped useless legs that could barely carry me, let alone keep me afloat fully clothed with shoes on. I asked the guide how deep it was, he said it wasn’t too deep, “just 10 metres.” So then we climbed part way down a waterfall, and then dropped into the water below. You were committed then, there was no way out as the waterfall was not climbable again and the sides of the river were sheer rock walls of 50 meters or more. I had visions of someone putting an arm around my neck and swimming me out, then visions of that hospital, which made me try desperately to float. I couldn’t kick my legs and so I rolled on my back and floated. I floated down a river deep in an uninhabited jungle, and it was glorious. I came out covered from head to toe in cuts and bruises, due to hidden rocks and branches, but it went from one of the most excruciating hours of my life to one of the most amazing.  I tried not to think about the dog poo that was floating somewhere about me.

And then we were back to habitation: a village on the outskirts, farming pineapples, bananas and sweet potatoes. Now, dotted all along the river bank, were these outhouse sized buildings with a PVC pipe running below them directly into the river. They couldn’t be toilets though, because the river was full of people washing their clothes, and children frolicking and playing. Thankfully we’d exited the river and were walking along a dirt track beside it at this point, because I realized they were indeed toilets and not a single person seemed to care apart from me. The girl next to me remarked how she’d love to spend a year in a village just like this. I agreed for her sake, even though I couldn’t have imagined spending a single moment there longer than I had to. I refrained from pointing out to her that everyone here was swimming in, washing themselves in and drinking effluent, because I’m certain she already knew.  

It wasn’t until a few nights later, Kate and I were dining at an Indian restaurant in the dark as the power had gone out (as it is wont to do around here). She mentioned the tour guides hadn’t gone in the cave with them above the waterfall, and that the “dog poo” I’d seen was almost certainly human, because dogs don’t defecate in water, but the humans around here definitely do. They mustn't have thought much of me, sitting in the lagoon downstream.

Adventures in the Solomon Islands - PART 1

Honiara - first impressions

The first thing that hits you about the place is the humid wet heat. As if you've just thrown yourself into a crowd of invisible marathon runners and all of their sweaty bodies are pressing and squeezing up against you and making you about as uncomfortable as they possibly can. The steam and stink rising from their invisible skin makes you feel instantly ill, and then you turn your head toward the airport, which is not much more than a small shed, and there upon the roof is a crowd braving the beating sun and pressing heat. They're up there waving us weary travellers a warm welcome behind a wire mesh barrier. It's at this point you realize your plane went through a low-flying wormhole and you just went back in time about 50 years.

The first counter is visa, they simply check the card that you're meant to fill out on the flight and then stamp your passport. There is two counters operating at excruciatingly slow efficiency. On the left a cheerful looking man is chatting to people as he waves them through, on the right, a man whose face looks soured by impetuous disgust murmurs at each person who hands him their card. I was hoping to god I got the left one, because on the flight I didn't have a pen. The lady next to me had a pen, but she was wearing one of those SARS breathing masks, the window was icing up and my nose began to run. I didn't have the heart to ask a germophobe for her pen whilst wiping my nose. Of course, when it was my turn to the counter, I got the sour guy on the right.

 "Fill it out," the man grumbled as if this hardly ever happens, but perhaps just often enough that it irritates the hell out of him. "Sorry, I have no pen..." He doesn't even look at me but a flash of annoyance creases across his face, "wait." So I wait, whilst he continues to serve everyone else in line. It turns out he only has one pen. So does the man on the other counter. I wait and have a look around this shed, its hotter inside than out, badly painted and in a state of disrepair. A roller door opens on one side of the shed, revealing a small Chinese man proclaiming "duty free" and surrounded by a tiny hole in the wall full of shelves of various liquors and cigarettes. Eventually someone finds a pen and I'm the last to go through. "Have you got any food stuffs?" the next counter asks, uninterested. "Yes, peanuts," I reply. She doesn't care and waves me through. That was immigration and customs, nothing checked, no computers, just a stamp and a blasé wave. I was now a tourist, perhaps the only one, perhaps the first ever?

I found a waiting taxi. He didn't even make a half hearted motion as if he would get out of the car and throw my bag in the boot, in fact, he didn't even look up to acknowledge me at all, simply grunted that he knew I existed. I heaved my bag into the back seat and climbed in as well, he was lost in his own world of reggae, fluffy dice and the chewing of betel nut. We sped off toward the hotel, except sped is the wrong word. We ambled and weaved around potholes the size of the Tasmania, at one point the cabbie deemed it safer and quicker to suddenly swerve onto the footpath and hurtle off along it at sixty kilometres per hour with pedestrians scrambling out of his way. It certainly was a much smoother ride, I watched the road out the window, with the other cars struggling defiantly along it; it looked like a dusty, craterous moon surface which would require a moon buggy with jet propulsion systems to navigate successfully. I supposed that was why everyone was driving Japanese 4x4's, with not a single Ford or Holden anywhere in sight.

Eventually we bounced off the gloriously smooth footpath and meandered back around the craters. The footpath had ended, we were slowly creeping past a wasteland. Clearly we had stumbled our way to the outskirts of the local tip, rubbish was everywhere, it was choking the streets, the fences, even the craters. Dilapidated shacks jutted awkwardly in strange angles on poles, whilst naked children wandered barefoot willy nilly. There was no such thing as grass, lawns were dust and plastic bags were the flower beds. I couldn't see myself living here, and it seemed the locals didn't really want to live there either, or at all, as they would often walk in front of traffic without so much as a cursory glance. The driver played chicken with them the entire car ride, just as you thought they were going to stop walking, and there was no way they could step out, suddenly they did, and we hit the brakes. Eventually we got there, and to the driver's credit not a single person died. His suspension and my nerves were the only things worse for wear.

The first thing you notice about the hotel is the two beefy guards standing out the front. Everything else is obscured by trees. Opposite the hotel is the Australian embassy, a fortress of fences and concrete buildings of a menacing prison like architecture, where windows are forsaken in favour of slits of one-way mirrors. I suddenly remembered all of the Australian federal police standing watch at the airport and begun to wonder what I'd gotten myself into. Wandering into the hotel bewildered and shell-shocked by a drive that saw nothing but poverty and desolation, I climbed into the cable-car, which was the method of transport up the steep hill the hotel buildings were scattered upon. It demanded all doors be closed before setting off, but they were left wide open, a weight limit was not specified, but it certainly couldn't be much judging by the minuscule gauge of metal cable that pulled us stutteringly upward. It turns out to be a very temperamental device. It only listens to the first order, and ignores all subsequent ones. Thus if you get on at level 4 and select ground, the people on level 3, 2 and 1 will watch you go by with a confused look on their face as if you are intentionally not stopping to pick them up. It'd be fine if the car was closed like with an elevator, but its not, its open and they can look in at you as it crawls its way toward them at less than walking pace and their faces change from one of expectation to confused annoyance as it passes slowly by. All you can do is shrug at them. Occasionally you will get on and someone elsewhere will call the car before you have the chance to press your destination, so instead of heading to your level you stagger by it and end up much further than you wanted to be. And then there are the other times when it just stops, randomly, wherever it pleases. You press 4, it goes somewhere just past 3 and then stops. You press 4 again and it does nothing, again, nothing, again - bingo - slight movement to the point you can hang yourself off the ledge you normally alight from, and pull yourself in. Of course if anyone pressed the button whilst you were doing that you'd have more luck taking your chances falling to the ground below than holding on and getting sliced in half against the ledge. Though, judging by the hospital we went past on the way from the airport, any kind of broken bone is probably still going to do you in.