a Nook Color-shaped brick

Update: it works! And, suspiciously, I made no changes to the router settings, so I must add — with perhaps a smallish serving of humble pie, since I can’t prove I got the password right or wrong before — the following two steps to the troubleshooting script:

  • are you sure the wireless password is correct?
  • are you sure the wireless password is correct?

It’s really annoying that B&N tech support recommend hard resetting the device, as that leaves it useless until you get to a compatible network. I’d like to thank chapters.indigo.ca and Café Mirage for providing excellent connectivity to the Kennedy Commons parking lot to allow me to re-register my Nook Color …

I have a Barnes & Noble Nook Color. Well, no; I have something the size, shape, colour, weight, and smell of a Nook Color, but it might as well be a brick. It seems that, unless you’re exceptionally lucky with your router choice, it won’t connect to wireless. This is, for what is essentially a wireless information browser, a bit of a problem.

What happens with my Linksys WRT350N is that the Nook shows network Authenticating, then network Remembered, then network Authenticating again, then network Disconnecting, then finally Disabled, secured with WPA/WPA2 PSK. I called tech support (1-800-THE-BOOK; and if you’re in Canada, use Google Voice from gmail, as you get into tech support, where using a real phone puts you on hold then gets you kicked off), where I was told to hard reset the machine. That didn’t work; now I have a machine stuck in perpetual “Register your Nook” mode until I get to a different network. The tech support dude suggested taking it back to the store, then got completely flummoxed when I said I was in Canada.

What I’ve tried:

  • Forgetting then reconnecting to the network; nope
  • Restarting the router; nope
  • Updating the router firmware; nope, already on latest version
  • Checking the Nook firmware; nope, already on 1.2.0
  • Entering the Nook’s MAC address into the router filter table; nope.

What I haven’t yet tried is downgrading my network to Wireless G, which seems to be the suggested solution. But, c’mon — this is a device released late last year. B&N want me to downgrade my stable, slightly elderly router just to get this new trinket to work? Not gonna happen.

Oh and while we’re ranting, Barnes & Noble: do you really need to send me a sales e-mail every bloody day? I’ve just bought one of your blasted things, and every morning I’m getting “Buy a Nook!” in my inbox. Make it stop, okay?

linksys, bittorrent, and ports

Just so I don’t have to answer this again. If you use a Linksys router, and appear to be firewalled when you use BitTorrent, do this:

Go to Status / Local Network / DHCP client table. See what your local IP address is. It’s likely to be between and

Go to Applications & Gaming / Port Range Forwarding, and enter:

Application: bittorrent
Start: 6881
End: 6999
Protocol: TCP
IP Address: (your local IP address that you found earlier)
Enable: Yes

and save changes. Your ports will be open!

Linksys NSLU2 – Network Storage for the people

I’d been looking for a backup solution for a while, and yesterday I found it in the very small shape of the Linksys NSLU2 – Network Storage Link for USB 2.0 Disk Drives. There’s been a lot of talk recently about hacking these tiny embedded Linux boxes, but I just want to store stuff from my Linux machines and Catherine’s eMac.

I bought it, an external USB2.0 3.5″ drive case, and a 160GB Seagate driver yesterday from Canada Computers on College St for under C$350, including tax. It took about half an hour to assemble it, install it, and format the drive from the web interface.

I find it’s easiest to make named users — and tell the unit to make a subdirectory for that user — than fiddle about with other methods of making shares. You’ll also need to enable smbfs (File Systems → Network file Systems → SMBFS support in your kernel config) on your Linux machines.

I have created three shares: scruss (for me), craine (for Catherine) and mp3 (for our shared MP3 collection). I have created relevant directories from /mnt, and chmoded them to the appropriate user. These are the lines I have added to my fstab:

//squirrel/scruss	/mnt/smb_scruss	smbfs	username=scruss,password=******,rw,users	0 0
//squirrel/mp3		/mnt/mp3	smbfs	username=mp3,password=******,rw,users	0 0

I renamed the NSLU2 squirrel to fit in with the Canadian rodent theme I’ve got going with the other machines around here.

With Catherine’s eMac, I’ve found I have to use the OS X 10.1 / .nsmbrc method. Once you have the shares defined in the .nsmbrc file, you can call them up by doing Connect to Server and specifying something like smb://netbiosname/share, like smb://squirrel/craine.

The NSLU2 looks like it will be rock-solid. It has a couple of quirks — it formats the drive in Linux ext3 format, it will shut down at the slightest hint of a power glitch, and it’s rather slow — but I can put up with slowness if the data’s secure.