Anthony Birkett

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Dell (DCS) C6100 Firmware update process

Thursday 27th October 2016

For those with the DCS variant of the C6100, you have likely already found out - it does not support firmware updates available on the Dell Support site.

 

Well - it does. In some scenarios.

My machines are very similar, if not identical to the retail C6100. There are variants out there, which are radically different. If you have a machine that doesn't match the spec of a C6100 - DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS.

You need to flash each component individually through DOS, with a couple of reboots throughout the process.

 

1) Download the BIOS (1.71), BMC (1.33) and FCB (1.20) firmware from the Dell Support site. Make sure to download the DOS copies.

2) Extract each download onto a bootable FreeDOS USB Drive.

3) Power up a node, and boot from the USB drive. (You may need to select Hard Drive emulation, under BIOS -> Advanced -> USB Configuration)

4) Flash the BMC, with the Dell supplied script (flash8.bat).

5) Power off the server. Completely, pull the power.

6) Power on the server, wait a couple of minutes for the BMC to wake up.

7) Enter the BIOS, under Server -> IPMI Configuration, make sure your network details are correct (use Dedicated NIC is an important one in my environment).

8) Boot off the USB drive again, and cd to the BIOS update folder.

9) Manual flash command: afudos.exe 6100v171.rom /p /b /n /x /c

10) Reboot, no need to power off.

11) Enter BIOS, set everything back up.

12) One last boot to the USB drive, and flash the FBC firmware using the supplied script (FBC.BAT).

13) Reboot. Done.

 

This has worked for me on 2 chassis, and 8 nodes - of which, the service tags are not found on the Dell Support site.

Original BIOS: 1.44

Original BMC: 1.13

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Windows 10 1511 and beyond with WSUS

Friday 22nd January 2016

Criteria:

  • Windows Server 2012 or 2012 R2
  • WSUS set to download Windows 10 upgrade builds
  • WSUS fails to download from the MS servers - event log points to a certificate error.

 

Fix:

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3095113

 

This allows WSUS to download and verify the upgrade ESD's. It also performs some maintenance on the internal database. After installing, Windows 10 clients no longer show as Vista.

 

After installing, you may need to reboot the server and clear the BITS queue. In my case - WSUS completely stuck the download queue, fixed with "wsusutil reset".

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Terrible choices by Infiniti UK

Thursday 21st January 2016

But first, a preface.

The Saab's

Since before I was even born, there was always a Saab in my family. It changed every few years, starting with 900’s, then a couple of generations of 9-3’s. In 2009, it was a 9-3 Vector Sport, Anniversary. In my opinion, the best trimmed Saab ever to be built.

 

Now, the Saab’s in my family have always come from the same place. (name drop!) Humberside Motors, in Grimsby. A great bunch of people, who we came to know as friends. They have another site in Hull too. For a long time, these guys were the main Saab dealer in the area.

 

2010 comes along, and GM pull the plug on Saab. The factory closes its doors, the brand changes ownership a few times, and eventually folds. For the customers, this wasn’t a massive deal – dealers mostly stuck around, changing main franchise, and the parts are all GM. The cars were basically Vauxhall’s – starting with the Vectra, and ending with the Insignia.

 

This obviously had a direct impact on Humberside Motors, but they set out to find a new dealer network to be part of.

The result saw Grimsby partner up with Renault and its smaller brands (Dacia).

Hull took a much riskier route, and became the first independent dealer in the country to work with Infiniti. This was September 2012, and Infiniti had exactly ZERO presence in the UK.

 

Around this time, I was walking around one of the local car shows. Infiniti had come out in force. The one that hooked me into the display, was an M35h. It was apparent that this unheard brand was locked on to Merc, BMW and Audi – they wanted that market.

 

June 2013 – and the Saab is, sadly, gone. In its place – an Infiniti EX. A different class of car, but also a considerable ownership experience.

 

 

The EX

Zoom forward to January 2016 – all is well. The car is great, and the support from Hull is spot on. Hull themselves have won the European Dealer of the Year award.

In the last 2 years – I’ve driven some VERY nice vehicles.

September 2014 was fun, starting with the monstrous FX Vettel edition. This thing had me smiling for a week.

 

A week later, I was taking the new Q50 2.0t Petrol for a spin.

 

That was a particularly important day. Not only because of this:

 

But also because the Q50 had just been promoted onto my “this is my next car” notes.

Let’s just focus on that for a moment. My next car is going to be an Infiniti Q50. I’m torn between the 2.0t petrol, and the 2.2 CDI.

I’m not just basing this choice on the car – there needs to be support and trust with the local dealer.

 

 

This opinion nearly changed in October 2015, at the Q30 launch. A very nice car, smaller than the Q50. No used market on these yet though – making the Q50 a much more economical buy.

 

 

 

The Bombshell

January 7th 2016 – every Infiniti Hull customer receives an email. Paraphrasing:

“Your new nearest Infiniti dealer is Leeds. Your cars servicing has now been fully transferred.

Ok, thanks. Bye.”

 

What has happened here? Infiniti UK have pulled the plug on one of their most successful dealers.

Customers are now expected to travel from this area, to Leeds. It's expected that this will just be accepted.

 

I go back to a previous statement. "I’m not just basing this choice on the car – there needs to be support and trust with the local dealer."

Cars don't sell themselves. Dealers sell cars. Dealers have a relationship with customers. Customers are the only thing that will ever give Infiniti a start in the UK.

 

I feel that there's more to this. When Infiniti first entered the UK, the dealers were all funded by middle-eastern money. Hull was the first independent dealer. In this era, Infiniti saw growth, Hull did well, and the Infiniti UK team seemed to understand how things worked at the forecourt level.

Going into 2015, Infiniti set up a retail group, to encompass the franchised dealerships. Hull remained independent. During this change in structure - something seems to have been lost. People left at the top level, and the understanding between forecourt and top level has disappeared.

 

I would estimate that Infiniti are selling around 1000 cars per year in the UK. The fact that they are willing to ditch one of their best dealers, and leave the area uncovered is worrying. 

 

Infiniti Hull obviously can’t disclose too much – I respect that. But there needs to be a statement from Infiniti UK on this. They clearly don’t understand that the car purchases are based on dealer relationships.

 

As it stands at the moment (and this is painful) - the Q50 is off my list.

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Trap For Young Players: UEFI Lies, BitLocker Locks

Saturday 07th November 2015

Taking a look at a potential problem when UEFI lies, and Bitlocker locks the disks.

Just one of the many ways to nuke your data when playing with Full Disk Encryption.

 

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Open Sourcing some projects

Saturday 28th March 2015

This year, I have a personal goal set - to open source the majority of my projects.

I realised that, for a programmer, I had very little public code. Especially for a programmer who supports OSS.

 

The process began last year with my CloudFlare Dynamic DNS client. That is maturing rather nicely now, having spent some time with it earlier this month. More blogging to follow on that one.

This week, I re-wrote my internal tool for running any Windows program as a service. This will be familiar to anyone who has used "srvany.exe" from the W2K3 Resource Kit. Srvany-ng is my drop in replacement.

More interesting, and challenging for me though - is Open Sourcing my website. This one. 

 

I also operate my own URL shortner (birk.it) - that has been a much smaller project, and much easier to open up to the public. A lab rat.

Some lessons were learnt during the process, most importantly: don't add production config files to the repository! Luckily, that was nothing "git rebase" couldn't fix.

 

So, as of this post. I officially announce this website to be an Open Source project. Check it out on GitHub.

I encourage anyone and everyone to dig into my code. Everything is MIT licensed, meaning there's little to no restrictions on use. I only ask that, if you have a bug fix or feature you have added, please consider issuing a pull request. 

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