How to unbrick Netgear WGR614v9 router after failed upgrade

Today I was playing a bit with my router, trying to explore what all I can do. Actually I was trying to enable port forwarding, though it didn't work yet. I noticed that in the router there is an option to upgrade, I click on it and it said that there is an update available, I downloaded the new firmware "WGR614v9-V1.1.2.30.chk", but when I uploaded it on the router, the upgrade procedure started but failed and as I feared, the router stopped working at all. I also reset the router, it didn't help either.

I search and found this link, where it is explained very well on how to fix your router in such situations.

I am just repeating the steps here, with very little changes.

  1. Disconnect the router from all cables except the power cable.
  2. Push reset button for 30 secs.
  3. Without releasing reset button, disconnect power cord.
  4. Hold the reset button for another 30 secs.
  5. Replug the power cord.
  6. Still hold the reset button for another 30 secs.
  7. Release the reset button and give the router about 10 secs to resettle.
  8. Disconnect power cord for another 10 secs and then reconnect.
  9. All should be in default settings now.

After that I connected the LAN wire with my computer and tried to open the default ip 192.168.1.1 and nothing happened. I also tried to ping but in vain.

What to do if you are not able to access 192.168.1.1

If pinging 192.168.1.1 does not work, check the IP Address of your computer and make sure it is assigned an IP address in the subnet of the router IP. For simplicity sake you can assume "192.168.1.x" is good. If you do not have a good IP, the DHCP Server might not be working. So set your IP manually to something like 192.168.1.77 with 192.168.1.1 as your gateway and then try pinging the router again.

Power the router on with a continuous ping running in a command window:

ping -t -w 2 192.168.1.1

(The -w 2 parameter forces a lower timeout for the ping answer, this makes easier to get an answer from the bricked router.)

Prepare your PC, firmware file and TFTP software and play with the timing of powering it on and starting the TFTP session just after applying power (or as soon as you start to see ping replies). If you try it a number of times (at least 10) you will probably rescue the router with no fuss!

Microsoft Windows contains a TFTP client. Windows Vista will require that you enable it in Programs and Features. With TFTP, all of the information about the transfer is specified during the initial setup; there is little client/server interaction as compared with standard FTP. To flash a router using Microsoft Windows, open a command prompt, change to the directory containing the original firmware to use for this boot (this example assumes the firmware file name is firmware.chk), and then enter the following command (assuming your router IP-address is 192.168.1.1):

tftp -i 192.168.1.1 PUT WGR614v9-V1.1.2.30.chk

Here I gave the path of the latest firmware. The command will take few seconds to finish.

If you don't have a TFTP client installed, it doesn't work or something else, then try using this TFTP program called tftp2 available here (this will start the download): tftp2.exe

Now your Netgear WGR614v9 is working like before, but with latest firmware with default settings, and all there is left to do is set it up using the normal web interface using http://192.168.1.1!

Source: http://forum1.netgear.com/showthread.php?t=30453

Best time so far for Sparxsys

The first half of this year was not so good for our company, there was a tremendous drop in our company's revenue, we had some projects running but were not able to deliver the best quality work. There were no good projects coming in too. Also personally I made some wrong decisions in the company by hiring wrong people and choosing wrong clients, but most importantly I didn't work hard enough. Somewhere in the middle I knew that things are not going in the right direction but I didn't act promptly. It continued like this for 6 months, since we are a small company we often see results - either good or bad, too quickly. In July I decided to change all this. I know my capabilities really well and in the past I have able to come out of such situations so why not this time. For the past 3 months and now in Oct I have been working extra hard, with focus on minute details and not delaying anything at all. We all have tendency to procrastinate but there is no cure for it. Sometimes you don't like a particular work but you have to do it because it is important for your business. Since July I am working like that only, if something has to be done then I do it without thinking much about it.

You just need to start
I have realized that we delay things without any reason. Of course not everything is exciting to do I understand that but by just delaying tasks we make things worse. So now I just start those boring tasks and break it down so it doesn't look too difficult. The moment you start acting, things get into motion and you start liking your work.

Keeping reminding yourself
I have been working mostly from home these days, as I don't want to waste time in traveling, even though our office is quite near. I just stay at home. I have a big whiteboard where I write by major goals, I stick paper notes all over my iron almirah and I didn't even spare the door in my room. I have written my time table all over it.

So I have created an environment where I just can't forget what I really need to achieve. The moment I walk into my room, I am in the zone, you can say ;) Of course I was in trouble, I had a pressure from family to take up job. I could easily get good package in big MNCs but I don't want to get back to the job thing. It is not for me. Earning decent money is quite important and that was also one of my goal. so I had no option but to succeed again and to bring things back on track. For few days I did consider going back to job but I realized I would probably get salary one third of my current salary. So it was not worth it.

I plan not just my day but even my hours
When you have lot of things to finish in a day then you need to make sure you do things in right order and at right time. Everyone has a to-do list. I have it too, but I start my day spending some time on the to-do list and allocate them in the right hour of the day. So when my days starts I already know what I need to do that day.

Enough of gyan :)

I wanted to share that Sparxsys is back on track. We have recently won 3 great Drupal projects that we need to deliver by November and December. One of them is in fact a government project. We have 4 confirmed JIRA and Confluence trainings for the next 1 month and we recently delivered 2 projects successfully. I focused on sales aggressively in the past 3 months and that's why we have been able to win these new projects.

Things have never been better. This quarter our revenue is all time high, but by the end of this financial year, we will surpass this figure too and I am really very happy.

Now get back to work
We are totally booked for the next 3 months, we have couple of project leads that we will probably convert too but it is currently very difficult to manage all this work.

Take a look at our JIRA Dashboard, the burn down chart is no where ideal but I love new challenges, it will be fun to burn all those story points that we never burned in 15 days.

JIRA Dashboard, Oct 2014 Sprint

When one problem goes, another one comes, and that's the fun thing about entrepreneurship!

I always wonder why nobody complains about how difficult it is for any startup to survive. Especially those who are in service industry. I always try to be honest about my journey. I don't want to pretend that I am doing great. I would say I am doing just fine, there is no end.

Never ever work without a written contract

Contract

I formally started Sparxsys in March 2010. I am just an engineer by education and never really learned anything about managing a company or a team. There are specialized courses like MBA for such stuff, I do feel sometimes about not knowing all these things when starting out, but I know from my experience that you can always learn it in the field and that learning is life long.

Today I want to share something I learned.

At Sparxsys we are currently into Drupal development services and JIRA trainings. This post is all about software services and how you should deal with clients. In web development services client will share the requirements of what they want to build. May be they are looking for a web portal or some web based application. Over the year I have learned so many things about requirement gathering where you understand the client's requirements and store them in written format, finalize it and offer a solution to the client. This is better known as Business Analysis, I am not an expert on this topic and I don't want to be, but I can definitely share my experience here. This post is not about on how to do requirement gathering, probably I will write another post on it but I want to share how to deal professionally with your clients. It will give you peace of mind and also make sure you are safe legally.

Never ever work without signed contract
You know what I mean. When you start your own company, you may not know about these things, I didn't know too, there is no one who can guide you well. You can't afford to hire lawyers, they are a**holes anyways. What I have learned in all these years is that contract is just a paper where you write what all X number of services your company will offer in return of Y amount of money in Z many days or months. Don't worry about fancy language, it could be in simple English that everyone understand. As you grow your clients you can improvise this contract.

Your contract should have.

  • Amount
  • Attach the finalize proposal that contains the list of features
  • Deadlines/Timelines of deliverable
  • Payment Schedule
  • Termination clause
  • Penalty for non delivery
  • Penalty for non payment or on time payment

Make two copies of the contract, both parties should sign it and keep it with them. Also mention in the contract that additional features or any changes will require separate discussion and will be treated as change request. After certain point of time your client will say that "I want this feature too" or "You promised that and didn't deliver it". You can always refer to this contract to remind your client about your initial agreement. Of course this contract is for both the parties. Your client can also refer to this document if you don't actually deliver what you promised. More importantly it will give you peace of mind and that really means a lot, at least to me personally. Nobody wants to get into legal matters and in case of disagreement court cases are worst thing to do but having a document will ensure that you have clearly written down your offerings. In most cases this is just enough. We never really had a situation we had major disagreement with client and signing a contract is something that we always do.

I did make several mistakes where I didn't ask the client to sign the contract and due to that had conflicts later on. Client can refer to the conversation you had long time back but if it is not written and signed then it is not part of the agreetment.

There are few other things that I want to share with everyone. Nothing related to the contract. Just my experience.

Never do any personal favors to your clients
Your client may ask you to do some favor like "creating a website for their wife", "Add this feature for free", "Setup this for free".

Never do anything for free. Personally I know and can do lot of different things. I am quite comfortable in server manangement. I know hardware stuff really well. I am also good in excel. I am comfortable working on linux, windows and mac. Overally I have good technical understanding of things, thanks to my experience of over 11 years as of 2014 but that doesn't mean I will do thing for free. Usually client's ask me for favors all the time. I define favors as something that you can do without charging money. Usually I say no to things I don't specialize in, even if I know how to do it but more importantly I know from my experience that people don't respect for things that they get for free. I have done lot of favors to people and now after bad experiences I have learned that people don't remember these favors.

Money is all you should care about
You will hear and ready everywhere that people want to start business because they want to do something good for the society or world, that is bullshit. I believe that you should first care about yourself. Business is all about making money. I have no hesitations in saying that I need to get paid really well. Of course that also means that I will provide good service to my clients and always be honest with them, but whatever decisions I make are always oriented towards making profits, otherwise there is no point of doing business. I guess it is true for everyone but people don't want to openly accept it.

  • Never hesitate about asking money
  • For small to medium project, at least take 60% advance
  • Do not start work until payment is received

I want to emphasis on the last point. Client might agree to the payment and payment terms but never believe them when they ask you to start the work and payment would be made in few days. You will make clients for a long time, be strict when it comes to the timely payment, otherwise client will take you for granted. I made this mistake intially and that resulted in late payments by several months, during that time client will also add new features and knowing that your earlier payment is due, you will be under pressure to accept that. So be strict about the payments from the very beginning.

Client's are not your friends
Never ever make friends with your clients. Ocassionally socializing with them is ok, May be you can go out with them for lunch or drinks but I personally avoid it all the times. The more you become casually with them the more your business will suffer. In my case, being a very small company client's usually interact with me, right from the very beginning till the final delivery, and even during the support. Right now I can't really afford to have multiple people taking care of various departments in our company. I do multiple roles like sales, business analysis, project management, accounting and client support. Clients know that and they also know that I am the owner/founder of the company and have most of the decision making powers. So just keep your interaction with them very formal.

and finally..

Prefer formal wear when meeting clients
People make judegments by looking at you. This may seem like a small thing but the way you dress up does give a strong message to the people you deal with. You don't want to hand over an Invoice of Rs. 2 Lakh to your client wearing a torn jeans and t-shirt. I hope you get the message. In winters I even wear blazers, of course it is not comfortable but it is all about the money!

These are just things I wanted to share based on my experience. I am no way an expert but have learned from my mistakes. Hope it helped you. You can always reach me at ravi at sparxsys dot com to share your experience. I will be glad to know how you guys are doing these things. We can always learn from each other.

Good bye and have a great day!

P.S. - I will soon share the sample contracts and other legal documents in this blog.

How to change the JIRA Chart language from Hindi to English

Almost every week I install new JIRA instance either for training purpose or as part of the JIRA consultation service that we provide to our clients. I recently bought a new laptop with Windows 8.1 with 8GB RAM, this is only for training purpose and yesterday I installed JIRA on this laptop. Everything was fine but I noticed that that language in various JIRA project reports was hindi. May be it was because of the system default or due to time zone. It is good to have language support but we all are more comfortable with English, also some of the characters were not visible properly on the chart.

It was only the language in charts that was in Hindi, everywhere else in JIRA English was the default language.

For changing this the first thing I did was to look into the System > Settings and look for the Default language, but it was already set to "English (United States)". So I searched on Atlassian forums and found a clue on this link.

The trick is to add the -Duser.language=en argument in your setenv.bat file.

Here is the excerpt of my setenv.bat file.

set JVM_REQUIRED_ARGS=-Djava.awt.headless=true -Datlassian.standalone=JIRA -Dorg.apache.jasper.runtime.BodyContentImpl.LIMIT_BUFFER=true -Dmail.mime.decodeparameters=true -Dorg.dom4j.factory=com.atlassian.core.xml.InterningDocumentFactory -Duser.language=en

Just restart your JIRA instance after making this change.

Problem solved :)

Clicked on MS Outlook by mistake and it reminded me of my happy job days

Microsoft Outlook

Today I clicked on outlook icon by mistake, all of a sudden it brought back so many memories, mostly good. I worked for 11 years before diving into my startup completely. I have always been honest to myself and all other people around me about my journey so far.

We have tendency to showcase our best on social networks, most of it is actually fake. No one will share their true feelings. It is like a small self dosage of happiness that we seek in terms of number of likes. We upload pictures of partying, enjoying with friends, pictures of happy moments. I think it is all fake. Everyone does it and I do it too.

The point is that everyone around me thinks that it is really brave and cool to start something one your own, but in reality it is quite the opposite. I am not brave to leave my job to start my company. The real reason is something else. I was never a good employee, I was never good in working for someone else. Though I really miss my job days sometimes. It was so much fun. I really had amazing time in job.

When I was working

  • I never had to worry about the money.
  • There was a cab to pick me from home.
  • I never over worked.
  • I used to play TT or Carom in office for hours.
  • The weekends were off.
  • Going to Ambience mall for lunch 4 days a week.
  • I got opportunity to travel Europe.
  • I worked entirely from home for the last 3 years flat.
  • There was no pressure from my Manager.
  • My whole team was in France, US and italy. None in India that means Zero politics.
  • I used to work from blackberry most of the times.
  • I loved my profile. I learnt so many things.

I really had no issues with my job, in fact it was a like a dream job for me, but still I left it to focus entirely on my business and to grow my company. My job was great but my heart was not into it.

Managing your company is not cool. If you are not happy with your job, then find a one that makes you happy but don't think of starting your own company. Working for someone is not that bad. When you start your own company, you have 100 things to worry about - paying salaries, office rent, managing clients, managing team and so much more. It is like 100 jobs at the same time. The reward is also not good. You may earn more money but you will not enjoy it.

Having said that, it doesn't mean I am not happy. I just feel I could do much more and achieve something bigger. I think this feeling of under-performance is always there. Doing something on your own and opportunity to learn so many things gives me immense satisfaction which was not there when I was in job.

I wrote about this feeling of unhappiness earlier. You can read it, may be if you are like me then you can probably relate to it. I really look forward to meet like minded people who are on a similar path like me. Contact me at ravi [at] sparxsys [dot] com to share your thoughts with me :)

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