D-Link DIR-655 Firmware 1.34b03 Beta

D-Link has released the 1.34b03 Beta firmware for the DIR-655 router.

Changelog:

Disabling the SecureSpot feature, the router will not query Bsecure when the feature is disabled
Statistics will not clear under “Status>Statistics”

The first fix was available in the previous firmware 1.34b02, I have found it stops connections that people have noticed the router give to the Bsecure servers when SecureSpot is not running. The second fix addresses a bug that appeared in that firmware causing the statistics page to report ridiculously high stats.

Using this firmware is at your own risk and will most likely void your warranty if something goes wrong.

Download:

D-Link DIR-655 1.34b03 Beta Firmware
or download from D-Link
MD5: 15644CB5660A27E7DC3EAF2CEA785CC7

D-Link DIR-655 Firmware 1.34b02 Beta and SharePort 3.0

Update 22-04-2010: D-Link have released the 1.34b03 firmware that fixes an issue with the statistics page for this firmware. Get it here.

D-Link has released the 1.34b02 Beta firmware for the DIR-655 router.

Changelog:

This code addresses disabling the SecureSpot feature.
The router will not query Bsecure when the feature is disabled.

Using this firmware is at your own risk and will most likely void your warranty if something goes wrong.

Download:

D-Link DIR-655 1.34b02 Beta Firmware
or download from D-Link
MD5: DBE6A2D2628894B3253024111307735E

D-Link has also released SharePort version 3.0 for Mac OSX and Windows.

There doesn’t appear to be a changelog but I will add one if it appears.
Add a comment below with any results you have regarding these.

Download:

SharePort 3.0 Windows
or download from D-Link
MD5: D42166F5E46E6AAA845BDC4B42EFAE32

SharePort 3.0 Mac OSX
or download from D-Link
MD5: 30B1B71D1CADC69B5C5EB4D39247F38D

D-Link DIR-655 1.32NA Build 09 BETA

Update 16th January 2010: 1.33b01NA has been released.

D-link have released an unsupported beta version of the DIR-655’s firmware, this supposedly fixes only the DNS Relay bug.

You can get it here, they seem to be pretty insistent that the firmware shouldn’t be used if you’re worried about your warranty etc so I will just leave it at that link, I’ll be testing this seeing as my router is stuck as a glorified Wireless AP and Gigabit switch due to it’s bad behaviour so it can’t really get much worse.

D-Link DIR-655 1.32 Build 04 Beta 01 SharePort fix

Update 16th January 2010: 1.33b01NA has been released.

D-link have released a new beta firmware for the DIR-655 in the hopes that it will fix an undisclosed SharePort issue.

Changelog:

  • This code can be used with all hardware revisions of the DIR-655
  • This code only addresses the shareport issue
  • The attached Shareport utility will only work with this version firmware

I don’t know what SharePort issue they are referring to and I have not tested this myself.

Once again this firmware WILL NOT DOWNGRADE to pre 1.3x firmwares so if you are on a pre 1.3x firmware then it is suggested that you stay put because chances are you will only have more issues and you can’t go back.

This firmware is beta, it is a test release, it may break/brick your router for no reason.

As the changelog suggests there is a new SharePort utility included that will supposedly only work with this version, I don’t know if SX Virtual Link works with this firmware, but for the record it has a version number of 5.6.2 making it newer than SX Virtual Link.

Download Link:

D-Link DIR-655 Firmware 1.32 Build 04 Beta 1 with new SharePort

Update 27th of October 2009: I have decided to test this firmware out as some users have reported that there are some small wireless improvements, I will leave any findings in the comments below. I will also try a SharePort stability test as the longest I have been able to keep a single SharePort connection alive has been about half an hour.

D-Link DIR-655 BETA01 Firmware 1.32NA

Update 16th January 2010: 1.33b01NA has been released.

Update 1: A new build has been released of this beta, this one has been listed with the only change being CAPTCHA is set to disabled by default, however it is 2KB larger so perhaps they have changed something else. I have updated download links below.

Update 2: The final release of this firmware has been posted, check below for the download link, click here to read about it.

Update 3: D-Link has released a new beta firmware for the DIR-655 here, it ONLY fixes *a* SharePort issue.

D-Link have just uploaded a new beta firmware release for the DIR-655, this fixes issues with SharePort and fixes that CAPTCHA security leak that could cause the router to give out the admin password. I have not tested it personally so I am unaware of any issues however others at the D-Link forums have experienced no problems so far. There are also no reports of this fixing the lockup issues users of the 1.31 firmware were experiencing but it isn’t mentioned in the release notes, we will know for sure though in a few days.

Update: Some users are reporting great success with the new firmware and SharePort, lets hope that continues, also there has been a report from a Mac user stating that after upgrading the firmware the admin page was unable to be used in Firefox or Safari on OSX so keep that in mind those that don’t have a Windows PC just in case.

Release Notes:
Firmware: 1.32 (Beta 01)

1. Fix potential security leak with CAPTCHA.
2. Fix USB LED issue aboutShareport.
3. Update chklst.txt
4. Fix SharePort issue

Again this is beta firmware so it comes with the added disclaimer of possibly damaging your router, you can download the firmware below, I have made a mirror hosted here so if they take it down it will still be available here.

Download the final build here:
D-Link DIR-655 Firmware 1.32NA

Windows 7 Conexant Sound Card Issue

I am running the Windows 7 beta on my 4 year old Laptop, It’s not recommended but it does run well, using the Windows XP display and ethernet drivers it is a well functioning machine that doesn’t act much different from when it had Windows XP installed, however there is an odd issue with the sound card driver from Windows update that I will explain.

Continue reading Windows 7 Conexant Sound Card Issue

Windows Vista SP2 release before Windows 7

Earlier this week Microsoft stated that Vista’s Service Pack 2 will be released before Windows 7. As Windows 7 will be released in the second half of that year it has caused many to be worried that Microsoft are rushing SP2.

I don’t believe this will be a problem and I certainly don’t believe Microsoft would be rushing this, to release a Service Pack within a year was common before Windows XP and has happened since, things have changed and Vista SP2 is not focused on the amount of features and deep fixes that have been needed in Service Packs in the past 6 years.

Windows XP SP1 had a reasonable time frame of just under a year, however it was fairly rushed and rightly so, but there were no issues caused by rushing the update. SP2 of XP took quite some time (2 years since SP1) and this was due to the radical changes in the OS that were proposed, new device drivers had to be made, this led to more and more testing and in the end it was a significant change, but with the amount of changes you would expect from 2 Service Packs, released in the same amount of time. Windows XP SP3 is again more of a roll up release that was not necessarily needed due to Windows Update, it was delayed because Windows Vista needed more resources at the time.

Windows Vista SP1 was like the Windows XP SP1 in a way, there were necessary changes that needed to be implemented and they were implemented fast, just over a year from the Retail release date and it was finished and ready, no rushing was needed.

New Windows 7 Screenshots at ThinkNext

Looks like ThinkNext have their hands on a copy of the 6780 (M3) build of Windows 7 and have show much more of Windows 7 than we have been able to see recently. You can view them here. The screenshots have now been taken down by Microsoft: http://www.thinknext.net/archives/2281.

Going by looks, not much has changed since Vista yet, however it seems a bit glassier, apart from the changes I have mentioned previously Calculator has had a face lift in what I can only say is a good move.

It looks as though the Control Panel items have undergone a change again, though in most cases they are still fundamentally the same.

Internet Explorer 8 is included, not much of a surprise there, it should be fairly complete by the time Windows 7 is out of Beta.

Most importantly UAC appears to have been toned down extensively in Windows 7, hopefully that doesn’t compromise on the security that was originally intended.

Not much info yet, however they intend on releasing a video soon.

Google Chrome Beta Review

When Google Chrome came out I instantly downloaded and installed it to see what the big deal was. Here is an optimistic look at Google Chrome, past the possible security issues with the browser and the general distrust of Google around the internet at the moment.

Performance
The performance of Google Chrome is amazing. I didn’t think there would be much improvement in day to day browsing, but the speed increase from using Internet Explorer and Firefox is quite noticable. The other noticable speed increase from these browsers is in the speed that Google Chrome can open and close, on my PC the browser window opens instantly and is able to be used in a few seconds, Firefox depending on what plugins you have install, what theme you are using, at the quickest you normally can’t get it under 3-5 seconds unless you are doing some major tweaking. Google Gears integration also helps on websites that are compatible with it, such as the WordPress Admin section.

Stability
There were many reports of Google Chrome crashing when It was first released, I never experienced anything like that, in fact I have only ever experienced 1 crash and it appeared to be caused by a specific website that I had never been to before and had no interest in going to again. However, I do experience problems with Google Chrome suddenly losing the ability to produce sound, it happens with YouTube the most often and usually occurs when I have many tabs open.

Compatibility
This is not quite a strong side of this browser yet, flash is supported and works great, however Java support is flaky to say the least. Java 1.6 Update 7, the latest stable version of the Java Runtime Environment is not compatible with Google Chrome yet, however Java 1.6 Update 10, currently in Beta is apparently compatible, however I have had no luck with it on my PC, it stops Java applets running in any browser when it is installed, this may be due to a previous (working) installation of Update 10 being removed a few months ago, however I have had no success with the version that worked previously. Other users of Update 10 have also experienced a wide range of problems specific to Google Chrome, so although the latest Beta of the runtime environment is listed as compatible the chances of getting it to run correctly aren’t too good yet.

Obviously your favourite FireFox plug-ins are not compatible with Google Chrome Chrome Plugins seems promising in the future and has some good information so far. Theme support appears to be built into Google Chrome but not much has been done in that area yet.

As far is website compatibility goes Google Chrome has no major issues, I have rarely come across a website that cannot display properly in this browser.

Features
Google Chrome has many features that interest me, the One Unified Box (Address Bar) is very handy, normally I’d have to choose which box was active before I started typing, this was annoying when I started typing somewhere and had to move it to the right area, the lack of recently typed URLs is annoying, but that can be accessed from the New tab page, this lists the most common websites that you have visited and is used to access the history list, the list is set out well and the readability is great.

I have not yet used the application shortcuts, but they seem fairly simple to use. The dynamic tabs are fun to use, they allow you to drag a tab out of the window to create a new window with the current tab’s contents. A common feature starting to come out in browsers now is the ability to hide your history, cookies etc for a session, Chrome’s Incognito Mode is very similar to other types of this feature.

Google Chrome also warns about malware and phishing websites, I haven’t ran across this yet. The downloads bar is a little annoying and it took a bit of a look through the settings to get it to not forget the folder I last downloaded to.  The settings importer was automatic at the end of the installation, but can also be invoked from the menu as well, it worked flawlessly for me, cookies and favourites were imported exactly as they were in FireFox.

Look & Feel
Google Chrome looks and feels very polished, in Vista the glass border is familiar to those that use Internet Explorer, the tabs are in an interesting place, apart from having to remember that they are not in the standard spot I really didn’t notice anything good or bad about them being at the top. The bookmarks are fairly hidden when you first start using Chrome and I had to add the Bookmarks bar so that I remembered how to get to my imported Bookmarks, they are listed under Other Bookmarks and don’t appear to be accessible unless you always show the bookmarks bar.

As I stated in the compatability section I have not had many issues with page rendering, also I have not experienced any rendering issues with the browser itself, the UI is smooth and gets familiar fast.

Conclusion
As I touched on at the start, this is probably not the browser for you if you are paranoid or have any distrust of Google, also If you don’t have a good virus scanner installed and/or you blindly allow executables to run you may be put off by the possible security flaw regarding launching executables.

Google Chrome is a polished browser that is fast and works great, it has no plugins that I am aware of yet and that stops most adopting it as their default browser, but if you’re not worried about that the speed and features certainly helps productivity while browsing. I use Google Chrome for most of my browsing, however if I feel like doing some stumbling or need to use Java I will run FireFox.