Monthly Archives: April 2008

HowTo: Fix a Broken Netgear GS108

About a year and a half ago, I bought myself a Netgear GS108 gigabit switch to upgrade my in-apartment “backbone”. Unfortunately, it gave up the ghost last week, starting slowly flashing its lights on and off, and dropped all the PCs in our apartment off the net. I tried a few things, determined that it was, in fact, the switch that was broken, and took it out of service. Fortunately, just before throwing it out, I tried searching for any similar problems, only to find out this particular model is known for this failure.

The Problem: A Netgear GS108 is Broken

Broken, here, means that the switch appears to slowly flash all of its lights, at a rate of maybe once every two seconds. The computers connected to the switch cannot communicate, or at best, are communicating for a fraction of a second, and then report that a cable has been unplugged.

Under the Hood: This symptom indicates failed capacitors on the GS108’s circuit board. For more information, see the comments on Newegg’s product entry (with thanks to the users there who found the problem). If you open your switch up you will see two dark green capacitors with bulging tops (these are broken).

The Solution: Replace two failed capacitors

  • Broken GS108
  • Phillips Screwdriver
  • Two replacement 1000μF capacitors, (at least 10V rating)
  • Soldering iron
  • [Optional] Hookup wire, heatshrink tubing, electrical tape
  1. Begin by unplugging your switch from the wall, removing the power cable from the back, and removing all network cables from the front.
  2. Open the switch by removing the two small black screws with a Phillips screwdriver.
  3. Slide the top/back panel off of the switch by pulling it toward the rear.
  4. Locate the two dark green 1000μF capacitors and verify that the tops are bulging outward, indicating that this is likely your source of failure.
  5. Remove the circuit board by unscrewing the four silver screws at its corners with a Phillips screwdriver.
  6. Desolder the two existing capacitors, being careful not to damage nearby components or burn yourself 😉
  7. Solder the two new capacitors in place. Below is roughly how this looked after I replaced mine. (Sorry for the terrible photos… my new camera is arriving sometime this week)

    For me, the replacement capacitors I was working with were too tall to place vertically, so I ran hookup wire to connect them in place and allow them to lie flat. As a precaution, I used heatshrink tubing on the leads to be sure they were not exposed, and wrapped the sides of the capacitors in electrical tape, as they got a bit nicked by the hacksaw used to harvest them from their previous home…

  8. Place the circuit board back in the shell, and replace the 4 silver screws.
  9. Slide the cover back on and secure with the two black screws.
  10. For safety’s sake, reconnect just the power first to be sure the switch will power on, before connecting your valuable computers & other devices.
  11. Reconnect your computers and you’re done.


This worked well for me, and based on the comments at Newegg, seems to be a common successful fix. BUT, I don’t claim that your broken switch is necessarily plagued by the same problem, nor that this fix will work for you. Also, I am not responsible for the actions you take to fix your switch: be careful with soldering irons, flux, and lead!

Halloween Stuff

Halloween Stuff.jpg

Found this box sitting in the hall in Engineering today. Yes that is an original boxed version of MS-DOS 6.22, in a box labelled “Halloween Stuff” Awesome 🙂

Amusement: Reading the Fine Print

So I was browsing my spam folder this morning and came across a message with my full name in the subject line. Usually, this means there’s a chance the ad is legitimate- probably, from a company I’ve purchased from before.

In this case, though, it was an ad for some company that wants to submit my website to search engines for me. (Nevermind that I can do that for myself, for free…). They got my name by looking up the owner of (via a Whois service, such as this one).

So, not a company I know. BUT, this amazing offer to do a simple, free, job for a mere $75 caught my attention. I must know more! So, I read through the ad. Seemed quasi-legitimate, though useless, until I got to the fine print, and found this little gem:

By accepting this offer, you agree not to hold DLC liable for any part.

Now, I don’t know about you, but to me, that is hilarious!

And the even better news is, they have price breaks! You can get this fabulous deal for 10 years for only $295!

HowTo: Load Mail Archives into GMail with Correct Dates

Another quick Google service related HowTo, as I just spent several days working on the task of uploading all my old mail into my Gmail account.

The Problem: Load your old mail archives into GMail, and keep the correct dates!

So say you’ve used various mail programs over the years, or change computers a lot, or for whatever reason have a large body of email sitting on your machine that you would like to upload to GMail. After doing a bit of webcrawling, you may have come across solutions such as the GMail Loader. However, I found that getting GMail Loader to work was painful, and even when it did, uploading my email turned into a huge mess, where all the emails seemed to have been sent on the day I did the uploading. They were all there, and searchable, but very annoying. There must be something better.

The Solution: Copy mail using Thunderbird and IMAP

Fixing this problem is actually really easy. Using GMail’s relatively new IMAP feature and the Thunderbird mail client (others likely work as well, I have not tested), it’s a a few easy clicks. Basically, just copy all your old email up there, and viola!

  1. To start, you need to get your mail archives accessible in Thunderbird. There’s lots of information out there about converting mailbox types and importing from one program to another; I will assume you have gotten that far.
  2. Enable IMAP access on your GMail account, by logging into GMail, clicking on Settings in the upper right corner, changing to the “Forwarding and POP/IMAP” tab, and clicking on “Enable IMAP” near the bottom.
  3. While you’re here, check out the “Configuration Instructions” link, to get a leg up on the next step.
  4. Now, add your GMail IMAP account to Thunderbird, using the Tools->Account Settings…->Add Account wizard. Note: in this wizard, add your GMail account as an Email Account, NOT as a GMail account, because we need to specify the IMAP settings, rather than use Thunderbird’s default POP access.

    The IMAP settings you need may differ depending on your account, but mine are:

    Server Type:
    IMAP Mail Server
    Server Name:
    User Name: (or
    Use Secure connection:
    SSL (Note: this changes the port to 993, which is correct.)
  5. Now, click on the Inbox folder of your GMail account in Thunderbird to make sure your connection is working. This will likely prompt you for your password as well, and will load the full list of folders on your GMail account. Note that GMail presents a folder for each Label you define in the web interface.
  6. To copy email to GMail, all that is left is to select the original messages in Thunderbird, right-click, and pick “Copy To”. Under the menu, choose your GMail account, and then which folder (think: label) you want to copy to.

    For instance, to drop all the email in your Inbox, use the Inbox. If you’d rather label everything and bypass the Inbox, pick a different folder. For me, I created a label (you can do this by creating a folder in Thunderbird) for the email address I was moving mail from ( Then I did “Copy To -> ->”.

    For Sent Mail you can get these to show up in your Sent folder on GMail by copying them to the special [Gmail]->Sent Mail folder. Another useful special folder is the [Gmail]->All Mail folder, where you can copy messages that you do not want in your Inbox, but also do not necessarily want any other tag on.

  7. Give Thunderbird some time to process (you’ll see progress messages in the status bar), and you’re done!