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Recovering an unmanageable WRT54GL (OpenWRT lost password)

A friend recently brought us a Linksys WRT54GL which had been laying around for a while and whose password was not available anymore.

None of the "easy" password recovery methods seemed to work (like holding the reset button, power-cycling etc.) - possibly because the corresponding options had been previously disabled.

In the end, I used the TFTP method described here: http://oldwiki.openwrt.org/OpenWrtDocs(2f)Installing(2f)TFTP.html

However, it didn't work until all these conditions were met:

- the laptop with the firmware image and the tftp client had to be connected to the WRT through an external switch

- the switch had to be unplugged from the LAN

- I had to lauch a "ping -f 192.168.1.1" in a different terminal before powering on the WRT in order for the tftp transfer to start

- before and after the flashing I followed the 30/30/30 procedure (not sure if that one is mandatory but it is recommended)

To make sure the hardware was working I installed the latest firmware from the Linksys website (WRT54GL_v4.30.11_012_ETSI_EN_code.bin), but now I'll likely reflash it with OpenWRT - this time from the web interface :o)
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The end of PDF as a "universally readable" format ? ("To view the full contents of this document, you need a later version of the PDF viewer.")

Until now I always recommended to use PDF as a format to distribute documents in case the recipients don't need to alter them[1]. This supposedly guaranteed that the document would always look the same on any computer/platform. But today one of our customers (running Linux) contacted our support department requesting help because he was unable to view the contents of such a "portable document". To my surprise, I saw the following contents when opening the file with evince:

To view the full contents of this document, you need a later version of the PDF viewer. You can upgrade
to the latest version of Adobe Reader from www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html
For further support, go to www.adobe.com/support/products/acrreader.html

There doesn't seem to be anything "magic" in this document that I haven't seen in documents using the "older" format, so maybe this is just an attempt from Adobe to regain market shares by forcing you to use their product. On the other hand I always thought of PDF as an open standard so it's probably just a matter of time until the "competitors" catch up. At least a bug has already been filled for evince.


[1] or even if they need to alter them, see this older post about Hybrid PDF-OpenDocument files
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