Windows Phone/Windows 10 Mobile might be dead, but there’s a few interesting projects happening for the Microsoft Lumia 950 XL which you can experiment with to turn that big paperweight into something you can tinker with and possibly have some use out of again, if anything for a bit of fun.

I recently came across my Lumia 950 XL in a draw and wondered if there was anything that can be done with it, given it’s native OS Windows 10 Mobile is sadly no longer supported by Microsoft after it’s failed attempt at getting into the mobile market didn’t pay…


You may have heard or perhaps already use Powerline adapters. A technology that uses makes use of an electricity circuit to send data signals to create an ethernet connection without having to run an physical ethernet cable between the two points. Sadly one of the major issues with Powerline is how their speeds are advertised and often misrepresent what the real world speeds actually are. Here I discuss a real example of where this can become a bottleneck and the possible alternatives to consider.

Why use Powerline compared to Ethernet at all?

Powerline Ethernet is convenient, you can essentially create a wired connection between two points using your…


Recently the local Sainsbury’s in my area has now required users of the SmartShop mobile app to scan a QR code, even if they already have the app. This was not originally a requirement. I was intrigued as to why this had changed and forced you to scan a QR code for their app to even allow you to start a shopping session to begin with. I decided to take a picture of the QR code with my phone camera to decode and review later on.

Decoding a QR code

Of course you simply scan a QR code to reveal what it does, but…


Pixel and Tonic have recently released Nitro 2, a tailored development environment for Craft CMS. Previously version 1 was based off Multipass. Nitro 2 however is big shift being based on Docker. More importantly for me, thanks to Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (WSL2), there is a smoother Windows environment option now available, albeit with some caveats. Let’s explore Nitro 2 and why you should consider using it with your Craft CMS projects!

1. It’s powered by Docker

Docker is cool. I must admit I’ve been late to the Docker party. I’ve previously used environments like Vagrant and Nanobox and only recently decided to explore…


The Virgin Media Hub3, probably the most infamous ISP provided router ever.

TR-069 is a common protocol used by a variety of Internet Service Providers and network device manufactures for remote administration of network equipment such as switches and routers, so firmware or configuration updates can be pushed on a large scale basis. In the past there have been notable exploits and attacks leveraging TR-069, mainly on consumer routers.

An interesting event occurred, which led me down a bit of a rabbit hole on what looks like a recent change made by Virgin Media in their network, exposed by Shodan.io.

I use Shodan with a paid plan along with it’s IP monitoring…


I recently decided that I would get a second fixed broadband line in addition to my existing broadband connection, given my increased working from home pattern per recent world events. Shopping around I found Vodafone Business Broadband a cheap and decent enough package. I decided to go with their Superfast 2 option. This article is intending to be useful for other customers who use Vodafone VDSL but decided they want to bring their own modem to party!

Bringing your own modem (BYOM)

You don’t have to do this, but for my usage and purposes, the Vodafone WiFI Hub (aka the THG3000) isn’t going to cut…


When your main ISP falls short, time to tunnel your way out of trouble!

I recently decided to test out the L2TP relay service from Andrews & Arnold. I have never had broadband services with them, but had read and heard great things. They offer a L2TP relay service, where you can basically use their network, without having a broadband line with them. Instead you connect via your existing broadband provider (in my case Virgin Media) via L2TP (Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol).

Why would you do this? Well, to explain the quick back story why I became interested in this…


Water, water everywhere!

My Dell XPS 9530 was recently the victim of an unfortunate incident involving a mug of water. The outcome, a not very happy and bleepy (beep codes) Dell laptop. While I’ve opened a lot of electronics in my time, I hadn’t up until this point ever needed to do it specifically for water damage but hey there’s always a first time for everything right?! Join me on my diagnosis and assessment of what a water spill can do in a very short space of time to electronic hardware components.

Assessing the damage

Popping off the bottom case to inspect the initial damage. Initially…


I wanted SSH access back that badly, I decided to enable it again, by force!

I’ve been posting about the 4GEE Home Router a lot lately. My main focus has been around regaining SSH access to the router which was once originally possible, but since disabled by EE/Alcatel, in newer firmware updates. My motivation for doing this, is mostly my own curiosity and it’s not always the case an ISP provided router has SSH access available. I’ve already covered this subject in a previous article where I also showed some of the hidden features this router has.

In order to…


Did you know the 4GEE Home Router has several hidden settings pages within the firmware and its own JSON-RPC web API?

The 4GEE Home Router itself is a rebadged Alcatel HH70 used by EE. Behind the scenes it is running a modified version of OpenWrt and is running the GoAhead web server from EmbedThis that serves the EE branded web interface. This can be found in the response headers when accessing the web interface:

curl -v http://192.168.1.1/index.html * Trying 192.168.1.1... * TCP_NODELAY set * Connected to 192.168.1.1 (192.168.1.1) port 80 (#0) > GET /index.html HTTP/1.1 > Host: 192.168.1.1 > User-Agent…

James White

I'm a web developer, but also like writing about technical networking and security related topics, because I'm a massive nerd!

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