Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Old BIOS, external USB drives, and Linux

In order to boot an Ubuntu machine with external drives, I had to go in to the BIOS and disable both "High-speed USB" and "Legacy USB support".  The OS has no problem detecting the devices once it is booted up...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Epson Workforce 310 FAX error and fix

I received "0404" communication errors when sending to some FAX machines; when I set the send speed (V.34) to Off (14.4 Kbps) things worked better...

Monday, July 19, 2010

Appigo not found with iPod Touch and MacBook on same "network"

So the Touch (and iPhone for that matter) doesn't come with a todo manager. I was stunned. Appigo todo does the trick and synchronizes over a wireless network. However, there are times I'm using a wireless access point that doesn't allow DNS-SD (Service Discovery (Bonjour (zero configuration LAN))) packets to pass. Setting up the MacBook in an ad-hoc network mode works just fine; Airport, "Create Network...".

And as we're on the topic, where did the handwriting recognition go???  The Newton had it, and I dearly miss it...

Nessus, BT4, and Virtual Box

Nessus seems to believe it should mess with everyone's browser as follows:
body {    
 margin: 0px; 
 overflow: hidden;
 background: #2b4e67;
What's with hiding the scroll bars via "overflow"??? I had been running BT4 in VirtualBox under OSX, and the default is 800x600, not enough to display nessus. So, I wanted to make the screen bigger, no small feat. First
VBoxManage setextradata BT4 CustomVideoMode1 1280x1024x16
then add
vga = 0x200 | 0x160
to /boot/grub/menu.lst. Finally
cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf-vesa /etc/X11/xorg.conf
and reboot. Quite the complicated incantation for something a developer shouldn't have done in the first place.
Why do developers do stupid things like specify overflow, point sizes, etc.? Do they really believe we're all going to run on a box exactly like theirs? What if I wanted to run the nessus client from my phone?

OSX Services "Building" forever

Found this and it worked: Snow Leopard Services menu says it’s “Building…”

Logitect Orbit with OS X

At first, this didn't seem possible, but I found a hidden directory: and the IOXWebcamX-1.2-Log.dmg seems to work, even doing face tracking. I need to experiment some more to make sure...

Friday, July 2, 2010

upgraded ubuntu loses dovecot certs

ln -s /etc/ssl/certs/ssl-cert-snakeoil.pem /etc/ssl/certs/dovecot.pem
ln -s /etc/ssl/private/ssl-cert-snakeoil.key /etc/ssl/private/dovecot.pem

The other major issue I hit was the machine refusing to boot with a VFAT entry in /etc/fstab.  Remove these before the upgrade, or you'll have to do what I did and boot a live Linux disk (BackTrack 4 was what I had to hand) and fix the fstab file manually.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

MPI notes

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sendmail and broken DNS

An ISP I use recently switched DNS servers and this, it turns out, broke sendmail.  Running
echo 'check_mail' | sdmail -d8.20 -bt
dns_getcanonname(, trymx=1)
dns_getcanonname: trying (AAAA)
        NO: errno=0, h_errno=1
dns_getcanonname: trying (AAAA)
        NO: errno=0, h_errno=1
which is not good.  Adding
O ResolverOptions=WorkAroundBrokenAAAA
to fixed things
dns_getcanonname(, trymx=1)
dns_getcanonname: trying (AAAA)
        NO: errno=0, h_errno=4
dns_getcanonname: trying (A)
The sendmail change notes say
New ResolverOptions setting: WorkAroundBrokenAAAA.  When
attempting to canonify a hostname, some broken nameservers
will return SERVFAIL (a temporary failure) on T_AAAA (IPv6)
lookups.  If you want to excuse this behavior, use this new 
flag.  Suggested by Chris Foote of SE Network Access and 
Mark Roth of the University of Illinois at
which means someone will have to fix the DNS server...

Macbook noisy USB

I have a nice little Total Bithead from Headroom (, whom by and large know what they're talking about.  The Total Bithead works great on computers other than my Macbook where there is a constant hiss (not a ground loop hum).  I hear this is a fairly well known issue with Mac laptops.  Sigh...

Monday, June 21, 2010

OS X, X11, and modifier keys

I had the strangest thing happen recently: when I fired up X11 in OS X (including wireshark, nomachine, etc.) and none of the modifier keys (control, and even shift!) would work.  I poked around and found that System Preferences, Language & Text, Input Sources, had a direct effect.  I had recently turned on Unicode Hex Input -- if one fires X11 up with this as the input source, the modifier keys won't work.  Choosing "US" solved the problem...  Hope this helps someone from beating their head against the monitor.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Strange Linux error message on static and DHCP

I was modifying a /etc/networking/interfaces file to alias one NIC to have both a static and a DHCP address. I received a strange message:
SIOCSIFFLAGS: Cannot assign requested address
Surfing didn't find the exact answer, but lead to finding it. One must always have the DHCP address first and attached to the non-aliased interface. Ergo, this works:
auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

auto eth0
iface eth0 inet dhcp

auto eth0:0
iface eth0:0 inet static
and this does not:
auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

auto eth0
iface eth0 inet static

auto eth0:0
iface eth0:0 inet dhcp 
And because I didn't want the DHCP interface to the the default, I added the following to that interface:
up route del -net dev eth0

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Character at a time in bash

I was goofing around with fixing html generate from W4W. I could have use perl or a hundred other things, but I wanted see if I could do in bash, for no particular reason. Here it is.
#! /bin/bash

# this script converts an html file so that all markup ('<'...'>')
# occurs on a line by itself with no embedded newlines.  all other
# characters are simply echoed.  all this requires forcing bash
# to read one character at a time.


while true
    if read -n 1 c
        # if newline, and we're inside of '<'...'>', just
        # echo a space.  otherwise echo a newline
        if [[ $c == '' ]]       
            if $in
                # if we're in '<...>', echo just a space
                echo -n ' '     
            # if '<', note it, echo a newline and '<'
            # else if '>', make it, and echo '>'
            # else echo character
            if [[ $c == '<' ]]
                echo -n "$c"
            elif [[ $c == '>' ]]
                echo "$c"
                echo -n "$c"

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Ubuntu raw lp printing

For some reason, it appears the default font size for a simple lp command is ~5 CPI and LPI. In order to make it reasonable (80x66), I had to set the CPI to 16.5 and the LPI to 6.5:

Friday, January 8, 2010

Removing previous ubuntu kernels

dpkg --list | grep '^ii.*linux-image'
sudo dpkg --remove linux-image-2.6.31-15-generic