Thursday, September 29, 2005

While I was at my mate's place, he showed me his laptop, an old Dell Inspiron 5000e he got a while ago.

It looked alright, would have been a very good unit in it's time. I remember quite a few people raving about the i5k.

I booted up a copy of Dynebolic I carry around, and it ran it quite nicely, just off the CD even.

I must keep my eye out for a cheap second hand old inspiron, stick in a wireless card, run a basic linux install on it, it'd be sweet.

I'd been intending to go home today, but I realised on my way to my mate's place last night that I hadn't finished off stuff I was working on, so I went back to work.

They got me another night in the pub, so I watched another DVD on my laptop, Monty Python's The Meaning of Life.

I was so tired I could only watch about half of it, and then I gave up.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

I was late to work this morning, because someone set the clock in the pub room 12 hours wrong.

I didn't think to check that, when I was setting the alarm last night, I didn't notice that it claimed to be AM.

I should have just used my phone.

Heh, I was woken by some people talking loudly in the alleyway next to the pub, I was going to tell them to shutup, and then I realised what time it was, and almost should have thanked them for waking me up.

I had a look for wireless networks from the room in the pub, and was able to see a few:

[no ssid]

I couldn't manage to connect to any of them though. After I spent a while trying, and gave up, I decided to watch a DVD on my laptop.

I brought a couple of DVDs with me this week, that came from Amazon a few days ago, and I sat and watched Chris Rock - Bring the Pain on my laptop.

With the direct rendering working, it was fine, very cool.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Now that I have direct rendering working mostly (has been quicker before, but it's ok), I decided to get some proper games on here.

I looked around for some games, and I ended up looking at

There's a few cool looking games on here, I downloaded vdrift, and turbosliders.

I was playing vdrift (not really, only trying to play it, since the video chip is so slow in this laptop), when someone IM'd me, and it popped up on top, and this caused X to crash.

I totally lost my display, I couldn't kill off X, or switch back to the console or anything.

I wanted to shut my laptop down properly, I tried using the three finger salute, but even that wouldn't do it.

I needed to connect in remotely, and kill off X and restart it, or reboot my laptop or something.

I started up my P166, with the disk with the dead bearings in it. I used this to connect, and then I tried to restart X, but it was too far gone, and I think because of the direct rendering, it sticks the video in a weird mode, and you can't start X again, until you reboot.

I rebooted the laptop, and everything came up happy. I had a quick game of turbosliders, but didn't found it too entertaining, mainly because I kept losing all the races.

While I had the P166 running, I decided to configure it as the VPN peer, like I used to use my other linux box for, before I rebuilt it as the IPCop box.

Once I thought I had it all configured, I tried starting up the VPN, but didn't think about the customisations I'd made to the script, and this meant that my routing table got all screwed up.

I fixed all that up, and started up the VPN again, it was all good this time.

I found that I had no connectivity out though, and realised it was because I hadn't configured the P166 to masquerade the traffic.

The following commands sorted that:

ipchains -A forward -j MASQ
echo 1 > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_forward

And then it was all good.

I fixed up the port forwarding on IPCop, so I could access SSH remotely, in order to bring up the VPN from pretty much anywhere.

Lets see, this morning while trying to clean out files in my downloads directory, I tried out a few of the applications in the gnome audio menu, and discovered JuK.

First I thought it was an iTunes clone, and it could probably be fairly easily turned into one. It seems cool, I love the ability to fix MP3 file tags from the Internet.

It found and fixed almost all of the files that I asked it to, which was impressive.

I left it playinng music for a while, but minimising and restoring it is a real pain, it hangs for a few seconds, and I don't have the patience for that, so I think it's going to only be used to fix the tags on my music.

I had another look for details of running IPCop as an IMAP server, and while searching, I found references to "ClarkConnect", which can run as an internet gateway, and also has modules for Samba, and IMAP.

Hmm, that might be easier, I might just use that instead of trying to hack extra features into IPCop.

I had a look on the existing machine, that I'm intending to rebuild from the standard debian install I did during 2002, to a firewall distribution.

The main things I was interested in was the SSH configuration, I've got a couple of shell scripts I wrote to connect to a remote server, and setup a tunnel, for some applications that are run locally, to connect to a remote database.

The way I do that now, is with a couple of lines in inetd.conf, and by hitting certain ports on the firewall machine, it runs the shell scripts.

I need some way to start this stuff up, and there's no inetd on IPCop. I suppose I could write it as a plugin/addon thing, so there'd be a web function to start/stop the ssh tunnel, but I don't know perl.

I decided to download ClarkConnect. If it works, then it gives me IMAP and Samba, killing 2 of the issues I'm facing.

It might even have an inetd, so I could continue to use the setup that exists now.

I suppose the other way around it, is to setup a user on the machine, and put that shell script in the startup environment, and then setup an ssh key so the PC can login to that account with no password prompt.

I decided to copy some music on to my laptop, I decided to try checking the gnome network browser thing, that never works.

When I tried it, it came up and asked me to login to my IPCop machine. Eh? I didn't think I got samba working on there.

I logged in, and it showed up as an available machine. I tried viewing shares, and had to login again. Now I could see my home directory, and the test /tmp share I setup.

Hmm, why is this now working? I tried to go into my home directory, not expecting it to work, since I don't have one on the IPCop machine, and I got an error, as expected.

After that, I tried to go into the /tmp share, which should work, but got the same error.

I wondered if the whole problem I'd had, had been with smbclient, and not the actual service.

I tried to mount the share, from the command line, but I got exactly the same error as smbclient kept giving me.

Hmm, no such luck. I wondered if it would work on Windows. I vnc'd to my parents' machine, running Windows 98.

I used it to connect, logged in, and was able to go into /tmp, and see the files listed.

Hmm. I don't know why it would work for windows (98 at least) clients, and not linux. I didn't try a windows 2000 client, I don't know if that would have worked.

Maybe it's something to do with the version (2.2) of samba, or the specific compilation options the guy who made the IPCop package of samba used.

If it works with 2000, then maybe it doesn't matter, and I can hack samba support in, and be done with it.

That still leaves me with the other issue though, an IMAP server.

I decided to try to get IMAP running on there, like I did with samba the other day.

I scp'd the imapd binary from my laptop to the IPCop box, and tried to run it:

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

I copied over, and put it in /usr/lib on the IPCop box, and tried again.

This time the error was about missing, so I copied that across and into /usr/lib.

Then I was back to the old error:

./imapd: /lib/ version `GLIBC_2.3.4' not found (required by /usr/lib/

Crap, that's the same error I ended up with when trying to put Samba 3.0 on the IPCop box the other day. There goes that idea.

I'm beginning to think that IPCop isn't suited for the application I want it for. I'm hoping that ClarkConnect will do what I need, otherwise I might have to try smoothwall, and see if there's an IMAP server for it.

The other alternative, is that I rely on the crappy firewall within the ADSL modem, and just leave the existing firewall alone, but I want to make it easier for someone else to configure, or so I can tell someone how to do it over the phone.

I suppose I could just setup port forwarding on the ADSL modem, allowing me to login remotely, and configured the firewall, and then I'd only need to worry about being able to tell someone how to configure the ADSL modem over the phone.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

I decided to build a new kernel.

I downloaded the latest sources, configured it (remembering to add in support for the MTD devices, for that flash card I bought), and built and installed it.

I checked to see if I needed an update to the wireless drivers again, but they looked ok. (There was a problem with compiling the ipw2200 drivers against the 2.6.12 kernel, and I had to hack the source to get it to compile).

I rebooted, booted the new kernel. I built the wireless drivers (the ieee80211 bit first, and then the ipw2200), it worked, the interface/device appeared again.

It associated with the access point, but pump wouldn't configure the device for some reason. Everytime I attempted to use pump, with any interface, it just immediately came back saying "Operation Failed".

I set the interface up manually, with ifconfig and route (setting the ip, and the default route), and got browsing.

I found this page.

It looks like something has got stuffed in this kernel version, and pump is broken, because it writes to a socket, and reads it back, and it gets changed in the process.

I used strace for myself, and saw the same thing.

No biggie, I can handle setting up the interfaces manually, it's just a pain though, and I don't know when it will get fixed, and if it's the kernel or pump that will get fixed.

Ok, time to get the graphics driver working properly again.

I reread my old notes, and followed through them again.

Basically, I had to build the drm source, and then plonk i915.ko and drm.ko in the /lib/modules/[version]/kernel/drivers/char/drm directory, "depmod -a", then modprobe the modules.

This got me:

[drm] Initialized drm 1.0.0 20040925
ACPI: PCI Interrupt 0000:00:02.0[A] -> Link [LNKA] -> GSI 11 (level, low) -> IRQ 11
[drm] Initialized i915 1.2.0 20041217 on minor 0: Intel Corporation Mobile 915GM/GMS/910GML Express Graphics Controller

sweet, but I'm not celebrating yet.. I checked for /dev/dri/card0, and saw it, so now I'm happy, that's halfway there, this was a big problem last time.

It means the kernel has proper support for direct rendering, I just have to build the matching Mesa code, for the X module that interacts with the kernel module.

Based on the process in it looked like I was doing things ass about, ie drm, then Mesa, instead of doing X, then Mesa, then drm, but I think it did that way before, and had it all working, so I tried it that way again.

Before I could build Mesa, I needed libdrm, so in the drm directory, I did an ./autogen, and a make install.

This worked, so then I went about building Mesa, with "make linux-dri-x86", this took ages, and eventually finished.

I backed up the /usr/X11R6/lib/modules/dri directory, and then copied all the .so files from the lib dir under Mesa in there.

However, from looking at the file timestamps, they'd already been updated, oh well.

I restarted gdm, but discovered that I still didn't have direct rendering. Bugger, it should have worked.

I looked in the logs, and I saw:

(II) Loading sub module "dri"
(II) LoadModule: "dri"
(II) Reloading /usr/X11R6/lib/modules/extensions/
(II) UnloadModule: "dri"
(II) I810: Failed to load module "dri" (already loaded, 0)

Strange. I tried unloading the kernel modules, in case it was trying to load them, when they were already loaded, but this didn't make any difference, still no good.

I didn't think that was the problem anyway.

I checked the config file I was using again, and found that it had 2 display device definitions (since it's a dual head card in the laptop) in it, and wondered if that was causing a problem.

Both had dri enabled on them, and maybe it's trying to load the drivers for the second definition, and that's why it was complaining that it's already loaded.

I swapped out the config file, for one with only a single definition in it, but that didn't work either.

The last time this happened, it took me a couple of reboots before it started working, so I rebooted, and tried again, but it still didn't work. There goes the windows way of fixing things.

I checked the log file from X again, and noticed that xinerama was enabled, hmm, I seem to recall that you can't have both dri and xinerama.

I don't need xinerama, since I don't use dual head anymore.

I edited the config file, and I took out the second card definition, and crt details, and changed the xinerama setting to off.

I started up X, and it flashed a bit differently, so I thought it had worked, but I still didn't have direct rendering enabled.

I think the initial flash of video was in direct rendering mode, and then it flashed off, and back on again, in vesa mode, or whatever it falls back to using.

When I checked the log, I found:

drmOpenDevice: node name is /dev/dri/card0
drmOpenDevice: open result is 8, (OK)
drmOpenDevice: node name is /dev/dri/card0
drmOpenDevice: open result is 8, (OK)
drmOpenByBusid: Searching for BusID pci:0000:00:02.0
drmOpenDevice: node name is /dev/dri/card0
drmOpenDevice: open result is 8, (OK)
drmOpenByBusid: drmOpenMinor returns 8
drmOpenByBusid: drmGetBusid reports pci:0000:00:02.0
(II) I810(0): [drm] DRM interface version 1.2
(II) I810(0): [drm] created "i915" driver at busid "pci:0000:00:02.0"
(II) I810(0): [drm] added 8192 byte SAREA at 0xe0214000
(II) I810(0): [drm] mapped SAREA 0xe0214000 to 0xb7ac3000
(II) I810(0): [drm] framebuffer handle = 0xc0020000
(II) I810(0): [drm] added 1 reserved context for kernel
(II) I810(0): Allocated 3072 kB for the back buffer at 0xf800000.
(II) I810(0): Allocated 3072 kB for the depth buffer at 0xf400000.
(II) I810(0): Allocated 32 kB for the logical context at 0xf3f8000.
(II) I810(0): Allocated 54016 kB for textures at 0x520000
(II) I810(0): Updated framebuffer allocation size from 5120 to 5128 kByte
(II) I810(0): Updated pixmap cache from 512 scanlines to 514 scanlines

Ok, good start, but then..

(II) I810(0): Activating tiled memory for the back buffer.
(II) I810(0): Activating tiled memory for the depth buffer.
(II) I810(0): [drm] Registers = 0xdff00000
(EE) I810(0): [drm] drmAddMap(backbuffer) failed. Disabling DRI
(II) I810(0): [drm] removed 1 reserved context for kernel
(II) I810(0): [drm] unmapping 8192 bytes of SAREA 0xe0214000 at 0xb7ac3000
(==) I810(0): Write-combining range (0xc0000000,0x10000000)
(II) I810(0): vgaHWGetIOBase: hwp->IOBase is 0x03d0, hwp->PIOOffset is 0x0000
(WW) I810(0): Extended BIOS function 0x5f05 failed.

Crap. what does "drmAddMap(backbuffer) failed" mean??

A bit of googling turns up this page, and this page.

I think it's a mailing list related to netbsd, though the linux related "answer" seemed to be:

"I just updated the kernel from 2.6.13-rc2-mm1 to 2.6.13-rc5
and the problem went away."

But this looks like it's more related to a different issue, that I had later..

So now what? is 2.6.13 really having issues? pump's busted, and now it looks like the dri stuff could be too.

I wondered if maybe I should just pull the latest drm/Mesa out of CVS and try again, but I didn't think it would make any difference, because the i915 driver looks like it's from last year anyway.

Hmm, one thing that seemed weird, is that I didn't have to do anything with agpgart (and it wasn't loaded), and I seem to recall having to muck around with it the last time I was doing this.

I rolled back to the old kernel,, that I've been using for a few weeks.

Pump starting working again, bonus. I decided I should have been able to get the dri stuff working with the old kernel.

When I went to build the dri kernel modules ("make", in the linux-core dir), it kept complaining about not being able to find the kernel configuration file.

I realised it was probably because /usr/src/linux now pointed to the wrong kernel version. I fixed up that symlink, but it still said the same thing.

I found that I had to specify the kernel source directory, by using "sudo make LINUXDIR=/usr/src/linux", this worked.

I copied i915.ko and drm.ko into /lib/modules again, did a depmod, and modprobed both, but got:

mtrr: base(0xc0020000) is not aligned on a size(0x300000) boundary
[drm:drm_unlock] *ERROR* Process 4971 using kernel context 0

(this is where the "I updated the kernel and it went away" fix applied, for the other guy).

Hmm. 4971 is the PID of the X process that's currently running.

I killed off X, and did some work on the console. I unloaded the dri and i915 modules that were loaded when I booted, or when X started before.

I tried to load the new ones I'd just built and copied in, but it complained that the magicversion was wrong. It's the same kernel version I compiled it against, but the append-to stuff was missing, so it looked like it was different.

I forced the modules in anyway, and they loaded, as they should, since they were right.

I then rebuilt the libdrm stuff again, and installed it.

Then I built the Mesa/Xmodules again. I had to copy them in manually this time, they hadn't updated by themselves, like I think happened before.

I started up X, and found that I still didn't have direct rendering. Hmm.

I looked in the log again, and found the same thing as before, about the backbuffer.

Now I don't know what the problem is. Is a problem as much as 2.6.13? or is there something wrong with the Mesa stuff that I pulled out of CVS?

I tried updating the drm code from CVS, and rebuilding the kernel modules and Mesa all over again, with the new code.

This resulted in exactly the same error, about the backbuffer again.

I did a bit more googling, and turned up this page, where the code is all hyperlinked.

I wish I knew C code, I might be able to try modifying it, or debugging it or something.

I don't understand what's going on here, and I don't know what to do. I suppose I could roll back to, which I think I had direct rendering working with before, but that's really a pain.

The other possibility, is that the code in CVS is broken, or changed from the previous code I've used, so regardless of what kernel I try using, it might make no difference.

Here we go.. for the regular signoff.. "I give up". (That was good use of about 4 hours).


OK, I got X running in direct rendering mode again. I downloaded a snapshot of the dri stuff for the i915, and I built and installed it. Direct rendering worked when I started X.

I downloaded kernel (first from, which was corrupt, same thing as when I downloaded from there), and built it.

I rebuilt the wireless drivers again, and pump still worked. I built the dripkg snapshot, and installed the drivers, and X runs in direct rendering mode.

I'm only seeing about 750 fps though, and I had previously seen 1250 fps from this chip.

Oh well, it works, I can run games like gltron, and ultimatestunts, and I can run videos in mplayer at fullscreen, without it complaining that my computer is too slow.

I'm pretty happy, and I guess this confirms that the DRM code in CVS is broken.

While wasting time on the net, I decided to find out if anyone had ever tried to get Stunts running on linux.

I did a bot of googling, and I found a game called "Ultimate Stunts", the webpage is here.

I downloaded the source, and tried building it, but found that I was missing files needed, windows.h being a main one.

I looked through the config.log file, to find the errors, and try to get them all in one go.

I looked at the debian packages available that provided this file, and I guessed that it was after the directfb library, so I installed that.

I might have got that wrong though, and it could have been looking for the ecos library.

After that, it was missing sdl-config, this was easy, I just needed the libsdl1.2-dev package.

Then I found that al.h was missing, and openal provides this, then fmod.h, provided by ecos, so I installed that.

I ran the configure again, and it all looked happy this time, there were no warnings this time.

I ran make, it compiled, ran, but ran shit slow.

I really need to get direct rendering running on my laptop again.

I did a bit browsing, and my mate was playing some sounds from The Family Guy.

I had a couple on my laptop, which I'd got from a couple of pages on, I think here, and here.

I decided to go looking for more good ytmnd pages. The only issue, which I found before, is that the pages have the background sounds as some "object" tag crap, which seems to be some IE crud, so it doesn't work in any other browser.

The workaround I came up with before, was to view the source, find the line with the object tag, and download the wav file with wget, and play it.

This is a real pain, so I decided to write a script to do it.

Here's the script.

# downloads sound files from background of ytmnd pages, and plays them
# needed while they use that object= rubbish, instead of valid HTML
# usage: pass the URL as a parameter

cd /tmp
wget $1 -O -| while read LINE; do
WAV=`echo "$LINE"|grep object|cut -f2 -d " "|cut -f2 -d"\""`
if [ -n "$WAV" ]; then
wget $WAV -O sound.wav

mplayer sound.wav

I originally wrote it for downloading wav files, and this all worked fine, until I found a couple of pages using mp3 files in the background, so my script wasn't seeing them (looking for .wav).

I changed this to look for the object line instead, which works, but now the mp3 versions will get saved as .wav. I didn't find this to be an issue though, because mplayer looks at the content of the file to work out what it is, rather than the extension (so maybe I could just get rid of the extension on the downloaded file altogether).

If you don't have mplayer, you could substitute the command with totem, or some other player that will handle wav and mp3 files.

After that, I went to find the lego version of the Monty Python Camelot scene from Holy Grail, I found it, downloaded it, and went to play it.

My laptop had a horrible time trying to play it. It would lag, so the video and audio got out of sync (way out of sync, and after only just starting to play the video).

I tried running it fullscreen, this was a joke. I decided to see if I could bypass X, and play it with the vesa output driver onto the console.

I tried this, but it was flicking from left to right, annoying, because other than that, it was working, and keeping in sync.

I tried to play it using the vesa driver while in X, because X runs in vesa mode, and this looked like it was going to work for a few seconds, until X crashed, and gdm restarted it.


I gave up on that, and decided to play Doom for a while, well, prboom, since that's the version I have installed. This works pretty well, even though X is running in vesa mode.

I decided to see if I could get Quake going after that, because I used to enjoy playing Quake.

I found this page. (From the web archive, because the original and is gone).

I downloaded the x11 binary of quake, tried running it, which resulted in a "no such file or directory" error immediately.

I assumed this was because I didn't have the pak file for Quake on my laptop. I downloaded the shareware installer, and tried to work out how to extract the pak file.

I tried to use wine to run deice.exe, but this didn't work. It just sat there for ages, with the CPU pegged, but not doing anything.

I looked around the web again, and found the pak files, extracted, so I downloaded them, and put them in place.

I tried running Quake again, but got the same error. I decided to look what the binary was trying to do.

I opened it up with a hexeditor, and saw a reference to "" in the first few lines, which I didn't have on my laptop.

I checked the debian packages, and found that I needed "ldso", so I installed that.

When I tried to run it now, it just errored "can't load library ''". I checked the debian packages, and installed "libc5".

This got me a step closer, now it was erroring "can't load library ''".

This is a part of "libx11-6", but when I tried to install it, I already had it. Hmm.

I wondered if the path to it was wrong, because I've moved a bit of stuff around on my laptop, because the partitioning job is a bit crap, and I keep running out of space.

I tried putting in a couplee of symlinks, so the file appeared in the correct location, but that didn't fix it.

I decided to strace the binary, and saw that it was looking in /usr/lib for the files, and not in the X11 libraries, where the files were.

I setup a couple of symlinks:

sudo ln -s /usr/X11R6/lib/ /usr/lib/
sudo ln -s /usr/X11R6/lib/ /usr/lib

(Obviously the second came from linking the first, and repeating the strace, finding the next file missing, and adding in the link).

While looking at the strace output, I realised I had the pak file in the wrong place too, I had to put it in id1/, so I moved that.

Now I was getting a crash after it said "console initialised".

I googled a bit, and tried running it with the -nosound -nocdaudio switches, but this made no difference.

I found something related to networking, and when I ran it with "-noudp", it would get further.

Now the crash was after it would say:
PackFile: ./id1/pak0.pak : gfx/colormap.lmp

The output from strace just before the crash, was:

open("/home/squigley/.Xauthority", O_RDONLY) = 5

So it looks like it's having an issue connecting to X or something. I tried doing an "xhost +", not expecting it to fix it, and it didn't.

I decided to try squake, the SVGA version, but it didn't work either (and needed the "-noudp" switch too).

So, I gave up. Something's changed, and now Quake doesn't run anymore. I'm not really surprised, since the binaries are from about 10 years ago, it just annoys me that it's sort of got lost.

Perhaps I could find the source of the binaries, and try compiling them against more modern libraries.

I while later, while reading this page, I found that the deice.exe is just a copy of lha.

I installed lha on my laptop, and used it to extract the contents of the resource.1 file, in case the pak file I was trying to use was the issue, but after replacing it, with the one I extracted, it made no difference.

Oh well, no Quake.

Friday, September 23, 2005

I went around my mates place, and he told me that he'd unplugged the AP I left around there, because he saw some suspect traffic going on.

Probably someone else connected, since there's no protection enabled on it, and there's a DHCP server available.

He plugged it back in, but then neither of us could use DHCP to configure our cards. I had a look, to try to work out what was going on, and found that my mate had stuffed up a bit, probably since it was dark under the desk where the switch was.

I traced the lead, and found that he'd connected the switch back to itself, and had connected the AP to a lead that goes around to the other side of the room, where I had the Xbox attached.

I sorted that out, and then it all worked. Once of these days I'll build him an IPCop box, and then can rely on the protection from IPCop.

A while later, I started properly playing "Flight of the Amazon Queen", and it's quite a good game. The engine and graphics very much remind me of the Indy Jones game, Fate of Atlantis, it's probably exactly the same engine used for both.

I got an interesting email from an eBay member, letting me know that a seller I'd won a few auctions of wasn't the best person to be dealing with.

Apparently they'd paid for their auctions, and the items had not arrived, and the seller would not reply to their mails.

Hmm, now I'm not sure whether I should pay for my auctions, or contact eBay about it. I decided to just leave it for a few days, and try to find out what's going on.

The hard drive started grinding in the IPCop machine, and it went for ages. I don't know what it was, because I couldn't connect to it at all while it was doing it, but it was still routing, so I was still able to use the net (albeit slowly).

I just left it to finish doing whatever it was doing, and I went off the supermarket.

When I got there, I realised that I'd forgotten to bring the CD with me that I had to post to my mate, crap, I'm not going back to get it now, several kilometres away. I'll just post it some other day.

At some point in the afternoon, I managed to break my sunglasses, the arm snapped off on them. Ah, I knew this would happen.

I was chatting to my mate on IM, and he asked me about a long svideo cable, so he could watch videos from his PC on his tv.

I had a look at getting the parts to make up a long cable for him, but I didn't know when I'd be able to get the parts to make it.

I kept looking, and I found that just buying a cable, while a few dollars more, would probably be better, since I wouldn't have to make it, to start with, and because premade cables are usually a bit more resilient, custom cables have a habit of getting loose connections in the plugs, or the wires snapping off.

A while later, I had aMule running, and I found the performance to be a bit lacking. When I mucked around in the settings, I found that I still had it configured for when I was on dialup, while I waited for my ADSL to get connected.

Once I adjusted the settings, I found it to work quite a bit better, it wasn't saturating my connection anymore, and the incoming speed increased quite a bit.

I noticed the USB adapter for the Xbox (that goes in the controller port) hanging around, and I wondered if the light for my laptop would run off the Xbox controller port.

I plugged in the adapter, and booted up the xbox. I plugged in the light, and it worked. Heh.

Hmm, I noticed that the LED on the front of the Xbox went red for some reason. I wondered if it was because there were no controllers (only the IR receiver) and no output cable attached.

I turned it off and on again, and it did the same thing. Hmm. I plugged in the output cable, and turned it on again.

This time it came on, I could hear the DVD drive accessing the DVD I left in there, and then the light went green.

That must have been it, but that's pretty dumb, what if I installed linux on the Xbox, I'd want to be able to boot and run it headless, it's dumb if I need to have an output cable plugged in, but not even attached to anything.

I mucked around playing the bass guitar a bit, using the effects board thing I bought (PODxt).

I ran the speaker out of my laptop into the line in on the board, and then the line out of the board to the reciever, which was quite groovy, because then I could play along with the songs.

The pedal squeaking began to really annoy me.

I googled around, for details of adjusting it, and I read in the support pages on the POD page about adjusting it, they reckon you just take a couple of screws out, and then there's a screw to adjust the pedal.

I didn't realise this actually referred to a different device, and I took the bottom off the board. I couldn't see any screws to adjust the pedal.

I worked out how it worked though, with a big bolt as the pivot, so I just grabbed a small spanner, and a torx driver (though it was actually an allen head), and loosened the bolt a tiny bit.

This made the pedal a lot easier to use, but it was still squeaking a bit. It wasn't as bad though, so it'll have to do.

While I had the base off it, I looked over the PCBs, and noticed the line in jack is labelled as "jam along in" on the PCB, heh, funny, considering it's basically what I was doing.

I put it all back together, and I went to look for any custom patches on the internet, but I couldn't find any bass patches still.

I found some good guitar ones though, which would probably be good for my mate, because he's got the guitar version, on this page.

After "jamming along" a bit more, I decided to muck around with the preamp I bought a while ago, to allow me to use a microphone in the line in on a sound card, so I can do 2 channel recording with 1 card.

I realised that I wouldn't be able to use it with the Shure, mainly because that's around at my mate's place, and even if I had it, I don't have a cable with XLR jacks on both ends.

I wondered how it would go with the guitar input (since it also has a few 6.5MM inputs, but they're labelled as line in rather than mic in, so probably expect line level).

I plugged in the guitar, to one of the line ins, and was surprised to find that it amped it quite well. I must remember that, I could carry it with the guitar, since it's so small, and then blast out anywhere I've got access to a receiver/speakers.

Details about the preamp are here.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

I wanted to listen to an MP3.

Instead of taking the easy route, of just turning on the mp3 server, I decided to get the NSLU2 running again, with the external hard disk.

I found it, and the power adapter, and then all the parts of the external hard disk caddy, and the disk, and assembled it all.

Gees the blue LED on the external hard disk caddy annoys me, it's one of those superbright ones, and it reflects off everything in the room, screens, the window etc.

It wouldn't be so bad if it only flashed when there was disk access, I could handle that, but it works the reverse to normal hard disk LEDs, it's on all the time, and it goes off when there is activity.

I either need to build a little gate circuit to put in between the LED and the controller, to work as a logic inverter, or replace the LED with a normal green one or something.

Anyway, I got it all back running, mounted it, and put some music on.

I wondered what updates had been made to the firmware for the NSLU2, so I went investigating the new unslung.

I realised that I was just wasting time, and procrastinating, so I went back to work.

A while later, I was wanting to check some settings on the WRT54G. I noticed that it's time was totally wrong.

I googled, and found some references to setting the time using openWRT, (mainly this page), but when I tried to do it, I realised that the WRT54G couldn't access the internet for some reason.

Then I realised that I'd never put the MAC address of the WRT54G in the access list on IPCop, so while it could provide wireless internet access to my laptop, it itself couldn't use it.

I added it into the blue access list, so it could use the internet, and tried to set the time, but then realised that I needed an rdate server.

I tried to work out how to make the IPCop box act as an rdate server. Usually it's just a matter of adding a line into the inetd.conf, and restarting it, but IPCop doesn't run inetd, so that idea was out the window.

I looked for an ntp client to use, but then I thought I was wasting my time again, and didn't really need the time to be right on my AP, since I'm not usually in the habit of using it as a clock.

I went to bed, and that stupid blue LED lit up the whole room. I couldn't be bothered to get back up, unmount the disks on the laptop, and shut the NSLU2 down, so I just ignored it, but it made it really hard to sleep.

That's probably why I had a weird dream about trying to write code for something.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

I spent a bit of time, and mucked around with the new digital STB I bought.

It can't pickup ABC either. Hmm.

I wondered if there was something funny going on, like the VCR interfering, because I had it connected to the wall, and the output of the VCR into the STB.

I decided to try connecting the STB directly to the aerial, first. I rescanned the channels, and bang, ABC came straight up.

I wondered if the other STB would do the same, so I set it up, connected to the wall, and yep, ABC was fine.

I figure that the VCR's output frequency must have been interfering with the UHF frequency used by the ABC transmitter, and the analog signal from the VCR was blocking the digital signal.

I connected the VCR after the STB, and it works fine, so I figure that must be it.

I decided to setup the other tivo again, because now it can get all channels, since without ABC, it wasn't much good, since that's most of the FTA I watch (that and SBS, there's stuff all on the commercial stations worth watching).

Once I set it up, I did a daily call on it, and it took over an hour to index all the data, because there were so many days worth it had missed while being turned off.

My mate asked me for a copy of the HHGTTG radio series MP3s, I looked at it, and worked out that it would take a couple of hours to transfer them across (which is a bit sad, considering we're both on ADSL).

I burnt them on a CD for him, and told him I'd post it tomorrow.

Someone advertised on the mailing list a wireless bridge they didn't want.

I quickly replied, and managed to be the first person, so I got it. I sorted it all out with the guy, and I paid for it.

That's an easier way to get the other PC connected to the ADSL once I install it, to save me crawling around under the house.

While going through the history of my browser, I found a reference to the playstation 2 psu recall. There's articles about it here, and here, and the recall page is here.

I had a look, and I clicked around, the form was so pathetic, that just by guessing, I was able to put in details that matched the faulty power supply.

It came up and told me that I could order a new one, and it didn't check for proof of purchase, so I just filled in the details, and they said they'd send me a new one.

That's pretty cool, since I don't even have a PS2.

I rang up the phone number on the credit card that I found on the train last night, and I reported it as lost for the woman.

From how the guy on the other end acted, it didn't seem that it had already been reported, so maybe the woman hadn't even realised that she'd lost it.

After getting off the phone, I thought about the fact that maybe I should have tried to return it, rather than make her go through getting a replacement card.

When I thought about that, I realised that I couldn't return it, since I don't know who the woman is, and when I checked the train timetable, the train was a sydney service, and it was already on the train, so she could live anywhere between the city and Wyong.

I tried looking in the phonebook, but I couldn't find anyone matching her initials, anywhere in the state.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Hmm, I'm beginning to wonder if Google subscribes to blogs, or if the link between Blogger and Google has got closer.

After I posted, I was watching the log files for the site, and less than 2 minutes after posting, I saw googlebot grab the atom feed file, and then the page with the post on it.

I did a quick test, and I made another post, but googlebot didn't come to grab it this time. Maybe there's some sort of a requests time limit, that stops it from hammering your site everytime you post, and only does it once a day or something.

I've just noticed it doing it again. I posted before, and 45 seconds later, googlebot grabbed the atom.xml feed, and then the page.

Update: I just did a bit more checking, and found that after I mae a second post, 20 minutes later googlebot was grabbing it, and a while after that, when I posted again, googlebot came and grabbed it less than 2 minutes later. Interesting.

I went up to vist my mate for dinner. He'd collected my replacement hard drive from the shop so I got that off him.

They've replaced the drive entirely, as I expected, because the clicking clunking noises the last one was making are never good.

We went to dinner, and we both bought tickets in the raffle, and as before, my mate won the raffle, with a ticket a couple of numbers after the ones I had.

On my way home, on the train, I found some woman's credit card. I brought it home, to ring up and report it lost.

I tried installing the Samba server mod for IPCop today, but didn't have much luck.

I got it from here.

After I installed the mod server, and then manually installed the smb mod, I found that I had broken the web interface to IPCop.

I had a look in index.cgi, to see what the install of the mod had done, and I noticed a reference to debugging in the top, so I uncommented the following line:

use CGI::Carp 'fatalsToBrowser';

After refreshing the page, I got the following error:

Global symbol "%tr" requires explicit package name at /var/ipcop/ line 97.

I had a look at the file, and changed line 97 from:

[ $tr{'samba'} , '/cgi-bin/samba.cgi', "IPCop $tr{'Samba'}" ],


[ $Lang::tr{'samba'} , '/cgi-bin/samba.cgi', "IPCop $Lang::tr{'Samba'}" ],

Now I had a new option in the Services menu, "Samba File Service".

I clicked on that, and I got a cgi error, so I went back an did the same as before, to enable the debugging.

The line wasn't in samba.cgi by default, so I had to add:

use CGI::Carp 'fatalsToBrowser';

Now I'm getting somewhere, I get the error:

Undefined subroutine &main::readhash called at /home/httpd/cgi-bin/samba.cgi line 21.

Hmm, what's this "readhash"? there are 2 references to it in the file, and it looks like it reads config files.

I did a quick google, and I turned up this page, with the source of the readhash function, so I copied it, and pasted in to end of samba.cgi.

I had another go at viewing the page, and I got the error:

Undefined subroutine &main::GetFileLock called at /home/httpd/cgi-bin/samba.cgi line 122.

I figured I could do without file locking, so I just commented out line 122, then I got:

Undefined subroutine &main::ReleaseFileLock called at /home/httpd/cgi-bin/samba.cgi line 139.

Since I didn't lock it, I figured I didn't need to unlock it, so I just commented out line 139.

Now I got:

Error in subroutine readhash: Can't open /ethernet/settings: No such file or directory at /home/httpd/cgi-bin/samba.cgi line 140.

Hmm, it seems that something is not right here, why is it looking in /ethernet? I doubt there is a subdirectory off root of /ethernet. I had a look in a couple of other files, and I saw other files using the readhash call etc, so it must work, and there must be something dumb breaking the samba file.

I removed the readhash subroutine again. That got me back to the original error:

Undefined subroutine &main::readhash called at /home/httpd/cgi-bin/samba.cgi line 21.

I compared the samba.cgi file with the vpn config cgi file, and started to suss out what was wrong.

I decided to change:
&readhash("${swroot}/ethernet/settings", \%netsettings);


&readhash("${General::swroot}/ethernet/settings", \%netsettings);

but I was still getting:

Undefined subroutine &main::readhash called at /home/httpd/cgi-bin/samba.cgi line 21.

I noticed a couple of other lines different in the source files, and tried replacing:
require '/var/ipcop/';

with the version from the vpn file:

require "${General::swroot}/";

But now it was looking for / Hmm, it seems that the "swroot" variable is not being evaluted properly. I might be on to something here, since this would explain the /ethernet call from before.

I added in:

require '/var/ipcop/';

Above the other line, and then I changed line 21, from:

&readhash("${General::swroot}/ethernet/settings", \%netsettings);


&General::readhash("${General::swroot}/ethernet/settings", \%netsettings);

That seemed to work, but now I got:

Undefined subroutine &main::showhttpheaders called at /home/httpd/cgi-bin/samba.cgi line 25.

I had another look, and compared with the vpn file, and decided to change:




I got a bit further:

Undefined subroutine &main::getcgihash called at /home/httpd/cgi-bin/samba.cgi line 29.

so I changed:

&getcgihash(\%sambasettings, {'wantfile' => 1, 'filevar' => 'FH'});


&Header::getcgihash(\%sambasettings, {'wantfile' => 1, 'filevar' => 'FH'});

Which resulted in:

Undefined subroutine &main::writehash called at /home/httpd/cgi-bin/samba.cgi line 33.

so I changed:

&writehash("${swroot}/samba/settings", \%sambasettings);


&General::writehash("${swroot}/samba/settings", \%sambasettings);

And now I got a new error:

Unable to write file /samba/settings at /var/ipcop/ line 75.

oops, I see what the problem is, let's try again, and change the line to:

&General::writehash("${General::swroot}/samba/settings", \%sambasettings);

Now I got:

Can't open file: No such file or directory at /home/httpd/cgi-bin/samba.cgi line 37.

It looked like I needed to change:

open(OUTFILE, ">${swroot}/samba/smb.conf") or die "Can't open file: $!";


open(OUTFILE, ">${General::swroot}/samba/smb.conf") or die "Can't open file: $!";

This got me a bit further, and it took a second, so I thought it was going to work, but then:

Can't open '/samba/smb.conf': No such file or directory at /home/httpd/cgi-bin/samba.cgi line 52.

Damn. Let me guess, another "General::" missing, from line 52..
Nope.. it's actually missing from line 51..

my $file = shift || "${swroot}/samba/smb.conf";

which I changed to:

my $file = shift || "${General::swroot}/samba/smb.conf";

Now I got:

Can't open '/samba/smb.conf': No such file or directory at /home/httpd/cgi-bin/samba.cgi line 58.

Another problem, this time line 58? nope, it's the same as 52, where the problem was before it. This time I found the line with the problem was line 55, which was exactly the same as 51, so I just replaced 55 with the fixed line 51.

I don't know why it's declared twice, that doesn't make sense to me, but then I'm not a perl programmer, so who knows.

Now I got:

Undefined subroutine &main::readhash called at /home/httpd/cgi-bin/samba.cgi line 63.

so I replaced the line:

&readhash("${swroot}/samba/settings", \%sambasettings);


&General::readhash("${General::swroot}/samba/settings", \%sambasettings);

Now I got a bit further..

Undefined subroutine &main::openpage called at /home/httpd/cgi-bin/samba.cgi line 69.

and I found another line requiring fixing..

&openpage($tr{'samba'}, 1, '');

changed to:

&Header::openpage($Lang::tr{'samba'}, 1, '');

now the page starts to render properly, and I get the bars across the top, but still get:

Undefined subroutine &main::openbigbox called at /home/httpd/cgi-bin/samba.cgi line 71.

I found that I had to change the line:

&openbigbox('100%', 'left');


&Header::openbigbox('100%', 'left');

This now got marginally further, but:

Undefined subroutine &main::openbox called at /home/httpd/cgi-bin/samba.cgi line 80.

Gees, this is getting tedious.

I replaced:

&openbox('100%', 'left', $tr{'samba'});


&Header::openbox('100%', 'left', $Lang::tr{'samba'});

Now it looks like I'm getting close, I get a big text box rendered, but still get errors:

Undefined subroutine &main::closebox called at /home/httpd/cgi-bin/samba.cgi line 110.

I changed:




and before seeing more errors, I decided to change the next couple of lines, from:




Now I was getting no errors, but the text box was still empty, and the check box and button at the top had no text labels.

At this point, I decided to replace all reference to $tr with $Lang::tr, and all ${swroot} with ${General::swroot}, openbox/closebox Header etc, which still achieved nothing.

I then found that the smb.conf was empty for some reason. I backed up my modified cgi file, and reinstalled the package again, (because I was too lazy to just extract the tarball, and copy the smb.conf file.

I tried again, and was back to the old error in, oops, forgot that would get overwritten. I fixed that again, but the text box was still blank, and smb.conf was trashed again.

I decided to untar the samba install, and copy the config file across manually. This got me:

Can't open file: Permission denied at /home/httpd/cgi-bin/samba.cgi line 37.

oops, it belongs to root now, so I chown'd the file.. and tried again.. and it immediately got trashed.

I gaveup, after all that.

I while later, I decided to have another look. I noticed an "addons" tab in the IPCop web interface, so I tried to use it to install samba, but got:

This is not an authorized addon, or your addon list is out of date.

The addons list is 1 second old, so I doubt that's the problem.

I gave up again.

A couple of hours later, I decided to see if I could just get samba running, without bothering with the web interface.

I edited the config file manually, and then when I tried to use the restartsamba binary, it wouldn't do anything.

If I started smbd/nmbd manually, restartsamba would kill them, and not respawn them.

I had a look at the web interface source, and saw that when starting samba, it would touch /var/ipcop/samba/enable, so I did that manually, and use restartsamba, which this time started.

I'd configured it to run as a WINS server (the main reason I installed it, because netbios broadcast noise doesn't traverse subnets, and MS networking doesn't work properly.

I couldn't connect to any shares running off it though, which was weird.

No matter what fiddling I did in the config file, related to what interfaces it was listening on, and what IP ranges were allowed to connect, I still couldn't connect.

I wondered if I needed a user account to authenticate with, so I tried adding an account, but found that smbpassword needed it to exist as a system account first, do I added it to ipcop, and set an smbpassword, restarted samba, but still coudln't connect.


Eventually I found that I could connect from the IPCop box, to itself, whether through the loopback interface, or the proper interfaces, but not from any remote host.

I dunno what's going on there. I have connectivity to the box remotely, I can connect to port 139 with nmbd running on it, but it just won't talk, and I get:

read_socket_with_timeout: timeout read. read error = Connection reset by peer.
protocol negotiation failed

I decided to try to install a newer samba version manually, since this package is version 2.2, and I have 3 on my laptop.

I copied across smbd and nmbd, and then found that I needed a bunch of libraries, which I scp'd across, one at a time, copied them into /usr/lib and tried again, until I ended up with:

./nmbd: /lib/ version `GLIBC_2.3.4' not found (required by /usr/lib/

So now I well and truly give up. No samba on an IPCop machine, at least not without me going insane.

Monday, September 19, 2005

The guy at work emailed me the linux version of the Nortel VPN client, I just downloaded it, and put it on my laptop, I didn't get around to trying to compile or install it.

I went out to lunch, and I decided to close one of my bank accounts, since I don't use it, and I haven't know for the last couple of years what the PIN for my card was, so I couldn't withdraw money from it anyway.

It was far too easy to close the account I thought. I just went into the bank, went to the information desk, told the woman I wanted to close my account, and gave her the keycard.

She asked what sort of account it was, and I couldn't even remember, so I gave her some confusing answer, changing my mind about it.

She typed something in on the computer, then got me to sign a slip of paper. I signed it, but my signature has changed a bit since I signed the back of the card a few years ago, so it didn't look anything like the one on the card.

The woman didn't say anything, didn't care, and didn't ask to see any other ID or anything. After that, we went over to one of the teller windows, and they gave me the balance of my account, in cash, and I left.

I found the whole thing to be a joke. I could have lost my wallet, and someone could have just picked out the card, gone in, asked to close the account, scribbled a signature on the slip, and been given all my money.

I'm glad I closed my other account with that bank a while ago, and now don't have anything to do with them.

I bought a couple of DVDs, since I spotted Kill Bill volumes 1 and 2 on special in the music shop. I haven't got around to watching them.

On the way home, I looked for open wireless networks again. This time I sat on the other side of the train, and I saw about 110 networks.

Here's a list of the SSIDs again:

[no ssid]
[no ssid]
[no ssid]
[no ssid]
[no ssid]
Why Are Less
Karl's Ground Control
[no ssid]
[no ssid]
[no ssid]
[no ssid]
Kick Aarse
Ian, Andrew, Dave
[no ssid]
[no ssid]
[no ssid]
Home Hardware Kotara
[no ssid]
Eagleton Home Network (49424455)
[no ssid]
[no ssid]
[no ssid]
[no ssid]
[no ssid]
wsc telemetry
Huey's Place
water and crap
[no ssid]
[no ssid]
[no ssid]
[no ssid]
[no ssid]
[no ssid]
[no ssid]

Oh, the way I get the above list, is with the following command:

cat Kismet-[date]-1.csv |cut -f3 -d";"|sed "s/</[/g"|sed "s/>/]/g"

When I got home, the digital STB I ordered had turned up. I opened it, and looked at it, but didn't get around to setting it up.

I decided to check in the captured spam folder on my email server, to check it wasn't accidently flagging emails as spam.

It wasn't, but I was quite surprised to find that the mail folder contained over 43000 spam, and had collected them in less than a year.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

A bunch of DVDs I ordered from Amazon a while ago turned up a couple of days ago, and I noticed them sitting there today.

I ordered:

Macgyver, Series 2, and 3 (already bought series 1).
Chris Rock - Bring the Pain, and Bigger and Blacker,
Monty Python's - Meaning of Life,
Eight Legged Freaks, and
The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eight Dimension.

Here's a list of most of my DVDs. A couple are missing, that I lent to someone, and they never returned them. I hadn't got around to adding them, and I don't remember what they even were now.

Friday, September 16, 2005

I went around to my mate's place for a bit of practice, and we were able to go through all the effects on the POD units we bought.

There's quite a few good settings on there, and when I sat and made up some custom ones, I came up with some pretty good settings.

We're able to play through 6 songs pretty well now, we're trying to get to 10 by the end of the year.

I got a call from the woman whose IT I look after for her home business. She's been away for a week, got back, and found that her internet connection was "down".

She'd tried to get support from the ISP she's with about it, but when she told them that she has a linux firewall, they refused to help her at all.

I arranged to go and look at it for her, and when I got there, I found that the modem had dialled up and connected.

A little bit of investigation, and I found that the problem was that the DNS server settings on the windows PC were wrong. Apparently the ISP had changed their DNS server, and because the windows PC uses DHCP from the linux firewall, the dhcpd.conf had the wrong DNS server IP addresses in it.

I simply updated the dhcpd.conf file, and restarted DHCP, then renewed the IP settings on the windows PC, and it was fixed.

In testing, I found that it was pathetically slow. I had a chat, and we worked out that going to ADSL is a better idea, because it will obviously be faster, and will actually work out cheaper, because there won't be the requirement of a dedicated phone line, or the phone calls to connect to the internet.

She also had bought a USB drive a little while ago, and because the windows PC runs windows 98, it needed the drivers, I found, downloaded, and installed the correct drivers, and got it workinng for her.

I suggested rebuilding the computer with windows 2000 at some point, because 98 is dragging the chain a bit.

I showed her how to back up her mail to the USB drive, just copying the files from the linux firewall (which is an SMB and IMAP server), on to the USB drive.

She asked me about wireless access for her laptop. I had a look at it, it didn't have a wireless card in it.

I told her that I'd do some research, because she wants to be able to use it on a boat, connecting to the internet access at marinas.

When I got back, I did some research, trying to work out the best way to go.

I'm not sure of whether to look for some gear including an omnidirectional antenna, to be mounted on the boat, with some low loss cable and a pigtail going into the boat, to attach to a wireless card with an external aerial connector, or to just go with a high power (200mW) wireless card with built in aerial.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

I went around to my mate's place, with another mate, and we all drove down to Parramatta, and went into Billy Hyde music.

We had a look around, and then we went and got some lunch.

We went back, and continued looking.

My mate was interested in the effects pedals, one in particular, the PODxt Live, so they set him up to have a muck around.

I browsed around for a while, noticed that they had some of the Fender Jazz signature Basses, but not the Geddy Lee.

I spoke to the guy working in there about bass pedals, and he showed me some of them, and set me up mucking around with an effects board.

I spent a bit of time playing on it, but it was silly, it was really a synth, than an effects pedal, and would have had limited use.

I switched to using another one, which was just effects, so it could be used fairly effectively.

We sat there playing for ages, it was really quite cool. Eventually I decided to buy the pedal/board I'd been mucking around with, and my mate the one he was playing on.

I haggled the guy down in price on the pedal I was after, $199 from $299, and agreed to buy it.

We went up and got one, and I grabbed a guitar stand, because I'm sick of propping my bass up everywhere, and went and paid for them.

The guy then saw the model that my mate was buying, and remembered they'd just had the bass version come in, the Bass PODxt Live.

Hmm, now I had to decide what I wanted to do. The guy asked if I wanted to look at it, and I said I'd have a look. He went and got one, unpacked it, set it up, and I jammed on it for a few minutes.

While he was setting it up, I asked if they could get the Geddy Lee Fender Jazz bass, and he told me they could order it in. I didn't ask the price, since I've only just bought a new bass, and I'd probably be looking at about $1800 for the Geddy Lee bass.

My mate went to get more money out, to pay for his effects board.

When I was going through the factory preset setups, I came across "Have A Cigar" (Pink Floyd), sounding very much like the song, and a couple of others, like
"Live at Leeds" (The Who).

Once I came across "Tom Sawyer" (Rush), I was sold. I can't argue with something that comes with Rush preset effects.

I had to cheat a bit, and I played some of "Closer to the Heart" and "Xanadu" on it, since I don't know the bass for Tom Sawyer (a crime), but it sounded really good.

The guy came back, asked what I'd decided, and I told him that I'd decided to pay the extra, and swapped the unit I'd bought for the bass unit.

My mate got back just as I finished sorting it out, and told me that the bank had closed before he got a chance to get the money out, they'd locked the doors, and wouldn't let him in.

I paid for his unit on my card, and then we left, and went back to the car, and drove back.

I regretted not bringing my bass with me this morning, since I couldn't play with the effects board.

I got dropped at home, taking it with me, and was able to muck around on it.

It's got a USB port on it, for updating the firmware, loading patch settings, and recording the signal.

I plugged in the unit to my laptop, and saw:

usb 2-1: new full speed USB device using uhci_hcd and address 2

I googled around, but could find nothing about linux support for it, which was no real surprise.

I sat and played with the unit for ages. You can set the output level to line or amp, so I was able to use it as a preamp, and connect the audio out to my stereo.

I sat and learnt "Have A Cigar", (not too hard, and sounds groovy).

I tried to install the drivers for the board, but they don't work in wine. I did a bot of research into this, a few days later, and found that wine can't be used for drivers to support hardware, but apparently there's a spinoff for doing it.

Guitarport (software that can be used with it) was mentioned in a web page I found about wine support for USB drivers.

While looking in the wine application DB, I saw tha Guitar Pro was classed as gold when running under wine, which seemed promising.

I installed it under wine on my laptop, but I couldn't run it, after putting in the registration key, it would just disappear.

I downloaded another version, and installed it, which ran fine (but had no midi support), better than nothing I suppose.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

My mate asked me to setup his TiVo for him today.

I took the tivo, and my tools, and cable etc with me.

We stopped in at an electrical supplier on the way to his place, and bought a couple of wall mount RJ45 sockets, and some double sided tape to stick them on the wall.

We got to his place, and I grabbed the ladder, and got up in the roof with the torch.

I had a quick look around, saw where I was running the cable, it didn't look too bad.

I got back down, and dragged out enough cable to run across the ceiling, and down the walls, and a bit more, to make up for my crappy estimation skills.

I got back up in the roof, chucked the cable across towards the side of the ceiling, and then I moved the ladder around the back, got up on the roof, and moved a couple of tiles out of the way.

There was already a phone cable going down the wall here, so I knew I could get the cable down. I put a fair bit of it down there, and then I went inside, and I started trying to get the cable out of the wall.

I only needed a small hole to pull the cable out, but it would be impossible to find it or get it out without a bigger hole.

My mate had the good idea of taking the phone wall plate off, which I did, and then fished the cable out.

I pulled it out through the little hole I'd made, tied a knot so it couldn't go back in the wall, and went about getting the other end sorted.

I brought the ladder back in, got in the roof again, and I dragged all the rest of the cable across to the other side of the house.

This required a bit of gymnastics to get through the roof trusses, and back again, and it was nice to get out of the roof, because it was a sunny day, and the heat was picking up in there.

I went to take the ladder around to the other side of the house, but found that there was nowhere to put the ladder.

I climbed up off the fence, like I was doing when I installed the satellite dish a couple of years ago.

I moved another couple of tiles, found the cat5, and worked out where I needed to run it down the wall. I wasn't sure if this end would go down, when I worked here before, we ran the cables outside the house, and put them in through a hole in the bricks.

I didn't want to do this with the cat5 though, because I didn't want it in the gutter, and then a bright blue (not rated for external use) bit of cat5 running down the wall.

I spent a fair bit of time trying to get the cable down the wall, my mate took the aerial wall plate off from behind the tv, and tried to fish the cable out.

Eventually we got it done, and I put the tiles back, and then wandered across the roof to the other side, and put the other tiles back.

I got off the roof, and went inside. I sorted out the cable at the tv end, noticing that the aerial termination was a bit dodgy, and fixed that.

I went in, and put the RJ45 socket on the pc end, and patched it into the ADSL modem.

I went back to the loungeroom, booted up my laptop, and tested the line, I immediately got a link up, sweet, and found that it worked fine, DHCP worked, and I was able to browse the internet from my laptop.

Good stuff, the tivo should work then.

At this point, my mate started making lunch. I interrupted him from this, and showed him the process of installing the image on the new hard drive he'd got for his tivo.

Once that was done, I went about replacing the original disk from the tivo, the one with Jaws recorded on it. I realised that I hadn't brought my torx bits with me, so I didn't have any tools to get the hard drive bracket out.

We found a small flat screwdriver that fit pretty close, and because they weren't too tight, I was carefully able to use it to get the torx head screws out.

I put the new disk in, and all back together, and setup the tivo, in front of the tv cabinet, with the digital stb attached, patched to the internet.

I booted it up, and found the display was black and white on the tv, hmm, the tv mustn't support NTSC properly.

We sat and had lunch, and I ran through the guided setup. I setup the IR codes for the STB, and everything worked.

Once the guided setup was finished, and the tivo was indexing the guide data, I decided to reorder the channels on the STB, to where they would be, if the unit supported LCNs properly, instead of moving them on the tivo.

Once I'd done that, I waited a little while, but then got impatient, waiting for it to index, so I shut it down, and moved it into the cabinet, with the STB, and attaching the second set of outputs to my mate's DVDR unit.

After doing that, I found that the digital STB was acting really glitchy.

Eventually I decided to move it outside of the cabinet again (my mate had it installed on top of his speaker before), and once I did this, it was less glitchy.

I suspect that his aerial needs a bit of work, I think there's a corroded junction between the balun on the aerial, and a master amplifier, and then the aerial runs to a splitter, and a wall jack, and another couple of wall jacks back to the tv.

I told my mate I'd get that sorted at some point, whenever he wants to get a length of aerial cable, and have me pulling tiles off his roof again.

Once it was all setup, I went into the computer room and checked that the web interface was accessible, and used it to install the logos.

While I was doing that, the company that I bought the disk from that failed recently called up my mate, and wanted to speak to me.

It was a bit weird, it was just that they wanted to let me know that they'd decided to replace the disk, and it was ready to be picked up.

I setup my mate's ADSL mode with some port forwarding, and password protected his tivo, so that I can configure things on it for him, remotely.

After that, we sat and went through all the shows, and setup thumb ratings, so the suggestions would work properly.

My mate dropped me home after that, and he asked me about a disk usage bar on the tivo, I told him about autospace, and said I'd install it for him.

Once I got home, I logged into his tivo remotely, and I installed autospace, and then when my mate got back, he told me that the tivo had gone a bit wobbly, the web interface wasn't responding, and I saw the same thing remotely.

I rebooted his tivo for him, and then it seemed to be ok. It was probably because I installed autospace.tcl and started it, and found that it needed osdcons, so I installed that, and then it worked, it might have caused an issue when I tried running it without osdcons installed.

I got an email from the cheap electronics place I order stuff from, apparently they had more digital STBs. I thought they were the same as one they stocked a while ago, which were supposed to be pretty good.

After I ordered it, I realised it was the same as the one I bought for my parent's, which doesn't use LCNs properly, and you can't skip channels. Oh well, if it picks up ABC, then I don't care, since that's the only reason I need another one, since the first one I bought doesn't.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Some mail turned up today, the main things of interest were the PCMCIA wireless card I got off eBay recently, and an IR Blaster cable for my mate's tivo, since it didn't come with one.

I installed the wireless card in my laptop, just to see if I'd compiled support for it into the kernel, when I rebuilt it a while ago.

I hadn't, the card didn't turn up, and wasn't available.

I googled around a bit, to find out details about running a Netgear MA521 under linux, and I found this page, which isn't too useful in itself, but it links to a couple of terrific pages, here, and here.

Regardless of that, it really looks like quite a pain to get it working, having to compile the kernel module, and muck around configuring it, and then the card doesn't use the standard iwconfig interface, you have to use iwpriv calls to configure it.

I couldn't be bothered doing any of it, especially since I bought the care for my mate, and he's just going to use it in windows, so I didn't see the point of spending ages getting it working, when I don't really need to.

Something to keep in mind though, I'll do a bit more research if I buy a wireless card for my laptop (even though it's got one built in, another would be handy, so I could try to connect to WLANs while running kismet to find them).

Monday, September 12, 2005

That recent bit of mucking around with games/emulators on the xbox led me to think about putting scummvm on my laptop, so I could play some of those old Lucasarts games again.

I downloaded the latest version, and found that the game data for "Flight of the Amazon Queen" is a free download, so I installed that.

I started playing that for a few minutes, but I haven't found time to look at it again.

I might get around to putting Secret of Monkey Island on here at some point (if I can find the CD for it).

I did a dist-upgrade on my laptop today (running etch), and encountered a couple of errors.

I had to manually force x11-common_6.8.2.dfsg.1-6_all.deb to install, with the --force-overwrite switch or whatever it is, so that it would overwrite the /etc/X11/Xsession file.

That got a bit further, and then I had issues with some symlinks in /etc/X11/xkb/rules, I had to rm all the files that were xfree86.* > xorg.*.

After that, I was able to "-f install".

I tried to install qobex, a tool for bluetooth access to phones, but it relies on newer versions of files than I had installed. When I tried to update a few files, it was just causing more an more dependency issues.

I gave up in the end, I don't really need it anyway.

I'm in the process of getting a vpn account setup, so I can work from home.

I decided to get the vpn client. I went to the Nortel site, and I downloaded version 3.3 of the client, which is a beta, because I couldn't download the stable one, because I needed the login for the Nortel site, which I didn't have.

I sent off an email for someone who did have the login to download it for me.

In the meantime, I tried to compile the beta version:

squigley@laptop:~/downloads/cvc_linux-gcc2-3.3$ make all
cd src && make all
make[1]: Entering directory `/u01/downloads/cvc_linux-gcc2-3.3/src'
cd k2.6 && make
make[2]: Entering directory `/u01/downloads/cvc_linux-gcc2-3.3/src/k2.6'
make[2]: *** No rule to make target `../libmishim-2.6.a', needed by `kmod_build'. Stop.
make[2]: Leaving directory `/u01/downloads/cvc_linux-gcc2-3.3/src/k2.6'
make[1]: *** [all] Error 2
make[1]: Leaving directory `/u01/downloads/cvc_linux-gcc2-3.3/src'
make: *** [all] Error 2


I googled around, and all I found was this page, which was of no help at all.

I gave up on that too, thinking I'd just wait until I got the proper version of the client, which might compile.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

I decided to do a bit of bluetooth sniffing, since I was sitting around with a few bluetooth phones around me.

I tried looking, using the normal procedure, but couldn't see any of the phones. Apparently all the phones were not in "discoverable" mode, so I couldn't see them.

I googled around, to see if there was a way to find them anyway, and found references to "redfang", a brute force scanner.

I found a page with the c code on it, but I couldn't get it to compile.

I looked for some other tool, and found something called "bluesniff", but found it was just an interface to redfang anyway.

When I googled around for details of the compiler error I was getting, trying to compile redfang, I found that the code I had was old anyway, and it had been almost completely rewritten.

I got the new one, and compiled it, and ran it, it sat there saying it was scanning.

Hmm, this was going to take a while, since it takes between 6 and 10 seconds to try each MAC address.

I let this run for a while, while I read about other stuff. I found another tool, called tbear, which included a couple of different tools.

I had a look, it said it borrowed some of the code from redfang, but it looked a bit better, because you could specify the vendor part of the MAC address, to make it slightly faster to scan.

I googled around, to see if I could work out what the MAC address range my mate's phones would have.

I found a page about a couple of their phones, here, but I wasn't sure if that was the correct model of phone, and it didn't have any details about the MAC address anyway.

I didn't get a chance to find any of the phones after that.

While googling, I turned up the following pages:

Saturday, September 10, 2005

I left my laptop and Xbox etc around my mate's place last night, and I came home without collecting it.

I felt a bit lost without my laptop, I didn't want to use any of my old machines, so I just sat and watched some tivo recordings, while feeling hungover.

I got picked up by my mate later, and went back around his place.

I sat and chatted with his mate, who's interested in programming, and we sat and went through some of the code I've written recently.

A few hours later, we drove down to see another mate, and we sat around chatting for a while, and then my mate connected his laptop to the tv, and we watched some episodes of The Family Guy he's downloaded.

I took my laptop with me, and I patched into my mate's adsl connection. I'd taken a length of cat with me, but it turned out to be a dud length, so I ended up using his, but that didn't matter, because the adsl modem only had a single ethernet port on it anyway.

I'd thought about taking my little AP (SMC 2655W) with me, but again, there's only one port on the adsl modem, so I would have needed a switch too.

I might try and find a tiny switch at some point, with similar power requirements to the AP, and hack a plug pack with 2 outputs, so I can use the 1 adapter to run both the AP and switch, and chain the switch to the AP, so I can piggyback off a single internet connection somewhere.

Otherwise I could try to find a really small AP with a couple of ports on it (the WRT is just too big to carry around with my laptop).

Anyway, while we watched, I got thinking about how my laptop has no tv out, so I couldn't have run videos on the tv.

I searched on ebay, and found the "grand hand view", a VGA to composite/svhs video adapter.

here's the eBay auction.

I didn't end up buying one, I ummed an ahhed for days, but decided that I didn't really need it, and it would just be something else I'd end up dragging around in my laptop bag.

Anyway, nothing much else technical to talk about.

Friday, September 09, 2005

My mate asked me to go and help him at work today, with the cabinet at the hospital we've been working on for a couple of weeks.

A quick recap.. we went in the first week, so I could work out how to use a laptop to configure the cabinet, this was fine.

After that, they found that the filters needed replacing, and they were replaced. In the process of doing that, the data cable between the controller PCB, and the front panel switches was damaged.

I repaired the cable, but then when we started the cabinet, the exhaust fan motor was wobbling all over the place, like the bearings were gone.

They got a brand new fan to replace the suspected failed one, and installed that, but it continued to shake all over the place.

So I went in today, to work out what was going on.

I tested all the connections, and traced the wiring, and I couldn't see what was wrong. I thought perhaps the motor had ended up being connected backwards, but swapping the active and neutral lines around made no difference.

I mucked around with the connection of the starter windings too, even leaving it disconnected, and spinning the fan up manually, in case the starter windings had somehow managed to ended up connected backwards, but this didn't fix it either.

There was an unused fan connector in the unit, and when I connected the fan to this, it spun properly, without shaking. I thought I had it figured out, that someone had connected it to the wrong supply.

We put the unit back together at this point, since it seemed to be running properly. This was a task in itself, because the conntections from the pressure sensors had ended up all mixed up, and I had to work out what was supposed to be using the normally open/closed contacts.

Once this was done, we started certifiying the cabinet, and it seemed ok. The fans were running a bit high, and when we tried to isolate one, both would run.

This made me realise that we still didn't have the fan connections correct, and that both were running off the same circuit.

I mucked around with it a bit more, but could only get the motor shaking when connected to the right supply.

What was even more strange, was that we still couldn't isolate one fan from the other (using the calibration software), and we couldn't adjust the speeds of them either.

I eventually decided to try connecting the fan circuits around the other way, to test if it was the fan causing the problem, or the controller.

When I did this, the other fan, which had always run fine, started shaking all around, and the new fan would run properly.

This confirmed my theory that the problem was nothing to do with the fan.

We gave up at this point, deciding that the controller board needs to be replaced, but this might be difficult, since the company that manufactured the unit no longer exists.

I suggested that the controller be overridden with a couple of normal hardware speed controllers in the unit, and bugger the software control.

We put the unit back together, and left it out of operation, and left.

We went over to a mate of my mate's place, and picked up his mate, who's doing some sort of a database course at Uni.

We went to the Uni campus, and he bought a DB book, it was groovy in the book shop there were quite a few interesting looking DB books.

On the way back towards home, I chatted with the guy, and looked at an assignment he's doing, where he needs to draw up an ER diagram, and the table structure for a database.

I got home, and grabbed my mate's xbox, that I've had for ages, and my laptop, and went around his place.

I setup the Xbox, patched it into his lan, and the projector, and showed them XBMC, they were pretty impressed.

We sat and watched an episode of Rome, that my mate had downloaded.

I got a call during that, from a mate's brother in law, having problems fixing his computer.

I hepled him out over the phone a bit, trying to identify the drivers he needed for his video card and modem.

After we finished watching Rome, I showed them some emulators I loaded on the Xbox, and we ended up playing Sega Master System games for a while, laughing while playing Paperboy.

I never thought I'd be playing Paperboy, projected 3 metres wide on the wall.

Another couple of mates showed up later, and we had a good time going through old Sega, Nintendo, and arcade machine games.

We went out for some drinks after that, since it was my mate's birthday a few days ago, but that's not technical content, so I end the post here.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

I imaged a spare hard disk for my mate's tivo, to do a burn in test, and a dry run of installing the image, so I could find any tweaks I might have to do when I do the proper install.

I realised while plugging the unit in to the digital STB, that my mate hadn't given me the remote for it.

Hmm, either someone needs to have captured the codes for it already, or one of the standard boxes the tivo supports will work with it.

I remembered another way.. perhaps there's a pronto file on remotecentral, for the box, and I can convert the codes out of it to tivo format, and make up a slice.

I searched remotecentral, and I found one remote file, that codes for a unit with a similar number to the STB that my mate had lent me to setup.

I then had to work out how to get the codes out of the file, there must be some pronto software for linux.

I found references to "Tonto", which I downloaded, and had to fiddle around with the startup script, to get working, since it's java based, and it had the wrong paths for the jvm.

Once I got it running, I tried to work out how to load the file I had downloaded.

It was an NCF file, and I couldn't find any references to loading it, only the standard PSF file (or whatever it is).

Bugger. I decided to see if I could get the codes out of the file, using a hex editor.

When I loaded the NCF file into the hexeditor, I noticed it started with "PK", and when I wrote a file identification utility a while back, I found that this is the identifier of a zip file.

I renamed the file to .zip, and unzipped it.

I ended up with an xml file, and a bunch of bmp images. I looked through the xml file, and could find definitions of buttons, and functions, but no codes.

I eventually found something that looked like pronto codes near the end of the file, but it looked like a real mess.

I didn't want to have to write a parser for NCF files, to extract the button codes from them.

I didn't even know if the STB was turned on, because I couldn't see any output from it.

I skipped through configuring the IR codeset during the guided setup on the tivo, figuring I'd comme back to it later.

When I finished the GS, I noticed that now the STB was outputting some signal, which it wasn't doing during the IR test, so I went back, and tried all the remote codes available.

I found one that worked properly anyway, so I didn't need to write my own slice, or get the codes.

I found that the channel numbers on the STB were not in the "normal" places though, so I had to work out what the channels on the tivo were, and what I had to move them to, to lineup with the STB.

This wasn't too hard, but tivoweb caused the unit to go a bit unresponsive a couple of times, and it took me about 4 reboots to finish moving the channels around.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

My mate turned up this morning, and dropped off his tivo, and his digital stb, for me to image/configure for him.

My mate's tivo didn't come with an IR Blaster cable, so I told him I'd sort out getting one.

My mate mentioned getting ADSL filters cheap, and I told him that I needed one, he told me that he had one in the car, so I went down to get it.

When I went out, I noticed that a couple of large parcels had arrived for me, presumably my 3rd tivo, and the laptop backpack I won on eBay the other day.

I grabbed those in, checked the tivo I'd bought, it came with all the cables (more than I was expecting), and a series 2 remote, with a switch, to easily control 2 tivos.

The few issues were not really noticable, a little bit of plastic missing from the front, and one foot missing from the bottom.

The lid wasn't on it properly, so I was able to remove it (easily, unlike when they are on properly), and I could show my mate the internals.

He left, and I decided to start modding my 2nd tivo, adding the second audio input to it, so I could migrate to using a unit with more capacity, and with the other sat box running off it.

No great issues with this, I could find all my tools, and I had a fully charged battery for the drill, so I removed the motherboard and the disks, drilled the holes for the extra couple of RCAs, and mounted them.

The postmane turned up, parked his bike up the top of the driveway, and hung around for a minute, which I thought was strange. I went out, and he'd gone to the front door, there were a couple of small parcels, and one had to be signed for.

I signed for it, and the postie asked about my bike. I told him that I'd lost my license, and it was out of rego etc.

I finished signing for the parcel, and then he left.

I came back inside, and opened both of them. The one I didn't have to sign for was my USB hub I got the other day, the one I did have to sign for was the flash card I got.

Anyway, I unpacked the flash card, and shoved it in the pcmcia slot, and saw:

2.6. kernels use pcmciamtd instead of memory_cs.c and do not require special
MTD handling any more.

Now I need to work out how to access it.

A bit more info:

squigley@laptop:~$ sudo cardctl status
Socket 0:
5V 16-bit PC Card
function 0: [ready]
squigley@laptop:~$ sudo cardctl ident
Socket 0:
product info: "SMART Modular Technologies", " 4MB FLASH Card "

I did a bit of googling around, and found references to "mem0c" devices, but I didn't have "/dev/mem0c" or "/dev/mtd" anything. I found more references, to "MTD support".

I don't think I compiled support for that into the kernel.

I checked the kernel config, nup, I hadn't. I tried enabling all the stuff I needed as modules, built them (which looked to work), copied them in to /lib/modules etc, and did a "depmod -a", then I modprobed all of them.

Nothing much happened. I ejected and reinserted the card, but it didn't do anything.

Somehow I think I need to recomplile the kernel.

I don't know if I can even be bothered trying to put openAP on the old AP anyway now.

Anyway, I decided to finish hacking the tivo, and put it back together.

I lifted up the pins on the Micronas chip, superglued the capacitors to the top of it, and soldered the legs to the pins on the chip.

I remounted the motherboard, soldered the audio lead between the caps and the RCAs, and then I reinstalled the disks in the machine.

I booted it up, seemed to work, I went through the guided setup again, to add the extra signal source.

I reconfigured the PALmod, enabling the 2nd audio input, and found that the volume was really low for some reason.

I fiddled around with it for a bit, rebooted etc, but it was still quiet.

I worked out that it was a problem with the gnd of the RCAs, not being connected to the case properly, so I mucked around finding some wire to gnd them with, but it didn't fix it.

I eventually discovered that the RCA lead I was using between the sat decoder and the tivo was dodgy, and it was fixed when I used a different cable.

I let it sit and run for a while, didn't see any issues.

I packed it up, and went to work on my mate's tivo.

I installed his network card, and then I set the unit up. It's second hand, and has a disk in it already, and I found that it was configured.

Initially, upon booting, it came up and said that the account was closed, and it required a subscription.

I tried to watch live tv (not expecting it to work, since it was in NTSC mode), and found that you can't even browse the channels on screen, since that's part of the tivo functionality apparently.

I looked in "Now Showing", and found that it had a couple of recordings in there. Heh.

There's "Jaws" in there, "Devil's Advocate", "Rambo: First Blood, Part II", and a couple of suggestions, "Witchblade", and "Bill & Ted's Excellend Adventure".

I could watch Jaws, (recorded 12/8/01, from "TBS"), but when I tried to watch Devil's Advocate (11/8/01, TBS), it popped up and said that the "program exceeds the rating limits set [PG-13]", and asked for the parental code.

Hmm, no idea. I tried all the obvious ones, but nothing I put in there would work. I googled around for override codes, but couldn't find anything. I think I could modify the settings in MFS, but that means hacking the thing to a fair extent, and I don't really care all that much.

I looked in the IPCop logs, and saw that the machine had picked up an IP address. I tried port scanning it, but nothing was open, as I expected.

I went into the config, and added in the ,#401 prefix, for it to use the network adapter, instead of the modem. I tried doing a test call, and found I had to turn off the dialtone detection too.

Anyway, it connected, and said it was downloading some stuff, and then I got a notice that there were new dialin numbers.

I went back to the recordings and found I could watch "Witchblade", from "TNT" and "Bill & Ted..", from "Comedy", but both of them are blank, because they must have been pay per view or something.

The only thing on the screen (other than the initial OSD), is the text "for ordering information, please call customer service, ext 721".

Couldn't watch Rambo either, since it's R rated, (recorded 23/7/01, off "ENCACT").

I left the machine running for a while, didn't see any issues.

I decided to go through all the spare hard drives I've got hanging around, to find one to run in the new dev tivo.

I went through all the disks, found a couple that didn't seem to work, Fujitsus. One did, the other 2 didn't. I tried swapping the controller from the one that worked to one that didn't, but it didn't get it working.

I found a 245Mb disk, that still runs, it's like 12 years old, useless though. I found an only 2.1Gb disk, I attached that to my laptop, with the USB -> IDE adapter, to see what was on it.

I discovered it was an install of Debian, but it had a Mac partition table, then I remembered, it must have been the disk I was trying to get my PowerMac to run linux off, but could never get it to boot.

I grabbed the USB hub, and tested it, I plugged it my mouse, the floppy drive, a USB memory drive, and even the USB -> IDE adapter, and they all worked, that was pretty good.

I suppose I'll find some time to just reimage the disk already in the tivo, even though my mate bought himself a 160Gb disk for the unit today, but I won't get that from him for a week.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Some mail arrived for me today, the Bluetooth dongle I got off eBay the other day, and a TiVo NIC, sent from Melbourne.

I went in to get my mail, Dad said he couldn't access one of the machines on the LAN still, even though I setup the DMZ pinholes in IPCop for it.

I tried to fix the issue, but in the end I put it down to the fact that the other machine, on the LAN, is running windows 98, and wants to use NetBIOS, which isn't being routed between the subnets.

I figure I need to rebuild the machine that acts as a WINS server, I think that was how the subnetting SMB worked before.

I came back out, and I mucked around with the Bluetooth adapter a bit. I'm supposed to give it to my mate, that's why I got it, but I wanted to check that it worked, and that I'd compiled kernel support for it, when I rebuilt the kernel with a ton of modules I didn't need the other day.

I plugged it in, and checked dmesg, saw:

usb 1-1: new full speed USB device using uhci_hcd and address 2
Bluetooth: HCI USB driver ver 2.8
usbcore: registered new driver hci_usb

I googled around a bit, trying to work out what I needed.

I figured I needed the "bluez" stuff, so I search the apt lists, and installed "bluez-tools".

It came up with an error starting the hci daemon or something.

I wasn't really sure what I was supposed to do from here, what the commands were etc. I googled, and I turned up this page.

It's all about using a phone as an internet connection, something I was thinking about doing a few months ago, but didn't end up buying a new phone.

Anyway, it looks like the basic commands I need to know about are "hciconfig" and "hcitool".

First I ran hciconfig:

squigley@laptop:~$ sudo hciconfig
hci0: Type: USB
BD Address: 00:02:72:B0:00:26 ACL MTU: 192:8 SCO MTU: 64:8
RX bytes:111 acl:0 sco:0 events:14 errors:0
TX bytes:310 acl:0 sco:0 commands:14 errors:0

Groovy, there's a device there. The RX bytes value looks interesting, maybe it can see something. I have no idea what, since I have no BT devices.. let's try to workout what it's seen..

squigley@laptop:~$ sudo hcitool scan
Scanning ...

Nothing, oh well.

I wondered about that error, I wondered if it was something to do with the device being plugged in already. I decided to replug the device, and see what happened..

usb 1-1: USB disconnect, address 2
usb 1-1: new full speed USB device using uhci_hcd and address 3
usb 1-1: device descriptor read/64, error -71
usb 1-1: device descriptor read/64, error -71
usb 1-1: new full speed USB device using uhci_hcd and address 4
usb 1-1: device descriptor read/64, error -71
usb 1-1: device descriptor read/64, error -71
usb 1-1: new full speed USB device using uhci_hcd and address 5

So I pulled it out, and it gave up "address 2", then I replugged it, and it took 3,4 and 5, while spewing errors about "device descriptor read", whatever that means.

It's still there, and it still doesn't find anything (not that I expected it to).

Monday, September 05, 2005

While I waited for my lift to work, I mucked around with the Sat decoder that my mate had dropped off while he was there on Friday.

I was trying to make sure it had the correct signal source details, when I had to go.

I managed to forget my ipod, bugger, since it's going to take me hours to get home.

When I went out to lunch, I went into a cheap shop, and bought some crappy cheap earbuds for a dollar, so I could listen to music on my laptop on the way home.

I also bought another linux magazine, to read on the way home.

At least the trains were back running this week, so I didn't have to get 2 trains and a bus home, only 2 trains, but they cancelled the first train, so it ended up taking me 3 1/2 hours to get home.

Anyway, while coming back towards home from Newcastle, I used kismet to look for WLANs.

I saw 92 different APs, some of them had no protection on them, so if I hadn't been flying past them at 80km/hr or more, I might have been able to attach to them.

I'll probably put the dump file from kismet up at some point.

Here's a list of the essids I saw, in the order I saw them between Newcastle, and Niagara Park, where I shut my laptop down:

Kick Aarse
Eagleton Home Network (49424455)
wsc telemetry
Tuggerah Dental

There were also 20 with no name set on them. I realise there are a few duplicates above, but they are not the same APs, because they were running on different channels, with different MAC addresses.

I got home, and a little while later, I got a call from a mate, he'd bought himself a tivo off eBay about a week ago, and it had arrived.

I decided to get back to sorting out the sat stuff.

I took out the card interface from one of the old sat units, a UEC 720, which is most of a card programmer, and put it back together. I could never get that box to work with a card programmer for some reason.

I removed the basic card interface from the spare UEC910, and I soldered it into the UEC720 that my mate had given me.

I rigged that up, and connected the card interface to the card server, and found that after a bit of fiddling with it, I managed to get it use the card server.

This was groovy, because it could handle searching the channels, but the 910s don't, and get stuck saying "waiting for NIT acquisition" until you cancel the scan.

It also had the channels in the right place, unlike the 910s, that need all the aurora channels there, even though I can't get them, because I only have access to a horizontal polarised signal feed.

After getting that going, I decided to do a bit more soldering, and I replaced the potentiometers on the interlock controllers I've got that need fixing.

This worked, as I suspected, it was the pots causing the problems, so I'd fixed 2 of them. I have a 3rd one, but I don't have a pot to install on it.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

I went down and saw my mate over the weekend, he had stacks of spyware on his machine.

I ran Ad-aware across the machine, but it didn't really find anything much, there was still pop up ads going on.

I also tried running Spybot S&D across the machine, it found a few bits of spyware, but still didn't stop the pop up ads.

I found some other bit of software, that I can't remember the name of, it identified a few more, but it was only a demo, and wouldn't remove them.

I found another one, which I don't remember the name of either, and it installed as a
"helper" application, to protect the browser form getting crappy search pages and toolbars installed. It didn't do anything much to fix up existing problems though.

I also found references to "Crap Cleaner", so I installed and ran that, it found 2.5GB worth of crap to delete. It still didn't get rid of the pop ups though.

I poked around the machine a bit, and I found a directory called "bind frag close bows", in it were a bunch of randomly named exe files.

That looked really suspect. I couldn't delete them either.

There were a couple of Internet Explorer processes running, and when I killed one of them, the other would respawn.

There was also a dodgy named exe file running, along the lines of "gnbueikm.exe", and when I killed that, and killed one of the iexplore.exe processes, the dodgy exe would pop up again, with a different filename.

I decided that I needed to kill both iexplore processes at the same time, and the process list doesn't let you do that.

I googled around for a command line process control thing for windows, and I found this page, and downloaded "process.exe".

I dumped it in the temp directory. I ran process.exe, and got a listing of the stuff that was running, including the following:

gnbueikm.exe 2588 1 8 0 [computername]\[username]
iexplore.exe 1468 3 8 0 [computername]\[username]
iexplore.exe 1796 8 8 0 [computername]\[username]

I used it to kill both internet explorer processes ("process -k iexplore.exe"), which worked, but when I killed off the dodgy file, both ie processes came back, and the dodgy file, with a different filename.

While looking in the temp directory, where I'd dumped the process.exe file, I noticed the dodgy file was respawning when I killed it.

I tried being a smartarse, and making the temp directory read only, so that it couldn't drop a new file, but, it was one step ahead of me, and it changed the read only setting on the temp directory. Bugger.

I wondered if trashing the iexplore.exe file off the hard drive would help either, to stop it from respawning, so I could clean it.

I ended up writing a batch file, that would rename the iexplore.exe file, it didn't work, since the dodgy exe would run the file after it had been renamed.

I tried deleting it, but realised that windows would just repair it automatically. I deleted iexplore.exe out of the dllcache directory, but it was still coming back, from god knows where.

Hmm, now I wondered if I had to kill both internet explorer and the dodgy file at the same time, I wrote a batch file to do it, and after trying it a few times, and making some modifications, I ended up with the following:

attrib +r "C:\Documents and Settings\[username]\Local Settings\Temp"
del "C:\Documents and Settings\[username]\Local Settings\Temp\*.exe"
process -k 2960
process -k iexplore.exe
del "C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe"
del "C:\Documents and Settings\[username]\Local Settings\Temp\*.exe"
attrib +r "C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer"
attrib +r "C:\Documents and Settings\[username]\Local Settings\Temp"

where 2960 was the current id of the dodgy exe.

This seemed to work, after that, they were all gone, and I was able to delete another of the dodgy files I found, something along the lines of "C:\Documents and Settings\[username]\Application Data\meta hide shim\Dashmapi.exe".

There was still another one, I couldn't kill it off, I also couldn't look at the details of it, Windows kept coming up and saying it wasn't a valid Win32 executable or something.

I wondered if it was just dodgy, and tried scanning the disk for errors, but it didn't find any.

My mate didn't have a virus scanner on his machine either, I downloaded the Avast scanner, ran that through, it didn't find any virii.

I downloaded their proper installer, scheduled a boot time scan, and rebooted the machine. It took about 45 minutes to scan the hard drive, and found a couple of infected files, "payload.dat", and some exe file, that I don't remember the name of, identifying both of them as being trojans.

I didn't look at the machine after that, but the popups had stopped, so I was happy that I'd fixed it.

It took me a good couple of hours to clean all the shit off. Windows and IE is pathetic.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

I decided to have another look at "ActiveWorlds".

I've been trying to use it for about 8 years now, since I first got on the internet.

First the issue was that I never had a proper internet connection to use, and then I was always stuck behind firewalls that stopped it from working.

Now I have a proper internet connection, and I don't have a firewall blocking me, but I don't run windows, so I've nothing to install their browser on.

I decided to try running it under WINE. I really didn't think it would work. It didn't, but I was surprised how far it went.

WINE must have really improved since I last tried it. I was able to run the installer, install the software, start it, connect to the internet, it actually went in, and started rendering, but at that point it crashed.

I tried running it again, but the same thing happened. It would run until I moved my mouse into the window, and then crash. I give up.

I think I might have more fun playing The Secret of Monkey Island again anyway, I'm either going to install it on my laptop, or maybe on the XBOX, with ScummVM.

Oh, and while I'm here, a quick rant, since that's some of the reason I blog.. some crappy website I tried to go to before fired up Java, which pegged my CPU.

I waited about 20 minutes, but it never became responsive again, and I killed off the java vm, but this took firefox with it.

When I started it again, I discovered that my history, and my address bar entries are all gone, crap.

I'm seeing more of the MSSQL worm attacks.

I haven't been obsessed about it, but every couple of days, I look to see what snort has picked up on the red interface of my IPCop box.

There's a fair bit of MSSQL attacks, about 5 or 6 a day I'm seeing.

The majority seem to be from China and Taiwan.

One of them is even from some Taiwanese TV station.

Can't China just be disconnected from the Internet? their government doesn't want them to have it anyway, and all that seems to come out of their IP space is hack attempts, worms, virii, trojans, and other crap.

Maybe I should just blacklist their whole IP range.

Maybe that's overreacting, they aren't all from China and Taiwan, only almost all of them, someone in Poland has attempted to attack me today as well.

Update: Lol, I just checked slashdot, and the oldest artice on the page was a link to this article at The Register, about blocking Chinese IPs.

I've been wasting a bit of time on eBay recently.

I haven't really been looking for anything specific that I need, just sort of browsing through the junk.

I've been thinking about getting a UPS, because of all the power issues I've been having (one of these days I'm going to be in the middle of updating the flash on something, and then power will go off, and the device will get stuffed).

I haven't found a cheap one, and I don't want to pay stacks for shipping either, which doesn't leave me with much choice.

Instead I've been browsing through laptop accessories.

There's a few things I wouldn't mind getting, like one of those neoprene laptop sleeve things, so I can have my laptop protected, and just put it in a backpack or something.

I haven't been able to find much in the way of that so far, so I've got a couple of bids on backpacks for laptops.

I looked for a wireless card for my mate, and ended up getting a Netgear MA401 for $15, not too bad.

I also managed to get myself a 4 port USB hub for $14 (including the shipping).

While browsing, I came across a 4mb linear flash card. I seem to recall wanting one of these for something. Ah, I remember.. installing OpenAP.

You need a 2mb SRAM or linearly mapped memory card to update the flash in the 2652W AP.

I've got one of those, but I didn't think it worked anymore (it seemed to die for some reason).

Anyway, maybe I can update the busted AP to OpenAP, and get it going again. I googled around, and found this page.

I tried going to the OpenAP site, but discovered that the homesite of OpenAP is gone, and redirects to some stupid page.

I went back to reading the Seattle wireless page, mainly the references to the SRAM stuff at the bottom. A bit more googling around, and I figured that this card would work for loading OpenAP.

I also found a page in Spanish, here, mentioning using the card I was looking at, and saying it was suitable for OpenAP.

I went and put a bid on the card, I can always using it as 4mb of storage, even if it's no good for OpenAP, or the AP doesn't work.

I kept reading, and luckily I found a mirror of most of the content from the original OpenAP site, here.

Except it doesn't seem to have the sram.img file for download, only the sources, and according to this message on the mailing list, "Don't use the sources from OpenAP website! They are broken."


At this point, I decided to test the AP, I looked for it, found it (half buried under papers on the desk).

Then I realised that I left my adjustable power adapter 'round at my mate's place, with my other AP (2655W), so I had to find another one to run it.

I found an adapter for it (it needs 9V/1A I think), but the first one I found was only 5v.

I also rigged up the serial lead to the serial port on it.

I tried booting it with the 5v adapter, but I doubted that was going to work. I tried it, the LEDs would flash a bit, but it didn't seem to boot or do anything.

I found a 9V one, but it seems to be stuffed, wouldn't even spark if I briefly shorted it (has no plug, only bare wires).

I then grabbed my 12v supply, and hooked up some aligator leads to supply power. The AP looked a bit more promising.

I fiddled around with the speed of the com port on my laptop, and found that 19200 was the most promising, but hitting enter would only ever return "..S402FD00".

I dunno what that means, and google turned up nothing.

I had nothing in the PCMCIA port, I wondered if it was something to do with that.

I put the 2632W card back in it (I wasn't using it in my laptop), and tried booting again.

I'd see the WLAN activity LED flash a bit, but the terminal still only returned "..S402FD00" as before.

I wondered if there was anything going on, so I decided to try tcpdumping the etherner interface on my laptop, with the AP connected directly to it.

I grabbed a patch lead, and then when the link didn't come up, realised that I needed a crossover cable. Bugger, should have bought that crossover yesterday.

I wondered about using the spare WRT54G as a switch (since my spare hub went back into use, as a 10bT -> 10b2 converter).

When I looked, I realised that the WRT54G has a 12v 1A supply. I decided to try this, instead of the hooked up supply.

I found this worked too (no change in the terminal though).

I decided to just plug the AP into the LAN, with a spare lead that was hanging around. I wasn't sure if it would update it's settings (via DHCP), so I rebooted the AP.

I wondered if the AP was actually doing something. I ran up kismet, and saw "WLAN".

Hmm, that's pretty promising. It was highlighted in red for some reason, and when I looked at the details, kismet said that the AP had "FACTORY DEFAULTS", which I figure is why it was red.

When I exited out of kismet, the green WLAN link LED on the AP went on, I checked, and I was now connected to it.

I tried using DHCP, and got an IP address. It seems like it's working.

I wondered if it was available on the network, because both this one, and the 2655W became impossible to manage via the web interface.

I ran a ping scan of the LAN using nmap.

The first things I saw were:

Starting nmap 3.81 ( ) at 2005-09-01 01:48 EST
Happy 8th Birthday to Nmap, may it live to be 108!

Heh, nice message.

Anyway, the thing of interest:

Host ( appears to be up.
MAC Address: 00:90:D1:00:D1:DB (Leichu Enterprise CO.)

Hmm, I don't recognise that manufacturer.

I attempted to connect to the IP address, and bam, a login screen. Wow, this thing looks fully functional.

Now I had to remember the default login details. I tried all the usuals, admin/admin, admin/password etc, but nothing would get me in.

I even tried admin/smcadmin, but that didn't work.

I checked the password lists, and found it, the default details are admin/WLAN_AP. Of course they are, I remember now.

I logged in, clicked around a bit, it all looked fine. I don't really need another AP though, so I don't know what I'll do with it.

Maybe I could put the Xircom wired card in it, and use the 10b2 dongle on it, and use it instead of the hub, but I don't know what that would achieve.

Update: well I won my flash card, the auction is here.

My mate was after a bluetooth adapter, to use with his phone too, so I bid on one of those, a USB dongle, and won it, the auction is here.

I'm trying to get a laptop backpack at the moment, so that I can carry my laptop around a bit more easily, and without it being so obvious, and I'll need it for when I get my license back in 8 1/2 weeks. I keep getting outbid on them, but there's stacks on there, so I'll get one soon enough.

Paypal is really being a pain today. It took me most of the day to pay for the bluetooth dongle.