Monday, October 29, 2007

Thunderbird won't open http links

Sometimes, in Linux, after an update or a brand new install, Thunderbird won't open http links (e.g., with Firefox). This might depend on some default configuration value of your distribution.

However, the quickest, and, as far as I know, distribution independent solution, is to manually set these preferences in the prefs.js file:

user_pref("", "firefox");
user_pref("", "firefox");
user_pref("", "firefox");
where "firefox" can be replaced with your preferred browser.

Alternatively, you might set these settings with the config editor available from the "advanced" tab. You'll probably need to create new entries for these preferences (of type string).

Hope this helps, at least until the problem is fixed in your distribution :-)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Wifi-radar and WPA

Under my Debian installation I'm using Wifi-radar, a nice utility for managing wireless networks (although it is a GNOME application, I'm using it under KDE without problems). I've always used for WEP networks, but now I needed to start using also for WPA networks, and in order to deal with such networks, wifi-radar relies on wpa-supplicant, which is also available for Debian.

Thus, you need to setup the configuration file of wpa-supplicant so that wifi-radar can use it (thus, you cannot set WPA parameters from within wifi-radar), but this is not hard to do; for instance, in wpa_supplicant.conf you can put such a stanza:

ssid="network ssid"
psk="network password"
and then you can specify the driver for your card in the "WPA" section of the wifi-radar's configuration dialog (for instance, for my ipw2200 wireless card, I chose wext).

Unfortunately, if you try this way, you'll get an error from wifi-radar due to an undefined variable:

NameError: global name 'WPA_SUPPLICANT_ARGS' is not defined

to solve this problem, I actually modified the wifi-radar script (it's a python script) by changing the line:

wpa_args = WPA_SUPPLICANT_ARGS % ( INTERFACE, profile['wpa_driver'] )


wpa_args = "-B -i " + INTERFACE + " -c " + WPA_SUPPLICANT_CONF + " -D " + profile['wpa_driver'] + " -P " + WPA_SUPPLICANT_PIDFILE

and now it seems to work correctly.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Firmware upgrade for router D-Link DSL-G604T

I've been using this ADSL wireless router, D-LINK DSL-G604T, for almost one year now and I was quite happy with it, unless I discovered that the wireless connection provided by this router was not very good: my ADSL is 4Mb (and indeed with the wired connection I was reaching the full speed, ~500K) but with the wireless connection I was hardly reaching 100K speed, so the wireless connection was pretty slow.

I also tried with some wireless settings of the router (also using WEP and WPA) but nothing was changing (and the wireless embedded card in my laptop is actually OK since I was reaching very high speed with other wireless networks).

I checked the D-Link home site only to discover that this router is not maintained any more (discontinued product) and indeed I couldn't find any updates for it. However, by googling I found this site that was referring to a D-Link site which still provides some information and software about this router: In particular, here I found a quite new firmware version for my router revision (A): V2.00B12.AU 20070509.

I was quite skeptical in trying to update the firmware (the last I had tried this procedure I ruined my previous Atlantic router), furthermore, the firmware in this site is Australian and in the readme file you read that this was tested only for Australian router... However, since the router was not working perfectly for me I decided to have a try: if the router was ruined I was willing to buy a new one :-)

Since my firmware version was 1.x and I was updating to version 2.x, as reported in the documentation in that site, I could not use the web update procedure, but I should use the EXE version, so I downloaded this zip file, which contains the .exe program to update the firmware.

Then I followed this procedure (using instructions found on that site and some instructions found on some other forums):

  1. Factory reset of the router (using the button on the back, pressed for at least 10 seconds)
  2. Connect my computer directly to the router and remove all the other computers from the router
  3. Disable antivirus and firewall on my computer
  4. Give a static IP address to my computer in the range 192.168.1.x (the IP and subnet mask depends on the current firmware in your router; for instance, the site states that the router address is, subnet mask, but my router has the default IP address, subnet
  5. Run the exe program and specify the IP address of the router,, and the admin password (which is admin, since it was reset to the default settings)
  6. I did not choose the "corrupted image" checkbox (although it was suggested on some forums)
The upgrade of the firmware started and correctly concluded.

At this point the new firmware is on and the router is still working! :-)

Now the router has to be configured from the start. Since the new firmware is Australian, the default IP of the router is (subnet, so I had to configure my computer accordingly in order to access the web interface of the router and perform the configuration (first of all I switched back to the local network 192.168.1.x).

Guess what: the wireless network now works perfectly and at full speed! :-)

With this firmware the router should also support ADSL 2, but I can't confirm this since I still have ADSL 1.

There are some new menus which I still have to go through. However, one thing that changed is that you cannot save the new configuration without rebooting, which was a nice previous feature (at least, I wasn't able to find a way to).

Monday, October 01, 2007

Researcher in Turin

It's with great pleasure that I can announce that today I started to work as a Researcher (in Computer Science) at Dipartimento di Informatica, University of Turin! On 20th September 2007 I won the permanent position, and I'm very happy and proud to work in this department :-)