The return of the most robust router (WHR-HP-G54 / DD-WRT)

There, I’ve done it: I replaced my fancy new broadband router, a Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH that supports 802.11n (up to 300 Mbps) with an older model that I had first purchased two years ago, the WHR-HP-G54 (802.11b/g, up to 54 Mbps). Besides supporting the newer, faster, better wireless standard, the newer router had a faster CPU, a USB port and much more RAM and ROM that should make it much more expandable. The trouble was, it was not as robust as the The most robust router I ever used, the WHR-HP-G54. Both routers support DD-WRT and OpenWRT, GNU/Linux-based open source router firmware.

First I had lots of problems with the WZR-HP-G300NH under DD-WRT, which apparently wasn’t ready for prime time on this router yet. The signal was too weak, I couldn’t connect from some parts of the building. Then I switched to OpenWRT and things looked better, but then I kept losing wireless connectivity on all mobile computers and smartphones in the building at random intervals. Only a router reset would allow them to reconnect, there was no other cure. Perhaps that would have been tolerable when it happened once a week, but it seemed to get worse. Finally, after having to reboot the router three times in one day I had enough. I found one supplier that still had stocks of the old WHR-HP-G54 and promptly ordered one.

The new old router arrived two days later. I only briefly accessed it from a PC without a WAN connection as a sanity check, before flashing it with dd-wrt.v24_mini_generic.bin using TFTP and then dd-wrt.v24-10070_crushedhat_4MB.bin using the DD-WRT web interface. I did perform a 30-30-30 reset after the mini flash. After the second flash I restored an NVRAM backup from the previous router of the same type saved back in June from the same firmware. Then I cloned the MAC address of the WAN port of my WZR-HP-G300NH so the latest router could keep on using the same broadband IP acquired via DHCP by its predecessor. After moving the WAN and LAN cables from the old router to the new one, everything just worked, including my ipv6 setup via Hurricane Electric. I just had to connect the wireless clients to the new SSID. Since then I have not reset the router once.

When new versions of DD-WRT and/or OpenWRT come out for the WZR-HP-G300NH I may give it a try again, but more likely I’ll just keep it as spare. I expect my second WHR-HP-G54 to work every bit as well as my first one. I don’t know how much the software was to blame and how much the hardware for the disappointing results with the newer design, but suspect that 802.11n may be too complex for its own good. There has to be a reason why it remained stuck in “Draft N” stage for so long…

I will pick a reliable router like the WHR-HP-G54 running DD-WRT over one that has a more fancy specification any day because reliability is what it takes to get the job done. If you can’t find the WHR-HP-G54, another good basic choice is the WRT54GL that also supports DD-WRT, but unfortunately it is not sold here in Japan and won’t ship it here from the U.S.

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Canon PowerShot S95 vs DSLR

Three months ago one of my brothers visited me from Germany and we had a great time together, but somehow in between taking him to Meiji Shrine, Harajuku, Asakusa, Kamakura and Mt Fuji, my old Sony DSC-W80 digital camera went absent without leave: It was there one day and I couldn’t find it the next day. It never showed up again and I’m not sure exactly where or how I lost it.

To be perfectly honest, the Sony DSC-W80 had been actually my least favourite camera so far, mostly because of its poor indoor / low-light performance. I was almost glad to have been presented with an excuse to start looking for a better replacement, even if it would cost me some money. Many point and shoot cameras attract buyers with ever increasing megapixel numbers, but draw them from a tiny image sensor that captures nowhere near enough light for all those pixels, so you end up with more noise and distortion.

Last Christmas I visited my sister in law’s brother in law, who is a photography enthusiast and owns a Nikon D90 with a 16-85 VR DX lens. He took some shots of us sitting around the kitchen table at what I would consider pretty minimal light (we’re talking Germany in late December after all!) without using a flash. The sharpness, the colours and the detail in the pictures were just amazing. I started reading up about the Nikon D90 and was very impressed. I later found the camera with a good quality kit lens, the 18-55 VR DX for about JPY 75,000 at Amazon Japan, but also looked at its lesser sibling, the D5000, which uses the same high quality image sensor as the D90 and D300, but a lower resolution LCD and is a bit cheaper than the D90 (just under JPY 60,000 with the same lens).

Back in the late 1990s I had a Canon EOS SLR (analog), but it developed a problem with its lens and I never bothered to get it fixed, switching back to compacts instead. What I found then was that actually having a camera on you usually is more important than owning a better camera. The best SLR or DSLR is of no use if you don’t have it within reach when an opportunity for a great picture arises. Cameras that fit into a jacket pocket ended up getting more use, since I was always reluctant to bring along the bulky camera bag needed to protect the SLR.

This is the reason why I have abandoned the idea of a DSLR for now (i.e. until I get rich and can afford a good DSLR like the Nikon D90 as a *second* camera for special occasions). Today I ordered the Canon PowerShot S95, which Ken Rockwell calls the “world’s best pocket camera”. It combines a large image sensor with a compact body. Its main difference to its predecessor, the Canon PowerShot S90 is added support for 1280x720p video at 24 fps. In a few days I should know how it actually performs, as I’m planning to hike in the mountains west of Tokyo for autumn leaves viewing with friends. Then I’ll just need to make sure the Canon S95 won’t disappear like my Sony 😉

UPDATE (2010-11-16):

I ordered the camera at Camera Kaikan ( on Sunday morning and it was delivered on Monday morning, little more than 24 hours later. I bought a no-name 8 GB class 4 SD card for it. The class (i.e. minimum writing speed in MB per second) of the card matters only for video, where data streams to the card continuously.

You can get really cheap class 2 SD cards, but that’s not fast enough to keep up with the 720p24 HD recording mode supported by the S95. Various people in online forums were saying class 10 was an unnecessary expense while recommending class 6 as the base line. However, looking at the file size of a one minute clip I took, 720p24 HD seems to result in a data rate of 2.5 MB per second, or 37% below the 4 MB/s minimum required for class 4. So theoretically class 4 should work as well as class 6 for HD recording on the S95.

I am very pleased with the picture quality so far, but I’ve only started experimenting with the various modes and menus for manual control to explore its full potential.

My public Picasaweb gallery spam

When I received the following email, I was scared for a moment that I might not have taken care of renewing one of my domains, but I think panic is exactly what the senders had intended to provoke:

US Domain Licensing
130 Church St Suite 280 New York, NY 10007
Phone: 1 800 690 1269

Final Notice Of Domain Extension


Fax: Notice Tracking Number: EXE2799704

Please be advised that the above noted domain name has now become available for registration. Consequently the possibility of a conflicting domain registration may occur. As the registrant of the commerce extension, you have been granted the first right to use preference in securing the intellectual property for the United States country code. If you choose to waive this right, the name will be available for public registration.


Please note that businesses and consumers are increasingly losing the rights to their domain names caused by Domain Hijacking, Registrant/Registrar mistake, inadvertence, or Blocked Emails.

This is an urgent domain notice to verify the rights to your name to prevent 3rd party infringement and unintentional name loss. Our organization is responsible for verifying the public and private Intellectual Property rights of domain holders, and to carry out UDRP Disputes according to the guidelines:

Protecting a domain name registrant or trademark owner from confusing and/or conflicting domain name registrations is not the responsibility of the domain and trademark registration processes. In the event of a registration of the above noted domain by a third party, the UDRP may be applied under the following conditions.

You may loose your domain if a complainant/competitor proves that each of these three elements are present with your domain registration. – For the purposes of Paragraph 4(a)(iii), the following circumstances, in particular but without limitation, if found by the Panel to be present, shall be evidence of the registration and use of a domain name in bad faith:

(i) your domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights; and
(ii) you have no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
(iii) your domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

b. Evidence of Registration and Use in Bad Faith.

.(i) You acquired the domain primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the complainant/ trademark or service mark owner, or to their competitor, or (ii) you have registered the domain name in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, therefore revealing a pattern of such conduct, or (iii) you have registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor, or (iv) by using the domain name, to create confusion with the complainant’s mark.

Note: You may disregard this notice. If you disregard this notice or fail to reply:
(a) The licensing rights of this domain name may be assigned to any other applicant, (b) UDL and or any ICANN accredited registrar will not be liable for loss of domain name license, identical or confusingly similar use of your company’s domain name; or interruption of business activity or business losses.


If you fail to reply to UDL this domain may be registered by any third party without further notice. To protect the intellectual property rights to this name, you are required to advise us of your intent to (a) secure this domain name or (b) to leave this domain name for Public Registration.

Call 1 800 690 1269
Notice Tracking Number: EXE2799704

Sounds terribly official and scary, but I’ve never owned any “.us” domains, so there is no domain registration to extend. Not being based in the United States, I have no plans to register any .us domains. I do own the .com and .net variants of the domain in question though and they are far more useful for commercial purposes.

These people seem to try to frighten recipients of their spam into signing up for a .us domain. They are not cheap: From the FAQ on their website it looks like they charge US$70 for two years.

Reputable registrars offer .us domains for around $20 for 2 years, so it’s unlikely anyone would pay $70 to register one through these people unless prompted to do so by deceptive advertising, even if they had a need for a .us domain in the first place.

By the way, domains and were still available when I checked, so they themselves don’t practice what they preach. The same people own, which was registered about two years earlier (May 2008) than (February 2010).

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