Monday, October 31, 2005

Melbourne Cup day..

The auction for the Apple monitor III finished, and I got nearly $18 for the monitor, not bad, for something I was about to throw away.

At about 9am, I tested that I could watch the streaming coverage of the race on my machine, and decided to just leave it running.

I had to get a file off the usb drive that I carry on my keyring, however when I plugged it into my laptop, it crashed the USB kernel modules.

I tried to force remove the USB kernel modules, but they just got stuck, and I ended up having to reboot my laptop. I tried again to mount the drive after rebooting, but didn't have any luck.

I suspect that carrying the drive on my keyring has caused it to develop some issues.

A few hours later, someone asked about watching the race. They booked the conference room, with a projector in it, and so I borrowed a laptop (since the stream was all DRM rubbish, that requires Winblows Media Player, and doesn't run in mplayer).

I tried to get the laptop to run the stream, but I couldn't even get on the website. Typical Telstra, what a surprise, their equipment is overloaded and doesn't work.

The stream kept running on my desktop machine, and I found the URL it was streaming from, and I tried to open that directly on the laptop, but then when the license acquisition crap started, it had to contact the webserver that was constantly falling over, so I couldn't get a license.

I ended up finding a 21" monitor on a spare machine, and so I moved that around on top of the cupboard near my desk, and attached it to my desktop machine, carefully, so I didn't lose the stream.

It seems that most of the people who were left at work during the race came and stodd around and watched it on my machine :-)

The quality wasn't too bad, it was better than the terristrial reception someone was trying to pickup on a tv somewhere else in the building.

After that, I downloaded VMWare, and I installed it on my laptop, but it's not working very well.

When I was installing it, it complained about a mismatch in the version of GCC between what was on the system, and what had been used to compile the currently running kernel (since GCC got updated when I dist-upgraded a couple of days ago).

I let it compile anyway, but when I tried to run it, it would just hang, and then I couldn't do anything with the machine, even reboot it.

I tried running it a couple of times, but it did the same thing each time. I think I need to recompile the kernel (or go to a newer version while I'm there), and then try again, so there's no GCC version mismatch, in case that's what the problem is.

After work, I went and saw Doom. That was marginally better than I expected.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

We kept working on the bike today.

Even after charging the battery all night, it still would not turn the engine over.

I wondered if there was something funny going on with the starter motor, or the relay or something.

I pulled the starter motor off the flywheel, and then found that it was running fine.

I wondered if the flywheel was seized or something, from the bike not being moved, so I pushed it back and forth a bit, with it in gear, but we could hear it turning fine, even the cylinders were moving.

I put it all back together, and then my mate tried to clutch start it down the hill, but it still wouldn't fire, only giving a big backfire, quite humerously.

We put the battery back on charge again, and tried again a while later, but it still didn't work.

I suggested jump starting the bike off the car, we did that, and it fired up first go.

We disconnected the jumper leads, and I let it run for a while, then hit the kill switch, and tried to start it again, but the battery still couldn't do it.

At that point, I realised that my mates had only put 1 set of the vials of electrolyte into the battery, and it came with 2, so it was the equivalent of half a battery.

Once we put the other half of the electolyte in, the bike started up first go.

We ran it for a while, and then changed the oil filter/oil etc, and did some more stuff towards getting the bike all sorted.

When I got home, my mate rang me, and said the ipod that he'd had in the car, on charge, when we used the car to jump start the bike, wouldn't turn on.

He thought that something had caused it to get stuffed, but it was just the usual ipod lockup, requiring a reset, like mine does everytime I turn it off.

Friday, October 28, 2005

I helped my mate to fix up his bike, he hasn't ridden it for at least a year.

My mate bought a new battery, and I left him to put the electrolyte into it.

We cleaned the bike, and after charging it for a while, replaced the battery.

For some reason, there was just no cranking power. I figured the battery hadn't been charged long enough, so we put it back on charge, and left it for a while, and tried again.

Even after hours of charging, there was still no power to even try to turn the bike over.

We gave up, and put the battery on charge overnight, and left it.

I called up Australia Post to find out about the wireless bridge, sent over a month ago.

They seem to have no record of the item at all, ie they've lost it. Thanks Australia Post.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

While I was reading or googling something today, I ended up having to go to a newspaper site, one of those annoying ones that makes you login.

I found the "bugmenot" plugin for Firefox, which allows me to right click on the login fields, and "bugmenot" the details to login.

The plugin is here, and quite groovy.

It's been quite useful so far.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

I decided to buy a proper camera, so I can list more stuff on eBay with proper photos, and also for the usual reasons for owning a camera.

Anyway, I knew that Kmart near work had some for clearance, I'd noticed the other day, but I couldn't remember what brands they were.

I went down and had another look, and wrote down the models. There were a couple of Minolta cameras, and a Sony camera.

I went back to work, and I looked up all the cameras, and I decided that I wanted the Sony one, the DSC-S40.

I went back to Kmart to buy it, to find that it had been sold. Typical, it's been sitting there on the clearance table for at least a week, and now that I decide I want it, it disappears.

Just like what happened when I was going to buy a new phone a few months ago.

I looked at the other cameras they had, the normal stock, and noticed they had another Sony camera, albeit without the Carl Zeiss, lens, but still 4MP, and was the same price.

I had to wait around for 15 minutes for a staff member to come back to the counter, and then I asked to look at it. There was only the box in the display case, but the camera was in the box, so I could look at it.

It looked ok. I decided I'd buy it, and the woman went off to get me one, from the storeroom or wherever.

While I was waiting, I realised that I was probably making a mistake, because I'd researched the other Sony camera, not this one. I didn't know what the picture quality was like, since it didn't have the Carl Zeiss lens, just a Sony lens, and I didn't know if it would work with my laptop.

When the woman came back, she told me that the camera must have been in the box, and not on display because they had no stock of it.

They wouldn't sell me the display one either (which still looked fine), because there were no batteries or USB cable in the box.

I left, and I went to look at Dick Smith. I wandered around, couldn't even see any cameras on display in there, and the staff just ignored me, so I left. Yet again, it's maintained being the most useless Dick Smith shop I've ever been in.

So, that was it, since there's no camera shop in Maitland (or that I know of), so I'll have to continue looking for my camera.

I put a music CD in my laptop, and was immediately presented with an error about gnome-cd terminating unexpectantly.

I was offered the choice to restart it, which I tried, but it immediately crashed again after that. I didn't want to listen to the CD, I wanted to rip it anyway, so I just cancelled that.

I wondered if it was an identified bug though, and something that had been fixed, and might be worth updating.

I looked at doing a dist-upgrade, there was a whole ton of stuff that had been updated into testing.

I updated it all, but then noticed that grip had been held back for some reason.

I was mainly interested in grip, for ripping the CD, so I force updated grip.

This caused k3b to disappear for some reason. When I tried to reinstall it, I found that there is no k3b in the testing distribution at the moment. Hmm.

I googled around, and I found a repository with debs of k3b, here.

So I edited my sources.list, and added:

# k3b
deb sarge main

After that, I was able to install k3b again.

I ripped the CDs I had, which worked fine, however gnome-cd was still crashing.

Oh well.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Oops, I went over my monthly peak bandwidth allowance this month, and my ADSL got shaped.

It seems that it's aMule that eats all the data. At least there's only a few days left in the month, and I'm probably not going to be home for most of them.

Maybe I should change back up to the higher download plan.

It's not terribly bad though, it's a lot faster than the connection I used to have, so I can put up with it for a few days.

Monday, October 24, 2005

While sorting through some stuff, I found an old "Apple Monitor III". I punched that into Google, to find out when it was from, but the first thing that came up was an eBay "want it now" ad.

A guy was interested in acquiring such monitor, so I decided to list it on eBay, I signed up as a seller, which in the process took me to the US site, and when I listed the monitor, it ended up getting listed in USD, and as available to the US.

I supposed that I would sent it to the US, if someone won it from there, but I don't know what chance it would have of getting there, and what it would cost.

The auction is here.

In hindsight, maybe I should have blogged about this while the auction was still valid :-)

Anyway, it turns out that the monitor is from around 1980. Older than me :-)

I just found that my auction turns up as the first result if you google for "apple monitor III", that's pretty cool.

I found this page, about the Apple III too.

I'd been planning to go and see a remake of Indiana Jones, that some kids made back in the 80s, there's details about it here, but it was sold out.

There's an encore showing on Thursday, but I'm supposed to be at work, so that's the end of that.

If this had been like 2 weeks later, then it wouldn't have mattered. Gees I can't wait to get my license back.

I rang around and let everyone who'd been planning to go about it.

I decided to clean my bike, and work out what I need to do to get it to pass the inspection next week.

It actually doesn't look too bad. I spent a couple of hours cleaning and polishing it, and I think the only thing I'll need to do is fix the rear indicator that's been held on with tape for the last 2 years or so.

I decided to sort through the boxes of junk that are cluttering up the place after that.

I managed to empty out 5 boxes of junk, and find my desk under more junk.

I found some fairly interesting things while going through it all, like a shopping docket from September 11 (yes, 2001), the end of a pool cue that someone snapped and pinched from the club a few years ago, and the laser pointer I bought in 98.

The rest of it was just miscellaneous crap, which I threw out, because it's of no value, and will never be useful for anything.

While cleaning, I came across a digital camera I forgot that I had. I don't know that I ever got it working, because I didn't have the drivers for it.

I decided to find out what would happen if I plugged it into my linux laptop (expecting nothing to happen), but it actually detected it.

The following dialog box popped up:
Import photos from camera?
There are photos on the plugged-in camera. Would you
like to import these photographss into your album?

(and that extra s typo was there in the message).

I hit "Import Photos" and the dialog goes away, but that's it, nothing happens, nothing pops up.

I'm not really surprised, since the camera only has 2MB of SRAM, and it needs batteries to hold the images, and it has no batteries in it, so there were no photos in it.

I looked in dmesg, and noticed the following:

FAT: Filesystem panic (dev sda2)
fat_get_cluster: invalid cluster chain (i_pos 8639471)
File system has been set read-only
FAT: Filesystem panic (dev sda2)
fat_get_cluster: invalid cluster chain (i_pos 8639471)

with that second error repeated 30 times.

It doesn't seem to like a spot on the disk my ipod mini for some reason. I hope that's not something I need to worry about.

Anyway, what I was looking for, stuff related to the camera, was just the following:

usb 1-2: new full speed USB device using uhci_hcd and address 10
usb 1-2: USB disconnect, address 10
usb 1-2: new full speed USB device using uhci_hcd and address 11
usb 1-2: device descriptor read/all, error -71
usb 1-2: new full speed USB device using uhci_hcd and address 12

Argh, that -71 error again.

I rmmod'd uhci_hcd, and ehci_hcd, which resulted in my usb mouse stopping working, and a bunch fof stuff about deregistering in the kernel log.

I loaded them back again, and the mouse came back, but the camera didn't do anything.

I unplugged and replugged it again, and it came up with the warning message again. This time I cancelled importing the images, and got asked again about 4 times.

I looked in the kernel log, and it was the same, -71 error again. I don't think it matters though. I just needed to find some software that can interact with the camera.

I googled around, and found gphoto2, I looked in the apt cache, and found that it was available, so I installed that.

It would see the ports, and the camera, but only when I did it as root (which you're not supposed to do, yeah yeah, but I just wanted to test it).

gphoto2 --auto-detect
Model Port
sudo gphoto2 --auto-detect
Model Port
Argus DC-1510 usb:
Argus DC-1510 usb:001,009

I found this was because even though I added myself to the camera group, that hadn't taken effect. I managed to take, and then pull some photos out of the camera.

They were crap. This camera is useless.

Grainy pictures, and a couple were just orange, and other times it would refuse to take a picture at all.

I continued mucking around, and I found "gtkam". I tried to install this, but it said something about the package not being available.

I updated apt's cache, and then I was able to install it. I had to run it as root for it to be able to connect to the camera (yeah, again, I know, not supposed to, but I couldn't be bothered logging out of everything).

That seems to work ok, it's just too bad the camera is so crap. Now that I see the camera support on linux is ok, I might finally buy a proper digital camera.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Someone posted the URL to this picture in IRC.

The translation of the headline is something like "Trick.. and how was it done?".

Beats me.

Friday, October 21, 2005

I did some investigations into recovering from a GSOD on the tivo, when there's insufficent swap space.

I was able to trash the spare root partition, and replace it with a swap partition, and the tivo seemed happy.

I wasn't actually having the GSOD, and I've never seen one, so I wanted to try it.

I found the instructions for forcing a GSOD, entering "mfsassert -please", which resulted in:

Filesystem assert: false && "mfsassert" at fsassert_main.C line 40 in int fsass)Filesystem flagged as inconsistent!
Tmk Assertion Failure: false && "mfsassert"
int fsassert_main(int, char **), line 40 (fsassert_main.C)
Tmk Fatal Error: Thread mfsassert <195> died due to signal -2
1aa90ac 1aa79c8 1a962a8 1a91980 1ce61fc 1800134

Hmm, that looks nasty. (and it does it every time I do it, even on different disks).

The tivo rebooted, and got stuck on the PROM screen.

I assumed that because I'd forced it to do the GSOD, it had decided to use the inactive root partition.. which was now a swap partition.

I couldn't check the bootpage settings, because the factory password wasn't being accepted.

I used another disk, reset the password, and was then able to access the boot prom.

I checked the boot settings, but they were correct, so I couldn't understand why the disk wasn't booting. It was still trying to boot off the normal root partition, so it should have just worked.

I ended up recreating the second root partition, and copying the contents of the first one on to it, and then the tivo booted. It came up, went through the GSOD I'd forced, completed it in only a few minutes, rebooted, and came up fine.

I was using a different method os imaging the disk, so I found an old cd, which I suspected had an issue caused my mfstools 2.0, causing the fsfix to crash, but this wasn't case, I was able to force a gsod on that older disk, and it got through it.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The wireless bridge I bought about 3 weeks ago still hasn't turned up. Apparently it was sent via express post, gee, that's really fast Australia Post.

Monday, October 17, 2005

I accidently deleted my Mailbox file.

This has to be one of the dumbest things I've done in a long time.

I'm hoping that my hosting provider can help me out, and restore a backup of my Mailbox.

Gees, what a retard.

I tried looking for a utility to undelete the file, not expexting to find one, since I rm'd it.

I found a tool called recover, but I can't use it, because I'm not root on the machine.

Apparently Midnight Commander can undelete deleted files, but I didn't have any luck with that either.

I tried downloading the whole mailbox, with thunderbird, and it looked like it did something, but I can't find where it put the mails, if it did even manage to download them.

Update: I don't believe it.. I just did it again! Not the same file, or server though.

I wanted to get my mail spool off the noisy disk, so I could remove it from the machine again. I moved my mail spool on the new disk to a different filename, and then I accidently copied my old mail spool over the top of the renamed new spool.

Luckily the new spool only had a single worthless message in it, but still, the principle is the same, I overwrote a file inadvertantly. What's going on with my brain today?

Update: The guy who runs the host I use is a hero. He restored the last backup made, which was only about 2 hours before I blew away my mailbox, so I got all my mail back.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

I finally had a chance to have another look at the IMAPd issue I was having, and I sort of fixed it.

I cheated a bit, I just backed up the one on the new disk, and copied the old one off the old disk, replacing the newer one.

I tried to run it on the command line to test it, and just got:

/usr/sbin/imapd: error while loading shared libraries: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

so I found the library on the old disk, and copied it across to the new one (cp /usr/lib), and then when I ran it again manually:

* OK localhost.localdomain IMAP4rev1 v12.264 server ready

Sweet. I tried to connect with thunderbird again, but it complained that I had secure authentication enabled, and the server didn't support it.

I must have left that on when I was mucking around trying to get it to work with the newer imapd a while ago.

I turned it off, and it connected straight away. It's probably a bit less secure, running that old imapd, but it's not accessible from the internet anyway, only over an ssh tunnel, so I don't see the problem.

I went back to try to setup the ADSL connection for the business whose IT I look after.

This time, with the ADSL modem/wireless AP I bought the other day.

I installed the extra network card in the linux firewall machine I built, and then I went about physically setting up the modem/AP.

I booted the firewall back up after installing the extra card, connected to it, and found that I didn't have an eth1 for some reason. Annoying.

I tried loading the module for the card manually, but then found that there was no module compiled. That would explain why it didn't come up.

Luckily the kernel source was still on the machine, so I reconfigured it, and then just compiled the modules, and I manually copied the module I needed across, and loaded it, and the interface came up, that was a good start.

I connected it to the modem/AP, and went about setting up the modem settings, username/password for the account etc, but found that it wouldn't connect.

I'd gone there with my mate, who resells ADSL, and sets it up, and I queried the settings he was telling me, because the password is part of the customer's name, and their street, and something else, and what he was telling me wasn't right.

He was telling me the wrong street name, so once we put that in correctly, it connected.

I configured the routing on the firewall machine, and then connected to it with my laptop, and it seemed to be working.

I modified the networking script to enable IP masquerading on boot up, and then that was working from the desktop PC, but I had no DNS for some reason.

I realised it was because I hadn't updated the settings in the DHCP configuration file, to reflect the new ISP.

I fixed that up, but when I tried to restart DHCP, it failed, and then I realised that it was because there was now an extra interface in the machine, with an IP range not defined in the DHCP config, so I had to modify the startup script for DHCP, to only run on the internal interface, not the one connected to the ADSL modem.

That was all working, so I installed Thunderbird on the machine, and configured it to work with the IMAP server on the firewall machine.

Firefox had been corrupted on the machine for some reason, so I reinstalled that, and it was fine.

I rebooted the firewall machine again, to check that the config was all ok, but the second card didn't load up. I edited the modules.conf, and added in a line to load the kernel module for it.

I rebooted again, and this time the card came up, but it wasn't configured. I'd just been setting it up manually with ifconfig, and hadn't remembered to put the settings into the config file.

I fixed up the interfaces file, and then rebooted again. I was getting close, it was almost right this time.

There was no default route, so the traffic wasn't going out the ADSL. I modified the interfaces file again, added in the route, and rebooted again.

It came up all looking fine, but it wouldn't NAT traffic for some reason. I realised that the changes I'd made to the startup script to enable IP forwarding at boot weren't taking effect, because I'd not defined the function in the network options file.

I fixed that up, and rebooted again. Now it was all ok. Strangely, from my laptop connected to the AP, then to the firewall, on the external interface, I couldn't connect to the PC on the internal interface.

I suppose that's not too bad, since it is supposed to be acting as a firewall, but then I found that the desktop wouldn't connect out either.

The IP chains rule for NAT had gone away for some reason, so I added it into the network startup script, along with enabling IP forwarding.

I setup a port forward on the ADSL modem, to the firewall machine, for SSH, so that I can login remotely, and that worked.

I tried to setup the dyndns support in the ADSL modem, but it kept coming back with something about "strange response from server". I figure that updating the firmware in the modem would fix that, but it's not a priority.

After making sure it was all working, I spent a little while on the desktop machine.

The hard drive is pretty much full on it, so I went through and cleaned up what I could, and removed programs that weren't necessary on there.

I tested the applications that need to work across the internet, using a VPN, and they worked, so that was good.

There's another PC there, that needs to be connected to the ADSL, I checked that it had a network card in it, so I could connect the wireless bridge I bought, when it turns up.

I installed the modem that I'd removed from the firewall on this machine as a temporary setup.

I need to rebuild the desktop machine at some point, to fix up the issues of disk space, because of the partitioning of the machine.

Gees, this is an old post I never made.. it probably won't even get on the main page, anyway.

It was the MotoGP day, I was at my mate's place, we watched it, and a woman he works with called from down there.

I meant to go this year, same as last year, and the year before that. It just didn't happen though.

I would have been spewing if I'd got organised to go this time though, since I lost my license, and wouldn't have been able to ride down there.

Nothing technical on this day. The wireless bridge I bought off a guy a few days ago hasn't turned up yet.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

I stayed down at my mate's place, and we watched The Amityville Horror movie. I must have found it scary, because I kept jumping, and spilling my drink on myself.

Nothing really technical on this day, so this post isn't really warranted, but anyway..

My mate and I rode down to one of his mate's places. It was nice to be on a bike again, even if I was only the pillion.

I've got 3 weeks until I can get my license back now.

I broke my sunglasses again, this time the fix that my mate did for me gave out. I've only fixed them about 3 times now.

When we got back, I sat and watched The Grudge, which I didn't find too scary, I don't recall spilling my drink at all, so it can't have been that bad :-)

Friday, October 14, 2005

This post is mostly a rant, but it does have some valid technically references in it..

Anyway, I got the train home, before buying a ticket, I asked the guy at the ticket window if I could get the ticket I bought the night before (not realising there were no trains running) reissued, and he basically told me to piss off.

He just said that I could not have a refund (which is not what I was asking for), and I said that I only wanted to get another ticket, but he told me that they would not refund a ticket unless the train was cancelled at the last second, and this was not the case.

I thanked him for nothing, spent another $10 on another ticket.

While I was waiting on the platform for the train, I noticed the straps were falling off my laptop bag, that I bought off eBay a few weeks ago. Typical.

The train arrived, and while I was on it, my mate called, to find out about picking up the machine I was supposed to test the DVDR drive in.

I told him that I would home in a bit, but that I wasn't staying there, because I had to go into the city.

The train took me close to home. It didn't stop at the closest station, so I went and got some money out, and then got a taxi home.

When I got in the front door, I noticed that the power was off again. Great. I wonder how long that's been off.

A couple of minutes later, my belt fell apart. There's a screw and nut thing, and it had come loose. I managed to put it back together though.

I went and turned the power back on, and started fixing everything up. The power could have been off for quite a while, since I last accessed my home connection at 3am, 10 hours ago.

I had to go into the city to pickup the ADSL modem/wireless AP I was supposed to order early in the week, and forgot. I checked the website, and then decided to check that the shop was open, before going all the way in there.

I called up, and spoke to the guy, he told me they were open until 6.30pm, that was handy, I hadn't expected them to be open that late on a Friday.

I checked the train timetable, worked out that I had time to hang around to get rid of that machine, and I called my mate, and told him that he could come and pick the machine up.

I had a shower, got ready, and then waited around for a bit.

I had something to eat, and found that the frozen bread in the freezer was all soft. Great, the power must have been off for quite a while.

I called a mate to find out about seeing him while I was on my way home later, but he didn't answer, so I left a message.

My mate turned up, and I loaded the PC into his car. I realised that I'd not ended up doing all that much with it.

I booted up windows on it, found I couldn't login, booted up Mepis, then shut it down again, and I opened the side, inspected the dodgy cold cathode light that wouldn't work properly, and put the side back on.

This was all a week ago too, I hadn't done a thing since then.

My mate gave me a lift to the train station, and I got back on the train. I headed into the city.

On the way, my mate called, and I arranged to meet up with him on my way back.

I got into the city, and went around to find the place to buy the ADSL modem.

I found it, bought the modem, got the last one, the display one (but it was still shrink wrapped), and then I left.

There were quite a few computer shops there, and I went into a laptop place, and asked about laptop backpacks.

They only had one, and it was used, they apparently lend it to people with a lender laptop when they have one in for repair, but it was clean, and didn't have any wear on it.

They gave me a good discount on the price, so I bought that. I can't really be bothered squabbling with the eBay seller over the other bag, and be without a bag while I try to get something sorted out.

I got back on the train, and headed some of the way back towards home, getting off to meet up with my mate, and ended up staying at his place.

We went to the video shop, and I hired Napoleon Dynamite. That's a weird movie. It was funny, but really weird.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

I hung around at my mate's place for an extra day, to help him fix up his computer.

Early in the morning, I took my laptop in the back room, and set it up against the window (where I can see over 30 wlans), and connected to one. The connection was really flakey, I was trying to download a virus scanner to install on the PC after we rebuilt it, and it just didn't work.

I let him do the work to start with, adding in extra disks in order to sort out the files, but after a little while, I lost my patience, mailing because, while my mate could have done it, it would have meant I ended up there for several more days.

When he put the extra disk in the machine they mainly use, windows wouldn't boot anymore. I just laughed. Typical.

I grabbed my Mepis disk, and booted the machine up. I had a quick poke around the disks, to try to find what files he wanted, but I couldn't work it out. He didn't seem sure either.

I didn't want to waste more time on that either, and I'd brought up a spare disk, so I shut the machine down, and totally reconfigured it, with 3 hard drives (the original from the machine (5GB), the one we wanted install in the machine we were fixing (20GB), and the spare one, (120GB)), and the new DVDR drive, which would hopefully be faster.

I got the machine up, and went to start copying everything onto the 120GB (spare) disk, but discovered it had an NTFS partition on it, so I couldn't write on it.

Luckily it only had a couple of hundred megs of photos on it, so I copied them to my 512MB USB flash memory thing, and then I repartitioned/reformatted the disk.

I had to reboot for the changes to get picked up for some reason, even after deleting and recreating the partition, and formatting it, when I mounted it, it would mount as an NTFS partition, and still had files on it.

Once I rebooted it was all good, and mounted as fat32. I moved the photos back to it from my USB flash memory, and then went about recursively copying the contents of both disks onto the 120GB.

This took a good hour, to push about 25GB worth of data across.

After that, I put the machine all back together, and went to install the DVDR and 20GB in the faster machine.

The internals of the machine were disgusting, it was so full of dust. I cleaned it all out, and then installed the DVDR and the 20GB disk.

For some reason the machine wouldn't power on, it would only beep. I disconnected the drives, but that didn't fix it.

I took out the USB card, but that didn't help, I pulled out the ethernet card, but that still didn't fix it. I even took out the video card, but it still made the same noise.

It wasn't until I took out the ram sticks, and put them back in again, and reinstalled the video card that the machine would start.

After that, I put the ethernet and USB PCI cards back in, and reconnected the disks. It was all fine.

I booted up Mepis on the new machine, going a bit quicker. I clicked around, and because I was planning to repartition the hard drive, and install XP on it (I feel dirty even typing that), I decided to install Mepis on it first.

I did this, and it booted up quickly, but I didn't configure X properly in the process, so it was only using the vesa video driver, and trying to play tuxracer was impossible.

My mate was looking for the XP cd, to install it (I wasn't helping look for the CD at all), he didn't end up finding it.

He found a CD that I'd sent him a couple of years ago, with a ghost image of windows 98 for this machine, so we installed that instead.

The machine seem to run nicely. The ghost image didn't have the drivers for the ethernet card installed (though now I think about it, I think they're in the image, just not installed), but everything else worked.

I setup the modem on it, and my mate setup his dialup connection. He dialled up, and started downloading the virus scanner. He'd downloaded it on the other computer recently, but because they were both running 98, and I didn't have the drivers, I couldn't use a USB drive to transfer it.

I suppose I could have either attached the 120GB disk and copied it off there, or booted up linux on both machines, mounted the hard drives, copied the file to the usb drive, and off again, but it all sounded like too much fiddling around.

Anyway, he started downloading the virus scanner install. It took about 80 minutes to download 9mb. It was killing me.

After that, I kicked it off downloading firefox, and at that point I packed up my stuff, and we left.

My mate told me that he and his roommate go to an amateur cinema place on Thursday's, where they show foreign language films, and short movies and stuff.

It sounded pretty interesting, so we went over there. It seems like a pretty good setup, albeit basic, with some AV gear up the back, and a projector mounted on the ceiling, and they show DVDs, and community TV.

It reminded me a bit of the mobmovie thing I read about the other day.

We watched a Russian movie, and then some weird skit comedy DVD.

I went to get on the train after that, and while waiting on the station, they made an announcement that the trains weren't running tonight.

A train for the Hunter line came through, and the guard shouted at us that there were no trains tonight.

I decided not to spend 4 hours on an all stations bus to get home, so I stayed another night at my mate's place.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

I managed to find an AP that was open and I could connect to, the ssid was "NETGEAR".

I always set up my ssh vpn first, so that all traffic is encrypted, it's too easy to sniff the traffic going across an open wlan.

Anyway, after checking my email across the vpn, and a bit of browsing, during which time I had to keep the laptop perfectly still, and in a very uncomfortable position, or else the wlan connection would drop out, I wondered about using the spare AP I intended to install openAP on, in client mode.

I was thinking, that if I could get openap to run as a client, then I could carry the ap around (it's almost small enough), fit a high gain aerial on it, and stick it in the window when I go places, and run a length of cat5 to my laptop, to save me holding my laptop in stupid positions.

I googled around a bit, and browsed through the doco off openap. I had to use a backup, here, since the original pages are gone (and have been for ages).

I also found a page about linuxap, here, which is a newer spinoff project of openap.

While browsing, I kept seeing references to needing a 3.3V SRAM card to flash the AP, and this wasn't sitting right. It finally dawned on me, when I put the SRAM card in my laptop, it comes up as a 5V card.

Crap. I then recalled reading something about a guy using a 5V card, he had to stick 5V on the VCC pin of the PCMCIA header in the AP.

I found where this was, in a pdf file, which I think you can find here.

The pdf is supposed to have a picture showing how to put 5V on the 3.3V line, but it's missing from the PDF.

I suppose, that if I ever get the card to work in linux, so I can write on it, that I'll just have to research the pinouts of a PCMCIA controller, and stick 5V on the supply line.

Friday, October 07, 2005

I'd arranged to install the ADSL connection at the home business I look after the IT for this morning.

My mate turned up, and dropped off a PC I'm supposed to look at, to test the DVD burner in or something.

After I finish settinng up the ADSL, I'm heading off for a few days, so I hed to get some stuff setup so I could do that, like the VPN peer.

I took the new disk out, that's stuck with an apt dependency issue, and put the old noisy disk back in, since it's all configured and works.

I grabbed my stuff, and we took off, and went to do the setup. We started setting up the modem, and then my mate goes "there's no power adapter with this ADSL modem".

Hmm? Then he says, "it must be USB powered", maybe it is, but that's worrying me.. I look at the modem, and see that the only ports on it, are the phone line, and the USB.

"Where's the ethernet jack?" I ask. Hmm. It turns out they sent a USB only modem.

That's completely useless, because the modem needs to be connected to the firewall, and while the firewall has USB, I'm not even going to attempt to get an ADSL modem working via USB under linux.

It was bad enough when I had to setup one of those hideous Alcatel Stingray things a few years ago, I never want to deal with another USB ADSL modem again.

So basically, that was the end of that, I couldn't setup the connection, so I didn't need to do anything with the firewall configuration.

I put the dialup modem back, and got that running again, and we left.

I came back home, and looked online to find a proper ADSL modem. The place I ordered all my stuff from before (WRT54G's, NSLU2 etc) didn't have a linksys one, they only had Dlink, and Netgear, both of which I won't buy, and the cheap Dlink was USB only anyway.

My mate called up his supplier, and I asked him about ADSL modems with built in wireless APs, and he only had crappy brands, like netgear, and they were expensive.

I had another look at netbro, and found they had the Linksys WAG54G, a 4 port ADSL modem/AP, for $170. Details about it are here.

Hmm, bit much, but works out better than spending $100 on a proper ADSL modem, and then $125 or so on an AP. I'll just have to order that.

My mate left, and said he'd give me a lift to the train station in a couple of hours.

I started looking at the PC he'd dropped off this morning, to test the DVDR drive.

I booted up the machine, crappy XP on it. Then I found that I had to login, and my mate hadn't told me the password, so that was the end of that.

I grabbed my Mepis disc, and I booted the machine up off that.

While I waited for that to boot, I decided to muck around with the disks in my other machine, to try to get that apt dependency issue sorted out, so I could get that noisy disk out again.

I connected both disks to the machine, with the new one as master, and booted it up.

I tried to ssh to the machine from my laptop, but ssh complained about someone trying to do a man-in-the-middle attack, because the host key had changed. Crap.

I figured I could just get the old host keys off the old disk, and put them on the new one.

When I mounted the partitions on the old noisy disk to the new one, there was some stuffup, and linux mounted the old root partition as a vfat partition, so it looked like it was empty.

When I forced an ext2 fs during mounting it would work, I don't know what's going on there.

I backed up the host keys, and replaced them with the old ones, I was able to login from my laptop then.

The I tried to install things, and found that I didn't have sudo, so I wanted that, and I was trying to install IMAPd, so I could get the machine running as my IMAP server again (since that is mainly what it does).

I switched to root using su, and then tried to install sudo:

apt-get install sudo
Reading Package Lists... Done
Building Dependency Tree... Done
The following extra packages will be installed:
e2fslibs e2fsprogs initrd-tools kernel-image-2.6.8-2-386 libc6 locales
Suggested packages:
gpart parted e2fsck-static lilo kernel-doc-2.6.8 kernel-source-2.6.8
The following NEW packages will be installed:
The following packages will be upgraded:
e2fslibs e2fsprogs initrd-tools kernel-image-2.6.8-2-386 libc6 locales
6 upgraded, 1 newly installed, 0 to remove and 108 not upgraded.
Need to get 0B/23.8MB of archives.
After unpacking 1602kB of additional disk space will be used.
Do you want to continue? [Y/n]
E: This installation run will require temporarily removing the essential package e2fsprogs due to a Conflicts/Pre-Depends loop. This is often bad, but if you really want to do it, activate the APT::Force-LoopBreak option.
E: Internal Error, Could not early remove e2fsprogs

Crap. I googled around, and found a reference to a guy who fixed that by uninstalling e2fsprogs, and then reinstalling it, and all the other packages it caused to be removed.
So, with my fingers crossed, I tried "apt-get remove e2fsprogs", and got:

The following packages will be REMOVED:
base-config console-common console-data console-tools e2fsprogs initscripts
modutils sysvinit

nasty, I don't like that the console stuff will go, and the init scripts. I think the machine might have a bit of trouble booting in that state.

It then came up to tell me that I was trying to do something really nasty/dumb etc, and I had to tell it that I did really want to do that, at which point e2fsprogs and the other packages above were removed.

After this, apt actually continued configuring other packages, must have been part of the initial setup continuing, where it got stuck a few days ago.

Once that went through, and I was back at the prompt, I was a bit worried, about the fact the machine would basically not be able to reboot at this point.

I did a quick "apt-get install base-config console-common console-data console-tools e2fsprogs initscripts modutils sysvinit" to put them all back.

This resulted in an "oh shit" moment, as apt asked me to put in the install CD.. this would be rather difficult, since I disconnected the CD drive after the initial install.

I can't just attach it and reboot either, since I can't reboot.

I figured I could just edit the sources list, and take the CD contents out. I did this, and this time apt worked out that it needed to download some files, which it did, and then everything came back properly.

After that I installed sudo, which went through without issue (after all that), and configured it, and it worked.

I then setup the VPN user that I needed to run the SSH tunnel, and installed pppd.

I copied all my mail off the old disk, onto the new one, and installed IMAPd.

I tried to connect, but for the life of me, I couldn't get Thunderbird to authenticate against the machine.

It looked like it was something to do with plain text authentication being disabled, but I couldn't find where to enable it, or how to get Thunderbird to authenticate securely with it.

My mate turned up again not long after that, so I gave up, shut the machine with the DVDR in it down that I'd booted up abd then not done anything with, grabbed my stuff, and left.

The fan in my laptop keeps coming on all the time, and it's getting a bit annoying.

I wondered what was going on with the CPU temperature, so I looked for a monitor, and I found one here.

It even had a deb file available, so I downloaded it, but when I tried to install it, it needed other packages.

Those were python2.3-gnome2-extras and python-gnome2-extras, so I grabbed those, and then I was able to install the monitor.

Now what? I don't know what the binary is called, or how I run it or anything.

I looked at the contents of the deb file, and realised it was a gnome-applet, so I went to see if I could add it to my bar, but found that it was not in the list.

Hmm. I tried to run the applet manually, but this just resulted in the error "Error importing laptoptemp libs", whatever that means.

I figured I probably needed to properly add it as an applet, and not try running it.

I looked in the applet list again, it still wasn't there, and I couldn't work out what I had to do to update the list.

I just added any old applet, and then removed it again, and this caused the applet list to update.

Now I could see "Laptop Temperature Monitor" in the list of available applets, but when I added it, I just got an error dialog, saying "The panel encountered a problem while loading OAFIID:GNOME_LaptoptempApplet".

I could ignore this error, or remove the applet, so I removed it.

I guess I'll have to try to find out what that error is, or what the laptoptemp libs are that it needs.

I decided to try to find out if it was possible to run the old Sierra adventure games on linux, I seem to recall reading something a few years ago about it.

A bit of googling turned up "freesci", with a page here.

I found a few other pages about running the Sierra games, and eventually found a reference to Sarien, which I found here.

I looked, and found that an old version of Sarien is available as a debian package, but it's only in unstable, here.

I'm running testing on my laptop, rather than unstable, so I couldn't install it using apt. I downloaded it from the web page, and then used dpkg to install it.

It didn't have dependencies on any other packages, so that was nice, and it just installed without complaint.

It runs, and displays a loading screen, but I didn't have any sierra game files handy to try running a game.

I tried installing freesci, it also has an unstable debian package, here.

I downloaded and tried using dpkg to install it as before, but this didn't work, because freesci requires libdirectfb-0.9-22 (newer than the version I installed wheh trying to get Ultimate Stunts to compile the other day).

This was another unstable package, so I installed that manually. I tried installing freesci again, but now it needed a newer libgii0 package than I had installed, and it required libgii0-target-x

I downloaded both, and tried to install libgii0-target-x, but it complained that libgii0 was not configured.

I put them both on the dpkg line, and that worked, they both went in together.

I then tried to install freesci yet again, but then it needed a libggi target.

I downloaded and installed libggi-target-x, then was finally able to install freesci.

I ran it, and got:

FreeSCI 0.3.4c Copyright (C) 1999, 2000-2003
Dmitry Jemerov, Christopher T. Lansdown, Sergey Lapin, Rickard Lind,
Carl Muckenhoupt, Christoph Reichenbach, Magnus Reftel, Lars Skovlund,
Rink Springer, Petr Vyhnak, Solomon Peachy, Matt Hargett, Alex Angas,
Walter van Niftrik, Ruediger Hanke, Rainer Canavan
This program is free software. You can copy and/or modify it freely
according to the terms of the GNU general public license, v2.0
or any later version, at your option.
Loading resources...
Resmgr: Could not retreive a resource list!
No resources found in '/u01/downloads'.

I put the Space Quest IV cd I found the other day while rebuilding my other linux box in the drive, changed to that path, and tried running it, but then it just crashed.

I also tried running the demos off the cd, but these too just crashed.

Hmm, doesn't look too good.

I did a bit of browsing, and found this article, and from the look of the screenshots, it's more geared towards the early games, that were almost AGI spec, like Space Quest 3, and Leisure Suit Larry 3.

I guess I'll have to find my CDs with the games on them (or, god forbid, the floppies), or boot up the machine I built with a TV out card in it for playing old DOS games, which I think has them all on it.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

I'm a member of a few sites that deal with marketing companies, and offer surveys. I do them in return for payment, bugger all amount, but it's better than a poke in the eye.

Anyway, I was asked to do one survey, and when I tried to start it, it would just come up and say that I was using a browser (firefox) that was not supported, and that I must use IE on Windows, because their surveys don't work in other browsers.

Hmm, I bet it was just looking at the user agent string, and there's no reason that I won't be able to complete the survey, I juse need to get past that.

I found a plugin for Firefox, called "user agent changer", I installed that, and restarted Firefox.

This gave me a new option on the Tools menu, "User Agent Switcher", and I set it to make me look like someone using IE6 on XP.

This time the survey allows me to continue, what a surprise.

I was able to get almost the whole way through doing the survey, when I got a page where when I tried to advance, I would only get "document contained no data" errors.

I tried refreshing another couple of times, and then it told me that I didn't meet the criteria for doing the survey, and I couldn't go anywhere from that page.

Oh well, I guess they were right when they said that their surveys didn't work in other browsers.

While I was doing some browsing the disk in my laptop started thrashing.

I left it for ages, but it just never stopped, and the whole machine became unusable while it was doing it.

After about 1/2 hour, I gave up, and I had to power it off by holding the power button, nasty.

When I booted back up, I couldn't start Firefox, it was complaining that the profile was in use.

I looked around, went into .mozilla/firefox in my home directory, and I had a look through the profiles.ini file. I worked out which profile it was using, and was the path was.

I went into the directory set as the path, and saw there was a lock file in there, so I trashed it, and then Firefox started without an issue.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

I finally got around to installing the new (2nd hand) disk in my P166, to replace the one that the bearings are going in.

The install didn't got very well, I managed to get most of the way through, but when I got to installing and configuring the packages, apt got it's knickers in a knot, and failed to complete.

I figured I'd stuffed up the partitioning, like I did on my laptop, and it was running out of disk space, but this wasn't the case.

When I tried to install some packages manually, it was complaining that it had to remove e2fsprogs, and this was a vital package, so it wouldn't do it unless I forced it or something.

I didn't have time for that, so I just left it, to come back to later.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Time for a quick rant. (I've been reading a bit of "Best of Craigslist" over the last few days, and it's rubbed off a bit).

Ok, here it is..

The next person I see who's said "wif" is going to get stabbed in the eye with a fork.

There is no such word, at least not in the English language. I don't even think that's an abbreviation acceptable for SMS use.

It annoys me even more than "aks", but all of that bastardisation of the English language is just completely unacceptable.

Learn to be literate people, it's really not that hard.

Hmm. I just noticed that it's the 5th. I can get my license back in a month.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

After my not-so-successful wireless connection attempts recently, I wondered if it was just something simple like MAC filtering that was getting in my way.

I'd tried using the "PUL" (Pick Up Line) tool, but it didn't work very well, it's never actually worked for me. I found there was a new version of it, so I decided to try that.

I downloaded it from their page, here.

I compiled it, and installed it, I'm not sure if it works any better. I'll need to give it a proper test on an AP with other clients to be sure.

I ran it on my home WLAN, and it picked up my traffic, but it still got the gateway IP totally wrong (and illegal, so it wouldn't even work anyway).

Oh well.