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Fixing my Zyxel NWA1123-AC

October 6, 2017 Leave a comment

My home network is pretty advanced. I have a PFSense home-built router (based on Zotac ZBOX CI323) that connects to my modem, several smart switches (Netgear JGS524E), and 2 wireless Access Points.  The two access points are both made by Zyxel; an NWA1123-AC and an NWA1123-ACv2.  I thought it would be prudent to upgrade the firmware of both devices this week but ran into a problem.

Since both need different firmware, I first downloaded the firmware for the v2 device, and then did the v1 device.  Somehow I managed to download the NWA1121-NI firmware for the v1 device, and then applied it. As I was doing some configuration on the device, I saw I was missing the 5 Ghz settings, which lead me to figuring out I had flashed it with the wrong firmware. I thought it would be easy to revert back since I was able to go one way, but that proved wrong! The device wouldn’t accept the correct firmware.

I did some hunting around the internet, gave up quick, and submitted a technical support request.  Zyxel got back to me the following day saying I would have to RMA the device, sending it back to them, assuming it was in warranty. After some following correspondents,  it was determined that I was out of warranty/support. I turned back to the internet.

I found, on Zyxel’s website (PDF), they had directions on how to have the device pull firmware from a TFTP server before the router fully booted. However, there were some critical steps missing.

  • There’s no serial port on the AP; WHAT?
  • How do I unzip a bin file? And how do I unzip what comes out of that?
  • What software do I use to TFTP?
  • What software do I use for a terminal?

Zyxel support insisted that this KB article on their site did not apply to my AP problem, and there was no way I could recover the device without sending it in to them.

I did some more hunting and found someone over at the OpenWRT.org site posted the internal parts of the NWA1123-AC AP, as well as some serial port details. I also found a page for serial port specifics saying I needed a USB TTL adapter.  The same page had details on the pins to connect the adapter to on the AP (see: Router with serial port / header / pins). Turns out Amazon and my local MicroCenter both carried a USB to TTL adapter, for use with RaspberryPi devices. I biked over to MicroCenter, and picked one up.

Once I got home, opened up my AP, connected everything, downloaded and set up Tera Term and TFTPD64, and starting going through the KB article. I used 7zip to extract the contents of the bin file, and the contents of the subsequent file. I ended up with the files shown in the KB article, so even though 7zip said there was extra contents that wasn’t extracted, I figured I was on the right track.

Everything seemed to work great, and got my device flashed with the correct firmware! Sadly, Zyxel’s poor design required me to clear my browser cache to get the AP’s config page working correctly, but if that was the only hiccup, I wasn’t too angry, and I had been stupid enough to flash the wrong firmware on the AP in the first place.

Access Point saved from certain death!

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BI Bublisher: Selecting first record only

October 16, 2015 2 comments

I was looking for a way to only select data from the first record of a group to use in my Master Bill of Lading.  I only needed the address of one of the deliveries on the trip, so I wanted to select the address from the first delivery.  The other deliveries on the trip would be have the same addresses, at least how we are configuring the system.

I found this on a blog post at Oracle.com which seemed to be the answer:

<?for-each:EMPLOYEES[position()='1' or position()=last()]?>

I tried it, and different combinations, for quite some time.  I tried single quotes, double quotes, I tried it in an IF statement. It turns out the single quotes were causing problems.  This is the way it finally worked:

<?for-each:LIST_TRIP_STOP/TRIP_STOP/LIST_DELIVERY/DELIVERY[position()=1]?>

I wonder if Oracle tested this before they published the blog entry.  At least they pointed me in the right direction.

Oracle WMS RUP 12

September 30, 2015 Leave a comment

Logistics Consolidated RUP12 (VERSION 12.1.1 TO 12.1.3 [RELEASE 12.1])

Patch: 21220763

Fixed Bugs:

Read more…

Outlook 2010 PDF Handler

May 8, 2015 1 comment

For several months I have been getting the message in Outlook 2010 that there was no PDF Handler.  I decided to do something about it today. I tried for about an hour.  One of the steps I took was to “repair” Office.  That required me to restart my computer, something I seldom do because of  how long it takes to do so, even with a Core i7.  The repair didn’t solve anything.

One thing I read online was to go into Adobe Acrobat reader and make sure some check-box was unchecked.  When I opened it up from the start menu, it starting going through some finalizing installation steps.  That seemed strange since I have been opening PDFs for some time now. I guess opening it directly is slightly different than opening the program by double-clicking a PDF file.  I got to the check-box and it was already unchecked.

I opened Outlook again, and my PDF Handler worked!  Apparently all it took was opening Adobe Acrobat Reader XI from the start menu.  What a crazy simple fix!

Oracle Support Quality

March 25, 2015 1 comment

I have had an Oracle Service Request (SR) open for 3 years now. The request has to do with how slow several security based objects are to be displayed when a user is set up using Oracle’s newer RBAC (Role Base Access Control) security structure.  Right now we are working on is the list of concurrent requests.

The SR was originally opened as a severity 2.  About a year into the SR, one of my DBAs had some work to do on it and was getting poor response from Oracle support, so he raised the severity to 1.  It has been at severity 1 for about 2 years now.

I have gotten several patches from Oracle.  The first one we applied showed no change in performance at all.  When they released the second patch, I insisted they provide details of what the improvement was so I could confirm A) it actually did improve, and B) they have actually replicated the problem internally.  I didn’t want to waste our DBA team’s time applying an alpha stage patch that has been untested.

I never got the proof that the patch was tested.  I gave up and had the patch applied. The patch broke the security all together; a user would have no access to concurrent requests at all.  Yes it was fast, but it didn’t work.

A third patch was released; it fixed the security, so at least the user would get access, but the performance was 50% slower than an un-patched system.

For several months I have been asking for updates on the SR every week or so, and it get the standard “we are working on it” or “requested status from development” response.

I have poked the bear, per-say, this last week by asking for some manger interaction.  Take a look at the latest response I got from them:

3-year-sr3

Note in the title of the SR I mentioned “W/RBAC.”  The first question in this SR update is “Are you using RBAC model to define security?”  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

Working Effectively with Customers on Oracle Service Requests

April 3, 2014 3 comments

Working with Oracle Support is frequently frustrating and difficult.  Very often Service Requests analysts post updates asking for customer’s to refer to an internal document, stating: “The following note can enhance your experience with Global Customer Services: Note: 166650.1 : Working Effectively With Support.”  At this point, I have determined I need to do something similar.

Here is my list to keep in mind to effectively work with customers:

  • Before asking a questions or asking for data, review entire SR and it’s attachments to make sure it has not already been provided. If another SR is referenced, please include that in your review.
  • Consult Oracle internal experts rather than asking customer how a module works.
  • Do not give statements that may be untrue or are assumptions.
  • Test all solutions in an internal, Oracle, instance before asking customer to try the solutions. Video evidence of testing may be requested.
  • Provide all files in an industry standard formats. Customers should not be required to download proprietary software or codecs.
  • Review all files before attaching
  • Video files must be understandable, and easy to follow.  A beginner should be able to replicate the same actions portrayed in the video.
  • Do not constantly indicate that an SR is not responded to within a certain period of time. The same courtesy will be given to you.
  • Development instances will not be cloned onto production.
  • An SR will not be opened per instance.
  • The solution “that is a limitation of the software” or “that is how it works” is not acceptable.
  • If documentation does not match the application’s functionality, only a “bug” will be a satisfactory solution.
  • If configuration requirements are missing from documentation, and assumed, it is inherently irreverent.  And any undesired functionality must be considered a bug.
  • Documents on My Oracle Support are not considered documentation unless referenced in the customers software version’s User Guide or Implementation Guide available at publication/release date.
  • It is Oracle support’s responsibility to coordinate between Oracle divisions/module development teams.
  • Analysts should not expect customer to have direct Unix level access to complete testing or diagnostic work.  SQL Plus is considered direct Unix access.
  • Any dates or times should be expressed in the customer’s time zone.
  • It is the responsibility of an Oracle Analyst to provide a sufficient hand-off of SRs to subsequent analysts.  Questions resulting from poor SR transitions may be responded to in a harsh manor.
  • Please honor the requested communications method listed on the SR. Any communication initiated that does not match the requested communications method may be treated as if it never happened, unless it is agreed that that method may be used by both parties.

All of these are based on actual experiences.

Fixed: Oracle BI Publisher Template XLF Translation File Upload Error

July 3, 2012 Leave a comment

I have been working on BI Publisher templates and the XLF Language Translations at work. I found a nice bug where a user uploads a XLF template translation and Oracle gives an Error that does not match the actual problem that caused the error.

Conditions

  • Oracle BI Publisher or XML Publisher module in Oracle E-Business suite R12
  • XLF Template Language Translation files

Symptoms

  • BI Publisher gives error as seen below
  • Unable to upload XLF Translation file
The uploaded translation file is invalid. It should specify a valid target language and territory. Please verify that the file is in the correct format.

Problem

  • Original Oracle Translation file exported specifying UTF-8 encoding
  • Edited translation files actually use ISO-8859-1 encoding

Solution

  • Change XLF Specified Encoding from utf-8 to ISO-8859-1